Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Horton Hears a Whodini

For those of you unfamiliar with the life and antics of Harry Houdini, he was a Hungarian-born magician who became famous in his role as an escapologist (yes, it really is a word.) After researching a bit about him online, my opinion is that he was a tad creepy, too. For instance, anyone who voluntarily wraps himself in a straitjacket and hangs suspended high above New York City has some serious kooky going on. And the movie Horton Hears a Who, which somewhat recently came out in theaters, is a stellar piece of cartoon cinemagic. I have been partial to kids' movies ever since I can remember. Though you may disagree with the intelligence level of such a film, the creators are quite witty in their use of humor and conversation. Clever to combine the two in this post's title. Michael came up with it. I digress.

Houdini performed his stunts before stunned, paying crowds. Why do I write about Houdini? Well, my friends, my baby and my dog are both escape artists (although they are not like him in the creepiness factor.) They do not receive payment for escape feats. They do not perform before amazed and disbelieving people, hushed in anticipation of the miracle they are about to witness. They do not pack out tents with paparazzi and media gurus. But they are escape artists, nonetheless.

I will begin with my Houbaby. She is much cooler than my dog, but my dog is pretty cool too. Every night--and sometimes for nap times during the day--Mike and I swaddle our baby because this is how she feels secure. You know, that whole womb-like deal. My husband calls it her straitjacket, which I hate, and in that case she would have something else in common with Houdini. Every night--and yes, sometimes for nap times during the day--she decides she is through with being swaddled and inches her little baby arm up and out of the swaddler until...wham! One arm free! Then, she twists and wiggles and grunts until...wham! Other arm free! This is all very entertaining. I must admit, however, it's a little less endearing when this is happening at, say, 3:13 a.m., since then I receive the honor of waking up to a firm slap in the face. (In case you are confused, we bedshare. Yes, it's safe. Yes, we researched. Yes, we are aware of the dangers. No, she doesn't sleep better on her own. And yes, we do have our "alone time" and get enough sleep. I'll be taking more questions afterward.) By the way, the swaddler packaging claims that once my baby is swaddled, there is no possible way that he/she can wiggle out. They obviously haven't met my little girl. What strikes me as funny is the look on her face when she busts free--she looks so proud to have foiled the SwaddleMe company as an infant. Here she is in all her swaddling glory:

Now, my dog's tale is completely different. She does her best to give me a headache. Houdoggie is a rescued dog to begin with, a Spitz/Corgi canine I found a few years ago. At one time, she was sadly mistreated, but now, we provide her with optimal snuggles and food. Her little doggie heart is on the mend, evidenced by her happier demeanor. I don't know if it's her background, one of her breeds or just her personality, but she has a knack for discovering holes in our fence and then leaving our premises through those same holes. Sneakily--I've even caught her looking over her shoulder to check if I'm watching--she slides through one of those holes, no matter how many times we've fixed it--"for good this time", Michael always says. Whenever I think it's safe to let her in the backyard all on her own, she pulls a fast one on me. I've found her in neighbors' yards, scaring squirrels out of their minds as she passionately barks. I've found her in the back alley, sniffing rocks. I've found her romping next to another dog. I've found her racing around our yard and woofing at me as though I was the one who escaped! Most embarrassing is when the neighbors find her for me, since she was trespassing on their property (and probably peeing on their rosebushes, too.) Did I mention that she lifts her leg like a dog of the male persuasion? And that she likes to perch on the back of couches like a cat? She is one confused little doggie. Identity issues don't stop her from mastering the escape act, though. Here is Pearl's (our dog) best side. Of course, she uses Baby's lambskin as her own personal sleeping cushion (I wish I could share a pic of her escaping, but I haven't been able to catch her in the act on camera...yet. Duh-duh-duh.)

Hou of you have similar stories to share? I'd love to hear. As for me, I'm ready to go to sleep. Ready for another night of Houbaby freedom fighting and tomorow, Houdoggie departures.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am officially hennaed

Okay, so no new posts for a month? As a friend of a friend's little boy says it, "That's just part of life." First, our laptop went on the blitz from a nasty virus, and the other computer is tucked away in the drafty, cobwebby basement. Not conducive quarters for my baby to hang out in as I type. Then, there's the everyday tasks of making meals, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning up after a husband and baby, personal hygiene, sleeping...and this list, of course, is not exhaustive. I also am easily distracted from household tasks to play with Shiloh and get together with friends. Finally, we went out of town for a few days and arrived back home at 1:30 a.m. today. Yawn. (So if this isn't totally coherent, I have a strong excuse, er, reason.)

Enough of that; I have fun to share! I hennaed my hair (pronounced "henna-ed" for those unfamiliar with the plant) a few weeks ago and what a process it was! My hair is naturally blonde, but with time and aging hair shafts, that color is fading into what I like to call a "special" color of dishwater blonde. It looks blonde at the ends when it grows out, but the roots (actually more than just the roots, most of the trunk) stay brownish. This is special because it looks like a bad dye job. But I am the foremost authority on my hair, and I have never, yes, NEVER, dyed it prior to now. Talk about the worst of both worlds! I am shunned by the posey mods who have perfectly coiffed hair because my ROOTS are SHOWING! But then, the au naturel community that I am partial to would be miffed that I am not a true granola girl if my golden locks were fake. Oh, the travesty.

