Friday, September 30, 2005

Locks of Love

Many of you have probably heard of Locks of Love, a charity which provides human-hair wigs for "financially disadvantaged children 18 years and younger suffering from long-term medical hair loss." They accept monetary donations, of course, but also donations of hair (at least 10" long). Go to the website, check out the before & after pictures, read the letters from some of the kids who've benefitted, and tell me this isn't a worthy cause!

I've known a few friends who've donated (I went to a wedding a few years ago where a friend and one of the groom's cousins were comparing notes on their donation experiences), so I've been thinking about this for a few years. Well, I finally took the plunge - this afternoon I had the hairdresser whack off 12" of my hair, which I'll mail off in the morning. How much difference does 12" make? This morning my hair fell to about my hipline; now it barely covers my shoulders, partly because, with so much less weight, my hair's natural wave can pull my hair up more.

And boy, is this going to take some getting used to! My hair has been waist-length or longer for 15 or 20 years; now, while I can still get it into a (much smaller) bun, I have all kinds of little ends to corral. It's much easier to french-braid; a ponytail now falls barely to my shoulders instead of to my waist. Maybe I'll be able to do a french twist now, too; before, all that hair weighed so much, it wouldn't stay put. And the first time I wash this much-shorter hair is gonna feel very strange indeed - it stops a lot sooner than I'm used to, weighs a lot less, and will thus need less shampoo & conditioner and dry much more quickly.

The Chief has only known me with long hair; he's been having a lot of fun getting oh, so melodramatic, clutching his breast, putting his hand to his forehead, and pretending to swoon at the mere thought of my cutting my hair. When I got home this afternoon, he made a big show of opening the door s-l-o-w-l-y, with one hand over his eyes, peeking between his fingers. What a ham! So far, he hasn't really said much, but I can tell by the way he looks at my hair that this is going to be an adjustment for him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Can you say "price gouging"?

Noticed yesterday that a local gas station, a no-name chain, had jumped the price for regular unleaded from $2.89 in the morning to $3.29 that evening!!! A 40-cents-a-gallon jump! This makes them 20 cents a gallon more expensive than the Exxon just down the road, and the no-name station doesn't even take credit cards!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Now out on DVD...

Finally got my Mikado DVD last night, watched it tonight. The Act I disc is a mess; about 1/3 of the way through the sound gets out of synch with the picture and never gets back on track. I'll have to find out if anyone else had this problem. The Act II disc is better; no synching problems! I ordered copies for my parents and a couple of out-of-town friends; I'll have to check those copies to see whether they have problems, or if it's just that one disc.

After watching through the show once, I've decided two things about my vocal performance - I'd better continue my voice lessons, and my voice is better suited to Katisha than to Pitti-Sing. But I'm still glad I pushed for Pitti - I may never get that chance again! Dramatically, I'm not at all unhappy with how I did. Considering how painful it can be to watch oneself on video, that's pretty darn good!

It's nice to have a record of our Ko-Ko's lovely lyric baritone, our other principals' comic turns, the lush costumes, pretty stage pictures, and all the other things that made this fun to do. It's also nice to be able to hear how the ensemble numbers sounded - it's impossible to tell when you're in the ensemble how it comes across to the audience. The sound balance was such that I could usually hear myself and Yum-Yum in the full-ensemble numbers, thanks to our mics. I don't know that anyone else would notice, particularly, but it's an odd feeling to be watching this DVD and be able to pick out my own voice.

Also on DVD... My sister K's company has been putting on an arts festival every June for the past several years and this year they did a cut-down version of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, in which she played Lucy. Being partial, I was pleased and proud to see that she was the best thing on that stage both vocally and dramatically.

When the Chief & I were in town for the christening last weekend, K let me sing with her when she cantored at church. I enjoyed singing harmony to her melody on the Mass parts; I only wish the hymns had included some for which I knew harmonies. A pity we live so far apart; I'd love to sing with her more often.

The moral of the story is...

