Ah yes, I bet you thought the topic would be more romantic when I caught up on the blog, yes? Actually, I’ve been so mentally busy that the title choices were difficult to narrow down, but since I’m coming off of a serious (for me) illness, this was that one which stuck.
I should back track to bring you up to speed or the calliope bit will have you shaking your head for at least the time it takes you to look up ‘calliope’ on Google. Two weekends ago I spent time with family, including both sets of grand babies. One set had just come off of some mysterious illness merry-go-round and the others were sporting the garden-variety preschool runny nose that seems constant and so I didn’t give a thought about it really. I had clothes to hand out and graduation luncheons to attend and all was well.
The next day I needed to get a hair cut and pick up some clothes for a pending trip. Read that carefully. A.Hair.Cut. In and out in thirty minutes and I’m on my way. But oh no. Suddenly I was struck with either insanity or vanity (hmm, they rhyme) as my hairdresser advised “We’re having a special on the keratin treatment this weekend.” Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I have a long-running passion play going with my hair. It is naturally curly. As in small, pencil sized corkscrews all over my head. The kind of hair that is adorable at five and horrifying at 50 plus. I have tortured it with hot rollers, blow dryers, curling irons and flat-irons and probably spent enough money on hair products to buy a house with, all trying to tame my unruly hair. About six months ago I finally put down all of the weapons, goo, pomades, sprays and such and decided I was tired of fighting my hair. This was the hair I was given and so I’d just live with it. Honestly, I was pretty happy with the decision. I no longer freaked out when it rained (more curls!), when the wind blew, if it was more humid than usual when I entered the outside world en route to work. It saved me time in the morning and reduced the cupboard clutter.
Therefore I do not understand what possessed me to have the keratin treatment, spending three hours there, but I did and…it looked marvelous for about, erm, the two days I wasn’t supposed to wash it. I had straight hair! Hair that swung when I walked. Hair that perfect strangers complimented. After the washing it looked decidedly like a bad cat had jumped in the bed while I slept and kicked furiously, and then remained on my head in repose when I got up. My hair is really thick, so I decided hey, I must have too much hair for this to work correctly. I’ll just get it cut and that will solve it. Off I went to a New York trained stylist who did a great cut and once again my hair was lovely. Until it rained. You see, most people who get a keratin treatment end up with straight hair that only needs a little touch up of a flat iron a couple of times a week. Me? It has to be washed, blown dry, and then flat ironed. Mostly daily. Sound familiar? Uhm hm, same routine I ditched about six months ago. I will say that it looks lovely when I manage to heat it into submission. But this experience has also taught me something painful about beauty. Even my family thinks I am more ‘beautiful’ when I am not looking like who I naturally am. People at work stopped me to comment. Someone used the term ‘stunning’. I’m pretty sure no one has ever called me stunning any other time before in my life. It is rather nice to hear. But will the cost be worth it? I’m pretty sure the trees won’t care, the chickens won’t lay more and the garden won’t grow any better if my hair is stunning. It probably won’t make the coyotes less challenging or lugging wood in any easier. And most likely the cost won’t fit into a semi-retired budgetary plan either when I finally make my break back to the woods. I’ve never been a fashionista, although I used to get my hair and nails done weekly way back in the first marriage. Do I want to be a stunning not-me, or just an invisible, average me? For now I am undecided. But I won’t lie and say it didn’t tug at me emotionally, that juxtaposition.
Just after the hair insanity run-in my illness kicked in. I gamely tried to push through work and then also a trip planned for the weekend. I sounded horrible. I felt awful, but tried to make the best of it. By the time I left my trip a day early, I was in very bad shape and ended up at the Urgent Care clinic first thing Monday morning to confirm that I actually was not dying. Nope, just Acute Viral Bronchitis, making me contagious to everyone else. Extra fluids. Extra rest. No going in to the office. There is nothing to be done for viral issues as antibiotics don’t touch them. It was simply load up on tissues, food medicine and liquids and head home. The next few days are rather a blur as I had to work, which I did remotely, but immediately after work every day I went to sleep as I was just exhausted. I shoveled all kind of healthy foods into my body – garlic, white onions, scallions, maitake and shitake mushrooms, chicken broth, honey, lemon and even a shot of bourbon! After about three days of that the illness broke (I think it was the bourbon, haha!) but my body was just a musical event after that. Cough, sneeze, fluff, repeat. Then I got the giggles over the whole thing and made it worse! I’m glad I never had a coughing/sneezing/fluffing seizure that occurred prior to me visiting the bathroom first thing in the morning or I might could have made a human fountain calliope. It was during one of those moments that I realized it is okay even to be sick and single. While no one brought me soup or tucked up my pillow, I also didn’t have to go dashing by someone to make it to the bathroom, worry about keeping someone else up when a hacking coughing fit hit me at 3 a.m., or be embarrassed when my body joined the musical arena. The rest of this week and part of the weekend I’ve stayed in, rested and let my body heal.
But yesterday I rode around on my bike a little without going into a coughing fit, so this morning I tackled a longer ride. It was joyous. Pure, unadulterated pleasure. I have to ride when it is cool as I cannot take the heat, particularly when I have been sick. So I was up and out before eight this morning and did ten miles. The woods were beautiful and smelled amazing. No candle in Pier One can compare to that living scent. The birds were noisy and flitting all around. I took music with me too, and suddenly I just hit one of those places where your body, your mind and your spirit all coalesce into a full body smile. I rode my bike with no hands, something I’ve not done since I was a kid. I stood up and pedaled with the windy wood smells flashing by me. I stopped and looked at brilliant red tubular flowers hanging in the air above me. And as I came around the corner singing to “Drifting” by OrtoPilot, a fox darted across the trail and disappeared into the woods. There was also some Michael Franti (I’m Alive – Life Sounds Like) and Dante Bucci Hang drum too. I highly recommend Hang drum for cycling or even morning warm up exercising. A couple of my favorites of these artists 🙂
Oh, and that potentially stunning hair? It was sweaty and stuck under a ball cap because I didn’t feel like doing the work before biking 😉
Some pictures of my travels today. Stop. Look.Breathe in. Smile 🙂
So yeah, still single, back to cycling and now recovered from the sickies. Still thinkin’ about my hair…