Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hitchcock, Speilberg, Pohl?

Mike has become quite involved with filmmaking.  It all started out of necessity, several years ago we decided it was time to add TV commercials to our array of advertising for the store.  Of course, we wouldn't hire anyone to make one for us, not when we could figure out how to do it ourselves.  That's kind of the way things work in the Pohl household.

Through the years, Mike has done massive amounts of research and testing, fine tuning his choice of cameras, video editing software, music.  He has taught himself every aspect of filming, with excellent internet resources and hands-on trial and error.

Since the purchase of the Canon 7D last year, things have really ramped up.  He has built himself a shoulder camera mount, so he can more easily film dirt bikes out in the woods.  He has been buying old lenses on Ebay, to improve his ability to control lighting and focus.  He spends time, nearly every single day, experimenting or reading up on the latest info.

You probably saw Esther's birthday video, which I posted a couple of weeks ago.  If not, here is the link again:

I think it really shows how much he has learned, and was an artistic departure from ACES TV commercials.  I love that he can see a little girl's birthday party in such a sweet light.

Last weekend his dirt bike club held their annual "Sandblast" event at their track in Grantsburg, and he has become their official videographer.  When you have a few minutes, sit back and check it out:

Not exactly your typical dirt bike video, and that's why I love it so much.

Now if only I could direct that all-consuming passion towards things like cleaning out his corner of the office....but you know these artistic types...

Friday, March 26, 2010

spring break eve

Charlie has spring break next week, and boy is he ready. 

His new school has really challenged him this year (which is why we brought him there in the first place), and this was the last week of third quarter.  Frankly, we are ALL ready for a break.  Sleeping in a bit in the morning, staying up a little later at night, no homework to harangue him about,  no healthy lunches to prepare while I am still half asleep.

In the past we have taken a vacation, last year it was skiing at Lutsen and hanging out in Grand Marais.  We have been to Key West, San Diego, and Santa Fe. 

This year we are going to finish cleaning out the attic and basement.  Everyone has their own new econcomic realities!  But we are going to find our pictures from those trips, and reminisce about the fun we had.

Another thing we plan to do, during our at-home break, is explore new restaurants throughout the metro area.  Charlie has been doing some research in the latest issue of "Minnesota Monthly", so he will be in charge of making the choices.

With temperatures climbing close to 70 next week, who wants to go away?  The dirt bike track is calling, and the backyard flower beds want to be dug into.  And it just may be time to pull out the grill and have that first dinner outside.

For those of you enjoying a little break next week-have fun with your family!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

recipe box Wednesday

Today I share with you one of our family's favorite pastas, that has, quite frankly, fallen off our radar this winter.  Perhaps it is because I prefer to make it in August, when I buy bags full of ripe, juicy tomatoes at the Farmer's Market, and make a triple batch, and freeze it to enjoy when the winter winds howl outside the door.  I never got around to it last summer, the whole freezing-ahead bit, and this recipe was overshadowed by a winter full of stews and chilis. 

In cleaning out the freezer last week, I stumbled across a package of wonderful, thick-cut bacon we had picked up on one of our trips home from Bemidji, at Thielen's Meat Market in Little Falls.  If you ever have a chance to stop there-do.  It's a wonderful old fashioned meat counter, with men in white paper hats and blood spattered aprons, ready to pull out some link sausages or a beautiful red steak from the display, and weigh it in front of you, and wrap it in white paper.

The bacon reminded me of this recipe, so I made a batch last night.  It's from the Hay Day Country Market Cookbook (a dandy to add to your collection).  Enjoy!

Tuscan Tomato and Bacon Sauce

2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. sweet Italian sausage (bulk, or slipped out of its casing)
4 strips thick sliced smoked bacon, diced
1 lg. clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 c. coarsely chopped Spanish onion
1/2 c. port (I sub red wine instead)
2 lbs. fresh plum tomatoes or 4 cups good quality canned plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. shredded fresh basil, or more to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-hi heat.  Add the sausage and bacon, saute until sausage is browned and the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes.  Drain the excess fat from the pan, add the garlic and onion, and continue to cook over med-hi heat until the onion is tender and lightly colored, 8-10 minutes.

