First of all, I don’t have many photos to add in this post. I haven’t been in the mood for taking any, and definitely not for posing. I’m pretty much over taking my own photos by now, and so far no one is jumping at the chance to pose for me, so I’ve been lying low instead. The Wings Over Houston airshow that I attend every year with my dad is this Saturday, so I’ll be able to take some pictures there, and I’m going back to Ruah the first weekend in November and hopefully can take pictures of the walking trails as long as the weather cools down (so far, it’s still pretty hot down here). I’ve not been in the mood to shoot wig videos either; my energy for that really waxes and wanes, and right now, I’m just not into it. I wonder if it’s for the same reasons that I am tired of photography right now – tired of the same old script and editing the same old face, maybe? Video is not as much makeup or setup as photos, but it’s still got quite a bit of prep work to pull it off properly, and lately I just haven’t been in the mood for all the furniture-moving and makeup-applying it entails. Which sucks, because in a few days I will be the proud owner of five – yes, count them, FIVE – custom Laine wigs I ordered from Rene of Paris back in May.
Laine by Rene of Paris in Almond Spice-R
Laine is a wig I’ve reviewed before; I love it, but it has a ton of permatease in the crown that makes it a deal-breaker for a lot of people. I’ve also ordered custom wigs before, and when I placed this order with Kathy at Gallery of Wigs I was deep in the throes of wigdom and really into trying something new. I thought if I could get Laine in a rooted color it would be the perfect wig (and even as a custom color, it’s not expensive – I think they were $90 each, maybe a bit more), and at the time I placed the order I was willing to get the minimum (five) to try her out. Then, about a week after I placed the order, I quit my job, and really wasn’t thrilled that I’d spent around $500 on five wigs I didn’t need, but Kathy had already placed the order and I didn’t want to back out on her, so I left it open.
The last time I ordered custom from ROP, I received it pretty quickly, but that may have been because I only had to order three then since the wig had a monofilament top (the minimum is higher on a non-mono wig). This order, however, seemed to take forever, and I had all but forgotten about it when Kathy emailed me Tuesday afternoon to tell me the Laines had come in. What the hell I am going to do with FIVE of these, I have no idea – well, sell them, obviously, so I guess I do have an idea – but I’m still feeling a bit OMG why did I do this about the whole thing. I have other wigs to review, quite a few actually, but lately I’ve been considering blowing off reviewing them entirely and just putting them up for sale – but I just can’t bring myself to do that with these Laines. Not a lot of people know about custom ordering, and a Laine in a rooted color (Almond Spice-R, BTW) is so unusual it would be a shame not to show it off a little. I’m more concerned that what’s probably going to happen here is that I will get the Laines in, love them to pieces, and be back on the wig-wagon immediately. Just looking at the photos make me think about how many other wigs I’d like to own – especially if I check out the background in those shots; does Kathy’s store look like wig heaven, or what?!
The rooting appears to have helped disguise the permatease nicely!
Speaking of videos, I have to tell you about the course I’m taking for my Academic Coach certification. It’s an online course, which means we all use Zoom to meet online for class. I’ve not done this before, but I had an idea how it would go; I did not anticipate, however, how old my laptop is (I got it in 2010) and what a COMPLETELY CRAPPY webcam I have. I didn’t think about this at all until I logged in for the first class and saw how AWFUL my webcam quality was compared to everybody else. It’s really pathetic. After that, I immediately went online to research how to make my webcam videos look better (because there isn’t anything in the ‘settings – if you can call them settings – I could adjust to improve the quality) and made note of a few tips I’ve since used to at least come across as presentable.
- Use one of my white umbrellas to diffuse a fluorescent light through it (like I do in photos) and give my face some brighter, cooler lighting.
- Wear a white shirt so that the webcam has something white to calibrate color balance against, so I don’t keep changing skin tones throughout the entire session
- Use a backdrop to keep the background from being messy, or situate myself against a blank wall
- Wear makeup. LOTS of makeup.
OK, I get that this last one is silly, but still. It’s two hours of staring at myself on my computer screen, while knowing everyone else can stare at it, too. And on top of that, each class is filmed and uploaded to YouTube for people to watch later, so do you really think I, of all people, am going to allow myself to appear in a YouTube video looking like I just rolled out of bed? Hell no! Makeup it is!
This picture adds nothing to the conversation right now, but I wanted to throw it in somewhere
But the really fun part is this: as usual, I got the time zones mixed up (I can never figure out different time zones properly) and mistakenly assumed that, when signing up for this class, the 5-7 PM time slot would translate to 3-5 Central time. I was wrong. 5-7 PM translates, in this case (and no, I don’t know off-hand what time zone the course is set in and don’t intend to look it up) to SEVEN TO NINE PM my time, which is WAY later than I expected to be taking a class. You see, by 7 PM Marey time, I am in my pajamas and camped out on my floor playing video games (yes, I sit on the floor. I am a floor-sitter, and as such, I have an awesome floor chair. Maybe I’ll write about that some day). I am not interacting via crappy webcam online, and I am definitely not wearing makeup. Until a few weeks ago, when my course started. Now, I am in my bathroom slathering on makeup at 6:15 PM, when I should be washing it off and getting into my pajamas, because I cannot stand the idea of being on camera and filmed without having any on. Which pretty much sucks. I’m a nighttime showerer, so I end up on Tuesdays taking a shower before class, then putting makeup over my newly-washed face so I look presentable until 9 PM, at which point I take it all off AGAIN.
