Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

The pictures you’ve all been waiting for… May 11, 2008

Before…

BeforeBefore

After…

after after

Yup. I cut my hair. I donated about 11 inches to Locks of Love, “…a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.”

The remaining length, from three inches to five or six, was dropped on the floor to be swept away. I love the new cut. It’s so curly. I mean, I knew I had curly hair and I knew the weight of my hair kept the hair on top stretched straight. But I was still surprised. Israel asked, when he and Jael returned to pick me up, if I’d permed it or something. He just couldn’t believe how curly it all was.

So, there you go. No more super long hair for Becky…at least not for a couple of years. I have no current plans of growing it out though. I’m really enjoying not touching my comb (I’m just finger combing conditioner through it in the shower). I love the fun bounciness of it. It’s great. Oh, and it dries so much easier. My hair is no longer dragging in the bottom of the tub or across the floor when I’m bent over drying it.

Oh, and I finally found a place on the Gulf Coast that has good excellent customer service. I couldn’t find anyone in the Biloxi/Gulfport area who advertised a “curly hair specialist” so I looked in Mobile and found Fairhope Massage and Skin Care. Their website was absolutely phenomenal, especially for down here. They completely lived up to my expectations. When I walked in and said I had an 11 o’clock appointment, the receptionist looked at her computer and said, “Oh, are you Becky?” And my stylist walked over and introduced herself. She talked with me for a while, to figure out what I wanted to do. She double checked that I really wanted her to cut off ten inches for Locks of Love and then she did. She was very professional. I didn’t have to hear about her sordid life. She answered questions when I asked and asked questions when appropriate. She didn’t seem uncomfortable with silence.

I also had some waxing done. Before my esthetician began. she offered me a glass of wine, “to take the edge off.” While I was busy, Israel and Jael returned from their park adventures and were waiting in the lobby. One of the other staff members suggested they try an ice cream store down the road. Israel had to confess that I’d not returned his debit card (not purposely) and he had no cash. She opened the cash register, handed him ten bucks and said, “We’ll just put it on your bill when you leave.” They also offer a free three week touch up for wax jobs. That way they can see what kind of a maintenance schedule you should be on and, in my case, it’s three weeks longer that my wax will last. That’s customer service. That’s how you keep customers coming back again and again.

Oh, and after my haircut (sorry this is all out of order), Mindy, my stylist, put a bit of makeup on me. Not so much as to make me feel weird, as I don’t normally wear any, but just enough to make me feel incredibly beautiful as I walked out the door with my new and very different hair.

Everyone was very knowledgeable and a couple of the staff members who had watched me come in with loooong hair, came by to compliment me on my new ‘do.’ I left feeling so incredibly wonderful.

Yesterday, when we got the mail, I had a postcard from Mindy in my mailbox. She just said Thank you for donating to Locks of Love and she was glad to get to help me get a hair cut I liked. The post card was a picture of her. Again, that’s good customer service. That is how you get return customers.

There you are. If you are in the area, go to Fairhope Massage and Skin Care. They are amazing. I don’t know if their prices are normal, high or low compared to other spas but I felt I got what I’d paid for. I highly recommend them.

 

Renn Fair May 8, 2008

Jael and I with our friend Ameris Grey* and her sister, Elsie*, went to a Renaissance Faire last Saturday. I wore a hodge-podge of borrowed items. The only thing that was mine was my headpiece, which I’d crafted out of some wire, some beads and a yard of leftover wedding dress material.

It rained…a lot. The fair was supposed to open at nine. It started pouring rain at about eight and they pushed back the opening time to ten. By ten it had quit raining but was still incredibly wet. We crossed the field and had sopping wet shoes within steps. From that point on, our feet were soaked and were not dry until we got home, took of our shoes and socks and let them air out for an hour.

