haircuts and snow days

The last time I got a cut and color was close to six months ago. I’ve been long overdue for a while, and lately I’ve been really itching for a big change. I texted my hairdresser, Kim (who’s also a friend of mine), and set up an appointment.

In the past, when I’ve mentioned making major changes to my hair, Kim usually advises against it. And since she always makes my hair look great, I usually defer to her advice. This time, I was planning my argument in advance: my face has gotten less round/more oval with the weight I’ve lost, and I feel like the long hair is sort of dragging it down and making it look even longer.

Instead, as soon as I walked in, she looked at me for a minute and said, “So! How adventurous do you feel today?”

And this is why I love her: she gets me.

So. I kinda went and chopped many, many inches off my hair today.
The before and after shot.

She also re-did the color, with a few dark red panels underneath that only peek out if I’m in the sunlight. Nothing too severe or crazy, but enough that I felt like I got a major change (at least by my relatively tame standards).

I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it already, and Chris loves it. Funny story: way back when we first met, I remember that his dating profile said something about how he liked girls with short hair, and I kind of joked that if that was the case, I clearly wasn’t his type. Yesterday, I had told him that I was going to get a haircut, but I didn’t tell him how much I was taking off (I would normally just trim maybe a 1/2 inch), so this was kind of a surprise. And based on the way he couldn’t stop touching my neck last night, I’m going to venture a guess that he seems to be a big fan.

As for the kids, Catie said she liked it. Lucy gave me the backhanded non-compliment with, “Wow, Mommy, your hair sure is… different!” Um, thanks? But, you know, this is a child who says she wants “long hair like Rapunzel,” so I’m probably not taking my fashion cues from the three year-old.


Completely unrelated topic jump!

This week has been insane, weather wise. The schools let out early on Monday because of snow in the forecast, and they’ve been closed all week because of icy road conditions.

I was kinda bummed that the kids are at their dad's on their snow day, so I didn't get to take them out to play. I'm glad he texted me these. (Catie looks like she's meditating on the ice, but she was just mad about having her picture taken.)
The girls liked the snow the first day. After that, they were just kind of over it. (JUST LIKE THE REST OF US.)

And really, I’m incredibly lucky because our daycare has been open a lot of the time that the schools have been closed, and even when they closed early (during the worst of the weather), my parents helped out, Chris has helped out, and Dave and I have managed to divide up the time with the kids, so we’re both able to meet our deadlines and not go crazy.

Making silly faces.
Well, ok, maybe a little crazy.

It’s been a stressful wrench thrown into our routine, but we’ve gotten through it fairly easily. I don’t know how other families with less of a support system manage when these things happen.

Really, though? I mainly want the snow to melt so I can get back to running without worrying about slipping on ice. And yes, I know that by comparison to other parts of the country, the amount of snow and ice we’ve gotten here is nothing. (Sorry, people of Massachusetts, but there’s a reason I only lived there for a year, and then moved at the first opportunity. Southern girls don’t do snow.)

And I also know that in another 3 or 4 months, I’ll be complaining about how hot it is when I run. The thing is, I don’t really mind the cold all that much, I can bundle up and still run. It’s just the ice. The cold weather can stick around as long as it wants, as long as the sidewalks and greenways are clear.

Oh well. I’ll stop whining now, go lace up my sneakers, and fire up my tablet so I can watch a movie on Netflix while I run on the treadmill. There are worse things in life, I know.

my girly girl

I blogged a while back about Catie trying to sort of find her place in the world because of her less-girly, more-nerdy interests, and it’s funny to me how on the flip side of that, Lucy could not be more different. She is the epitome of the girly-girl.

While Catie has always been a Daddy’s Girl, Lucy is basically my mini-me. And I don’t mean that she looks like me — although if you put my baby pictures next to hers, it’s a little unsettling to see visual proof that I kind of gave birth to myself. But her personality is a lot like mine when I was a little girl: total goofball who wants to make everyone laugh, a little shy with new people but total snuggle-bug with the people she loves, and she has an insane imagination and acts out elaborate stories with her toys.

She’s my little shadow who wants to follow me everywhere. When I’m in the bathroom putting my make-up on, she wants to sit on the counter and play with my make-up too. I usually let her use some of my brushes/powder puffs. She likes the textures, the sensation of how they feel, but there’s no color or anything that will show up on her face. I bought her a Little Mermaid chapstick, mainly to keep her out of my lipstick, and she loved it. After she put the chapstick on about 15 times, I told her that was enough and we needed to put it away. A few minutes later, I found her hiding behind the couch with her chapstick, frantically reapplying it as fast as she could.

