April 25th, 2016

A good hair day is two seconds away: life with wigs

February 5th, 2016

I’ve made no secret that I wear wigs – not by choice, mind. I have an autoimmune condition called Alopecia Universalis, which means I lose the hair on my head and body randomly (and completely.) It has come and gone since 2012, when I was under a great deal of work stress. This fall it went, in a hurry, in about three weeks’ time (although work stress has improved drastically, it was a delayed reaction.) I bought a human hair wig for the first time, very expensive. I also got a temporary synthetic wig while my new one was being made, as a stopgap.

Today, frustrated by my human hair wig’s craziness with the sightly warmer, melting-snow-after-days-of-rain weather, I ripped that sucker off and put on a (slightly shorter and darker) synthetic wig. Aaah. Instant good hair day. I will have to wash the human hair wig and restyle it.

I am thinking of getting my human hair wig cut a bit more (it’s best to go slow, even if I do have to pay for each cut.)  I am also thinking of getting one of my old synthetic wigs cut a bit too. Synthetic wigs get split ends – and unlike your hair, you can’t just cut them off and let it regrow. You can cut, but it’s never coming back. But this one that I have on is fairly new (even if temporary) and it looks cute. I doubt anyone but my family will notice I have on a different wig today. I am even considering getting an ‘inexpensive’ (i.e. probably about $250) synthetic wig in a totally different style – long, perhaps. I mean, why  not?

I waffle between “I don’t want anyone to know! Especially clients!” to, “let’s have fun with this!” My wardrobe changes daily, why not my hair? I’m also getting to the point where my fake hair is in better condition (due to age) than my real hair will be. This is a definite advantage – with wigs, you get the benefit of “younger” hair which really does make you look a lot younger.


To my miracle daughter, on her 5th birthday

March 28th, 2012

Peanut, on this night, five years ago, you were born. At 12:03 am. The previous evening, a soft and gentle spring evening, sun shining, birds singing, warm, I walked (waddled), heavy with pregnancy at 35 and a half weeks along, far too early to have a baby, but so far longer than they ever thought I could stay pregnant. My neighbor and dog park friend and I met on the walk. As Roosevelt and Zuzu bumped noses, my neighbor asked “Aren’t you in labor?” and I said “Not yet!” Famous last words. About 45 minutes later, it started.

As you were born – in a thunderstorm, I’m told – though I wasn’t paying attention – and they handed you to me and I said, over and over “I can’t believe I have a baby! I can’t believe I finally have a baby!”, you became the child that healed my grief, healed my loss and made me, finally, a mother.

In the quiet nursery, warm and heavy with that delicious baby smell, I nursed you. In a quiet alcove, in a rocker, your tiny red cheeks, your little fists balled up and tucked in next to me, I felt, for the first time in a long, long time, at peace.

You’ll never know how much I love you – until you have your own children and know that powerful love that a mother has for her child. I know I’m not always the best, most patient mama, but I love you, I love you, I love you more than time and life itself. I will love you forever, past the bounds of this earth, past the time of this life.

I want for you what every mother wants for her child – to keep you safe from harm, to send you off confident in to the world (let’s start with Kindergarten!) and that you will live your life happy, find love, have babies and live to a ripe old age where you will say you had a great life. It’s amazing to me that I carried you in my belly. I remember your tiny foot pushing up so far I could see it’s small shape outside my sweater. And here you are, independent, capable and yet still my baby girl.

You are five, a magical age, and I want to live five with you. Take me by the hand, draw me rainbows, let’s play in the rain, have picnics in the living room and make forts out of blankets. teach me again how to look at the world with wonder, let me leave the impatient work world behind on our weekends.

I hope you’ll let me show you how to create, how to dance, how to draw, how to stand strong and, as you have already done for me, how to love.

What price?

January 31st, 2012

It’s 9:09pm. I worked til 5:15pm (stopping at the bank, back to my office for my laptop), picked up kids, drove to the post office, drove almost home, realized I had forgotten to send an ad for a client to a magazine (on deadline). Called hubby, drove 20 min to his office, waited 10 minutes, traded cars (and kids), drove to my office, posted ad, locked up, drove home. Ate dinner at 7:15pm, bathed toddler, put him down to bed (nursing to sleep!) at 8pm, tucked him in bed with his sister at 830pm, kissed her goodnight. Did the dishes (not done, but the first load is in) washed a load of laundry, folded clean cloth diapers, put them away, and will fold another load before taking all the laundry from last week  upstairs. Tomorrow, we have a babysitter coming so we can work from 6-9pm on Billing Wednesday – billing for my small business.

Whew. Last night I did much the same, only I also did a 1 – 1/2 hour webinar for some sewing software. Tonight I even considered making cappucino and sewing the upcycled man’s sweater to capelet with faux fur collar! But discretion is the better part of valor, and I feel a cold coming on (both kids have been sick). I took vitamins, am drinking some tea and resting now.

I wonder what drives me – and so many other working mothers – like this. Granted, many of them are not on five (FIVE) boards of directors of various charity and community organizations, most of them do not sew their own clothes, or their children’s. Comparison steals joy, and I’m not going to go there – even though that’s probably what’s driving me.

