the race

Can you guess which car is J's? (These were the cars in J's den only).

So, the night before the race, I tried to hammer in the axles and wheels to the car. In the process, I jacked up one of the axles. After fiddling with it waaayyyyy too long (b/c J was downstairs in his room having a ball while I was toying with HIS car), I decided that we were going to go in early, so that I could holla at one of the fellas in the pit crew and get him to help me fix it.

Well, the fella in question claimed that there was nothing wrong with my tire. I asked him to check again, but got the same response. I annoyed him for maybe 15 minutes and then let it go. What was J doing? He was playing with his best friend having a ball while I was toying with his car, lol.

And then there's the race. First round, J won first! Second round, J came in second. Third round, J's car was third. The ship had sunk. I was more dejected than J. But guess who comes in first in the whole pack...the fella in question's son (J's best friend). I smell sabotage, lol.

It was all in good fun. We had a great time regardless and J never allows something like this to negatively affect him.

We stuck around to cheer for his best friend. Lo and behold, the Pack Leader announces the Best in Show award for the WHOLE PACK.

J grinned. I, on the other hand, threw my hands up in victory. The other parents laughed at me, but hey, I was up in the middle of the night painting teeth on that dang thang while J was asleep, probably having a dream about having a ball...while I was toying with his car!

So, in closing...I'd like to thank all the little people that made this possible. 2nd place Scout's Choice last year, 1st place Best in Show this year...I may just start a pinewood derby car painting business. LOL!

God knows I'm a knucklehead

It's THAT time of year again! The cubscouts are gearing up for the pinewood derby race. I re-read last year's post about it and I got teary-eyed again.

I had J sketch out what he wanted his car to look like. I'm trying to get him in the habit of planning and executing. Well, this time, he brought his sketch to me and I was shocked to see that he wanted his car to look like Harry Po.tter. The body of the car was in the shape (supposedly) of his favorite character of all time.

Now, I can be a tad bit more hands on than I need to be at times. I try not to take over the whole project but I want to guide him in the direction of success. I explained that the car was too boxy and; whereas, "cute" can win "Scout's Choice", the goal is to win the race. He looked dejected. I applauded him for his creativity (as I always encourage it), but explained that sometimes we get caught up in "looks" and that detours us from the task at hand.

I sketched out another plan, taking into account the best shape to overcome drag and the best place to secure the weights so that the car can go fast. He shook his head in agreement. As far as the design, we can compromise and have it look like a face...can't guarantee that it'll look like Harry, but it will look "different". (He still wanted to argue with me on that idea, lol.)

We headed to Lowe's for "cut night" and afterwards, I left him responsible for sanding the car down. Now, that he is more focused on the goal, he has been sanding the mess out of that block. Any moment that he can spare, he's on the case. I find myself watching him when he doesn't know that I'm looking. And when I see him, I see me.

I made a few decisions going into the New Year. One is making me really uncomfortable right now, but for some reason, I know that it's the right thing to do. I can't even see the whole path and the thought of letting go of how I wanted things to be, terrified me. However, I feel as if I'm being directed and shown something better. That "something better" may not happen tomorrow and may not even happen this year, but I can't be concerned with the "looks" of it all in the NOW.

There IS a plan.

And sometimes, I think that God knows that I'm a knucklehead. And He will have me act out these little lessons through other people so that I understand.

At any rate, I don't know what the outcome of this race will be. I'm just glad that J is better at taking direction.

hair challenge: regimen notes #1

I think that my hair is upset. I can't believe that my Sa.ints lost...well, I can believe it, but I'm just real salty right now. And then the C.olts went down. Honestly, I don't give a damn about the Colts but I do respect Pey.ton So, in one day both Su.perbowl teams were knocked out of the playoffs. My last hope was the Ea.gles. But I just watched Vick throw an interception with 30 seconds left in the game, sealing it for the Packers. **Huge Sigh** I don't even know who to go for right now, but short term gain, I need the Pac.kers to stomp the Falc.ons and put this nonsense to rest. I'll be happy to NOT see the Fal.cons or the Be.ars in the Su.perbowl and find myself eyeing the Ste.elers. And for this, my hair is angry. This playoff weekend sucked!

Woo-to the-Sah!

So, I am on this 6 month healthy hair challenge, which really should be re-named my Ultimate Regimen Challenge. I have been trying to tweak my regimen so that I can cut my wash, condition, and style time to under 3 hours. However, for the purpose of the healthy hair challenge, I have re-introduced amla and brahmi to my regimen as an experiment to see if my hair health noticeably enhances b/c of continued use. I'm 2 washes in...and fighting.

Of the "spa night" ritual, as I call it, I do not look forward to detangling my hair. I do not have the kind of hair where the tangles just unravel under the shower stream. And I've just discovered that it may be time for me to wash in sections. The main reason that I wanted to go natural was to thicken my hair. Well, I got that...and with that, more work.

