The Wink is a labor of love, occasional source of ire and constantly influenced by the toddlywinks in my life- my daughters. There's also the HunkyWink. You'll read all about them as The Wink unfolds. Please feel free to wink back!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Turkey BLT

There is a little bistro in town, 132 Glen Bistro, that is simply always spot on perfect when it comes to food. Granted, I'm no foodie, but I do know a great dish cooked with fresh local foods when I taste it. After a trip to Lowe's to buy tiles for the bathroom (What? You thought a little thing like an imminent birth would stop the fools at Chez Wink from rolling up their sleeves and tangling with the homeowner's beast of burden? Pshaw! Ahem, I am a big talker. Grandma and Sean are doing the work. I can lift heavy stuff and work a table saw like nobody's business, but words like grout and mortar make my palms sweat.) Anyway, we popped into 132 for a bite. A succulent, crispy, fresh baked bite of mountain top-picnic-tabley goodness.

Sean has some sort of crab cake thing, Grandma/Mom had a tilapia sandwich and I had my one true love, a fresh roasted turkey BLT sandwich on fresh from the oven bread. The dish of extra mustard on the side nearly made me weep with contentment. Great was my disappointment when my belly protested, No more, please, no more, after less than half. I've never left without inhaling the whole thing.

LIGHT BULB.

Contractions. Baby. Child birth. Maybe. Soon.

Not sure.

Stay tuned.

And hands off the other half of my 'sammich' til I get back.

Wink!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

You are going to have a baby.

So we took the girls to the park for our nightly let's see if we can get mom to break her belly exercise. I was on the swings with Briar and a boy, maybe about seven, pedaled his bike over to us.

"I thought I was the only one here," he said looking up at the sky.

Briar began to preen and blush on her swing, "What's that kid doing?"

"He's riding his bike," I told her with a smile, feeling mostly charmed by the playground flirtation.

He rolled back and forth on his bike for a minute, never looking at us and then saying, "You are pregnant. You are going to have a baby."

I looked at him smiling, "Yes, I am."

Briar watched him from her swing and he continued sitting on his bike not looking at us, then he cleared his throat and looked at me. I smiled.

"When you have that baby it is going to be painful," he said this in almost hushed tones and looked at me with heavy eyes.

I nodded and smiled, "But it is so worth it."

The look he gave me as he pedaled away made it clear that he thought I had the sense of a shit house rat.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Legend has it...

Local legend has it that dinner and an IPA at Davidson's will send a woman into labor. So, after two days of walking two and from work, repeated trips to the park, foolhardy leaps from swing sets, the odd skipping jaunt down the street, we hied ourselves to the proverbial fountain of labor. Neither a fan of beer nor a person truly comfortable with drinking while pregnant, I scanned the menu and tried the next best thing - Spiciness.

Buffalo Chicken in a Jalapeno Cheddar Wrap.

My meal was complemented by the kind of laughter that only comes along once in a great while. I had commented on the bold shade of red that a guy in the restaurant was wearing, Sean quickly pointed out that it was more of a jersey than a shirt. I gave a snort, it felt good. As we waited for our food I took in the sounds around us, clinking glasses, laughter, loud ocnversations. The group at the outdoor table across from ours was being quite rowdy. A woman with expensively bleached and styled hair was holding court, her top was a bronzey-fleshy number, quite tight and low cut. She wore standard issue body hugging, low-rise black pants and heels that were almost nice looking enough to not be called fuck-me pumps.

She was attractive in a very showy, trying really hard kind of way. I shifted in my seat and realized that I was sitting with my legs so wide that as I leaned forward my belly touched the seat of my chair. It was odd. I looked at Sean and smiled, "You know, even though I'd really like to have my waist back, I'd rather sit here with my belly touching my knees than be sitting there with the tag of my thong sticking out of my pants." Sean turned, spied the 2 inches of hot pink tag poking out of the woman's pants and snorted. He lifted his head, looked me in the eye and said with a nod of his head toward the red-shirt, "Yup, later on she and old red-shirt over there are going to play a little bit of flag football."

