Friday, January 23, 2009

Mommy Scissorhands

Almost four years ago, I wrote about my cutting all of my sons’ hair here in Canada. Since then, Gino and Mickey, now 22 and 21, have graduated from high school and from Mom’s “salon”. They are free to get their own haircut from whichever shop they choose--but only on their own dime.

Gino has had a perm, and after that, dreadlocks. He asked me to cut his hair only once in between when he didn't want to spend for it.

Mickey gets his haircut from a shop in Vancouver or Metrotown. He prefers the trendy Korean/Japanese style.

Gabriel asked me to do a Mohawk with his hair last summer. He has kept it since. This requires less cutting. Even Gabriel himself can shave the sides so only the middle part stays long and needs maintenance.

Of the four, only Markus has a regular hairstyle. If he wants to have a haircut, he knows there's just one place to go.

“Mom, can you give me a haircut?” he asked me last Monday night. We kept forgetting to do it or pushing it aside, and now he was tired of hair reaching to his eyebrows and covering his ears.

As he was preparing the haircutting kit in the washroom, we realized that the pair of scissors was missing. Markus suggested that I use the fabric scissors or the kitchen scissors. I said no to both. I didn't like to dull the fabric scissors, and I hadn't forgotten the terraced 'do I did on Gino with the kitchen one.

I was reluctant to cut hair without a good pair of hair scissors, but Markus was insistent.

“Okay, but I’m telling you…” I agreed, with some forewarning.

And so I started running the #8 attachment through his hair. "It's better to start long so when we make a mistake it can still be fixed. When you start short, that's it," I explained and chopped away.

“I will not look at myself until tomorrow,” Markus said, keeping his eyes closed. "I want to be surprised."

“You have to open your eyes and check it,” I said. After a while, I turned the stool he was sitting on towards the mirror. He looked up.

“Mom, it is so uneven! This side is much longer than this one,” he was surprised all right. Or maybe not.

“It’s not done,” I said. “Hey, you look like a punk!” I exclaimed, making that sound really positive.

“I look disgusting and retarded,“ he sounded anything but.

“People pay to have a hair like this!” I continued.

“Yeah, and I can get it free from my mom---“ he mumbled.

“Now you look like one of the J--- brothers,” I couldn’t quickly remember the group’s name. “Jonas’ Brothers!” I said.

“Mom, they don’t have this kind of hair. One has curly hair, the other has long hair---“

“I told you it was risky to cut hair without a pair of scissors,” I repeated my previous warning. I continued trimming.

"Mom, the last time you cut my hair, one side was longer. I always had to comb it to one side,” he said.

“Did anyone notice? Did anyone complain?” I retorted.

“That’s because I kept combing my hair to one side.” Looking at how his haircut was progressing, he said, “Mom, now I look like I have a comb-over, you know, what balding people do with their remaining hair.”

I continued trimming. “Oh this is the first time I’m doing this,” I said as I plowed through the top of his head.

After about 45 minutes, or maybe more, I put down the clipper. “You look good!” I told Markus. “What do you think?”

He checked the top, the sides. He seemed to be satisfied. He didn't want his hair to get any shorter. Or worse.

"You look good!” I reassured Markus. I really thought he looked better than before having a haircut. I liked the outcome.

"Mom, you didn't say it's done. You only said I look good."

"It's done.... You look good!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

His name is Earl

Go ahead and hit play. That's Earl Klugh on the guitar playing Driftin' from his album The Spice of Life released last year.

Earl Klugh is one of my earliest favourites. I got to know about him through Pretty World in '79 - '80. I was just beginning to like jazz then. Over the years, my fascination with Earl Klugh grew and waned and grew and waned as my love for jazz gave way to lullabies and nursery rhymes and other things.

Even so, whenever I hear his music, I still feel a connection. It still makes me feel light and quickly sends me to my happy place where I imagine myself sitting or lying on green grass beside a secluded lake on a mountaintop beneath the clear blue sky... I just want to close my eyes.

In the early '80s, when I learned Earl Klugh was performing in the Philippines at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, I dragged along a cousin, who was not really interested in jazz nor Earl Klugh, so I could listen to him live. From the bleachers, that was pretty much what you got. There was little to see. It would have been nice to see Earl closer and how his fingers moved swiftly and flawlessly on the guitar, but I was only willing to pay for two bleacher tickets.

I have grown to like other jazz artists and other types of music since the early 80s. I have tucked away my Earl Klugh cassettes and CDs and pretty much forgotten about them until I watched him again recently on a borrowed DVD. I fell in love with his music again and searched for more on Youtube.

Even Gabriel seems to like his music. "Mom, I want to play the sax again," he said.

The other day, I searched Facebook to find a group of Earl Klugh fans. I found Earl Klugh himself and added him as a friend. I was thrilled to bits when he accepted!

"Woo-hooo!" I was so excited. "Is this really Earl Klugh? Is this really you, Earl Klugh?" I kept asking.

"What is Mom woo-hoo-ing about?" Gino asked. He checked the account and it seems for real and not a pretend Earl Klugh like Gabriel was suggesting. Of course, someone else could be managing the account, but I still like to think I am now friends with Earl Klugh! One of his 2,300+ friends on FB.

I wish he could play here in Vancouver someday and I'll get to listen to him again in person, a little closer to the stage.

Here's another one from Earl Klugh. Watch him play this time. This Time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Taking nothing for granted

The other night, we had a long chat with a couple, both very good friends of ours. The wife related how she fell flat on her back when she slid on their icy driveway recently. She was very thankful to God she did not break any bone nor suffer any head injury with that nasty fall.

"My life could have changed in an instant," she said.

So true. Life is so fragile and uncertain...and short.

"We shouldn't take things for granted," the husband said.

As I was looking at myself in the mirror this morning, I remembered what we talked about. "Thank You that I can see myself. Thank You that I can hear my voice. Thank You for every breath I take," I prayed to God softly. "I have two hands, the left and the right, I can hold them up high..." God wouldn't mind a little humour...

Don't take things for granted...

"My boys are all here and healthy... Thank you that they are going to school..." I said as I watched Gabriel and Markus walk after I dropped them off near their school.

"I thank You that I have a car to drive... You keep me safe on the road... I have a job..."

Don't take things for granted...

"We have freedom here... We can go to church... There is peace..."

Don't take things for granted.

Driving home through a dark fog, I prayed for alertness and safety. And now I am safely home, enjoying some alone time, getting ready to sleep. My family is complete. Thank you for this home.

With many things going wrong in the world today, I think it is better to appreciate every good thing that we have.

Take nothing for granted.