Monday, December 28, 2015

When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars...

What I'm saying is, I need some help with my hair.

I mean, look at this state of affairs:
Nice mug shot, Lisa.
And I know, I know, I always go back to the hair. (And boots.)

But here's the thing: I am getting it cut next week and I don't know what to do.

We've all been doing these anti-lice olive oil and combing treatments, and then to get the oil out, I wash my hair with Dawn, and now with all the dishwashing soap and combing, the ends are getting all dry and frazzled. And I'm overdue for a haircut and reblonding anyway.

I have this bob, which I have liked. I've had this bob on and off since I was like 15. I have a bob. And then I cut it all off. And then I grow it out. But it always comes back to the bob.

But at the moment, it's kind of dire.

So I'm fantasizing about getting it all cut off super super short. But then again, I'm afraid to get it all cut off.

I feel like I used to be able to carry no hair, and I felt bold when I did it. But now I fear it would highlight all my wrinkles. And I'll regret it immediately and it will take forever to grow out.

I loved, I mean beyond loved, my asymmetrical bob. But it was limited. When I put it up to exercise, I put the long side in a sticky-outy ponytail.

So I was thinking of maybe cutting it short but having long bangs. I fell asleep thinking about it.

And the next day I looked at Facebook and it turns out my friend Nicole had posted this pic the night before. This!

She's got very long hair, but for like 15 minutes she was considering cutting it short. Her husband was clearly amused.
Hi, Kendall!
Nicole has a perfect face and this would look amazing. But she's not going to do it, as she says she'd get bored with short hair.

I love this look. But is it too 80s?

Because I was telling one of my friends about the short but long bangs and she said, "Oh, like Flock of Seagulls?"

No. Not like Flock of Seagulls.

More like...Well, kind of like Flock of Seagulls, I guess. But hopefully not.

Or maybe I could just get a trim and grow it long and be able to pull it back, which I do like to do. But I think I need some bangs. Whenever I grow it out, it's just flat, one length, and pulled back all the time. Boring and not flattering.

What I'm saying is, I need help.  Have any of you done short with long bangs? Or long with long bangs? Or something bob-ish with bangs?


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Love and hugs to all of you

Holidays are such a time of both joy and expected joy--the hap-happiest time of the year! As such, they can be extra hard for people.
It's easy to forget this in the Christmas frenzy.

If you've lost someone, you live with your memories of times together, which almost always include holidays. And you miss the person even more.

Or sometimes you're more alone than you want to be, and you see all this togetherness! Families! Together! Every single one of which is probably happier than you!

It can feel very lonely.

Social media shows the sparkliest lights, the fanciest cocktails, the juiciest steaks, and that perfect family moment where everyone is getting along, or at least looks like they are. You see the picture of the happy family. What you don't see is that the parents had just had a fight. And right after the picture was taken, one kid whacked another and both started crying.

Our house cannot be the only place this happens.

I'm not saying we are always pretending. But life is still life, no matter what day it is.

It's a lovely, sparkly, loving time of year. And it's a stressful one.

Let's embrace those we love, and allow ourselves to miss those we've lost. And be gentle with ourselves and each other for not being perfect, or even close.

Life is a mix of the happy and the sad, and this doesn't stop just because it's Christmas. And sometimes Christmas makes us sad. Please, reach out if you are in a bad place. Reach out to your friends, your family, to me. Please don't feel all alone.

You are so very loved. We all are. I promise.

Big hugs and lots of love,


Monday, December 21, 2015

Soy un perdedor...

Sometimes you are really stupid and you're so embarrassed and you don't want to tell anyone but you kind of have to.


Last Wednesday someone stole both Nick's and my Mac laptops, Nick's two antique watches, one of which was his father's, his dad's gold signet ring, and my mom's watch.

Oddly enough, Nick's PC laptop, which was with his Mac, was still there. As was Betty's laptop. And all our jewelry. And radios, other electronics. Also, we have a tall row house. So they bypassed the first floor, went to the second for my laptop, the third for Betty's watch, and the fourth for Nick's stuff.

There was a two-hour period of time that day where the only people at the house were two men working on our doors--the closet in the front hall, and the back door.

My laptop was there when I left just before 3 pm; I know this because I was frantically working on last-minute photo gifts and looking through my email for addresses for holiday cards.

