Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Molar

Last week, I took my daughter to her orthodontist for a follow-up visit. We're done with all of the orthodontia (palate expander, head gear, braces) for now, but we were obligated to go in for "let's see how things look" visit. My assumption is that the doctor is just waiting patiently to see if my daughter's adult teeth turn out to be as jacked up as her baby teeth, in which case I assume he has a solution to the tune of a bajillion dollars. The visit turned out to be worthwhile, though, because he quickly spotted a problem.  The kid had a new molar coming in from the top. However, the baby tooth had neglected to vacate the premises. That wee little tooth was like, "Nah, I'm good." So, having nowhere to go, the new tooth decided to take up residence next to the old one. The new tooth was jutting right into the palate.  "This will have to be pulled," quoth the orthodontist.

So, I made an appointment with our next dentist for the following week. I'm sure my kid knew that she had a problem brewing in her mouth, but she tends not to tell me about these things. If I even suspect that a tooth is loose, I will nag her relentlessly to pull it out and make room for the new one.

I started dreading the appointment the very second I made it. My child has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to discomfort of any kind. She had a blister on her foot recently, and we had to hear about it for days. She will not swallow vitamins or pills of any kind. She will only take medication that is in liquid form and then only if it is grape flavored. She goes through band-aids like water. Pure drama. She called me from the bus stop one day last week. We've had some icy conditions lately. "Mom, I just wanted to let you know that I fell down three times on the way to the bus stop."  Now, just exactly what was I meant to do about this? Turn back time and somehow keep her upright on her two-block trek to the bus?

I did not know the procedure for pulling her tooth, so I was unable to explain it to her in detail. I talked to a co-worker who said that her dentist uses laughing gas and then uses the needle to inject the anesthetic into the gums. So, I thought the process might be like that. By the time I picked her up from school for the appointment on Thursday, she had whipped herself into quite the frenzy. "Dr. M is not in the business of hurting children," I told her. "I don't exactly know how he will get your tooth out of your head, but I really don't think it will hurt."

Before long, she was seated in the dentist's chair and Dr. M was explaining the procedure to her. She was nervous, I could tell. He loaded a cotton swab with some pink gel and deposited the gel inside my daughter's cheek. He then stuck one gloved finger in there and wiggled it around like crazy to distribute the goop.  Then, we had small talk with Dr. M's assistant while we waited for the gel to take effect. The kid was amazed by the changes that were taking place. "Mom, I can't feel part of my face!"

A few minutes later, the dentist returned to the exam room. He put some plastic glasses over my daughter's eyes. Then, he very casually draped his left hand over her eyes (but not in such a way that would cause her to think, "Why are you covering my eyes?") He then pulled back her cheek as the assistant handed him the needle. He told my daughter that he was going to push on her gums with his finger. "You'll just feel pressure," he said. Very deftly, he made a couple of quick jabs with the needle, and then passed it back to his assistant. We just recently switched to this new dentist and although I already liked the guy a lot, he definitely sealed the deal with this procedure. I mean, the kid never saw the needle and never knew she'd been injected.

Dr. M. left the room again for a few minutes to let the anesthetic fully take effect. When he returned, he grabbed one instrument, jabbed the stubborn molar out of place, and bam, it was over. He high-fived his patient, shook my hand, teased the kid about boys at school, and bid us adieu. I feel like he sort of makes up for all the shitty medical professionals I've encountered in my adult life.

As we were leaving the building, I told my daughter about the needle. I felt like I wanted her to know that extracting the tooth was more involved than just plucking it out. As luck would have it, she spotted Dr. M talking to someone in a side office. "You!" she exclaimed. He laughed.

So there you have it, the saga of the tooth extraction. They sent us home with some extra gauze. However, it was a good thing she didn't need it because the dogs chewed it up as soon as we got home

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Here you go, Rachel

Here's my annual "new music I like" post for 2016.  My friend Rachel is the only one who reads it, so this one's for you, Rach!

The Shelters - Never Look Behind Ya

Courtney Barnett - Three Packs a Day.  Courtney Barnett could read my Facebook feed to me and I would buy it.

Paul Simon - Wristband

Barns Courtney - Glitter and Gold

The Pixies -  Um Chagga Lagga  My loyalty to Black Francis knows no bounds.

Gaelynn Lea: Someday We'll Linger in the Sun Talk about talent! She won NPR's Tiny Desk contest and I've been haunted by her music ever since.

