Look to the cookie.

Last week I felt foggy and sleepy all week; even accounting for time change, it was ridiculous. “Good morning!” I said cheerfully and loudly to the desk staff at the fitness club one day, at three in the afternoon. I went to Costco and only after unloading everything did I realize that I now have TWO giant conditioners in backup, and zero shampoo. I sat and stared at the shelf for a solid three minutes before trundling upstairs to start a new Costco list with one item on it: shampoo. A few times I went to type a text and when I hit the wrong key, I tried to backspace, but instead hit the “m” key, resulting in a text that looked like “do they need snow panrmmmmmmmmmmmmm.” I poured a smoothie into a glass and seemed to not understand volumetric relations, as the smoothie overflowed and poured down the glass, with me still pouring.

I complained to my husband about being tired. Why, why, why am I so tired? I asked. It doesn’t make sense! I am getting exactly the same amount of sleep I normally would. He gently reminded me that I have these extensively-exhausted periods every five to eight weeks, and they tend to be the harbinger for my Ladies’ Holidays, and suggested that perhaps that would explain it?

Well, it would certainly explain the feelings of existential despair.

Lately I’ve been feeling despair about the state of my hair. My hair therapist has done an amazing job with Project Grow Out My Layers, and I will say that my hair looks and feels the best it ever has. She has done an amazing job making this Growing Out Stage completely painless and non-awkward. However, I am feeling great despair about my natural colour, my natural colour being grey.

Me, three weeks into my hair colour cycle and…

Me, five weeks into my colour cycle. Despair! Despair over my hair!

I’ve been using the kind of shampoo and conditioners that are meant for fast hair growth, and they seem to be working. They help with hair breakage – my main issue, given my colouring and heat styling – but also contain caffeine which feels like it might stimulate my scalp. Which is great! I want to grow my hair out! But hair growth starts at the roots, and three and a half weeks into my five week colour cycle, all is ashes. Literally, my roots are the colour of ashes. I’m torn between wanting long and lush hair, and also wanting it to not grow so I don’t have a root situation every three and a half weeks. By the time we get to week five, I feel like a redheaded Bride of Frankenstein, which really should be the Bride of Frankenstein’s MONSTER but you know, semantics.

At what point do I just give up the ghost and embrace my life as a Silver Fox? I’m not at that point yet, and I always thought I never would be. I always imagined myself as one of those ladies in the Home with bright orange hair and lipstick bleeding into my mouth wrinkles, but perhaps not. I mean, the lipstick is always going to be there. I always feel Ready To Face The Day when I put my lipstick on. But as for hair colour, well. Like I said I’m not there yet, and it feels like a Massive Undertaking, even more massive than growing out layers. But at some point I would like to not feel despair over my roots.

Well, we must suffer to be beautiful, I guess. Or, I do. Sometimes I look around me in amazement at all the beautiful women in my life, all apparently effortlessly beautiful. I have friends with glowing, perfect, makeup-free complexions and long, lush, mascara-less lashes and I wonder: what would that be like? Well, I’ll never know. One of my dear friends popped by for coffee one day after her morning swim (HI FLORENCE) with her hair still wet from the pool and shower. During the length of the visit, her hair dried to an absolutely perfect, thick, wavy bob with absolutely ZERO effort on her part. ZERO EFFORT. It just dried that way. I was alerted to the fact that yes, some people DO really “wake up this way.” At five in the morning I see many beautiful women at the yoga studio who all, just like me, rolled out of bed and rolled out their mats, and honestly, it amazes me how good they all look. They do not look like they would frighten small children or, possibly, make people wonder about illness, which is how I look at five in the morning. But back to my friend’s effortlessly perfect hair: it was honestly one of the most impressive things I had ever seen. To get hair that perfect I would need a team of hairdressers or, alternately, a wig.

Life, as we all know, is not always fair. As the late, great Nora Ephron said, “Sometimes I think not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside to death.”

