Bug turns ELEVEN! (and gets blue hair!)

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Can you believe Bug is ELEVEN?!!! Of course you can’t. Neither can I. It was like yesterday when she was born. I get heart palpitations every time I take a picture of her and she looks like a teenager already. But I can’t stop time and I can’t stop her. This girl is a powerhouse and she just keeps growing up every day!

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Bug has wanted to dye her hair blue for about two years. Her cousins constant chameleon hair-change-ups might have something to do with it and her obsession with anime and changing her minecraft skins etc… If you know Bug you know how she is about color. Color is her thing and she has strong opinions.

Of course I told her that dying her hair was a silly idea and gave her about a thousand lectures on how pretty her hair was naturally. But as you can see she wore me down. And wore me down some more. Because I love my crazy girl and I really wanted to give her a present that would make her really really happy. I caved!

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Off to the salon we went! Bug has a favorite salon and a favorite stylist. She’s way more loyal to her stylist than I ever have been. It might have something to do with her stylist being 24 and a really cool surfer dude but he always does a really good job with her hair and we make a special treat out of it when we go. You know, macarons at Lette, hotdog from the hotdog stand. It’s our bi-annual thing.

At first, when we started to take the hair-coloring subject seriously, I thought we’d go to a beauty college and save some $$$ but then I got worried that I might fry her hair and I’d ruin her (red flag number 1). So we opted to ask her stylist for a recommendation and he recommended Ally.

We set the appointment and waited for the day with great anticipation. It was crazy how excited we were. Then the day came and the bleaching began. BLEACHING. Oh-my-goodness. I bleached my daughter’s beautiful long healthy honey-blonde hair?!!! Who am I? This so wrong on so many levels. (Red flag number 2.)

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The plan was to lighten Bug’s hair to a white blonde and then apply a blue-indigo ombre effect to that white blonde. It was a great plan. But then as Ally started blow-drying out the blonde, Bug and I both gasped at how pretty it was. It was this amazing out-of-the-bottle blonde color that every Californian aspires to. We thought, maybe we should keep the blonde and just apply the dark ombre indigo-teal color to the underneath in a cool peek-a-boo effect. In fact, that idea sat with me even better because the blonde was more natural, right? (Red flag number 3 with blinking lights and a siren!)

But then as she finished blow-drying and I saw the blonde getting brassy all the way up to Bug’s eyes, I started to feel anxious. I couldn’t ignore the sirens going off in my head any more. My kid should not look like this. This is the kind of blonde ombre effect grown women on Real Housewives of Orange County have. I started to feel sick to my stomach. But Bug loved it and was over the moon! Ally curled it all pretty and Bug felt like a golden princess. I was a ball of mixed feelings with alarms going off in my head.

By the time we got to her Dad’s house (she was at his house that week) I was experiencing a full panic attack over her hair. Sweating, my heart hurt… How could I have done this to my child! She looked like Iris from Taxi Driver and it was just wrong. Poor Bug had no idea why I was getting so upset. She started crying and I was crying.  It’s amazing I could even drive. We were a mess.

Thankfully, Toby didn’t lose his marbles over my mistake when we got to the door and I exploded all of my worries and concerns. He agreed it didn’t look right for an eleven-year-old and we all decided we’d go back to the salon to fix it as soon as possible and stick to the original blue plan.

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But Bug loved her blonde hair. It was such a mixed bag of emotions. On the morning of her next appointment Bug and I took an early morning walk with the dogs. She wore her rollerblades (her favorite accessory these days) and I took a few photos (with the dogs pulling me this way and that)  just so we could remember how pretty it was. We put her hair up in tight Princess Lea buns so the swirls of blue showed through. It didn’t seem quite so offensive. I wanted to take more photos but we ran out of time. I’m glad we have these though.

It was such an emotional experience for both Bug and I, I know we will remember it for years. Someday we’ll laugh about it.Bug-turns-11-blue-hair-5

Back to the salon we went. This time with strict instructions to be pastel blue, indigo blue, and teal blue and nothing else. Everyone at the salon totally understood our concerns and they happily fixed her up into the prettiest mermaid princess you have ever seen. Bug was sad to see her golden locks wash down the drain in a puddle of purple but it was best. And we know the blue will wash out over time and the blonde will come back slowly and not so shockingly. AND best of all it’s just hair. It will grow back to her pretty honey blonde someday. And no she’s not getting another hair-dye-job as a birthday present ever again.

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The blue turned out to be so much cooler in the end. I feel like I have my eleven-year-old back again. My crazy, cool, color-obsessed eleven-year-old. This is just so Bug.

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I love you to pieces, you big blue smurf-head. Which Bug is quick to correct and let me know that smurfs have blue skin NOT blue hair. (eye roll)

The Big Move

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I moved! I’m completely moved. It’s amazing. I can’t believe I did it.

I cleaned out my old apartment the other day and stood in the now bare living room and said goodbye to my beloved turquoise wall. So much happened in that room. So much good. I wish the apartment complex would leave it turquoise and it could bring all kinds of good luck and love to whoever new moves in but I know they won’t do that. They have a formula and it’s called white, probably white number 327 with beige number 402 or something like that. They do everything rigidly by the books there and I can’t really fault them since it was the clean white walls that made me fall in love with my apartment in the first place.

