self-improvement


I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions because—well, frankly I don’t feel as though January is the true beginning of the year. It has always seemed to me that September is really the time to get organized, rearrange your drawers, get your hair cut, balance your checking account, and start planning for the future.

But recently, in our never-ending quest to lose five pounds and to look ten years younger, two friends of mine and I have decided to do the Five Tibetans every single day that we can possibly make ourselves think of it. “Doing Tibetans” isn’t as risque as it sounds; it’s really a series of five exercises, which were supposedly developed thousands of years ago as a way of stimulating the endocrine system and opening the body’s energy centers, or chakras. Hence, doing these exercises is said to make your body function as though it is 23 years old again.

We are looking forward to that, let me tell you.

In fact, these are amazing exercises. Since we’ve been doing them (about six months now, really), we’ve all lost a bit of weight, noticed that we have more energy, and—well, who knows? Soon perhaps we’ll regress to the point where we’re dancing late at night in clubs and drunk-dialing old boyfriends.

As an added winter bonus: doing these exercises also makes you warm! And they take just about ten minutes a day, fifteen if you lollygag as I often do. Here’s a video of a sexy man doing the Five Tibetans on a beach somewhere.

And if you’d like to read about the benefits, and the incredible story of how these rites were discovered, there’s a book, "Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth" by Peter Kelder, that tells you all about Colonel Bradford, a mysterious retired British army officer who learned of the rites while journeying high up in the Himalayas. Not only does the book teach you how to do these, but it lays out in splendiforous detail all the lovely things that happen to people who get their chakras spinning just right every day.

I tell you, between doing the Five Tibetans and drinking the green smoothies, I expect to be considerably younger by the end of the next decade.

 

I do not know why it’s so tough to do the things I need to do. (I think we all know what we’re talking about here: settling down to work, performing the yoga stretching exercises, paying bills, cleaning the dehumidifier, weeding the garden, flossing the dog’s teeth, washing the bath towels…that sort of thing.)

I have a sign up over my desk that says: “Hard work may pay off in the long run, but procrastination pays off RIGHT NOW.”

This is a bad attitude, I know. I should take it down and replace it with something like: “What? Do you think time is going to wait for you to get around to the things you need to do?” or better yet, something succinct like: “GET TO WORK!”

There are times when the only way I can get anything done is when I do something by accident while I am procrastinating from doing something else. In other words, I can only wash the bath towels if I’m, for instance, hiding from settling down to work. And the garden is only going to get weeded if I’m avoiding flossing the dog’s teeth. (No, I don’t really floss the dog’s teeth–but you know what I mean.) And as for yoga stretching–that just ain’t gonna happen.

But I hate being this way. I am too damned old to be avoiding things this way. I should have developed some true self-control by now. Shouldn’t I? My yoga teacher once told me that I should see this resistance, as he called it (that’s a fancy yoga word for procrastination) as the same as a paper sheet. All I have to do is press against it a little bit, he said, and I would break through–and find myself doing the downward dog without even a second thought.

Then yesterday I ran across this post by Allison Winn Scotch, about how she has beat procrastination! Her advice seems so simple, and yet so profound at the same time:

Something flashes in my brainscan and rather than waste the energy of thinking of when I could do it another time, I just did it! I wrote three blog posts, I started going through my proof pages, and best of all, I actually sat down – right when the impulse struck – and drafted the first scene for my new book.

It was so energizing! I can’t recommend this more. Normally, I’m a list-maker – I jot everything down and axe it as I go. But right now, it seems like the only way for me to accomplish stuff is to seize the moment. Try it! It might work for you!

Okay, I am so on board with this. I am seizing the moment! That means…writing this sex scene that has been eluding me for days and days. I know. Poor me, having to think up a sex scene. It’s not like I have to go weed the garden or even do the downward dog.

But I’m about 25 pages behind schedule in this novel…and by God, I’m going to catch up this weekend! I am not only going to seize a moment. I’m am seizing the whole entire weekend.

Allison, THANK YOU!

I was thinking for a while of trying to become perfect.

It’s all because of an article I read in “O” magazine last month–one of those personal experience pieces in which the writer decided she’d do everything just right. I can hear you right now saying, “Oh, yeah? Under what set of rules is what she does considered just right?” And you’re correct to be so scrappy about this, of course. All bets are off these days at trying to figure out even how to be good, much less perfect.