Lucius: Born Again Teen

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa'i - We Know The Way (From "Moana").  I love the music in this film.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Little Lesson

For many years now, members of my church have volunteered a few times a year to provide a meal at a local homeless shelter.  Different churches and organizations take turns cooking and serving a meal at the shelter.  I have never been able to participate because our church's turn always came up on a weekday. I have to work for The Man on weekdays. However, this time around it (a lunch meal) was scheduled for New Year's Eve and since it was a Saturday, I had the day off. I added my name and my daughter's name to the sign-up sheet.

Treat bakers were also needed, so I signed us up for that, too.  I bought a couple boxes of brownie mix and told my daughter to get started.  She did most of the baking on her own, but I set (and watched) the oven timer carefully because I'm pretty sure she'd leave something in there for a hundred years if she was wrapped up in some tweenie show on Netflix at the time.

When Saturday morning rolled around, it was a struggle to get her out the door as usual.  We had to be there at 11:15 so, you know, not the crack of dawn or anything. Honestly, the real heroes of the day were the volunteers from our church who got there two hours before we did in order to chop/bake/cook.  We were serving some sort of ham casserole, bread, salad, fruit salad, and dessert.  The kid and I took our spots behind the serving windows.  I would dole out the salad and she would  handle the fruit. Our friend Paul stood next to us on dessert duty.  In addition to A's brownies, there were some odds and ends (biscotti, chocolate chip cookies, etc.) from our church bake sale the week before, and some other newly-baked goodies that had been added.

A typical meal at the shelter serves a couple hundred people. It is all very orderly. They opened the serving windows at precisely 11:30. Folks grabbed a tray and then worked their way through the line, starting with the casserole and ending with dessert. Some passed on the salad and made jokes about not being a rabbit. I smiled and made jokes about what their mom would think of them not eating salad. When each person got to the dessert spot, my daughter would pipe up and say, "I made the brownies!"

Unable to resist the allure of the chocolatey goodness made by the jovial sixth grader, almost every person said, "Well, I'll have a brownie then!"

Some folks said very little as they came through the line. Others chatted us up quite a bit. Virtually all were very polite. The thing about homelessness is that there is no single adjective that fits all.  There were families with children. Veterans. Old people. Young people. A few who appeared to have mild developmental impairments.

A couple of people asked me what kind of dressing was on the salad. "Italian," I said.  We did have some standby salad that didn't have dressing on it, so we offered that up as needed.  I certainly wasn't going to knock anyone for being a bit picky. Just because you are homeless doesn't mean you all of a sudden like Italian dressing.  One man approached the dessert tray and pointed at one of the biscotti. I think he said, "One of those" or "What are those?"

Paul said, "It's biscotti. I hear it goes great with coffee."

The man responded, "I know what biscotti is."  There was a tiny bit of indignation in his voice. No one was assuming that a homeless man wouldn't know what biscotti is, but I think he interpreted it that way. Hell, I only heard of it fairly recently myself so I don't think it's necessarily on the list of "things everyone knows."

Once everyone had been served, a shelter employee made a call for seconds.  Lots of people lined up and many of the same faces came through the line. Some who didn't want salad the first time through decided to give it a try on the second pass.

At exactly 12:30, the rolled shades came down and covered the serving windows.  Lunch was over.  Other volunteers came in to clean up the meal and we were free to go.  My daughter and I hopped into our car and headed to Chipotle for lunch. On the way there, she asked me how people become homeless.  I did my best to explain some of the complex socio-economic reasons why some people in our community don't have homes.  For some, it's a lost source of income that sends them into a tailspin. For others, it could be mental illness or medical issues or any number of factors. Homelessness may be short term for some (ideally) but others may be in dire straits for much longer.

I think she understood.  I didn't want to be transparent and say that I wanted her to appreciate what she had.  Our reason for volunteering, first and foremost, was that our church needed volunteers to help with the meal. However, there is also that little bit of "teach my kid gratitude" leaking into the situation. We are not wealthy people but as childhoods go, our kid is having a pretty darned good one if you ask me. She's got her own room and a closet full of clothes. She has a cell phone and various other electronics. She participates in a choir (which will cost us $2000 this year) and is about to start guitar lessons. I mean, she could have it a lot worse.  Next time she is inclined to complain that the wifi signal doesn't always reach her bedroom, maybe she'll think about the children who came through that line on Saturday. She is a good kid with a good heart but still, kids are kids and reminders certainly don't hurt.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Shingle Bells, Shingle Bells

Did I mention that I have shingles? So fun, right?  I woke up on Christmas morning with some sort of irritation on my back. It was on my left side, right about at the bra line. It hurt and itched, but not outrageously so. I had done a few work-outs the previous week and even managed to sweat, so I thought maybe one of my sports bras had pissed off the skin on my back or something.  I handed a tube of cortisone to my daughter and asked her to slather some on my back.  The next day, I had my husband do the same thing. "I guess I have a case of the creeping epizooties," I told him. When I was a kid, this was a term my stepdad used to describe any random or unexplained rash. I am not sure if it's a real thing or not. I'm assuming not. 