Add the port (or wine) and simmer for 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a gentle simmer over med-hi heat and cook, uncovered, until the tomatoes are softened and cooked down, 20-25 minutes.  Stir in basil, and serve.  Or let cool and store, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week (provided your refrigerator is running....) or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I like to serve it over pasta with a sprinkling of fresh parmesan, it is also yummy with a few grilled shrimp tucked on top.  Or it can be used as a pizza topping.  Another option is to stir in a cup of cooked cannellini beans for a heartier sauce (with extra fiber), or throw in a handful of fresh spinach to up the vitamin content.

If you make it, you will see why I rarely cook just a single batch...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Yesterday I had the great pleasure to meet two high school classmates for lunch.  One of them I had not seen, literally, since high school, and it was such fun to find out about her life of the last 30 years.  THIRTY YEARS.  I am still trying to figure out how that happened, but enough dwelling on the passage of time. 

We lead busy lives, with work, children, pets, houses to manage.  We develop friendships with neighbors, parents of our children's friends, school connections.  Some have childhood friends, that they always stay in contact with.  Others have maintained high school connections, or wonderful relationships fostered during the college years, or friendships developed while working together.  No matter how the friends come in to our lives, sometimes they remain with you always, other times they fall by the wayside, with families developing new interests, moving, or changing jobs or locales.

No matter the time spent, these connections are important.  They foster new ideas, and reflections on where we are at in our own lives, and what we have, or have not accomplished.  My other classmate was a close high school friend, we worked on the school newspaper together, had sleepovers at her parent's cabin, experimented with alcohol together.  But as will happen, we went our separate paths after high school, and have rarely seen each other through the years.  She has had a very difficult time of it, losing both of her parents and her sister in one year.  I attended her father's funeral, and felt terrible that I had not stayed connected with her.  But that wasn't the way our lives worked out, and we have found each other again.  We share a passion for knitting, and are already planning our next get together.  All of the time we did not see each other is in the past, and we are moving forward with all that the coming years have to offer.
Cherish the connections you make, with friends old and new.  Our lives are fleeting (before you know it, it will be time for YOUR 30th class reunion), and each person that comes in to your life brings something to it.  Whether you see them every week, or every ten years, or even if your friendship has ended-they meant something to you, and you brought something to them as well.

Monday, March 22, 2010


The arrival of spring requires all caps-something I rarely use in my blog titles.

It's here, and we wear our survival of another Minnesota winter like a badge of courage.

To welcome the new season, we swept all of the winter remains from our steps, and I found a lovely new doormat covered in poppies.  I made our favorite summer pasta (the Barefoot Contessa Sun Dried Tomato Pasta) that I have gone on and on about on this blog.  The smell of the fresh basil (quite a deal at Trader Joe's) permeated the whole house.  sigh.

I am too superstitious to remove the window screens yet, and the winter boots, while moved, are still within access if necessary.  I did defy my usual carefulness, and removed the flannel sheets from the beds.  So if we get a snowstorm, you can blame it on me.

I bought packets of seeds, and trays for starting them, all excited to see the tiny shoots of green.  Until I brought them home, and looked at the spot in the baement where I thought I would tackle this project.  I am having second thoughts.  It seems like SO MUCH WORK to save some money.  Thoughts, any one?

If I am diligent, and not lazy, I could have this as my reward. 

But that seems really far away.

Clearly, I am looking for someone to tell me what to do...

Friday, March 19, 2010

appliance woes

They say you never really appreciate some things until they are gone.  Or in this case, quit working.

St. Patrick's Day arrived, with gleeful anticipation in all of the Irish households of a beautiful day for parading and celebrating.  Most years it is cold, or raining, or snowing, so this year excitement was high.  Spring had shown itself early in St. Paul.

Mike and I have lived in this town for 18 years, and never once have we made it to the parade.  This was our year.  We had cleared our work calendars for the afternoon, and were ready to go.  Mike was going to do some filming, and perhaps create one of his fun mini-movies.  I had on my green, cash and ID in my pocket (what kind of a habit is THAT?  When is the last time I have been CARDED?)