Remember how I used to struggle with taking pictures in my old mobile home that belonged to my Grandpa? I was always cloning out the smudges and glue remnants leftover from some wallpaper job that had half-hazardly removed. I longed for clean white walls and then I got them. It was a beautiful chapter of my life. I’m so glad I was able to be on my own for three whole years.

It’s funny how life twists and turns. I would never have expected to be moving in with someone the way I am. But here I am. I’m excited for this new big change. So far it’s been amazing.

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I’m not completely unpacked but all of my belongings are out of my old apartment and stuffed into Payam’s house, literally. It’s a real challenge to combine all the trappings of two 43-year-old’s who were both pretty used to being by themselves and attached to their things. I used to go visit Payam and look around his beautiful house and wonder how in tarnation I could ever fit there. There really wasn’t room for me and my style. I’ve come to really love decorating my own place. It’s part of who I am these days. I love creating little vignettes all over my home.  How could I fit my *beautiful* clutter into his house?

It seemed impossible. He has a very different style than mine. Not bad at all. It’s beautiful but it’s masculine and Persian and he has a lot of stuff! You know, car models and car magazines, buddha posters and expedit bookcases filled with philosophy books…I didn’t want to change him at all but how could I fit into his life without taking over? I’m a very visual person and I just couldn’t see myself putting all my things in storage and living as a guest.

I’m in this for the long haul so we combined.  I’m so glad to say we came out on the other side and we still love each other. If you’ve done a combination of households like this yourself, you know how hard it really is. Thankfully, we’re both pleasers and we try really hard to make sacrifices to make the other person happy but it was a comedy at some points. (And between you and me, I worry that he’s sacrificed too much.)

I have to be careful what I ask for with Payam because he will give away the shirt off his back for me. Well, actually that’s a bad example because I borrow his undershirts all the time for pajamas but you know what I mean. I can’t just mention that I’m craving a latte from the next town over because he will get in his car and go get it for me no matter how inconvenient it might be. He’s like that.

The cats on the other hand have had no trouble at all not getting along with each other. It’s been growl city in the hallway for days but that’s to be expected. We followed all the rules, letting them play with each under the door, introducing them gradually, I even bought that cat-calming hormone stuff you plug into the wall like a fragrance dispenser.  Aqui and Lucy (Payam’s cat) are making eye contact and ignoring each other but Fiesta has taken up residence in my closet and growls at anything resembling Lucy in the slightest, including her mother, Aqui. But Fiesta has always been the grumpy cat.

joon-the-photographerI can’t really report on how the kids are doing in this big combination because Bug has been in Hungary with her dad on vacation the whole time. I know, right?!! Lucky kid! They are visiting Toby’s girlfriend’s family and having a great time. We’ve skyped a few times but she’s more interested in talking about Minecraft and showing me the Rubiks Cube she bought in Budapest than worrying about how I unpack her room (a blessing!).

Joon however has been my constant companion. It’s been hard for her to be stuck in the house with grown-ups who are more interested in unpacking boxes and purging unneeded clutter than going outside and having bike rides. She misses Bug terribly.

Bug and Joon are a funny pair. Bug is an introvert, like her dad, and Joon is an extrovert who thrives on activity. Joon will go and go and go until she drops dead from exhaustion whereas Bug is the complete opposite and is content to sit alone in her room for hours on end. I have to force her off her computer to play. It’s really no surprise that the kids are like this since they are a lot like their parents but I know we will have many many challenges in the future. And they do love each other, you know, like siblings.

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We haven’t been all work and no play though. Joon has convinced me to go out at least once a day for some fun and I have yet to regret it. She’s going to keep me active and I need that.

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We’ve taken a few epic bike rides and come home bruised and sore. We live in such a great town that has twisting bike trails for miles and miles. You really have to be careful how far you go exploring because coming back can take forever. Especially when your biking companion has no interest in coming back.

helpersWe’ve also had a few visits from Lubna. She’s been an amazing, incredible help to me in this move and I am forever thankful to her. She never tires and she is incredibly focused. We’ve tackled packing up my house, lifting boxes up and down stairs for days in heat and humidity that reminds you of a monsoon, (Of all times to move, did I have to pick August?? It’s been so awful and humid lately. If you exert one calorie of energy you are drenched in sweat. Dusty, dirty, sweaty box-moving…you get the picture.) reorganizing and cleaning Payam’s kitchen (and that required taking EVERYTHING out and putting it ALL BACK IN –gasp–) AND cleaning and reorganizing Payam’s entire garage. She is a force.

Lubna and her family threw me a going away party (so sweet, right?!!)  but she still only lives a quick 10 minute walk away. We just don’t live in the same apartment complex anymore and it’s hard because now she has to ask permission to visit me. Her Dad doesn’t always grant his permission because well, you know how protective dads can be of their beautiful sixteen year-old daughters and that’s not even counting that she’s Muslim and needs a chaperone at all times. Before she could stop by whenever she wanted and she practically lived at our house. But thankfully her family values her being helpful so they’ve sent her over a few times and I am so thankful. I know our families will always be close.

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And that’s pretty much it! I probably could blog a thousand more things but life calls. Busy is good. I miss you guys. I’m glad so many of you keep track of me in instagram. :) I try to put up mini blogs there.