Now, I guess it didn't occur to either one of them to mention that my back had actually erupted in blisters. I mean, I couldn't really see it myself because, well, it's on my back and my head faces the other direction for the most part. I figured it out after some contortions in front of the bathroom mirror.  I suspected shingles immediately, but wasn't sure. My youngest sister had it a couple months and had a pretty bad case of it. My mother suffered a bout with shingles years ago and still has lots of scars from it, so I know it can be very serious. I felt terrible for asking my husband and daughter to touch my back. Obviously, I kept my cooties to myself once I started to suspect shingles.

On Friday, I had an appointment scheduled with my dermatologist, but the catch was that I was not scheduled to see the doctor himself. I was just there for bloodwork to make sure that a recent medication change was not, you know, killing me or anything. I asked the nurse if there was any chance the doctor might be available to take a quick peek. Once I mentioned the word "blisters," she went and found him. He took one look: "Yep, shingles." He prescribed me an anti-viral medication and told me to stay away from babies, pregnant ladies, and really old people.

I started the medication a few days ago and things seem to be getting better. My back itches but I know it could have been a lot worse.  I am relieved that my daughter was vaccinated for chicken pox and that my husband contracted chicken pox as a child. Otherwise, they would both be at risk for getting chicken pox.  My brother-in-law came down with chicken pox when my sister had shingles, and he ended up in the hospital. Chicken pox in adults is no joke.

So, shingles was a little Christmas gift to me. Fa-la-la-la-la!

In other news, we had a quiet little New Year's celebration. And by "celebration," I mean we went to bed at 11:30 with an unopened bottle of champagne still in the fridge. I think my kid stayed up past midnight, though. She stayed up late every night during winter break. The other day I asked her how late she'd stayed up the night before and she said, "It's probably better if you don't know, Mom." She's been spending a lot of time with her new keyboard. She taught herself to play the chorus from "Piano Man" just by hearing it on Glee (she's been watching all the old episodes on Netflix). Teachers keep telling me that she has a "good ear." I guess she must - I certainly wouldn't be able to play a tune just from hearing it on TV.

Our new dog is settling in well.  The holiday weekend was a good time to bring our new girl home since it gave her lots of extra time with her. We only had to crate her once over the weekend, just briefly, but it was long enough for us to learn that she, um, frickin' hates the crate.  So, that will be something to work on. She is also opposed to peeing outside but again, something to work on.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 31, 2016


"Tap your heels together three times and think to yourself, 'There's no place like home, there's no place like home.'" - Glinda the Good Witch

Please join me in welcoming our new girl to her forever home. We have decided to call her Glinda. Grover is in love and they get along famously.

We are adopting her from Boxer Rescue.  She is between two and three years of age. She came from a neglect situation but has been in a wonderful foster home for the past few weeks. Glinda is very friendly and sweet. We adore her already!

New Year's Eve, it seems, is the perfect time to tap your heels together three times and find yourself at home. Welcome home, Glinda!

Sunday, December 25, 2016


I can't begin to tell you how many times I've sat down to write in recent weeks. I only managed to spit out two measly blog entries in December. December was a rough month. We never dreamed that we'd lose both of our dogs in 2016, and we are still reeling from Gretchen's death. I also lost my aunt Maureen at the very end of November. She lived in Texas so of course I didn't see her frequently, but she was a wonderful person and I'm so sorry her light has gone out.

So, I have had lots to say, most if it being downright pedestrian in nature, but the words haven't come. I can't let Christmas go by without a mention, though!

We've been pretty busy in recent weeks. We just fostered our first dog for our local humane society. I attended an orientation at the end of November and was asked to take an eight-week-old puppy the same day. We had her for three weeks and now she has been spayed and adopted. Lucy was a sassy little lass, and I'm so glad we got to be a part of her journey . . . even though her journey did include pooping behind our recliner. Grover was glad to have a little friend for a few weeks. We are hoping to adopt a companion for him very soon.