That morning, when I had opened the fridge to pull out my rice milk for my coffee (another story for another day), an aroma wafted out.  And I realized it was strangely silent in my kitchen.  I informed Mike that I thought we might have a fridge problem.

I reminded him of that as we were about to leave, realizing that if we DID have a problem, we would have to deal with it sooner rather than later, or risk losing hundreds of dollars in food.

It was dead.  The lights were on but no one was home.  We checked the manual for troubleshooting tips and tried them.  We called Amana, they referred us to the place of purchase.  We called Warner's Stellian, they informed us that they no longer repaired Amana products.  While Mike was handling the phones, I was pulling out coolers, and cleaning out our basement freezer to make room for all of our fridge freezer goods.  I suggested Mike call his brother Bob, who actually used to work for Amana in Iowa.

The repair shop we were referred to was closed for a couple of hours to celebrate their birthday.

What to do in such a situation?  The Internet, to the rescue!

Mike did some searching, and Bob sent us some links.  While I continued to empty out the useless fridge and borrow coolers from friends, he actually diagnosed what he hoped was the problem and pulled out the evil part.  Finding a parts place not far from us, he brought it home and installed it.  We were fervently hoping we didn't need to go and buy a new fridge, or wait two days for the repair folks to show up and charge us $100 an hour in labor.  Not in the budget this year.

Mike put in the new part, we held our breath.  It worked!

So $60, several hours, and coolers full of food later, we had survived the 'crisis'.  Not really a crisis in the sense of horrible illness, or a death in the family or a rising river outside our door, but troublesome nonetheless.  Just as when we lose power for a few hours during a summer thunderstorm, you forget how much you rely on the conveniences of modern life, until you have to live without them.

So hug your fridge today, it does it's job 24/7.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

finding time

Last week I was whining about the gloomy weather.

And Monday it was sixty degrees, and sunny, and virtually all of the snow went away.  I went for a big walk, and when I got home I had FIVE NEW MAGAZINES in the mail.  Which alone is enough to make me really happy.  The cover of Real Simple said "More Time For You".

I took that as an order.  I abandoned my desk covered with work and the laundry waiting for me in the basement.  I pulled a canvas chair from the garage and poured myself a glass of iced tea.  I positioned it all in the sunniest corner of my back yard, pulled off my wool socks, and soaked up the sunshine for nearly two hours.

I must be growing up, because I hardly felt guilty at all.

My toes hadn't felt the sunshine since September.  Oh, they were so happy.  I even got a little sunburn, and it felt great.  (yes, I DID put on sunscreen...)

I took a little tour of the garden, and found these hopeful signs:

The fall blooming asters are already peaking out of the ground:

I can't remember, I think this is bellflower?

And look at the lovage, pushing through the ice and snow.

Oh, spring is definitely on the way.  And with it, a gentle reminder to all of you to find some moments in the day, just for you.  The laundry will wait.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

recipe box Wednesday

It's the St. Patty's Day edition of Recipe Box Wednesday!

Mike is half Irish, and I am part Irish (still in contention about how much, someone in my mom's family did a family history and discovered some of our ancestors came from Ireland, and she was sure it was Norway, or Sweden, and stubbornly refuses to believe the information).

That being said, I do not do a lot of Irish cooking.  I made Mike corned beef and cabbage one year.  You will note I have not made it again.

In all of our diligent cleaning these last few weeks, I unearthed my Grandma Betty's recipe box.  (which alone made all of this tidying and organizing worth it!)  I knew I had it, I just wasn't quite sure where it was.

My Grandma was a wonderful cook, and even though my dad and his parents were not close, we did get to enjoy her amazing food on the holidays.  Some of my fondest memories are of my grandma in the kitchen.  I think she really enjoyed it, as she was always singing.  She had a beautiful voice, and really let it out when she was making pie.  Heather gave me a wonderful picture of her that she had improved and enlarged, that shows her in the kitchen with her rolling pin, and it appears the camera caught her mid-song.  (if I can ever figure out our uber complicated scanner I will share it with you!)

My, this post is getting long just to get to a recipe.

