And I remembered...

Supernatural Exorcism...
That's about as "gothic" of a frame as I could get at Hobby Lobby, but I think it works OK. I would have preferred something much darker, but oh well.

I also have apparently been very lax at reporting new stash, probably because I haven't been buying much and I haven't stitched since, well, forever! Maybe, after all this work crap settles down, I can get back to it! But quite a while ago, I broke down and bought two new Jasmine Becket-Griffith's, including my ABSOLUTE favorite piece of her artwork (aside from the Disney's, of course), Strangely Lonely:
Strangely Lonely_000a
I would prefer to have Strangely Lonely super-sized with max colors, but it's not out that way, so I deal with what I have. And I do own this in print form anyway, so my wall isn't missing it. I also got Vampire Dragonling:
Vampire Dragonling_000a
I also found a new shop on Etsy that had a FABULOUS Once pattern, and you guys KNOW how much I LOVE Once patterns! They are SOOOO hard to come by. It's Henry's Storybook and, although it's quite simple (and reminds me of the giant brown Jesus head and had me swearing I'd never stitch anything solid brown again), I'm kind of excited about this one!
Once Upon A Time Book_000a
Her store is KPL Creative XStitch and, she's just getting started, but I'm expecting great things from her store. I'm hoping she'll do the Heroes and Villains book as well, but time will tell on that one. Needless to say, I'm watching her store closely!

Almost forgot!

As crazy as things have been, I almost forgot to show you that I did FINALLY get Snow and Charming framed! I also got my Supernatural Exorcism framed, but I'll have to show that later. So, without further ado (and forgive the glare), I give to you, Snow and Charming!
The main mat is actually more of the color purple where my arms are and the inner color is a parchment like flesh-color that fit in well. Anyhoo, I'll try to remember to take a pic of the Exorcism one too (my brain barely works by the time I get home)...thankfully, I hung Snow and Charming at work, I just had to remember to take it in the hallway to get a pic so I didn't capture anything "delicate".

Disney+ - Day 2

I'm not going to give a day-to-day update, but I do want to share that the shows aren't streaming an episode per day, so that probably means that new episodes of their shows will be weekly (I was SOOO hoping to get the second episode of "The Imagineering Story" last night, but alas, I guess I'll have to wait until next week!).

Oh, and the home screen is now working, but I find it too busy and hard to navigate, so I found myself wandering back over to the side menu, which is ironic since on Netflix I HATE the side menu!

There was no new original content added to the channel on Day 2, but the library of movies and TV shows had grown exponentially. Since I ended the first night on "Descendants 2" and "Descendants 3" isn't on Disney+ yet, I watched the DVD to finish up the series before I dived in on the channel. But then I was ready to hit the channel once again and had a hard time choosing what to watch!

I began with a documentary on the Marvel movies that was kind of old (it stopped at Ultron), but it was still cool and something I had never seen before and, instead of watching something else either completely new or something old I haven't watched in years, I found myself starting on the first Captain America movie and starting all the Marvel movies in order! All of this new, original, or long-time since viewed content and here I am watching Marvel movies I've seen dozens of times (and have the 4Ks that I could watch at anytime)!

But, in my defense, Disney+ does have most of these movies in UHD (or HD at bare minimum) and it's easier than changing discs all the time. They even have bonus content like blooper reels and deleted scenes in the extra categories, which is pretty cool! And, if I'm honest, 95% of the Disney movies (and some of the shows and Mickey Clubhouse stuff) I have on Blu-Ray or DVD too, so there is that. I think that documentary just put me in a Marvel mood. I started "Captain Marvel" (I'm watching them in chronological order), but I fell asleep pretty early into it (and it's not one of my favorites anyway, so that's not surprising).

I just can't wait until the Marvel shows start on Disney+, then I really WILL be a mess!

Disney+ - Day 1

Yes, I was one of those weirdos who booked my Disney+ "reservation" months in advance. I didn't pay for the year or the three-year package, but I did schedule the month-to-month package (just in case I ended up hating it, I didn't want to get stuck with it). I should have known it would be AH-MAH-ZING!!!