Nick called 911 when we discovered the theft. And he called the contractor, who got his assistant and hurried to our house. Both arrived when the police officer was still here, and both said they had no idea what happened. The assistant said someone must've come into the house when he left the front door open and went to his truck.

I said, "And headed all the way up to the fourth floor?"

The officer said he'd be following up with them, and would send someone to do fingerprints, as they would be fingerprinting our house. And the assistant said, "But there won't be any if the person was wearing gloves." Hmm.

I cried. I went on Facebook and ranted about the theft and the violation. But then I got to a point where I was like, it's only stuff. We're all fine. And we still have the Time Machine with the backups of all our pictures and my writing. We can always get new computers.

Thursday it occurred to me that I ought to find the backup and start figuring out how to get all the data onto Nick's computer. I walked over to the bookcase in the front of the living room, a location fully visible from the front windows.

It was gone. I went into hysterics. I couldn't breathe, I was crying so hard. Who would do this?

Every baby picture. Every picture. Everything I'd ever written. The book I may or may never finish. Writing samples. Gone. Who would take the data backup? I called Nick, sobbing.

I put it up on Facebook. Friends were so sympathetic, so kind, so upset on my behalf. Who would do this?

I cried for practically two days straight. I did nothing about Christmas presents. Nick tried to console me, but I was inconsolable.

Saturday we went to the Mac store, and I brought the specs for my 2009 laptop, which I loved. I explained what had happened and said I wanted to get something comparable.

The guy, who was very nice, said that mine was old enough that anything I picked would blow me away by comparison. And "No offense, but I'm not sure why anyone would steal your laptop at this point."

And then I told him that they also took the backup. He said, "Who would do that?" And then I started to cry.

Really, I wasn't fit to be anywhere.

Oh, and also, we had The Lice! None of us were fit to be anywhere. I combed through my hair that morning in addition to the kids. And I had nits. Nick found nits.

We were all lousy and had no photos of our children. I'd washed my mom's pillows early in the week  and a feather pillow had broken. We still have tiny feathers flying out during spin cycle.

I can take a lot, but this was my breaking point.

All the washing, all the bed making. All the memories. I sat down and sobbed and sobbed. I just couldn't deal.

Kristin messaged me from Geneva saying she was worried I was in crisis. I was.

So I called a lice service and after the laptop store we spent all Saturday night being combed with olive oil and thoroughly picked over and bagging stuff up and changing beds.

Having lice seemed pale in comparison to losing all my pictures of my babies. I'd take double lice and have my stuff back! Which didn't stop me from wishing a pox and lice on The Assistant.

Why didn't he take my car instead? Why was I so stupid that I hadn't backed my data up to the cloud?

I may have drunk a lot of Leffe during the delousing.

Sunday I awoke olive oily but feeling more in control. The lice, nits, eggs were out, and we had a plan. We'll be greasy for weeks, but we're on winter break. It's fine.

Nick went to work first thing and pulled photos off his computer and found all the camera cards and flash drives he could and started loading every picture onto my new laptop. As it turned out, there were a number of them.
I had newborn Jordan and India! Some of their wee toddler videos! Our honeymoon! My dad before he died! (But what about all those pictures of four-month-old Jordan in the snow? What about...?)
So I kept crying intermittently.

I really was trying to pull it together.

Through this, Nick and I fought. Because what I heard him saying was, "I am fixing this! And you're not even grateful. Stop being so upset!" And I was all, it's a terrible situation. Why does he want me to stop crying? He doesn't even care. Asshole!

And then he was really pissed that he was doing nice things for me and I was disparaging him. Which, yah. I could see that. After.

Then a DCPD detective called Nick and he said it did sound implausible that someone walked in off the street and bypassed easily salable goods and only took these very specific things. He was going to call the owner of the company and ask him to come downtown. Nick also gave him every scrap of background check information on The Assistant We Believe Is Guilty.

Things were really looking up!

That afternoon, as Nick was getting my new laptop set up with our new Time Machine, he noticed that our old Time Machine showed up as a Wi-Fi signal. Was this real? This meant it was close!

Which meant we could get our stuff, right?!? I texted several computer-genius friends to ask.

Also! If it was here, then we were wrong about The Assistant, who lives in Alexandria. We share walls on both sides. Was it really a neighbor, as he'd suggested? Had we defamed and disparaged the wrong man?

