Stubble Trouble

| Posted in Health, Writing | By

ladies facial hair Stubble Trouble

Normally today I’d put up a “Tip Thursday” post, but there’s been a  bit of drama around here and I can’t stop thinking about the problem at hand. Or rather, the problem at face.

This morning I found a hair on my cheek. Rather, IN my cheek.

A freaking cheek hair.

A cheek hair.



I’ll take “Two words that shouldn’t ever go together when referring to women,” Alex.

I know that everyone has a little fuzz on their faces, and that there are bigger problems in the world to spend time discussing. I understand that children go to bed hungry, and blahblahblah I DON’T GIVE A SHIT I’VE GOT HAIR ON MAI FACE.

I am neither a man nor a beast, so why is this happening to me?

I spotted the hair this morning and brushed it away, thinking it was an errant lock from my head. Sadly, this was not the case. It was gray (because OF COURSE IT WAS) and it was glittery. It was at least 3 inches long, and I may save it to use as tinsel on the Christmas tree, if I stop crying in time to buy a tree.

How did it grow so long? Is it possible that it’s been there for many days, or weeks?  OH MY GOD IT’S BEEN THERE FOR MONTHS, HASN’T IT? It took three tries to pull it out and the root was long. It still hurts and there’s a bit of a hole marking the spot of the struggle.

Do I have a horrible disease wherein I start sprouting facial hair while the hair on my head thins and grays? Are my vital organs suffering at the hands of this nutrient-life-force-sucking cheek hair? Is this my “Welcome to 40, Biotch” warm-up? I’ve got 2 months left in 39 and I’d like to spend them facial-hair free, if possible.

I mean, I love a bearded man, so maybe my prayers were misinterpreted somehow?

Is this a precursor of what’s to come?  What can I expect next?

Give it to me straight, friends. I’ll be back to check in a few hours. Until then, I’ll be upstairs.



Updated: Uh oh, you guys. It gets worse. Apparently, MUCH worse. Let my friend Sharon tell you:

The Product You Thought You’d Never Need


Tip Thursday: Home Hair Colour

| Posted in Writing | By

 Tip Thursday: Home Hair Colour

I’m a budget savvy gal – more from necessity than choice, but all the same, I like to do things as cheaply as possible. While certain things are easy to cut back on, like fresh vegetables or dental care, others are harder to eliminate from a modern lifestyle. Hair colouring, for instance.

My natural hair colour falls between “deer mouse” and “dish water” on the colour scale, and once you add in some grey at the roots, and it’s a bit of a horror show.  I haven’t bought make-up in months, and still use a roll-on deodorant, but I will fight gray hair with the strength and conviction of an army from someplace that has a really strong and convinced army.

Legal salons run by qualified staff can charge upwards of $100 for a good hair colour. If you’re like me, and instead think of all the Pearl Jam iTunes downloads you could buy with $100, then home hair colouring is for you.

But if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right. So use my experience, and take my advice. The public will thank you.

  • First, put the booze away. Failed wine pairing? Cabernet Sauvignon and home hair colour.
  • Don’t pick a shade after a breakup or other major life change. You’ll be tempted to go Midnight Black when you’re a natural blonde, or vice versa. If you must make a big decision to mark this new phase in your life, choose something without consequence, like quitting your job or adopting a baby.
  • Pick a colour that sounds like something you’d either eat or sleep with. If possible, try for both. Example: Rich Chocolate Mousse? Check! Dark Mystery? Check! Yellow Puddles? Nooo.
  • Don’t forget to do the back. Hey, it happens.
  • Wear appropriate clothing, because you are going to drip. I like to wear the dress from my first wedding. If you’re happily married and love your wedding dress, wear it anyway. You’ll be extra careful because of the obstacle and probably won’t spill a drop.
  • Plan ahead and buy a funky hat. Or a pretty hat. Or a crocheted beer can hat. You’ve saved at least $100 colouring your hair at home, so go on; treat yourself!
  • Do not buy your hair colour from the drug store discount rack or a garage sale. Anyone who has 14 boxes of Clairol “Big Red” 344 on a folding table in their driveway had less than appropriate plans for it and you don’t need that karma on your head. Literally.
  • If possible, colour your hair in natural light. I prefer the front porch. This also allows me to yell at neighbourhood children, and garner colour opinions from passerby. That’s called “multi-tasking” and that’s why I am awesome at giving tips. You’re welcome.
  • Like any fun at-home activity, rubber gloves and Vaseline are a must.
  • Double check that your timer works. I had to live with bright orange hair for a weekend once when I accidentally pressed “Side of Beef” instead of “Popcorn” on the microwave timer.
  • Rinse your hair well. A fast food restaurant Pokémon cup and the kitchen tap aren’t going to cut it here. Let your kids use the garden hose; if you’re following my advice you’re already outside anyway.

