Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hair ... or The Day I Cheated on Bill

Last week I cheated on my beloved Bill (my hair stylist) - he's near the bottom of that link.
I didn't mean to. I promise.
I've always gone to Bill to cut my hair and gone elsewhere for colour. Bill doesn't colour hair; it would be someone else at his salon who does it. So, I never think twice about going somewhere else to get my colour done.
Here's why.
I usually tell people that it is because it would cost a lot of money to get highlights done at Bill's Salon. This is likely true. However, let me tell you, my beloved internet friends, the truth behind the hair colour thing and cut thing.
When I go and see Bill I work hard at being cool. I plan the outfit in advance. I book the appointment weeks ahead of time. Closer to the appointment I think up conversation topics and events in my life that have been interesting and/or humourous. You have to understand that Bill is a celebrity in his own right and I'll say, "so what have you been up to?" and he will say something like "not much, just went to Italy and France, and then was on Cityline a few times." My life pales in comparison.
So when he says "how about you?" I can't wing it. In fact, if I saw him outside of my well planned visits I think I would have no idea what to say.
You have to understand that this is the person who talked me into going to journalism school and taking as many driving tests as necessary till I finally passed (incidentally we both got our licenses at the same age). I respect and admire him - and I want him to at least think I'm successful in life in my own right.
He is the king of cool to me.
Now the average appointment with him is about 45 minutes start to finish. I feel I have a sufficient cool quotient to get me through 45 minutes every few months.
Hair colour would add at least 2 hours.
I sware I am not cool enough. I would run out of conversation topics. I understand that I would not be spending all of the time with him, but I would feel the need to make whomever is doing the colour like me, and I may fail. And so much for my reputation.
So, I go elsewhere.
And, I haven't found a place I like so I always try different salons.
Last week I went to a new place near my house.
I booked highlights. I explained I didn't want a cut.Prior to going to the appointment I talked with the guy doing highlights. It was very clear.
The guy's name was Dominick.
I went in for the appointment. It was going okay. Now, I have to admit I was totally thrown off by the fact that he was straight and oozing with testosterone. Weird. But I had to trust him once the bleach was in my hair. We ran out of conversation topics really quickly.
So, the topic of who usually cuts my hair comes up. Usually hairstylists have heard of Bill. He's known. Once I had someone actually study the haircut while doing highlights. It's what I expect. Give the guy some respect.
But Dominick had never heard of Bill, and since he hadn't heard of Bill, the conversation moved on to the topic of celebrity hairstylists in general. Somehow Jie came up. He is quite famous (I first read about him in Toronto Life, I think). I've never been to him or his salon, but I just thought everyone knew of him - especially hairstylists. But, Dominick had no clue. So I whipped out my blackberry and googled him.
Apparently this annoyed Dominick. He felt the testosteroney need to prove he was better.
So, there I was with my hair in foil arguing with a hair stylist I'd never been to about another hairstylist I had never been to, who I don't really care about, but whose honour I was defending for the mere fact that he was being criticized for absolutely no reason. And, I'm guessing that despite Jie's arrogant reputation he is not nearly as annoying Dominick.
And, then in the middle of me waiting for my hair colour to sink in he comes back to tell me that he's been to Jie's website now, he's not that good, but that he liked the lime green hairstyle. Ummm, hello. That is not what you should tell someone who has not yet seen her colour,. (check out the portfolio and though it is lovely the green do it is not what I was going for)
Then he left and I sat and sat and sat and contemplated all that was this appointment.
Finally my hair was ready to be washed and styled. Or so I thought.
We washed out the bleach and colour - and he pulls out his scissors.
"So, how are we cutting it?" he asks me.
I looked at him dumbfounded and finally said "we're not cutting it."
The guy freaks out - completely. And starts shouting "I plan my colour around the cut. You must cut it."
Finally I gave in. I know. Stupid. But the guy was wielding scissors and I was scared. In the end the hair cut wasn't so bad. I was very insistent that it was a trim. The experience sucked. He managed to criticize Bill's haircut, my hair type (normal) , my hair colour and my face shape. He insisted that I straighten my hair since my hair doesn't look healthy in its natural state.
Amazingly, I left there looking pretty darn good - especially since my hair had been significantly lightened and I had, afterall, just learned that "blondes are much hotter than brunettes".
I'm now living with the look.
To be honest, it's growing on me. I like how my hair looks straightened. I kind of like the highlights (despite one meltdown the other day).
What I don't like is the way I feel after being there.
The thing I love about Bill, what I have always loved, and what everyone else probably loves is that he doesn't try to change everything about me. My hair is my hair. It's got body. No matter what hair cut I've had that has always been incorporated.
I'm guessing if he knew I was straightening it every day he'd probably tell me not to - not because it doesn't look good, but because it's not me. He's all about enhancing things about yourself. He cuts my hair with the bit of natural wave I have because why fight it. He encourages layers so my face doesn't look round (though he never says that). He makes sure that when I leave I feel beautiful and that I like myself.
These days when I get up in the morning I feel like to be pretty I need my brand new straightening iron. I need to style and fluff and then leave the house looking decent. And, that's not how Bill makes me feel. Somehow he has this amazing power to look at me, fluff my hair, tell me I'm gorgeous and then send me on my way.
Sure it's a little pricey, but it's worth every penny. And, the truth is that at the end of the day, knowing that someone like Bill has a high regard for me makes me feel pretty damn great most of the time - even if I can't be bothered to pull out my straightening iron or touch up my new blonde highlights. (I actually plan to go dark when my roots show)
I wonder if Bill knows this. Maybe I'll print this and mail it to him (he doens't read my blog). And then he'll get just why so many people love him.
You know, I'm pretty sure that Bill will forgive me for cheating. I've done it before and he forgave me. And, I'm pretty sure if someone was threatenng him with scissors and a complete meltdown he'd probably do the same thing.
Who knows - maybe he'll think the blonde is hot. Ha.
Posted below are a couple of pics. One is me now - straightened hair and all. The other is the old me, dark hair and a few waves. I'd love to hear your opinions on the looks. So ... what do you think????