The very long version of this post – I am getting there – is at what price is all of this worth it? I make less now than I did ten years ago – though admittedly much more than I did two years ago. I work my tail off. Clients pay slowly. We try to bill them as little as we can, out of consideration of their businesses, too.

Could we live on less? Much less? Work much less? Spend more time with my kids? I think there’s this idea that I have to grow, grow, grow this business, when maybe that is not the answer. Yes, I have staff, but they can do more, and I could do less!

My goals are always the same

January 1st, 2012

They don’t change much, because they really are part of who I am. So here it goes for 2012:

Love our stuff: We have a lot of great stuff – from pizza and Italian breads cookbook and pizza pan, to a set of small ashtrays that are perfect for sushi, to fancy china, to a closetful of clothes, scarves and jewelry. Some help might be an app to help me manage my closet ideas (love the apps), and combining the love our friends category and love our stuff to have love our stuff with friends!

  • Clean out – basement, closets
  • Revisit – closets & cupboards first
  • Repurpose – reuse- recycle – donate

Love our friends & family: Call at least three friends per month for a play date – from group playdates to coffee and kids to moms night in. Visit our cousins, including a trip to TX in the spring and CA next fall. Of course there will be a wedding, and we should make a weekend of it! See the neighbors, and invite them over. Part of this is  a clean house, and we can see the Love Our Home section for that.

Celebrate our faith & give back: We love to volunteer, but we often forget how much we do, so a regular ‘accounting’ in the journal of all the wonderful things we are doing for others is really helpful. Faith deepens with more regular attendance at mass. Maybe even a blog-study?

Be Healthy: From vitamins for all of us, to walking Zuzu every day, to getting enough sleep, we all need to be healthier. We do a good job. We can do better – Meatless Mondays, Fish Fridays and at least one Salad Saturday from time to time.

  • Garden
  • Run – 3- 5Ks and mini sprint Tri, plus regular weekly runs
  • Bike – Trainers in the winter, once per week in the nice weather – get a ‘girls’ riding group going  – through friendships & ATHENA WIN
  • Sail – get a sitter and sail the lightning. come out to sail on Wednesdays with Christian
  • Gratitude prayers and journal (for the kids, daily prayers, for me, journaling)

Have fun! From date night to kid crafts, we need to all have more fun. So I profess  Fun Fridays at our house where we enjoy games, crafts, drawing, plays and other such fun as a family. We also need to cultivate a loving home – and that, for me starts with ditching impatience in favor of savoring the moment.

  • Sew, knit, needlepoint, sketch, create.
  • Museum, skate, swim, ski, sail, bike

Home love: Enhance our space with love and creativity.

  • Garden – create new garden spots for more growing
  • Creatively create outdoor spaces and furniture for relaxing with our littles
  • Plant flowers/harvest flowers & greenery every week for our home.
  • Keep it clean. Work to have no dishes and maintain Housecleaning Monday every week, with Kid Toy Pickup nightly.

Savor: Photograph and scrapbook everything. These days are going so fast and saving and archiving them to photos is important. Create a digital backup and archive at the office, as well.

Create: Learn new stuff.

Business: (just a bit, the marketing plan is taking the place of this)

  • Deliver ROI
  • Be passionate
  • Expect value and deliver more
  • Follow the plan for my business that I tell my clients to
  • Learn CSS well
  •  Become an expert in several areas – small business digital marketing and entrepreneur web site consulting.

adhering to my core values

December 29th, 2011

So last night was billing Wednesday. I don’t particularly like this night because it forces me to look at what we are not making and last night was no exception. I had emailed clients earlier in the day following up on long overdue bills. One, a good client of ours, called back and renegotiated several bills. A few were legit; the sites still had intermittent errors we could not track down. I struggle with this. If we were employees, they wouldn’t withhold pay if we couldn’t solve the problem (and we can, they just don’t want us to try right now). In other client’s cases, their fixes took longer than they should have. And we lost money. I just had about had it, and blew up at G. who busts his tail to keep up with the books despite working full time elsewhere. I said I was ready to quit the business, that I was not happy with aspects of our marriage and I felt that my stress was affecting it. If I removed the business stress we could work out the rest. He reminded me that I have employees, three mortgages – and even a day care provider – who count on me. So I’m in jail. With the door open.

I feel like George Bailey – he gives to his customers, never taking an extra dime for himself. He gets to the end of HIS rope and friends come to his aid. But I don’t expect my friends to come to my aid (nor should they). Like George, I drive a crappy, rusty old car. And then today, I realized I need to look at my core values. What I am about is delivering real, honest and amazingly devoted service to my clients. I’d do it if I were independently wealthy.

I don’t need a car (well, I do, it’s a safety thing right now, broken windshield, doors that don’t open,etc.) but I do need to look at what I’d do if money were not the issue. That is my core value. Maybe I need to carefully edit my clients, and work less or work smarter. (oddly enough writing that gave me a pain in my chest and made it hard to breathe…) There are amazing bright spots, the things we do for our not-for-profit clients, the clients who love us back.