My mom visited in early December. We hadn't had a visit from her in a few years so it was nice to have her here. She even made treats for two bakes sales that came up while she was visiting (one for my church and one for German Shepherd Rescue). Most importantly, she was here for her granddaughter's big choir concert. After the concert, my mom and I went out for Indian food. My husband and daughter would not dream of putting anything other than pasta or pizza in their mouths, so I knew I had to go with a willing participant while I had the chance.

Most of my time over the past few weeks has been occupied with shopping/wrapping/shipping. It's the American way, ya'll.  I got everything shipped out on time and heaved a sigh of relief. As for my daughter, her list was surprisingly short this year. She asked for a bike, a keyboard (the musical kind), an iTunes gift card (those songs with inappropriate lyrics don't just download themselves, you know), and a power strip. No lie - a power strip.

My best friend had a guitar she wasn't using and offered to send it for the kid's use. I can't tell you how grateful I am for that.  It arrived a few days ago and I promptly hid it in the basement. I ordered the bike online a few weeks ago and then Mr. M put it together one day while our daughter was at a friend's house. It's really for the best that she didn't have to hear all the cussing about screwdrivers that were perpetually the wrong size. My sisters went in on the keyboard (plus a stand and headphones). I hid that stuff in the basement, too.  We have a storage area that the kid has always been afraid to enter. So, I put everything in that room and then unscrewed the light bulb just in case she decided to try any funny stuff.

My mom brought gifts for us when she came - she made a nightgown and robe for the kid, and got me a calendar, a wine glass, and a bunch of other fun stuff. My dad and stepmom also sent some gifts: Utz Barbecue chips (for me) and a hand-knit headband (also for me). The kid received gloves, a scarf, and a hat - also hand-knit.

In addition to the bike, the mister and I also got the kid a TV for her room. Oh, and guitar lessons that start on January 4th. And yes, we got her a power strip! Plus some clothes and pajamas and whatnot. One great thing about the kid getting a little older - Christmas doesn't involve as much packaging. She gets fewer (but more expensive) gifts than she received when she was little, but they're not as brutal as the toddler gifts. It wasn't too long ago that we spent the entire morning on Christmas just trying to liberate Barbie's microscopic shoes from their packaging. And trying to free Barbie's hair, which was always sewn into the box somehow. Whew! Glad to have those days behind us, though we look back on them wistfully, too.

This year, it was our turn to host brunch for our "in-town" family. I made chocolate chip pancakes and yeast rolls, and I bought some fruit salad because chopping stuff is way too much work. The other families brought casseroles, too. It was great to spend the afternoon with family. Even Grover was on his best behavior (he can be really fearful around strangers, but he did very well today).

If you're wondering what Mr. M got me for Christmas . . . well, I gave the boy a list. He got me some nice stuff (from my list): Vionic slippers, OOFOS flip-flops, wine, a yoga ball (Grover popped the last one - grrrr), and some soap. Funny story about the soap. I specifically wanted some nag champa-scented soap from Perennial Soaps. I gave him a link directly to that bar of soap. All he had to do was to put it in his virtual cart and check out. Instead, he got me every scent except for the one I wanted:

I mean, don't get me wrong here - I appreciate the soaps. I really do. I just need someone to explain to me how boys' brains work.

Me: "I'd like a single bar of soap in this specific scent that I love."
Him: "Nope, I'm going to spend five times as much to get you five soaps that aren't the scent you wanted."

Maybe you guys can think about it and let me know.

What did I get him? A Kindle Fire (he had an old one that wasn't charging properly anymore), one of those Harry's Shave Club kits, an alarm clock that can be used to charge other devices, Apple earbuds (because he left his out and Grover chewed them up), pajamas, a football calendar, a stormtrooper ornament, and a Marvel Comics trivia box. Our niece quizzed him on a bunch of questions from the box and he basically knew every answer - even to questions that seemed super obscure. I'm either really proud or really embarrassed. I'll give it some thought and let you know.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Our foster pooch

"Just hand me the other (expletive deleted) screwdriver!"

Our little Christmas tradition - we visit these old-timey displays every year.

Performance at a nursing home last week.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Read carefully, because I'll only say this once

A few weeks ago, the three of us packed up and headed out of town right after Thanksgiving. We had made plans to meet some friends (and their three kids) at a water park resort. Our families have been friends for a long time and in fact we are planning a 20th wedding anniversary trip with them in the summer. They got married just a few weeks after we did.

