Little Ms. Polymath

aka the know-it-all

end o’ the month wrap-up. August 31, 2010

Filed under: life — mspolymath @ 8:26 pm

August has draaaaaaggggged by. Not sure why, the month was fairly uneventful, but it seems to have taken eons to get from 7/30 to 8/31.

But the month is not without its special moments. Let’s see – I accidentally had my hair frosted – a true learning experience! Plus, the aftermath will stay with me until I can trust another stylist to touch my hair (or maybe until my hair is strong enough not to break if someone else touches it.)

I suppose the biggest event was my insane decision to start volunteering on the farm.  I spend four hours every Monday in the fields, covered in dirt and muck. Yeah, it’s hard. Yesterday we picked potatoes for the entire shift. This is all done by hand, so I was on my hands and knees (or butt) pulling reds and yukons out of the ground. Glamorous, no? You haven’t lived until you’ve had blight squirt out of a potato and all over your shirt. Seriously, good times. Today my shins are black, blue, green and purple – it looks like someone kicked my legs repeatedly while wearing tiny little tap shoes.

So, to sum up August 2010 – bad hair and manual labor. Not quite peanut butter and chocolate, but it’ll do.


criminal acts. August 26, 2010

Filed under: unemployment diary — mspolymath @ 7:16 pm
Tags: , ,

Yesterday my friend Jan and I had lunch at The Cooper’s Tavern. It’s officially recommended – I had a delicious shaved lamb (that just sounds wrong) sandwich with carmelized onions and tomato jam. It was really savory and I loved every bit. Jan thinks tomato jam needs a PR campaign – really, it’s sort of like chunky ketchup, with a little je ne sais quois.  All I know is I want more.

It was a perfect day on the square! We ate outside and this was Jan's view, over my head.

As we prepared to leave, Jan noticed a slip of a girl standing forlorn with her bike while a cop made himself busy in his squad car. Yes, she had been pulled over and the guy was running her info. I took off (you know how nervous I get around the scene of a crime!) but Jan stuck around and found out the girl was pulled over for running a red light. With all the recent murders and rapes and whatnot in our area (not to mention all of the FIB parents driving around like jackasses around campus) I’m pleased this is how one particular officer spent 30 minutes of his patrol time.

To the left, note the accused and her bike. She's obviously out of control. The police officer is verifying her data (or something) in his squad car on the right.


today’s list. August 24, 2010

Filed under: RHONJ,unemployment diary — mspolymath @ 8:23 pm
Tags: , ,

Hey, it’s an official list of complaints – special back to school edition!  What’s irritating me today:

1. People walking barefoot outside – on the streets and sidewalks
Yes, I saw multiple people barefoot today and none of them were on grass. The girl wearing the tights? Yeah, that was just weird. And the woman wearing business casual separates with her completely bare feet? I was baffled. Not only is it unsanitary to walk on city streets without shoes, it’s unsafe. There’s all kinds of debris and hazards lurking. Yes, I realize these barefoot people don’t affect me or my life, but it pisses me off anyway.

2. Incoming freshmen (and their parents)
No, the one-way streets in Madison don’t become two-ways just because you’re driving your massive SUVs (with Illinois plates) the wrong way. You honking at me isn’t going to magically change the right of way! You double parking and opening your door in front of a moving vehicle on a very busy street isn’t going to win you any friends. I could go on, but my blood pressure is rising.

3. All the f*&$ing construction!
There have been jack hammers outside my window from 8-5 for the past week. And now they’re renovating the unit above ours using the loudest tools they could find. I’m a gonna lose it. Seriously.

Yeah, so that’s it for now. I mean, I could probably find more things to complain about, but it’s not very healthy. I need to watch the finale of the Real Housewives of New Jersey on my DVR.


hair raising. August 20, 2010

Filed under: style,things that make me cry — mspolymath @ 5:17 pm

Last week I walked out of the salon with a hair color that most closely resembled the frosted-flake look of Linda Evans in her Dynasty heyday. 

Stunning, no? Icy and frosty.


It’s hard to imagine how I’ve fallen so far, so fast when it comes to my hair. After years of coloring it every hue imaginable, I took a couple of years off and let my hair go au natural. During that time, I started seeing a new stylist and I loved the way she cut my hair and waxed my brows. The salon was in walking distance of our place and was also home to my masseuse. When it came to my hair, life was simple. 

Once I found out I was losing my job, I decided to add a bit of color to my life and have my hair dyed red. My stylist did a beautiful job with the original application and the subsequent touch-ups. So when she decided to go out on her own, since her new location was still within walking distance and I *HATE* breaking in new stylists, I decided to go with her. And that’s when the trouble started. 