Thank god Nick hadn't let me find a thug to rough him up. (I do not actually know the criminal element, it is true. But I've been watching The Wire. And Nicole says she knows a guy.)

Nick called the police, who came over and said that the signal was clearly very close. They asked if we'd checked the house. Who else lived here? And did we trust our tenants? Neighbors. We should suspect everyone.

One officer said, "I tell people who  have been burgled to check the whole house, because robbers often defecate in a corner. Really. It's all about the power trip. Could be any of your neighbors. Nothing is weird to us at this point."


They left, and we set about getting into the old Time Machine to import the files. My dear Vik told me how to find it on the new laptop and get into files to drag them. He sent screen shots. A bit later our friend David, who works at Apple, got involved and took over my computer. Nick ran off to Best Buy to get an external hard drive, because it was a lot of data.

The pictures! The writing! We could get the files! Which, really, was the most important thing to me! Things were really taking a turn for the better!

I was afraid to get too excited. I didn't want to share any news until it was really real.

The time estimate for download was 10 days(!!), because the wireless signal was good but we had hundreds of gigs of data.

Nick downloaded an app on his phone to help him find the strongest signal. This, he decided, would lead him to the neighbor. And would also speed up the download, which hopefully would complete  before the neighbor took it offline.

Nick said the signal was much better upstairs on the right side of the house. This meant it really was one of the neighbors that The Assistant described to the police.

We'd been maligning and wishing poxy lice on the wrong person!

I was terrified they'd turn it off before we got the files. I willed it to hurry. It seemed fortunate that I had kiddy bedtime to occupy me. And I didn't have to rush, because it was going to take 10 agonizing days.

Once India fell asleep, I found Nick in the kitchen and asked how it was going. He said to come upstairs. He'd show me.

This must be better than expected! All kinds of amazing files!

We bypassed the third floor. He led me up to the fourth floor, saying, "It wasn't a neighbor. The Assistant definitely did it."

Oh my god! Had he actually defecated in a corner? Left his mark?

Thankfully not.

While I was cuddling my girl, Nick was prowling the house, phone and laptop in hand, looking for signal strength. Second floor was better. The front of the third floor was even better. Signal was great.

He kept walking up the stairs, and on the fourth floor it was fantastic. Better lower, near the floor. He followed the signal, bending, crouching, ultimately crawling, laptop and phone outstretched.

It got stronger and stronger and stronger until...he found the Time Machine!

HE FOUND THE TIME MACHINE! Our Time Machine! Under a small table at the end of the couch. It turns out the Verizon guy had moved it several months ago when he installed Fios.

Except that for five years prior it had been downstairs on the bookcase in the front room. So that's where I went to look for it. I was so used to seeing it there, I never noticed when it was moved, and Nick forgot it in the hysteria and chaos.

I was like, "Do you think The Assistant moved it up here?"

Nick said, "Not unless he put the cable into the wall and then wired it into the network. That was Verizon."

I was horrified. I was like, "Now I look like the biggest asshole! I've been crying and complaining to everyone that we've lost all our pictures! And look! Look! We must never tell anyone."

You know how well that ever works for me. And what am I going to do? Lie to save face?

Then I was spitting mad. I felt so stupid. Particularly since Nick kept laughing at me. He laughed and laughed. When he should've known it was there. I never knew.

And then I was like, wait! This is the best thing ever! We have all our pictures! I have all my writing! Life is fine! All is well! And we've been terrible, accusing The Assistant of taking our data!

Everything is fine! We can drop the charges!

At which point Nick was like, "Lisa. I am still missing two gold watches, a gold ring, and my laptop. Your mom's watch is gone. And, may I point out, so is your laptop. We have our files, but someone still stole all those things"

Oh. Right. All the original stolen stuff is still, you know, stolen.

And Nick said good that it was inadvertently hidden, because why not take it if you're taking Apple stuff?

So. Here is my apology.

If you were one of the many people sending me hope, thank you for it. I'm sorry for troubling you. Please forgive me my idiocy. Thank you for your well wishes and love.

I'm embarrassed. But I'd rather be foolish and wrong, but have my files intact than be right and not have them.

I have to say, losing every all those memories, both photographic and written, and then having them back, has put everything in perspective for me.

