Department Of What Is Wrong With This Picture
Dateline: At the hair salon…waiting for my turn…looking for anything other than Hairstyles of the Rich and Famous or celebrity tragedy magazines to pass the time. The pickings are slim. I pick up some kind of My House is More Beautiful Than Your House magazine. On the magazine’s second page I see the following photo, which accompanies advertising copy re furnishing one’s “dream house.” A certain detail gave me the feeling that the photographer and/or photo-stager had never actually cooked real food in a real kitchen.
Call me crazy, but my dream house would include having cooks residing therein who know the proper pasta-to-cooking-pot ratio.
* * *
Department Of The Darndest Things
Yet another dateline: last Thursday evening; after the afore-alluded-to haircut.
Backstory: I get my hair cut every six weeks. My current stylist  blow dries/flat irons my hair to razor sharp, shiny verticality, which means that for 2-3 days every 6 weeks, I have really straight hair. Ever since the birth of daughter Belle my hair has had a natural curl, no chemical inducement necessary.  The hair thing turned out to be one of those “temporary” pregnancy changes that stuck around après baby.
The first time the stylist suggested she blow dry my hair straight was four years ago, when Belle was a senior in high school. Belle loved the way my hair looked when it was straight. MH and son K did not. They said,
You don’t look like yourself.
I agreed with them, even as I decided to forgo listing the upside of not looking like moiself every now and then. I assured my spouse and our son that, regardless of whether or not I liked my hair straight, I’ve neither the time, the patience, nor the girly-hair-styling-skillset (nor the desire to acquire the latter) to successfully and regularly wield the Implements of Hair Uncurling ®. Thus, the look which they found so objectionable would be episodic and brief, at most.
Last week, on the eve when I returned from the salon, K made the inevitable comment re my hair. I said I was well aware that he didn’t like my hair “this way.” Before moiself could solicit reasons for his dislike, K offered the following:
“It’s just that it makes you look, in my opinion, like a soccer mom who brings Kraft Singles for the after-game snacks. 
Damn right I raised that young man.
* * *
Department Of Continuing Datelines
Dateline: in line for a matinee showing of the movie, Love, Simon. Overhearing their interactions with the ticket clerk, I realize that the several women (all over a certain age, by the senior discounts I hear them claim) in front of me in the ticket line have each, separately, come to the theater to see Love, Simon. I offer an observation about that to the universe, after which the woman directly in front of me, and then the two women behind me, chime in about how they too have come to the theatre, separately, to see the same movie.
When was my turn  I said to the ticket clerk, One for…can you guess? Ticket Clerk Lady’s face went blank for just a moment, until I followed up with, Yep, we middle-aged women all love us some Simon.
* * *
It was great fun having Belle home for spring break (two weeks ago), and also getting to meet The Boyfriend. ®  Belle, who will graduate in May  with a B.S. in Biology, is pursuing a variety of jobs and internships that have to do with animal care, conservation and education; i.e., zoos and animal rescue/sanctuary organizations
Near the end of Belle’s visit I ventured to make a potentially touchy observation about her après-graduation plans. Which is just the kind of comment every child anticipates and appreciates…
The internships she’s applied for – a couple of which have already been offered to her – are with Big Cat and/or other “exotic” animal parks. These organizations describe themselves as providing “a sanctuary to wild cats in need.” Translation: there are, unfortunately, a great many delusional/ narcissistic people who think that it would be fun to own an exotic animal, and/or that owning an exotic wild animal would make them stand out and be special – that the wildness of the animal will somehow give them cred. A few weeks or months after acquiring an exotic pet (whether via legal or questionable means), Joe Lookatmei’mcoolIownatiger realizes that the cub which was so adorable at 8 weeks old is growing into AN ACTUAL FRIGGIN’ TIGER – never mind that the breeder assured them it was from eight generations of “domesticated” tigers  and was really just a big, big pussy cat.  At that point, Joe either voluntarily abandons/surrenders the animal or is forced to do so by his neighbors or an animal welfare organization.
