#MicroblogMondays - The Complete Transformation

I have been remiss in posting what my hair looks like 100% completely free of color. It’s taken a while for me to get used to it, and to bemusedly navigate the stares, stammers and roundabout questioning from people I haven’t seen in a while…

Overall, I’m happy to have made the change. My hair is evenly silver for the most part with quite a lot of white around my face and it looks pretty cool. The texture is something else though. When my hair was colored, the dye helped to calm down the naturally coarse and wavy/curly texture. Absent the coating of dye, it’s been quite a learning curve to figure out products and styling techniques as I grow out the short ‘do to something that I like more. While I look good in pixie short hair, it’s not me, and I have a weird perception that because I have gray hair that’s short, now I look like all those 60-year olds rocking their short gray ‘dos. I’m growing it out to my usual jaw-length short hair.



…today I’m an 8/10. It’s been a pretty decent run of feeling good despite some significant challenges, and I didn’t dip below 6/10 after that chat with my mom.



Going Gray Update 1

I stopped coloring my hair 7 weeks ago and got myself a pixie cut to ease the transition/make this happen faster. At the moment, I feel like I've hit the OH SHIT phase of the grow out and wonder if I can get through it. I've been walking around with a low level of anxiety and constant chatter,

  • does that person on the street see the skunk stripe
  • what does the back look like?,
  • why won't my hairdresser just indulge me and strip my hair so I don't have to go through this?,
  • maybe I should just color it  
  • why didn't I just go gray naturally?????
 The dreaded part shot. At my last appointment my hairdresser added some lowlights to try to blur the line of demarcation.

The dreaded part shot. At my last appointment my hairdresser added some lowlights to try to blur the line of demarcation.

 What it looks like when my hair is styled forward (how the cut is supposed to be styled)

What it looks like when my hair is styled forward (how the cut is supposed to be styled)

My hair grows fast, but it can't grow fast enough to keep me from freaking out. It's time to invest in some root cover up spray, powder, or something to get through this next phase.

Which brings me to this commercial: 

 

yikes.

 

 

On Letting Go of the Color

First, a distinction, gray hair is actually not gray. it's white hair, but it looks gray because some hair with pigment still exists and mixing the two ends up looking gray. 

I finally made the decision to transition from my (now fake) medium-dark brown hair to the silver that it has become under all that dye, money and time.  I first brought it up to my hairdresser when I started to notice that it was more difficult to keep up with the roots. Earlier this year, I started seeing her every 4 weeks because my usual routine of touching up the roots on my own wasn't working anymore. I needed 2 boxes of the root touch-up and it never matched very well. She talked me out of making the transition citing that I'm only 43 and it'll age me 10 years...and I listened. We started a 4 week rotation of color then color and cut. It was working fine, but you know the thing about having 75%+ white hair? It's coarse and wiry, especially because my hair is already coarse. It doesn't act the same as my hair did when it was 50% white.  It's dry all the time and even though I get high quality salon coloring done, there's a tinge of brassiness that develops as the color grows out. I don't like the roots, and I don't like feeling like I'm obviously covering it up. I doubt anyone else notices, but I'm stressing out about my roots, and I'm sure not going to start touching up the roots every 2 weeks! Of all the things that add stress to my life, hair color should not be one of them.

I also had a revelation that, who cares? Who am I really trying to impress? Sure, when I was in my mid-20's and had to start coloring because I was going prematurely gray, it made sense.  And, embracing a perceived aging hair color in my 30's was not even a thought. At this point, having gray hair in my 40's? *shrug* I'm, getting crow's feet, parentheses, furrowed brow and a droopy chin. I take care of my skin through treatments, but I'm not under any illusion that I can possibly turn back the hands of time. When women turn to injectables and Botox, it's so obvious that they are a woman of a certain age who is trying to fight it. No one ever looks 25 again. At some point, the same thing happens with hair. It becomes obvious that the color is fake. I find I'm more interested in working with what I've got vs. fighting it. So, I'll work with it, and if these damn roots are any indication, I've got some pretty cool silver that's about to be unleashed

It's time. 

Wish me luck.

Check back next year to see if I freaked out and dyed it back. 

0.5 #NaBloMoPo Day 6 - Dusting Off a Draft Post

Several months ago I wrote this post and for sone reason never hit the publish button. Without further ado, here it is:

Recently, I wrote about my emotional reaction to fascial stretching, and last week was the appointment where I (against every fiber in my being) had a vulnerable, open conversation with Stretch Guy. It was a draining session between having the conversation and letting the tears come when I was on the table.

Before I was able to finish the post I started writing, this phone call came.

