Friday, March 20, 2009

To Dye or Not to Dye - THAT is the Question


I think my hair is about 50 percent grey. I say "I think" because I never let the grey do its thing as I dye it so often. Trouble now is that the grey is lots more stubborn than it used to be and I find myself having to touch it up more than ever before. It seems like three weeks is as long as I can go before the temples and edges start sprouting little white wiry hairs. It's exhausting to have to do my do so much, but leaving the grey has been a totally unacceptable concept to me. Until now, anyway.

To save a little cash in these tough economic times, I buy Dark and Lovely or Colorsilk and dye my hair myself, which beats the heck out of paying about $60 at the salon to have it done. But still it has to be DONE, meaning I'm the one who has to don plastic gloves and an old towel every few weeks and do it. It's not hard, but it's extremely time-consuming and messy as all get out. It is such a pain in the butt!

A few days ago, I gave my roots a good long look and figured I could go at least another week before I'd have to break out the jet black hair color I keep on standby under the bathroom sink. But this morning, it looked like a few hundred hair follicles decided to rebel and stop producing color. How such a thing happens I have no idea, but I did know that I had no time to dye, wash, blow dry and curl my hair before I needed to be out the door. Instead, I just curled it and went on about my regular routine. Sure, it was a little shocking seeing my face surrounded by a little white hair halo whenever I passed a mirror, but it really wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Reminded me of a commercial I saw about a week ago. Not sure what the ad was for, but two best friends with white hair (one had a cute little spiked pixie cut) were chatting about how they loved looking like the women of experience they were. The wore their coifs like crowns and even joked that they were going to start telling people that they were in their 80s instead of their 60s. They didn't seem unhappy about looking older at all. They were actually excited about it.

So what is it about a little grey that makes me want to run screaming to the drug store? I have no qualms about aging, I don't think, but somehow LOOKING older gives me pause. Call it vanity or whatever, but I enjoy it when I hear folks tell me that I haven't aged a day at high school reunions and when people ask my son if I'm his sister. But really, what's so good about looking 25 when you're 42? Damn it, I've earned every one of these stinking grey hairs on my head thanks to cancer, burying loved ones and divorce! Why am I in such a hurry to cover them up and get folks I don't really even know to think I'm younger than I am? Have I lost my daggone mind?

This weekend I'll have time to dye my hair, but I'm not sure if I will. So if you see me around town looking like a skunk, just smile and wave, folks. Just smile and wave...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Assault & Battery



Every music fan in the world has heard about singers Rihanna and Chris Brown: squeaky-clean R&B star accused of using his girlfriend as a punching bag. People were shocked to see the photo that showed Rihanna's bruised face and just as surprised when court documents revealed that he allegedly threatened to kill her on Grammy night. Personally, I was more shocked at how she was characterized via some media outlets: as a controlling, domineering girlfriend who was insecure about her relationship. It was like somehow, her actions had caused him to snap.

Just for the record, domestic violence is never the fault of the person being battered. It isn't what was or wasn't said or was or wasn't done that causes the a batterer to get physical no more than it is the bottle's fault an alcoholic gets drunk. That I know from personal experience.

My dirty little secret is this: I was once in a relationship with a person who hit, pushed and choked me. Doesn't matter that it only happened a few times, each time was frightening and followed by a promise that it would never happen again. After a particularly bad incident - our last - I left and only came back after he promised to seek help and find a counselor. Eventually, he did, it didn't help and we're not together today. But it took me a while to get to that "Enough!" point, evident by the fact that I went back to that idiot not once, but twice.

Now, there is buzz about a possible fan back lash against Rihanna because of her decision to go back to her boyfriend. Getting beaten up by your mate is one thing, but falling for the apology and actually taking him back is a whole 'nother story, the consensus seems to be, implying that she's stupid for being willing to let bygones be bygones. "Is she crazy?" we ask each other.

Probably not - just a young woman in love who hasn't reached her own "Enough!" point yet. Eventually, she will. I just hope it isn't after he hurts her so badly that she won't really have a choice.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Grandma Gets the Shaft

I try to visit my grandmother at least once a month in the Bronx nursing home where she's now been for two years since being diagnosed with dementia. I know the nursing staff, they know me and someone always has some (usually) funny story to tell me about Grandma's exploits when I arrive.

But last Sunday was different. Two of my aunts, my son and I arrived only to find that she had been moved to another building in the facility FIVE DAYS earlier. The move changed all that had become routine and familiar over the last two years for her, including her doctors and nurses, her social worker, her room and roommate. And to make matters worse, no one from the facility even bothered to call and let me - listed as the family contact person on every record they have - know what the heck was going on.

Steamed, I called the administrative office first thing Monday morning to find out who would now be the contact on the nursing home's end if the family had questions or concerns. The new social worker was not in at 9:15am, so I left a message. I left another at 11am and was about to leave yet another at 11:30am when she finally answered her phone. Her weak apology over how their lack of contact forced our visit to begin like a wild goose chase did little to make me feel better. And that she just didn't get that bothered me even more.

The nursing home is over an hour away. The main reason I haven't transfered my grandmother closer is because she seemed comfortable and had developed a routine and good relationship with her roommate. Convenience for me didn't seem like enough of a reason to cause her any undue stress. But not only has that apple cart now been upset, nobody thought it important enough to notify the family about what was going on or why it was necessary. Does it really seem like her best interests are even a concern?

I asked the social worker about the procedure for having Grandma moved to another nursing home and found out the leg work will be on me as far as finding one in our area that takes Medicaid and that has a space for her. I just have to call her with the info when I find one, Ms. Social Worker said. I wanted to reach through the phone, grab her by the collar and shake the spit our of her mouth for all the help she offered. Instead, I thanked her and hung up.

This crap is so overwhelming it isn't even funny.