It was such a preposterous image, so unexpected, that I let out a laugh so abrupt and explosive heads turned. The laughter did not abate for at least a couple of minutes. We spent nearly another hour laughing, my whole body relaxed and I thought, if I were a baby, I'd choose now, in the height of this perfect night to arrive.

3 hours passed and I was still resplendently with child. About thirty minutes later Sean tried massaging the pressure points our acupuncturist friend recommended.

Nothing doin'.

Two more hours passed and contractions began in earnest. Yay. Two exciting hours of Ok, now we're getting somewhere. Quickly punctuated with Damn, we're right back where we started.

So this morning I went for an acupuncture session. 90 delicious minutes of relaxation bordering on a comatose state. I had hoped that it might do something for labor, but no. I've gone through today knowing that there is nothing I can do, she'll come when she comes, yet I am still adding cayenne to my food, walking as fast as I can, bending frequently and lifting heavy things. If I were her I'd come out just to put an end to the ridiculous attempts of her mother to hurry her into the world.

At midnight tonight I'll officially be overdue.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You came for a baby. I gave you a tub.

Ok, so Lloyd Dobler totally had the better line...

"I told her I loved her. She gave me a pen."

But I'm trying.

I know you are clicking over, hoping to see the post that introduces the little girl I let you know about so many months ago.

She isn't here yet. I mean she is, oh but she so *is* here, her feet and knees brushing against my insides, her hips and her insistent rump press against my belly, always in a very cockeyed way, alternately entertaining and grossing me out.

I apologize, but can I tell you that the next best thing is here?

We have a tub. And a shower.

We can't use them, but they are here and that fact makes me feel as if I am waking upon a sea of frothy bubbles made from the most expensive bath gel available.



Look at those happy feet toes.

And here's the girl*, you know, the one you came looking for...




*I promise I'll post baby photos just as soon as I can!

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Hum the Jeopardy jingle

No plumber.
No Oprah.
No baby.

Ok, the plumber came, but he did nothing.
And, really, Oprah might've been by, but I'm not sure.
And the baby, well, let me tell you, she tried.

Is it weird that I don't want my baby coming out of an unshowered me?
My feet are unacceptable.

"Now just put your feet up here," they might say.

"No."

"Excuse me? Honey, put your feet up here," an emphatic clap on the stirrup.

"No."

"But it's time to push," incredulous.

"That's great, I haven't showered in two days, I haven't been wearing shoes and I have dry wall dust gummed up between my toes."


The plumber is coming at 8. I figure I'll take a sort of bus stop bath in the downstairs bathroom with the aid of a dish towel and Aveeno baby wash. I'll then drink several cups of supercharged coffee to make up for the dirt hued hot water I made with the 73 microscopic grounds of coffee that were sitting pathetically in the bottom of the canister this morning.

My hope is to make it through the day to see the completion of the upstairs bathroom, the breaking of Avery's fever, the return of my doctor and the gloriously timed commencement of labor.

Did I mention I truly believed each year that I was away at college that Ed McMahon would pull up to my apartment to make me the first normal looking person to ever win the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes? Seriously, I wouldn't leave all day.

We'll know if the Democratic nominee is Hillary or Barrack before I birth this child.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Plumber. Cue baby.

Ok, so here it is in a nutshell:

The bathroom sits, tub and surround in place, with pipes waiting to be set and connected. John the plumber never called.


My contractions have stayed quiet whilst we have toiled on the house.

Tomorrow we are going to the plumber first thing. Mama is going to work the ever-loving-heck out of her belly in the hopes of appealing to the plumber's sense of pity (or scaring the hell out of him). Then, in my perfect scenario, we'll take said plumber back to our house, show him the pipes and begin the affordable (a girl can dream) journey to bathing in our own home again.



Healthy plumbing. Healthy baby. Contented Amanda.

You know what?

I take it all back. I just want her to be healthy.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Water...broken



Not trying to be a tease, just trying to find a way to get through the first hot snap of the year, contractions, little signals that this little girls is getting closer to making her debut and not having running water upstairs.