Above - This is the new "do" straightened and lightened.
Below - dark hair with a little more body.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Victory Drill Book

Matthew's current favourite book is the beloved Moo Baa La La La. It's a good book. I've been reading it to him for so long that we don't actually need the book - we just recite it.
I've had lots of favourite books growing up, but the one iconic book that stands out for both my sister and I is the Victory Drill Book.
I'm not sure why Becky and I took to this book quite so much.
Quite simply put, it is a book full of words. It's a traditional drill book from probably the 1950's. It's a very simply laid out book that starts with the most basic of words and goes up to very difficult words.

At the front of the book there is a guideline that says the average number of words per grade level. My sister and I took that quite seriously, and I think we quite honestly believed that we could be the best readers in the world.
On our annual trips to Florida, where my parents would drive the 23 hour drive in 2 days, we would have Victory Drill book competitions. We would speed through the lines of words as fast as humanly possible. We would time ourselves. If you flip through the book you can see we have actually counted the words, and written numbers next to some of the words (i.e. 400 and 800).
Tonight when Matthew wanted yet another story I pulled out the Victory Drill Book. He was not impressed when I started just reading off lines of text.
To me it was pretty funny.
I remembered the good times we had in serious reading competition.
In the letter to parents at the front of the book it claims that doing the drills in this book would lead to "reading success".
I think that the authors of the book would be happy to know that I did go on to reading success. I do think that the hours and hours spent reading those words helped me develop some pretty amazing spelling skills. Growing up I almost always had perfect spelling tests. And, I did go on to graduate from journalism school. Thanks, Victory Drill Book!

I'm not going to force Matthew to do drills. I don't actually think that my parents ever pushed us into doing these drills. In fact, I think my parents never knew why we were so impressed with this book. They certainly provided us with books that had pictures. But, I guess somethings are just a bizarre hit.
Hey, Beck, I think we should have a reading face off - one more time. Just to see who is the faster reader!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Where'd my Baby Go?

I spent the last few days with Matthew. On Monday he had a half day at daycare, on Tuesday we went on a field trip and then spent the afternoon together, and then yesterday I took him to get some photos done and then we hung out for the day.
I realized something yesterday. My baby is no longer a baby. He's a kid.
Take for instance the GO train ride to Toronto. He was really good. We sat on the train and chatted the whole time. He listened to me. We had fun.
Don't get me wrong, he's very definitely in need of constant supervision, but suddenly it seems like he understands so much more. I would say things have changed within the past couple of weeks. He's cool. He makes me laugh.
One of the things that I LOVE about being an aunt in particular to my older niece Kyla (and what I'm looking forward to with my younger niece Paige), is that she's fun to hang out with. She makes me laugh. She tells me stories. I feel like she wants to be with me.
It's fun going to Walmart with her and trying on silly shoes. Same with Payless. Did you know they make light up shoes for adults at Payless? They are clear vinyl and really high heels that light up when you walk. Not a fashion statement I want to encourage, but I've never laughed so hard as when I showed Kyla the fancy shoes.
And the thing is, Matt is becoming just like this. And, I LOVE it.
I love that he can talk me into getting him Mrs. Fields cookies because they are his favourite.
I love that he knows just what he wants to watch on tv.
As he gets older it amazes me that I just keep loving this child more and more.
Today when I got home from work I was taking him out of his car seat. I said to him "I was really sad when I went to work today because I missed you."
He looked at me, gave me a huge hug and said "I missed you too, Mommy." And then he looked at me and said "Mommy, let's ride the GO Train tonight."
Too cute.
In a couple of months he will be 3. I booked his birthday party today. He doesn't really care where it is, but I went with the suggestion of his 4 year old cousin who knew exactly where the party should be.
I'm getting really excited.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The funniest gym night ever