But for the purposes of this article, the writer (and if I weren’t so lazy, I’d get up and fetch the magazine and tell you her name, but the magazine is all the way over there, and the dog’s head is resting on my leg and it would really disturb him if I got up)–anyway, the writer decided that she would look up online what amount of calories she should consume, and how many of those should be fat, protein and carbohydrates, and how many beans and legumes she would have to eat, and how many veggies. All that kind of thing.

Plus, she would exercise for an hour each day, doing both aerobics and weights. And furthermore, she would get seven hours of sleep each night, because that’s supposed to be optimal. AND she wouldn’t drink alcohol or give herself any days off whasoever.

It was just going to be her will power, the free weights, the veggies, and plenty of sleep.

Well, I was fascinated, naturally.

I have periodically managed to get myself in line and force-march my way through eating five vegetables a day and not consuming loads of saturated fat. But just as soon as I had managed to adjust my lifestyle to get five vegetables into myself each day, new government guidelines came out that claimed five was nothing; we needed NINE.

I can even get myself to go to the gym–I purportedly LOVE the gym–although just when it seemed possible to go work out three times a week, doing both weights AND aerobics, the new reports came out: nothing short of an hour a day would do very much good at all.

The author of this article was perfect for 30 days, foregoing birthday cake and champagne toasts and all kinds of things she really, truly desired. She actually ate the nine daily vegetables (and prepared without butter, too) and she worked out every single day and even stretched both before and after. And when she got to the end of the time period, guess what! She drank some alcohol, ate something she’d been denying herself…and then, much to her own surprise, went right back to the perfection plan. She said it felt amazingly good to be perfect: her clothes fit better, her neck wasn’t stiff anymore, her skin and hair looked better, she had more energy, and she felt, in fact, FABULOUS.

That was the tempting part, feeling that great.

I’ve decided, though, that it’s too hard to be perfect in March. The weather is cold one day and warm the next. Spring hangs like a promise in the air and then doesn’t come. The house is miserably cold, and who can face nine vegetables over, say, a pot roast with mashed potatoes? And how can I give up the homemade bread I’ve gotten used to making lately, served with honey and melted butter?

Also, if I got perfect, I think I’d turn crabby. I’d be one of those people who would go around in the streets, trying to make all my friends be perfect too. I’d give boring lectures on things you could do with vegetables that didn’t involve fats. Nobody would want to have anything to do with me, which would be okay because I would always need to be busy stretching and toning and making a note of when I next needed to take a calcium tablet or munch on some legumes.

I think, though, the real trouble with deciding to be perfect is the fact that it would pretty much be all you could think about. You’d have to question every decision, every bite of food. You’d say, “Wait! Is this my fifth glass of pure water today, or my sixth? And if it’s only my fifth, how the $^#@! am I going to get three more in before it’s time to go to bed?” (If you were being perfect, you probably wouldn’t use real cuss words anymore either; you’d have to figure out nice ways of saying $^#@!)

And if you were out having a wonderful time with whatever friends would still speak to you, no doubt it would be all too soon time to go and start logging your seven hours of sleep.

My friend Liz said we shouldn’t think of trying to be perfect until we get old and our aches and pains drive us to it. But I’m looking forward to the kind of old age where I don’t HAVE to try that hard anymore. When I get old, I think I’m just going to start having butter delivered by the carload, and I’m going to watch TV in bed and read until all hours, and eat whatever I $^#@! well please.

I’ve been home from paradise for three days now, and I’m still peaceful.

Amazing.

But allow me to explain. A friend of mine turned 50, and instead of just turning to drink and despair as so many of us do at such a milestone, she decided to invite friends of hers to a four-day celebration at a destination spa here in Connecticut.

It was snowing lightly when we set out at the beginning of last week. I was frantic with To Do lists, uncertainties, anxieties and all the rest of that stuff that I carry around most of the time. (I know that good writing demands that I should mention what some of the anxieties are, but to tell you the truth, I can’t much remember them anymore.) I do remember that I barely got out of the house on time to meet the car that pulled up in my driveway to take me there, and that papers and books were flying behind me as I settled in.

But then we drove for an hour and a half through the Connecticut countryside, and then something almost surreal happened. I got there and actually felt an incredible calm come over me.