Our rooms at the resort were not yet ready when we arrived on Saturday. However, we were informed that in addition to the water park passes we would receive, our Groupon package included free passes to the indoor amusement park just down the hall. We decided to go to the amusement park first and kill some time until our rooms were ready. The first ride I spotted was a huge Ferris wheel. I don't think I'd ever seen an indoor Ferris wheel. I mentioned to my family that I wanted to ride the Ferris wheel at some point. I was also interested in the go-karts.

Most of the members of our group decided to hit a ropes course first. When I'd gotten dressed that morning, I'd put on my swimsuit under my clothes. My look-how-prepared-I-am plan backfired when our itinerary for the day changed. Without the proper "lift and support" that a chick like me needs and requires from a bra, I decided not to climb the ropes course. It just felt like a bad idea. I sat it out and took some photos of my daughter as she climbed higher and higher. After that, the eight of us filed into a small theater containing a virtual shooting game.  You probably won't be surprised to learn that I came in dead last (this is what happens when you are raised by pacifists and don't learn to shoot). Next, the kids got in line for a trio of climbing walls. While we waited, the four adults took turns paying a buck to sit in a massage chair that either felt really good or hurt like a sumbitch, depending on your perception.

Soon, we received text messages that our rooms were ready. We quickly formulated a plan to haul our luggage from our cars to our rooms, head to the water park, and then come back to the amusement park that night.  We figured we'd be all swimmed out but would be up for more fun. "We can do the Ferris wheel and go-carts when we come back," I said to my husband.

We spent a fun afternoon at the watermark. We bobbed around in the wave pool and rode all of the slides we could find (the place is massive). The grown ups shared a couple of overpriced adult beverages. The kids had a blast.

Later, we headed back to our rooms to shower and all that jazz. Our friends went out to dinner but we weren't that hungry so we just stayed in our room and had some snacks. Once they were done eating, we met them at the amusement park.  We rode the go-karts first.  What a colossal waste of time.  The go-karts were run by Goober Pyle and his cousin Gomer. I mean, it was just unreal. They couldn't seem to keep the cars moving around the track. My daughter wasn't tall enough to drive on her own so she rode with me. Our car wouldn't go faster than walking speed. "Let's not do THAT again," she said as we climbed out of our craptacular vehicle.

The kids all had game cards with cash on them and wanted to play arcade games. The games in the arcade area can only be played by using one of these cards. I played a couple of games with my daughter. However, my feet were starting to hurt.  Walking barefoot on concrete at the water park all day had not been kind to my stupid bone spurs and plantar fasciitis. "Hey, I'm going to sit down over by the Ferris wheel," I said. "I'll just find a bench somewhere around there."  That way, the rest of the group could come and find me when it was time for all of us to climb aboard.

I couldn't find a bench directly next to the Ferris wheel, but eventually I did find one that was unoccupied. It was a bit farther away than I had anticipated but not outrageously so.  And so I sat.  I watched people being flung around on the crazy ride that was directly in front of me. I played Words with Friends on my phone.  I checked Facebook. Eventually, my kid ran up to me and flung down some junk on the seat next to me.  It was her winnings from the games, the kind of trinkets that kids love and parents hate. Like miniature slinkies that always seem to come pre-tangled. She then turned and ran back towards the arcade. I assumed she was going to play more games.  "Just how much money was on those pre-paid game cards?" I thought.  I continued to sit on the bench, taking in all of the people and goings-on around me.

Finally, I saw our whole group headed in my direction. I gathered my kid's crap (I mean winnings) and jumped up from the bench. "Can we ride the Ferris wheel now?" I asked.

My husband gave me an odd look and quickly responded, "We just rode it."

The ride that was between me and the Ferris wheel had blocked me from seeing that everyone got on the ride without me. When my daughter had brought me all of her stuff, apparently she was supposed to ask me if I wanted to ride the Ferris wheel, too. You know, the ride that I had mentioned multiple times during the course of the day.

I know that my reaction would not seem "normal" to most people. I immediately felt like I might cry.  My daughter realized that she had made a mistake and apologized.  I couldn't seem to reset myself, though. As a mom, I sometimes feel like I am forever "taking one for the team."  I know that not everything is about me, but can't something be about me? Ever? It was the one bleeping thing I had wanted to do!

I turned and walked back down the long hallway towards our room. Everyone else stayed behind - I'm not sure if they played more games or what happened after that.  Later, both families gathered in our friends' room for games. I didn't want to give the appearance of being a jerk, so I went over and sat down for a few minutes before retreating back to our room. Honestly, at that point I kinda wanted my own room.

