Bang! Bang! Bangs!

Carmen went a little overboard with the floofy ringlets.

Carmen went a little overboard with the floofy ringlets.

I know I just said that I like my hair. It’s true: I don’t want the lowlights that even Husbot had the nerve to suggest not long ago. But I have to admit I’ve been getting really tired of my face.

Pulling my unbrushed tresses straight back into an elastic band every morning while encouraging pottying, pouring cereal and milk into pouring containers so the bots can pour their own cereal and milk into bowls, mopping cereal and milk and potty off the floor, pulling clothes onto bots who would rather be playing, pushing toothbrushes into the mouths of bots who would rather be playing, and encouraging self-shoe-putting-onning of bots (who: that’s right….) wasn’t helping matters.

The answer to all my problems, of course, was bangs. Cheaper, subtler, and–ostensibly–less painful than a face lift. Which I don’t want anyway. And so on Friday, I finally got around to making an appointment. I didn’t care with whom. I called the Ulta next to the Barnes and Noble, which I’ve been to several times, and was told that Carmen had an opening at 3:30. The name rang a bell. Carmen had done something or other–probably given me a trim–a few years back. I remembered only that he was very young and flamboyant with sticky-uppy hair, half dark and half platinum blond. He was a bit soft around the middle, and he talked nonstop about Disneyland. I had no other recollections, except that I had no feeling of heavy trauma associated with the memories, so he must have done a passable job on my hair.

I remembered nothing more until 3:45, when I was in his chair, post hair-wash, avoiding looking at myself in the mirror as I always do in the hairdresser’s chair, and he got out his comb.

It was a hairstylist’s kind of comb, very thin and long, like a stiletto, with two hundred needle-like teeth. He combed once, twice, and then it happened: the comb, on its way from crown to hair tip, jammed into the top of my ear. Then he raised his hand to comb again, and again it flapped my ear painfully down on its way earthward. And I suddenly remembered: Carmen, in addition to enjoying Disneyland very much, wanted to be a spy. He was concerned, however, because he only spoke English. And he might need to learn, say, Arabic. Two years ago, I had kindly encouraged him–after all, there we were–a hairstylist who wanted to be a spy, a housewife/new mother/magazine writer-who-hadn’t-published-an-article-since-giving-birth who wanted to write a book. And then he’d gotten out his comb.

And I remembered thinking, Carmen, my friend, how can you possibly be a spy, when you can’t even sneak up on my ears?

I saw on Friday that Carmen had aged well: he had lost his baby fat, his hair was all one color, and he seemed more confident. I sat with those words ringing in my stinging ears, slightly concerned about what would happen to my hair, but not particularly worried that an international assassin would appear and put a bullet through his black shirt that would then travel through my head.

He started talking about Disneyland.

But then he started asking questions. Consulting the photo I’d brought, ripped from an overpriced hairstyle magazine I would never use again, and asking more questions. They were good questions. He snipped, he clipped, he measured with his hands. He shaped, he thinned. He shared a recipe for a killer white salsa with shrimp.

And I found myself quite happy that Ulta salon will probably never lose Carmen to the CIA, because my ears may be slightly the worse for wear, but he did sneak up on my softer, more feminine side, and tweak it on the ass.

And not once did he suggest lowlights.

The Race-Cat Pants Dance


racing kitty booty!

I finished another pair of pants! Mbot’s new Race-Cat Pants are of Kona cotton and rock six pockets. Pockets are popular in our house. The pocket fabric was designed by “krikany”–at least that’s the username–at, a fabulous site where you can buy fabric by the yard in hundreds if not thousands of designs by anyone and everyone including yourself. If you yearn to turn your child’s artwork into a bolt of silk, this is the place to do it.

Mbot wore the pants this morning (it’s cool enough–at least ’til noon–for pants!) and, to the tune of The Boys of Summer, which was wafting from across the parking lot from a painter’s truck, hammed for the camera.


Eat your heart out, Lord of the Dance.

Cutest Kid Slippers Ever, Courtesy of the Thief in Vietnam,

Boiled Wool Slipper Boots, Sizes 04-3

who hacked my Paypal account this morning, purchasing three ugly wallets (NOT EVEN CUTE ONES), from three different sellers on eBay, causing me to spend my first two and a half hours alone in many days NOT devising a lovely Monday morning post but calling PayPal and Amex, and changing usernames and passwords on eBay, since “Note: It may take up to 180 days to close your account.” WTF? Now I’m on my way to the bank to deal with it at that end. So not what I’d fantasized about doing with my 2 1/2 bot-free hours this morning.

