It’s a Heat



It started with admiring outdoor art. Actually, it probably started in 1983 when I first saw “Flashdance,” but that’s digging too deep. Anyhoo, I wanted some outdoor art. Indoor art abounds at the new pad, but the outside is a little lonely. I looked to a painting and found inspiration…



So I signed up for a sculpture class at a welding shop. I had built myself a maquette made of cardboard and thought it might be possible to finish the piece during the 6-week class. I hoped so at least.



I got to work and, well, then the US election happened. It was all I could do to make myself go to class. When I got there, the other students were quiet. Maybe we were all heartbroken. I don’t know. Each of us worked on our own projects…



And we plugged away…



Once I had cut the pieces for my planned sculpture, I needed to grind them down to remove the ugly coating on the metal. Did I have to? No. I could have simply left the pieces alone and allowed them to rust once outdoors. But I had different plans. And so the grinding work began. Grinding, to me, is a bit tense. As a safety precaution, one has to constantly apply pressure to the on button of a grinder, which wears out whichever hand one uses. And then there’s the body position. I found that holding myself at a slight bent-over angle for so long led to back pain. Not cool, man. And then, as if my body’s tension wasn’t enough, one night I noticed an odd scent in the grinding room. I looked down and saw my hoodie had flamed up from the sparks being thrown by the grinder. I immediately patted out the flare-up, then looked around to see if anyone had noticed. None had, so I went back to finishing the job. Or as much as I could.



By the end of the session, I had the structure of my piece down…



But I wasn’t finished. And I knew it. I brought the metal home, hid it away and started my research into metal dyes. That’s right. I wanted my piece to have color. (I figured it would rust, too, but the color would only add to that natural process. Right?) Thanks to the YouTuber, I was able to find a product that looked like it would do the trick. I ordered what I needed and waited. Once the dyes arrived, I knew I had to finish grinding the metal. It occurred to me that I could return to the welding shop and pay them for some open shop time, but when I saw how cheaply a grinder could be had, I decided to just get the tool and finish the task at home. For the record, when the grinder arrived, I considered making its case my new handbag. Yes – I like it that much…



So. Even though I wasn’t using a 30,000 degree F plasma cutter, I knew enough about grinder sparks to be careful. So I cleaned the outdoor area of leaves and such and got out a fire extinguisher before setting up my work station. I wore all the requisite protective clothing and earplugs and a face mask. I certainly didn’t want to burn down the house, and I surely didn’t want to burn down a Mikki.



Finishing the job took the better part of a day. But then I was ready to apply the dye. I let it set and then Mister helped me assemble the piece.



I have to tell you – this was fun. Yes, there were setbacks and disappointments. Yes, I nearly gave myself a belly scar from a spark fire. Yes, it took longer than I expected or hoped. But in the end, I’m fairly smitten with this sculpture. It’s my first. You never forget your first…


What A Feeling



As those of you who know me are aware, I can be super-frugal. I’m not cheap, mind you, as I feel that any money spent on bad merchandise/service/experience/anything is truly wasteful. I do want the very best in life. I just want it to be a bargain.


My frugality keeps me from getting my hair cut as often as I’d like. So I go every 12 weeks. 8 weeks would be nice, but I haven’t yet been able to convince myself on the spending front. So every 3 months it is. And when that appointment date rolls around on the calendar, I am one happy gal.


Yesterday was hair day for me, and so I made my way into Hollywood for my appointment. Because it’s a quarterly experience, I try to make a real outing of it. Beforehand, I treated myself to lunch at Chick-fil-A. Being a southerner by birth, I grew up on that chicken and it never fails to satisfy. I sat outside and ate my chicken sandwich, with extra pickles. I washed it all down with a super-large iced tea – half sweet, half un-sweet. Sitting on that busy corner of Sunset and Highland, I soaked up the sun and gobbled up the gobbler. It was a lovely lunch.


Then I hit the salon. I only see my colorist and stylist during these hair appointments, so I try to glean as much as possible about what’s going on in their lives. They’re world travelers. They’re food dorks. And they are both awesome human souls. I consider myself blessed to be their client. And really, I love getting my hair done. I love the human touch. I love the artistry of these professionals. I love that it’s my time. I get to be quiet if I want. I get to engage if I want. And when I leave, I always feel pretty. I haven’t felt that much lately, so yesterday’s appointment was welcomed. I needed it, and I wasn’t disappointed.


It was a typical salon visit, with no out-of-the-ordinary occurrences. But I did have a wonderfully L.A. moment. After getting my color done, I sat at the sink bay to get a wash. I was just passing the time, enjoying the moment, when a woman took the chair next to me. I was looking at her shoes, and they were truly magnificent. Without glancing up, I said, “Great shoes!” She thanked me, and we made eye contact. I was sitting next to none other than Ms. Jennifer Beals.


About a jillion thoughts raced through my head. I wanted to tell her how much I was influenced by her portrayal of “Alex Owens” in Flashdance. I wanted to tell her how, as a kid, that character inspired me to be myself. To dream. To try. I wanted to tell her, but I didn’t say a word. I just leaned back and enjoyed the scalp massage and wash. When my hair was squeaky clean, I went to my stylist’s chair and she cut each and every hair on my head. I loved what she did, and I’m glad. That cut will have to last until September.


When I left the salon, there was an extra bounce in my hair and in my step. I got my car out of the salon’s valet and drove home. I realize I passed up an opportunity to tell someone I was inspired by her work, but it seemed the right thing to do (or not do). Ms. Beals’ salon time may be as precious to her as mine is to me. She probably goes more often than I, but maybe she likes to sit there quietly when she does go. Maybe she likes to walk out after her appointment, feeling pretty. Doesn’t every gal want that?


For the record, Jennifer Beals was absolutely stunning. And her shoes… Man, those shoes!