So, in looking through the box, there was nothing really specifically Irish.  But potatoes are associated with the Irish, and I have NEVER seen a recipe like this one, so thought it would be perfect to share today!


3/4 cup cold mashed potatoes
4 c. confectioners sugar
4 c. shredded coconut
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
8 squares baking chocolate

Mix potatoes and confectioners sugar.  Stir in coconut, salt, and vanilla, blend well.  Press into large pan so that candy will be about 1/2" thick.  Melt chocolate over hot water (do not allow water to boil).  Pour chocolate on top of candy.  Cool.  Cut in squares (32) pieces.

Kind of sounds like a macaroon!  If you try it, please let me know how it is.  I honestly don't remember ever having this (I am sure I would have recalled it, being chocolate and all...)

and Happy St. Patty's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"without a song...

..or a dance, what are we?  So I say Thank You for the music, for giving it to me..."

Sunday I had the great pleasure to see this:

It was my Christmas present, from my dear friend Tracy.  We took Eloise and Esther along for a girl day, their first Broadway show.  The sun was shining and downtown Minneapolis was abuzz-the sidewalk was packed outside the Orpheum, and inside the glittering chandeliers reflected the gilded artwork on the ceiling.

By now you are all familiar with this musical, having been transformed into a fun movie romp with Meryl Streep and cast.  When the movie came out last summer I saw it four times in a month.  Not because it is great theater, or a wonderful story.  But because every time I watched it, I smiled, and was happy, and felt like dancing.  Who wouldn't want to repeat that feeling over and over again?

And on Sunday it all came back.  The fun.  The memories of dancing around my bedroom as a teenager to "Dancing Queen".  And it doubled the fun to share it with two little girls (dressed adorably, and with impeccable manners), and their amazing mom (beautiful in her new Liberty coat), who knows me better than most.

Thanks for the great day Tracy-I'm still dancing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

what a difference a day makes

Mother Nature blessed us with a record high of 64 degrees yesterday, along with abundant sunshine.  (Quite frankly, after the last couple of weeks, we dearly deserved it).

I never knew so many people lived here, and yesterday they were ALL outside.  It was glorious.  And made me want to start some of these, from seed, sometime this week:

Everyone had a smile on their face.  Kids were on bikes, parents were pushing strollers, runners were out in tshirts and shorts.

No one appreciates spring like people who live with snow for several months of the year.  The piles are melting, our front yard is completely snow free, and the field across the street is already a lovely shade of green.  And we get an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day, and before long the view from our house will look like this at sunset:

Balm to the senses.

I know, it's March, traditionally our second snowiest month of the year.  I remember giant snowstorms in both March and April.  It's Minnesota-it could happen.  But the difference is, those snows will melt quicker than the pile that has been outside my kitchen door all winter.

And I have seen the sun, and know that spring is on it's way.

And the other thing that completely lifted my mood yesterday?  A lovely Christmas present from a dear friend.  But I'll tell you about that tomorrow...

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'd never make it in Seattle

I promised myself not to write about the weather, but after the 451st straight day of gray skies and rain (I know, it hasn't been THAT long, it just seems that way...) I am forced to blog about it.

Is it my age?  The fact that I work from home and can see the gray skies out of every single window I walk through?  Do I not have enough going on in my life?  Because this winter, more then ever in my life, I have really been affected by the gray skies.

Maybe it's the giant piles of gray snow that look like they will never melt, on the shady side of our house.  Maybe it 's because we aren't taking any kind of vacation break this year, and these four walls are closing in.  Whatever it is, I need some help.

Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of a crashing summer thunderstorm, or waking to the sound of soft raindrops on my roof.  I just don't want it to last for WEEKS.

I have tried all of my usual tricks-lots of lights on in the house all day, fragrant candles glowing, beautiful music playing on the stereo. I have watched shows of lush tropical islands.  I have read books set in hot climates.  I have gotten out of the house and looked at garden supplies and patio furniture and imagined my yard green.  I look at the glimpses of green grass through the snow and imagine sitting in my back yard with a glass of wine. 

Mike tells me to remember that just above the clouds, the sky is achingly blue.  And I'm trying, really, I am.