At first the calm seemed to come from the beauty of the place: huge, welcoming rooms with deep, white chaise longues and soft, knitted afghans. There were floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over snowy fields and a pond lined with evergreen trees draped with snow, and an almost blue, calm sunset shining glowing. There were fresh flowers. Cups of tea, with little triangle silk tea bags and white china cups. Soft music. (I am a sucker for silk tea bags and fresh flowers. And those, combined with a sunset over a snowy field, knock me the hell out…and add to that a chaise with an afghan, and I’m gone, just GONE.)

Everything just felt soft suddenly. As though I’d come to the place where I was meant to be right then.

And then I met the other women, and I realized over the four days that the best part was NOT the perfection of the rooms, the amazing food, or even the wonderful massage treatments and classes in stress relief and hypnotherapy. The best part was the fact that there were 30 women there, all of whom were kind and fascinating and funny and REAL.

Over the four days, we all wore warmup clothing supplied by the spa, and no makeup. And we talked, in both large and small groups, over meals and tucked into corners of the spa and while we swam in the pool or steamed in the warm aromatherapy room. Talked about husbands and kids and jobs and childhood and aging and…well, everything. Real estate. Politics and sex and anxieties. The past. The future. What we’d like to do. We laughed and drank wine and tea and ate amazing food (healthy and delicious, both), and nobody said mean things like, “What did you mean by THAT?” or “Let me tell you why I’m the most important person in the universe.”

Nobody said, “You could really stand to lose a few pounds” or “Why would you ever wear your hair that way?” like sometimes they slip up and say back in real life. 

Everywhere was peace and quiet, an indescribable feeling of having come to the perfect place. It wasn’t like not knowing there weren’t worries; it was the feeling of standing aside from them and knowing they couldn’t swamp you.

The days loped along. I did things I hadn’t done before, drifted in a kind of shelter of myself. And then one day it was time to come home.

I thought coming home would be a shock, but it wasn’t. Maybe I’m just unwilling to give up this feeling. Nothing seems worth giving over this happiness.

Maybe I’m still hypnotized into believing that life can be sweet. Just in case, though, I picked up a little rock I found on the ground outside the place, tucked under the snow. When this blissful feeling starts to wear off, I’m thinking I can hold this little rock and remember some of the feeling.

Or maybe I’ll just go buy some tea in little triangle silk tea bags. That could work, too.   

Today I woke up late, drove 30 miles to pick up a friend to go to a goal-setting workshop that took three hours, (my goals were not to be in such a hurry all the time), then stood in a thirty-minute line for lunch, took her back to her house, drove home, went to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make Thai soup for dinner, rented two movies, drove back home, and then drove 30 more  miles to pick up my daughter from her babysitting job, drove to a second grocery store to get the rest of the Thai ingredients that I couldn’t find at the first store, and then drove home, decided the Thai soup was going to take too long to cook when we were all so hungry so I made chicken curry in a hurry instead, and then washed the dishes, and then came downstairs to work for a little while, sending out a bio for a talk I’m giving in April and tracking down sources for a story I’m working on for the newspaper.

And I came across this quote, which seems to sum why I still feel in such a good mood:

Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”

It is the last day of the year, which is as good a time as any to look at the present moment.

So here it is: a moment.

It’s 1:45 on a Monday afternoon, and I am sitting at my desk in the family room, with my laptop in front of me, and I am listening to a Nellie McKay song called “Gladd.” I just heard an interview with her on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross while I was in the car, and so I came home and downloaded some of her songs on iTunes. (When my New Year’s resolutions kick in tomorrow, I will not be downloading quite so many songs on iTunes.) I’ve just realized that this song is from someone who died–it’s kind of a hymn of comfort, the type of thing a dead person might want to say to those left behind…and since this has been a year in which a lot of people close to me died, it seems particularly fitting to listen to right now. You can listen to it for free on the npr website…here’s the link, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6719830, and then you click on Listen. (I promise you: it’s not a sad song. It’s really beautiful and comforting.)

Anyway, back to the moment. (This is why I can never be a Buddhist; I can’t stay in any one moment.)

It’s now 2:26, and I’m just back from making a pot of white needle tea, which is wonderful–warm, light and delicious. The dog is stretched out asleep next to me, but you can see by his flickering eyelids that he’s not deeply asleep. His feeding time is officially 4 o’clock, but he gets ready by 2, and so any time I shift in my chair, he comes to hopeful attention.