The first time she colored my hair, it came out orange. I bit my tongue and endured it for a while, even on our trip to New Orleans. But soon I couldn’t take it any longer and on the advice of a friend, I had my stylist correct the color (for free). By simply dying over the orange with a layer of light brown (at my insistence – she wanted to go in a redder, more violet direction), the color was toned down and my hair was fairly presentable. 

When I scheduled my next hair appointment, I made it clear keeping my hair red was no longer an option. The maintenance is too much and I didn’t want to take any more risks with the red/orange spectrum. My stylist was pretty upset (which should have been a red flag – why did she care?) but I was adamant about transitioning back to my natural color, with a few highlights and lowlights as enhancements. Easy for me to maintain and pretty difficult to mess up. Or so I thought. 

When we talked about the change, she told me it would take a few visits to get back to my natural color. I understood this and assumed we’d be transitioning my hair through cooler light browns and adding highlights along the way. Yeah, that’s not how it worked out. 

90 minutes of foiling later, I came out with bleached highlights and random lowlights mixed with fading red hair. What’s worse, her flourescent lights made my hair look okay while sitting in her chair. But when I went to the bathroom I saw the truth – a frosted, stripey ‘do that brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t even deal with talking to her about it – she is so defensive and on edge about her work, it wasn’t worth it to me. I walked home with my head down, though I think my skin is thicker now after weeks as an orangehead. 

After the debacle, I was resigned to never going back to my stylist. Then I thought – hey, I can just color it myself and have her continue to cut my hair, until I saw it was nearly an INCH shorter on one side than the other. After tinkering with the color and snipping away, I finally have hair that is not humiliating. That’s the best I can say. 

In hindsight, I realize the only reason my stylist was able to color my hair so well while at her former salon was the coaching of the master colorist. I now remember my stylist consulting with her about my color formulas before every application. Which explains why trying to do it on her own was so difficult – she was flying blind.  

Even though my hair is damaged and straw-like (not to mention asymmetrical), I’m waiting things out a bit before I muddle through new stylist auditions. I’ve done some stupid things to my hair during my life, but paying someone else to do them is where I have to draw the line.


farm: week three. August 17, 2010

Filed under: unemployment diary — mspolymath @ 3:36 pm

What a difference 16 degrees makes! Yesterday’s farming excursion was much easier and more enjoyable than last week’s outing. The temperature topped out at 80 degrees, and there was a wonderful breeze cooling us in the fields. I kept pace with everyone, including the seasoned farm hands, and didn’t cry once! All in all, a victory.

Yesterday’s chores were pretty varied. We started out weeding celeriac, then moved on to harvesting, trimming and packing the leeks. In case you’re curious, there are few things as nasty in texture and smell as a leek rotting in the ground. It has the consistency and texture of rotten yogurt – and is just as rancid. Encountering one is enough to make my stomach churn.

The hardest chore by far was walking through one of the cuke beds, pulling up the plastic and grip tape used to keep the weeds at bay. On second thought, rotting cucumbers do smell worse than rotting leeks, but their texture is nowhere near as unpleasant.

It’s a good thing I’m not squeamish, because the gross things I’m encountering with my hands in the ground are pretty slimy. I’ve sliced up worms, grubs, caterpillars and narrowly missed a face-off with a toad.  My number one enemy is the dirt, though, which manages to work itself into nooks and crannies all over my body. TMI?

Self-portrait of my dirty shirt. Logically, there's no reason my shirt should have a speck of dirt on it. Same goes for the dirt I found in my ears.


blt love. August 16, 2010

Filed under: unemployment diary — mspolymath @ 5:02 pm

Saturday we went to the Farmers’ Market with Bob, and we all met up with Josh to have lunch at the Old Fashioned. I ate what had to be the world’s finest BLT – made with local bacon, homemade bread and heirloom tomatoes from local growers. It was heaven.

The boys at the Old Fashioned.


eye candy. August 12, 2010

Filed under: this week I really love.... — mspolymath @ 3:07 pm

You know, it’s summer and in the sizzling heat sometimes it’s nice to sit back and look at some of the beauty the world has to offer. And while I’m not single, I still like to look – if you know what I mean *wink*.  Here are a few treats for you on this sweaty Thursday.

Why aren't these guys in my social circle? WHY???

It's true girls, someday your prince will come. Out of the closet.

This is pretty close to the hair color I had when we were in New Orleans. However, if I had a puppy I wouldn't push her around in a stroller. I'd use a Snugli.

Absolute bliss.