A Girl and her Hair

For a while now, since I’m not working and no longer have to conform to “work appropriate” hair, I’ve wanted to experiment with colors and cuts that would have shocked and offended my parents (were they still alive).

Back in Georgia (in March), I’d started the transformation from my old self to my current one, but as my hair when I first walked into the salon back then was still in it’s virgin state (aka, utterly natural, and gray), the colorist, who had only just met me and didn’t seem to quite trust that I could really wanted what I’d asked for — she knows me MUCH better now. (To her credit, let’s face it, I’m odd, and hair stylists have been sued by unhappy customers before.) At the time, I tried to explain to her how my inner soul really was not reflected by my current appearance; that I had needed to appear professional in my old jobs, but that now I was free of that and I could return to being more myself — and that I wanted my hair to reflect a truer version of me… the former art student me more so than the business school professor me.

I remember her saying things like, “if I do what your asking for you won’t be happy with the result,” and instead of what I had initially asked for she produced something that was radical by local standards (from what I’ve seen, middle aged, upper class, well educated women in Dalton, GA just don’t do this sort of thing with their hair) — driving around Dalton I found most women to have almost identical dye jobs and hair cuts, that were usually of the sort that required bi-weekly hair appointments to maintain. And while I’ll grant you that what she created was VERY pretty, it was not quite as ‘fearless’ as I was ready to go … however, that said, I really did like the end result as it was a bit like having a head of full of firey embers still burning in blackened ash — and I have a personal connection to that sort of energetic. Also, it could be argued that this dye job flattered me more than the one I ended up getting in Victoria.

Now… it was a few months later and the hair had to be redone. While walking around Victoria I spotted this dress in a shop window, and knew THIS was the color pallet I wanted to go for — only with more of the orange and red, and less of the yellow — so I snapped a shot of it, posted it to Facebook and asked the friends to chime in on what they thought about it. I decided, based on the comment of my friend who authors the blog, rover@home.com to describe it to whomever my colorist turned out to be as a “Caribbean sunset.”

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Now granted, between the Georgia hair coloring and when I finally went in to a salon again (almost five months) my hair had grown out (about two inches) and faded out almost completely, from dark hair with fiery highlights, to something which was now brown with the fire faded to mostly orange… although you can still see some red in there.

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As I discussed in a later post, on the distinct nature of homelessness in Canada, I had actually gotten the referral to the Aveda Beauty School from a homeless chick I ran into who had wildly colored hair. I’d been wanting to get creative with my hair for a while, and based on my experiences in Georgia, realized I’d have to find a salon that regularly did this sort of thing, or at least do it in a town where it was far more ‘normal’ to request it. The first day I drove around Victoria I knew I was finally in the right place, so it was a question of finding the best salon for it, at the cheapest price. And the Aveda Beauty School turned out to the be the right place.

I will say however, that at first they rejected my request. “We don’t do that sort of thing here” but… let’s just say I when I’ve set my mind to something I rarely take no as an answer. After a while they of negotiating they gave in, and assigned me to Jessica (the girl in the pictures) who was just a few salon hours short of graduating, and who had exhibited a real flair during her training in the use of color. She was both excited, and a bit intimidated, but we talked about it, and there was a full week between my initial consultation and when she would start the job… and she said she had gotten increasingly excited about it as she had time to mull it over in her brain. “I’ve always wanted to do a job like this one but the customers who come into aveda aren’t asking for it.”

With regard to the gray left at my sides, that was my choice. When I had the last coloring done, in Georgia, I had asked the colorist NOT to color over grey at my temples… which she did, but not as MUCH as I had wanted her to, so with Jessica I was much fiercer about it, but it turned out that again what I was asking for wasn’t as radical a notion in Victoria as in Georgia … it is in fact from what I saw it is beginning to be a THING now for older women to NOT completely cover our gray… or even try to. All over Victoria I was elderly women who had embraced their silver and only added dark highlights in creative ways to to compliment their appearance. I saw this one woman who had short curly hair, where her first two inches were kept completely gray, and only had the tips of her curls made dark… it looked amazing, emphasized her curls, and her face… think of it as older women reclaiming pride in their age.

