A slump, a funk, and blowing up my hair dryer

After 26 months, my latest blow dryer had blown up and must be retired to the blow dryer graveyard. It was an experiment of sorts, in that at ~$120 it was the most expensive blow dryer I have ever purchased. Of course, when buying the cheaper models, I was buying 2 or 3 of them per year, and the last Target-purchased dryer nearly set my hair on fire when it died. For the sake of convenience and the quieter motor, I will likely invest in another nicer model. Maybe I will get another 2 years out of it.

So that was part of my kinda/sorta in-a-funk Tuesday. But I am not really in a funk, per se; I presently know enough people in various phases of funk to know that it’s not me.

However, I admit the hair dryer was the final push for a silent scream of frustration. Or not so silent string of f-bombs while standing there with a mess of hair that was half dry and a very scary sight. At least my only appointment today is lunch with a client, leaving me enough time to figure out something.

My funk-lite is primarily driven by a work slump. Typically I use that term when things are slow, but things are rarely slow for me, most definitely a blessing. But I’ve been working on a report for a self-employment client and am about 98% done with it, but I am unhappy with the status and conclusions. On paper, it looks fine, sounds like a reasonable opportunity, the analysis works in my client’s favor.

But I have taken an immediate dislike to the other principal party involved that has only gotten worse with time and our ongoing communications. My reaction when we met was immediate and intensely visceral, and I have absolutely no basis for disqualifying him except he inspires such a negative sense of ick he makes me want to throw up. Is that even a real business sense? Sorry, you make me want to vomit and I don’t know why, but I cannot recommend that my client proceed with this potentially profitable and mutually beneficial deal.

I need to be a lot more grown-up and business-like than that. But I feel how I feel, and if I remove my personal feelings from the equation, it makes good business sense. And really, I don’t need to like the guy, right? I looked at the information provided, I read the reports and financials, I crunched the numbers – everything adds up and legal has signed off.

So why does my stomach churn as I work on this report? It feels like a bad idea, and I have no rational reason for thinking or even feeling that way. Liking the guy as a person is irrelevant to the business at hand.

Ugh. I will finish this report and figure it out before we meet for lunch. That and my unruly mop of hair.

So that’s my slump. Which has kind of tinged the rest of my day with funk and a desire to separate from the slumpy feelings.

I feel sort of desperate to do or to change something, as if life is boring and I need to spice it up. Or as if everything is going far too well and I need to do something dramatic to ward off the evil spirits that could bring disaster. Yeah, I get how kooky that sounds. I know crazy-brain-lite is perking up and making mischief. I also know this happens on a fairly predictable cycle that almost coincides with the change of seasons and will blow over as mysteriously as it began.

The first thing that comes to mind – chopping off all my hair – is only partly because of the hair dryer mishap; even a shorter version of my current longer length requires a blow dryer. But I cannot do it right now. G is getting married in less than 3 months and I need to keep the length to give myself options for wedding hair.

Changing cars is always an option, but the financial nerd in my head says it makes absolutely no sense, particularly since I cannot get excited enough about different vehicle to even fancifully entertain the idea.

Then I started thinking about my exercise, and maybe I should switch my schedule … which I immediately rejected, because no way would I survive or be capable of maintaining any consistency with practice trying to get to the gym in the evenings. At least I am not eating or drinking my feelings; I seem to be mostly past that sort of destructive behavior. Instead I am blogging about my current level of crazy. Progress.

And the blog, and blogging … that deserves a post of its own.

Yep, as usual, me and my first world problems.




End on a good one

No, not closing the blog or anything else so dramatic or drastic. M, walking by this morning and glancing at my screen, saw the title and was momentarily worried that I was giving up blogging. Apparently writing is therapeutic for me, and M was alarmed that if I do not continue downloading my thoughts as frequently as I do it would be bad. And he’s right – it might be bad. Truth of the matter is I need the blog far more than anyone else who might be following along with me.

Sometime in the last month, J advised me that I should always strive to “end on a good one” when I am struggling with a particular exercise. In that particular interaction, I am quite certain it was the one-leg Romanian deadlift. Every day I do them I am kinda/sorta counting as I move along through the set, and I am most definitely striving to end the set on a good, non-wobbly one per leg. In keeping with that sort of thinking, this has been a tumultuous week and I am striving to end it on a good note.

Today I created a new page for all my 2016 training recaps. It makes me happy to see them listed all together in one place with their individual titles and posting dates.