Stuff is, at the end of the day, only stuff.

Lice are rude little bastards, but not insurmountable. Everything is getting clean and our hair is going to be spectacularly shiny. The feathers will eventually all eject themselves from the washing machine.

People are what matter, which is what it always comes back to. 

And yes, photos are stuff, but it's also true that they are so much more than that. So you have to back that shit up and keep somewhere nobody can steal it. Or, uh, move it and not tell you.

This is the best Christmas gift ever. And it's something I already had. (Isn't that an O'Henry story?)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lice are lousy all the time. They suck your blood, drink your wine, say shut up and quit your crying...

LICE. My kids got lice.

We were late to the lice party at Jordan's school. It's gone around and around. We were lucky. Until we weren't.

So the lice is my new fixation, which I don't think is all that strange, considering the fact that I'm re-washing all our bedding, towels, etc, and we're doing another treatment tonight to be careful.

Nick asked me if this was going to be the new rabies. But since you can't die of it, it's not. Unlike sharks and sinkholes, both of which are deadly. He is ready for it to be over and seems to think I'm making too big a deal of it.

Whereas I am like, if you have to wash 54 loads of laundry and practically shave one kid's head and pick through both with nit combs, there is no such thing as too big a deal.

It IS a big deal.

I mean, a rhinoceros infestation would be much, much worse. (Yes, reading Ionesco in high school has stayed with me for a long damn time. And yes, I know that rhinocerite is a metaphor, but even so. That would really suck.)

But the lice.

For the past couple years we've gotten regular letters from Jordan's school saying lice was going around. He never got it. I thought his hair was too short.

It was not.

But since we'd received several letters in the last couple months, I've been peering at their heads with some regularity. And thinking how lucky we were.

And on Sunday morning, I found a teeny tiny little bug in Jordan's short short hair. Like, the hair on the back of his head that's so short you can see scalp.

I'd known from discussing lice with other parents last year that I was not up for toxic chemicals. So I sprinted over to CVS and got a metal lice comb, and did some combing and came up with more evidence.

So I doused my kids' heads in olive oil and put shower caps on them. For eight hours.
And then I stripped all the beds and started laundry and then went off to a march against gun violence with my friend Victoria. First she inspected my head.

In the beginning, my kids looked at the shower caps as a game. They were kind of like odd little helmets.

Nick took them to the park with their little oiled heads and shower caps on and they got weird looks from a mom and Nick said, "Lice." And she said she figured, and that they'd been through it as well.

As the day wore on and their little heads got all hot and sweaty, they were over it. Still cooperative, just complainy.

So in the last hour we set them up with videos and they forgot about it.

And then it was time for the combing and nitpicking. Nitpicking! I'm going to have such a different visual when I use the verb nitpick in the future.

Anyway, I thought I would fall down and pass out if I ever had to deal with lice, but I have to say, there's something fascinating and satisfying about combing them out.

I mean, if you can get over the fact that these are wee bugs that have set up house on your children's heads.

Although is this worse than parasites living in your intestines? You just can't see those. Unless you have worms. Sometimes you can see them. And Guinea worm is still the grossest thing I can think of.

Can you tell I'm trying to put the lice business in perspective?

Not to minimize lice. Because, lice!

And they are sneaky little bastards and I've been informed that we are going to have to be vigilant for weeks and weeks.

Also, I haven't been as calm and perspective-y in person as I might seem here. So don't be deceived.

Now, since I put it on Facebook all, LICE!, a number of friends recommended Fairy Tales Lice Good-bye, which is non-toxic (and comes with a fabulous comb!) so this evening our entire household is doing that, and then combing again. And as I type I'm rewashing all the sheets, blankets, etc.

Also, I cannot believe that I am now like, ooh, that's a nice nit comb!

We moved so much growing up that I am still like that with boxes. It's seriously hard for me to pass up a sturdy box in case we will need it.

I have been known to exclaim, "Nice box!" while walking down the street. Which turns out to sound really weird.

So, lice.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Standard plugs

I just bought a lightbox to help with the dread dark of winter. It has a three-pronged plug.

My Mac does as well. And as such, I needed an extension cord thing that could accommodate them.

This morning I found one in the closet, so I took it and, with great difficulty, because there is not much room between my IKEA closet and the wall, plugged it in. Since the closet is bolted to the wall, there's no scooching it over a wee bit. 