In terms of energy, this week is much, much better – and without Ladies’ Holidays, so perhaps it WAS all due to the time change. Or, perhaps my energy is related to the sudden change in weather; the sun is shining, temperatures are mild, and the snow is melting and water running everywhere. It is very invigorating to me; the lilac leaves are starting to push and I’m excited at the thought of gardening and yard work. Well, after the disaster that is a dog yard post-snow-melt is cleaned up. In any case I am full of boundless energy and in a “get ‘er done” kind of mood, which I used Monday to spend hours – HOURS – laundering all the non-flannel bed linens and all the duvet covers and blankets. Mysteriously, one of the flannel pillowcases seems to be missing – but how? How did it disappear from the time I took it off a pillow to the time I took it to the laundry room? It’s just a pillowcase and yet, it’s making me feel like I’m losing my mind. Maybe that pillowcase is gaslighting me, and it will turn up in a completely normal place. If this had happened during Exhausting Last Week I would have probably had a nervous breakdown over it; as it is I’m just obsessively puzzled.

Once I lost the small lid to my ice cream maker and I thought I was also going to lose my mind; it turned up weeks later, inexplicably perfectly clean in a small, rarely used saucepan. So I have hope for the wayward pillowcase.

It’s been a busy week with lots of fun and interesting activities. Last night the boys and I went to the school play: it was The Lion King, and very well done. I expressed an opinion about the character of Mufasa, and my son told me that the actor was the backup; the original Mufasa had suddenly left to be homeschooled. Oh! It was all very impressive and enjoyable. On the weekend we had an early birthday celebration for my older, Seinfeld-obsessed son. I baked this cake, which he was delighted with:

For peace and harmony, let’s look to the cookie, people. Look to the cookie. xo


  1. For the record, I’ve seen you 2X in real life in the last 24 hours and your hair looked amazing both times!! Happy birthday to M!!

  2. Favorite part:

    “and suggested that perhaps that would explain it?

    Well, it would certainly explain the feelings of existential despair.”

  3. bibliomama2 says

    It’s really, really hard for me to be friends with people with perfect hair. I mean, I can do it, but I tend to coruscating envy anyway, it’s not pretty but there it is, and I loathe my hair SO MUCH that it’s really hard. That Nora Ephron quote is hysterically horribly true. And I absolutely love that your son loves Seinfeld.

  4. A black and white cookie cake!!! Very cute.

    Once I found a missing butter dish behind my toaster oven. I only found it after I bought a new one (which I then returned), so that’s the strategy I recommend for finding lost items.

    I too have been despairing over my hair. I’ve always had a grey patch at the crown, but now I am getting distinctly WHITE hairs around my ears. And if I go too long without coloring my hair, it begins to look like A Choice. A choice I am not yet ready for. I am also not yet ready to spend the money it takes to color my hair more often than once a quarter though, so.

  5. Oh, I love that cake so much. Also, Nora Ephron is wonderful. She’d be on my “living or dead” dinner party list for sure. Maybe even the only one.

    As for the hair, UGH, I feel you. I am committed to the growing out now, but it’s really painful. My nine year old nephew asked me last week what was going on with my hair. *That’s* how you know you looks kind of awkward and assy, but I just can’t do the full chop.

    I think I would abort and go back to dyeing it, or maybe wouldn’t have grown it out in the first place, if I had an excellent stylist who did it for me. But since I was doing it myself at home, that was motivation enough to quit.

    I have a friend here in town who is also growing out her grey and last week she went to her stylist and had it actually DYED grey, like kind of a silver, and it looks AMAZING, and I should totally do that but I”m too lazy. But it could be an option for you if you ever want to go cold turkey.

    • Smothermother says

      That’s me!! I’m your friend here in town! <3

      I love the way my hair is growing out. But that is totally because I am working with my guy, who is brilliant. I didn't think I would like it as much as I do. I was so petrified! But now I am totally embracing the fact that I am growing sparkles!

      Lynn, make and appointment and treat yourself to some highlights to ease some of the growing out phase. It was the first step I took and helped eliminate that "line."

      Nicole, think about it. It's not as scary as it seems. And the Instagram @grombre is a wonderful supportive and inspirational community of women from around the world, all ages, shapes and sizes that are growing out their grey.

      Either way, you both look fabulous!

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