Sean got the mold out of the bathroom, along with the 200 pound cast iron tub.



The drywall, tiles, lath and plaster are all far, far away after multiple trips to the dump. The girls are at Nana's and I am ready to head up to bed...so very far away from the only working toilet.

I had a plumber on the phone, he sounded great - intelligent, sympathetic, available and then BZZZ-APPP his cell phone died. He never called back. Several other numbers dead-ended at voice mail recordings or announcements of having been disconnected. Out in the driveway the back of the pick up is chock full of new Kohler this and Kohler that. We have the wood to frame out the space and the time to do it, but we need a plumber.



I am teetering on the edge of sanity. I tried to catch up on work, but the program I need to read the files was wiped off my computer. We rented a movie for distraction and it went from ok to bad (spiders) to horrifying (a dad doing the unthinkable because he thought it was the best thing to do) to un-freaking-accepeptable (dad really should have waited 45 seconds).

Don't rent The Mist


Tomorrow is Sunday, this means I'll be sitting on my hands. Or sitting with my hands firmly between my legs, because even though ya'll had a point about the hospital having great showering facilities, I have seen what plumbers do to floors. The baby's room is next to the bathroom. I want I need to clean after this guy (or gal) comes through. It feels so unfair to lose this kind of control even as the crisp flapping of the finish line tape tickles at my ear.

Damnit, John the plumber from Saratoga County, call me back and make my year. Say you'll come and set the pipes tomorrow.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Is that what I think it is?



Sean came to me, his face was one of resignation, "Can you grab my headlamp?"

I dashed to the kitchen, you know, like 39+week pregnant are wont to do, and snagged the headlamp from the drawer of the table in our kitchen, the kitchen that is just three light fixtures and the trim around one window from being completed. Sean was waiting for me upstairs, he was kneeling in front of a wall.

I looked at him and then at the wall. He was directly in front of the small access panel to the plumbing of our upstairs bathroom, the only bathroom with a shower.

Shit. Fuck. Of fucking course.

"What are you thinking?" I asked after my silent homeowner prayer.

"Honey, I think we have a leak. Can you run the water?" He was calm, eerily so.*

I tiptoed into the bathroom and turned on the water, all the while holding my breath.

I knew as surely as the baby kicked within me that the leak was back. The bathroom, and in fact all the plumbing in the house, had been blighted at best since the day we bought it. I watched the slump of his shoulders and felt the tension in his silence.

"Leaking?" I asked gently.

"Yup."

"Bad?"

"Honey, it's everywhere," and he shut off his headlamp.

We took measurements, knowing even as we wrote the numbers, that there would be no easy fits. We explored every option. Bathfitters and Re-Bath being in the thousands of dollars are not in the budget, the adhesive wall panels are too large and calking and regrouting has not worked. The bathtub is 51 inches long and 29 inches wide. Standard bathtub surrounds - 60" x 32".

Crap. Piss. Damn.

At 6:30 tonight Sean began gutting the bathroom. At 7:15 he found redemption, the drywall behind the tiles that he had been tearing down was soaked through, the underside covered in mold, the 2x4 studs along the tub wall were rotted end to end.





So, here we sit, mold-free and bath and showerless.



Last night I was having contractions, tonight I am thinking serene thoughts, crossing my legs and praying for an affordable available plumber come Monday. Tomorrow the girls will go to Nana's for a sleepover and Sean and I will frame out a new wall to add the 8 inches necessary to install a standard tub and shower surround.

Ain't life grand?

*Here and now I would like to announce publicly that my husband is the out-of-this-world amazing for keeping his cool and helping me stay calm(ish) through this nightmare. Hopefully I can return the favor by not going into labor until we've slept and bathed.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Idol. Debate. Yanks. Sox.

Did you watch?
Did you root?
Did you boo?
Did you hiss?

We flipped back and forth, fast enough at times that it seemed like Seacrest was calling the game, Stephanopoulos was questioning song choices and the YES commentators were grilling Obama.


