Self Indulgence

I love spa days. I love having my hair washed by someone else. I’ve often said that if I were rich, my biggest indulgence would be to have someone wash my hair for me every day.

As much as I love spending time in salons and spas, though, I dread the first visit to a new place. What if they don’t have the same colors, or you just don’t click? What if you don’t like the vibe of the person who does massage, or shampoo, or whatever?

I’m pleased to report that today’s visit to Worx Salon, an Aveda concept salon in Cedar Hill, met, and exceeded my expectations.

My stylist today was Chad, a cherubic man who is probably forty-five or fifty. He used to own an Aveda salon in Arlington, but they closed it after his wife went through life-threatening medical stuff. When he was able to return to work full time (because she’d recuperated enough), he found he didn’t want to run a business, just wanted to cut hair. So now he works for another Aveda salon – the one where I went – in Cedar Hill.

My time at the salon began with a tour. The store front is typical Aveda, the spa and salon sections are much larger than the stores in California. I was offered tea, coffee, or water, about ten times during the tour, the five minutes it took me to shed my sweater and put on a protective wrap-style jacket, and the five minutes beyond that, spent on a comfy cushion in the waiting area.

While they were NOT able to coordinate with my salon in San Jose, for the exact color blend, Chad and BeBe (one of the co-owners, a feisty Hispanic woman with a ship’s bow-bosom) listened to my description, and came up with a color I liked. It’s a rich warm brown, with just enough red in it to make it sort of chestnut, or bittersweet chocolate, but NOT so much red as to be technically auburn. I quite like it. It plays nicely with the olive undertones in my skin.

As with all Aveda visits, the cut and color appointment included a free makeover session (in which I purchased a new lipstick), and a hand massage. Unlike other Aveda visits, it also included a ten minute chair massage, and a glass of red wine to sip while the color set. (Note to self: Sipping red wine on an empty stomach is a Very Bad Idea.)

Chad was really attentive to my requests about the cut, and went to work with the razors, shaping my hair so that there are subtle blended layers, but the ends are still blunt, creating movement without making it look messy or over-styled. I can wash my hair and let it air dry, or I can blow it out, and either way, it works. Yay, Chad!

There’s a salon in Arlington that was recommended to me – not Aveda-concept – but when I called, they said they didn’t use Aveda color, so I’ll be going there for other services, but likely not hair. The Aveda colors are so much healthier (and better-smelling) than ANY other, that I just can’t deal with any other brand.

Keeping with the self-indulgent theme, I hit Barnes and Noble after my appointment, where I bought a dark chocolate easter bunny to send to Mom, a bunch of writing magazines for me, and a small birthday present for my friend Jeremy, that will not arrive on time, but, whatever. Fuzzy met me there, and we crossed the parking lot to eat at RockFish. There was a half hour wait, but they have an outdoor fireplace and the night was balmy, so we sat near the fire and chatted. We weren’t at all upset about the wait, or about the length of time it took for them to deliver our appetizer, but the manager felt bad, so it was free. Can’t really complain about that.

It’s about 1:30 AM now, and sleep is demanding my attention, which means this entry is officially over.


So, I’ve reverted to the very cool Sunflower layout that Sarah did for me about a year ago. It’s a Georgia O’Keefe sunflower, and matches the box of stationery I have. It’s good to coordinate. Sometimes.

And now it becomes obvious why I will never get a tattoo: I can’t commit to a blog layout, so how could I ever commit to permanent art on my body?

Saturday Morning: Letter to my Aunt

This is an email message I just sent to my aunt, but it felt like a blog entry, and so it has become one.
It’s a day of soft grey light, and cool, slightly damp, but not really rainy air. A day when Nature gives you a facial and you smile into the mist and feel rejuvenated. I am sitting here on the bed, typing by the light filtering in through the partially-closed blinds. It is nearly noon, but we were up til five, puttering in our respective computer rooms, and so we’ve slept in.

Next to me, Zorro and Cleo are curled up in one furry ball. By day, they bicker, but when they are sleepy, they become best friends, sharing warmth, and looking insanely cute. It is my firm belief that the cuteness is a strategic ploy to get me not to move them. So far, it has worked.

Beyond the dogs is the Incredible Sleeping Fuzzy. He snores sometimes, and I make him roll onto his side, which stops it, of course. We have no firm plans today, except that I have a salon appointment at five. It’s been ages since I’ve had my hair cut and colored, and I’m looking forward to this with far more anticipation than I should have, considering I have no idea HOW I want it cut. (The color is a blend called “hershey bar” and I had my old salon send the formula to the new one.)

I spent part of last night in a marathon session of matching cd’s with their cases, and putting them on my spiffy new cd rack. Call it not-quite-spring cleaning, or just a fit of organization, but it’s nice having them all alphabetized. I even found some stuff I’d forgotten I had, and it was like getting a present. A musical present. Perhaps I should have these tidying spurts more often.

There’s a dog barking outside, and Cleo has an answering growl percolating in her throat. If I touch her back, run my fingers through her fur, and tell her it’s okay, she’ll go back to sleep. I love how predictable she can be. (Zorro ignores the other dogs in the neigbhorhood, espousing the philosophy, “If I can’t see you, you don’t exist.”)

I promised an accurate list of the books I’m reading:
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, by Madeleine L’Engle and Nichole Nordeman
Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, by Kathleen Norris
Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis

The latter was suggested to me by Father Bob, the others looked interesting, and I generally like what both L’Engle and Norris have to say. I’ll let you know what I think as I finish each one.

The dogs are beginning to stir, and I’m hearing the shower call my name, so I shall end this now.