I rushed home from work earlier than normal last night (which, here lately, that still meant late), and it was waiting for me on my TV app screen. Granted, the home screen of the app kept crashing, but I wouldn't let that deter me, I just slid over to the side screen and those menus worked, so I had full access to all the content they had up.

I had heard rumors that the first bit of content would be limited, and it was. The new content we were promised was limited to about six to nine shows, none of which were the new Marvel shows I was so looking forward to ("The Mandalorian" was there, but I'm not a Star Wars fan, so I wasn't interested in that). But the catalog of Disney movies, Marvel movies, Disney Channel Movies, Disney Channel TV shows, and all sorts of Disney documentaries was pretty vast! There were some notable exceptions missing that I was wanting to see...Jonas L.A., Sonny with a Chance and a few others, but I think the original Jonas and Lilo and Stitch the Series will still keep me busy for a while!

I started with the new stuff which, for a streaming service, isn't technically "streaming"'s one episode at a time. I watched "The Imagineering Story" and it about had me in tears. Granted, I've watched dozens of shows about the history of the Disney Company or Walt himself (or even various Imagineers), but this one was definitely a cut above. I don't think I've ever watched such a well produced documentary on the company ever, even the ones done by the Disney company itself (which, by the way, are also on the channel like "Waking Sleeping Beauty", "The Frank and Ollie Story" and several others).

Since the first episode only dealt with the beginnings of WED, making Disneyland, the birth of Disney World and basically ended with Walt's death, I wanted to watch another episode but, unfortunately, because there wasn't another one yet, I had to move on to something else. The preview for the next episode was all about building Disney World (and some future peeks at Tokyo as well), so at least I have something to look forward to, especially if it's as good as the first and has as much unseen content as the first did. I've gotten too used to the binge-watching lifestyle and I don't like reverting back to waiting for episodes of shows. I don't know if they are releasing new episodes daily or weekly, but I may wait to watch some of the new content when the entire season is out just because I don't like waiting.

I debated on watching another original (there was a really cool show called "The World According to Jeff Goldblum"), but instead I went on to the DCOMs, some of which I haven't watched in years, especially "Avalon High", which they never released on DVD for some reason. And then I just got lost in DCOM-land until I fell asleep. I have the feeling, Disney+ is going to keep me busy for a VERY long time!

One thing I did notice, I've seen a LOT of press recently about how the international market (who got Disney+ before we did) has already made "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." the highest rated show on the channel so far, but I couldn't find it anywhere in the show library for the U.S. All the other Marvel shows were there, but not S.H.I.E.L.D. Disappointing for this massive fan of that show. I was kind of hoping that, if the ratings in this country soar too, we'd get a S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off once the series ends next year, maybe something Fitz-Simmons! A girl can dream, right?

Chicago Tales #7 - The Ghost Tour

Pic heavy post guys, so warning!

Well, overall, the Ghost Tour was a total bust except for one or two key moments. You guys know that yes, I do believe in ghosts, yes, I do sense ghosts thanks to that little pesky sensory overload gene that most Aspers have. For those that don't know, most Aspers have EXTREMELY strong senses in all capacities. If it wasn't for this stupid eye disease, I'd probably have beyond perfect vision too (but, even with this, I have night cat eyes, so there is that). As my Daddy used to say when I was little, "she can hear a mouse fart in Kentucky and probably smell it too!"...he wasn't far off. But, added to that, I can also sense "energies" (for lack of a better word). It's why I can judge people's characters so well the first second I meet them, it's why I don't like specific places the second I walk into them, and it's why I know when a place is genuinely haunted or not.