A brief driveway chat with a neighbor revealed that I have a "decent beer gut," on me that's "big enough for twins," if you ask his daughter. Other neighbors were quick to say some of the things I bitched about yesterday, but they also said quickly, "Is that awful? Should we not say that?" All in all, it was kind of nice to know they cared, even if my first impulse was to kick them in the teeth with my swollen feet.

I kid.

My feet aren't swollen.

Snort.

Self-censoring goes out the window along with heels and nylons at the end of my pregnancies...

I don't like David Archuletta.
Jason Castro is kind of boring to me.
My sox are red.
And, another thing, this mama just can't quite trust Obama.

And with that riveting post, I am off to bed. No contractions.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Public Service Announcement, or Bitchy Pregnancy Rant

Excuse me, you there, you standing behind the counter,
you on the other end of the line,
you at the checkout,
and you sitting at the table behind me, got a minute?


You do not, under any circumstances say to a woman as heavy with child as I am, "You mean you haven't had that baby yet?"
Nor do you say, "Is this another pregnancy or are you still waiting to have that other one." I'd also recommend refraining from making 'witty' comments wondering what exactly it is I am "waiting for."

She's a bright kid, she'll come out when she's good and ready.

That said, if anyone wants to offer up ideas beyond raspberry tea, spicy food, sex, walking up hills and lifting heavy shit I'd be much obliged because as fun and wondrous as a few of the aforementioned suggestions were, they ain't workin'.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Through the years

I stood on the periphery, a lump settling deep in my throat, too great to be swallowed or exhaled away. I've felt it before it's a life-ache, a perfection living within a moment in time that fractures me, allowing every detail to bury itself within me.



They stood side by side at the sink, a princess towel beneath their pink-sock-clad feet to catch the inevitable sloshing of bubbles and water. They leaned into one another without thought, supporting and pushing against each other at once. The sunlight pouring through the window softened as it hit the bubbles, casting a golden hue on the girls' faces and sending lightning bolts through their damp, wispy ponytails.

I watched as Avery would stretch, standing on tiptoes trying to reach a precious toy floating away, her feet slipping from beneath her, never becoming frustrated. Briar would rub her arm across her face, extend her lower lip to blow the bangs from her eyes and then silently grab the toy and pass it to Avery. The light between them would dim, their bodies moving closer. One.

The instinctive care taking and unquestioned trust mirrored what I share with them as Mama, but in this moment, this window that I'll always have, I was not there, it was just two girls. Sisters. Loving and playing together. Mama softly weeping at the depth of her blessings.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Distractions

We rented a movie last night, not in the old fashioned way with the awkward passes in the new release section, silently muttering under your breath as a woman stands blocking all of the titles starting with the letter H through M and then the guy in front of you at the counter disputes the $57 late charge for a Jackie Chan flick they say he had out for three weeks. And not the new way, with the snazzy red envelopes that arrive in your mail box, the chick flicks always arriving when you crave bang-bang shoot'em up movies and the kids features showing up just when you've vowed to live a Disney-free existence. Nope, we did it with the old remote, clicking through the movies on demand and picking one that appealed to us both (feeling uncharacteristic third-trimester magnanimity, I offered to not watch What Not to Wear).

"Is it a repeat?" Sean asked.

"No."

"Is it a guy?" as he popped his head into the room.

"Nope."

"Why don't you want to watch it?" He asked, nearly incredulous and trying to feign nonchalance.

"Because I know you don't really like it and I'd rather just do something we can both enjoy, "I said looking him dead in the eye and smiling.

Cocking his head a bit like an animal sensing a trap he said, "Popcorn?" And with that we settled in for a Friday evening of mindless escapism compliments of Time Warner Cable and Timothy Olyphant. Neither of us are going to mover forward in life any the wiser for having watched it, but it provided sufficient diversion from home improvements, the terrible twos, the mystifying almost-fours and a few work related issues that seem to defy remedy.