Now go show off your new colour to the world! If you’ve observed my tips then you’re wearing a pretty dress and have a new beer can hat, so you’re pretty much set for any occasion.


The one where you tell me everything will be fine

| Posted in Health, Writing | By

gift The one where you tell me everything will be fine

This had better be my youth

Yesterday was my birthday, and I turned an age that ended in a “9.”

To celebrate carrying me this far, my body launched all sorts of surprises: my fingers are stiff, there’s a new wrinkle on my forehead, and my neck is starting to look like a party streamer.

My birthday included a bowl of soup and an afternoon nap on the couch, and I was totally cool with that.

One morning, not so long ago, I was getting my breakfast in the kitchen wearing only my nightgown. We were running late and I hadn’t done anything to myself other than get out of bed. My son looked at me and commented, “Your boobs hang pretty low. It’s like they’re really sad.”

This is the beginning of the end of my youth, isn’t it?

I have high blood pressure, and my last visit with the doctor (a doctor who is 6 years YOUNGER than me) included talk of support stockings and cholesterol testing. My hearing isn’t the greatest due to Nirvana, the 1990′s and something called a “Walkman.” I’ve even worn – completely by coincidence - the same outfit as my 88-year-old grandmother at least twice this year.

I understand that I am still “young” relatively speaking, but it’s not about the number, it’s about the feeling. I realized the other day that no clerks have called me “Hun” in quite some time. I’m now at the age my dad was when I no longer thought of him as “young.” Maybe I need to start hanging out at the senior’s centre, so I can be the youthful one again.

The other day a professor called me “Ma’am.”

I feel sad because both my kids can tie their own shoes, read, tell time, buckle their seatbelts, and wipe their own asses. It’s like all of those fun parenting duties are behind me.

I’m now officially a part of the pre-menopausal generation but I can’t stay up to watch the “Nightline” special about it because it’s on after 10pm. I’ve cut my hair to a “respectable” length and sometimes I have to ask people to speak s-l-o-w-e-r and more loudly.

The other day a professor called me “Ma’am.” Did I say that already?

I’m begging you, please- tell me this is a just a plateau and I’m really still just climbing the mountain. I can’t be at the halfway point because I still haven’t seen a Led Zeppelin reunion concert.

To put thing is perspective, I will close with this:

Recently I lingered at a clothing rack displaying polyester pull-on pants and considered.

Seriously considered.


So it’s come to this.

| Posted in Health | By

walker So its come to this.

My next car

I went to the doctor last week to get a prescription renewal for my blood pressure medication. My doctor wants to see me almost every month. I like to think it’s because of my sparkling personality, but it’s probably just to keep tabs on my mental state and to see if my head has exploded yet. The office staff probably has a pool of some sort in place.

He has a new office, in a brand new building. His office is on the second floor, and I almost always take the stairs. He is always telling me to get more exercise, and so this way, when I arrive in his office, 36 stairs later and out of breath, I can say I’ve been getting my heart rate up and not be lying. Also, the elevator smells like what I imagine the bubonic plague smelled like, and I don’t have coverage for one of those hooded beak wearing doctors.

Also, people don’t seem to like it when I start polls on who we’ll eat first if we get stuck between floors.