The Goat's GlareAnyway, despite the rain, we had a good time. We petted goats, one of which glared fiercely at Ameris. The Goats of the GateThen there were three who were very good at putting there horns in the fence, out of the fence, in the fence, out of the fence. Jael got to pet a pony. Notice how she looks like she’s in the process of drying off? Well, she is.Jael's belly

The Belly DancersWe watched as the belly dancers performed. Jael then wanted her shirt tucked up so she could belly dance, too. They are a troupe from Mobile, which is too bad because I would really like to find a group here in this area but have not been having much luck. But they were very good. I thoroughly enjoyed them and danced along with them a bit. Elsie bought us all hip scarves so we were very jingly. But then a man, one of the musicians from the group that played earlier, came up and started asking me all sorts of questions and what not. Is this my first Renn Fair? You have a beautiful outfit. Do you belly dance? You don’t? Oh, you should. I think you’d be really good at it.

Queen's belly danceEventually I was able to “see” to Jael and was able to relocate to a spot not near him. Then the queen and king asked for a private dance from the dancers.

They danced, again, beautifully. The girl in red was very thin, so thin in fact that it was almost grotesque while at the same time fascinating to watch the muscles of her torso move under her skin. The other girls were thicker, more in keeping with the belly dancer image. All were wonderful. And, oh so, jingly. Their drummer was pretty amazing as well.

The CourtThe court was beautifully dressed, except for the queen. I’m not really sure what happened with that. The queen, from what I hear, is supposed to be the most ornately dressed woman at the fair. This queen was probably the most plainly dressed woman there. And one of the thinnest. Renaissance fairs seem to be for thick girls. Which is cool for me but an interesting observation none the less. There just weren’t that many skinny girls. There were a couple of thin or slender girls but very few “skinny” ones.

Ladies of the Court and AmerisYou can see here how everyone is very richly dressed. Even Ameris has over dressed the queen and she’s not even an official part of the fair. Heck, I was dressed over the queen. The queen, by the way, is the woman in the court picture in the black dress with gold edging. She’s the thin blond in the middle.

So that was a little odd. That and she kept slipping out of character. I saw her boot a guy in the backside in a very unregal manner. Like I said, I’m not Renn Fair expert but it seemed odd even to me.

Jael got some fairy wings, though I’m sure if she wouldn’t have preferred a sword and a big horse.

Fairy Jael Sir Jael

Fairy dancersThere was a troop of dancers. They dressed like fairies…well, the girls did. The boys just wore regular clothes. Not really sure what was up with that. Maybe it was a last minute thing for the guys. But anyway, they did like Riverdance type dance. Lots of jumping foot work. It looked very cool. Unfortunately, it didn’t capture well on camera or video. But here’s a still nonetheless.

SCA Sword fightOh, and we cannot forget the sword fighting. It was SCA again and was pretty good. What surprised me, and it shouldn’t have, was how quickly the battles were over. If you were hit in the legs, you dropped to your knees and fought from the knees. If you were hit in the arm, you dropped whatever weapon or shield was in that arm. If you were hit in the head, you were dead. I don’t think any match lasted longer than sixty seconds. And from what I’ve heard, a real fight doesn’t last much longer than that. Either someone’s going to win or they aren’t. There isn’t a whole lot of time spent dickering around about it.

Gray Knight

Black knight

Oh, and then the jousting. That was cool. Not as cool as I’d hoped but cool anyway. The “knights” threw spears into hay bales, snared rings with spears, and sliced through cabbages with swords. And then, finally, they charged at each other and attempted to skewer each other with lances. They actually broke some lances on each other but no one was unhorsed. My only real disappointment with the jousting was one of the horses. The black horse galloped. The gray cantered. There was such a difference in power that it felt like the knight on the gray wasn’t even trying. The black was fearsome and awesome. The gray, somewhat too pastoral. But it was neat anyway and I’m glad I got to see it.

The black knight and lady

Here’s a picture of someone that Ameris took. I’ve no idea who they are but their costumes are awesome so I’m including them.

Becky and AmerisAnd then here is a picture of Ameris and I. I am in the red and she in the blue. We are wearing the hip scarves Elcie bought. Ameris’s pouch, barely visable on her right hip…I made that the night before the fair. Good old leather coat I bought from the Goodwill ten years ago is still serving me well.

