Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lost Locs

In the comments on my last post regarding my milestone of reaching waist length hair,

Anonymous said...
brenda...absolutely beautiful...the length is simply amazing...i was reading an older post on tai's blog where he talked about how easy it is to lose locks, particularly when you wash them once they get really long because of the weight if they are often mention that you have thin hair(though none of us can tell)...have you found this to be a problem when you wash your hair?

Thinking back through the 61/2 years that I’ve had Sisterlocks, I believe I’ve inadvertently lost only one whole loc that I know of from breakage, as opposed to the bottom tips. That was probably about two years ago and here it is now. It was rather interesting getting it restarted since I had never gone through the baby loc stages with short hair (I was a relaxed transitioner) and keeping that short one in the loc pattern was trying at times – I probably had to restart it several times and fix a lot of slippage. I also inadvertently cut at least one that I know of because, unfortunately, I don’t have eyes in the back of my head (yeah, I was trying to separate a stubborn one with scissors and…snip!).

As I said before, my hair is thin, mostly in the top crown area. My vanity notwithstanding, and as a public service to those who might think they won’t look good with SL’s because of thinning, I’m posting a picture so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about. Although I’d like it to be otherwise, I’ve learned to style strategically! Additionally, I just finished my retightening about 9 days before this picture was taken and I hadn’t yet washed my hair. From a scalpiness perspective, I usually like my hair better after the second week or at least after a wash to put some of the fuzziness back in the root area. In fact, if I don’t have time for a wash, I’ll just spritz my scalp with water to get the newly retightened portion to swell a little.

Having said all that, I don’t actually have the same number of locks as I originally started out with. I’ve had to combine some, mostly for two reasons: they were too thin for my liking to begin with and because my hair has thinned in the crown area. But I should add that any thinning I’ve had is probably hereditary and was exacerbated by prior relaxers and having children and not from the SL’s. You can see an example in this picture of one that I’ve combined and, yeah, I leave them two-headed. I should also add that I haven’t combined any for about 2 years now (except for one back in December that was unintentional and I couldn’t get it back out, though I tried). So I guess I haven’t been thinning lately.

So, Anonymous, I don’t think I’ve lost any while washing or separating my hair. I can understand how that might happen, especially in the shower, which is where I wash mine. As it gets longer, it does get heavier, as a mass, and even more so when wet, although each individual one doesn’t feel very heavy on its own. I just make sure that I don’t wash my hair overly vigorously and I don’t move the wet hair around a lot. I usually just stick my fingertips in and massage the scalp and then squeeze the suds through the length.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How low can you go

If you recall, I started the new year with a decision to cut some length from the front. After putting down my scissors, I think I cut anywhere from 8 inches on the sides to 12 inches off the top. I'm happy with that decision since my hair has looked fuller on top and really keeps a curl there much better. In fact, not that I was trying not to wash my hair, but I actually let it go over three weeks just to see how long the curl would last. When I did wash it, it still had some curl on top, although I'd been wearing it in a ponytail since the back was just wavy. Thank you SoftSpikes!

But more and more, friends ask, "how long are you going to let your hair grow?" Believe me, that was not a question I'd have ever thought I'd be asked before I locked. I can tell I'm still not ready to cut the back and I'm willing to let it go for awhile longer. It must have something to do with the fact that my hair has never been anywhere near this length before and it's just facinating! I can honestly say that while there are some annoying aspects to having hair this length (getting it caught between your back and the chair when you lean back, having to pull it out from under your purse strap, and having it fall in your face when you bend over) it's not enough yet to make me want to cut it. I think I'll reevaluate when it gets to the point where I'm actually sitting down on it! Which brings me to these pictures. My hair is finally waist length!

The picture on the left was taken in May 06, when my hair was 5yrs 9mos. On the right, which was taken on February 19, my hair is 6yrs 6mos. I didn't realize how much it grew until I put these pictures side by side. It looks like almost 4 inches in 9 months! At this rate, I'll be sitting on it in the next 3-4 years!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My date with Marvin Gaye

As expected, it started snowing Tuesday afternoon, earlier than predicted. By the time night came, I had a feeling a snow day was in the making. Normally, any time I can take a day off is cause for celebration. But this time, I wanted it to be bad enough that I didn't have to go to work, but not so bad that I couldn't take advantage of the plans I had for Wednesday evening - Valentine's Day! Luckily, it wasn't too bad, a few inches of snow and some little ice pellets blowing all around. I could deal with it.