At the end of this particular visit, he asked me if I had anything else I wanted to discuss. I briefly mentioned a throbbing in my lower leg where (alert: sexy talk ahead) a varicose vein is starting. So he prescribed me a pair of compression stockings.

Compression stockings.


I am 38 and one half years old. I like Led Zeppelin, frozen margaritas, vintage concert shirts, and Sponge Bob.


“Is that everything, then?” he asked, gently placing his words between my sobs.

I told him I thought so. Besides, I’ll be there soon again and if I have any questions, I can ask him on my next visit.

Which will likely be about the onset of menopause.


At my splits end

| Posted in Family | By

522634 22122915 At my splits end

What is this thing? Seriously. WHAT IS THIS?

Hair care is not my thing. I like buns, ponytails, rat’s nests – call them what you will, if they can be accomplished with a rubber band while I’m driving, I’m all up in it. I own a comb (I think) and there is a spray bottle of hair stuff of some sort on my dressing table. It may be furniture polish for all I know, but every few days I’ll use a squirt. It helps get the knots out, makes me smell lemony fresh, and my wood grain looks positively fantastic. Other than that though, I’m pretty much a wash and wear kind of girl.  

And while home hair colour kits have come a long way since our mothers’ time, there has been one area in which I’d like to see improvement: home hair colouring kits should come with a breathalyzer.  Or at the very least, prevent the sale of hair colouring products at the same location where wine is available to purchase. The formula of Friday night + Shiraz + box of L’Oreal CB415 = no public appearances for 4 to 6 weeks.

Even after “successful” attempts at colouring at home I sometimes get strange looks in public. It’s not my hair so much; that usually looks acceptable, or at the very least, commensurate to what people expect from my personal hygiene standards. No, it’s not the hair. It’s my clothing. I cannot figure out a way to do the whole procedure without winding up looking like I used a plastic spork to kill a guy in a dumpster outside a Chinese Food restaurant.

This time around I chose the best colour I could under the circumstances. If you read my blog, you understand that “circumstances” is code for having a small son. Because while I was trying to determine whether I wanted “Luscious Dark Chocolate C643” or “No One Will Know this Only Cost $6 Golden Brown,” my 7 year-old son is hobbling around the store on two canes and wearing a neck brace he swiped from the home health section yelling, “Hey! Look at me!  I’M AN OLD PERSON!” 

One aisle over, my daughter is listening intently to the girl demonstrating adult diapers. I hear her ask about their absorbency and then ask for a sample for her mother.  

This is likely why I’m going grey in the first place.


Notes to my 16 year old self

| Posted in Food, Health, Writing | By

jeni16 2 Notes to my 16 year old self

No makeup...full sunlight...those were the days.

 Last week I participated in the Twitter Meme #tweetyour16yroldself. But my 16 year old self could not be set straight in a mere 140 characters, so I am #bloggingmy16yearoldself.

Pay attention, Jeni. 

P.S. Your boobs look fantastic. You’re going to miss that.   

