To dye or not to dye. That wasn’t an issue when my hair started to turn gray. As a teenager in London, I’d always been afraid of hair salons, but I really wanted blond hair, and convinced my father to let me do it. In those days I was seriously into makeup, wore false eyelashes, etc. So I braved the inside of a salon, and emerged blond. By the time it needed redoing I’d moved out of the house, and couldn’t afford to dye it again, so reverted to my normal brown. In my late twenties, I started to get perms, The first one was fantastic, but over time they 1) fried my hair, and 2) tuned it blond. i started adding highlights, and god knows what else. I was blond when I first met my husband. Then I had my aneurysm and they shaved my hair off for the procedure. I’d always wondered what it would be like to channel Sinead O’Connor. I didn’t become a rock star, but my hair grew back, fully recovered from all the chemicals I’d put on it over the years. Slowly, here and there, it started to turn gray. I was okay with that, until I was looking for a new job. I knew I’d be competing with younger people, so I got it colored, and I got the job. I kept up the dye for another round, and then my new boss told me that one of the reasons they’d hired me was because of my maturity! Who knew? I stopped erasing the gray. These days I have gray streaks that I like, and I’m letting things be. There’s already enough maintenance required, so why add more? I have friends who color their hair, and that’s their choice — absolutely none of my business.

American School in London, Yearbook 1968
Matillija poppy, calendula and lobelia petals, geranium flowers, and alstroemeria

We didn’t make it to China Camp yesterday. The gale force winds made it seem like a bad idea. Instead we went up to a couple of nurseries near Santa Rosa: California Flora and the Urban Tree Farm. They didn’t have the native Western Azalea we were looking for, so we adopted a honeysuckle vine, ornamental oregano, and a little ground cover. They’ll let us know if they can find the azalea, and fall is a better time to plant them anyhow.

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  1. Janet Robbins

    Love the high school yearbook photo! The first time I dyed my hair was when I was 19, living in South Africa. I was in a production of the John Osborne play “Look Back in Anger”. All four members of the cast were brunette, so I volunteered to go blonde. My hair did not cooperate, however, and I ended up with hair the color of burnished copper! Kept it that way for a while, then let the brown grow back in. Like you, I dabbled in dyes over the years, before settling into the grey locks I sport today, definitely my comfort zone, and my hair is no doubt glad to be shed of all those chemicals! Pretty, sparkling mandala today, thank you! xo

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