Tag Archives: Seasons

Cold Swimming

I live north, way up north, bordering Canada north. The summers here are absolutely gorgeous, but short lived. Every day after the last of August that the sun shines and the temperature approaches something over 70-degrees I’m counting my lucky sunbeams.

We’re doing pretty good this year.  I was in the pool (above ground, not heated) on September 25th. I think that might be a record. You must understand, I’m conditioned to cold water swimming. I grew up swimming in Lake Superior—the largest and coldest of the Great Lakes. Average summer water temperature is about 65-degrees on the surface. My pool mimics this to a T; it was 64-degrees the last time I was in it.

I’m thinking this might be healthy? I know it’s pretty dang refreshing.

penguin-56101_640

Penguins only live about 20 years. But they live in harsh conditions most other creatures cannot survive. I wouldn’t live a day in the Antartic, so I’m figuring I can get by with saying they are healthy old birds under the circumstances. Me too. I’m sure it’s the cold water swims—just let me have this one.

Sometimes, we (hubby and I)  go to Florida in the winter. The people there are like, “The water in the pool is so cold. They need to turn the heater up.”

I get in and I’m thinking it’s just a big bathtub at 84-degrees. It makes me all sleepy and wrinkly skinned like one of those cute-pathetic puppies that hasn’t grown into its skin-suit yet.

Come to think of it, everybody in those Florida pools looks that way.

I stayed at an RV park in Picayune Mississippi once, in February. They had an olympic sized swimming pool just sitting there, filled but not open for the season yet. I told them if they started the filter and opened the pool, I’d go swimming. So they did.

First day in it took me almost five minutes to ease my whole body into the frigid water, but once I did and then didn’t have a stroke, it was kind of a rush—like what I imagine taking speed must be like. I just felt alive and electric all over. Or maybe that was the tingle before going completely numb.

Anyway, I was blissfully swimming my laps, completely unaware that a crowd had gathered behind the two sets of double patio doors in the clubhouse, overlooking the pool.

After that I was the crazy lady from Wisconsin.

“Hey, Wisconsin, you going swimming today?” any of a number of residents would call out as I rode my bike through the park.

“You betcha, as soon as that sun peeks out from behind those there clouds.”

There was a thee-foot tall monkey living in that park. Her human kept her on a leash and dressed her in very feminine little shirts and skirts—size 2-T. She sat in a highchair and ate with the rest of the residents at the monthly potlucks.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve really lived this life, or if I did decide to take that speed way back when in high school, when my friends offered it, and all of this has just been one wild trip.

*       *       *       *       *

I’ve been blogging all month long with the wildy talented Effy Wild! It’s been a blast and

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 11.25.50 AM

Vist Effy’s Website

I can’t thank her enough for putting the challenge out there. The MADGoddess has her mojo back again!


From Deep Chocolate to Red Velvet Cake: One Woman’s History of Hair Color

About two years ago I stopped coloring my hair. Well, technically that’s not true. I stopped, and let a stylist start. I was transitioning from full color to foils. It was all part of the effort to let my own hair color grown out to see its natural shade and how much of that dark brown had been overtaken by gray. The foils were to blend with the gray and break up the dark root line.

Age 58 - all natural

This is where it ended once I’d grown out all the color. Not as much gray as I had hoped. I know—who hopes for more gray? It’s my sister’s fault. She has the most gorgeous head of thick, wavy silver locks. It’s striking. My mother also went silver early. I take after my aunties on my dad’s side, who sport salt and pepper into their 90s. It’s not a look I like. It explains why they colored their hair into their 90s.

My mother was a hair dresser (that’s what they called them then). She didn’t color her hair and encouraged my sister and I not to either. “You just end up with a head full of straw,” she warned. The chemicals were so much harsher then.

My first foray into defying my mother’s advice on hair color (there were may other brands of defiance before that) came in a bottle of Super Sun In. It came when I was about 14, while we were on vacation in Florida. It came over the course of one day sitting at the pool, spraying the sharp smelling magic liquid into my hair, re-saturating it every time it dried. My mother was off doing something I can’t remember now—suffice to say she wasn’t there. Strangers who were poolside must have watched my hair going from dark chocolate brown (my natural color) to full on Bozo-the-Clown orange.