BeckyAnd finally, a picture of me in full Renn-ware.

We had an absolute riot and I’m very glad we went, even though my feet were so very wrinkly when I finally got my boots off. I’ve never seen feet so wrinkly. They were so water logged that the wrinkles hurt. YIKES!!

So, see you later.

Oh, and tomorrow or the next day, I’ve exciting pictures to show…and no, I’m not pregnant. But exciting none the less…at least to me.

*names have been changed since I’ve not asked for permission to throw their names around online.

 

Crawfish Festival Pictures April 27, 2008

Here are the promised picture from our evening at the Crawfish Festival 2008. Here is Jael on Israel’s shoulders…twice

We walked around for a bit before heading to the Ferris Wheel.

We took some pictures from the top of the Ferris wheel.

If you look carefully, you can see Alex. She is standing above on the right of the gray platform. She is wearing a black shirt and is looking up at us.

We went on the Tilt-A-Whirl next. Alex took this picture which shows Jael’s concerned face. Jael didn’t exactly enjoy that ride.

After that, we wanted Jael to have some fun so to the carousel we went.

Then to the cars and motorcycles.

This was an attraction we didn’t go into. It was a ride. I think it was supposed to be kind of a scare house. An Indiana Jones likeness was on the other side.

Then Israel, Alex, and Jael left me to go on all the crazy rides. Here’s a picture of the Fireball, which doesn’t really do it justice.

But you can imagine that big arm swinging like a pendulum, while the hand like portion on the bottom spins around and around. What a rush!!

And here’s a picture of the fair as the lights came on.

All in all, we had a great time. I’m glad we went and if we were here next year, we’d probably go again.

Upcoming: Renn Fair in Ocean Springs and Becky in a corset. Fun fun.

 

April Update April 24, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,Weight — Addicted to Yarn @ 6:50 am
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We went swimming last night, which was the third or fourth time we’ve been this spring. Last night was finally warm enough to be enjoyable. I don’t know if it was because the water felt so much warmer because the sun was down and the air was a bit cooler, because I jumped in the deep end first thing thus avoiding the tortureous inch by inch method I’ve used previously, or because the water was actually warmer. I guess I don’t really care. It was great fun. I’m hoping we can squeeze another swim in today. I wish we didn’t have to shower afterwards. I’d love to come home from storytime, jump in the pool, dry off, have some lunch and lay Jael down for a nap. If we don’t shower, we have time for that but with a shower thrown in, it ends up being 1:30 or 2 before she’s laid down for nap and that’s just too gone late.

What else has been going on? We are going to the Crawfish Festival tonight. Sounds lame, doesn’t it? But they’ve got a carnival/fair set up so that’s really why we are going. Jael has been so excited. It’s at the Coliseum (the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center) which is half a block from our house. Every time we pass by, which happens at least twice a day, she points and says excitedly, “There’s the fair! We are going to go to the fair on Thursday!” She’s invited every person she’s talked to in the last week to go with us. Our friend Alex is going to come with us which will be fun. She’s great.

Let’s see. Anything else of note? I broke the 230 mark. As of Monday morning (my official weigh-in day) I am 229 pounds. YAY!! So, if I am under 230 next Monday, I am scheduling a hair appointment a at a posh salon near Mobile. No, I don’t trust anyone on the Gulf Coast to touch my hair. The one place I’ve had recommended to me from a curly girl was not very friendly when I talk to them. They weren’t exactly rude but they didn’t seem super excited to be chosen by me either. So screw supporting local business. I’m going to Alabama.

 

Strawberries, Hair Cuts, and Pizza April 14, 2008

I made a fruit salad the other day. While cutting strawberries, I found a weird one…Yup. It’s weird.

the strawberry from the other world!

We took Jael to get her hair cut today. First, I must rant about the stupidity of this place. I don’t just want to take her to Wal-Mart to get her hair cut. We’ve never cut her hair before and I’m a little nervous. We’d wanted to wait until she could make the decision to cut her hair herself but she’s started chewing on it and so the decision got made for her. I open up the phone book, thinking I’ll find a salon in the yellow pages who says something about specializing in children’s hair cuts or maybe that just has an ad I like.