  • There’s this thing called ‘the internet’ coming down the pipe. Look into ‘Google.’ Find out who is starting it up, and then make him your boyfriend.
  • It’s not an age thing; lots of people older than you really ARE idiots.
  • Call your Grandparents more often.  Ask them about the War. Tell them “Thank you,” and then go write it down.
  • Moisturize.
  • Don’t settle.
  • Join every club and group that appeals to you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know as much as the other members do. This is how you LEARN things, my dear.
  • That guy? He’s is creepy and you’re right in thinking so. 20 years later you’re going to read about him, and it isn’t going to be under the headline “Man Wins Nobel Prize for Single Handedly Solving World Hunger and Saves a Homeless Puppy En Route to Ceremony.”
  • Keep wearing your seatbelt.
  • Tim Horton’s will not have a pie counter forever. Take advantage.
  • DO NOT doodle his name on your ‘Led Zeppelin’ album covers.
  • Write more. Read more. Study more.
  • Drink stolen apricot brandy from a canning jar under a bridge with your friends less.
  • Wipe off 60% of your eyeliner. You look ridiculous.
  • DO NOT quit school next year. Yes, it’s boring as hell, it’s not challenging, yadda yadda, but it’ll save you from being a 37 year old Undergrad with a serious student loan and a blood pressure prescription.
  • Start a retirement savings plan. Then maybe you’ll be drinking Margaritas on Cocoa Beach at 45 instead of domestic draft beers at the local watering hole.
  • Travel. Cross border shopping runs to Buffalo for Sugar Smacks and Aleve DO NOT COUNT.
  • Not everything is your fault, but some things are. Learn the difference.
  • Why are you smoking? So not cool, my dear.
  • Some people are just not worth the tear soaked, snot blown Kleenex they inspire.
  • Learn how to play the guitar. Do not give up because you’re not John Prine in 2 weeks.
  • Buy the damn yearbook, already. You’ll wish you had it later.
  • Take your driving instructor seriously – hitting a car in the parking lot of the testing centre does not exactly inspire confidence.
  • You can’t really change people. You can however, intimidate them.
  • You may be younger than the jar of pickled beets in your dad’s cold cellar, but you still have a voice. Use it.
  • During the 1989 holiday season do not – I repeat – DO NOT consume an entire Hickory Farms Gift Cheese/Smoked Meat Platter and then a bottle of Blue Curacao at a party. It will not end well, and several people will not look you in the eye for close to a year.
  • Foster your girl-friendships. Treat each other as equals, not competition.
  • Keep your bits of writing. Even if it’s just to laugh at later, you’ll want to have it.
  • Your bleached splattered jeans with the holes in the knees that you so carefully fashioned with sandpaper and nail scissors? HIDE THEM. Your dad is going to throw them in the wood stove.
  • You will have children. They are going to drive you absolutely batshit crazy.
  • You will love it. (Most of the time.)


Rollin’ with the changes

| Posted in Family | By

prod 1020949 xl Rollin with the changes

Aptly named

My last year at “Seriously…you’re a student here? University”  is begins in two weeks and I am gearing up for my returnin’ to learnin’.  My courses are picked, parking pass purchased, and now I’m getting down to the nitty gritty. The kids and I are hitting the mall today for back to school needs and I’m making a list. My daughter is helping me and says she’ll offer some suggestions. Let’s see…I need paper, pens, a new flash drive, a 3 ring binder, and…what’s this she added here? A COMPLETE MAKEOVER?

She has not so delicately informed me that I have several problems that require immediate attention. Apparently I need to “hip it up” for the coming school year. (The fact I just wrote “hip it up” succinctly demonstrates the extent of my problem.)

Her criticisms reminded me of a day last semester when a young student and I were looking for a place to sit so we could work on a project to which we had been assigned. I suggested we “cop a squat for a con-fab” in the Student Union. While she was making her own cell phone ring from her pocket she was looking at me like I had suggested peeing in the University Square fountain while yodeling the Chinese alphabet.

My daughter also says I need a professional hair cut, that I should download better music onto my portable music player thingy, and throw out all my mom jeans and bleach stained Led Zeppelin T-shirts. Fine, I’ll part with the jeans; but I’m buying another pair of velour leisure pants with matching hoodie  and you’ll have to pry the shirts out of my cold dead Robert Plant loving hands.

It has also been suggested that I buy myself a new stick deodorant, or better yet, a “body crystal.” It seems my roll-on is a throwback to a bygone, carefree, hairy-armpit era no one here can or wants to remember.  A friend saw the tube on my dresser a few days ago and asked me where I kept my time machine. I almost choked on my Tab, but recovered quickly and told that Jive Turkey that my roll-on was far out. She picked it up and read the label. “Avon Sweet Honesty? They still sell this stuff?” 

I cannot say for sure.

I bought it at a garage sale.



BBQ Sauce and Coleslaw Therapy

| Posted in Family, Food, Health | By

mmmmribs BBQ Sauce and Coleslaw Therapy

Lots of this....