Our deck is taking shape outside and will be nice … when it is finally complete. Not our contractor’s fault, but I am resigned to nothing we ever do on our home going smoothly or without change orders. But even with the constraints on my practice time and having to leave the gym early what feels like early on practice days this week, I enjoy seeing our contractor, chatting with him and his son, seeing his wife this morning. Whether it’s us or we just get lucky, we have been blessed with good trade people.

Tomorrow I may be late to the gym to chauffer M and his running buddies up to their insertion point loop. I honestly don’t mind – at least they are not starting in Squaw Valley this early in the season – and I am happy that M has these joyous weekend training runs with his pals. The bonus of an M-free Saturday to declutter and deep clean without him hanging around and either making me feel guilty for not doing more or hanging around and getting in my way is not to be underestimated. Besides, he’s been busy doing a lot of physical grunt work removing boards and crap from the backyard. Super bonus if I do not have to drive M and pals to their Foresthill, but still okay even if I do.

Decluttering and deep cleaning does not sound like a lot of fun or even something to be happy about, but is has to be done from time to time and I have a whole kitchen full of crap assorted gadgetry we never use to sort out and box for donation. Then there is my shower and it’s fancy glass doors. Every few months they have to be de-water-spotted and polished to avoid the faster buildup of water spotting. If I do that while M is around he will see some invisible spot that I missed and end up taking over, which is not the end of the world but it’s shower glass. It is meant to get wet and will acquire spots; it does not require hours and hours of cleaning and polishing to get the job done.

Getting my hair addressed this afternoon, and I love, Love, LOVE my stylist. The time passes quickly as we catch up on everything that has happened in our lives during the 6 to 8 week interim since our last hair session. Sometimes people just come into your life and just make it better. I have good hair days in the salon and I look forward to a couple of hours of quality time in the chair with tinfoil in my hair.

Meeting TM and his partner for kava tonight after getting my hair done. Is this kosher on a professional level? I have no idea, nor do I care. What I do know is after this many years of longer term and shorter term projects, we have become friends; he and his partner are tribe. So when he read last night’s post and my desire to have fun that did not entail work or exercise, he asked me if I wanted to join them for kava after work. I’ll have good hair for the occasion.

Sunday is Easter, and we have no particular plans. Jury is still out on gym, no gym, or practice, no practice. Whatever happens, whatever choice I make on Sunday will be the right one for me, and I will be just right with it.

Because it is a good week, and by my choice and design it will fade in a high, happy, peaceful, and positive tone.

Happy Friday everyone!


Gadgets, shopping, hair – mish mash of this and that

Lots of little things that have been pinging and ponging around in my head. Nothing critical or weighty or even particularly important. Merely things I have been doing and felt the need to share with the rest of you. My theory is that if I fail to write it down here it will ultimately poison my already overstuffed and kind of crazy brain.

Optical heart rate sensor strap. For his birthday back in January, friend J got M an optical heart rate strap to replace his chest strap. This one can be affixed to the forearm or the wrist and should pair with his fancy-smancy running watch.

Except it has been sitting since the first of the year. M has not made time or mustered interest to test drive it, so I paired it with an app on my phone, and took it out for a spin at the gym the last couple of days. Seems to work fine. No idea about it’s accuracy, but it does get annoying on my forearm for a lot of the stuff I do (or have been doing) this week. Tomorrow I will be back to my normal judgmental heart rate monitor set-up, because while I am not crazy for the chest strap, after 2 days with the little optical flasher strapped to my forearm I am realizing the chest strap is not that bad. Left to my own devices I probably would have abandoned it long ago, but M worries and wants me to check if I feel weird at the gym. So I suck it up and have gotten myself into the habit of turning in on and off for him; there are far worse burdens to bear for his peace of mind.

For M, the optical sensor probably makes sense. Now if he will just sit himself down and patiently pair and figure out how it works with his Suunto. I do not blame him for being reluctant to introduce something new. At least once a week there is much yelling and swearing because the watch is doing something disagreeable after a run.

Shopping and hair – blow dryer stand. On a less fancy gadget scale, last week at lunch we were talking hair at work and one of the gals recommended I try a blow dryer stand for drying my hair. I had never heard of such a thing and went to Amazon in search of what she uses and ordered one up for me. It arrived on Saturday, and while it seems cheesy and flimsy in construction, for $13 I was not going to complain too much.

