Little Ms. Polymath

aka the know-it-all

give back friday. November 26, 2010

I’m pretty disgusted with all this Black Friday nonsense. It seems everyone was obsessed with waking up early today (the day after we’re supposed to express our profound thanks for our families, friends, health and other blessings) to buy (mostly) junk. Junk that will end up exchanged or regifted or in a landfill and just take up space. Stuff that absolutely has nothing to do with anyone’s quality of life or well-being. It’s not as if prescription drugs for cancer patients were on clearance from 3:00 am until 5:00 am this morning, or maybe the first 100 people in line got a free college class to help them complete their education or get a better job.

No, if you showed up at Target this morning while it was still dark outside, waited in line for a few hours and then stampeded through the aisles, you had a shot at a $3 toaster! Can you believe it? A $3 TOASTER! Praise the Lord!

I propose we stop this all-consuming consumption now. Instead of Black Friday, let’s give back this Friday. Instead of spending three hours waiting in line to buy plastic junk or towels marked way way down, help your elderly neighbor take out the trash or visit someone who is alone in a nursing home or hospital. Instead of spending $50 on electronics that won’t last a year, send a check to your local food bank, church, homeless shelter or animal rescue league.

I know people are on tight budgets and want to give at Christmas time, especially if you have children. I get it. But this year I’m going to donate a few bucks to a worthy cause instead of buying something no one needs or will remember. I hope you consider doing the same.


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.


inspiration. May 19, 2010

Filed under: celebrate,things that make me cry — mspolymath @ 8:27 am

This morning I happened across this story on Good Morning America. Not sure what caught my ear, most likely the mention of Lawrence, Kansas, where I went to college and lived for five years (note: I couldn’t embed the video, but you can watch the story at the link above).  The anchors are reporting on their life’s inspirations, and George Stephanopoulos chose Loring Henderson. Currently, Henderson runs the only homeless shelter in Lawrence (which could use your help), but he’s given so much more. He’s helped refugees get citizenship and build lives, volunteered with countless people society has forgotten and tirelessly worked to raise funds because he thinks it’s the right thing to do.

One of Loring Henderson's former colleagues commented, "Think about it, to be able to do all that stuff for nothing, you know, for $15,000 or $20,000 a year? Who does that?" Marla Mirabile noted. "A saint. That's Loring."(Photo: Ed Zurga via AP/ABC)


give a little. May 6, 2010

Filed under: life,things that make me cry — mspolymath @ 9:02 am
Tags: , ,

You may not have heard much about what its residents have been going through lately thanks to a lil ol’ bomb scare in NYC, but things are pretty dire in Tennessee. Over the past week record rainfalls brought the Cumberland River to nearly 52 feet.

Music City USA was hit particularly hard with an estimated $1 billion in damages. Many buildings and houses are flooded beyond repair, and tourist attractions are closed just before the height of the vacation season, which will bring unknown economic repercussions to the region.

More than 20 people have died since the floods began.

If you have an extra $5 or $10, why not give it to the Red Cross and help the people of Tennessee get back on their feet? It only takes a minute, but the impact is immeasurable.

I-24 Eastbound on Sunday May 2, 2010. Photo: Tom Stanford/


brain rot. April 29, 2010

Yes, I watch the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat II. I love the Housewives of New York (is Jill crazy this season or WHAT?) and New Jersey, though I’ve never watched the CA or GA editions (I have SOME standards). Every week I look forward to Survivor and the Amazing Race and I absolutely adore Top Chef.

It’s embarrassing how much I like reality TV. We have definitely survived a long-term relationship that began the summer after my junior year of high school when MTV started airing the original Real World.  Who wants to listen to a little of Kevin Powell’s spoken word? How about some Reigndance?

Anyway, it’s been a long and rocky road. I’ve got my shame (Temptation Island, anyone?) and there are times when we’ve definitely disagreed (I’ve yet to watch an episode of the Bachelor or Dancing with the Stars – thank God for The Soup!), yet we’ve always come out stronger than before.

And before you get too high and mighty, note that I read several books a month and spend my weekends saving disabled babies from sharks. Okay, well, not the second one.  But I promise despite my reality viewing habits I still have a smidgen of cultural sophistication, I’m just keeping it on the down low for now, in case anyone’s watching.

These skanky broads are one of the best freakshows around. I can't stay away from their table-flipping, boob-enhancing drama.


play nice. March 2, 2010

Filed under: life,things that make me cry,unemployment diary — mspolymath @ 8:37 am

If I hear about one more natural disaster or murderer or molester on the loose, I think my head will fly off. When coupled with the war and poverty and every other tragedy in the world, things can seem bleak lately.

So what can you do? I want to focus on the good. First off, I’m going to compliment strangers this week. Nothing creepy or salacious, but when it’s organic I’m going to say something kind. Someone randomly complimented a friend of mine last week and it made her day. I want to make someone’s day.

Secondly, I’m going to seek out more good news. Do you remember Jason McElwain? He’s the kid who scored 20 points in four minutes during his first and final high school basketball game a few years ago. Most of the shots were perfect three-pointers, swift and clean. Jason’s achievements are a big(ger) deal because Jason had never played basketball before – as the team manager he worked the bench. And he is autistic. Last night Steve Hartman caught up with Jason and found he’s still living his dream, working as an assistant coach for his alma mater.

If you want some goosebumps and maybe even a good cry, watch the original story about Jason. And play nice.


sweets and meat. February 10, 2010

Filed under: things that make me cry,unemployment diary — mspolymath @ 2:29 pm

Oh, how I love meat. Steaks, bacon, pork chops, and mmmm chicken. I am a carnivore through and through. I’m pretty picky about some things, gross things like walnuts or pecans, but give me a plate of headcheese and I’m in heaven. I like the offal and beef tongue and bone marrow. I love everything any charcuterie offers. I’m not squeamish about animals at all and I have no omnivore guilt.

Still, being a meat lover is a problem. It’s not good for my heart or my belly or my pocketbook. So I’m giving up meat for Lent. Because I’m not crazy we’ll still eat fish and seafood, and I think we’re going to allow chicken or turkey for one meal a week. But that’s it. I need to get this meat fixation out of my system. And Jason feels the same way about sweets (not that I’m an innocent in the dessert department, having eaten chocolate chip cookie dough for breakfast today – hey, in my defense I was making cookies to send Jason’s dad), so we’re giving up sweets for Lent, too.

Starting next Wednesday I will unbearable for a while. No meat, no sweets, for 40 days. I really don’t wanna do it. But that’s precisely why I have to – I think it’s important to sacrifice a little bit to remember just how good one has it. So this weekend I may have to go on a red meat/chocolate binge, but I’m looking forward to the challenge of given up two pleasures if only to prove to myself I can do it. But the Easter Bunny may want to pack up a basket of assorted meat delicacies for me this year, because I have a feeling by the time April rolls around I’m going to have an absolute blood lust.