Tag Archives: grooming

Mother Nature’s Follicle Relocation Project

If there is any doubt about whether Mother Nature has a sense of humour or not, I offer you the following into evidence: hair.

Hair is the epitome of irony, isn’t it? People with curly hair want straight hair. People with straight hair want wavy hair. I’ve known people who have changed hair colours and/or hair styles with every passing season (with great envy).

We try turning our hairstyles into gravity-defying structures, or we flatten it out to look sleek and chic. Sometimes we make it do things it just wasn’t meant to do.

And as we get older, Mother Nature is not through with us yet. Oh no. The fun is just beginning.

In my case, in my 40s, she took it away a few strands at a time. She might have thought she was sneaky, but I fought back by getting a clipper cut. Problem solved, or so I thought.

Who could guess that her punchline would be the random places where she is putting it back in my 50s?

I fully expected that after age 50, trimming nose hairs would become a necessity to avoid looking like a catfish. I also expected that I might need to keep my eyebrows in check so that they didn’t look like wings and suddenly take flight in the middle of a serious boardroom meeting.

I am very lucky that I am fair haired (or at least, I was) so new stray sprouts haven’t been too noticeable. But those new “platinum” ones (btw, I love saying “platinum” as I think it oozes coolness) do catch one’s eye faster. Thankfully, there is no shortage of grooming tools to keep new growth under control.

But at times it can be such a time-consuming ritual that I think is almost worthy of notable mention as a hobby. However, at cocktail parties, if you mention “manscaping” as a leisure activity, the resounding thud of the conversation falling flat could probably register on the Richter scale. As a result, I tend to save grooming anecdotes for the “Over 50” section of the blog.

But just when I think I have caught all of the new sprouts of platinum hair, it just takes a look in the mirror and a certain reflection of light at the right angle to see something I missed in another random place.

For example, I was surprised to see that my eyebrows haven’t been growing together into a classic Bert-from-Sesame-Street unibrow. No, Mother Nature has other plans for me. My eyebrows are growing downward. It’s like the eyebrows have plans to rendez-vous with the eyelashes somewhere in the middle.

Every once in a while, I have to take out the tweezers and pluck stray hairs from my eyelids. Let’s just say that the experience is not the most fun given the sensitivity of the ocular area, but fortunately, the plucking ordeal is usually over quickly enough despite the torrent of tears streaming down my cheeks.

For years, what seemed to me as being the oddest place to relocate a follicle was the ear lobe. It really takes a strong light, projected a certain way, to reflect off the individual hair to call my attention enough to get the nose hair trimmer out to trim it. (It’s a very versatile tool!)

But in the absence of that very specific light, it could be weeks or months before I even see it, and could be growing wildly and creating a bit of a distraction without my knowing it.

The hint is when people are looking at me but not looking me directly in the eyes as they usually do. It’s like their gaze is fixed on something just a little to the left or the right of my face. That’s when I start to wonder if I have a stray hair growing off my lobe that is sticking out and waving hello emphatically to my interlocutor.

It’s only in recent weeks that I have noticed that little platinum hairs are starting to show up around the ear canal. What a moment of pride it has been to see myself bestowed with this rite of passage!

But it is the random hairs on my neck that that prevent me from saying goodbye to barbers completely. While I can easily give myself a clipper cut every 2 weeks, the reality is that I do need to make a periodic appearance to make sure that the slowly increasing neck fur is under control as well, and that I did not in fact smuggle my cat into the office under my shirt.

When it comes to the hunt for the “over 50” stray hairs, all I can do is laugh every time I see a sprout of new hair in a spot I could never imagine hair growth, and then to pull out the heavy artillery of grooming tools to try to keep it under control.

To me, the over-50 “hair game” is absolute confirmation that Mother Nature does indeed have a sense of humour.

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Filed under 50+, Humour

It’s Shedding Season Again!

After a challenging winter, when the calendar flips to March, we start looking for signs that spring is on its way.

I have found that a pretty reliable predictor is the sudden presence of cat hair… everywhere! Even though I’d like to think I keep a pretty tidy house, no amount of vacuuming seems to be able to keep up with the pace at which Ivy the Wonder Cat sheds her winter coat.

Last week, I was a little startled when I found a stray cat hair on my breakfast plate, peeking out from under my food, even though the kitchen was spotless. Another day, I was on the couch watching TV, when I suddenly started choking when I inhaled a stray cat hair that was floating around.

Even as I am writing this, I am noticing a cat hair on the lip of my coffee cup.

I conclude that cat hair must be following me around like a cloud. To maintain a more positive outlook, I prefer to think about it as an extension of my aura. Fortunately, it’s just a temporary, seasonal thing.

Just the same, I sprang into action and took the vacuum out. An hour later, after vacuuming in every corner and crevice in the house, the dirt cup was quite full even though I had just done it a few days prior.

What is really fascinating is that it is like it happens overnight. Throughout January and February, there is a modest amount of cat hair in the vacuum’s dirt cup every time I clean, which seems perfectly normal.

But as soon as March rolls around, BOOM! It’s like someone hit the cat’s “hair ejector” button. For the amount of hair I collect, I often wonder how Ivy isn’t bald because there’s just so much of it. Continue reading

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Filed under Cats, Humour

How I Got My Cat to Use a Toothbrush

When I took Ivy the Wonder Cat to the veterinarian for the very first time, at one year old, she was just a feline teenager and the absolute picture of health. The only thing that was mentioned as a potential issue down the road was her teeth, as tartar was already starting to build up.

Given the back story offered to me by the Ottawa Humane Society, of a life on the cold, wintry streets of Ottawa, fending for herself, eating from garbage cans in a tough neighbourhood, I should not have been surprised that Ivy’s teeth weren’t worthy of a finalist’s spot on America’s Next Top Model.

My vet recommended I put out a bowl of tartar control dry food, something she might eat more consistently than the occasional tartar control cat treat that I might give her. The second alternative was to brush her teeth.

At the time, I was already on the nerve-racking journey of finding the right time and mood where she would allow me to gently trim her nails. Some days, the right mood just wasn’t there, as scratch marks added up like a tote board on a telethon. Getting a toothbrush anywhere near her mouth seemed like an impossible dream.

As I lugged the bag of tartar control food back to my car, I couldn’t help asking myself why it didn’t come in a sample size and where was I going to keep it? Given that Miss Ivy was already revealing signs of a picky palate (though after eating garbage for several months, you’d think that anything from a can or a bag would be a step up) there was a chance that she may not like it. Continue reading


Filed under Cats, How to, Humour