Last week, I switched my steps around which was a major fail. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? This week, heeding the advice of my favorite blog, I tried oil rinsing to make the detangling easier. I reached for the closest oil to me while in the shower...castor oil. To put it lightly, my hair HATED this. If nothing else, it added more time to my detangling. The Sain.ts loss plus this oil just pissed it off beyond pissivity. I ran out of my Ye.s to Toma.toes and had to settle for one of the three bottles of Ye.s to Cu.cumbers that I hoarded from Ross. (I do this b/c in my mind there could be a major snow storm and I absolutely cannot be snowed in without product...somewhere deep, deep in my mind, that is. :)

I FINALLY finished detangling. Here is where things started to look up. After I finished detangling, I may have had 20 twists in (more than usual, but necessary considering the mess atop my head). FYI - detangling takes me a long time b/c I section, finger detangle most of the huge kinks and then follow up with my wide tooth comb. I realize that a brush may cut down on time, but I would rather not use a brush on my strands. I mix the amla-brahmi mixture and add some coconut oil. I simply apply the mixture to my twists which cut down on a lot of time from last week. Also, since I rinse most of the mud out in my sink to avoid clogging my shower, I didn't have to worry about more tangling when whipping my back and forth. Score! This time, I didn't apply my deep condish to the mix b/c my hair was still feeling a little off and had to be moisturized more than usual last week. So, I sat with the mix in my head under the dryer for 30+ minutes, rinsed, and applied deep condish. I then sat back under the dryer for another 30+ minutes to soften my hair. Jury is still out on whether this worked out better b/c I have yet to take my hair down. I was then ready to style.

Things to try next time:
1. Oil rinsing with coconut oil: a kindler, gentler oil.
2. Washing and conditioning in sections.
3. Applying coconut oil directly to twists in lieu of the nightly oil spritz.

Things to throw out!
1. Applying amla-brahmi to loose hair.
2. Oil rinsing with castor oil.
3. Watching the playoffs while doing hair.

I'm getting there. I should have the ultimate reggie by July.

Aside: Last scene for HGTV will be filmed on MLK! My 50 seconds of fame is about to be on and popping, lol! Hopefully, my hair is too.

natural hair journey 2010-2011

My last hair post was on November 1st. Since then, I made the 18 month mark with my natural hair journey in mid-December. I have enough blog posts to chart my year in hair. So, I'll just post these comparison shots.

This is how I began 2010:

This is how I ended 2010:

It's safe to say that I have retained some length and am apparently doing something right. It's to the point where I cannot wear a scarf (like I did at the Sai.nts-giving get-together above) or a ponytail (directly above) without being asked if I'm wearing a hair piece. Maybe that's a compliment.

To address the questions that I have been asked:

Do I HAVE to big chop to go natural?

No. Do what you're comfortable with. I think that people seem to think that just b/c I did it that I'm a proponent for it. If for some reason, I decided to relax and then go natural again, I will most likely transition until the relaxed length is cut off. I'm glad that I had that experience. But I didn't transition long enough to fully learn my hair. So, I kept cutting the front of my hair, not realizing that it tends to be more wavier than the rest of my hair. In addition, when I got it cut professionally, I had my sides and back faded so that I could have a style. With that, I lost the little bit of length that I had grown during my 3 month transition.

Do I have to have a particular texture in order to go natural?

Hell naw! I'm from N.ew Or.leans but I'm not Cre.ole. I'm mixed with black and blacker. So, the thought that you have to have a loose texture or be biracial or whatever the hell to wear YOUR hair how YOU WANT is craziness. Some of my fam and close friends, rejected the idea from the start. Be strong enough to tell whoever opposes to kick boulders with open toed shoes and keep it moving.

I have gray hair and I'm trying to figure out how to dye it naturally. Any ideas?

Have you researched henna? I henna'ed my hair during the beginning of my journey, but I have not been consistent. I only did it for conditioning purposes but it gave my hair a reddish tint in the sunlight, nothing too drastic. The only reason why I haven't used commercial dyes is b/c I'm allergic to the PPD in them. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with playing with color.

What products do you use? (I apologize for the periods)

Shampoo - She.a Mois.ture Org.anic and Bao.bab Thick.ening Shampoo
Conditioner - Yes to Tomat.oes
Deep Conditioner - She.a Mois.ture Raw She.a Butte.r Deep Treat.ment Mas.que
Moisturizer - She.a Mois.ture Co.conut and Hib.iscus Cur.l Enhan.cing Smo.othie
Gel - Fr.uit of the Aloe Ve.ra Gel
Oils - A spritz of coconut, castor, jojoba, rosemary, and vitamin e oil (I only use at night)
Nothing has really changed, since I'm not a PJ.

So, I was reading my favorite hair blog, of the moment, Mop Top Maven. She is holding a 6-month heal.thy hair challenge. I will most likely be on the sidelines and not officially checked in, but I would like to continue to implement my healthy hair practices and check my progress by July 1st. I have even gotten my friend, Kat, on board (who is now natural) and a coworker (who is relaxed). I will upload pics of me here but form an email ring with them (b/c I still have this thing about keeping my blog semi-personal).

On Thursday, I switched my regimen around. I washed and then deep conditioned. I revisited and brah.mi and mixed them into my deep conditioner with a dollop of castor oil. I then sat under the dryer for about an hour (longer than I intended b/c I got sidetracked while reading hair blogs). I rinsed the majority of the mud out in my sink, so as not to clog my shower drain. I then conditioner washed the rest and proceeded to detangle and style. Let me just say that I will never do that again. my hai.r back and forth while it was wet just caused the most tangled mess that I've ever had to deal with. After suffering a wicked detangling session, I decided to leave well enough alone.

I allowed my hair to dry in twists all day Friday. I took them down and then went to a Wii - Michae.l Jack.son Exp.erience tournament at my girl's house yesterday. I didn't get home until 12:30am, fooling around with Mike. I got the work out of my LIFE. But where I went wrong was that I was trying to sing along (which isn't required). "Di.rty Di.ana" is my JAM and I kinda overdid it on some improv'ed air guitar, lol. That game goes HARD. But I digress, lol. Needless to say, I sweat, sweat, and sweat again. So, the following pics are a bit grimey, but I wanted to show my starting length on the 1st of the year to compare to the ones that I'll take on July 1st.

Hopefully, I won't get crazy with the regimen tweaking or else my after pics won't look too far off of these. We'll see.