Lucy loves her baby dolls. She pretends to change their diapers and feed them, she tucks them in with their blankies, it’s really cute. And I say that as someone who generally finds baby dolls to be borderline creepy, but it’s still pretty sweet. And another example of how she’s different from Catie, because Catie has always loved stuffed animals, but could not give less of a crap about babies.

But Lucy’s main interest right now? Disney princesses. More specifically, Frozen. Lucy is all-Frozen, all-the-time. She loves other Disney princesses too, like Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty because “they have yellow hair like me!”, but let’s face it, the majority of the merchandise you see in stores right now is Frozen, so that’s the main thing on her little 3 year-old radar.

Back at Halloween, she couldn’t decide if she wanted to be Elsa or Anna, and my mom ended up buying both costumes, thinking we’d return one the day after Halloween.

Sometimes you need to put an Elsa costume over your PJs. It happens.

Well, we haven’t returned either of them. Because she wears one of those costumes every single day. At least we’re getting our money’s worth out of them? I’ve made the rule that she can’t wear her costumes either to bed or to daycare, but other than that, she is always either Elsa or Anna.

Princess Anna is sorting stickers. (And needs a hairbrush.)

Seriously. All the time.

I bought the "My PlayHome: School" app & put it on both iPads. Haven't heard a peep out of either of them since.

My mom even made her a pink cape that looks like the one Anna wears in the movie.

My mom made Lucy a cape to go with her Princess Anna costume. She's a big fan.

Lucy’s Frozen obsession has gotten so severe that she – my child who used to scream when I approached her with a hairbrush – now regularly asks me to braid her hair. Sometimes she wants one long braid (“just one Elsa braid!”) or two (“like Anna wears!”).

On the up side: I’m getting really good at hair braiding.

(Don’t get me started about how the Anna costume went missing for a few days, and Lucy was distraught, and Dave and I were frantically texting each other, “Have you found it? I thought it was with you! I’ve looked everwhere!” Turns out Lucy had packed up her Hello Kitty suitcase with her Anna costume, as well her Anna and Kristoff Barbie dolls, because I don’t know, she was planning some type of Frozen-themed vacation and didn’t tell anyone?)

The main things on her Christmas list for Santa this year are all Frozen-related. Sure, she also wants a baby doll with its own stroller, but Frozen stuff is still top of the list.

And the thing is, I guess in theory I should be getting tired of it. I hear other parents talk all the time about how they’re so sick of the movie and the soundtrack and all of it, but I’m honestly not. I feel like this stage where she’s obsessed with princesses is so short and fleeting, and I just want to revel in it while it lasts.

Watching a movie with friends. (Yeah, she's wearing her Elsa costume over her clothes again.)

I know the time is rapidly approaching when she’ll be more influenced by what her peers like, and all of the princess stuff will be dismissed as boring, dumb, and/or “just for babies” (which is what Catie says about princesses, although I have totally caught her secretly belting out “Let It Go” on more than one occasion).

So if Lucy wants to dictate to me whether I’m supposed to sing the Elsa or Anna part of “For the First Time in Forever,” well, I’ll be damned if I’m going to argue with her.

"For the First Time in For-oopsies." (This is high comedy among the 3 year-old set.)

A video posted by Cindy W (@poobou) on

As great as I think it is that Catie sort of bucks traditional gender roles with her love of science and video games and all that stuff? I think it’s equally great that Lucy is a total princess-y girly girl. I don’t think one thing is more valid than the other. (I know the Disney princesses have some questionable at best feminist values in their movies, but I also know that most of us grew up with Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella — not to mention Barbie dolls — and for the most part, we all turned out ok.)

Mainly, I love seeing how Catie and Lucy are their own unique little people, how they’ve each individually gravitated toward the stuff that they like, and how they’re both just completely funny and wonderful in totally different ways.

street harassment in the suburbs

Ok, I assume by now that everyone has seen the viral video of the woman getting repeatedly harassed walking around in NYC, right?

If you have 5 minutes to spare, I highly recommend checking out Jessica Williams’ take on street harassment on the Daily Show. Because it’s both hilarious and really sadly accurate.

Now, I live in the suburbs where there isn’t a lot of pedestrian traffic, so this type of thing doesn’t happen often to me, and I also think that maybe I’ve aged out of the demographic that gets harassed? As a general rule, most guys aren’t going to make a gross comment to a middle-aged woman who’s got two kids with her.

Except! When I’m out running. Because it’s pretty much the only time I’m out on a public sidewalk by myself. And it still isn’t a regular occurrence, because my neighborhood is pretty quiet. The only people I pass on the sidewalk are usually little old ladies walking their dogs. But one of my running routes takes me down a semi-busy street, and it’s happened a few times where guys honked or yelled “hey baby!” out of their car window as they drove past.

And I mean, in theory, that’s harmless enough, right? It’s supposed to be a compliment. But it PISSES ME OFF. Here’s why:

Something that will come as a surprise to no one who knows me: I tend to be what one might call a chronic over-thinker. It’s part worrywart, part ADD, part… I don’t even know. This has been something I’ve dealt with off and on since high school, but it’s definitely gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I usually have to take something to help me sleep at night because I get what I call my “head-spinny thing,” where basically my mind just races and I can’t shut it off. While sometimes my racing thoughts veer toward the negative (“oh hey, my job has been going really great, but I’ll bet I’m going to goof up that one thing and get fired,” etc.), a lot of times it’s just… noise. Like, I make to-do lists. I lie in bed and I can’t fall asleep because I’m trying to make a mental list of the things I need to get at the grocery store the next day, or that I need to do laundry, or that I need to make sure Lucy has spare clothes for her cubby at daycare. Stupid, menial task lists. They just go around in circles and never quiet down.

One of the things I love about running is that it’s the one time that my brain shuts the hell up. The only thing I’m thinking about is the sidewalk in front of me, and concentrating on my feet and my breath, and that’s it. Don’t get me wrong, running hurts and sometimes I hate it, but when I can get in my mental zone and lose myself to nothing but the music in my earbuds, it’s really nice. That’s the part that makes me stick with it, I miss that quiet time on the days I don’t run.

So, if I’m in my happy little headspace, and some dude honks at me? It throws me off, and it makes me self-conscious. Which makes me angry. This is my ONE TIME of the day that I can shut out the rest of the world, and some douchebag driving past me at 45 mph just ruined it.

If there are any guys reading this (which is doubtful at best)? Here’s a list of times when it’s appropriate to honk at me while I’m running:

  • If you’re about to run over me.

…And that’s it. That’s the whole list.

Earlier this week, I had one of these incidents where a guy honked and leaned out of his window, leering at me as he drove past. Which, first of all – why do guys do this? Do they expect a positive result? I’m out here, running and sweaty, do you think that I’m gonna be like, “ooh, hey big fella, turn around and come on back here!” Like, has that ever worked on any woman in the history of the world? I find that highly doubtful.

But the kicker with this particular guy is that he was driving a big truck, with a big logo of the company that he worked for on the side.

And I thought, you know, if I owned a company, and I found out that one of my employees was driving a car with my company logo on it, honking at women on the street, I would be furious.

I made a mental note of the company name, and after I got home, I googled them. It’s a landscaping company that has offices in several states, not some small mom-and-pop place. I called them and a very nice receptionist answered. I explained to her what happened, told her where I was and the general timeframe when the incident occurred. She said that they certainly don’t condone that type of behavior, but she would figure out who it was and they would address the issue. She also thanked me for reporting it.

Is it going to make a difference, in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. But it’s a start, and it’s better than doing nothing.

I guess the point is: if you see a woman walking/running down the street and find her attractive? That’s fine. Good for you. But keep it to yourself. Because most likely, she’s just trying to get from Point A to Point B and doesn’t really give a crap.

on being a nerdy girl

Catie’s best friend at school this year has been a little boy who I’m going to call A. She’s been coming home talking about him nearly every day. Once, she said, “Mom, I have to wear my Minecraft t-shirt to school tomorrow, because A is going to wear his, and we want to match!”

It was pretty adorable. She asked if he could come over for a playdate. She even mentioned having a crush on him, but when I asked her if she knew what that meant, it sounded more like a friend-crush than a romantic crush. I asked her, “Do you mean like you really like him and want to be around him all the time? Or do you mean hugging and kissing?”

She said, “Kinda just the first part, not the hugging and kissing stuff.”

*whew* Thank God, because I’m so not ready for that.

One night last week, Catie came home in a foul mood. She was picking fights with Lucy over nothing, being rude to me, and just generally not being herself. She knows how to push my buttons sometimes, and I was not handling her outbursts gracefully at all. She was yelling, I was yelling back, it was just a bad scene.

After the kids took a bath and we’d both taken a little time to calm down, I tried to talk with her. She said, “I’m not friends with A anymore.”

Ahh, ok, lightbulb. So that’s why she’s being such a pain in the butt, she’s upset about something completely unrelated. I should have guessed.

I asked what happened. Apparently they’d had a disagreement about some game they were playing, and she said when he got mad at her, “he told me that I should stop playing video games and just go play with Barbies.”

Yeah, so, pretty much the most hurtful thing you could say to an anti-girly girl like Catie.

She was just so sad about it. She said, “I feel like an idiot because I only like boy stuff.”

I told her that she likes what she likes, and I never want her to change what she likes because of what other people think. Because I think it’s awesome that she’s into science and video games, and those are not supposed to be “boy things” or “girl things.”

Wearing a Skylanders t-shirt while she plays Minecraft. Just so she has all her bases covered. I love that weirdo.
Wearing a Skylanders t-shirt while she plays Minecraft. Just so she has all her bases covered.

It was interesting because the conversation segued into talking a little about sexism in society in general, and I gave her sort of a G-rated recap of GamerGate. Obviously, I didn’t explain rape threats or doxxing to my 7 year-old, but I told her about how there are some men who think women shouldn’t like video games, so they say nasty things to those women to try to make them stop liking them. (Like I said, keeping it G-rated.)

And then that led a little into talking about my own career in IT, and how I’m often the only girl in the room at work. Which is fine, I’ve been working in the IT industry for about 15 years now, so I’m pretty used to it by now. But as much as I love my job (and I really do), it’s still sometimes a little uncomfortable to realize you’re always the anomaly in the group.

(At my office, there are about 100 people, give or take. Of those, there are 6 women. Three of them are in administrative, non-technical roles. And that’s not even unusual in my experience. So, yeah, I’d say women are definitely a minority.)

I also told her a story I hadn’t thought about in years, which is how I got started in the IT field in the first place. And I don’t think I’ve ever blogged this story, so here goes.

So, I got my bachelor’s degree in journalism. After I graduated, I found out that journalists make no money. I was offered a position as a reporter for a newspaper in the next town over from where I lived, and the starting salary was less than I was making as a secretary. That’s when I realized I was in trouble (student loans!), and started looking for other possible careers.

I knew I was good with computers (I had installed a modem in my parents’ Windows 3.11 PC, and learned how to set up dial-up Internet access… oh, the 90s). And I had a lot of friends who had jobs in tech support (as I explained it to Catie, “the people you call on the phone when you can’t get your computer to work, and they explain to you how to fix it”). So, I thought, well hey, I can do that.

Here’s the kicker: there was a guy I was sort of casually dating at the time, and he was one of the people I knew who worked in tech support. When I told him I was thinking about pursuing it as a career, he flat-out said, “You can’t do that, you’re not smart enough.”

Catie was horrified when I said that. “But you ARE smart!”

[Side note: That dude didn’t know that I graduated Magna Cum Laude, or that I was in the National Honor Society, or anything about my academic background, because he really wasn’t interested in knowing much about me. 22 year-old me had very poor judgment when it came to boys. If there was any area of life where I wasn’t smart enough, that was it.]

So, really? My entire career in IT can be traced back to the one guy who made me think, “Know what? Screw you. I’ll SHOW you that I’m smart enough.”

Last time I heard from that guy was years later, when I was living in Seattle and working at Microsoft, and he was still answering phones at a helpdesk call center in Memphis, so… I’m gonna go ahead and say I won.

Catie asked, “So how much more money do you make than him now?” I said I don’t know, but since I was smart enough to get a college degree and he wasn’t, I’m going to guess that I make a lot more than him. I mean, it’s a generalization, but statistically pretty likely. And I figured it was a good time to emphasize to Catie the importance of education and going to college.

As for Catie and her friend, nothing has really changed in the past week. It sounds like she’s been playing with other kids at school because she and A are still mad at each other. Maybe they’ll make up, maybe they won’t. But no matter what, I don’t want anyone to ever make my daughter feel like she isn’t brilliant and amazing just the way that she is. Because my god, is she ever.

Catie & her bearded dragon, Spyro Jones. (He's getting so big!)


Back in mid-2006, when I was newly pregnant with Catie, my morning sickness was triggered by weird things. One of the things that made me feel like I was going to puke? Wearing earrings. I’d had pierced ears since the fourth grade, and suddenly that simple act of putting on earrings – like I’d done every day for 20 years – made me feel like I was going to hurl.

So I stopped wearing earrings while I was pregnant. And then I had a baby. And babies are kind of jerks about the whole grabbing-and-yanking thing. So I continued to not wear earrings.

Cut to present day: my ear holes (heh, I said “holes”) healed over a long time ago. I had been thinking about getting them re-pierced at some point, but just kept procrastinating about it.

Then my sister mentioned that she wanted to get matching earrings for all of her bridesmaids. So, time for procrastinating to end.

Only, the thought of going to see some teenager with an earring gun at my local mall’s Claire’s store sounded horrifying to my 37 year-old self.

Which is how, this past Saturday, I ended up in a place like this.

DoubleDeuce Tattoo Shop

My local neighborhood tattoo shop has a trained piercer on staff, and it’s a place where I knew I wouldn’t get hepatitis or lord-know-what-else. And the piercer guy (whose name I’ve totally forgotten) just happened to be my age. And cute. And flirty. And he told me I smelled good. And I had a little moment there where I vividly remembered how much I loved all of the tattooed bad boys when I was in my 20s.

Then, you know, I remembered that I’m a single mom of 2 kids in the suburbs and that isn’t my life anymore. And I also have an awesome (non-tattooed) boyfriend who flirts with me and tells me that I smell good all the time. So, whatever. It was a nice little visit down memory lane, then I gave the guy a nice tip for his work and left with my newly re-pierced ears.

re-pierced ears

I kind of dig it. And the best part, no teenagers with earring guns were involved at all.

the “after” pic

I wasn’t going to write anything else about my boobs, because you know: this is starting to get a little weird. But, a LOT of people have asked about what my boobs look like now after the surgery.

Since I’m not going to post naked pictures of myself on the Internet (never ever, no no no), this will have to suffice for all of y’all who were curious.

Before Boobs

After Boobs
Oh hello, awkwardly placed drawstring on my sweatpants, and glass of iced tea (which was on the bathroom counter & looks like it’s on top of my ass). Clearly I have crafted the fine art of the Boob Selfie over here.

They’re still pretty swollen and there’s a lot more “upper boob” (not sure what else to call it) than I’d like, but that’s supposed to settle down eventually so they’ll look more natural. But I’m really, really happy with them overall.

One brief moment of panic? The corner of one of my incisions had been hurting for a few days, and when I finally took the steri-strips off, I saw that it was red and looked possibly infected. I talked with the doctor and she said it’s something they see often. They stitch you up with a clear thread that’s supposed to just disintegrate and be absorbed by your body, but sometimes where the incision ends (where the thread is knotted, so there’s more of it), your body will think it’s a foreign object and try to, um, push it out. And it’ll get stuck. And possibly infected. And it hurts like a sonofabitch.

Let me just tell you that handing Chris a pair of sterilized tweezers and closing my eyes while he took care of it? Pretty much embodies my definition of “taking the intimacy in your relationship to the next level.” He’ll never see me poop on a delivery table (thank God for that), and I sincerely hope that this is as gross as it ever gets.

(He was totally calm about it. I was trying to fix it myself with a magnifying mirror, and he passed by the bathroom and was like, “Want some help with that?” And this was not exactly a “whee, boobies!” kind of moment, since it involved forcibly removing a foreign object from my body. But it takes a lot to rattle the man, I have to give him credit for that.)

Ok, I think that’s it for the boob chapter. Now back to boring blog posts about my kids and my boyfriend and all of that normal stuff.

a week later

I don’t know exactly how much I want to get into the whole boob job recovery thing. Basically: I’m fine. I got my first shower on Saturday, and it was blissful.

As for my first impression of the new boobs? I knew they’d be swollen and higher than where they’re going to end up, but the first image that popped into my head upon seeing them: my boobs were shaped like Snoopy posing as a vulture.


It was a little freaky. But they’re starting to settle down now, and I had my one-week follow-up appointment with my plastic surgeon today. I’m following my doctor’s orders on not lifting anything heavy for the next few weeks and doing this whole boob massage thing to make sure no scar tissue forms around the implants (which causes hard boobs, and nobody wants hard boobs).

I also got to switch from the post-op surgical compression bra to a regular sports bra today, and my skin almost wept with relief. The elastic on that compression bra has been the worst part of my recovery. It rubbed my skin raw. Awful.

Not much else to report, other than the fact that I got a sinus infection immediately after surgery, because really? If you’ve just had your pectoral muscles sliced open? You totally want to do a lot of coughing and sneezing.

Dave is still in town, and he has Catie and Lucy with him – I’ve only seen them once in the past week, and I miss them like crazy. Being a single mom is exhausting, no doubt, but my life feels all weirdly thrown off when they aren’t here causing havoc. I’m grateful that Dave has been here so I could have this time to recover, but man, I can’t wait to squeeze their faces.

Sooooo…. yeah. I’m fine, the boobs are good, I miss my kids, I wish I could stop coughing. That’s about it, really. How are you?