I found myself completely engrossed in the implausible world of hit-men trained from birth, that is until this wee lass I am due to birth soon began her shenanigans. Try as I might to follow the action on the screen, the litter of kittens that appeared to be wrestling beneath my shirt made it hard to focus. Writhing and undulating, my little stowaway, was determined to be at the center of my attention, at one point actually boot kicking my popcorn bowl and sending irresistibly puffy and perfectly seasoned kernels skittering down my belly to points unreachable by my limited-by-girth vision.

It began to take on a sort of 3-D-but-better quality. The actors on the screen battled with knives, swords, guns and fists, my belly and pelvis seemed to be taking the same blows, a piercing stab to my bladder, blunt force to my ribcage and glancing pummels upon my midsection. I was in it, of course I doubt that Tim of the brooding eyes, bald and bar-coded head ever had to pee as badly as I did.

A part of me held the candle of hope that just maybe all the activity would spur a little something, allowing me not face the prospect of another week of attempting to clothe myself in a professionally appropriate fashion. Alas, t'was not to be. Here I sit, most decidedly still pregnant, and the contractions and contortions continue apace. Maybe we'll try a little Jackie Chan tonight.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dark Side of the Moon

Lately I've been a bit frustrated with not being able to do the things I used to do - running, lifting, drinking anything on the menu, eating lunch meat with reckless abandon...you get the idea.

The other day I received an email that gave me the opportunity to really do something. A dear friend of mine asked for a favor, and today, I am happily serving that favor up here at The Wink.

The post you are about to read is from this friend who was looking for a safe place to talk. Please read her post and leave comments as the spirit moves you.

-Amanda


****

Thanks to Amanda for loaning me her space. I needed to write this, and I needed to do so in a place where I know my family won't see it. Normally I write here, but it just wasn't safe to post this.


****

It's been less than 18 months since I moved away from my hometown, and in that short time my relationship with my mom and my sister has completely changed.

I used to think we were close, that our bonds were unshakable. We came through a very rocky time after my dad died three and a half years ago, when my mother acted so outrageously that, after nearly a year of suicide threats and outlandish behavior, both my sister and I took a stand and told her we would no longer put ourselves in the line of fire for her.

My mom and I didn't speak for nearly a month. That may sound like a short time, but we were so close that just after my dad's death my husband suggested that if we needed to, we would live with her.

The break healed, but not cleanly. However, our relationship improved over time.

My sister has always been my best friend, but our relationship also suffered from the death and my mom's behavior. It was almost as if she needed to distance herself from me in order to distance herself from our mother, and her own grief.

Now my sister and my mom live in the same city. The see each other every Sunday, and sometimes more often. My sister's kids get the benefit of living near their grandmother.

What do I get, now that I am out of sight and out of mind?

Nothing.

They never call me. If I want to talk to them, the onus is on me to pick up the phone. If I want to spend time with them, I have to get on a plane, alone with my kid, and fly 700 miles. When I'm there, if I fit in their schedules, great. If not, oh well. Then I'm left to hang out by myself while my mom gets a facial or sees a movie with her (stupid and annoying) boyfriend and my sister does whatever the hell it is she does.

Both of them manage to find the time to go to Disneyworld together, go on cruises together, go visit friends, whatever. They have the spare cash to re-do their houses or build new ones.

But somehow they can never find the time or funds to visit me and my child.

My daughter is my sister's only niece. She is her godchild. My mother is a widow who claims her life revolves around her grandchildren. And yet, my daughter weeps at the kitchen table on Sunday afternoons when she is told that she can't go see her aunt, cousins and grandmother. But do either one of them make any effort to come and see her?

No.

I see now that we aren't close - I was close to them. I worked hard to be part of their lives. I cared for my mother at the expense of my own mental health and set aside my own grief to try and help alleviate hers. I offered up my daughter as a balm for her spirit and I was rejected out of hand over and over and over.

I called my sister nearly every single day when she lived 1,000 miles away when my dad was dying. I bore the burdens of his illness and death in her stead, all by myself.

But they don't feel the same about me. This past summer I complained during a vacation meant to be time spent together that I was being ignored, and my sister told me I was weird and that I have a persecution complex.

