Friday, August 15, 2008

From Hair to Eternity

My hair and I have always had this uneasy alliance. I keep it relatively clean and healthy; and it covers my head. I suppose if I exerted more effort at styling, my hair and I could be best friends: It would be shiny, soft and en vogue, and I would look effortlessly glam. But alas. Like my drawing skills, my hairdressing talent is woefully lacking.

I try, I really do. When I was in grade school, I had this clump of hair by that whorl (puyo, I think it’s called) that refused to stay down flat on my scalp. It was like a perpetual wave on an otherwise calm sea of hair. I would wet it constantly (gel and mousse were still beyond my ken) but it would pop back up. In frustration (and in typical Ree-fashion) I grabbed a pair of scissors and hacked off that stubborn clump of hair. Now I had an inch-and-a-half wide clearing right on top of my head, with spikes sticking straight up. My aunt promptly dubbed me “Chicken Head”. Till I graduated sixth grade my mom would always fix my hair—ponytail, clips, and my favorite: the French braid. My frustration was that no matter how tight and neat she made it, by lunch break, strands would escape everywhere, making me look so untidy. Worse, they’d be all over my face; and there’s nothing I hate more (well, actually, a lot) than having hair in my face.

Fast forward to high school, where I had to stay in a dorm, six hours away from my hair-fixing mom. This was the era of Aqua Net and other cement-hard hairsprays; when towering bangs were a badge of honor (and a sign that you woke up early); and you walked downwind so an errant breeze wouldn’t knock your hairdo over. Again, my hair got the better of me; those pesky bangs wouldn’t just do what I wanted. In another pique, I grabbed some scissors (they are so dangerous to have around when my hair isn’t cooperating), grabbed my hair in a bunch in the middle of my forehead and slashed straight across. This time my roommate, Leah, nicknamed me “Padre Salvi” (if you ever read Noli Me Tangere, then you can imagine the hugging-the-edge-of-the-hairline-upside-down-U-bowl-shaped-typical-monk cut).

I’ve tried permed hair, long hair, bobbed hair, shorter-than-my-husband’s hair—rarely can I sustain a fantastic hairstyle beyond the few hours out of the salon. My friend, Mich—makeup artist extraordinaire—once cut my hair and it looked great for a time (incidentally, Mich did my maternity portrait makeup—she disguised my bloated nose and yucky skin and made me look so sexy and glam) then it was gone. There was a time, when I was pregnant with Raine, when my client, Keren, commented, “Parang di ka buntis—you’re so stylish!” After giving birth, my hair was up in clips or a scrunchi until I had it chopped off. Now it’s growing back—too long to stay out of my face, too short to keep in a ponytail. I look like Princess Di in the 80s. All that’s missing are the shoulder pads.

I desperately want to cut my hair. I don’t think I can survive long hair now. It’s just too much to care for. I just have to find somewhere to have it cut. Is it too much to ask that the hairstylist at least look at me well—at my face shape (I think it’s square, currently rounded out and padded at the cheeks), at my glasses, my head shape, whatever—and really try to suggest cuts that would work well? Is it too much to ask that they ask me what my lifestyle is, if I even own a blow dryer (I used to have one, but it was only used for drying the dogs after their bath), if I have the patience to style my hair (no, I don’t)? Usually, they just say, “Anong gupit? Ay, gusto mo magpa-hot oil?” And till recently, “Saan ka nagpapakulay ng buhok?” Oh, one thing about my hair I love is the color—it’s a mix of light, dark and reddish brown, and it usually changes shades with the seasons. I’m so happy Raine has my hair color. But back to ranting: do you have to pay exorbitant sums to get that kind of treatment at a salon? And even if you pay so much, is it a guarantee that they treat you nicely? I hate snooty salon staff, people who make you feel like, “OMG—who is this creature that the cat dragged in? The cat’s hair looks better!”

Aside from Gemini in Baguio—he’s been cutting my hair since second grade—I haven’t found any hairstylist I can pledge loyalty to. And I desperately need one now. I mean, Gemini is in Baguio—I’m not traveling all the way up to Baguio just for a haircut (when I do go to Baguio, I always plan a trip to Gemini). And last time I was there, I showed Gemini photos of Halle Berry and all these other Hollywood stars’ short ‘dos and he flipped through his catalogue and showed me some old photo of Maricel Soriano—the same one he showed me two years before!—and said, “Yan. Yan ang bagay sa yo!” Well, there’s no denying he knows me and my hair, and when Gemini cuts, it always grows out nicely. But I think I’m ready for a change.