I should add a disclaimer that no, I don't typically see ghosts (although I have seen flickers of one or two throughout my life), nor do they talk to me (although I have heard sounds once or twice). When I was a kid, this sense scared the crap out of me and often made me sick. Imagine not understanding who or what you are (which I didn't), being hit with a blast of negative energy (which often occurs in a haunted place because most are from violent deaths) and then try to deal with it and NOT seem crazy! Yeah, doesn't work so well. My mother often said that, as we were driving down a road, even as a wee one, I would start crying well before we got to a cemetery, even if it was a road we had never been on before and I couldn't see out the window. My teenage years were the worst with the nausea when we'd go to these sorts of places. For example, we used to go to the Biltmore a lot when we'd visit family in North Carolina. I didn't like it, but I'd go anyway, until the last time when I had to leave the tour crying over the maid ghost in the servant's quarters (one of the few I've ever seen) and, after that, I put my foot down and we didn't go anymore. It was well into my 20's before I got a handle on that part of it and I've really only come to terms with it in the past 5 or so years and learned to tune it better so I can either block it out so it doesn't make me sick, or focus it so I can sense where more "action" is if I'm looking for it (which I don't often want to do, but sometimes I need to know for "safety's sake").

Now, back to the story at hand, so we start this ghost tour which goes down the river front, with stories of overloaded ferries and drowning people, and I felt nada. I figured it was because I wasn't actually "in" the water or because there is a LOT of foot traffic along the waterfront and has been LONG since the tragedy and it's just too much overloaded energy to feel the original bad ju-ju. This is more of a skyward shot, but I was trying to keep out the other tour members:
Then came all the mob stories and how the train lines were the best places to run their "whatever" merchandise and the best place to knock off people. Still nothing (other than the overwhelming crushing vibe of too many living people and THEIR negative energy...not one of the most positive places in town):
The Chicago Theater and all the tales of Al Capone (who featured prominently in all these stories we were mob vibes at all, BTW):
Honestly, at this point, I was digging the architecture more than the tales:
But then he takes to this, as a general rule, alleys in big cities aren't the best places to be and I'm already acutely aware of this being a paranoid person. This alley already had two people in it smoking pot (I kid you not), who scattered like rats when we entered. This alley in particular was the back alley to what used to be the Iroquois Theater. Back in 1903, theaters used to lock their doors to keep people from sneaking in after the show had started, so everyone was essentially trapped who didn't know where the doors were that weren't locked (which were few and far between). The fire exits weren't finished either, which also added to the problem. The theater caught fire and, because of what happened during that event, it's why we now have fire exits and the fire rules we have in almost every single building we have today. Apparently, people tried to get out and couldn't, they overloaded the fire escapes, which collapsed, people climbed to the roof and jumped, and eventually, because the theater had been packed to the brim, so many bodies had piled up in that alleyway, people were able to just walk out the fire escape doors across dead bodies to get out.

None of the pictures I took in that alley came out clear. Whether or not it was me shaking or the alley, I can't say, but that's the first time I've come close to that nauseous feeling since I was young and I had to fight it like crazy. I kept turning around because it felt like someone was literally hanging off my back (someone smaller, like a child, like their feet wasn't touching the ground) and that was a feeling I had for days after I came home (which I mentioned in an earlier post). Even my Sister eventually noticed that I wasn't right because I, not only kept backing out of the alley involuntarily, but I had this horrible look on my face that must have said "I want out NOW!". If he literally had kept us in there a minute longer, I would have left of my own accord (I couldn't decide which way he was going out, which was what I was trying to decide in my head, or I would have left already). But anyhoo, here are some of the pics (sorry, my Sister's nose is in this one):
She wanted a pic of herself by the stage door, I had to take it multiple times to get it to come out this good (which is still sucky):
The alley looking how far he drug us into it (and keep in mind the entire thing had been filled with bodies):
And how far up the lowest fire escape is (so again, body-depth level):
After that point, what he said and what I paid attention to, dropped off significantly, but something happened in one of the apartments above this McD's (I personally felt nothing):
Something happened over there (again, nothing):
Underground subway mall where a mob hit took I was feeling some major oppression...felt like I was being screamed at and again, I just wanted out as quickly as possible:
But again, out in the dark of night, something happened here and I couldn't tell you what because the "kid on my back" was back:
Then we had a sort of "break" at the haunted Palmer House, a hotel I knew was haunted before I walked in the door thanks to various ghost shows:
But once inside, I was more fascinated with the architecture and again felt NOTHING ghostly (maybe it's just the rooms?), so while we had a few minutes, I wandered around taking pictures:
Supposedly where the mobsters met...nada:
Am looking around:
You guys know I love me a light fixture!
Once we were in there for about 15 or 20 minutes for our "break", my nerves calmed down enough that I was able to finish the rest of the tour without issue (almost). Got to see the start of Route 66 sign:
Which means, even though I did it backwards, I've been to both ends!
Of course the last stop of the night was the Congress Hotel, which is probably one of the most Haunted places in Chicago..good ole H.H. Holmes himself like to snag victims from there...but for me, again nada:
...except, see that grassy tree area to the left in this next pic? He dragged us a bit too deep up in there (for nighttime at least), close to the zoo, to tell his tale:
and I was NOT a happy camper about it! I kept taking pics (or trying to, it was cloudy) of the moon to distract myself. Needless to say, I did take another pic of another supposed haunted area of the Congress which, I supposed if I was actually IN the room, I might feel something, but either I was too far away, or again, too many people vibes have cluttered the haunted vibe (or I was just too freaked out by the woods I was standing in)'s the four windows with the curtains completely closed, they supposedly don't rent out those rooms anymore:
And that was the end of the tour! We were close enough to our hotel to walk back (with a stop at the Walgreens), where I proceeded to have my Chicago Tale #1 incident.

