Reading: John Leonard, When the Kissing Had to Stop

Moving: none yet, but it's 6:12 in the morning

Watching: About to watch "Grave," the season finale of Buffy episode 6, thanks to Jessie.

House: About to iron shirts for RDC while watching "Grave."

Listening: [later] Don Giovanni

The very picture of a contented cockatiel glad to be home, one-legged and backward-headed and under the table on a lap where he belongs.

5 January 2003: Hair

Well, it's done. The decision part of it, that is. Not the actual amputation. I am giving 12 inches of hair to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for children with medical hair loss.

Over Christmas I met, for the first time, someone who's been friends with my mother-in-law for almost 30 years. For a time they lived together, and her oldest child was a sister to RDC. Years later, with a second husband, she had another daughter and a son. She now has brain cancer and a grim prognosis. The day we arrived, she was barely conscious, though she smiled when RDC came into her field of view; the day before we left, she was back at home, eating and walking and talking though her cognitive ability remains impaired: a respite, but of what duration no one knows.

(It was with her second daughter, who is 18, that I had a profound senior moment. This young woman is all Nine Inch Nails, Tim Burton, David Bowie, and Hot Topic. She wears her hair in a chin-length, red bob, very flattering. When we visited on New Year's Day I thought she had a severe case of bed-head: her front hair still swung before her face, but the back hair, which is much shorter, was spikey. Um, no, that's the look, she said; it was deliberate. Oh.)

(Speaking of senior moments, my stepsisterinlaw's alias is now Halley because, she told me, that was the other possibility for her name rather than her extremely popular one.
"Halley?" I repeated, realizing. "You were born in 1986?" I squeaked. The year I saw the comet, the year I graduated from high school.)

(Apparently I was a prepubescent boy at the movies, though: Halley declined to come with us because she'd already seen it and the older two daughters found it boring or too much changed from the book, but the 11-year-old son, RDC2, who will be nine in March, and I all liked "The Two Towers.")

Anyway, my braid is finally as long as I want it, well past my bra strap, but my hair loose is just ridiculous. To my waistband, which I stubbornly, outmodedly continue to wear at my waist. It takes an unreasonably long time to braid. After a good swim or especially while body-surfing, the sopping wet braid, even tightly woven, migrates across my scalp.

Watching DMB care for her friend--swabbing out her mouth when she couldn't have liquids, brushing her hair; and feeling the powerful grasp of a woman at that point mostly unresponsive; and getting to know her husband and her amazingly resilient children; and seeing, over a period of days, the woman regain consciousness, some motor control, and limited speech; all this was profoundly stirring. And what the hell, I can't give blood anymore.

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