Outside it is sunny although we were supposed to have a snowstorm today, so the sky–which is a delicate egg-shell blue with little white wispy clouds–seems like a particular blessing today. One of my children is snowed in in Boston; another had snow yesterday in Pennsylvania, and the third has gone off to meet New Year’s Eve in New York City. The house still looks like a post-Christmas apocalyptic catastrophe. I managed to get the wrapping paper out of here for the garbage pickup today, but there are still stockings lying around, looking indolent and self-satisfied, and a few stray boxes that should either go up to the attic or politely out with next week’s trash.

If I were to make a list of all the things I should be doing, it would be long indeed.

  • I should be interviewing the subject of my next newspaper story, a 16-year old boy who will tell me why he believes exercise saves him. (I did try to call him; he’s not home. No doubt he’s out being saved by exercise right now.)
  • I should call Jennifer and Stacy and Alice and Butch and wish them all Happy New Year, because it’s been too long since I’ve checked in with the extended family, and I would actually LOVE hearing what they’re all doing.
  • I need to make an appetizer for the New Year’s Eve party we’re going to tonight with friends. While I was upstairs waiting for the tea to brew, I read the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook and thought for a long, hard moment about launching into a huge cooking project, and then decided, “Nah. I’ll go buy some shrimp and make shrimp cocktail. Everybody likes that, and why wreck the moment of being alone in the house listening to music by myself?”
  • I could do laundry. I think it’s been weeks.
  • Empty the dishwasher–those dishes in there have been clean for a few days, I think.
  •  Go the gym and see if exercise saves ME.
  • Send out Christmas cards, which now would be called New Year’s cards and may yet have to turn into valentines.
  • Make some more New Year’s resolutions, along the same lines as STOP DOWNLOADING ITUNES.

But you know something? This day is just too marvelous the way it is. Just a perfect moment in time–the heater roaring softly, the music, the taste of the tea, the knowledge that soon I’ll have to go out and buy shrimp and cocktail sauce. I will go back to reading my novel and making the last little tweaks, the last Ridding of the Adverbs as I think of it.

Nellie McKay is singing her last line: “It’s been a long time coming, but all the pain has passed and there is peace.”

To all of you who stop by for a visit, Happy New Year…and may 2008 bring you much joy and peace.

I know, I know. It doesn’t seem possible that “sexy” and “cancer” could ever be in the same sentence.

But talk to Kris Carr for a few minutes, and you’ll understand. She’s a 36-year-old actress who, four years ago, thought she had the world’s worse hangover after partying like a rock star. Turned out she had inoperable cancer, a cancer so rare they don’t even have a treatment for it. There’s no ribbons, no walks, no rubber bracelet to wear.  

A lot of people–most likely I’m one of them–would have  would have just heard their diagnosis and gone and gotten under their beds and sucked their thumbs and cried, but Kris, who says she’s always been full of sass, decided instead that it was time to give cancer a makeover. As she put it, since there was no cure and no treatment, she might as well figure out her own answers. To hear her tell it, she pulled a Dumpster up to her life, and started renovating: learned how to meditate, eat nutritional meals, take care of herself; then she reached out to other young women with cancer, and best of all, decided to learn how she wanted to live the rest of her life. (It didn’t involve lying in her bed and thinking about tumors, believe me.)

It all sounds like one big cliche–and believe me, I have a very overdeveloped cliche-detector, and sometimes things that are supposed to be “inspirational” and “heartwarming” make me want to run in the opposite direction. But Kris’s accounting of her kick-ass four years dealing with cancer doesn’t shy away from the tough parts. She just doesn’t have time to stay wallowing in self-pity. Anybody who reacted to the news she has Stage IV incurable cancer by taking her camera along with her to doctor’s appointments gets my vote every time!

The name of the book–and oh, yeah, there’s a documentary too–is “Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips,” and it comes from the fact that when Kris would send mass emails out to all the other “cancer babes,” that’s what she would type in the subject line. And whenever she mentioned cancer, she would always capitalize the “C.” Finally one of the other women said they should stop giving cancer the benefit of a capital “C”: that was giving this disease waaaay too much power. In fact, they decided, they should even misspell the word. Spell it CANSER or something. I love that! That you can hurt cancer’s feelings by not even bothering to spell its name correctly.