I’ve heard of some pretty crazy diets in my time; the “Cabbage Soup Diet”, the “Tapeworm Diet”,  “The Cookie Diet,” anyone?  And now the latest “revolutionary” diet craze, the “Eat Only When You’re Hungry and Stop When You’re Full” diet.  Since when has eating been only about hunger? I’m fairly certain that millions of years ago, cavewomen sat around the fire, munching deep-fried sugar-coated critter fritters while bemoaning the fact that their Wooly Mammoth clothes don’t fit anymore and when the heck was someone going to invent Yoga pants?

Once again I find myself several pounds beyond what is healthy and on a “diet.” Although really, it can hardly be called a diet when I am eating steak and butter with abandon and guzzling olive oil straight from the jug. And that was breakfast. Yes folks; this month, I’m living La Vida Low Carb.

I haven’t had a nary a cracker in a month. Nor a granule of sugar, or a carrot, or a piece of corn, or anything made with gluten or flour, or any fruit other than berries. I am however, eating nuts at a rate on par with pre-hibernation squirrels and have consumed so much full fat yogurt that I can deflect a yeast infection with merely a glance.

When choosing a food plan to follow, I had several deal breaker criteria. First and foremost, I could NOT be hungry. Ever. I like to eat. I LOVE to eat. I eat when I am bored, sad, or happy. I eat to celebrate birthdays, new babies, or a piece of Lego up the vacuum. I eat when I am studying, I eat when I am watching TV, I eat when I am in the shower (hey, it makes for a tidy “Wing Night.”) If you ask a random sampling of North Americans what they fear most as the cause of death, you’ll get the big ones: serious illness, horrible accident, drowning, and fire. Mine is starvation. I panic when we get down to 6 pounds of cheese and  only 40 chicken breasts in the freezer.  

This new eating plan also had to be effective, promote stable blood sugar levels, and feature guacamole and cheesecake in starring roles. So I bit the sugar-free bullet and jumped on the low carb train. (Note: a little known side effect of high protein eating is wanton mixing of metaphors.)

The first several days were not pleasant. It’s hard for a bread lover to go without. On a lunch date, PM balked at letting me sniff his sourdough sandwich. But he’ll never make that mistake again, now, will he?  I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say the authorities were somehow involved and a certain someone I know has to wear an eye patch for 6 weeks.

I know that “eating your feelings” is bad. I understand that you should deal with your emotional issues without food in order to effectively repair your eating habits. But I like my relationship with food – it’s like any good relationship I’m in: I just do what I want, and allow for no questions or criticism. Plus, to fix the things that cause me to comfort eat would take hours of therapy and several billions of dollars I don’t have. I can however, afford to walk to A&P and buy a double cream brie when I am not feeling chipper.

Besides, isn’t going to “Ribfest” on a Saturday afternoon much more fun than seeing Dr. Schmenkman to discuss past lives trauma? Unless my past included lives such as Carnival food purveyor and owner of an artisan cheese house, the answer is a resounding “Pass the ribs…extra saucy and with coleslaw, please!”

sweetcorn BBQ Sauce and Coleslaw Therapy

...but not this.


In Need of Professional Help

| Posted in Uncategorized | By

hair In Need of Professional Help

I am too cheap to pay for services I can perform myself. With Google and eHow, who needs professional help anymore? Thanks to the internet, I can now do things  previously requiring 7 year apprenticeships and actual skill. And everyone knows that everything you read on the internet is completely true and 100% accurate, so nothing bad can happen, right?

After an hour of so of internet research I consider myself well versed in several vocations. Oh, the money I’ve saved! I’ve heard it can cost upwards of $150 for a cut and colour at a salon. Who pays this kind of money for something they can do themselves? Probably the same suckers who use oil change shops and dentists. Why, with the internet I can diagnose health issues, overhaul a transmission, deep fry a turkey in a recycled 55 gallon toxic waste drum, cut and colour my own hair…

Sound needle scratching record.