I bought some purple tulips and daffodils at Trader Joes this week.  I cut up a fresh mango.  I even painted my toenails in my favorite summer color, and drank a glass of iced green tea and thought long and hard about what it feels like to be too warm in the summer.

Today Mike and I are going to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory for a couple of hours, to take some pictures, and soak up the greeness, and try to forget about the weather for a while.  Maybe that will do the trick.

Any suggestions, dear readers, on how not to lose my mind before the skies turn blue again?  (and yes, I have tried the drinking lots of wine to forget about it all trick...)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

insomnia read

This the book I started this morning at 4:30- "The Night Counter" by Alia Yunis:

Mike's aunt told me about it (thanks Mary!) and it is wonderful so far.  Fatima with the purple hair tells stories of her life in Lebanon to Scheherazade each night, while her ten Arab American children live their lives.  You can read more here:


Perfect predawn rainy March reading, it is one of those books I would like to abandon everything for today and just read it straight through.  It has been a while since I have found a book like that.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

recipe box Wednesday

Today I share with you what I made for dinner on Monday night.  I had read The Pioneer's Woman's post on Chicken Piccata, and I was instantly longing for Buca's Chicken Marsala.  Have you had it?  If you have, you know what I mean, about the longing part.

I had tried to recreate it at home before, but the supposed copycat recipe just wasn't the same.  It called for dry Marsala wine, which I dutifully used, but the flavor of the restaurant's dish, with just a hint of sweetness in the sauce, was not there.  So yesterday I did some on-line sleuthing and found one that seemed close, and I toodled on down to Trader Joe's for a bottle of sweet Marsala wine, and got busy.

Of course, the classic side dish with Buca's Chicken Marsala is their Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  And I had made that recipe, with success, in the past (and reeled at the amount of butter and cheese it called for...).

As I casually calculated the fat calories in my head, I knew this would be a night we would need a long walk after dinner.  But oh, was it worth it.  Here are the recipes:

Buca's Chicken Marsala  (there's even a video-if you want to watch how to make it)


Buca's Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Bon Appetiti!

not your average rube goldberg set up

Do you remember Ok Go's fabulous scynchronized treadmill video?

Well, they are back, with a new song and video, that was released last week.  And in this article, you can find out how it all came together.

I can completely see my kid doing something like this, someday. 


Monday, March 8, 2010

fairy dust and magic wands

When I was expecting sweet Charlie, there was no doubt that he was a boy, and knowing I was only going down that road once, I put aside all thoughts of princess gowns and baby dolls, and knew my world would be filled with dump trucks and sand boxes and building blocks.

I have had the great good fortune to spend time with the sweetest girls in the world, Eloise and Esther, and now their baby sister Astrid (who has yet to develop any fondness for me, but I am sure she will come around....).

And last Saturday, I was privileged to help their mom Tracy throw the greatest 5 year old birthday party ever.  http://www.sellabitmum.blogspot.com/

It was a princess tea party, and Tracy did not skip a beat in planning.  From the perfectly set table, to the beautifully decorated room, to all of the fun a princess can have at a party, it was just a delight.  Thank you SO MUCH for including me in the fun!

Mike is turninng into quite the videographer, and on Saturday he asked if he could film something besides dirt bikes.  And here is what he made:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQVj5xJROuU

Friday, March 5, 2010

early morning light

Sleep can be a hard thing to hang on to.  In our college years, we can drop off during the middle of the day at the drop of a hat.  When babies are born, cherished moments of sleep are snatched whenever possible.  As women near the half century mark (yikes, that makes me sound flippin' ANCIENT) sleep can elude us, and pharmaceutical companies rejoice at the prospect of selling us sleep aids.

But sometimes, I really don't mind being wide awake at 5 am.  Especially on a March morning-when I watch as our quiet street is lit by the glow of streetlamps, and errant Christmas lights yet to be taken down.  Glancing to the east, I begin to see a faint lightening at the edge of the tree line, and soon a pale pink filters between the rooftops. 