Yeah…I thought wrong. Under ‘barbers’ there were 60 shops listed and three with ads. Under ‘haircutters & stylists’ there were 28 listings and no ads. Under ‘spa’ there were some more listings but not once was there a professional ad or even an ad that seemed like a shop might like business. ARGH! So, faced with picking some shop at random, we decided to go ahead and go to Wal-Mart. At least if they screwed it up, there was some guarantee that they wouldn’t just laugh at us and kick us out of their store.

So, thinking there was a SmartStyle in the Wal-Mart northeast of us, I look them up in the white pages, wanting to call to see what kind of a wait we might have. None of the Wal-Mart’s listed a salon. We were sure there was one there so Israel got online and checked out Wal-Mart’s website to see if he could find one with a salon. None in the area. So I look up SmartStyle in the phone book and there it is: “SmartStyle-inside Wal-Mart…” and gives the address to the Wal-Mart Israel is looking at online that lists everything and it’s dog but not the salon. ARGH!!! (again)

We went and got her hair cut and it looks good. It’s not a magical hair cut that will never fall into her face while remaining feminine but it’s better than it was and is cute. Here are two before pics…

and two after pics…Don't ask me why she loos so freaky.

Oh, and as I looked up the phone book stuff just now, I found all the missing adverts. They are listed under ‘beauty salons.’ Now, I looked under ‘salon,’ ‘cosmotolgy,’ ‘haircutting,’ ‘barbers,’ etc, and not once was there a reference such as “look under beauty salon.” Nothing. ARGH!!!!!!!!

But we got her hair cut and that was cool. Then we went to a park and met a nice lady named Maria and her two and a half year old daughter. There was a large group of kids, from a school or day care or something there. Jael and some other girls had a bit of an altercation over proper bridge etiquette. Jael was bouncing on the bridge when a girl at least two years older tried to cross, slipped on her incredibly slippery shoes and then after slipping and sliding across the bridge and finally gaining the other side, yells at Jael, “You are the one that made me fall!” and then went away. Another little girl came and told Jael that she wasn’t supposed to jump on the bridge to which Jael responded, “Yes, I am.” The girl told Jael, quite forcefully, that she needed to get out of her way. Jael countered by telling the girl, again about two years older, equally forcefully that she needed to go around. Which the girl did. I was so proud of Jael for standing up for herself. I don’t want he to be a playground tyrant but I also don’t ever want to see her bow to someone else just because they are loud, obnoxious and afraid. Then Jael found two like-minded girls to play with and they had a riot.

After the park we went to the Mellow Mushroom for pizza. It was…amazing. There really isn’t any other words for it. We ordered a medium House Special, which, and I quote, “Originated when we first began, this Mellow Mushroom classic features Pepperoni, Sausage, Ground Beef, Onions, Green Peppers, Shrooms, Black Olives, Tomatoes, Bacon, Ham, and Extra Cheese.” It was phenomenal. I could have done with out the bacon but that’s simply because there were so many other toppings that the bacon was almost over kill. We ordered a medium and brought two slices home but I wish we’d ordered a large so we could have had a few more pieces to bring home. Okay, what I really wanted was to be able to eat another piece but still have enough pieces left to bring home to make me feel like I ate responsibly. *sigh*

The restaurant was almost perfect. There was fun music but not too loud. The decor was fun but not over powering. The smells, were of course, amazing. They served Coca-cola products and a huge selection of beers, domestic and imported. They had a number of beers that Israel has not tried. Since we were there for lunch, he didn’t try any today but maybe next time. The only complaint I have is the TV. There was a TV on each end of the restaurant and even though it was golf, I found myself being continually distracted. I hate TV in restaurants but oh, well. It was still worth it and we will definitely be visiting the Mellow Mushroom again.