Look; my stubbornness has paid off in many ways. My determination to see things through has resulted in accomplishing  things I never would have thought possible – things like pursuing a University degree in my late thirties and letting my screaming baby live inside the house. But I have faced my Waterloo, and I attacked the enemy armed with  no more than a box of L’Oreal Preference CB415 and  Revlon EZ-Cut Hair Scissors…

…and I lost.

I should never, ever cut and colour my own hair. But I swore it would be different this time. I bought professional scissors! I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as last time and use sewing scissors. Yeah! THAT was the problem! This time I Googled “layered home haircuts” and carefully studied the steps. I applied a colour stripper and had a new dye at the ready. Everything looked good as I took the first step.

I felt confident, cocky even. Pity the poor saps who pay only for salon atmosphere and plastic bibs! I let the colour remover process while I did some dishes, took care of the laundry, watched TV. In fact, I was feeling great until my son asked me why my hair was turning a funny colour. Say what, little man?


In a panic I rinsed the stripper out and immediately applied the dye. Except that the stripper must be massaged out because it’s chalky, which explains why my hair KEPT GETTING LIGHTER even after I put the new dye in. I would have known this had I read the instructions, except I don’t read instructions because I HAVE THE INTERNET. 

I tried to fix the blotchiness by hiding the bad bits with a creative layering effect. (Note: unless you are a professional, leave getting “creative” with gift wrapping and Mexican cooking.) Now it just looks b-a-d. And I don’t mean the “good” bad, like “Girl, your hair is bad.” I mean it in a “Girl, your hair is bad and I think you have some serious underlying issues you should explore and seek out help for” way.

If I ever need heart surgery, please disconnect my internet and hide the knives.


picture0055 In Need of Professional Help

Not great, but not a horror movie


picture0056 In Need of Professional Help

I can get by on my sparkling personality, right?


Bad Hair Life

| Posted in Family | By

scissors Bad Hair Life

Do not operate under the influence of alcohol

Lately I have been having some serious hair issues. “Lately” meaning the last 30 or so years.  See that picture of me over there, to the right of this text? Not bad hair wise, right? That photo is over 4 years old and I have had one haircut since. I never paid more than $6 for a hair colour either, which just seems smart  (frugal even) until you consider that I spend on average twice that per week for donuts.  What I’d really like is to have hair the colour of a maple dipped donut, but realistically speaking, I’m currently more of a day-old clearance rack chocolate glazed.

My eleven year old daughter likes the same salon in town that I used to visit, but now whenever I dial their number, it’s to make appointments for her. She can afford it – she still has baby teeth she can pull out when she needs a quick five dollars. And she’s an expert extortionist, with mad math skillz.

But this bun type thingy at the back of my head is no longer working for me.  Wait; “bun” sounds too much like “donut,” and I like those. This thing is more like a rodent nest, smoothed into place with a pork chop. Sometimes I can feel it moving. I think the hamster may be hiding inside.

Earlier this week a woman standing at the sink in the Tim Horton’s bathroom actually recoiled in horror when I came out of the stall. I thought she was staring at the crazy lady in a mismatched velour leisure suit waiting to use the toilet, until I realized I was looking at my own reflection in the mirror.

I am now officially one toe nail clipping and a few billion dollars away from becoming Howard Hughes.  If I start building walls around me with Kleenex boxes, and communicating only by yellow legal pad notes slipped under the door, somebody please make me an appointment at a real salon.

PM offered to cut my hair, but I’m not entirely comfortable with that. I’m pretty sure “cut girlfriend’s hair” comes right before “steal clothes to get measurements for suit made of her skin” on the serial murderer “how to” list.

So I bit the bullet. Actually, I bit the cork out of a bottle of Merlot, and cut it myself. I tried to make it as real a “salon” experience as I could, so I made myself sit in an uncomfortable chair, reading hair magazines from 1997 for an hour before I could be “seen.” I wrapped a tea towel around my neck, comforted my frightened children, and had at it.

The result?

Two words. And they’re not “Looks awesome.”

If you ever see me heading home from the Liquor Store, run ahead of me and hide my scissors.