Chaos in cooler weather

So we’re here in the frozen north, er, in the temperate north, attending to family and wedding festivities. We are staying with Otto’s brother and sister-in-law, who live in a gorgeous house and are always gracious hosts. Usually when we stay here we camp out in their spare room, which is a smallish L-shaped space that has two twin beds catty-corner to each other. I enjoy sleeping in there because I never tire of saying “Good night, John Boy!” when we turn the lights out, but this time they opted to put my younger nephew in his brother’s room and put us in his room on an air mattress. This is awesome for a couple of reasons, really.

For one thing, sleeping on an air mattress with two people is rather like sleeping on a trampoline, because every time one person moves the other person gets bumped around as the air shifts. For another thing, my younger nephew’s three-year-old brain is rather blown by the whole idea of us sleeping in his room. And he wants to talk about it.

“Do you want to go see my room?” he asked us, the first morning (after we’d already slept in his room the night before). When I mentioned that we’d just been in there, he took a different tack: “Well, do you want to see it NOW THAT YOU’RE AWAKE?” Again, I demurred, and he rethought his position and then came back with, “How about we go see MY BROTHER’S ROOM?”

I was—at the time—doing some work on my laptop, so I ruffled his hair and told him I needed to do a little bit of work before I went to see anything, and he nodded and ran off.

Only to return two minutes later, to ask me if I wanted to see his room. I had forgotten, but three-year-olds are a lot like very energetic midgets with Alzheimers.

My older nephew—a worldly 5 years old—has recently developed an interest in NASCAR. And by “developed an interest in” I of course mean “memorized every track, car, and driver stat.” This kid is phenomenal, and he really wants to share his knowledge because maybe, JUST MAYBE, you don’t know that the number whatever driver always wears blue and drives the such-and-such car and favors the track at this other place. (You can see that I’ve been paying close attention.)

My sister-in-law and I left the boys with our husbands and went out for pedicures, yesterday. It was very fancy—the place we went to actually had massage chairs, so in addition to the swirling foot bath things, we got to have a nice back rub while getting all pretty. The only snafu was that earlier I had nicked my leg while shaving (damn citrus scented handles!) and the band-aid came off when I put my legs into the whirlpool. That was fine; I grabbed the band-aid out of the water and figured it was no big deal. But then the nick started to bleed again. And it wouldn’t stop. And the nice lady making my toenails pretty kept dabbing at it and then got me a new band-aid and then when I bled through that one got me ANOTHER one and then she started joking about calling 911. So I was looking for a relaxing outing that ended with us driving home feeling all refreshed and pretty, and instead my sis-in-law had to drive us to CVS so that we could waddle inside with the foam toe-separators still wedged on our feet so that I could buy some styptic and not have to go to the hospital. Fun!

[Side note: I forgot to note the color of my polish, which is a shame, because OPI nail lacquer color titles are the best. It’s sort of a shimmery orange-tinged red, which doubtless is named something like My Other Blender Is a Ferrari. Also, I picked it because I thought it would be a cheerful splash of color poking out from my peep-toe pumps at the wedding, but as I walked around in flip-flops yesterday I could not help thinking OH MY GOD WAS I ON CRACK WHEN I PICKED THIS?? because it turns out to be Very Very Bright. Whoops.]

Then we all piled into the van to drive over an hour to the very scenic location of the wedding, so that the wedding people could rehearse and then we could all have a nice dinner together. My younger nephew spent the entire drive down there asking his mother for some water. First it was “I’m thirsty, I need some water,” and then it was “How about some water?” and “I would like some water, please,” and “Mommy, can’t I have some water?” and no matter how any of us pointed out that we simply didn’t HAVE any water in the van, he was not to be deterred. My older nephew wanted to know how much longer until we got there, and then once we were there he wanted to know how soon until we could leave.

All of which is to say, we got to the restaurant and the boys commenced drinking a gallon of water apiece and eating dinner rolls by the fistful, and we all found this to be great entertainment because, really, they had been AWFULLY PATIENT and deserved as many carbs as they could stuff in their little mouths.

Meanwhile, I was in an EXCELLENT mood because while at CVS buying styptic earlier, my sister-in-law and I had looked for the August issue of Redbook magazine and found only July… but right by the restaurant my charming (and handsome; did I mention handsome?) husband had snagged a copy of the August issue. Do you know what’s in the August issue? Me! With writing! And a picture! It’s not the first time I’ve done something for print instead of the web, but it’s the first time I’ve done something for print which is GLOSSY. Somehow that just conveys an extra little thrill. And it also meant that when we tired of watching the nephews stuff bread into their gaping maws, we all passed around the magazine and I felt SPESHUL.

Then the restaurant had a dinner special called “Lobster Fantasy” which did, indeed, turn out to be a fantasy—a lobster covered in other seafood, served with a cereal-bowl sized dish of melted butter. I didn’t wear the bib that came with it, but I did wave my hands around majestically whenever I said “Lobster Fantasy,” as that just seemed like common sense.