I have never believed that things happen for a reason and when they are supposed to. I didn't believe it about infertility, or becoming a parent to our kids. I have always been able to rationalize that if it weren't X and Z, it would be other kids. I really don't think that they found us or we found them.

This, though. The stretching, the trusting a stranger to help and support me, and then the very next day getting a phone call that has rocked my world, THAT seems to have happened for a reason. If the phone call came 10 years ago, I doubt I'd be open to the conversation. If the phone call came 5 years ago, I would have been in the throes of adoption journeys and infertility grief. It came after I've done a shit ton of therapy and figuring out how I feel about what happened to me, my mother's shame that kept us from bio-dad and extended family, and my father's complicitness in going along with her charade.

Through it all, S has been a rock, holding me in the kitchen as I randomly break down, sitting on the couch when me as I cradle my coffee staring at the floor seeing nothing. Listening and not judging me as I work through all my complicated feelings and try to figure out what to do next.

I can't ever say my life has been dull.

0.5 NoBloPoMo Day 4 - Have You Ever Cried...

when a business shutters it's doors unexpectedly? 

I've been using a grocery delivery service for about 10 years. I've been part of their growing from simple produce boxes to being able to do about 90% of my grocery shopping from my computer. It's all organic produce, mostly organic groceries and lots of local picks. While I've had issues from time to time, their customer service has been top notch, always crediting my account with no questions asked if I reported missing or bad items. In fact, one time, they left my box in a part of my yard where I didn't see it for a week. I reported the box lost and they had no problem crediting the full amount of the box. Their customer service is one of the reasons why I kept on going with them even with the rise of boxed meals (although I've been mixing it up a bit there) and big grocery chains getting into the delivery business. I wanted them to succeed, they started it all. When I signed up for their service way back in the day NO ONE was doing grocery delivery. It was a whole new world. Now everyone is doing grocery delivery. And it appears they've fallen victim to the competition.

When I received this e-mail, I have to admit...I shed a tear.

It is with a heavy heart that we reach out to you today to share that effective Friday, November 17th, Door to Door Organics will cease operations. We started as a produce box delivery company operating out of a garage in Bucks County, PA and grew to be so much more. Over the years we’ve made nearly 3 million deliveries of organic produce and natural groceries, putting more Good Food into the hands of our customers than we ever dreamed possible all while supporting local farmers and vendors, and striving to have a positive impact on our communities. 

We are so proud of what we accomplished - for one, 2017 marked our 20th anniversary. As pioneers in the ever evolving online food landscape, we’re honored to have played a role in changing what it means to shop for groceries. In 2012, we became the first grocer in Colorado to become a certified B-Corp by meeting rigorous standards of social, environmental, and corporate responsibility. Since the beginning, supporting local community partners has been a part of the fabric of our company. This year we were on pace to donate more than 600,000 pounds of organic and natural food to food banks in our communities.

Our 2016 merger with Relay Foods brought two talented teams together to deliver on our shared mission of empowering families to put healthy food on the table by making every step—from meal planning to preparation—simple, accessible and fun. 

The strides we’ve made towards delivering on that promise and bringing you our best as a natural foods grocer are a testament to the passionate and dedicated support from both customers like you and our employees.  What we achieved together was nothing short of remarkable. While our employees are the heros of this mission-driven journey, we especially want to give a big thank you to you, our customers, for supporting us.  

Listening to our customers and embracing the principle of doing best by our customers is a core value of the Door to Door Organics brand.  We heard from you how difficult it is putting healthy food on the table and took your feedback to heart as we embarked on features such as our meal planning and shop-by-recipe functionality. It gave us great satisfaction to see how that had begun to transform how some of you went about your food life.

In the end it’s hard to point to one thing that led us to this conclusion. Ultimately timing of recent events in our industry and the impact that had on our funding prospects were not in our favor with ultimate result being no path forward. 

We are also very mindful of the timing of this announcement.  We know many of you had counted on next week’s deliveries for your Thanksgiving meal.  We sincerely apologize that we are unable to meet your family’s needs on this occasion.  So, as we shutter our doors we say thanks and wish you and yours Good Food shared with family and friends.

Your Friends at Door to Door Organics

 

 

p.s. Yeah, I missed yesterday. It was nuts.

 

0.5 #NaBloPoMo Day 2 - How Do You Do It All?

That was a question posed to me by a fellow working mom. She's re-entering the workforce part time after having some time off and her kids are the same age as mine. It's funny everytime I get this question, because my answer is always, "I don't". And that's the truth. I don't do it all, and I've done a whole lot of work around reframing what I need vs. what I think I'm supposed to do. 