So where to go for that change? And what kind of change? I think Katie Holmes and I have the same face structure (she just has a nicer nose and less padding by the cheeks). So will this suit me?

The Hubby says it’s obviously styled—the fact that it looks so artlessly windblown is proof. And that means I’d have to have it cut often (I guess one reason I can never develop a lasting relationship with my hairdresser is that I’d prefer to see him or her like once a year—that’s all I have patience for). And it will eventually get into my eyes and be all over my face. But I think it looks fab. Where can I go for something like this? How much will it cost?

I’m going up to Baguio next week…and I’ll probably end up at Gemini’s.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Birthday Gift

After nearly a month, The Hubby finally found the perfect birthday gift for me. He was thinking of an iPod Touch, but I guess he realized that while I'd enjoy it for a bit, I'm not the techie-gadget type, and I'd never maximize its features. So instead, yesterday, he got me a wetsuit.

Oh joy joy joy. We've been taking scuba diving lessons together (thanks to my uber generous seester, who gifted both The Hubby and me with the lessons) and I am having loads of fun. For one thing, getting my diver's license has been on my to-do list. First it was on my list of Things To Do Before I Turn 25. Then I had to move it to my Things To Do Before I Turn 30 list. Then it got bumped off to my Things To Do Before I Get Married list. Then finally to my Things To Do Before I Die list. So thank you, seester dear, because I didn't have to move it my Pros and Cons of Raine's Education list or my Things To Ask God When I See Him list.

Next, it's been quite a while since The Hubby and I did something new together. When we started dating, we went wall climbing, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, food tripping and all that. Now our lives mostly revolve around domesticity. Not that I'm complaining, but I truly miss that adrenaline rush and those adventures we had together. I'm so glad he agreed to go diving with me. I hope, after we get our licenses, that we actually go diving!

But back to my birthday gift. Joe, our instructor, brought it last night and asked if I wanted to try it on. The Hubby had to sort of stuff me into it. It's even worse than squirming and jumping into skinny jeans, because you have to get it all the way up to your neck. And it definitely is the most unforgiving of all outfits. I looked like a PVC pipe with a thick layer of vulcaseal somewhere around the middle. Or like a butete. After our pool session and it was time to strip off, and The Hubby unzipped me, I could actually feel my flesh spreading. On a more positive note, when I wear it like divers do between dives--with just the legs on and the top unzipped and folded over by the waist--I look passably good.

I've told The Hubby it's time to launch Operation Wetsuit, where the objective is to get into a wetsuit in less than 15 minutes and actually look sleek in it. The Hubby actually thought of going for a run yesterday. So we're off to a good start.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Budding Art Connoisseur

The other day I drew this for Raine:
And she took one look at it and signed cat! I was so happy. Her appreciation of works of art is phenomenal. This, however, was beyond her:

It's a duck, people.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Brownies and Life

Yesterday I taught Raine one important life skill: how to scrape off brownie batter from the bowl and how to lick the spoon (and her fingers) clean. She's such a quick study. She immediately took the bowl from me, sat herself down at her small table and licked the bowl so it looked like you didn't even have to wash it (and in inverse proportion, got herself all dolled up in chocolate).

Sure, this seems so inconsequential. Silly and useless even. Or stroke-inducing, for the OC people and neatniks out there. But what did I really teach her? Well, I hope she learns that life is meant to be enjoyed, even while working. That she should stop and savor those moments of accomplishments (like getting the brownies in the oven), before moving on to the next task (like cleaning up after). I want her to know that she shouldn't take herself too seriously; that's it's OK to be messy once in awhile. I want her take pleasure in the mundane. I want her to see the joy in everything. I want her to be grateful that God gave us such a rich, gorgeous world, and he gave us the senses to experience it fully--from the rich aroma of baking brownies to the warmth coming from a lit oven on a rainy day to the decadently fudgy chocolate melting on your tongue.
I want my daughter to live life to the fullest, knowing that there is a God out there who cares enough to think about the little things like enjoying freshly baked brownies on a cold day.

I pray that Raine will appreciate and come to love all the brownie batter bowls (and I mean that literally and figuratively) that life will send her way. That's the life skill that I want her to learn.