all my hairs are purple

October 25th, 2014

ALL MY HAIRS ARE PURPLE. Despite my face, I'm pretty sure I love it. :-) My hair is still wet, and it's 11:22pm here, so I'll take a better photo in the morning.

I’ve been wanting to dye my hair blue or purple for a long, long time. And I finally did! I’m kind of wishing now that I’d done this a year ago, when my hair was shorter, because it’s tricky with hair this long. I got dye all over myself, as you can see in the third photo below. And wow, I had to use a LOT of dye to cover all my hair. Here’s a quick rundown of what I did, for anyone who’s curious:

  • Read thedaintysquid’s hair-dyeing tutorial and tips for maintaining bright haircolor about ten times each.
  • Pestered my friends with hair-dyeing experience for advice and encouragement. (You know who you are. <3)
  • Gathered the various dyes I’d purchased/been given, along with the cheap hair dyeing kit I’d bought off amazon, a couple of cheap disposable shower caps, and a few old towels.

Say goodbye to my blonde hair! #OperationPurpleHair

  • Said goodbye to my blonde hair.
  • Put a thin layer of petroleum jelly along my hairline on my forehead and on the tops of my ears. Next time I’ll probably put petroleum jelly all the way around my hairline, and possibly on the back and sides of my neck, too. (Though I didn’t actually have any trouble getting the dye off my face and neck. Immediately after my hair was up in the shower cap and towel, I used olive oil on a cotton ball and it wiped right off, except for a largeish patch on the side of my neck, which still faded considerably.)
  • Decided to use a mix of the raspberry color (a brand I wasn’t familiar with–that was one of the gifts) with two of the Punky Colours, violet and plum, in layers. Various sources informed me that mixing two different colors of dye, especially different brands, leads to a more interesting fade. (I underestimated how much dye I’d need for my long, fairly thick hair and wound up mixing the dye in three batches. I think by the time I was done, I used the equivalent of 1 entire pot of Punky Colour, and half the bottle of the raspberry dye.)
  • Each batch of dye I mixed, I used about 1 part conditioner (just what I had on hand, which happened to be OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk) to three parts dye–and of that three parts, one part was raspberry and two parts were either plum or violet.
  • Note that I chose NOT to bleach my hair. I have naturally blonde hair with some gray mixed in, and after doing some research decided I’d try dyeing over my natural color this time, just to see how it worked. I figured even if it didn’t work as well as I wanted it to, I’d still have purpleish hair.
  • I started at the bottom of my head, pinning the rest of my hair up with clips, and just grabbed the dye with my gloved hands and slathered it on, working it in as best I could to make sure all the hairs were saturated.
  • When that was done, I sort of tied the bottom portion into a loose knot, then repeated the pinning-slathering-saturating for two more sections till all my hair was done. And I did one streak of just raspberry with foil, just to see what would happen. The directions all cautioned against getting the dye on my scalp, but the tutorials I read all said it was no big deal, and it would fade after a couple days if it did get on my scalp. So I made sure to really get the visible roots nice and covered.

Next time, I'm asking a friend to help. Dyeing long hair without getting dye everywhere is hard!

  • Once all the dye was on, I gathered all my hair onto the top of my head and clipped it up. I covered my hair with one of the cheapie shower caps, and wrapped an old towel around that. Then I used the olive oil and cotton balls to get the dye off my skin, which worked like a charm.
  • Sprayed Honest Company bathroom cleaner (no bleach or anything, it’s a child- and pet-safe nontoxic hippie brand that I love) on the spots of dye in the sink, and they mostly wiped right up. The same cleaner worked on one spot of dye on the wall, but another spot will require a magic eraser sponge, probably, nbd.
  • Discarded the trash, took the bowls and brushes and stuff downstairs to wash in the stainless steel sink. Didn’t use gloves for that, and my hands got tinted a leetle purple, but by the time I was done washing and rinsing everything the purple was basically gone.
  • Checked my email, made dinner for the kids, gave Elliora a bath, watched TV with Annalie, made dinner for me and Troy (a two-egg version of this, which was really good), putzed around on FB for a little while. By the time I finally rinsed my hair, the dye had been on for…six hours, I think? I wasn’t planning to leave it on that long, that’s just how it happened.
  • Rinsed my hair with c-c-c-cold water leaning over the side of the bathtub with our detachable showerhead. And rinsed. And rinsed. And rinsed. And rinsed. And…okay, just know that the rinsing went on for a very long time–I think I had to rinse for something like 30 minutes before the water ran completely clear. Did I mention that I have a LOT of hair? Troy helped me out for the last 15 minutes or so.
  • Once the rinse water was running clear, I poured a 1:1 mix of white vinegar and cold water on my hair, making sure to saturate all of it. (The vinegar raises the pH level of the dye, giving it more permanence, and helps close the hair cuticle.)
  • Tried not to panic when the vinegar rinse immediately turned purple, even though my hair had been rinsing clear 30 seconds before. Shrugged and rinsed with more cold water till it was completely clear.
  • Dried my hair with another old towel, then startled myself when I looked in the mirror because, WHOA, I HAVE PURPLE HAIR.