So I can’t write the post I’d hoped to, but I’m not going to let the bad person far away ruin my ambitions completely: before I head to the bank, I’m going to show you that there is a sale–20% off! on the Cutest Kid Slippers Ever at Garnet Hill.  The bots each have a pair of these boiled-wool babies, whose rubbery soles allow them to go from the bedroom to the Science Center with ease, and after two years, they show much less sign of wear than me. I tell you–cute, functional, and tough? They’re worth $44.00. And just for today, they’re only $36.00.

These slippers never go on sale. Ever. And they always sell out well before Christmas. And since I have to go home and get my other credit card before I can order even as much as a cup of coffee, please don’t buy the shark style in size 12.

The Woman Who Mistook Sewing For Her Strength

Robot pants!

(the post formerly known as “The Woman Who Mistook Her Strength as Sewing”–ack!)

I’ve been sewing, and I have to admit, I’m not a natural seamstress, nor a well behaved one. A couple of nights ago, I scared Mbot with the sound I made every time I revved up the old Singer and the thread, instead of zooming through the fabric to do its sewy thing, popped back out through the hole of the needle instead, because I hadn’t pulled it through far enough to keep this from happening. I had to stop, rethread the needle (read: consider putting on my reading glasses, which I don’t need except to read the labels on children’s medicine bottles, not put them on because it adds an extra step, and push the camelesque thread through the hole of the needle, which seemed to grow smaller each time this happened.)

But. I like to make cute things I can’t buy. I like to make them for others. I like to discover great fabrics in strange places and modify patterns. But the design process does way more for me than the actual real work at the machine.

But the design process forces me to confront one of my mental weaknesses: while I can sculpt a decent (depending I am sure on who you ask) human or animal in wax or clay, if I’m faced with an  interfacing with undulating edges and pants with an undulating top edge, that I have to put together a certain way in order to turn the final product inside out and upside down and have it be right–my mind fails to make the necessary leaps for me. I mean, really fails. I have to actually think hard about it, hold the pieces up to one another, go through the motions of turning them as if already sewn together, and then write it down–still not entirely sure that it will actually be right in the end–because I will forget. It’s like the part of my brain that should be standing by ready to visualize piecing 2D shapes into semi-complex 3D forms with a 3/8″ selvage was left in the gene pool when I hopped out (along with the extra three inches I really could use between the hip and ankle). I am sure Coco Chanel and Linda McCartney never had this problem.

And so, to make myself feel better, along with having a glass of wine, I told myself that my brain is wizzled like a dried shiitake in that particular module, other parts of it are firing in fun (if not entirely useful) ways. For example, mild synesthesia runs in my family. Her Wikiness describes it thus: “a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.” Many writers, musicians, and artists have it–some of the famous ones have (or had, in the case of the dead ones). A few weeks ago, a young musician on NPR’s “From the Top” (one of my favorite radio programs ever), described how she experiences each musical note as a bright color. Some people do drugs to get this way; some people are born this way. But as I mentioned in the beginning, mine’s not exactly an acid trip. It’s mild.

Both my sister and I assign colors to numbers (mine didn’t match up with hers), and I recall being annoyed as a child that seven was gray, since it was my favorite number, and green was my favorite color. But there was no helping it: seven was the color of a thundercloud. Not even a pretty shade of gray. A medium, flat, not-particulary-blue variety. As far as seven goes, there are not, in fact, fifty shades of gray.

It was much later that I realized not everyone shared my strong feelings about odd and even numbers, either. And it was only very recently that I learned this particular form of synesthesia has a name: “ordinal linguistic personification.” Even numbers–even the word “even,” clanged in my ears–they were harsh, ungiving, metallic. Odd numbers–even the word “odd,” on the other hand–were soft, benign, giving. They were comfortable numbers. Even writing this,  I feel it is an obvious statement and that it’s foolish of me to call attention to it when everybody already knows.

Although seven was my only strong color association, the others had distinct feels, shapes, and personalities. I still wonder if these are based on the sound of the name of the number as it is spoken, or its shape on the page. I think both, nearly perhaps weighted a few points to the side of the sound in my ear.

I don’t like three. It’s a showoff. It’s important and it knows it. Three and five are not “normal” odd numbers. They are too strong, harsh, bold. They are even numbers masquerading as odd, or odd numbers dressed up as even–the drag queens of the number world. The odd numbers that act lkie odd numbers are one, seven, nine, eleven–none of the teens–twenty one, twenty-seven–not, for some reason, twenty-nine (too brassy), etc. Ten is full of itself and overly confident, sharp and black. Eleven is soft. It is waltzing. Twelve is hard, solid. You can’t push twelve around. Thirteen is brash but feminine. Fourteen is boring. I would not want to marry fourteen. I would not even date fourteen.