Here is what I think most people would think if they were left out of an activity: "No biggie. I'll ride it next time."

Here is what I thought: "I feel unloved every day of my life. This just proves that no one thinks I'm even worth the trouble to make sure I am included."


I'm going to tell you my secret now.  There are reasons why I am much more fragile than I want to be. I am generally pretty honest about the fact that I have vitiligo. It's hard to hide. However, what I generally don't mention is that I've also been battling alopecia areata for about four decades now. That's the fun thing about auto-immune disorders - you seldom get just one. Here's hoping for lupus and diabetes!

Why do I keep it a secret? (Well, as much as I can, anyway?) It's hard to articulate. Other than a few close friends and a brief mention of it at church one time, I generally just keep it to myself. When I talk to someone, I don't want them scanning my head and wondering what they can or cannot see. I don't want anyone suggesting a wig to me or telling me about their cousin who has it. And I mostly definitely don't want to hear "it's only hair." If you don't think it matters, pull out some big chunks of yours and see how that works out for you. I know that sounds mean-spirited, but that's just how I've internalized this stuff. What I do know, and what I can articulate, is the lasting effect these conditions have had on my self-esteem. 

I don't know what it's like to be carefree and ride around with my windows open.  Windy days drive my anxiety to a whole new level. Swimming in a public pool or water park is challenging at best. The only reason I do it is so that my daughter doesn't have to miss out on fun times just because of me. The reason I didn't start going to yoga until I was 40, despite years of curiosity about it, was that I couldn't bear the thought of having to hang my head upside down in front of other people. I guess the good thing about middle age is that you start to realize that people aren't looking at you as much as you'd feared they were.

If you've ever looked at me and thought my hair looked something-close-to-normal, it is only because I have had four decades of practice. My outward appearance is all smoke and mirrors and voodoo and black magic. I don't know what it's like to be wash-n-go (I'm sure jealous of the people who are, though). Getting ready to leave my house takes forEVER.

About a year ago, all of the eyelashes fell out on my left eye and grew back in with no pigment (thanks to the vitiligo). So, mascara went from being a decorative tool to a necessity.

I have to make sure I am never in a position where someone might need to touch my hair for some reason.  When I was in elementary school and the school nurse came through to check all the kids for lice, my mom made sure that the nurse took me into a separate room before poking at my hair with a tongue depressor.

When I get out of the pool, I have to wear a hat. I have to be careful about how frequently I wash my hair and have to keep wear and tear to a minimum as much as I can.

The list goes on and on.

I'll never know what it's like to have some cute haircut. I've had the same haircut all my life because it's the only option. I wrote a blog entry a few years ago about growing my bangs out. It wasn't entirely true. They fell out so I had to come up with a workaround (no bangs).  Eventually, enough of my hair grew back that I was able to have bangs again. Which was good, because no one should have to be subjected to my forehead.

Over the years, I have seen countless dermatologists. I have endured cortisone injections into my skull, time and time again.  Nothing really works well.  I know more than I want to about the growth cycles of human hair follicles. If hair starts growing again, it may take 90 days.  So, if it does grow back, one can never be sure if it was the treatment or if it would have happened without intervention. It's a constant process of grasping at straws and being met with shrugging shoulders and "well, I guess we could try . . . " from doctors.

At Kohl's a few weeks ago, I complimented the cashier on her hair. It was long and black and shiny. And it looked like she had about a bajillion strands. I compliment people's hair all the time. It's genuine, but it's also because I'm just straight-up jealous. My kid has hair that some people would sell their soul to get.

When I was a little girl, I understood that I was different and that being different was bad. Different is ugly. I learned that for girls, beauty and hair are tightly intertwined. I became hyper-sensitive to any comment about my appearance. I still am.  When I was a teenager, I would look at myself in the mirror and think, "No one will ever love you enough to marry you."  I was proven wrong, though, because someone DID marry me (sucka!) But, he can't understand the depths of my insecurity and pain.

So, when I was left off of that ride, it brought up every painful feeling I've ever had about myself. It felt like a confirmation of what I'd always suspected, silly as I know that sounds.  I've been feeling a little bit down ever since, but I'm working through it. I know that my husband and daughter were not being intentionally unkind. 

The good news, if any can be found, is that I've worked pretty hard to make sure my daughter doesn't pick up on this stuff. She thinks she's awesome (no lie: the word "awesome" is usually part of her user name on her apps and games). I just need to make sure she stays that way.