Favourite Friday: things I did with my hands today

What I did with my hands today. It included plants on the roof, my guitar, and doing a handstand.

Repotting plants and weeding the roof: the sun was shining today and I felt drawn to the outside, so when I wanted to put my aloe vera into a bigger pot (because I had discovered a baby aloe plant crammed into a corner) I ended up weeding the roof with the help of an old stick – somehow there had grown some plants with stronger roots than anticipated from the flower seed mix I had thrown there with some old soil and they threatened the tar paper; and I don’t really want grass to grow on the roof either because the nutrients in the soil are supposed to go to next year’s flowers. So the two aloe vera plants have separate homes now, the old weedy stuff is bagged to rot in a corner of the roof, and the beautiful reddish amaranth plants have been relocated to an unused flower box so they can’t destroy the roof and I’ll be able to move them inside for the winter. I really enjoyed sitting there in the soft sunshine, touching the plants and soil with my bare hands, and using a simple stick instead of fancy tools to rake the weeds.

Putting new strings on my guitar: not exactly a favourite pastime of mine, but it’s a job that needs to be done every now and then – and the time was now as one string had snapped a week back – and as long as the strings are cooperative it’s a good time to calm down and think a bit (or just listen to music) while turning and turning the little knobs.

Standing on my hands: after months of trying today was the day I managed to get into a handstand (against the wall) without any help! In capoeira class we’re supposed to work with our own weight to strengthen our muscles, and one of our instructor’s favourite methods is bending and flexing arms/legs/waist (like doing crunches or sit-ups) while doing a handstand against the wall. The last few weeks I had been getting closer and closer to the wall, but always fell to the left side before touching it – really weird and nobody knows why – but today I was able to reach the wall twice and each time standing there for a moment on my hands. A very happy moment for me! Now I will be able to work on my strength the way the others do.

 

I went shopping and came home with red hair dye and blue shoes.

Today I went shopping after handing in my last normal term paper – now I’ll have to start working on my master’s thesis soon – and having lunch at university. It’s been raining the last few days, the world is grey and depressing, so I longed for a little more colour in my life. Plus, I had been going through old photos last night and was surprised about the light shade of bronze my hair had been on the school trip (the one to Ireland) at the beginning of my last year of school. So I thought it would be cool to be a lighter redhead again instead of dying my hair in the dark, reddish-brown shade close to my original hair colour a few more years back*.

So my first makeover purchase today was all natural hair dye made from henna and other nice plants.

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Normally I use a different brand (“Logona”, they are the only ones on the market here with sustainable certified organic cultivation of henna, to my knowledge) but the lighter shade of reddish-blonde I wanted to mix with natural red was not available in the local health food store where I usually get my dye. So I went to a drug store and bought my backup brand, Sante. My hair is pretty long now, so I need 1 1/2 packages at least. I just put everything in a jar, shake it well, and put as much of the powder mix as I need into the old cooking pot I use for mixing the paste.

Next stop: thrift store. Originally I had planned to try on skinny jeans (the two pairs I used to own had to leave my closet a few months ago, they just fell apart) and look for a winter coat. And to see if the lovely belt I had been ogling for a few days was still there. It was. What I came home with was this:

P1300534.resizedThe belt, a pair of  shabby skinny jeans, and two long sleeved shirts. The jeans are something between skinny jeans and jeggins, and I only took them with me because they were cheap enough to donate them if I don’t feel like wearing them more than a couple of times. And the blue shirts, well, they are in two shades of my favourite colour (we call it “petrol” over here, but it might be aqua or cerulean or whatever in other parts of the world), they match the belt, and as I said, I needed a little more colour in my life. For some years I’ve lived with long sleeves for layering in black, brown, and white, but at least two of the black ones are a little too short now. All in all I spent €10.30 (which equals $13.76) on the lot. Sadly I didn’t find a good winter coat yet, but then again, we still have late summer and they are just beginning to stock autumn clothes. Patience is essential for thrifting.

The last item on my list for today were shoes. The blue sneakers I had bought in spring are pretty worn already and will have to be replaced in autumn, so I decided to hit the summer sale in the outlet store within walking distance of my home instead of waiting until they break between sales and making me buy more expensive ones. The shoes I came home with aren’t exactly what I had planned to buy – I had envisioned simple leather sneakers in grey or a neutral dark blue with good grip – but these made me smile the instant I saw them:

P1300526.resizedAren’t they lovely? Leather in my favourite shade of blue (a little scraped, but hey, they were on sale!), with little star shaped cut-outs showing the neon yellow plastic layer beneath. So bright. And so perfectly me. You know, old me, the starry-eyed new student coming to live in a huge city for the first time, still secretly dreaming of becoming a juggler or a travelling peot. The one who went for a run at night in the deepest winter, in summer followed overgrown railway tracks for hours, and had a hair accident with really bright red henna from a cheap Turkish supermarket. I have missed old me recently**.

So here I am, with red hair dye setting in and ready to rock my new blue star shoes tomorrow when going with a friend to visit a university she might like to attend in the future.

In the meantime I’ll catch up with work (being able to work from home is really nice when sitting around with a towel turban and a messy blob of henna underneath) and maybe try to install Toolbox in Wine so I’ll be able to work with the data I’ll have to go through for my thesis.

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* My hair is weird, you know? It keeps changing.  In my early life I was the lightest blonde you can imagine. Then it changed to a middle to dark  brown which had an ashen undertone and a tiny bit of reddish shine at the same time, which does not occur according to these online quizzes to find out your season type. (I still like the concept of season types for it’s helpfulness, but when a quiz starts with the “ashen” vs. “reddish” decision I’m lost.) Some years later it began to fade and now my natural hair colour is a nondescript mix of dark blonde, middle-to-light-ashen-reddish-brown, and a little bit of grey. Yes, I have more then ten grey hairs already. And they are not my main reason for buying hair dye.

** The last few months (or more than just a few, to be honest) had been full of too many long and nasty colds, being anxious about university related topics, and generally feeling a bit under the weather – many depressed days, feeling tired all the time due to a lack of essential vitamins and other nutrients (falling asleep for hours in the afternoon is NOT very “me”), and all these things. I sort of forgot who I used to be, or at least I didn’t feel like I could be old me ever again. I’m feeling much better now after I started taking better vitamin supplements, cutting down sugar, and spending more time outside with my camera again. When I worked on that stupid, stupid last term paper I even was able to pull three all-nighters – hence the star and moon pictures on my photo blog.

happy – finally some progress

I left today’s Capoeira class very happy, because finally my cartwheels are getting better and more controlled, and for the first time I managed something that could pass as a queda de rins (translates to something like ‘fall on one’s kidney’).

The next step would be learning to do it without resting my knees on my other elbow, putting less weight on the head, and then bit by bit stretching the legs, but that’s for another week month. If I learn to do that, I’ll post photographic evidence :)