May your Saturday be as peaceful and pleasant as mine.

Jade Tigers, Cement Poodles

Several years ago, when we lived in South Dakota, Fuzzy and I spent a weekend hanging out in Minneapolis. We saw an ice show, ate sushi at a place called Origami, and hung out with a friend at the only branch of our favorite restaurant that exists (as far as I know) east of the Rockies. Or even east of the Sierras, for that matter.

On a sunny summer Sunday afternoon, we drove through Minneapolis, and, looking for a cafe, stumbled upon an art musem instead. I don’t remember which museum, only that there was a jazz band playing in a round room, and there was an exhibit of jade pieces. Fuzzy was enthralled by a three dimensional mural (there’s a name for this but it eludes me, just now) that included tigers, miniaturized but poised to defend or attack, depending on the viewer’s perspective. The sculpture that I was most drawn to was a jade representation of the Virgin Mary, with a translucent jade veil. At least, I think it was Mary, it’s quite possible I’m remembering it wrong. All I am certain of is that I was transfixed, and stared at it for what felt like hours, because it just touched me, in that inexplicable way that art has, of making itself felt.

Counterpoint to the beauty and serenity of those jade pieces: the vast majority of my neighbors sport cement statuary in their front yards. Some of the pieces are subtle: a rabbit tucked in the flower garden, some nearly-generic saint tucked in a niche, a bird bath, a fountain. These, I find whimisical. Some of my neighbors, however, fail to realize that while our houses are “Texas sized,” with the smallest being 1550 square feet (for sale on the end of my street, actually, 3/2.5 $116k), they are, by and large (mostly large), ordinary houses, not mansions, and so, when I notice the folks with lions flanking their walkways, I have to laugh. Especially since said stone beasties are generally out of proportion to the house they’re guarding – after all, no one here lives in the New York Public Library.

And then there are the folks with the cement poodle. I can’d decide if this is merely whimsical (like the rabbits and birdbaths) or absurd, because it’s life-sized, and sits (literally) on their lawn, facing out onto the corner. Mostly, I guess, I’m amused by my dog’s reaction to it. Zorro doesn’t ever notice it, but Cleo thinks it’s there to taunt her, and whenever our walks take us past this house, she goes into Alert mode, her tail curling over her back, her cheeks puffing out, a low growl simmering in her throat.

“Cleo,” I tell her. “It’s just a statue.”

But she never believes me.


I woke this morning with every muscle in my body screaming in pain, and a sinus headache making me dizzy and nauseous. Ibuprofen, stretching, sleep, and a really really long hot shower have since made everthing but the sinus headache go away, but I still felt yucky enough that when Fuzzy called to say he was going to dinner with guys from another site, I didn’t give him the chance to invite me to join. They went to a restaurant I’ve been dying to try. We’ll be going together for our anniversary, in a few weeks.

As for me, I had a quiet night, cuddling with dogs, and watching mindless movies (Laws of Attraction) and television (Sex and the City on On Demand (season 4)) – just the kind of night I needed, with no pressure to cook or tell Fuzzy how to cook, or have to entertain anyone.

I indulged in a glass of red wine.

Now, Fuzzy is home, and the dogs are no longer antsy, and I am cozy, and surrounded by striped cotton sheets, tons of pillows and a nautical blue quilt…and I’m feeling much better. There’s a lot to be said for theraputic escapism.

Lawn Envy

So, today on our walk, I took Zorro and Cleo out to the very edge of our neighborhood, to one of the houses closest to the through street that connects our development to civilization (aka Starbucks). Zorro wasn’t happy about this, as it was early evening by the time we left the house, and that meant actual cars on the streets. He doesn’t like cars. Or trucks. Especially trucks.

But we went that way because one of our neighbors who lives on that street has the most amazing lawn. Healthy, green, lush, with beautiful flowers. And I want to know who cares for it. You see, I’m having serious Lawn Envy and Garden Lust.

So, I left them a note, telling them that whenever we drove by I looked at their yard, and really loved it.

We shall see what happens.

I Love 1st National Lending Services

In my job as a loan processor, and sometimes loan officer, I deal with a LOT of wholesale lenders. A lot. Most are pretty good, a few are so scary it’s beyond belief, and one or two are just phenominal.

My favorte lender EVER is a company in Novato, California, called 1st National. I’m pretty sure they bought out Sierra Pacific, at some point, because the website’s the same. But whatever. I love working with them. They’re always polite, they’re always responsive, and they have a staff that, while not always the most experienced, at least doesn’t make me feel like I’m training their underwriters for them.

On Thursday, I FedExed two loan files to underwriters. One loan went to 1st National, the other to Another Lender in the Same Building. They were similar files in identical stages of completeness. The file at 1st National is going into docs today. The one at the Other Lender won’t even be approved til Thursday. The market is not so busy that four-day turnaround times are usual or standard, and I’m annoyed.

The broker I did these files FOR isn’t a huge company. There’s one broker, and two part-time loan officers. They don’t generate a ton of business, but it’s enough…usually. Not enough that this company has a lot of clout with lenders, though, which is why I try to maintain relationships with the reps, via email and stuff. It helps. (Also it tends to result in me being gifted with lovely bottles of Beaujolais and Merlot at the holidays. Never a bad thing.)

So, I called the Other Lender, and asked for a rush, and they basically said, “Your broker almost never submits here; why should we bother rushing a file for you?” to which I answer, here, Because, by doing so it might convince us to use you MORE.

There’s a line in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, where Eliza tells Colonel Pickering, “…the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how shes treated. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.”

In similar fashion, 1st National treats every broker as if they were a top producer.

It’s really very wonderful.