After eating, we looked at the railroad behind the restaurant where one of the sidings appeared to be quite deserted. It was very light rail, very rusty – so rusty in fact that we had a very hard time finding a production date on it. After much searching and brushing away some dust, we found it. Laid in 1918. The oldest we’ve ever found. A train went by while we were looking and the engineer waved back at Jael. (In case you don’t know, Jael loves trains. Every time she hears a train, while in the apartment, she rushes to the door and asks to go down and watch it. We usually let her. She stands down on the curb, watches the train go by and then runs back upstairs to tell us about it. She’s wonderful.)

We headed home after that, Jael took a great nap, and Israel and I relaxed for about an hour and a half.

All in all, a great day.

Oh, and I’m reading “Jane Eyre” again. What a great book. I love it. It’s one of the few books I can read over and over. “Ender’s Game,” “The Captain of Castile,” and “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” are some of the others. That may actually be a complete list of the books I can read over and over again.

Coming soon: “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life”: a book review.

 

Sweaty Story Time March 19, 2008

Due to a complete and total moron moment on my part, I arrived at story time very, very sweaty. It all started this morning at 5 o’clock in the morning…

Bing…bong...bing…bong...bing…bongbing…bong

The alarm went off as it was supposed to and I hit the snooze, as I am supposed to. Because Israel rides his bike into work, in order to be to the gym or the track by 630, he has to leave the house by 550 or 600. On mornings that he doesn’t feel like leaving so early (and therefore having to get up so early) he will drive the car to workout and then drive home, have breakfast and then I will drop him off so I have the car.

After hitting the snooze for the second time, Israel expressed the desire to not go work out but still go into work at the later time (830). Of course this is against the rules and he’s already received a Letter of Counseling for that exact thing. So I suggested that he take the car in, come home for breakfast and then Jael and I would drive him in. Since that means he can sleep until 550, he said great. I set the alarm for 550 and we went back to sleep.

At 550, we got up, I made him some Gatorade while he put on PC clothes. I kissed him goodbye and sat down to check my email. The only message I received was a voice mail from one of his sergeants from 530, telling him that they were doing a recall and he needed to be at work as soon as possible.

“CRAP!” I thought. I figured he would either find out at the gym or I’d tell him when he got home. Since either way, he was going to be in a rush, I got him clean clothes and put them on the dinning room table along with his razor and shaving cream. I made him some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast and got his lunch all ready. Knowing that a messy house stresses him out, I picked up the living room and swept the kitchen. I cleaned off the horizontal surfaces that seem to magnetically attract papers, pens, ponytail holders, combs, cups, plates, and other random things of life. I even got Jael up an dressed and made her breakfast so we would be ready to go. We were all ready to go and he wasn’t home yet so we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

About half an hour after he really should have been home from PC, he called. As he pulled up to the track, he was told that his squadron was doing a recall and he needed to go to the shop. Because he normally rides in, he had a uniform there. So he went ahead and went to work. But now he had the car and I didn’t. This wouldn’t be a big deal on most days but on Tuesday’s Jael has a date with Story Time and it is the highlight of her four-year old’s life. Israel said he would try to be home by 930 or 10 so we could take the car.

I told him to try but if not it wasn’t a huge deal because we could just walk. Here’s where the problem starts. The library used to be only one mile from our house. The gym was two miles from our house but on the same road as the library. We’ve moved almost four miles from our old house. Now the gym is about 1.6 or 1.7 miles from our apartment. The means the library is a lot closer to three miles away than the two I was thinking. But for some reason, I had it in my head that the library was only 2 miles away. So I figure the average walking speed is four miles an hour. We should leave the house about 930 to be at story time by 1000. About two blocks from the house I realize my mistake. So we start hurrying. I’m pushing Jael in the stroller, knowing she’s not up to maintaining a 4 mph walk for two miles. Have I mentioned the wind? It was very, very windy. Most of the time we were sheltered from the wind by buildings or overgrown fences but every now and then a gust would hit me and push against the stroller.

Then, as we neared the train tracks, we heard the train’s whistle. I knew we were already going to be pushing it to get there on time and if we had to wait on a train, we would definitely not make it on time. So I started walking faster. Luckily, as we reached the tracks, we saw that the train was far down the line and we were able to make it across without having to race any trains.

