I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Your hair is not sun tea

I’m 38 – in my prime, no? But boy have I have been feeling old lately. Partly it’s my job. I have been doing a stint at the local community college, where I share a bathroom with the women’s volleyball league, all toned and jocular in their knee-highs and those – what are those little stretch shorts that only cover the butt?.

And partly it’s my hair, which has been going grey in great big Morticia Adams streaks for a few years. I like the streaks – I do. They’re my earthy mama cred – all long and wavy and kinda wiry. But when they started to get mousy, I thought I’d dye it. Not out of shame, you understand. Just for the experience.

I have never once died my hair. One time, when my sister was working at a salon, she pilfered some blue color gel and I put it in my hair and then tried to set the color by sunbathing because I didn’t have a hair dryer. When I confided this transgression to my hairdresser (I have sometimes gone to real hair salons), they all had a big laugh, saying “Your hair is not sun tea, honey.”

So, my first mistake is not going to a hair salon. I’m just too busy. I went to one of those places where you don’t have to have an appointment. And out came gushing all this baggage about my twisted relationship with cosmetics. I want to dye my hair, but I don’t want to cover up the grey, just some, y’know, drama. So the lady ends up convincing me that I really want highlights. So I don’t know if this is what it’s supposed to look like, but now all my grey is platinum white and lots of my hair that wasn’t grey before is this sickly old lady yellow.

Oh, I am hag-a-riffic.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Reading the top of the box

I think it was a comedian who said that life is like a board game and the lawyers are the ones who have read the top of the box. Proof positive that I am in the wrong field because in games as in life I cannot be bothered to read the top of the box. However, when one of us did finally consult the official rules to Uno on a point of contention, my instinct as to number of cards drawn at a turn was vindicated.

Ah but my reputation was already fouled. Beloved husband has already convinced them that my rules are yet another ruse to unfit them for the outside world. In checkers, I play that any one piece, if it has made one jump, can on that same turn continue jumping not just in the forward direction, but also backward, until jumps are exhausted. Why is that not the rule? My husband can't even look at it. Also, in dots and boxes, my husband plays this bizarre way where you can only win one box at a time. I can't think what the point of that is.

If it were up to me, I think we should just have a house rule that we must always go by the rule designed for liveliest play. It's not serious, and yet it so is. My kids are deathly sober toe-the-line types and it is quite possibly an important moral point this not being too authoritarian about checkers.

On going native

Flying back, I was asked whether Phoenix was my home, and it’s the first time I copped to it without hedging. As I am coming up on the anniversary of my move west, it’s probably time to give up my newcomer persona. I guess I was sort of waiting to “go native.” I thought maybe I’d be slower, more relaxed, like hotter foods (I HAVE become more of a salsa snob). I thought I’d have taken up hiking and xeriscape.

I still might. Summer’s the wrong time to embark on anything in the desert.

I could change my screen name. Arizona does not have a state dinosaur. It has a state fossil, but it’s just not the same.

We live in Laveen, which is technically a “village” of Phoenix. We’re the southernmost and westernmost edge of that sprawl, before you get to properly incorporated towns like Goodyear, Tolleson, or Avondale. We have one pitiful, unkempt border to the west that we share with The Rez, one industrial warehouse border to the north; and to the east we slowly give over to the spas and salons of South Mountain Park. So, depending on how you approach, you might see what we saw in the place or wonder what crack we were smoking. Having logged a year here, I still feel both extremes.

It’s pretty country, when the sun sets over the Estrellas. A little farmy at times, due to the thriving dairy industry, but for all that, our air is much clearer than in the city. There’s a Walmart, needless to say, and a supermarket. But you still see some old-timers filling up the feedbags at the old corner market before riding Old Paint back to their crazy huge mountainside homes.

But it’s not what Laveen is, but what it is going to be that drew us. In a few years, when the services have caught up with the population, and the churches don’t operate out of the schools, and the promised community center and college have been built, we will have that ownership that comes of having been in on the ground floor of something.

If we last that long.