Anyway. You get the idea.

And so, although I am mentally wrestling with my current sewing project, at least the numbers on my fabric ruler keep me company. I don’t think this makes me crazy–at least not in a bad way. And besides, according to Oliver Sacks (neurologist and author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, among other great readable nonfiction reads), who writes about all sorts of neurological phenomena, there are five million shades of normal. Or five million shades of crazy. Depending how you see it.

robot pants, from the front.

The Beach, #1: The Carrot Suit is Dead. Long Live the Carrot Suit!

Back in the days when he was a pliable twenty-month-old pawn to my fashion sense.

We just arrived home from three days at the beach with Grandma, Uncle Marty, and Aunt Alicia’s small tribe of nearly-grownups. I’d assumed I would toss together a few sun-kissed pictures for the blog, but on Day #1, all three USB ports on the netbook failed in an unspectacular but effective way. So I figured I’d be able to throw together a few salty words. But on Days #1, #2, and #3, naptime failed in a really spectacular fashion, and crashed that hope like a surfer whose luck just ran out.

I was also unable to crank up the Cuteness Factor as high as I’d planned, due to opinions like,after Gbot’s dramatic pronouncement, “BRRR! I’m COOLLLD,” accompanied by theatrical hugging of self and shivering: “NOOOO! I don’t want to wear my bear suit! I don’t want to be a bear!”

But I continued to snap it on Gbot’s wiggling body–it fit perfectly this year, and it was so warm and snuggly and CUTE.

Me: “Okay, Bug–it’s not a bear suit. It’s a carrot suit!” (It’s all I could think of. We’d been romping on the beach since daybreak. Naptime was two hours past due.)

“A carrot suit? I don’t want to wear my carrot suit!”

Followed by much pushing of hood and wrenching of snaps and flailing of arms.

The carrot suit, barely worn, is dead. Fortunately, I have a friend who is due in September. A boy.

Long live the carrot suit.


Maximizing the Cuteness Factor

Gbot displays a high CF at the beach last summer.  (Coordinating color of football a happy coincidence.)

Although I am biologically programmed to accept as a law of the universe–or at least a corallary to The (as yet undiscovered) Unifying Theory–that my offspring are the cutest offspring ever to spring off the geneology charts of anyone, anywhere, in any solar system and in any dimension, there are always things that can make them even cuter.

However, as each of my offspring possesses a Y chromosome–which in the current American social code translates into the dismal fact that 99% of the clothing manufactured for them is navy, brown, grey, or combinations thereof, adorned with unimaginative and often ugly designs involving sports, automobiles, movies that they are not yet old enough to see, or dumb sayings–it is a challenge to maximize their cuteness beyond avoiding the mohawk and keeping the whining to a minimum (vocal output directly affects the Cuteness Factor).

But I am up to the challenge. Thanks to occasional sales at miniBoden, like the one that is going on NOW, my malebots now and again rise above the dull color palettes of mainstream American boy preschooler apparel. I love the bright colors and color combinations: oranges, aquas, yellow, minty green. My sister, who has nearly-nine-year-olds, warns me that my time choosing what they wear will soon be up, and so, today, I choose cute.)

I bring this up because a new sale just started, and we are about to go to the beach again for a few days. I’m thrilled that last year’s cuteness enhancers still fit, and, after probably close to fifty washings, so far, only one zipper in twelve has broken, and then, just the cloth pull tab.) (Some styles have two zippered pockets–yes, overkill, but SO CUTE!) I’m thrilled they fit and have lasted, because some of the cuteness enhancers weren’t on sale. It was the first time I’d ordered there, and here is the trick to shopping at miniBoden if you don’t hit the sale: just buy one thing first. Then, a week later, you will begin to receive catalogs in the mail and fabulous offers online, with anything from 15% to 50% off either a whole order or one item, and maybe free shipping, too.

Mbot upping the CF bar by actually wearing the hood.

And voila, although you, as the mother of another, are calibrated to register your own weebot as orders of magnitude cuter than mine, I can narrow that gap significantly with strategic clothing choices, and you can do the same. Now if only there were a cute shirt with ears that would eliminate the whining, the whole universe would be a cuter place.

Up to a certain age–say, 30, ears always increase the CF, especially if the earbearer is younger than you are. Definitely a maternal trigger. Im not sure they’re still making these one-piece snappy suits, though. (miniBoden towelling hoodies)