So, my DH and I had plans to go see "My Brother Marvin," the musical written by (or based on memoirs of) Zeola Gaye, Marvin's younger sister. It was only in town for five days and Valentine's Day was opening night. The good thing about it was the chance to listen to some good, old school music. It's been a long time since I listened to Marvin and it brought back good memories. I'm old enough to remember some of his earlier work and to really appreciate his later music because I listened to it on the radio and in clubs. There's nothing like it now. It still sounded fresh.

The play, on the other hand, was a waste of time. I don't know if it was just me, but the play left me with more questions than it answered. I'll admit, I knew only basic information about him and there was alot about his personal life that was previously unknown to me. But this was not the forum where you'd learn much or truly understand the reasons behind what you did already know. After the play, I actually googled him to find out all the information that the play left out. I mean, I knew he had at least one child, Nona Gaye, but I don't think she or the others (he had three altogether) were actually mentioned in it. I also read that she was supposed to have been in the play. I must have missed her acknowledgement when the cast took a bow.

As portrayed in the play, Zeola Gaye was supposed to have been with him during pivotal moments in his life that lead to his downward spiral into drug abuse and depression. But the sad thing about it was that it came off as her trying to make her part in his life appear larger than it may actually have been. Not to mention that she apparently was right there with him using the drugs he bought. It seemed as if her reasons for doing the play were less to honor his memory than for her own aggrandizement.
There were scenes in the play that also just seemed to come out of no where and if you didn't already know some of the back story, you'd be lost. Like his confrontation with David Ruffin over Tammi Terrell, conflict with Berry Gordy over style and image and his second wife. There was actually a scene where he meets this young woman and then you never see her or hear a reference to her for the rest of the play. Turns out, it was the woman who would become his second wife and mother of two of his three children. Glad my DH knew.

And as long as the play was, about 3 hours, they didn't include all his major hits. I was disappointed in that. You know how it is when you're all set to hear all the good songs you remember. In any event, it was nice to have an evening out. I just think he deserves better than this.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What's Water Ice?

In my last post, I shared a piece of Philadelphia that I've come to love. I also mentioned another thing that I loved, water ice. Not being from the Philly area, or the US,

Mel said...
Ok, now I'm curious - what is water ice? I thought it was an ice skating rink you liked to go to! Please help a poor English girl out...

So Mel, this is for you!

Water Ice, from what I understand, is the Philly regional equivalent of Italian Ice. Being from NY, I knew what Italian Ice was. It usually came in little waxy paper cups accompanied by a wooden scraper-like spoon. Sometimes, you could get it from a street cart where they would scoop it out of a tub into an accordian pleated paper cup. Cherry was always a favorite. I remembered Italian Ice being rather firm and totally frozen - that's why you needed the scraper. And the syrupy flavoring was always concentrated and frozen to the bottom of the cup making it the best part!

But Water Ice is not quite like that. It's more like a combination of Italian Ice mixed with a snow cone that's been blended into a smooth, semi-frozen slush. It's not like a smoothie (unless you get it mixed with custard ice cream) and, unlike a snow cone, you can't really suck out the flavoring and get left with a cup full of plain ice chips. And you don't need a scraper to get at it. Your cup of water ice comes with either a regular plastic spoon or you can suck it up through a straw. In the picture below, the water ice is in the cup with the orange colored slush.

Rita's is one of the most popular franchises of water ice, but there are many others, including one of my favorites, Philly Flavors (and also less expensive than Rita's). Most water ice establishments have a wide range of flavors from the usual, like lemon, cherry and grape to ones that are a little more exotic, like passion fruit (my absolute favorite!), mango (my second favorite), and kiwi-strawberry. Rita's also takes flavors usually associated with ice cream and turns them into water ice, like chocolate, cappucino and cookies and cream. I'm not fond of those as, IMHO, they taste like watery ice cream.

Now, this is the funny thing. Most water ice places are closed during the winter. They usually shut their doors around early November and don't reopen until around March. Apparently, business is brisk enough during the warm months to make up for it. On any given summer night, be prepared to stand in line for at least 10-15 minutes to get your cup.