This, because I wanted to spend time with the family I now only see once or twice a year, on a trip I made specifically to do so, at my mother's request.

All of this came to a head last week, when I learned that my sister is making time to go visit a friend in another state, bringing her whole family with her. And my mother was supposed to be away this week, and so I decided not to go back East for a visit. But my mom changed her plans and stayed home, only she didn't tell me. So instead of being back east and visiting her and my friends, I am home alone in Illinois while my husband attends a conference all week in another state.

And you know what? I've had it. I'm not reaching out anymore. I'm not exhausting myself by traveling to see them. I'm not calling them anymore.

You know how when astronauts are in orbit and there comes a point where they are unreachable, in a communications black-out?

That's me. From now on I am on the dark side of the moon.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Suggestive Pose

Despite my best efforts with suggestive poses, significant contractions, and char-your-insides-spicy-salsa the lil lass in my belly continues to cook.




More tomorrow post-doctor visit.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Everyday Comedy

I thought perhaps I shouldn't post this, but Sean disagreed. It is a snippet of life with toddlers. They are unpredictable, captivating and endlessly entertaining. I hope you enjoy this...I'll be deleting this post before Briar is 12. Turn up your volume.


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Friday, April 4, 2008

May I introduce you to my last nerve?

Excuse me, you there in the brown shorts, could I have a moment?


And you, over there bounding from the white truck, can you spare a minute?



I know you are in a real hurry, or at least it would appear that way from the way you leave the ass end of your rides oh, I don't know, blocking the entire lane and then some, despite an abundance of on street parking. And the thing is, as I've been navigating the streets of our growing little city and I've encountered your trucks time and again, I realize something. Even though you bolt from your trucks and sprint around front, you never come back quickly. Never. You stroll, nay, amble, saunter even, back to the truck and then you, well, it would appear you sit, tune the radio, pick your finger nails, return some phone calls and finish up the Sunday crossword before you abruptly re-enter traffic regardless of right away.

Anyway, I've been thinking...umm, how can I say this? Oh, I know!

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pain in the brass

I realize that my post incited either wild delight
(Let's be honest, we all love finding out that someone else did something like, oh, I don't know, started plucking their eyebrows and then in an attempt to even it out kept going back and forth until she ended up with Jon Waters mustache eyebrows)
or profound pity
(Again, the only thing better than slyly laughing at someone's beauty mishap is stepping up and collecting them in an embrace, murmuring that it will be ok.)


My particular situation is uniquely volatile for my 37th week of pregnancy state and my general desire to look at once polished and natural...increasingly hard as my face becomes more familiar with its 4th decade (Help me out, I'm bad at math, but being in my 30's means my fourth decade, no?). Anyway, the reflection I see in the mirror is exceptionally brassy, each strand of hair looking exhausted and frazzled, and the overall vibe I get is: Desperate.

With each comment left pleading for a picture I sank deeper and deeper, not wanting to capture the hair and also not wanting to disappoint with its decidedly non-white appearance. I think if there are salon experience types I am definitely of the never-changes-a-thing-and-feels-like-she-really-branched-out-variety or the oh-my-god-what-have-I-done-despite-no-one-around-me-seeing-anything-different-at-all, I say all this to prepare you for less than you might be expecting, though I still swear it is way, way, way too all over my head brassy blonde.

Normally I look kind of like this, no styling, virtually no color, layers that prove at some point I had my hair cut and pony tail bumpage visible in back exposing what an afterthought my hair usually is.



Let us revisit the last experience I had with this stylist:



Cute, right? Aside from the odd angle of my head and face? The only issue being that flat ironing my hair on a daily basis is slightly unrealistic, but whatever.

This next one? This is how I usually look, not to say that I walk around with sheperd's hook all the time, more that I really dig wearing baseball caps.



And this one demonstrates the level of highlight I can tolerate (I thought this was daring), though you'll note the white streak by my ear which made me slightly crazy.



And now, here are a series of shots of what I have now:








Again, the hysteria could be because of the hormone storm being kicked up by the lil lass in that there gut...keeping my tongue in my mouth might help my appearance as well.

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