OMG, that thing has changed my life! I assembled it, strapped my blow dryer into it, and let it rip. Not having to hold the dryer in one hand and a brush in the other made such a difference. My hair also dried faster, because with an extra hand to sort of lift the hair to let the air flow through made a huge difference. Plus that shoulder/arm fatigue that comes from waving the dryer around overhead is not to be under estimated. Love my new gadget. If it ever breaks I will  likely look at others that are perhaps better engineered or manufactured, but for now, this little cheap thing is getting the job done.

Chop off all my hair urges. And speaking of hair, I am having the urge to cut mine all off. No unusual relationship happenings at home – marriage is fine, no new smothering M impulses have surfaced – but I feel the pull toward a new do and shorter hair. Except I really cannot go there right now. G is getting married in September, and last thing I want is experimental hair turning into life-altering disaster hair to be memorialized in wedding photos. And short hair, while convenience in many ways, is not so much for me, with the gym and such. Unless I shave it all off or crop it short, at which time I will have to invest in an assortment of sock hats if the men in my orbit are any indication. Having as much hair as I possess and at it’s present length, I cannot recall my head feeling cold, and when I wear hats it seems more for fashion than for chil. Shorter length (between present past shoulders and potential boy-short crop) means fewer options for getting it off my neck and out of my face during training and practices. Probably I will have the same length hair forever and ever, because ponytails are my friend when it comes to the gym.

Dry shampoo adventures continue. I apparently have a lot of pent-up hair discussion in me – my ongoing adventure with dry shampoo continues. I’m not sure what it is, but sometimes it seems to work better than others. When it works well I am using the just right amount, I think. Too much and I have talcum powder-like dandruff and always wear a light colored top or dress just in case it sheds. Too little and I have this lank hair that inspires dream of updos or nicely shaped head so I could rock a bare scalp. That or a hat being appropriate to wear in my office environment. The darker side of daily gym visits – sweat head and longer hair.

Shopping until I drop, except I have been working out and have more endurance … for shopping. Then there is the shopping. OMG – I have lost my mind and am spending money with wild abandon. Only, not really, because I rarely impulsively spend on things. I have been hoarding my mad money for a few months now and on an M-free Sunday at the mall visited all the places where I prefer to go without him. You know, handbag departments and cosmetic counters. Seriously, I do not personally know a woman who wants her spouse or significant other to know how much she spends on a handbag, hair products, or moisturizer. M never hassles me about money I spend on stuff for me, but the eye-roll is still irritating sometimes. Because I feel a little guilty spending higher dollar amounts on a tote to carry my day-to-day crap that I am sure I cannot live without or a bottle of face goo, but I do suck it up and get over it quickly … then just ensure the receipt goes into my file and the boxes with price tags are into the trash quickly. Bury the evidence and any remnants of guilt is my motto in this regard.

So a bag, wallet, a couple of products from the Clinique counter, a pair of shoes, and a cute new top … and 3 hours and a few hundred dollars at the mall cannot be recovered. Well, i could return things, but sometimes retail therapy is a wonderful thing. I am returning the shoes. They were a good experiment and these are only the third pair I have purchased and returned this month. In defense of my sanity and sensation in my feet, the other 2 pairs were online purchases that did not work out, only a single pair that I tried on at Macy’s, purchased, and am now returning. I suppose my waffling about comfort was pushed over by the fact that M thought they were less than flattering. So back they went and the search for spring shoes continues.

So this concludes our humpday brain dump for this week. I know, I know – me and my first world problems. But it’s my blog and I’ll be trivial and frivolous if I want to. *smile*

Good somethings

Last night I went to a yoga class with both daughter C and future daughter-in-law K. It was hilarious. None of us are particularly bendy people, but we tried. I have more experience with Bikram than either of them, and neither were prepared for how hot it is in a room heated to 105 degrees. Still, I treasure any time I spend doing just about anything with my kids, and yoga is no exception. K is game to try again on Thursday, C has to work, but we may be together again at a class on Friday. Girl power at its finest.

I used the cable machine all by myself again this morning. I had not definitively decided before getting to the gym, but I leaning toward another try at it and refining my technique and form. Then J asked me what my plans were, and I made my final decision to go for the cables. It was still early and the gym was still pretty empty, so I felt secure in my choice.

I was going to use a single, stand-alone cable machine, but when I got out there and set my stuff down near it, the nice gent who helped me lower the cable thing yesterday let me know the machine I was using yesterday was available – he was using only the other side of it – and I was welcome to it, so I moved back over there. My attachments were all nearby, too, so I not have to wander far to find what I needed.