Which reminds me, March is right around the corner and Rita's has a season opening special for the day - All their establishments give away a free regular sized cup, just name your flavor. Opening day is March 21 - go early, go often!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Philly can be beautiful

When I first moved here, I didn't think too much of this place as cities go. Having moved here from NYC, I thought of it as a step-city. Don't get me wrong, there are many things I do like about the city, but it never really grabbed me in the same way that NY and Chicago did. I still believe that there are many things this city needs to do to become world class and one of them is having a comprehensive vision of what the city will grow to be and stop letting it grow in a piece-meal fashion.
One of the things I do like about Philly (besides water ice) is the Mural Arts Program. This is a volunteer arts program that grew out of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, which was originally a way to encourage residents to beautify their surroundings by getting rid of unsightly graffiti. It actually challenged graffiti writers to channel their tremendous artistic energies into muraling which had the capabilities to change the face of the city.

The efforts of the Mural Arts program is such that they have had, at various times, over 2700 different and beautiful murals in locations throughout the city - from downtown Center City to some of the most blighted neighborhoods. The subject matter has ranged from famous Philadelphia personalities in entertainment, politics, religion, sports and community service, to landscapes, abstracts, history and messages of inspiration and encouragement.

And the murals are huge. Usually covering the entire sides of multistory buildings - they are a presence in the community and you can't help but marvel at them. And at the talent and workmanship of those who developed the vision and brought it to life. Watching day by day as a mural is painted is awe-inspiring. There's one on the side of east-bound I-76 at Girard Ave. that never fails to almost cause me to crash my car as I drive by it. Unless you have binoculars to see it from the other side of the Schyulkill River, you can't get close enough until you're on the freeway!

When you visit, you can take an organized tour of all the current murals, or get a map and drive around at your own pace. As a tribute to one of the things I like about Philly, these are some of my favorites. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What I'm willing to spill....

I try to check everyone on my bloglist everyday, but I must've missed Simply Mel on Wednesday. I read Creyole's late Wednesday evening, but she must've posted after I went to bed. When I checked her today, I found out she'd been tagged by Simply Mel. Curious to see who else Mel tagged, to my surprise, she tagged me! As I wrote on her blog, luckily, I'm still new to blogging that you all don't know that much about me yet. And yes, I still want cheesecake, Mel!

Here goes:

1. When I was in my first year of college, I was banned from one of the dorms because I used to spend the night in my boyfriend's room. Mind you, this was not a single-sex dorm and the girls who lived in that dorm were free to visit the boys who lived there anytime. However, if you didn't live there, you had to be out by midnight. But did that stop me from visiting? No! Since he lived on the second floor, I used to climb in the window using the bars on the first floor windows! Ah, youth...

2. In my lifetime, I've had about 24 different addresses in 7 states (although I lived in one state two different times). And I'm not even counting the temporary addresses I had during summer breaks from school when I didn't go home - if you count those, I think it adds 5 more.

3. While waiting for a train one Sunday in Brooklyn, NY, I was held up at knife point. He took a ring, a watch and about $20. When he tried to take my credit cards, I was able to avoid giving up my wallet by telling him that my cards wouldn't be any good to him since they were charged to the max! Score one for being a shopaholic!

4. My husband and I have known each other since before birth. How is this possible? His mom and mine were high school friends and kept a friendship throughout the years. He and I always referred to the others' mom as "aunt." He was born the day before me and we were in the same class from kindergarten through 6th grade. Although we were in different states during high school, when I would visit family in Brooklyn where he lived, we would go out. We went our separate ways after high school but kept in touch, personally and through family, and saw each other periodically. We finally reconnected in 2001 when I called him. We've been married for 4 years now and our anniversary directly follows our birthdays, one after the other. What's weird is I still call my mother-in-law Aunt. The picture on the top is from third grade. Can you guess which one is me and which is my DH? The one on the bottom is of us at 15 on the Board Walk at Coney Island.

Who's next? Ayankha, Cheleskilove and Tanya.

Addendum: I realized after I posted this that I only had 4.

5. When the Jackson 5 were the hottest group, everyone liked Michael and Jermaine. But my best friend and I looooved us some Tito!