Wednesday, March 29, 2006

can we all just agree that pincurls are AMAZING?

photo-illustrated instructions below!

oh my stars. ever since i was a tiny kid, i've had a burning desire for the kind of curls that nature did not intend for me: those perfect thick round sausage curls most often found in public television productions of jane austen novels. once i got old enough to realize that braiding my wet hair and then waiting until it dried to take the braids out resulted in wavy hair (with weird super straight parts at the ends), not curly hair, my dear accomodating mom tried everything. we had a hand-me-down set of hot rollers, from one of the many older daughters of my mom's friends who were far more stylish than i, but because we didn't really use styling products and because my hair has a mind of its own, they didn't really do much. even when she got up early and woke me up early (a sacrifice in itself) to put them in my hair, affixing them with those weird metal clips, and then sent me back to bed (ouch!) for another hour, the results were disappointing at best. (and at worst...oh at worst. frizzy as all get out, sort of wavy-ish in places, some really crazy mixed up curly places from where i pulled the roller out horizontally, and some super straight places. sad.) we also tried sponge rollers, which were marginally more useful, but still not so great. especially since i was so excited about the curls that i wasn't very good at waiting until my hair was completely dry. then, in the sixth grade, i was finally allowed to use her curling iron (woo!) but i didn't have a very good idea of how to divide my thick hair into sections, and i didn't use the right kind of styling products, etc. not good either.

years and years later, i learned of the magic of mousse and scrunching, which is cool. especially my just-for-curls zesty smelling mousse. i like that stuff.

but PINCURLS. i tried them last night, in preparation for today's crazy hair day. i thought it would take a long time and require many many bobby pins (which, you may recall, i didn't get a chance to buy on monday because of my wacky tacky outfit), but i was wrong. it went pretty quick, even with the smaller sections i knew intuitively were key to my success. and they looked cool when they were all pinned up on my head! like beautiful silent movie star pretty. like nylons and high heels and pearls and a dress just to vacuum pretty. gorgeous. and easy. and fun.

i put a silk scarf on my head when i went to sleep to protect them, and then this morning when i took them out, i was delighted to see that they really do work! i had lovely curls that stayed all day.

so seriously, if you know of a little girl who pines for curls, buy her a card of bobby pins and get cracking. it's totally worth it.

update: or a little boy. there's enough awesome to go around, here.

update #2: if you got here by searching for "pincurls," here's my quick and dirty method (now new and improved: pincurl instructions with photos, just for you! and with a special bonus! guest hair model audra! thanks, audra! thanks also to jeff and dave who took pictures.):

here is what you will need: a lot of bobby pins. like a lot! a comb or a pencil for making parts, and some sort of mousse for added styling power. i would also suggest a brush, just in case, a silk scarf that you can put over them while you sleep, some large claw clips to hold aside the parts of your hair that you're not working on at the moment, and maybe a vase of flowers, just because they're nice to have around.


1. begin with damp hair (this is important; it's going to take a long long time to dry, and your hair drying in the pins is key to your success) and add some mousse. i have special "curl construct" mousse, which, in addition to smelling nice, really does construct curls.


2. divide your hair into small-ish sections, but be careful how you do it. i tried to use roughly square sections (if you've ever seen someone who has tiny braids with a box pattern as the part, this is what i mean) and i used about three layers (top, middle, bottom) because when you're done, your hair will stay in those sections unless you brush it out. this is also why you want to make sure that you have your hair parted exactly where you'll want it when you take the pins out.


3. carefully take the section of hair and wrap it up using your finger into a coil. be sure not to twist it! keep wrapping until you reach your scalp, then press the coil flat into your head and pin it with a bobby pin. if it doesn't fit in one pin, you could add another in an X, but i would start again with less hair. (but wait! you might say, you did bobby pin Xs with audra's hair! and yes, you are right. still, i would recommend making them small enough that Xs are not necessary. [because really, who likes an ex?])


