Saturday, January 26, 2013

Beau Gets a Haircut, and Charlotte is Spent

Skirt, tights, and gloves: Reitmans; Cane: Life; Boots: Ecco; Earrings and brooch: vintage; Cape: London Fog; Blouse: Everly; Bracelet: from Jean Queen
Chronic pain is an up and down thing. Over the course of the last four and half years, the pain has steadily decreased, and my abilities have therefore increased. However, on any given day, the pain goes up and down, sometimes for no obvious reason.

Generally though, the reason is clear: I did stuff. I walked for too long. I sat up for too long. I stayed at the computer too long. I did too much housework.

"Too long"  and "too much" are very relative terms. The above transformation from chipper, pert me, to pain-addled and completely drained me took a little over three hours. Here's what I did: I walked the few blocks to transit; I took the 20 minutes transit ride downtown; I walked a few blocks downtown to a few shops; I accompanied Beau to the hairdresser; I walked a few more blocks to two more shops.

That's it. That's all it took. I was in even worse shape by the time I'd taken transit home again.

True, I used to feel like hell just trying to open my apartment door and I'd begin to tremble with exhaustion just having a phone conversation. So, yeah, things are much much better.

But when just washing the dishes causes me pain for hours afterwards... Well, it gets me down. I'm only human after all.
The before and after photos of me reminded me immediately of the Norman Rockwell painting: The Outing, from 1947. Do take the time to look at the change on every single face... except grandma's! She's unflappable.

Beau's glasses: Geek Eyewear; Vest: North 49. T-shirt: he took the tag off so who knows? Sweater and jeans: "vintage".
As usual, Beau was a brick. It's nice to have someone to lean on -- literally. In these before and after photos, he reminds me of the grandmother in The Outing: he's fine; I'm destroyed.

Don't worry though; he leans on me too, lots. But being able-bodied and 6'1'' to my 5'4'', he generally leans on me figuratively, not literally.

Anyway, Beau needed a haircut so a trip downtown was in order.

My sunglasses, gold chain, and earrings: vintage; Tank-top: Reitmans. Beau's glasses: do you really want to know? His shirt: from a sports team in Sri Lanka, where he lived and worked for many years.
There was a time when Beau's idea of a haircut was taking ten year old clippers to his head. It's beyond me why on earth a middle-aged (well, almost) man with a full head of hair would buzz cut it.

He also thought the above shirt and glasses were "fine." I explained to him the difference between "fine" and "good," told him he is "objectively handsome" and could look a lot better, and he became eager to learn more. As tactfully as I could, I suggested a good step would be to grow his hair longer. I also said that his little, itty-bitty glasses had to go.

Given our difference in height, this is the usual result when we try to take a photo of us together.
The results were spectacular. He loves his new glasses, or did once I said they made him look like a NASA scientist from the 60s. And his hair turned out to be nearly black, silky, and thick. But it really had grown to have a will of its own and it was time for Beau's first ever trip to a Real Hairdresser...


... in the big city, which is a very short metro ride from my place. After having lived in New York, Montreal, and Toronto, I don't find it big or intimidating at all. Look at all that open space around us. If I wanted to, I could swing my arms around and not hit anyone at all!

One can even see the mountains down at the end of the corridors of buildings. New York can't say that about its concrete canyons!

The Hudson's Bay Company: for better or worse, a Canadian icon of colonialism, beaver hunting, shopping, and, well, Canada. This is one of our oldest surviving downtown buildings.

Doesn't Beau look just like Mary Tyler Moore here?
Did you doubt me?

Whenever I wear this cape, I just have to do this -- a lot.

FYI, these tights are not actually pink. They're a deep berry shade. I have pink tights, but these aren't them.

We don't have a lot of lovely details like this in this city. The beauty is in the views, not the architecture. Any city that features stucco as prominently as this one does is not a city that can brag about its architectural design.


Urine-smelling alley. Every city's got 'em.


This brooch is so unusual that I paid a whopping $15 for it, which is a lot for vintage. I've never seen jewelry like this. If anyone knows more about the style, do let me know. I think it's Swiss?

Purple eye shadow. I think it's working. What do you think? I wear very little makeup and often wear none at all. Some day I'll write a blog post about that.


Beau was pleased with himself for creating this new look of vest with sweater. It does look good on him. I swear to God that his transformation into cool geek dude was not something I forced upon him. He's taken to it like a fish to water.

All his friends and family are commenting on his transformation and they're all giving me credit for it but I think the only credit I deserve is in helping him to see how handsome he really is. It's not only women who have doubts about their appearance, and problems with body image.

Everyone's saying I've made a great transformation too. My hairdresser told Beau I'm a "whole new woman" since I met him. I'd kind of given up since my back injury but I do feel beautiful again, or at least worthy of beauty.

Red and purple: a pretty daring combination but I couldn't resist this bracelet.

See? My eyes really aren't brown, despite what most people think. They're green on the outside and, yes, orange around the pupil. Beau used to be fascinated by this but I think he's used to it now.

Ring: vintage
It's in the details, baby.

And so our day was done and I was utterly spent. Pain is more exhausting that most people can imagine. In addition to my limited abilities, this is why I can't yet work full time.

I'll admit, I was pretty depressed for quite some time after this trip. I cried a lot of tears this past week about how much I'm still limited by my pain.

My physiotherapist says I'm walking and going out too much and need to cut back so I've enough energy to do my boring and painful strength training at home. Exciting, able-bodied weight lifting it ain't. Bleah.

I guess it's more bird watching for me.

God I felt horrible, so horrible I completely forgot to photograph Beau's fancy new haircut. I'll post it soon.

The photo reminds me of Norman Rockwell's Home from Vacation from 1930. I looked at it recently and her head on his shoulder, and his hand tenderly on her hip reminded me of me and Beau.

And wouldn't you just love to have her shoes?


  1. Love the documentation of this outing. I am definitely a Beau fan, as well.

    1. Oh, me too, Patti. Me too. "Singing Instigator." I love that.

  2. Great Blog....really enjoyed the comparison pics...Beau & Mary Tyler Moore...priceless! SB

    1. I know, eh? He's almost as plucky as she was too. Their expressions are identical. It cracks me up.

  3. Love the caped trench and the red and purple bracelet!
    I can relate to going from perky to pissy in a short amount of time. It's a balancing act, knowing when, how, and for how long I can move without hurting. It beats the alternative ;-)

    Spashionista (Alicia)

  4. Your sparkly watch reminds me of this bracelet. It is so difficult to know my own limits physically, especially since they keep changing over the years as I slowly recover. There was a time when a mere telephone conversation would leave me trembling with exhaustion. Each time I improve, I test my limits and, at some point step over them and end up house bound for a while again.

  5. I'm catching up with lots of your past posts (still need to read the more recent ones). I had to laugh when I saw the pic of you and your Beau. Mine (known as "A") has the same shirt purchased in Sri Lanka and also thought it was "fine." With my encouragement, he has undergone a similar transformation as your Beau.
    I adore that cape!

    1. That's so funny! Beau lived in Sri Lanka for about 10 years and started a charity school there which is still going strong. He has zero interest in sports but I guess this shirt has sentimental value.

      For a more serious take on the transformation, take a look at my Valentine's Day post which also features the same cape. The cape is, yes, fabulous. It was sold out in Canada. I had to order it in the States through a complicated arrangement with friends and family.