And my whole body today is pleasantly sore, which rarely happens anymore. J’s guidance on Monday had been as many reps as possible while maintaining good form, so I tried for 20 on each exercise. I did not always succeed, but I feel good about the effort put forth. It was a good day at the gym.

Plus I was not completely freaked out when some other guy comes over and starts doing pull-ups right in front of me while chatting with the other member using the other side of the machine. I mean, I am standing there doing final set of rows and he just steps in front of me and starts doing pull-ups on the overhead railing. Disconcerting for a second, but not nearly as weird as the time the guy put on some sort of ankle boots and hung upside down from the TRX structure while I was minding my own business and using the TRX straps right across from where he was hanging.

Every morning when I get to the gym it is still dark out. I park right next to the swimming pool and realize how familiar and comforting it is to hear the sound of someone or several someone’s swimming laps. The regular, rhythmic splashes are soothing to my nerves.

When I got home, M was just leaving for his run so I pulled up and rolled down my window, ZZ Top blaring out of my stereo. I did turn it down – M yelling at me over the music it at 7:30 in the morning is not the image I want our neighbors to have of us – and our neighbor across the street yells “turn that music down!” Any of our other neighbors we would smile and laugh and suggest turning it up louder in their driveway, but this guy is a curmudgeon of the first order. I am so proud of us, proud of M in particular, for not letting him get to us and stalking across the street for a confrontation. This man is old enough to be ZZ Top’s grandfather and has gray hair longer than mine with a matching gray beard. Completely not worth getting into a heated discussion with him, which is he only type of conversation he (the curmudgeon) has with anyone.

One of the associates at my firm is a rather hipster cool kind of guy with a sharp sense of humor and scary smart type intelligence. He is on the quiet side, and when he does speak it is with this sort of crisp authority that makes the hairs on my neck stand up in respect and understanding that he could be cutting and cruel if that were his intention and goal; he is not someone who radiates warm fuzzies. This morning he strolled into my office with his time and expense reports for February, looks at me, then smiles – one of those genuine, sincere smiles that completely overwhelms his eyes – and says “I love your hairstyle; it’s beachy, what my niece refers to as ‘mermaid’ hair.” I was astounded and stuttered out a thank you. It was the first time ever he has made a personal comment to anyone in my hearing. And my hair? It one of those wash-and-goo and hope for the best events, and since my hair has a lot of natural curl/wave/puffy available to it, there is a lot of prayer behind that hope for the best. I have no appointments today so I felt okay with going a little more casual. Who knew Mr. GQ likes beachy hair?

The weather here has been absolutely glorious.

I have 2 nephews I have not seen in more than 15 years. Of the 2, the older one has been in jail/prison for most of that time, and the other was a beneficiary in my mother’s will and that resulted in several brief phone/text conversations while I was settling the estate. Other than that, though, I think it safe to say we are strangers who share some strands of DNA. Yesterday on FB the younger nephew popped up as someone I might know, and a brief scan of his page says he has a baby daughter that is about 6 months old, named after my sister, albeit her middle name, which was the name she always reserved for the daughter she never had. I looked through his page, at the pictures of him now and his son (about 12 now) that I have never met, and now this beautiful baby girl … and I closed FB without liking or commenting or opening the window to communicating. Because my sister and I were very different people with very different parenting styles, and I do not want to open my heart to a stranger I cannot trust. I thought I would feel guilty. Instead, I feel a little proud for protecting myself from the particular kind of heartache that comes with family drama.

Our next door neighbor’s son was working at her home with his 3 goldendoodles on the loose in the backyard. They are so goofy, friendly, adorable, and make me smile every time they come to visit.

After writing the post yesterday, I recognize the balance is not as elusive as it seems to be in my heart and mind. Balance for me is recognizing and acknowledging the positives of the good somethings as well as the impacts of the less desirable somethings. Counting my blessings, being thankful, gratitude journaling – however I phrase it, I too often discount or diminish my personal positives and overemphasize and obsessed about the soul-destroying negatives. Why I feel unworthy or less deserving could fill several blogs. An intriguing side effect of changing my habits and improving my physical health has meant that my brain cannot keep broadcasting messages counter to my new reality. Perhaps that is the best something of all.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Hair fitness – dry shampoo adventure

A couple of weeks ago (here) I wrote about purchasing a dry shampoo to help with sweat head from daily workouts. Walking out of the gym every day with hair drenched at the scalp from sweat and washing it daily after workouts is not feasible, so I decided to try dry shampoo between regular shampooing to see if I could freshen and perk up my locks.