After the drive back up here (“Are we there now, Daddy? Mommy, how much longer til we are home? I want some water. Do you have some water? Maybe you could just PRETEND to have water, Mommy? Because I want some water.”) we all settled in to watch a movie. Charlie Wilson’s War, I think.

I’m not sure. For some reason, after three pounds of seafood and a stick of butter, I lay down on the couch and fell asleep about 10 minutes into the film. I cannot imagine why, but if I had to hazard a guess I suppose I’d say that my body needed every ounce of energy available to keep my arteries open.

Today we apparently have to strategize everything that needs to happen for the wedding, which is tomorrow (motto: Why make it all happen in the traditional two days when you can make the madness last for three?), and I have to figure out what in the world to do with my hair now that it is too long to be short and too short for any sort of updo I actually know how to accomplish.

Your mission—should you choose to accept it—is to refer to these recent pictures on Hair Thursday and tell me what I can possibly do with my hair for a fancy evening wedding that won’t look like crap. (I have elastics, bobby pins, clips, a “fancy” ribbon-wrapped headband, and barrettes in all sizes at my disposal.) The resultant ‘do should go with this dress. (Yes, I did only pay $20 for mine. Don’t hate me because I rock.)

Bonus points for pictures and/or detailed instructions. Also for a bottle of water to take in the van.


  1. All Adither

    Driving with kids without bringing water? People must have been very preoccupied to forget that. Little people in car = water, snacks and, perhaps, tranquilizers. For you.

  2. Megan

    Well I’m deff the one you want on this since I cut my own hair (using whatever scissors are close to hand! And a ruler ’cause that makes it much, much prettier) and have two looks – hair down! and hair up! SO. Take either the hair tie you picked up off the floor for the eleventy billionth time and shoved in your pocket because you didn’t have time to drop it on the head of its owner OR the Target special barrette (now! With less fake turtle!) and caaaaaaarefully wodge your hair somewhere around the back of your head. As it’s a wedding you can even futz with the ends so they don’t stick out all akimbo on you. Then flash your toenails at ’em.

  3. Crisanne

    Three year olds as energetic midgets with Alzheimers…GENIOUS!

    As for the hair, I think down and wavy-maybe use some sort of curling iron to help mold the curls.

  4. Nancy R

    I suggest pulling one side back, as Julianne has done in the first photo.

  5. Flea

    Anymore I try out the polish colors before I hand them to the kind lady about to massage my feet and paint the nails. Like I do this all the time. All four times.

    Good luck with the curls and the length. I’m with those hair people – grow it out. Doesn’t help for the wedding. Sorry.

  6. Ani

    Well, this is kinda weird and creepy but your head and mine could pass for twins…curly hair, brown going grey, same haircut even! Except, darn you, yours looks prettier. Your face shape is longer and narrower than mine. If I cut it too short, I look like a fuzzy meatball. And I feel for you in this southern humidity!!!!!

    (I am NOT a creepy stalker, I promise!)

    For my sister’s wedding, the hairstylist did this one for me:

    Doesn’t look too terribly involved. Though I am hopeless in the hair department, so who am I to judge?

  7. Damsel

    My hair wouldn’t curl if I paid it, so I’m afraid I’m no help there.

    HOWEVER, I do lurve me some OPI. My favorite is a gorgeous deep shimmery red called “I’m Not Really a Waitress”, and that makes me giggle every single time I pick it up, because I really am NOT a waitress, but CAN make the longest run-on sentence ever! So there!

    Lurve the dress, too!

  8. B

    Thanks for the link to Hair Thursday. I could get sucked into a vortex on that site and emerge six hours later NEEDING to go buy some hair product for my stick straight hair.

    Even with the lack of follicle prerequistite to comment on your hair, I think that if your hair is too short to wear the sides up, that you should just pin up the strands around your forehead and leave the rest down. Basically, you would just be pinning up and back (with a little poof for pizzaz) the top.

    I’ve worn my hair this way and it usually looks pretty good when I’m going out or want something other than straight hair tucked behind my ears.

  9. MomCat

    Whenever I fret about how I will look at a wedding, my dear, ol’ Dad comes across with these sage words: Don’t worry about it. No one is going to be looking at you. Kinda uplifting, in a sadistic, ego-deflating way.

  10. whoorl

    I just sent you an email. :)

  11. jennielynn

    Hmmm. I am also a Curly Shirly and my hair is just a skosh longer than yours. I put it in a low ponytail and leave a long, inch thick hank out. I braid the hank, wrap it around the tail and secure it with pins.

    But why don’t you leave it down? You have gorgeous hair!

  12. Lindy

    NASCAR in Boston? What?

  13. Aimee

    I’m a curly girl, too, and I’d go with something like the style Ani posted, above. Simple, takes advantage of your natural curls and will look gorgeous with the dress.

  14. Jeni T

    I think go with the “fancy” ribbon-wrapped headband, because anything else you will constantly be touching the back & sides of your head to make sure that your hair is still up & who has time for that when those hands could be busy holding alcoholic drinks to get you through the weekend? :)

  15. The Other Leanne

    I think your hair looks fine the way it is. I’d kill to have hair like yours! Besides, everyone will be so enchanted with your byootiful toes they won’t even be looking at your head.