Read the online merchant reviews before ordering! I ordered a digital camera two weeks ago from WaWaDigital. I suppose the name should have sent me to the reviews, but no, I was a cheapskate and their price was the lowest. And I never got an e-mail order confirmation, which is highly unusual for an online merchant these days. But they did call me the next day to confirm my order, to be shipped in 7-10 working days, so I wasn't really concerned.

However, two weeks later my camera has yet to arrive, so I called earlier today to check on my order. The man on the phone told me it was "completely sold out for 3 weeks". Never mind that the website claimed at the time of my order and still claims that the item is in stock. Never mind that when the company called to confirm my mailing address (apparently just a thinly veiled attempt to get me to buy accessories in addition to the camera), they never said anything about its being sold out. Oh, and I notice that the website price today is $55 higher than when I ordered. Not that it matters, if the thing is unavailable, of course.

The reviews I read this morning included several people accusing them of bait-and-switch tactics - items that never arrived, pressure to buy additional items, etc. So I found it interesting that when I called today to check on my camera and they apologetically told me it wouldn't be available for at least 3 weeks and I asked to cancel my order, the man on the phone just said "yes, ma'am, we'll cancel that for you" and hung up. Didn't ask my name, address, or any other info that might help him identify the order I wanted to cancel, which makes me suspect it was never placed to begin with, perhaps because I politely declined to order anything but the camera.

Do you smell fish? I sure do!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Do you feel safer now?

One of the nice things about work is that sometimes they offer classes that, while not directly work-related, are generically useful and we actually get to go take them. I spent today in a sort of emergency/trauma first aid class (post-9/11 mentality driving the curriculum, I suppose). We did not cover CPR - that's a separate class, which I have yet to manage to get into. Instead we covered some basics, including definitions of terms like "communicable disease" and what they classed as "directional terms" (anterior/posterior, midclavicular line, proximal/distal, etc.), in case the real medical folks use those terms when they respond to the 911 call. We also learned about the signs of shock and what to do for someone suffering from same, dressing wounds, splinting and otherwise immobilizing broken bones, and how to treat burns.

Then things got interesting when the instructors trotted out some military-issue first aid kits (both are former military who now work for an emergency preparedness training company). They had us do dressings, pressure bandages, and even tourniquets on each other, practice a couple of two-person carries (out of several one- and two-person carries they showed us), and even do a little litter-bearing. God grant we never need the information, but given that I know at least one person who helped load people into medevac helicopters on September 11th, well, it never hurts to know how to make yourself useful.

I think I've finally learned how to find a radial pulse (I've never had trouble finding the carotid pulse but the radial one, in the wrist, always eluded me) and a brachial pulse (the one that runs under your arm). I also feel a little more confident that I could splint a broken bone without doing my "patient" an injury. Do you feel safer around me now? ;)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Hail to the Chief!

Since I'll be sitting out this theater season, thereby reprieving my husband from Theater Widower status for the time being, I've been trying to think of a new nickname for him. He retired from the military as a Chief Master Sergeant, so maybe I'll refer to him as Chief, especially as I occasionally call him that anyway...

The down side of vacation homes

After spending 10 or 11 days straight out at the cabin, I've realized there's a down side to a vacation place:
- no maid service to change the sheets, do the laundry, scrub bathrooms or chase the cobwebs;
- you gotta do your own grocery shopping
- no room service or restaurant to cook meals and do the dishes
- no maintenance workers to keep things running

However, we had gorgeous weather the entire time we were there. Having the windows open to the breezes and birdsong and being able to see nothing but trees (and a fawn that was snacking on the bushes just a few feet from our door one afternoon) was still good for the soul.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ah, the marvels of the Internet!

J called us the same evening they got a christening date for our newest niece, the soon-to-be-former pagan baby, so I immediately jumped on the computer (it was cooperating for a change, hallelujah!) and was able to get us non-stop flights both directions, and a rental car for the weekend, for less than I thought we'd have to pay for the plane tix alone! Heck, even with airport parking the whole transportation bill won't come to $400, considerably less than I thought we'd have to spend, especially given fuel prices! =:o

Cooperative computer, Southwest's lowest fares still available on the dates we needed, airfares not yet reflecting near-European fuel prices, decent rental car rates - God obviously wants us to attend this christening!