Downside of a shitty webcam: a grainy, foggy mess of poor image quality. Upside of shitty webcam: so much blur that the makeup I put on right before class doesn’t have to be good at all, as long as it’s heavy!
As far as the class goes, it’s quite useful and full of good information, but I find myself once again in the position of being THAT PERSON who answers every question and always has shit to say. I try so hard to hold my tongue and wait for other people to speak, because I’ve been known to, shall we say, over-engage in situations like this, but the other students sit there staring at the screen waiting for someone else to answer the instructor’s questions. In a class dynamic like this, it doesn’t take people long to figure out which fool will eventually answer everything (and that person more often than not ends up being me) and then sitting around and waiting for that fool to pipe in. Don’t get me wrong – I always have comments to contribute, so speaking up in regards to everything isn’t a problem for me – I just don’t like sharing them every single time a question is asked or a volunteer is solicited. It feels really obnoxious. But once again this evening, every single time the instructor asked a question or for a volunteer, no one else said a word, and I ended up jumping in. So, obnoxious it is!
OK, so one last thing before I go: since quitting my job, my weight has been slowly creeping up on me again. It’s not that I’ve ever had much of a weight issue, but I definitely have a size that I am comfortable with and feel is my true size, and when I start to inch past it I am not happy. As a teacher I ran around constantly all day, with only 20 minutes for lunch, so keeping my weight down where I like it to be wasn’t difficult at all; in fact, I never had to think about how much I weighed or what I ate. But since quitting in May, I’ve already gained ten pounds and gone up two pant sizes. I don’t particularly have a problem with this, but the scale kept notching up, and if I’d gained any more I would not have been satisfied with myself. It’s mostly about maintaining my current weight, but if I could lose five pounds I’d be happy with that, so there’s some calorie-counting involved. I chose an app called My Fitness Pal to enter my meals and exercise into for a daily reality check. The damn app calculates my daily caloric intake to be just 1260 calories a day, which is really pretty hard to do, and it amazes me how I hadn’t already gained more weight than I have with what I was consuming before using the app. I cut out sodas two weeks ago and that alone has probably saved me close to 1,000 calories a day! I bet I was eating twice the amount of calories than what the app recommends every day, easy.
Another thing I discovered was that swimming burns almost twice as much calories as walking does, and since it hasn’t yet gotten cool here I can still swim in the pool, which, believe it or not, I’ve done every single day for going on two weeks now. Yes, this from the woman who hates all forms of exercise! I’m trying to take advantage of the swimming opportunity while I still have it, since I suspect with the first big cold front the water will drop down below a comfortable temperature for me to swim in until March or April. After that I’ll have to come up with something else, because my life right now may be busy mentally, but physically I’m pretty much a slug.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you – the Frog Log
Anyway, all this exercise and “diet” talk (I put that in quotes because I’m not really dieting, just watching what I eat) was really just an excuse to share this last picture, which is a photo of a little frog I named Jonathan. There may actually be more than one Jonathan hanging around, but since I cannot tell the difference between them any frog who gets in the pool is Jonathan to me. Anyway. Jonathan is almost always in the pool when I get in there (and yes, I know this implies we need to use more chlorine, but we forget sometimes, and besides, I rather enjoy Jonathan’s company). The first time I got in to swim while he was in there, he stayed frozen to the bottom of the pool for as long as he dared, then scooted over to our artificial lily-pad we have hanging out by the skimmer of the pool (it’s called a “frog log,” and it provides a way for critters to get out if they get stuck in the water) and hopped away. The second time, he stayed in the water but kept his distance and stayed down below for as long as he could. But now, he just sorta hangs out while I swim, floating around on the surface and watching me with his big bug eyes. He didn’t much care for the camera I was pointing at him today, though, because he hid out on the bottom step until I put it away – hence I couldn’t get the best pic of him, but here’s what I did get:
Please don’t tell me if it’s totally gross for there to be a frog hanging out in my pool or that I’m going to catch a horrible disease by swimming in there with him. I’ve kinda gotten used to his company, and Doug has to keep warning me that frogs do not have a long life span because he can tell I’m getting attached. Whatever. I got attached to the snakes I kept seeing at the beginning of spring,. and I gave them all names, too (Sebastian) and it didn’t break my heart when they stopped appearing. Of course, frogs are a bit cuter than snakes, so I may miss Jonathan more when he quits paying me visits. And we do use Jonathan as a reminder to add chlorine anyway, since his presence is a sign that it’s gotten low. So there’s that.