After her initial, silent shock evident by the horror stricken expression on her face, my mother smiled and said, “It’s hair. It will grow out.” Okay, it wasn’t quite Bozo orange, more like a very bright-copper penny shade (sorry no photos of that phase) and I actually had fun with it. When I dyed it back to my true color, I knew nothing about ash or golden base tones. My brown hair had a bit of a green tint to it for a while, which is what happens sometimes when you make an ash of yourself with home hair color.

At 34

I pretty much left my hair alone after that until middle age. This is me with my true-born color. I’m 34 here. I have given birth to three children here. I gained over 60 pounds with the first pregnancy. I was 31 when I had the last. Yeah—I’m bragging. Shut up, you would too. I’m just glad I have the photo to prove this rocking body was mine. But you should look at the hair. That was mine too—my true color.

So when I started coloring my hair it was all about the new fun colors in the 80s. I picked shades like Black Cherry, Uptown Tangerine and Bordeaux. Blame the artist in me. I mean seriously, the reason I’m envious of my sister’s hair is because it’s a blank slate. If I had that I’d be sporting a pastel hombre rainbow cascading in waves down my back.As strawberry Blonde age 33

Anyway, I usually go for the reds. This is me as a strawberry blonde (on the right). I was maybe 27 here. It was a good color. It was a good year. This was my first time in a community theater production. Who knew I was born to be on the stage?

 

As Redhead age 48

 

And about ten years later channeling Patsy Cline for another performance, with a more believable shade of red than the one that came from that bottle of Super Sun In.

Okay, history lesson over. Today I decided that the gray was making me look to flipping old—older than I am. I am not a senior citizen, I am post Middle Aged Goddess. I am not going gently into that good night of growing old gracefully. I am growing old powerfully. I’m owning how I put myself out there and gray panther isn’t it.Hope in a Box

I perused the new offerings that found their way onto the shelves of dozens of choices at the Super Walmart Center. After comparing shades and names of red that would make the heads of Crayola’s R&D spin, I chose Red Velvet Brown. Does it get any more delicious than that? Number 4.3. I’m calling it hope in a box. As in, I hope my gray doesn’t go hot like it did the last time I tried this at home and ended up with magenta pink hair. Or, do I?

Carrot Cake?I mixed up the potion. It looked a bit more like carrot cake than red velvet, but I’m a seasoned at home colorist. I know it get’s darker. Right?

I accidentally started adding the after condition to the developer but caught myself after the first few dollops plopped in. I put on my glasses, found the tube of color and squeezed it into the botttle. It would be okay. I was sure it would. Just a little extra conditioning in the mix. Oh, what the hell—life is short, live fast and hot. I’ve had orange hair before.

I don’t take the time for any of those tests they recommend, like putting the product on your skin at the inner wrist and waiting to see if you’re allergic, or doing a strand test to see what color my hair will be when the towel comes off. They don’t do that shit at the salon.That's Orange!

I just slathered it on baby—and yup, it was looking mighty citrusy on my noggin. Also in that little drip on my color shit. I have worn this T-shirt for every at home color job I’ve ever done. It bears the history of all my Clarets, Cocoas, Brandies, Brandy Wines, Burgundies and Golden Raisins. This makes me think I should have a similar shirt that I wear every time I drink wine. No. Wouldn’t work. I’d have to live in it.

History of colorHere’s a close up—just because. Over time and through numerous launderings, all my lovely wines turned brown. I don’t care. I still love my color shirt. I’d think about leaving instructions for it to be buried with me, but I’ve donated my body to a university hospital, so . . .

No, really I have. There’s a card in my wallet telling whoever happens to be around when my body dies to call the folks at the University of Minnesota Bequest Program so they can pick me up. I mean with the two marriages, kids and grandkids, I just want to avoid all of that fighting over who is going to give me a proper send off and where my body will find final rest. Yeah, right—that’s funny. The only fighting would be over who has to foot the bill.

So, final results. Did I get Red Velvet or Carrot cake? Well, I apologize that you can’t really tell from the lighting in this photo, but Red Velvet it is. I like my cake ala mode. Think I might need a new, LBD to top off this look. What say you?

Red Velvet

Yes, I did my eyebrows to match. I know, I know. You’re not supposed to use the product near your eyes. It’s not like I put it on my lashes. I have thought about it. Relax, I haven’t done it. And I think I should probably say – I do not recommend using hair color products on your eyebrows or lashes. Don’t do it. If you do—don’t blame me for any mishaps.

And I should have done full makeup before taking that last photo. But it’s late, and I’m tired and I have to go shopping for a new dress tomorrow. So this is what you get.