  16. Sue @ My Party of 6

    I have no advice on hair (but I’m sure Whoorl’s got you covered), but YOU ARE STAYING AT MY HOUSE! Or, at least it sounds like my house, right down to the incessant requests for non-existent water. (Except for the part where the mom gets to go out and get a pedicure. Yeah. That part doesn’t happen here.)

  17. susie

    I’d wear your hair just like in the hair thursday pic. It’s quite nice just the way it is!

  18. Mother of Two


    One of my girlfriends had short hair at my wedding… actually shorter than yours. We did go to a local stylist to get our hair done, however there are up-do’s for short to medium hair. Take a look at a few of these…

    I personally think the first one would look best on you with your curly hair…

    Good Luck and I hope this helps!


  19. Jamie AZ

    Just sent you an email idea with a picture. Up or down, with that great dress, the peep toes and a smile, you’ll look great!

  20. Rebecca

    Don’t fight your curls! Don’t pull up or back to tightly either. How about taking some top and side sections, slightly twist them and pin back, but leave a few defined curls around the face. Let the back stay loose but define the curls with your serum. Will you post a picture of what you ended up doing?

  21. carolyn

    I wonder why it is that curly people want straight hair and vice versa? I would love to have half of your curls – maybe we could split them? I agree with the other commenters who said leave it like the pics on Hair Thursday. Really lovely and it will look nice with the beautiful dress and your fancy, fancy toenails.

  22. ellbee

    Also speaking as a curly girl, I’m a big fan of the bobby pin attack. I gather my hair in a loose ponytail a bit below the crown of my head and then take great hunks of hair, wad them up and bobby pin the hell outta them. 5 or 6 wads of hair evenly spaced around the actual ponytail holder create a curly, poofy mass (not bad poofy, mind you. Cute poofy!) A few spritzes of your choice of hairspray/styling junk will keep everything in place and you can define the curls that escape w/ a bit of gel or serum. I have a traumatically bad cell phone picture of this hairstyle that I can send, if you really want…

  23. mommytherobot

    very fancy night out! and love your hair! good thing you took a pic- would revive you on stress nights better than a shot of tequila i bet.

  24. Daisy

    If you were back home in the South, I bet you would’ve had water in the van for the midgets with Alzheimers. :) I’ll grab the Redbook when I see it!

  25. Mike Golch

    all these great comments and me with little to say smart. Oh well. if you cannot say some funny that don’t say nothing at all except Hugs and Blessings. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  26. Sheila

    Published again! Congratulations!

  27. Jackie@agsoccermom

    Too funny about Nascar. You want to mess with his little mind ask him which car Jeff Gordon is driving this week.
    He is driving a special green nicorette car this week instead of his traditional blue with orange flames.
    Yep I am a fan…….

  28. Dawn

    I, too, have made the disastrous Opi choice. I believe the colour was called, “MY EYES!!!MY EYES!!! pink” Very fetching. It even glowed through socks.

    I have finally, FINALLY gotten my hair long enough to put up. It isn’t curly enough (just sort of a very determined wave) to do the cool messy-on-purpose styles, but it will allow itself to be scraped back into a librarian-ish kind of style. Which doesn’t help you much, but boy howdy, am I ever relieved, considering it’s been in the high 20s all week, which is warm for the frozen north.

    I think you should go for something along the lines of the pic of Juliana on the left and perhaps add a sparkly clip (or two if they’re small) on the side that’s brushed back.

    Very nice hair by the way. I agree that you should grow it out a bit more. I think it would look spectacular long. Not that it doesn’t look fabulous now… (and she tripped over her back-handed compliments).

    I’ll go now.

  29. Amy-Go

    Um, this is why I have no hair. It’s easier. Love the dress though!

  30. angie

    I vote for the flowered headband. You have such pretty hair!

  31. Mara

    Damsel, I’m wearing “I’m Not Really a Waitress” on my toes right now! It’s my favorite OPI shade too.

  32. sunny

    Oh, love the dress…can’t believe the price!”energetic midgets with Alzheimer’s”hee hee

  33. nae

    maybe you could straighten your hair just for the day…?

  34. Heather

    I like the idea of pulling back one side, just make sure you don’t do it too tightly/strictly. And I agree with Whoorl about growing it out!

  35. Karen

    The three year old comment about midgets and Alzheimer’s killed me! I will be quoting you for years on that one. As far as hair goes, ugh, I have straight, stringy, thin hair. My children are adopted with hair the exact opposite of mine. I am still trying to figure it out. The link to Hair Thursday will be a big help. Thanks

  36. Jill W.

    My favorite OPI name is “Pistol Packin’ Pink” It is a surprisingly demure shade of pink.

  37. Trisha

    I have to laugh about the air mattress! Hubby and I slept on an air mattress for about a week right after we were married. What an adventure! Hubby had a lot of fun waking me up by “jumping” on his side of the mattress and watching me fly off my side!

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