4. once your whole head is done, you have to wait until your hair dries. if you've made the curls carefully, you probably look kind of retro glamorous. congratulations! you might want to wear it all pinned up sometime, even if you're not going for curls. if you're going to bed, wrap a scarf carefully around your entire head (i recommend using a silk one to minimize pulling) and try to sleep carefully.


5. when it's time to take the curls out, gently pull the pins out and let the curls fall on their own. if you're leaving them as they are (sausagey!), you might want to add a tiny bit of mousse by carefully scrunching the curl in your hand. if you're planning on combing or brushing it, mousse might not be a bad idea when you're done.


update #3: if you enjoyed this post, i encourage you to look around and read some of the other ones! and thanks for your comments; i always love reading what folks have to say.

update #4: i recently tried pincurls out on someone with fine, wavy hair, and in just a few hours her hair was curly and ready to go! mine definitely needs overnight to dry at minimum, but if your hair is less dense than mine, you might not have to allow 18 hours for this process.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

can we all just agree that school spirit dress up weeks make school much more interesting?

in case you were wondering, i do work at an elementary school some of the time for one of my jobs. this week we're enjoying dress up days. i have fond memories of dress up days from my own elementary school days (although i never was allowed to wear my underwear over my pants for inside-out and backwards day, like i wanted to when i was in first grade. so sad.)

i have to say, though, that "wacky tacky day," is kind of weird. i don't remember there being such a day when i was in elementary school, or even high school. the thing about elementary schoolers, though, is that, on any given day, a significant percentage of them are already wearing clothes that are either wacky or tacky or both. (understandably so: some of them choose their own clothes, some of the families don't have a lot of resources or much inclination toward buying nice/tasteful clothes that are just going to be lost/outgrown/destroyed in a few months anyway, some kids are dressed and otherwise maintained by people who ensure that they non-ironically have giant rattails, etc.) i wanted to recognize students' participation in spirit week, but i didn't want to offend anyone, so i ended up not saying much about it.

my wacky tacky day outfit was so wacky and so tacky that i ended up not going to the pharmacy on the way home like i kind of needed to.

Monday, March 27, 2006

can we all just agree that snails and slugs are awful?

they're the bane of my gardening existence. the nasty little snot-based organisms love more than anything to snack on just-grown sprouts, and they also have quite the uncanny knack for knowing which plants are a little sad and discouraged anyway, and then focusing all their energy on those. and sometimes you step on them by accident. and sometimes you're barefoot. and it is awful.

i used to use this expensive-[it was imported from germany]-but-not-poisonous-to-people slug bait, but then i ran out and didn't get around to getting any more, so the other day i went to one of the many liquor stores in my neighborhood and bought a large bottle of the champagne of beers* (because it was the cheapest) because i've heard from several people that if you put a dish of beer in your garden, the snails and slugs will either drink themselves to death or dissolve themselves by accident in it, and i'd finally become comfortable with the idea of destroying them in that way. but then it kept raining and raining and raining (and raining), and my brilliant plan was foiled again and again. and then finally on saturday, i decided that i was going to put some out because it looked like it was clearing up [apparently that's how the weather works around here lately; during the week it's rainy off and on, and then during the weekend {when you want to go to the beach or at least on a hike or at the very least run around and play frisbee} it rains like it's going out of style] and the next day i went to look at the dish, to see what had happened...but it was dry. not just empty, but dry. it couldn't have all evaporated, and it didn't spill, so i think that i accidentally got someone's cat drunk. i didn't mean to do that, but i'm hoping that, if in fact the feline was inebriated, it resulted in something as cute as the first photo here. because that is some cute, my friends.

(oh, and it didn't seem to do anything to any of the snotters; they're still going after my plants with abandon. sigh.)

*which, actually, tasted alright to me when i tried some before putting it outside.

¿podemos estar de acuerdo que un@s amig@s buen@s son las cosas más maravillosas en el mundo?

creía que sí. y gracias a d.d.

¿podemos estar de acuerdo de que es muy importante practicar los idiomas que uno esta tratando de aprender?

es cierto. y por eso, a veces los voy a tener que exponer a mi español. está bastante bueno, pero todavía necesita un poco de ayuda. y practica.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

can we all just agree that gas water* is freaking amazing?

it's all the exciting bubbliness and delightful flavor (or not) of soda, but without the nasty, tooth-eating pounds of refined sugar. and i just went to the grocery store where it is really cheap. woo!