Anyway, click here to go buy her book, even if you don’t have cancer…it’s that good, and by all means, click here to go visit her website and blog. (There’s even a little movie there you can watch.)

Honestly, she makes life sound like so much fun that you’ll be glad you’re alive.    

I promise you that I am not becoming obsessive about lipstick. I’m not. I’m truly not. (Well, maybe a little, because it turns out it is still February, the month when you need your obsessions to keep your adrenaline level up so you don’t just drift off to sleep all the time.)

But the other day, just after I posted about the saga of entering into an eBay auction for my favorite discontinued lipstick and ending up being in a bidding war, I got an email from my friend Diane in California, and she said, “What were you thinking, giving out the number of the lipstick you love? You will never, ever find that color again!”

What an amazing idea that was–it made me laugh out loud. I could just picture the handful of people who know about my little patch of the blogosphere all rising up and rushing to eBay so they could snap up the last tubes of a lipstick that apparently looked good on so few people that even Cover Girl gave up on it some time ago.

And then today…well, today I was working seriously hard on my novel. VERY VERY hard indeed, and my characters were having a huge fight, which is difficult for me because I myself am not very good at fighting. I can never think of the right thing to say until about 48 hours later, yet these characters are supposed to be good at fighting. They Stand Up For Themselves, and they know all the right snappy comebacks…and so I was sitting there, trying to picture what they’d say to each other and getting it all down on paper, when suddenly it seemed imperative that I go back to eBay and just see if there were any other #612s left.

Sometimes you have to do things like this, even if you would rather be getting your work done.

And guess what! There were approximately a kazillion tubes of #612 left, including one woman who has–get this–FORTY ONE OF THEM, all for $2.99 a piece. Forty-one tubes of my favorite discontinued, impossible-to-find lipstick…all with BUY NOW written beside them. A person didn’t even have to bid for them. Just take them off her hands.

And this, after I’d spent an hour of my life bidding for one tube of it on eBay the other night.

I toyed with buying the whole stock, enough to see me into my old age, but that seemed excessive. I have a small house, after all. So now I have quietly bought five more of them…but I’d just like to say to Diane, who has similar coloring to me: You’ve got the number. I think it would look lovely on you, too!

And next time you come to visit and we walk around New York, people will say, “Look at those two women with the #612 lips. Don’t they just look smashing?”

I am so not the type to do this, but I have just found myself involved in a duel-to-the-death auction on eBay.

And I hate to admit this, but it’s all for a tube of lipstick.

That’s right. My life has ground pretty much to a halt, and I’m not even doing this for porcelain figurines, or glow-in-the-dark jelly bracelets or even a Richard Nixon bobblehead–all of which are equally available to the discerning eBay user.

All I ask is a chance to once again wear the lipstick color that Cover Girl used to carry in every single drug store in this country–you could just walk in and pick it up off the shelf, carry tubes of it out by the handful, in fact–and then one day, the gremlins who work for Cover Girl, the marketing geniuses, said, “Hmm, this color is just too great! Just for the fun of it, let’s suspend manufacturing of it for a while and see if women all over America start rioting in the streets.”

I personally was all for rioting in the streets, but my friends weren’t interested. They all seemed to have their own lipstick problems. Everybody I knew had some sad story about their only possible lipstick color being discontinued.

A woman in CVS explained the facts of life to me: “Honey, lipstick companies are just evil. They do what they do, and no one can stop them.”

Clearly, this is a crisis in our country that no one is paying enough attention to. Cosmetics giants indiscriminantly trashing our favorite lipstick colors! And we can’t make them stop! Really! Ask the woman next to you. She will tell you her sad story of Lipstick Discontinuation. Everybody has one. Some people have had their heart broken multiple times. They have healed and moved on to a new shade–only to have that shade then discontinued by the cosmetics giants.

So one day a friend of mine said we should start buying our lipstick on eBay. “They have every discontinued color imaginable there!” she said. And so I found ONE TUBE of the Best Lipstick in the World there, and I bid on it, and I won the bid, and the lipstick came to my house a week later…and now I have nearly used it all up, and so I went back on eBay and found yet another tube of it…but this time with a three-day bidding process.

What is UP with having to wait three days? And nobody had even bid on it. So I placed my bid for $5, one cent over what the asking price was. The days passed without event. This lipstick was mine, baby.

And now, tonight, just one little tiny hour from bid’s-up time, somebody came on and bid $5.25! 