Enter Wild Cat Sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, et al, who offer a place for these discarded “pets” – along with animals rescued or retired from circuses or other anachronistic “entertainment” shows – to live out the remainder of their lives in as natural a setting as possible. These organizations also work to, essentially, put themselves out of business. That is, they lobby for legislation which would end the captive wildlife crisis by outlawing the buying, selling, breeding and exhibiting of such animals. (Truly a noble cause – one which has been close to Belle’s heart for many years now, even preceding her years of volunteering at the Oregon Zoo.)
These organizations are almost always privately funded. Read: they are financed hand to mouth (claw to maw?) and are always scrapped for funds. Usually only the executive directors (if anyone) are paid; thus, they depend heavily on volunteers. Their internships typically run for three to six months; interns are compensated with board and a meal stipend, but no salary. So, interns get experience (and at certain sanctuaries it may indeed be the experience of a lifetime) in a field with arguably no future. Unless you are able to turn the experience into qualifications to work as a zoo keeper,  such internships provide experience for “jobs’ for which there are no paid positions.
Yet again, I digress. About that potentially touchy observation about her après-graduation employment plans.
I asked Belle if she knew the percentage of female applicants/volunteers in the internship programs to which she has applied. She said she didn’t. I said it wouldn’t surprise me if the stats showed 80% (or more) female. When Belle asked me why, I asked The Boyfriend ® to confirm or deny the observation I was about to make: what I considered to be an accurate if frustrating reflection on cultural conditioning/gender influences; specifically, re how both girls and boys grow up seeing – still, in 2018 – (mostly) women do much of the work upon which our society and the corporate world depends (e.g. managing home and the rearing of children), and for which you’d have to pay a lot of $$ to hire someone outside the family to do, but this work is unpaid and undervalued, thus leading to the lowered expectations of girls’ and women’s market worth….
But, I didn’t phrase it that way. I summed it up thusly (and noticed that The Boyfriend ® ruefully smiled at Belle before he nodded at me in agreement):
Men and boys learn early on not to work for free.
* * *
May you recognize an employer’s disincentive
to pay you if you’re willing to work for free;
May you slap into next Saturday the face of anyone who attempts to analogize the previous professional caveat into the personal realm; 
May you never be forced to eat Kraft Singles, ® for any reason;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 It sounds so strange to me, to write that I have a “stylist,” but I don’t know what else to call her and that’s what she calls herself.
 A phenomenon which my previous, before-and-after pregnancy haircutter had noticed and commented on.
 Both of my offspring had somewhat ignominious (and blessedly brief) tenures on kiddie soccer teams. It wasn’t their thing, and so MH and I never had the opportunity to be Soccer parents.
 No footnote here. Move along, now.
 He took time off from work to accompany her.
 Or so she assures us.
 Ain’t no such thing. You can’t breed the wild out of wildlife.
 Imagine the behaviors innate to a housecat – scratching the furniture, jumping on the countertops, sometimes getting overexcited when playing rough with its owner and putting its claws out – magnified by an animal ten times the size and strength of your tabby.
 A very competitive field, with few openings.
 Yep, I’m talkin’ the odious cow/free milk equivalency that was spewed by Previous Generations. ® Which I actually heard from one of my aunts, many decades ago, when I was a recent college graduate home for a visit with my parents. My aunt (also visiting my parents) was chatting with my mother and moiself about the lives of my aunt’s four adult children. She said she highly doubted that her youngest son would marry his girlfriend because they were already…well…sleeping together, and – she shot a knowing glance to my mother and a warning glance to moiself – why buy the cow….you know the rest. A delicious coda to the story: that son of hers did go on to marry that girlfriend, and from all appearances they have had and continue to have a happy marriage (and he is the only one of that aunt’s children who has not been divorced).