Partly dry PURPLE HAIR. You can see a bit of the raspberry streak on the left.

My hair has dried a bit now, and it’s still very purple. You can just see the raspberry streak on the left. I’ll have to take a better photo in natural light tomorrow.

Next time, I think I’ll get a friend (or Troy) to help with applying the dye, because it really was tricky to get all my hair covered without also dyeing all my skin above the neck, my arms, and the bathroom. And I think another person would be helpful in making sure I get dye brushed right up to my roots all over my head, too. There are a couple of spots near my roots that I missed, but at least they’re underneath the top layer so they’re not really noticeable.

I was mostly dyeing without bleaching first as an experiment, to see how it would work. I think it worked beautifully, and I got a really deep, bright color. I keep startling myself every time I glance in a mirror, in fact, because I’m not used to having dark hair! I think I’ll actually like it better once it’s faded a bit. In the meantime, I’m gonna have to start wearing more eyeliner or something, so my face doesn’t look so pale. But overall, I’d say Operation Purple Hair 2014 was a success!

RIP Katy

September 15th, 2014


I’ve been avoiding writing this post for almost a week. This will make it seem real.

Our cat Katy, who was staying with our good friends Erin and Rocco in Oregon while we’re in Japan, stopped eating a couple of weeks ago. Erin took her in to the vet, and they found a large cancerous tumor in her abdomen. Taking her age, health, and the fact that she hadn’t eaten in almost a week into consideration, the vet thought she wouldn’t be a good candidate for surgery, and recommended euthanasia.


Erin took Katy home. She took a few photos of her when the light was nice, and they cuddled her and loved on her and said good-bye. The next day, Rocco took her in to the vet and gave her lots of pets and chin scratches for everyone. When it was done, he took her body home and they buried her with her blanket under an apple tree on their property.

under the apple tree

For the first time in almost 20 years, we are a catless family. We said good-bye to Katy when we left her in Oregon last April, but we honestly didn’t think we were saying good-bye to her forever. We’re all pretty sad that she’s gone, but we’re so very grateful to our friends for giving her a good home for her last few months.

Now I’m certain we made the right decision when we didn’t bring her with us to Japan, even though I would have loved to have her with us, and I’m sorry that Erin and Rocco had to deal with having her put to sleep. If we’d brought her, she would have had to deal with a long plane trip, then being quarantined at the vet’s while we were in the Navy Lodge, and then quarantined in our house for months after we got here. Since she was in Oregon, she was able to go outside and had other cats and chickens to terrorize, and Erin and Rocco’s 3-year-old daughter Indy had a cat to love on. (The other four cats all tend to run away when Indy comes at them.)

Katy, you had an incredibly yowly meow and you could be a little overwhelming in your demands for attention and you were so picky you wouldn’t even eat tuna, you weirdo. But you were the sweetest, most loving cat we ever had, and your fur was the softest, and your purr was the loudest. You always knew when someone needed a cuddle and were right there to head-butt them in love and then sit with one paw resting on their arm, like you wanted to make sure they knew you were there. Rest in peace, Kater Potater.

Click on the mosaic to embiggen

Egg Drop Soup with Rice and Pork

September 3rd, 2014

This homemade egg drop soup with rice and pork might not be very photogenic, especially with fluorescent lights, but it's DELICIOUS.

Both Annalie and I have been feeling under the weather lately, and soup sounded good to me today. I had a half-pound of ground pork I needed to use, and both the girls love egg drop soup, so I made this, and EVERYONE liked it. Success!

Several people on Facebook and elsewhere asked me for the recipe, so here it is.

Egg Drop Soup with Rice and Pork

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 2-3 cloves of garic, minced
  • about an inch of gingerroot, peeled and minced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely grated
  • 1 head baby bok choy, washed, trimmed, and sliced thinly
  • 6 c. chicken broth
  • 3/4 c. jasmine rice, uncooked
  • 1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2-3 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges for garnish

1. In a large stockpot, brown the ground pork.

2. Once all the pink is gone, add the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes, till onion is soft.

3. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for about 1 minute.

4. Add the chicken broth, carrot, bok choy, soy sauce, and sesame oil. (Taste the broth, and add more or less soy sauce and sesame oil as needed.) Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, till rice is cooked.

5. Break the eggs into a bowl or measuring cup and whisk to combine. Slowly pour in a thin stream into the soup. The eggs will cook almost immediately.

6. Turn off the heat and let sit for a few seconds to finish cooking the egg. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with cilantro, green onion, and fresh lime juice as desired.