*you may call it sparkling water. this is because you are wrong, but we can still be friends. probably.

can we all just agree that shoes beginning to fit is really exciting?

so yes yes yes, shoes should either fit reasonably well or not be purchased. i'm totally on board with this. but when a person buys reasonably well-fitting and super cute shoes, and then they turn out to be lemons and to make a person's little feet sad sad sad (with freaky purple stripes! yikes!) but a person's mom and a person's dear dear friend and shopping ally for life also bought the same shoes, and they both swear that they only get more comfortable, and another person who owns the same shoes independently confirms this, then waiting it out seems like an alright idea.

so today i wore them crafty shopping and grocery shopping, and i brought a pair of flip flops just in case, but i didn't have to use them! and my feet only felt a little funny and the stripes are only reddish. hooray!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

can we all just agree that sometimes, just sometimes, comment spam can improve a person's day*?

i know that it's kind of obnoxious in general, but now that i got my first comment spam, i feel like can we all just agree is growing up. it's kind of like a zit; gross and a bummer, but a sign of something bigger...something more exciting...possibly the beginning of a new phase of life?

*a day which is already looking up, dramatically

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

can we all just agree that really odd coincidences seem far more interesting late at night than they would otherwise?

because i was just looking at and deleting very very old email, and i was reading a media matters message from september 23 while listening to my current favorites playlist. and i was enjoying "i'm wrong about everything" by john wesley harding and thinking about how much i like the movie, the book, and the soundtrack for high fidelity, and then, all of the sudden, there was a section about bill o'reilly and his mendacity and blatant, insistent, willful...ahem...misrepresentations, and it concluded with several of the lines from the song. that i was listening to right then! woo!

it's so time for bed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

can we all just agree that i need to go back to school soon?

i was just working on a lesson plan for first graders, and i very nearly wrote [and invented, possibly] the phrase "imaginational horizons." my social science-y genius for making up words and phrases is not being used to its full potential in any of my current employment situations. sigh. this can't go on forever.

Monday, March 20, 2006

can we all just agree that menu planning for twenty people is harder than it seems?

i've been working on a two week menu (including snacks!) for quite awhile now, and i'm still kind of stumped when it comes to lunches. i keep wanting to have sandwiches for lunch every day, but i feel like i need to come up with something else. eh.

can we all just agree that high heels are ridiculous?

but, that in certain situations, it's worth the discomfort and impracticality and tiny chance that you will break your sweet ankle to be a little taller and stand up a lot straighter and walk a lot less shufflier and look gorgeous?

so gorgeous, in fact, that a tiny man on the train grabs your ass?

can we all just agree that "jesus the mexican boy" by iron & wine is hauntingly beautiful?

the other day i was listening to it and thinking about how beautiful it is and then i got a little teary. but it wasn't one of those situations where i was upset about something else and the song just set me off, it was just me feeling emotional about the song. ah.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

can we all just agree that listening to yann tierson's score for amelie makes everything more whimsical?

although i have yet to develop talking paintings or a pig-shaped bedside lamp that shakes its head sadly and grunts before turning the light off for me, i have been feeling the whimsy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

can we all just agree that some kinds of bird poop are worse than others?

naturally, the kind that is on you (particularly the face/neck/hair region of you*), but also the kind that is sticky, dark colored, quick drying, and that makes you itch like crazy after you wipe it off.

today was kind of a bummer in spots (not all over, though), but that took the cake. or the poop, as it were.

*and by you, i of course mean me

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

can we all just agree that the gin blossoms make excellent music by which to de-frusgruntulate?

