Monday, December 7, 2015

Mel's #44 and Erica's #44 - Go to an NFL (Football) Game

Those of you who know us know we're Seattle Seahawks fans living in a state filled with Indianapolis Colts fans.  It often strikes people around here as odd that we are far more likely to be wearing Seahawks 12 (Twelfth Man) jerseys rather than a Colts 12 (Andrew Luck) jersey on  game day.  It's been just a little bit tougher to root for the Colts since Peyton's departure...

We had two options to see the Seahawks near Indy this year - vs. the St. Louis Rams on opening weekend, or vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in October.  We'd been meaning to get to St. Louis and see the sights anyway, so we opted for the Rams game.  After plenty of checking around for the most affordable seats that got us close enough to the action, we opted for some Stubhub tickets about 16 rows off the field, right on the 25 yard line, on the Seahawks' side of the stadium.  These seats were nearly perfect, and we were surrounded by fellow Seahawks fans!  We'd seen people decked out in their blue and green all weekend, and shared several "Go Hawks" cheers with them.  We even ended up in one of those tiny pods coming down from the St. Louis Arch with three fans from Seattle who had flown out for the game.  Now that's dedication!

The game was a nail-biter, as anyone who watched it will recall.  It ended up tied at the end of the 4th, sending the game into overtime.  The Seahawks led things off, and for some ridiculous reason, opted to attempt to recover an on-side kick instead of letting the Rams possess the ball, which did not end up working out for them.  The Rams won possession with fantastic field position, drove down and kicked a field goal for three points.  New NFL rules state that both teams have a chance to posses the ball unless one scores a touchdown on the first possession, so the Seahawks would get (and blow) the chance to win.

While it was a very disappointing ending to the game, it was an exciting one nearly all the way through, and we were happy to have such a great view of it, especially since it was Erica's first NFL game.  Win or lose, we'll always welcome the opportunity to cheer on our favorite team - Go Hawks!

Mel's # 1 - Donate Hair to Locks of Love

It's weird to write a blog post about the process of growing one's hair out and donating it, right? It probably shouldn't be that big of a deal. However, as someone who has pretty consistently kept a short hairstyle for a number of years, this was quite the undertaking.

Sometime around the end of our bike trip in September 2013 was the last time I had a haircut. I had decided to grow it out, or to at least try to grow it out, thinking I would reach that inevitable point where I just couldn't take it anymore, and get it all cut off. I've tried numerous times before to grow my hair out with the intention of donating it, and I usually lose my patience about six months in.

Something was different about this time. Maybe it was the accountability of this being a goal on my list of 101 things to do in 1,001 days, maybe it was a new perspective on what I could handle after spending 80-something days on a bicycle...who knows?

So, let me first address something I discovered about my hair in this is kind of like a fingerprint. More specifically, our hair grows in specific patterns and in ways that are unique to us. While this is kind of a cool discovery, it also revealed something about my physical nature that is somewhat embarrassing, and something that was confirmed by looking at baby photos of myself. What I discovered is that my hair grows in a pattern that can best be described as a "skullet." Ok, right now, you need to open a new tab and Google "Boss Hogg." That guy...that's how my hair grows...the sides grow first, then the top tries to catch up somewhere down the road. Weird.

Fortunately for me, I worked at a place where the dress code was super casual and I could wear a baseball cap during those months where my hair reached that awkward phase and there was no way I could style it in a way that made it less awkward. My hair is thick and super straight, so it just kind of hangs off of my head when it gets to a certain length.

And of course, there were months where I felt like my hair just was not growing at all. In my head, I was thinking "How long could this possibly take? Is my hair still growing?" Summer of 2014 pretty much felt like that. I was convinced my hair just stopped growing. I didn't give up, my hair did. Then, I would experience a growth spurt.

Eventually, my hair reached a point where I could pull it back into a ponytail, something that I hadn't been able to do since I had dreadlocks back in 2006 (don't worry, I'll post a photo of that hair adventure, too.) I had to buy ponytail holders for the first time in years. I even went so far as to buy a Seattle Seahawks headband to match my Seahawks gear that I would wear on Fridays.

Since my hair is stick straight and thick, once it started to get really long, I couldn't handle wearing it down. Or, I would go to work or out somewhere and within a few hours, I would have to pull it back. When my hair was down, I somehow felt like my peripheral vision was impaired because I had SO MUCH HAIR. It was crazy. There were more growth spurts which meant more hair. Lots of hair.

But even though I experienced these random moments of irritation or annoyance at having long hair, I could usually just push right past it. For the first time, I never had that moment where I felt like I couldn't take it anymore and I was getting my hair cut no matter what, as soon as I could.

Near the end of this process, I had started to research what organization I wanted to donate my hair to, and decided to donate to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program, which seemed to be in line with what I had in mind at the set of this project. It is a wonderful program and one that truly helps cancer patients in numerous ways.

So, the time came this past summer where I hadn't even measured my hair to see if it was long enough to donate...and I can't believe that I wasn't measuring my hair every stinking day to see how long it was. But Erica and I measured my hair and realized it was more than long enough to meet the requirements for donating to Pantene's program. I made an appointment with my amazing and always willing hairstylist, my mom, to cut my hair and have it ready to donate. And I didn't feel that sense of attachment that some people feel with their hair when they grow it out and how they feel sad or scared about cutting their hair off. This is probably because I was my mom's guinea pig when she was getting her cosmetology license...I was always getting my hair cut or styled as practice for her. But I also think that I knew it wasn't my hair. This was going to belong to someone else and I didn't need to claim it as my own, as it was a gift I wanted to give.

Here are some photos of my mom cutting my one photo, I think it looks like she is holding up a fish she caught.

From there, it was pretty hair donation was kept in a ponytail and put in a ziploc bag, then I mailed it off to Pantene's program. A few weeks later, I received a lovely letter in the mail, thanking me for my donation. It was just a generic letter, but it really meant a lot to me to be able to do this for the first time in my life. I've had friends and family members battle cancer...we all have...and I was glad to be able to do something for the folks currently battling it. It was the simplest thing to do and all it took was my patience and time.