It has been just over 2 weeks and a half-dozen occasions of experimenting with the dry shampoo. In those experiments:

  • I have developed great understanding of what it must be like to be a flocked Christmas tree.
  • Spraying dry shampoo topless or with a towel draped over the shoulders and pinned in front should be listed on the directions.
  • Bending over and doing a head shake after massaging into the scalp is a good habit to get into.
  • Blow drying after spraying into the hair was the best advice ever (thank you commenters A and Lesli A for your advice on dry shampoos).
  • I learned 30 cm is about 12 inches, and you should heed the can’s instructions about holding it at least that far away from your head/hair when spraying.

Overall, I have been pleased with the results. It can be messy (second time out I sprayed my hair with it wearing a black blouse, now waiting for me to retrieve it from the dry cleaners and hopefully no longer sporting fine white powder all over it). In my original post, commenter Lesli A suggested blow drying the hair after spraying, and her advice was spot-on in my experience. It takes a lot less time for me to blow my mostly dry hair into a smooth style, and the action seemed to spread the shampoo more efficiently and evenly than just rubbing it into the scalp/through the hair. My hair smelled nice and fresh to my nose, and my hair did look smoother and more polished than on days when I try to get it under control with just the blow dryer and flat iron.

My biggest issues probably stemmed from not following the directions more precisely. If I had the can too close to my hair it looked like I had just threw some talcum powder into my mostly black hair. The blow drying and brushing mostly diffused that. Learning how much (or little) to use was also a trial and error experiment for me. I found a little goes a long, long way for the clean look and fresh smell I seek. For $7.99 a can, I think it will last a few months for me. However, next time I am trying the one for brunettes.

Hair fitness

While there are lots of really terrific reasons and results from regular workouts, the one downside is the sweat head. When you have longish/longer hair that curls (like mine!) and takes a while to dry and style after shampooing (like mine!), sweat head becomes a consideration.

I typically wash my hair every other day, in the evenings, so I have time to blow it dry, flat iron it ruthlessly into smoothness, and then go to bed. Working out in the mornings, sweat head. Every. Single. Morning. I have to shower and blow dry my mostly dry hair, and then flat iron all over again to smooth the fly-aways and catch those bendy curls popping up all over the place from the sweat humidity. Since I went back to bangs a month ago as well, there is a daily battle with hairdryer/flat iron versus bangs so I do not walk out the door sporting a forehead curl. So unflattering.

Several people have suggested I try dry shampoo for that third day, so I checked reviews online and then marched into Ulta this afternoon in search of one of the top rated sprays. I walked out with a can of Batiste Dry Shampoo, which has good reviews and the Ulta clerk assisting me says is their top seller. I have reservations about it, imaging something akin to putting talcum powder in my hair and my black hair appearing as if I am wearing a powdered gray wig or speckled with very awful dandruff. However, I am determined to find something that will let me walk out of the gym looking normal and without fear of clean body, stinky hair syndrome. M would tell me if that were the case, and he swears my hair does not stink or appear greasy after a couple of to few days of sweat head. He says I am far more worried about it than necessary, because in reality, my hair looks fine, beautiful.

I remain unconvinced. I am a terrible wife who does not trust her husband’s “you look beautiful” statements and instead sees a man trying to placate his wife to ease her obsessing over her hair. But in my mind M’s opinions on beauty and fashion are suspect in general; again, our tastes are very different.

But who knows – depending on how things go with this dry shampoo, I may have to accept that sweat head is all inside my head. I’ll let you know after I try this tomorrow.

For a woman who professes to be without a lot of vanity, I sure seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time worrying about my hair lately.

Like living with a long-haired dog

M commented wistfully this morning about finding a way to separate my hair from his running bandanas. Apparently  my stray hairs are trapped and then when he uses them to wipe his eyes he thinks some bug is flying around, but it’s only a stray hair.

It could be so much worse. We could have adopted a collie or an afghan as a pet and let it roam freely through the house. This despite the fact that M does not want an inside pet. Still, it could be worse. I had much longer hair when we met, so it’s not like he can change his mind now, 20+ years later.

I feel for him, I really do. We vacuum almost daily and I try to keep my hair brushing, blow-drying, and flat-ironing to my bathroom and swiffer away the strays when finished. Still, they are everywhere. While I am sympathetic to his plight – M shaves his head – I do not feel guilty. This is the price one pays for having a wife with longish hair. Since shaving my head has been ruled out as an option, I have grown philosophical about it … as in, suck it up and deal, M.

Ah marriage. Such a joyous thing.

Happy Sunday everyone.