"found out about you"? "hey jealousy"? and all of the sudden i'm in junior high again. angst, so much angst, incredible amounts community theatre [definitely a contributor to the angst] but really sweet vans.

can we all just agree that "frusgruntulated" is a totally fantastic word?

because it encapsulates perfectly "frustrated" and "disgruntled," but that extra u brings a fantastic synergistic benefit, which has never been and will likely never be explained by science (besides, they need to get cracking on teleportation technology, anyway. stay away from frustgruntulated, science! make me a teleporter, stat!)

additionally, frusgruntulated encapsulates perfectly the way i was feeling for most of the evening. eh.

oh also, it reminds me of the southern princess. sigh.

can we all just agree that sometimes one conversation is all it takes

to make your life seem 1000% better?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

can we all just agree that being alive is amazing?

tonight as i was climbing up the stairs to my house after too many hours of work at too many jobs, i noticed that the sky seemed much darker than usual, and the stars much brighter, and the moon was almost too bright to look at. and then I was amazed, because through the swirly clouds [think van gough's starry night], i suddenly saw airplanes flying way too close to each other, in formation, looking strangely like Orion's belt [which is one of the only constellations I can identify, even after a semester of astro 10] and then I saw a bunch of other planes flying too. and the sky was filled with lights, moving really fast and way too close to each other. and then, in an instant, i realized that it was actually the swirly clouds moving as fast as I've ever seen clouds move, and making the stars look like they were flying by comparison. and then I was extra-glad to be alive.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

can we all just agree that merging shouldn't be so complex?

seriously, people. if you can count to two, you can merge safely, politely, and competently. here, i'll even draw you a diagram.

one--->
<---two
one--->
<---two
one--->
<---two
one--->
<---two
one--->
<---two

that's how it should look. you can print this out and laminate it and tape it to your dashboard, if you think you might need to.

or you can print it and laminate and tape it to someone else's dashboard. i don't mind.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

can we all just agree that unlikely food combinations can be really incredible sometimes, particularly if cheese is involved?

because today my friend and i made these fantastic little discs of joy by splitting mini pita breads and filling them with fresh pesto, some delightfully firm holland gouda (not smoked, but firm and dry and perfect) and chunks of queso fresco and fried them in a little olive oil. and they were so incredibly delicious that i drooled a little while i ate them. especially when i bit into chunks of hot queso fresco; it's a really good idea.

Friday, March 03, 2006

can we all just agree that being sick makes me say amusingly folksy things?

because in the last thirty-six hours, i've said each of the following things, at least once, but in some cases more than once:

1. "sure as shootin'"
2. "for pity's sake"
3. "oh for the love of pete!"
4. "you hit the nail on the head"
5. "that's right on the money"
6. "[fill in name here] has a bee in her bonnet"

can we all just agree that, although were are at least seventeen things about today that were kind of crummy, the following things from today are good

phone conversations with four of my most favorite people ever (in one day!), a friend meeting kids i love, somebody very special in the veryrecent past and also in the not-so-distant future!, impending fridays, doritos (darn it they're good), encouraging email, funny requests (two inch white heels? i've got 'em in piles! right.), laughing cow cheese and spicy flaxseed chips, bagels with cream cheese, going to bed

can we all just agree that 12+ hours is too many when the day also includes the following*+

1. the kind of presentation that involved people reading powerpoint slides to you when you already have a copy of the slides in front of you in a darkened room early in the morning
2. weird passive-aggressive pressure intended to spur public personal disclosures in a work environment
3. a gross cold, first grade style
4. a crazy "therapist"
5. 22 kids and a guest speaker, but not necessarily enough paper for a writing assignment
6. 14 kids afterward for a few hours, alone
7. presentations that had to be a product of the department of redundancy department
8. um, challenging families
9. school picture-style photo sittings, with an audience
10. not one but two trips to the pharmacy
11. a scratchy scratchy voice
12. disdainful treatment after declining to receive special offers and notifications via email (haven't they heard? i only accept spammy crap under certain circumstances)
13. bad drivers
14. sick kids who are also really sad about it
15. being late. twice.
16. time slowing down so that i couldn't go home, but now speeding up so that i've been home for hours and i still haven't accomplished any of the things i intended (#1 on the list being going to bed, for pete's sake)
17. the cold

*this list is not necessarily exclusive
+or chronologically ordered