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The whole job had to be done in two steps, in large part because it was going to take 8 hours and the students only work in four hour shifts. Fist they needed to cut my hair to remove damage from the previous dye job, and because they refused to do what I wanted on very long hair (to expensive). Historian type that I am, I told her to think 1920’s inverted bob, long in the front (enough so that I can still pin it back on bad hair days, but short and layered in on the back… and then they did a base dye of a an ashy brown in order to obfuscate the transition between new natural hair and the rest of the head.

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Nice, but oh so mundane…. I think I look a bit like pictures of my grandmother taken in the late 1920’s. This was done on the Tuesday.

Two days later, Thursday, I came in again, and the first step was to bleach may hair light enough to allow for the other colors…

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The result was a sort of bright orange with some red highlights left in it… To be honest, I always wonder why they can’t just leave hair THIS color — which is what happens when you strip brown out of hair, because I think it’s cool, but they won’t. No colorist has ever explained to me the reason why. That and, as I was not used to seeing myself this way it was kind of a shock… still can’t decide if it’s a good color for me.

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The 2nd girl is a friend of Jessica’s who came in to help. Jessica applied all the color, but this girl functioned as a 2nd set of hands, holding bits of hair out of the way, and handing Jessica things as she needed them.

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Then we entered the coloring stage. Three colors were used, a purple, and orange, and yellow… and rather then applying the colors in vertical stripes, as is normally done, these were applied horizontally, in a technique now known as decoupage.

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And this was the final result…

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This is my hair blown out and curled with a curling iron

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This is what it looks like when it’s just wash and wear

I’m sad to say that the colors only lasted a few weeks, with the purple disappearing almost immediately, so that two months later (when I’m finally writing this) the hair is mostly orange (close to the color of the hair when initially striped) and a yellow that turns almost neon in the sun… So it will soon be time to try something else.

I’ve sort of been considering the Miley Cyrus inspired haircut (Miley had it when she was in the TVshow, Two and a 1/2 men) that Jessica was sporting… but it actually requires MORE upkeep to get the hair to stay up like that, not less…. and I would need to loose a more weight, as right now my face is too fat

T&O: Happy Homeless People in Canada

Let me preface this by saying that I categorically know diddlysquat about the specific realities of homelessness in Canada, and I take it as a given that the situation is far from perfect; what follows therefore are simply my PERCEPTIONS as a well traveled individual who has had the “privilege” if you can call it that of having seen poverty in many countries over the course of my 51 years.

So let me give an example. A few years ago I was driving around Shanghai China with my dad and his girlfriend. …
Well, let me back up: At that time I had been working as a professor of Marketing in South Korea for about two years, at Kyung Hee University’s Seoul campus. (Yes my PhD was in anthropology, how I got from that to marketing is a long story.) My dad, who had been a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (he passed away just over two years ago now) had been invited to China in order to give some lectures at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, and he had arranged for his girlfriend (a once upon a time professor of Hebrew Literature at Tel Aviv University — who had been working as a successful therapist for many years since) to also give a lecture, so that she could come along with him on the trip. This was right around the Jewish High Holidays, so my father decided that I should fly from Seoul to Shanghai so that we could all attend prayer services together.
….. After we’d been there a few days, we were driving around the town and my dad’s girlfriend started to talk about how impressed she was with the affluence of Shanghai. How all the apartments we had visited (both she and my dad had contacts in town) were so fancy, and our hotel (4 star) was so plush, and how everyone was wearing the latest styles of expensive designer clothing, and the expensive jewelry everyone wore (the Chinese love their bling).

To this I responded… “well that’s interesting, because I’m seeing something entirely different than you are. I see all of what you saw, but I also seem to be seeing things you are not.” She of course took offense, and asked me to explain, so I went on… “What I see are fancy apartment buildings that are surrounded not just by gates, but with 12 ft concrete walls that have barbed wire at the top with limited entrances and exits where there are guards that ‘actually guard’ (not just for show), which tells me not only is crime a major concern, but possibly even riots. And while I see people wearing bling and the latest in designer fashions, what I also see are jobs like garbage collection which in western countries would be done with garbage trucks, but here I see people doing them by hand, many of them elderly with hunched backs dragging behind them carts heavy with trash to the dumps, or recycling plants. What I see is a really horrible discrepancy between the rich and the poor, with many homeless, dirty, and miserable looking people sitting around looking unhappy. So while I saw everything you did, I also saw it not as this wonderful amazing thing, but as a problem … and those concrete walls with barbed wire? What they tell me is that the rich elites of this town are very much aware that they are sitting on a potential powder keg that could, if they are not very very careful, explode at any time.”