(what it would look like if I lived in a chalet in the mountains....since I didn't take my own picture:)

I am snuggled on the couch, with a warm woolen blanket and fuzzy slippers.  The furnace is still on night temperature, and won't kick in to warm me until 7 am.  So I brew a cup of tea, and my dear companion Claude curls in next to me, happy to have human company so early in the morning.  He stretches his arthritic paws over his head, then does his happy flop and curl, and purrs contentedly.  Even his purr has aged, and doesn't have the vibrancy of his youth.

The only sound is the ticking of the clock on the wall, and the occasional car as it drives by.  Perhaps it is someone who works an early shift, or maybe a mother driving to the gas station to pick up milk for breakfast, or the newspaper delivery man, running late.

And as my guys continue to sleep, the world continues to lighten.  It is now peach, and yellow, and the dirty gray snow banks reflect the weak sunshine as it spreads through the branches of the pine tree outside my front window.

I am reading Anne Tyler's latest release, loving the quiet reading time to myself in the morning.  It is different than the reading before bed routine, as now I am awakening, rather than drifting off and losing my place on the page.

And now the furnace has clicked on, and the traffic has increased.  The garbage truck has left the high school across the street, the giant metal bins shuddering as they were lifted and shaken over the hulking trucks.  Soon the uniformed students will be arriving with their heavy backpacks, and their cans of soda, their jackets flung open in disregard of the cold.

The alarm will beep, and Mike will descend the stairs, groggy and smiling, his hair styled in sleep.  I will crawl up the ladder to Charlie's loft bed, and gently shake his feet, and waken him for a new day. He has missed so much already.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

budget vacation

Since a fabulous family winter vacation is not in the cards this year, I wanted to think of a way we could still do a little traveling.  We LOVE to travel as a family, and have a huge list of the places we want to see.  I asked the guys to pick one (preferably a sunny spot), and they chose New Zealand.  So last Sunday, we went there:

I had journeyed up to the library, and picked two videos of the country:  one was an hour long and featured a British traveler as he tried out all New Zealand had to offer, very fun. 

The other was more of an overview of the country, narrated by the "Dirty Jobs" guy.  I had turned up the heat in the house a little bit (but we did not get out our shorts and sandals, which definitely would have added to the experience...), and we watched this gorgeous, unusual country unfold before our eyes.

For dinner, I had done a little research and determined we needed to have fish (since it is quite plentiful there, and is often served).  A nice hunk of salmon, with a citrus reduction.  Then a big fruit salad, prominently featuring mangos, and of course, kiwi.  Along with that, some Thai rice with lime (as their cuisine has a heavy Asian influence), and a luscious bottle of New Zealand white wine.  Yum!

I had found a beautiful book on the country, and we paged through it during dinner, and learned some interesting facts:

1.  New Zealand has more sheep than people, and is noted for their wool.

2.  New Zealand was the first country IN THE WORLD to give women the right to vote, back in the 1890's.

3.  Bungee jumping was invented there, and they are considered a home of Extreme Sports.

4.  There are many species of plant and animals that live on the islands of New Zealand, but are not found anywhere else in the world.

5.  It has everything from sandy beaches, to rainforests, to volcanos, to glaciers.

The most important thing we figured out?  Now that we know more about the country, we DEFINITELY want to go there.  It will be worth the two days of travel time!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

recipe box Wednesday

Today I direct you immediately over to The Pioneer Woman.  This is what I will be making for dinner tonight:
                                                   SUN DRIED TOMATO RISOTTO

                       (she took the picture too, I don't think she would mind me sharing it with you...)

Whenever you don't know what to make, all you need to do is sneak on over to her site and you will find something you can't wait to fire up the stove for.  For those of you who don't yet have her cookbook, many of the recipes from the book can be found on her site.  And failing that, you can head over to her other blog


She lives on a working ranch and homeschools four children , I am not exactly sure how she does all of that and manages two fabulous web-sites and writes a cookbook, but I would love to know her secret on how to be more productive. And on top of that, she is just a really neat person (which I deduced from the 8.7 minutes we spent talking to her-remember?)

If you love risotto, as I do, and have half a bottle of white wine resting in your fridge, whip this up for dinner tonight!  The ultimate comfort food.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

hair raising question

This post will remind you that my blog has nothing to do with saving the world, or embracing a cause, or providing you instruction on how to live a better life.  It's really just about everyday stuff, and hopefully I can make you smile now and then.