Last night my sister and I went to the gym. (Beck, please do NOT kill me for telling this story).
We had this personal training session set up where we were going to set up a routine for weights and stuff. So we had to go to the gym early.
When you have a session you have to go to the front desk and let them know you're ready.
As we were walking to the desk (maybe 5o steps from the change room) my normally reserved sister saw someone we went to school with. Specifically someone we went to elementary school with. For the sake of argument we'll call her Marsha Brady because she is just that annoying.
Neither of us liked her. She wasn't awful, just really annoying. And not someone we would choose to hang up with as we got older.
So, Becky sees her and says to me, "OH CRAP MARSHA BRADY!"
It was so loud.
Usually my sister speaks quietly. People ask her to repeat herself. Not today. I think the entire gym heard her.
So there we were, standing at the front desk giggling because she had just shouted this. And, the thing is, we're totally recognizable.
My sister has curly red hair and is really skinny. I have dark brown hair (currently highlighted) and am a little on the chubby side. When we are together, people who have not seen us in years recognize us.
I'm not sure if "Marsha" was just so focused on her workout that she didn't see us, or if she ignored us. But, she's not the type of person to ignore us, so I'm pretty sure she didn't see us.
This may have been because Becky decided to hide behind me for the rest of the evening. She insisted on finding the most distant treadmills and actually did a crouching walk to avoid all eye contact.
The highlight for me was offering on numerous occassions to invite her to belly dancing. I thought Becky may kill me.
Soon our friend left. But, I tell you, the gym is a small place. I'm sure to run into her again.
And, on another note. We had ana awesome training session. I'm totally into doing weights now. I'm hoping some of the trainer's suggestions pay off.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Field Trip

Today was my first ever field trip as a parent.
I was anxious. In my never ending quest to measure up as a parent I wasn't quite sure how it would go, if I'd fit in or if I'd screw up.
Turns out it was awesome.
Four teachers plus myself took 20 children aged 2.5-6 years old to a nursing home where they sang songs, read stories and did crafts. We were there for about an hour.
The trip itself was not all that eventful. There was a lot of helping kids with their coats, making playdoh snowmen and wiping a few tears.
What made it so awesome was the feeling of being needed and wanted and special. I'm used to my son wanting to hold my hand. I'm used to my nieces wanting to hold my hand. I'm not used to a whole bunch of kids loving me cause I'm the new adult in town. I don't know how to explain it better than the word heart warming.
I know that at work I'm needed. But this was different. I got the feeling that if I wasn't there the kids may have fallen or not been able to get their coats on. And when I offered my hand or gave them a hug or put them in the right direction there was this unwavering trust.
It was cool.
It also broke my heart just a little that I miss this every day. But on that I won't dwell, because as awesome as that hour was - it was an hour. I could not do that all day every day.
What I have realized is that I need to get out there a little more. I will definitely be volunteering for more field trips. And maybe I will volunteer for other stuff. I used to work with seniors, and I may see if there are any volunteer opportunities. I think it would be well worth it.
I had planned to leave Matt at daycare and have an afternoon off. But that did not happen. He wanted to stay with me, so we filled our afternoon with a haircut for Matt (side note - this kids hair place has so many kids who have grown up getting their hair cut there and never left that they had to install a larger chair for the "college kids". hilarious). He sat in a bumper car and watched a movie. Life was good.
And then we bonded and had treats.
It was fun.
Oh - and we bought another monster truck.
Fun all around. And since I've had 5 full days of not watching what I eat tonight I'm getting my butt kicked into gear with a session with a personal trainer followed by belly dancing.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ballet, Cousins, and a Day Off