This is what I need:

  • At least 7 hours of sleep
  • Downtime at the end of the day
  • Gym/bike at least 4 days a week
  • Talk to S
  • TV! Currently I'm watching Supergirl (guilty pleasure), The Mindy Project (sad it's the last season), and The Americans
  • Escapism movies - Comedies, Sci-Fi, Superhero...basically anything that doesn't remind me of the shitshow that is the current daily life of 'Murica.

This is what I think I'm supposed to do:

  • Make a healthy meal that everyone is happy to eat each night (ha)
  • Sit down for 20 minutes with X for homework
  • Teach the kids to pick up clutter and spend 10 min every night picking up to keep the house neat
  • Volunteer to be on the PTA Board
  • Volunteer more at X's school
  • Learn Spanish
  • Read more books

What actually happens:

  • Most nights during the work week I get 7 hours of sleep.  Some nights better quality than others. Weekends are more, but not much considering the 2 kids who bounce out of bed at 6:30am
  • I wake up at about 4:45am and go to the gym like it's my religion. (it might be)
  • I pick up the kids almost every day (S is the morning parent, I'm the afternoon parent)
  • I get home with the kids around 5:30pm, make dinner for the kids and work on S's and my dinner at the same time. They get mac n' cheese, fish sticks, meatballs or chicken nuggets and a vegetable. Z whines, but then eats it. X refuses to eat any vegetables except corn, so I ask him to tolerate whatever else is on his plate. Half the time, X throws some kind of fit and ends up making toast with sunflower seed butter and jelly. (unless it's mac n' cheese or cheese pizza or a local Italian restaurant he likes. He won't eat spaghetti I make, just the spaghetti these guys make). There are too many issues surrounding food that are currently stressing me out.
  • At the end of dinner, it's between 6:30pm and 7:00pm. I'm usually tapping my foot impatiently wondering how long of a workout S is doing that night. (He works out about 3 days a work-week, so I know I don't have much to complain about, it's still sucks though)
  • There's usually some kind of meltdown around 7:00pm that leads to herding the kids up to their rooms to get ready for bed. Sometimes, they are fine until 7:30pm, but lately it's been a bitch. (I blame the time change)
  • S and I alternate getting them ready most of the time. However, if one is melting down then it's usually a split effort between the two. 
  • Kids are usually asleep by 8:30-9:00 after multiple rounds of "quiet time" and "lights out". I should say Z is usually asleep by then. X falls asleep much faster these days. 
  • I attempt to get ready for the day on my nights "off". Get the coffee ready to go, make my lunch, pack my clothes, lay out my workout clothes....
  • At 9:00pm I think, "crap", I have to go to bed like now. At 9:40, I'm usually in bed.
  • At 4:45am, my alarm goes off and it's rinse and repeat.

Exceptions

  • One day a week, both kids have swimming lessons. I leave work a little early and pick up Z. S picks up X. I get Z to his lesson, S drops X off for his lesson then hits the gym and usually is back to retrieve X at the end and I swim with Z during X's lesson. Which worked fine until they decided to close the pool to anyone not taking a lesson, and S decided he needs a longer workout. 
  • OH, and on those swimming lesson days, dinner is typically of the fast-food burger variety
  • There's also the therapy that occurs at night occasionally, which also tends to lead to dinner of the fast-food variety. We are parents of the year among the upper-middle class white parents. *sarcasm*

I guess what it all comes down to is that I'm not doing what I THOUGHT I would be doing. Most of the time, I just want the picky kid to EAT SOMETHING. I keep trying to introduce new foods and he won't get it anywhere near his mouth. It's how it's always been. When he was younger, I read something that said it takes like 15 tries before they'll take to a new food. So we tried. And we tried and tried tried tried...he actually lost some foods transitioning from baby to kid. No more bananas or sweet potatoes or peas or carrots...but I digress. 

Mostly, I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. I just want to sit down and read, but instead I'm getting ready for the next workout. I want to walk the dog, but I'm too wrapped up in planning/doing/sleeping. (S usually takes her on a walk, but I feel like a shitty dog-mommy). I want to help X with his homework, but he melts down and refuses to even sit down to do it. (there's a need to monitor based on what we've seen of his grades so far this year)

I am volunteering more this year, and it's adding stress. I helped with the directory for the school and when I found some errors in my part of the directory right before it hit the print shop, the shame spiral caught hold. They got fixed, it was fine, and I'm trying to be ok with what happened, but it's really hard. Especially because I checked it twice and still had errors! I'm leaving work for a long "lunch" to volunteer at "Pie Day" at X's school to celebrate Thanksgiving on the same day I have a doctor's appointment and then the first PTA meeting I've ever attended, so there goes that day.  I keep making all my appointments for stretch and ART and therapy and doctor and facials and hair during the week so that I can have weekends free to be more present. It makes me feel like I'm not putting in enough work-work, even though I'm keeping up on my projects and got a good performance review recently. 