Todays controversial subject, is an age-old dilemna (pun intended...)

To dye, or not to dye?

As I approach my 48th year (gulp, how did that happen?), the silver streaks are increasing in quantity, nearly daily.  And while my mom started graying in a beautiful gray swath across her hair, my gray is random and wiry and not at all attractive.  I regularly encouraged my mom to keep her hair natural, as I thought it was really stunning.  And she never did dye it, and is a gorgeous 67 year old.  See?

Unfortunately, I did not inherit my mother's hair.  She has Archibald hair, it is still thick and strong.  My grandmother has lovely, pure white hair, that she styles in graceful waves around her head.  I always remember her with white hair, and didn't realize she had dark hair until I saw older pictures of her.  So she must have started graying young.

I have Hanson hair.  If you go back further, I think it is Port hair.  My hair is very fine, and thin, and I have about half of the hair I had just ten years ago.  Now I understand why my Grandma Betty wore wigs all of the time-they didn't have women's Rogaine back then.  She even talked her mom in to wearing a wig too, so clearly the thinning hair problem goes back even further, and is more likely a Dunn trait than a Port trait. In her last years, when she gave up on wigs, I remember her incredibly sparse hair, and being able to see through to her scalp, and just wanting to give her a really pretty hat. 

I have checked in to Rogaine.  I understand it works for some people, but it is expensive, and once you start using it, you can never stop, or you start losing your hair again.  And the thought of putting chemicals on my scalp, and just leaving them there, is not appealing.  I know someone who is using it, just on one spot on their head, and it really works.  But I have a whole head of problem, not just one spot.

I have read that if I dye my hair, it will appear thicker.  So that is a point in favor of going the color route.  My stylist (Hi Kim!) has suggested I start with highlights, rather than dying it all, until the gray gets more prevalent.

Is it a vanity point that I want to make it to 50 before I dye my hair?  And why 50?  At the rate my hair is graying, if I wait until 50 I will be as white as my Grandma Doris is at 88.  I have crooked teeth, could use some liposuction, and really need my veins done, and could benefit from some Botox-but would not seriously consider doing any of those things.  Why do I feel like I need to dye my hair?  (well for one, it's a lot less expensive than all of those other procedures...)

Your thoughts, dear readers?  (and please don't suggest going blonde, the only time I have messed with my hair I had a dramatic run-in with a bottle of Sun-In during the early 80's....)

Do you dye?  Will you dye?   At home or at the salon?

Monday, March 1, 2010

olympic top ten

It's over, and now it's back to regular programming at night.

Here's what I loved, how about you?

10.  Laughing at some of the interpretations of the Folk/Country theme in Ice Dancing.  Who ever thought we would see a back tattoo with cowboy boots as part of a costume on ice?

9. Wincing as the bobsleds tipped over on the 50/50, and watching the riders just walk away.

8.  Smiling as Shaun White performed his Double McTwist 1260 (even though he already had the gold in the bag).

7. Watching open mouthed as the skiiers whipped down the slalom course.

6.  Curling my toes as Evan performed all of his jumps, knowing he didn't need a quad to beat the Russian if he did everything else perfectly.

5.  Yawning every time Apolo did.  I think I loved watching him perform the most of any athlete.

4.  Crying as Joannie performed each skate, trying to imagine how she could possibly keep going.

3.  Watching the Canadian curlers in their gold medal rounds, tyring to figure out what shot they would throw next.

2.  Loving how the Canadian athletes nearly always sang their national anthem (often with gusto, as the Canadian Ice Dancing pair did), and how I didn't see a single American sing when they won the gold.  What's up with that?

1. My favorite moment?  The perfect, magical minutes when Kim Yu Na skated absolutely beautifully, and perfectly, even with the incredible weight of her entire country on her young shoulders.

NBC did a great job, and I am sad it's all over.  And who else wants to send P & G a thank you note for their fabulous 'Thank You Mom" commericals?  Tears in my eyes, lump in my throat every single time.


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