Today I took a day off.
I had no agenda, and nothing special planned. That is until my sister mentioned that Monday is ballet for my niece, so I had the amazing privilege of attending the baby ballet class.
This was by far the cutest thing I'd ever seen. Of course, Kyla was the most adorable ballerina in her class. They totally made me laugh when they danced around and followed the teachers. And, at one point Kyla ran out of the room to give me a hug which totally made my day. Too sweet.
After ballet we went for a quick Starbucks and then Kyla and I went to pick up Matthew just before lunch.
Lunch for us was weiner wraps. Yummy! We bought pillsbury crescent rolls and wrapped the weiners in them. We added a bit of ketchup and then baked them. Delicious. Kyla and Matty totally got in on the act, helping roll and squeeze the ketchup. Plus, the two of them devoured the hot dogs when they were done.
After lunch we went to my sister's house to see my new second cousin (my cousin's baby). This baby is adorable. Matt was totally smitten by her. He kept saying "Kallysta is soooo cute." And she was. She slept the entire time and had little chubby cheeks.
I have to admit, though, I was a little jealous. She sleeps all day. In fact, my cousin sets her alarm clock for feedings every 3 hours. I am really happy for her, just like I was happy for my sister when she had a quiet baby. But, I have to say it's not all that fair. Why is that I went for a good year on NO sleep? And, I was in severe pain after Matt was born. My cousin is going to step classes and she has a seven week old. Not me. At seven weeks I was barely able to get through a day.
And, just as a side note, if one more person says to me "this is why you need a second - because it will be a quiet and easy baby." ahhhhh! No. I'm not willing to risk it for the experience of a quiet baby. There's always the possibility of a more active more screaming active baby. And, that I could not take. Anyway, way off topic!
The baby really was quite adorable, all jealousy aside, and I wouldn't trade my monkey for the world, even if I am still recouperating my sleep.
So after a bit of a visit I took Matt and Kyla on yet another adventure. We went to the $2 sale at Once Upon a Child and then to McDonald's. I got the best stuff for both kids at the clothing store. Kyla was smitten by the "Irish Dancing" dress I bought for her. It is black velvet with a tartan skirt. It's actually kind of funny, but she loved it, and who was I to refuse her. I almost said no since I thought it would be too small, but I took a chance on it since it was, after all, only $2. I don't think it will fit her for long, but it will get her at least to St. Patrick's day, and that's all you can ask for when you're a four year old with an Irish heritage.
Matthew was not quite as excited by the racks of clothing, but I managed to find him a pretty cool monster truck which I bought and opened and then he had a major temper tantrum becasue he wanted the blue monster truck not the red one. I felt really bad because there was a super pregnant lady watching the whole scene, and the ladies in the store were (bordering on rude) trying to help me calm him down. I had visions of her going into labour from the sheer terror of what was to lay ahead. I finally picked him up and took him out of the store. I was pretty close to just buying the monster truck that he wanted, but thought no, this is not good parenting. So I convinced him that we would get the blue truck the next time we are at that store, and miraculously he stopped crying.
Once we solved that problem Matt, Kyla and I walked across the parking lot to McDonalds where we enjoyed some fries and time in the play place.
This play place was really big and there was a huge climbing apparatus. It was pretty cool because Kyla could get through but Matt couldn't. I wasn't quite sure what to do. They wanted to stay, but he was just too little. I felt bad, but I was kind of curious how it would play out. Just when I was about to intervene they came up with a solution. It was pretty darn cute. Matt would climb first, and then Kyla would come behind him and give his butt a push and they'd get up the next step. I had to laugh. They were both pretty exhausted by the time we left.
The day went by way too quickly. It was fun.
But today has also left me wondering, how on earth do stay-at-home moms do it??? One day of this and I'm wiped.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Valentine's Weekend

Wanna know what I did this weekend?
I bet you do.
I did a whole lot of nothing followed by some relaxing and some napping.
It was fantastic!
After some pampering (well, kind of, I got my hair done but that's another story) on Friday morning, Mike and I went away for a weekend in Muskoka.
It was amazing.
We basically planned nothing other than the hotel. We didn't rush to get there, and we had no pre-set plans. The entire weekend was about relaxing and having some time together.
We spent a lot of time in the jacuzzi and some time in the pool. We decided to forego all of the outdoor activities available (snow shoeing and cross country skiing). It just sounded way too exhausting.
On Saturday we got up and went for brunch (yummy) and then we went swimming which meant mostly hanging out in the jacuzzi. And then I had a two hour nap. And then once I got up we went into the town where we decided to skip lunch and instead have lattes and buttertarts. It was divine. It was like dating all over again.
I can't believe we haven't had this much time alone since Matthew was born.
One of my favourite moments was over brunch on Saturday morning. We were sitting sipping coffee when this man walked past. I sware it was Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live. I, of course, found this hilarious. And, then just because I could I started to (quietly) do a couple of the cheerleader cheers from vintage SNL episodes. It was just funny. We hadn't laughed about stupid things like that for awhile.
It was nice.
The snow was also nice. It wasn't freezing or anything. So, it was pretty to look at.
Anyway, totally worth it.
And, bonus, I'm taking a couple of extra days off of work this week. I fully plan to return to my office relaxed and refreshed.