What is going on with the companies that use before-and-after pictures in their advertisements? These are truly an anomaly to the way ads should be. The basic premise is full of ridiculosity. Come now, the person in the "before" picture doesn't even look like the one in the "after" picture! They haven't pulled the wool over my eyes. Also, it is unfortunate how sad the "before" person is. I want to give a bear hug to that person and say, "Chin up, Charlie." And the "after" person is so excited I think he or she must have won the Lottery! Surely the product being advertised isn't that superb. Besides the misleading natures and emotional baggage of these ads, I also am not akin to the way they tout the importance of image: "Buy this or do this, and you'll look like this!" Hogwash.

On to the henna concoction itself. Did you ever make mud pies as a child? Mixing body-art quality henna is like making a quaggy mud pie, except it carries the distinct smell of earth in a way I never knew possible. Pungent, yet nectary. I like it. I added cassia to it in order to make it more blonde, which didn't work, but it still looked cool. My mix was 25g henna, 200g cassia, lots of lemon juice, and some delicious Orange Peach Mango juice from Trader Joe's. Adding OPM juice almost tempted me to eat some of the mix. Almost.

While I fed the baby, Mike mixed up the stuff with gloves until it had a mashed potatoes consistency. I let it sit for a day plus some extra at room temperature so that it could be at the perfect absorbency level for my hair. I gathered old, raggedy towels around my feet and one on my shoulders, poured more lemon juice on the henna mix until it was like yogurt, and went to work. Here is the mix right before I put it on my hair:

(Btw, my baby, who is exclusively breastfed, creates a similar brew in her diaper. I'm sure you wanted to picture that.)

As I gooped the stuff in my hair, I felt this ethereal connection with the ancients, who undoubtedly used this earth goodness to dye their own hair naturally. Gloves were in place on my hands, but I am serious, it was so thick I felt like I should wash my hands off afterwards. It took a good 30 minutes to completely cover my head well. And I looked like a Ken Doll look-alike when it was all on. Then, I grabbed the plastic wrap and sealed it all in for about 2-3 hours.

A hot shower washed it all out, and that was it! I was hennaed! Afterwards, (especially along my hair line) I had a quite rubicund complexion, as my skin is sensitive to about any product, natural or not.

That, my friends, is my first experience with henna. I fervently encourage you to order some henna and try it out yourself. As the Reading Rainbow guy says it, "But don't take my word for it!"

Here's a pic of Shiloh and me soon after I hennaed (the hat covers some of my hair, but I think you can still see the redness.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I used to be a Non-Blogger. Without a doubt, I was opposed to even a hint of the idea. Now I had no problem with others blogging, but for me it was this inane realm of Dr. Suess-caliber writing (certainly he was a great children's storyteller, but couldn't you see him blogging?) What was the need for a giant online gushing? When friends or strangers mentioned their blogs and then prepared to ask me about mine, I became shifty as a fox about to raid the chicken pen as I concocted ways to evade the Big Question.

And then it happened. I became a blogger. As of today.

Bloggers are a breed all their own. Obsessive blogger is a creator of energetic bursts of prose, frantic that he'll disappoint his friends if he doesn't blog by noon. Worldwide Traveler blogger lives somewhere outside her followers' sphere and maintains a blog out of necessity of contact with loved ones and supporters. Handmade Wares blogger advertises her exploits in particular crafts. Business blogger is a company-paid exec eager to impress his cohorts and rivals alike. And Furious blogger rants about the rising gas prices, his burned breakfast at the restaurant this morning, the jump in gas prices, the severed donnybrook with his job, and at times a post or two about the influx of expensive gasoline (again.)

And of course, that only covers a few. The truth is, though, that this world is replete with people ready to share their stories with that world. So, what type of blogger am I? I am a Neo-Blogger, which I will define as a new kind of blogger that doesn't blog for any reason except one: the love of the written word. Said differently--I can't not write. It's in me to write. Words grip me and move me and then mess with me. Words are constantly flying through my head ready to land on paper or word processor, in song or poem or prose, like a thirsty honeybee to a sweet flower. In this postmodern age, I resist change for change's sake. I do not blog to be inside the loop (although I am loopy) nor to be technologically savvy. However, to share my words with the virtual world and, virtually the the words of Gimli in the Lord of the Rings (which I can be absolutely neurotic about), ay, I can do that.

So world, here you are.

(Disclaimer: Information presented on this blog is considered public information, unless otherwise noted. Any references made to persons, alive or dead, is completely intentional. If you are or have been or will be a blogger of the various sort that is parodied above, please do not be offended...I was only kidding. At least a little bit kidding...)