So… returning to the issue of Canada a few people have asked me what were my major observations of the differences between Canada and the USA… and while granted there are a few… for instance I used the go-along with that statement that EVERYONE seems to say about the Canadians, namely that ‘they’re the nicest people on the planet’… but having spent three months there I have now revived that to, ‘I wouldn’t say Canadians are Nice, so much as I’ve decided that the Canadians are incredibly polite — a bit like the Japanese’… but I’m not going to go into what I mean by that here… it’s too complicated.

What I want to talk about now is the inherent differences I observed on the streets between homelessness in Canada and the way it looks in the USA.

The poor and homeless in Canada just seem… happy, they seem healthy, they even seem, dare I say it…  peppy…

American homeless rarely if ever look any of that, and if they do they usually haven’t been homeless very long. … again, just my perception.

At one point in Victoria, I saw a girl who looked to be in her early 20’s, pretty, but with the sort of ‘dirty’ look of someone who lives on the street, who was sitting on the side of the road in the center of Victoria’s tourist district (between the historic hotel and the bay), with her puppy on her lap, trying to collect funds. So I stopped to talk to her; she started of by telling me that she was actually from Vancouver and had come over as a passenger on the ferry to visit friends (for an adult non student fair it costs just under $18 Canadian, or around $13.50 US for walk on traffic, but I’m guessing her status may have qualified her for some sort of discount). She told me that after having been here (in Victoria) for a few days that she didn’t have enough money left to go back and was just trying to collect enough funds to take the return ferry.

So, like the anthropologist I am, I sat down to ‘interview’ her about being homeless in Canada. I also wanted to bounce my perceptions off of her, to see if I was right about how much happier the homeless seemed here, and my thinking that maybe in Canada dropping out and being homeless was actually a choice people sometimes made, rather than something they were forced into by adversity. She said that she thought that was probably correct, that it was something you could just choose to do and a lot of folks did. She had not been to the US side of the border, but she had heard other kids talking about how being homeless there was categorically different, and a lot scarier. She said that in Canada she gets good health care even though she has no job (and isn’t even looking for one), and that there’s no shortage of homeless shelters that feed her well, and that sleeping in those shelters feels perfectly safe to her… 

Another day when I was walking around I passed a what I’m sure was a little group of three homeless girls, one of whom had really radical colored hair. So I talked to her and I asked her who she would suggest as someplace I could go to to get my hair done. She said that she and her friends would do it for themselves, using cheap stuff they got from the pharmacy. I told her I wasn’t into doing that and really wanted someone who could do it for me, and do it well. She pointed me towards the Aveda Beauty school that is only two blocks from my apartment saying one of the girls who they hang with from time to time, who was not in fact homeless would get it done there and was happy with the results… When I think of homeless youth who are doing things like experimenting with hairstyles, I tend to think England or Germany, i.e., other countries that also have a strong social security net (as Canada does)… not the US.

Finally, one day I had an “interesting” conversation with a homeless guy (complete with a shopping cart full of his stuff) who was all pissed off because apparently the night before he had given CPR to a fellow homeless guy who was over dosing on heroin, and he said the cops, rather than thanking him for saving a fellow human being brought charges against him for having done it (I had difficulty following his logic of why that was). Then he went on to talk about how he was also a heroin addict. Now, granted, the guy struck me as being part of that small percentage of folks who are homeless because of mental issues, but for a homeless heroin addict with metal issues, I have got to say he looked to be an amazingly healthy and well fed homeless heroin addict.

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A Tent City in Victoria: in Pioneer Square, across the street from Christ Church Cathederal

Getting shit done

So I’m back in home in the Chicago area in order to address medical stuff (my docs and medical insurance are here), and do other things that needed doing.

Regarding the computer failure noted in my last post: with the help of a good friend who is a mac expert (he writes books about and teaches mac techs how to be mac techs) both my computers are now back up and running. For one where we decided the logic board had failed, he oh so kindly transplanted my hard drive into an old 2009 macbook he had lying around, which I’ll borrow till Apple FINALLY releases the new macbooks later this year. For the other we just swapped out the ram and that seemed to have done the trick. Am now waiting with baited breath for the new macbook to be released — according to friends in the know, Intel was late delivering the chips which set back production, but they should be out soon.