So I finally got it plugged in.

And then my damn plugs wouldn't fit. The round hole was too far from the two thin holes. See?
I was all, "Do they really not make these in standard sizes? Are you kidding me with this?"

Maybe this was an old one of my dad's that he'd used in another country, where there was more space between the round prong and the two thing ones? Except that these looked like American plug holes. Plus, it fit into the wall.

It had been so hard to get in. And now I was going to have to buy another one and pry it out of the wall and then go through all the effort to get all those three prongs into the wall without being able to see what I was doing.

So annoying. So annoying!

Nick came down and I was just about to work it out of the wall. I complained to him. What the hell? Aren't these plug things standard? I was all indignant.

Look! Look how it won't fit!

I picked it up to show him how the plug wouldn't fit. Except...except this time it did.

Because you have to plug them in the right way.

It is hard to describe how hard Nick laughed at this. Perhaps you can imagine.

Kind of like the time I was so indignant about that mortgage guy giving me a hard time about our income and a 15-year fixed loan. Must be sexism! Wouldn't make it so hard if I were a man!


Yah. So, happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Boot porn

OK, I know this is a boot post right on the heels (heh) of a boot post, but as far as I can tell, a lot of you are shoe people, so this works out fine.

I mean, after I posted my cowGIRL boot post, I learned that many of my friends have cowboy/girl boots. And they shared pictures! I loved it!

Turns out I am all, "Show me your boots!"

I could pretty much look at boots all day. This is sad but true.

Anyway, on to the story!

I also got this fabulous pair of boots in Austin.

They are much more fabulous in person, and kind of hard to photograph, as they're shades of dark grey and silver patent leather. If you embiggen you will also see a wee bit of me lying on the floor taking the picture.

I haven't worn them yet—except around the housebecause it's been raining and also, no matter how practical they may be, I'm not scuffing them up on my bike and on the playground.

As far as I can tell, they go with everything, including boxers and an old T-shirt.

(Also, it turns out that Maison Martin Margiela is a superspendy fancy brand. Also also, Nicole and I seem to be the only people who might call patent boots with Lucite heels practical.)

Nicole and I basically spent four hours and made it one block on South Congress Avenue. To be fair, some of that time was spent eating nachos and drinking beer with my friends. And then we took the women of the group to The Store.

Because here's what happened. The guy in the cute spendy boutique pointed us to UAL down the block, which has hugely discounted designer stuff.

Who could pass up a store like that? Nicole, who can spot a bargain the way the child catcher in Bednobs and Broomsticks could smell children, made a beeline for a wall of shoes at 40% off. She immediately began trying on shoes. And then I did. Because who wants to try on shoes alone?

They only had one pair in each size. I found these boots and handed them to her. Lucite heels! Lucite heels!

After all, I had just bought cowboy boots. I hardly needed more boots.

We tried on so many things with such enthusiasm. We minced around in them. We giggled. We chatted with the store people. Nicole complimented random customers on their choices. She talks to everyone.

And finally, when it was time to decide, I was all, "You MUST get those boots. Must."

I'd already picked out a very practical pair of Robert Clergerie lace-up oxfords. And I'd sadly set aside a bargain pair of black patent Dior stilettos with silver tips at the front. Because, really? When in my life am I going to wear 5" stilettos? Chasing my kids around the sandbox?

So it was done. I thought. And then she said doesn't wear flats. Like, ever. Not even to the grocery store.

I suggested she make an exception. For these spectacular boots.

So I tried them on, to show her how nice they looked. And then I was all, "Look. If you don't get them, I will. One of us has to buy these."

(See how hard I tried not to buy another pair of boots?)

It went back and forth and back and forth and finally she said she just knew she wouldn't wear them. So I bought them. It would've been a crime not to, really.

And then the salesperson said I could avoid tax (and trying to figure out how to get the items in my carry on) if they shipped them. So I did.

And then we met up with my friends and told them about the boots! They immediately wanted to see them, and the store of magical bargains, which was maybe three doors down from the bar.

I was like, "Hey, we're back! I just wanted to show my friends my boots."

They were delighted. They pulled them right out.

One of them said, "I'm so glad you got them. I was going to cry if one of you didn't buy these."