There you have it. I don't do it all. I prioritize. I fail. I succeed. That's all that I can do. 

 

 

I'VE HAD IT

Isn't parenting difficult enough without this ridiculous judgement on how you feed your kid?  More than a few bloggers have addressed the latest study regarding breastfeeding vs. formula feeding.  Personally, I like this take on it, if you are blissfully in the dark.  And, here's what I have to say about it.

Yes, I planned on breastfeeding if I ever got pregnant, but that didn't happen and we started down the adoption path.  Baby X was 2 weeks old when we were placed with him and had never breastfed, which would have made it that much harder to transition, and I was a brand-new parent.  I didn't need any more brand-new parent-stress heaped upon me.  Sure, you can adoptive breastfeed, but I've only met 2 adoptive moms who have done it, and they had to supplement as almost everyone does with induced lactation.  You can also buy breastmilk from a bank, but it costs an arm and a leg (or two legs and a kidney).

My experience notwithstanding, it drives me bananas that I've had friends struggle to breastfeed, who tried all kinds of techniques and drugs and therapies in order to produce more milk and it was an uphill battle.  I know that many women want the attachment experience that comes with breastfeeding, but I also wonder if some of the push to keep going when it's defeating and exhausting and stressful is partially from the enormous sense of guilt that it was a so-called failure.  I argue that keeping your child healthy is not a failure.  Pushing yourself to breastfeed until you have a physical or emotional breakdown is not healthy for anyone in your family.

I am firmly in the camp of "Do whatever makes sense to you", and I leave it at that.  For me, it was kangaroo care, formula feeding, making baby food, and (horrors) relying on jarred baby food some of the time.  For some, it's exclusively breastfeeding until 2 or 3 or 4 or....  For others it's breastfeeding for 2 months and then transitioning to formula because pumping in a work truck when you work as a landscaper is a nightmare.  For others it's a combination of breastfeeding and bottle so that Dad can get some attachment time.

As I write this, I'm realizing that the breastfeeding argument is the same as the work/stay at home argument.  They are the same argument, just different factors.  And instead of women being supportive of one another, we turn catty and bitchy and mean if one of us chooses to do something different.  Why is that?

Why is our self-worth so tied up in the idea that what I do has to be right?

Let's talk about moving up in the workplace.  Lately, there's been more reporting on women who climb the ladders to the top.  The entire time that I was being raised, I was told that I can do whatever I want, I can be whatever I want, I can lead a company.  And then I get out in the work world and find that it's not that easy.  If I tell a construction superintendent he's doing it wrong, I'm a mean bitch.  I used to go on construction sites to do inspections and watch the guys roll their eyes because there was a 5'3" GIRL there to tell them what to do.  I left a company because they told me to my face that I would never be able to work part-time if I wanted to.  I left another company because I knew they weren't paying me nearly enough money for the work that I did.  In fact, when I passed my P.E. exam, they forgot to promote me until I brought it up.  The guy who passed the same exam was immediately promoted and given what he asked for.  When I asked for a measly $3,000 more a year to get my salary up to "average" instead of "below average", they said no.  That's when I decided to look for another job.

The point is, there are roadblocks every step of the way for a woman, put there by men who feel threatened, and put there by other women.  Women slam the women who make CEO of Fortune 500 companies.  Why?  What do we know about how they live their lives, or choose to parent, if they are parents? We get enough pushback from those old graybeards in our fields, and we don't need more from our own sex.  

You know, if you don't like the way a woman is running a company or you don't like her politics, then fine, criticize those aspects of her work.  Women who are assertive and leaders are called bossy.  A man is never called bossy.  A man is a "born leader".  A woman is "bossy".  I see it all the time in my male-dominated field.  Until we as women start supporting each other, and supporting our choices, we will always be stuck.  We can't turn the tide until we are ok with someone making a choice that is different from ours.

Here's what I would love to see as opposed to what I see now:
  • Let women formula feed without making a big deal over it
  • Let women breastfeed in public without making a big deal over it
  • Celebrate these women 
  • Celebrate women who go into traditionally male fields
  • Celebrate women who stay at home
  • Celebrate women who are doing the best they can by working and parenting
  • Ban Bossy  Check out the campaign.

p.s.  This is my 500th post.  Go Me!