“I wouldn’t exactly call that SUBTLE,” Markie said doubtfully.

“Blue. Subtle. Exactly,” I said firmly, so she set to work. By noon, the fading green stripe on my head had been joined by a SUBTLE navy blue fringe peeking out from under my ears.

OK, maybe it’s not all that subtle. Maybe it looks as if I mummified my body in plastic wrap, all the way up to my nose, then carefully carefully carefully tippytoed into a vat of navy blue dye, and stood there until it completely soaked just the underside of the lower reaches of my oh-so-traditional bob.*

The problem with recreational hair dyeing is that after a decade or so you start repeating yourself, which is boring. Best way to fight boring? Flip the haircolor swatch card to the OTHER side.

You’ll find hair colors that don’t even EXIST in the Pantone charts. Like these:

hairswatchHardly boring, right? As long as I pick colors from the right side that don’t actually glow in the dark or summon a nice police officer with a superfund warning, Markie will mostly agree to use them on my head.

Which appears to be part of my anti-boring campaign; I seem massively allergic to boredom at the moment. Possibly my dayjob has become a tad too predictable. (predictable being a first cousin to the b-word)

Or maybe it’s that I’m kilnless, and while waiting for the new kiln to arrive have tackled the renovation of both glass studios (inside and garag.. er, outside)…but my knee is slowing that project down to glacial rates.


caneThe docs want to kick The Knee to the curb, replace it with shiny metal and rubber. Create Bionic Cynthia without the bionic superpowers.

I am resisting this. Strongly.

I nurse along what little cartilage I have left after years of inadvertent cliff-diving, scuba accidents, running on concrete, and the resultant pesky osteoarthritis. Internally, my knee resembles a played-out diamond mine…after the kimberlite layers have squeezed together.

The Knee gets frequent rest stops and its own elevated ottoman. It slumbers in ice at night, has its own attractive titanium brace for daywear and massive doses of drugs. If it’s feeling swanky, The Knee sports an amboyna burl cane with ebony and copper inlays (right).

I even canceled plans to attend a 3D printing confab at Pilchuck this summer, as a favor to The Knee. Unless some passing angel loans me a pair of wings, The Knee just can’t handle two weeks of mountainous Pilchuck campouts.

Me turning down two weeks of 3D PRINTING and PILCHUCK and GEEKERY and CASTING and FELLOW GLASSISTS tells you just how serious I am about babying The Knee.

Gotta be. The docs warned that in two years I’d either have an artificial knee or be riding the range in a wheelchair. Of course, that was FOUR years ago (she said smugly).

The extreme care I’m taking, though, also means I do stuff like studio remodeling in tiny, tiny increments:

  • Remove a shelf, ice The Knee for an hour
  • Hang a cupboard, ice The Knee for an hour
  • Assemble a rack, quit for the day with an anti-inflammatory cocktail and ice The Knee until bedtime…then switch to the bedtime icepacks and hit the hay

Apparently, now that The Knee is moving at the speed of snail, I want my hair to move at the speed of fright. Hence the subtle navy blue fringe. Hardly corporate management style…unless you’re a digerati in Portland.

Oddly enough, I really like it. Odder still, so does Mom. “It’s REALLY subtle,” she said, “Frames your face.”

See, Markie? 😉

Markie still isn’t convinced, so apparently she hasn’t used the PERMANENT dye process. She doesn’t yet believe, after nearly a decade of dyeing my hair normal colors, that I’m really serious. Next month, she thinks, I’ll walk in looking for a sensible ash blonde or something.

“This is just a trial; it won’t last unless I can take an extra hour to bleach out that section, open it up to take the dye and then seal it,” she warns, “With normal peoples’ hair, not that much blue will come off, but with YOUR hair**…”

“Blue come off..?”

“Let’s just say that, if I were you, I wouldn’t get my head next to anything that wasn’t navy blue for the next couple of weeks.”

Good thing she warned me. Remember that shower scene from Psycho, the one where Janet Leigh gets whacked about 9 million times with a butcher knife?

The first time I took a shower with my new navy blue fringe, her shower looked a lot like mine, only where hers bled red, mine bled navy blue. (Make that “hers bled chocolate syrup;” I read somewhere that Hitchcock thought the fake blood didn’t look bloody enough in black & white, so he had the effects guy switch to Hershey’s.)

I stepped out of the shower with navy blue toes.

Just like my hair.

*”Bob” refers to the tonsorial term, not a name. **It means “Cynthia’s hair refuses to do anything really cool, like stick straight up or form adorable ringlets or make sensuously feminine waves or conform gleamingly to the sleekness of her oversized brain, and instead just hangs there. On a good day, it occasionally tucks a bit under in spots, just to remind her what obedient hair SHOULD be doing. Or maybe not.