I don’t need a lot of stuff. And  I  deserve to get paid my value and the value of my employees. And I will go above and beyond for you. I expect nothing less in return.

Spring cleaning?

December 26th, 2011

So, the day after Christmas and we are spring cleaning? It was / is a gorgeous 44 degrees and sunny – in late December – so we took advantage of it and spent three hours cleaning the windows inside and out. Tonight, we have our usual housecleaning Monday. In between, laundry folding & putting away. I’m taking a break, I am tired, and probably needed more of a day to rest from being sick than anything. Didn’t get it. My kids are both recovering from colds too, so the whole fam is cranky. It feels good to put clean sheets, fold and put away laundry, clean out clothes that are too big and get ready, really ready to embrace the winter season with bright shiny windows.

This entire week promises nice weather, so we’re taking advantage of it where we can.

If you forget your lunch…

November 9th, 2011

…Don’t come to my office. It’s a gray, rainy November day, the kind you just do not want to brave even in the car (worse would be snow, weatherguy says that’s coming soon). So I went up to our freezer (we have a full size kitchen) and found one link of a two-pack of Eckrich polish Kielbasa (the big packs, and yes, I ate the whole thing, I’m sure it was 3 servings), 6″ of a frozen garlic bread (I had one of the halves), two clementines and one mini coconut milk ice cream bar. Lunch of champions, indeed! I feel all jittery from the nitrites and all slothlike from the transfats (I exaggerate.)

I had *just* bought four lean cuisines to keep at work for just this occasion. But they are still at home in my freezer there. I usually have soup too, but we ended up with only the cream soups left (can’t have dairy) so I’m soupless, to boot. But NEXT time I forget my lunch, unless those Lean Cuisines come here soon, I’ll be eating croutons and coffee beans with ketchup, so I’d really better plan ahead.

This morning I started out at a 7:30am board meeting for a not-for-profit business women’s group. Hubby called me to ask what was the plan for the dog. Plan? I Have no plan! I would have to go home (and I could have rectified the lunch situation then) But I grumbled and resigned myself. She has to come with me, she’s 13, she can’t stay home alone without crossing all four of her legs at some point. And then I emerged from my meeting after 9am and there was a doggie in my car! By chance I’d just mentioned to hubby “well I can’t take her to (office name)” and he remembered, and dropped her off. Taking the kids to day care too, what a nice guy!

The weird scrounged lunch is over, I’m back to work in a minute. Hope you’re eating better than I am at this lunch hour!

What did you do today?

November 8th, 2011

I think as women we sell ourselves short and we compete with each other to boot. But what if, instead of coveting her (life, boots, hair, body, children) you simply appreciated all that you have done today. Today, a typical Tuesday in November, I got up, cloth diapered one, got the other dressed in some weather-if-not-fashion-appropriate outfit, grabbed frozen breastmilk from the basement freezer, raced everyone to day care. I worked a full day – two staffers in (one in the morning, concepting a new leave-behind/inspiration print piece, another in the afternoon, writing social media strategy, preparing a marketing mailing for a client, handling a server / software issue for another client). In between, edited two volunteer web sites, updated a volunteer marketing plan.  I raced to day care after work, later than usual, took both children in to vote, where the youngest proceeded to unplug the very voting booth I was using (thank goodness we still use markers and paper to vote!). Nurse, dinner, play, put two kids to bed, folded and washed two loads of laundry, pre-treated two kid outfits, , straightened up the living room, did the dishes. Oh, yes, and cleaned three bathrooms! (I had almost forgotten that I’d skipped my portion of Housecleaning Monday to go to the grocery store last night.)

Now, journaling my day, pulling out knitting of a baby sweater for the youngest. Yes, indeed. Last night I even cut out a sewing project. I made a pot of tea, it’s a nice relaxing finish.

I think that’s the sort of thing we should celebrate – the accomplishments! It took me at least 500 words to put that all down, and it was a big glossing over of the tiny details – teaching the baby (17 month old almost) to say “cheese” (he holds up whatever is in his hand, to his face and says something like “seez!”)

Celebrate what we accomplish, acknowledge that we all go after different things, and be present in our own lives.


October 23rd, 2011

Today, this weekend, such gorgeous weather! I’m waiting patiently (or maybe toe-tappingly) for baby to wake from his nap so we can go to the park again. Today at Mass, we saw a family – an older couple, with a son, whom I am surmising has CP – they come a lot of the same weeks we do. Today, as I chased our active 16 month old boy, squealing, wiggling, alligator-rolling boy, I thought, I am so grateful. This mother, really, she would give anything to see her son run and bounce off the walls, as my boy is doing.

It’s amazing how lucky we are, they are both amazing children, beautiful children. We’re told again and again what a beautiful family we have. Indeed. Off to see if I can kiss the little one awake so we can enjoy this gorgeous sunny fall day before it goes, all too soon.

When I went up there, he had thrown the covers off, was sleeping on his tummy, arms tucked under him, bottom in the air. I covered him with a crochet baby blanket and let him snooze a bit more. Tired boy. I’m going to go sit on the porch for a bit, by myself.