 


Prince, the Purple Train and High Heel Shoes: Bonding With My Daughter

I can’t believe another summer is drawing to a close. Despite my mother being right (and mother’s always are—despite our daughters disavowing that fact), I refuse to admit the days of sunshine and roses seem to be going faster the older I get. But, here it is a week into August already, the school supplies are running low on the shelves at Walmart and I’m calculating how many pool days I might have left before I risk getting hypothermia in the unheated water.

So it was two months ago, today, June 7th, that my daughter and I attended a party in honor of the late, great Prince on what would have been his birthday. We live about 100 miles, as the crow flies, from Paisley Park. Prince is a god in these parts. Any party in his honor is going to be a rocking time, but one hosted on a historical rail car billed the Purple Train for the evening, makes that literal.

As planned, I picked my daughter up at her house. As expected, with two children and a man-child husband, she was running just a tad late. Having worked delays into the schedule didn’t stop me from engaging in a smidgeon of interstate impatience. I mean, seriously, you could hardly call a few choice commentaries on the rush hour commuters’ collective I.Q. road rage.

“You’re going to be one of those really crumidgey ladies when you get old, aren’t you?” 

She meant curmudgeonly. I prefer to think of myself as crotchety. It infers the feminine aspect of curmudgeon—or at least I like to think so.

My first thought was, I am old. But who could blame her for not recognizing my sage position in life. I was the one who bought the tickets to the party, I was the one driving us to the train, and I was the one dressed in purple from the fedora on my head, wrapped with purple paisley scarf trailing down my back, to the purple patent stilettos on my feet.

All of this went through my head, before I answered her question. “Yes, when I am old, I’m going to be a real bitch.”

She, in no purple but wearing appropriate skinny jeans, big-hoop earrings and a pair of drop-dead, four-inch, leopard print platform pumps, laughed and said, “It will be so much fun taking you out of the home for day trips.”

It’s my own fault, I raised the smart ass.

Staged on a moving, vintage train traveling a fifty mile scenic route and back one might have questioned our elevating footwear. We ourselves briefly considered the wisdom of dancing in high heels while being jostled over railroad tracks in poor repair, but for two women with more than 100 pairs of shoes, booties, boots and sandals between us, it was a brief debate. The shoes won over wisdom.

There were four cars making up the Purple Train (it wasn’t really purple). The first was a boxcar empty of anything but the DJ’s sound equipment and purple lights. Next was the bar car, followed by two standard commuter coaches.

Our plan was to spend at least some time in the comfort of the roomy, vintage passenger seats. It was a good plan, made better by the fact that the sound quality of the Prince catalog was far superior in coach than it was in the dance-party car. But, much as the shoes were a necessary part of the ensemble, a DJ spinning Prince meant there would be non-stop dancing.Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 2.34.38 PM

It’s good for a crotchety old woman like myself to put on her high heels and haul her old dance moves out onto the floor once in a while. Maintaining my balance in purple stilettos while dancing on a rocking train proves I’ve still got it.

Having my daughter lean in close to tell me to please, don’t break a hip it will spoil the party, is just more payback for raising a smart-ass.

After three hours (with a long, planned stop at the far end of the track) the Purple Train pulled back into the station and we headed back to my baby blue VW Bug, Blucy (she has false eyelashes on her headlights). I kicked off my shoes and removed my fedora. My salt & peppa hair was plastered to my head with sweat, from dancing or post middle age flashes—I’m not sure which.

“Let’s stop at the Choo Choo for a drink,” my daughter suggested. Yes, that’s the name of the bar. Yes, it’s a rail road town.

“But, I have hat hair.”

“So put your hat back on.”

Despite embracing a somewhat bohemian esthetic, I don’t normally hang out in working class, neighborhood bars dressed to draw attention. I raised an eyebrow at her.

“You can practice your crabby old lady routine.” She said. “If anybody asks about the hat, just tell them you’ve been riding the Purple Train all night long.”

“That sounds like a drug euphemism.”

“Even better!” she laughed. “I’ll stand behind you and shake my head, saying ‘Old hippy—too many psychedelic trips.”

That could be fun,” I said. “The trips, not the hat hair.” 

I snugged my hat onto my head at a daring angle and squeezed my swollen feet back into my heels. 

The summer isn’t over yet. Bonnie Raitt is appearing under a big top in three weeks,  just fifty miles from my daughter’s house. Now where did I put my cowboy boots?


%d bloggers like this: