Hair envy & soprano chickadees

In which long hair isn't all it's cracked up to be, giving yourself a haircut is easy, KC chickadees are weirdos, and one corner of the Funkyard gets a new layout.

In about 2008, I started to cut my own bangs. I got pretty good at it — ish. They’d usually be a little too short or otherwise not-quite-right for a few days, then grow into themselves, becoming perfectly passable.

By about 2009, I offered to cut a friend’s bangs. If my memory serves, it was a disaster, Michelle took the scissors from me, straightened them out herself, and was overall a very good sport about it (as Michelle usually is.) I didn’t cut another person’s hair until March 2018, when Andy and I had a wedding to go to, and we realized his shagginess had crossed into unpresentable territory. I believe a few drinks were involved when we decided 1. Andy’s hair must be cut before the wedding and 2. Why not do it right here in our Air BnB bathroom. Very surprisingly, it turned out fine.

It wasn’t till 2020 that another opportunity struck, as Andy and I started to avoid non-essential outings. This time I watched countless YouTube tutorials on how to give a men’s haircut. But I still can’t seem to give Andy a good one. Conceptually, I understand how to do it; practically, well… let’s just say I’m not convinced Andy has the same head shape as the men in the videos.

Meanwhile, my own hair, after being the shortest it’s ever been in spring 2018 (after a, erm, miscommunication with my stylist), is now the longest it’s ever been. I was never much for growing hair, and always felt like I had to hold on to every last inch if I ever wanted to grow it out. But perhaps some combination of the super-short cut plus the collagen powder I started putting in my smoothies, it finally grew. Kind of a lot.

I have always, always, always wanted long (thick) hair. I grew up with Disney princesses, Barbie dolls, pop stars like Britney and Christina, and TV characters like Zenon, Lizzie McGuire, and — perhaps the worst offender of all — Topanga Lawrence. They all had such epic hair.  At some point I learned about hair extensions, but that didn’t make me feel better at all. Even as an adult, I see Danarys Targaryen’s elaborate do’s and I know it’s a wig if not 99% extensions, and I still feel inadequate. Whyyy?!

Fast forward to today, and my hair is as long as it’s ever been. Not by much — probably a few inches past my last record. And it’s… annoying. It’s staticky. It’s tangled. It sheds like never before. I’m running out of shampoo, always. I keep it in a French braid just so it’s manageable. Is this what I’ve been missing out on?

I would say that I wish I could go back in time and tell my past self that seriously, long hair is not all that it’s cut out to be — but that wouldn’t work. All my long-haired friends told me this all the time. That it’s a burden, that they’re *this* close to chopping it all off at any given moment. I didn’t listen.

Anyway, one more YouTube hair tutorial later, and I gave myself a haircut. It turned out unbelievably fine.

Well, that’s already way too many photos of me for one post, and I know you’re really here for the Funkyard updates, so here’s the latest.

I raked the rest of the yard, which revealed many, many treasures buried in the leaf litter and mulch. My collection reminded me of the pages of an I Spy book so I wrote a rhyme for you. (I shared this on Facebook and Twitter already but am pretty sure nobody got the reference. Please tell me if you know about I Spy books!!!)

I spy a soldier, a lego, and four strings,

a marker and a pencil, and two shiny things;

A shovel, saw, a marble, and a dinosaur,

a braid that held up pants, and a number 4.

Earlier today we finished laying out the edges for a new firepit patio. The yard slopes, so putting in (level) pavers will be challenging, but doable. For now, mulch will be fine. The first ring around the patio will be flower beds, and the second, narrower ring a path.

We’ll leave it like this for a bit before we break ground, to make sure this placement makes sense. I’m optimistic.

Wildlife Update

The chickadees here are strange. We have normal chickadees singing their two-note song, which according to the piano app on my phone is something like B flat–A flat. But we also have chickadees that sing a different song that’s faster and higher, more like a rushed C sharp–C. I’ve even heard what seemed to be a single bird modifying the notes of its song when another bird, singing the other song, comes closer.

I talked to my birder friend Christopher, and we’re wondering if it has to do with the fact that I’m fairly near, but just north of, where black-capped chickadees stop and Carolina chickadees start. The Carolina chickadee song is more complex, but it does sound more like that C#–C range. Are my birds hybrids? Are they just confused? Am I just confused? I will let you know if I find out.

Want to hear it? Best website for birdsongs is All About Birds. Here’s their song page for the Black-capped Chickadee and the Carolina Chickadee. Once you’ve brushed up on your birdsongs, here’s an mp3 of My Mystery Chickadee (note the “normal” chickadees in the background!) Weird, no?

We’re (Not) Watching

The Titan on Netflix. Oh my goodness, SKIP this movie. Unless you want to hate-watch a movie that uses the worlds “evolution,” “adaptation,” and “genetics” very, very loosely and incorrectly … and then totally loses its own plot. You’ll ask yourself “but why?” again and again.

I’m Writing

I’ve got a pretty steady drumbeat going of writing assignments. It’s been looking like 1 Discover story each week, 1-ish for each Stacker and a marketing firm, plus 1-2 bigger assignments each month. Everything I’ve written or edited in 2021 has been assigned (meaning, an editor says, “hey, can you write this thing for me?” as opposed to me pitching to a publication “hey, can I write this thing for you?”) but I have some Anna-ideas in the works for the near future.

The Amazon Rainforest Could Die in Your Lifetime — Here's Why (Discover)

U.S. cities with the cleanest air (Stacker)

Share The Funkyard

OK fam, that’s all for tonight. Have a great week!



P.S. Bonus BOUCUR (still the only prairie seeds that have germinated):