We finally get to the library (after having to wait for the crosswalk of stupidity. Notice in the picture how the button is 10, 15 feet from where the sidewalk ends. Yay Biloxi.) We arrive 15 minutes late. I’m not hot until we step into the building and I bend over to unbuckle Jael. Then the sweat starts pouring off my body. I step into the bathroom to grab a paper towel and try to mop myself up. I look in the mirror and the back of my shirt is completely soaked through as are my pits. Yum. I look like a wreck. Of course my hair is everywhere because it was so windy. I can’t take of my outer shirt because my under shirt is too revealing. And the temperature in the library must be over 80. I thought I was going to die. Luckily, they don’t ever say anything to me about drinking water in there because I was guzzling my water like there was no tomorrow. Luckily by the time we headed outside for the Easter Egg Hunt, I was cooled off enough to be mostly presentable.

Of course this was the week that we had about five new families at story time. The other three mom’s know me and I don’t feel too embarrassed about being a sweaty mess. They saw me all last summer after we rode in so this wasn’t too new. But the poor new people. They must have thought I was a freak.

But Israel came and picked me up which was wonderful. Chris and Arianna had both offered me rides home so I wouldn’t have had to walk back home, not that it would have been a bad walk if I wasn’t hurrying.

But, as Chris said, that was my workout for the day. So all in all it was okay. I worked out on Sunday, doing various arm and chest, leg, and abdominal exercises; Monday, at Curves; Tuesday, walking to the library. So today I’m headed to the gym again. Maybe I’ll actually have a good week of working out. Here’s hoping!

 

Creepy old men March 17, 2008

I’m not sure what bothered me more…the lameness of the parade or the creepiness of the grown men begging for crap.

We went to a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday. We’d not taken our daughter to a parade and thought she might enjoy it. She did so our mission was accomplished it but it was still odd.

The parade itself was, well, different from any other parade my husband and I had ever been to. The parades we’ve gone to before included: marching bands from local high schools, decorative floats from extracurricular clubs, floats from various business and clubs from the city, antique cars, the shriners, clowns, etc. This parade had large trucks, semi tractors and tow trucks, pulling trailers which had been painted marginally in St. Patrick’s Day colors but bore a uncanny resemblance to what I would assume Mardi Gras parade trailers looked like. Green, yellow (or gold), purple. Cheap beads. Beer. Load music.

We had fun but would not probably go again. The music was WAY too loud. It hurt my ears. The crowd is standing not five feet from the “floats” and yet the music is blaring loud enough to hurt the ears of someone twenty feet back. (My hubby stayed back in the shade.) We stood next to two men. Both were older and very…well, they were really fat. Both had that look. I saw it often when working at the Pierce Street Fareway and often when working at OU (which I had a nightmare about last night, oddly enough.). It’s a look of voluntary mental retardation.

There are those who are born with a small cup. There are those born with average cups and those born with large cups. The size of your cup is predetermined. You can’t change the size of your cup. What you can choose is how full your cup is. A mentally retarded person who has a smile on their face and has worked to better themselves in every way they can, has a full cup. They have my respect. An average Joe or even a genius who, through laziness of the mind and body, has a small swish in the bottom of his cup and nothing else, has nothing from me but disgust.

These men were in the latter category. They were fat not from the love of food but the hatred of doing. They stood there begging for a handout because they’d given up self respect and dignity long ago. They gathered their useless baubles and cheap cups, baseball caps, plastic footballs, toy pipes, and the like with a greedy urgency. They lugged their tote bag of “treasures” away with them as though they’d actually received something of value.

Sorry to have ranted on two strangers. My daughter lugged her crap home with the same emotion. She feels she got real treasure and to a four year old, a couple of pounds of shiny Mardi Gras beads are treasure. I simply hope that by the time she’s an adult, she has more permanent treasures to seek.

Oh, and I got sunburned. Jael is fine. Israel is fine. I toasted. Which I do every summer when I pull out the tank tops. You’d think I’d learn. I guess my cup’s not overflowing yet, is it?

Me after the St. Patty's Day parade