In other news:

In May I was diagnosed with liver disease (my penchant for all things fried — note the trend in the food reviews — coming back to bite my ass). The doctor said my liver looked like an alcoholics, which is ironic considering I’ve been a teetotaler (or as close to it as  never-mind) for most of my life. I don’t like the taste of the stuff, and don’t enjoy being drunk… and get HORRIBLE HORRIBLE hangovers. In fact I would try to force myself to drink the occasional glass of wine with dinner after all those studies came out saying it was as bad to be a teetotaler as to be a heavy drinker, health wise…

Anyway, the doctors told me what to do, diet wise, for the liver…  and I did it.

For the last three months I’ve eaten mostly seafood, and kept the diet fairly oil free, with the goal of eating LESS than the daily recommended amount of oil every day — NOT the easiest thing to pull off when you eat almost every night in restaurants … and considering I’ve been eating low-carb anyway for the last few years, and gaining weight anyways — because I was eating a LOT of cheese and fried food  … well, really, you take away the oil and the carbs… what’s left for a girl to eat?

So … the good news is I lost 23 lb in three months. Was 180 lb back in May (after dad died I sort of ate my pain), and am now down to 153 lb — some of you may have noticed from my pictures that I’ve been shrinking; I’ve gone down from a 38 waist in January to almost fitting into my 32 waist pants — still a tad tight … and dropped from a 36 bra to a 32. From the health standpoint, the most recent blood test found my liver numbers have also dropped by quite a bit, so now all the doctors are very happy with me. They’re going to run one more test in a mid October (first time we could schedule it), a kind of specialized ultrasound of my liver to verify that there’s no cirrhosis (but they don’t think there will be — fingers crossed, no evil eye, etc.).

If I test clean, then pretty much all I need to do is loose another 10 lb according to the doctor — but I’d like to get back to the weight I was before heading out to South Korea 4.5 years ago, 130 lb. and able to wear my 30 waist pants again.

Next item on the agenda: the car needed its 12,000 mile test way back in July (I just purchased the thing in mid January — 12K miles in six month) but the US warranty didn’t extend to Canada. So, I had a choice, pay for it from my own pocket and hope to get reimbursed by the American warranty company after filling an insane amount of paperwork… or wait…  so I waited till I got back to the US — at which point I had driven a full 14,500 miles in 8 months of ownership.

The next major issue is I HAD all my clothes stored in the attic of a very old friend in Florida, but that was proving inconvenient. Florida is in no way central, and he is having personal issues that made it no longer viable… so… another old friend, Gina — the one who has comes to visit me during my travels, who has just finished renovating her home  suggested I move it all into her newly expanded, ner I say massive (too much Shakespeare?) and utterly empty attic, here back in Chicago. Seriously the thing is so massive I could live in it… my apartment in S. Korea was way smaller.

So.. after paying to move it all down to Florida a year ago, I’m now moving it all back up here to Chicago .. wonder if my entire wardrobe is actually worth the $3,250 I’ve spent in the last two years moving it around the country. Once it’s up I have to upload most of my clothes into storage and trade them out for the smaller sized stuff I haven’t been able to wear in a few years… Leather here I come (I have a LOT of cool leather jackets)

So other than that, I’m finally catching up with old friends and old blog posts. The intent is to hit the road again after the November elections assuming the doctors allow it.

 

 

Technical difficulties

OK then, BOTH my main computer AND my backup computer have decided to break down. This has put a real kink into my updating this blog which is what I intended to do this weekend. That and spell check no longer seems to work in WordPress… which some of you may have noticed (to quote my former PhD advisor, “Rebecca, you are one of the people for whom spell check was invented, USE it!”)

 

The backup one is crashing. every 5 or 10 minutes, and the main just seems to take forever to do anything — I’ve taken to watching movies on my iPhone while the little ball spins. A good friend who writes ‘how to’ books for professional mac techs as a living has promised to take a look at them tomorrow, and of course TODAY Mac rumors have started to fly all over the place that NEXT MONTH mac is finally releasing an update to the macbook (like a year overdue)… but that won’t be out till October. HOPEFULLY my friend can make at least one of two macbooks stable enough to keep me going till the new ones are released (and hopefully they’ll be configured in a way that suites my needs). Good news seem to be the new ones will have a finger ID scan built into the On button which will do away with logins entirely, and increase my security immensely as I travel from Airbnb to Airbnb