I don’t mind telling you that I am stunned. Hurt, even. Who else, I ask you, wears this color? And where exactly was this person when we needed women rioting in the streets, demanding its return to the shelves?

So now, not being an auction person or a eBay person, I have been perplexed. Better to up my bid immediately, or to wait until 5 seconds before the thing closes? I have asked my eBay-savvy children, and they mentioned that I could become a sniper or something. But that does not sound like me. And how do I know if my bid would get through in time? Besides, I can’t sit around, knowing that there is a screen on my computer that says to me: YOU ARE NOT THE WINNING BIDDER.

We are talking lipstick here!  Bobblehead or the jelly bracelers–okay. Easy come, easy go. But Cover Girl isn’t manufacturing this lipstick anymore, and God only knows how few of them are still out there in the world.

I upped my bid to a whopping $6.

Sixteen minutes left…and I’m still the high bidder.

Oh, my God. Three minutes and 58 seconds.

I just know this woman is waiting to jump in at the last second.

But–wait. She didn’t do it, and eBay just said that I won the auction. I won!!! The suspense is over.

Maybe my co-bidder had to go to bed. Or maybe she was writing her novel (like I should be doing) and she was so focused on her writing, which is going so very well–she’s had breakthroughs in her characters and with her plot, and she actually forgot to come back on and re-bid.

Or maybe–this is the likeliest possibility–maybe she didn’t really care that much after all. She’s not whining and desperate like I am. She’s probably found another shade that the two of us would like so much better.

I wish I could call her. Just to see what’s up, you understand.

She and I could talk over the problems of keeping ourselves in Cover Girl Outlast  #612…the way it’s really a great color when you’re healthy and feeling just right, but how sometimes it really can look too pink or too orange. You have to apply it just right.

Maybe we two #612ers could call up the company together, or start a two-person letter writing campaign to have it brought back.

When we get our novels done, of course. 

I generally try not to get my hair cut in January, because it has never worked out for me.

This is because January–well, it’s one of the Dissatisfaction Months, especially toward the end of the month when it’s just been too cold for too long. It is easy to mistake Sick of Winter with Sick of Hair…and many is the time I have wandered into a hair establishment on a 17 degree day and said, “DO SOMETHING! HEEEEELLLLP!”

And come out looking like Frank Sinatra.

This problem is compounded when you’re at home, supposed to be writing a book, all alone. A lot of people don’t realize that maybe 60 percent of writing is pacing. The words don’t just come to you when you’re sitting in the chair, waiting for them, you know. Often you have to walk around and look for them–and sometimes those walks take you to your bathroom mirror where you look at yourself and think, “I don’t think I can go on with these bangs.”

Another time you pass the mirror and you think, “WHAT?! This is the color of hair I’ve been walking around with– when meanwhile, there are rows of packages in the drug stores that would completely solve this in 30 quick minutes?!”

And so there I was recently, on a really cold, cold January day, with the cold seeping in underneath the door and through the windowpanes, and I was unable to think of what needs to happen next in the confrontation scene I was writing–a Really Important Scene between the man and the woman when they start to banter a little bit and then it turns into a major argument that neither can back down from. And me with my bangs the way they were.

Clearly, it wasn’t going to work. So to make a long, painful story short, I went to the drug store and bought a hair coloring kit. And I came home, used it, AND cut my bangs.

And the next day I bought another hair coloring kit and fixed up what had been done the day before.

And cut the sides of my hair.

And then today I called my hairdresser and said, “I. Must. See. You. Today.”

Hairdressers are like psychologists and social workers. They are listening for a certain tone of voice. And mine let me come right down, and she spoke soothingly to me, the way you would to somebody who was standing on a ledge outside a building.

Sometimes hairdressers scold you for doing your own hair, as though you are a non-union person trying to do a union person’s job, and they might have to write you up. And judging by the damage you have done, OSHA just may have to get involved.

But this one didn’t. She trimmed it up without comment, and said the color really looked fine, considering everything. And she asked me what page I am on in my book, and I told her about the confrontation scene I was writing, and she said that sounded good to her, it sounded like just what would happen between characters in a book, and then we made another appointment for a month, and as I was leaving, she said, “Everything’s going to be fine, you know.”

And I said, “Thank you.” And came home and finished the scene.

I honestly do not know what that was all about.

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