Chicago Tales #6: Everyone's an art critic

Guess what guys...this post has pics!

I was a bit relieved I didn't have to go to the Art Institute with my Sister because we do tend to end up fighting over the time I tend to spend in the Impressionist/Renaissance time periods. I just lose track of time. And considering I really only had the two hours anyway, I was already pressed for time. I was whipping through, snapping photos left and right, thinking I would take my time and look at them when I got home. But I did get caught up with the Monet's (shock) and there were approximately four rooms of them, so I was in heaven! And I've never actually seen any of his London series in person, so that was a real treat! Thankfully, the masses were more interested in other pieces, so I had them all to myself for quite a while...and there were four of them!
and, of course:
ironically, my cell got a MUCH better photo of my favorite, more true to color...go figure!
but they all got me for quite a while...longer than I had time for.

There was one Monet that I had never seen before, but I had another visitor, who was standing in front of it, ask about it as I was walking by (why can't people read the plaques beside the paintings...more on that in a moment), and I immediately just said, barely looking at it, "it's a Monet". I felt weird saying that, and I'm not sure why I did, but I did glance at the card to make sure I was right and was happy that I hit the nail on the head! I stopped myself and got lost in it and she walked off. I'm not sure if I ran her off, or if she felt like she was intruding on my space, but I was tearing up again (a recurring theme with me and ol' Claude, the man gives me the feels, what can I say?):
Other people do tend to annoy me in general, but there were quite a few student groups there, including foreign students, so I had that to contend with as well (more on that in a moment), but it was a congregation of three teachers (high school...had to be), that got on my nerves the most. Granted, I get that impressionism isn't for everyone. My Sister doesn't care much for it (but I don't like Modern Art, so there you go). But as I was waiting to take a picture of yet another Monet, I had to listen to these three women's banter and I about lost my, and unfortunately there is no other way to say it, lost my shit! Here is the painting in question, just another one of his branches of the Seine near Giverny, one of the dozens of the paintings he did around his home (not including the HUNDREDS he did of his actual garden at Giverny):
Now, I get it's an impressionist painting of a riverbank. But logic tells you that you have a riverbank, with trees on the side, the sun is setting, so there is a reflection in the water that mimics the tree line, so what is above, shimmers below in the water, no? These women were INSISTENT that the painting was either hung sideways (hinting that the treeline to the left side was bushes, rather than half trees, half reflection of trees in water) or it was mush that wasn't meant to be understood. EVERY PAINTING IN THERE has a description beside it's title and painter, so it's not THAT difficult to interpret for the artistically impaired, but these were also TEACHERS. Granted, I do expect they were on the high school level and probably NOT art teachers, but I can't imagine they couldn't figure out river, riverbank, trees, water causes reflection of trees in water. It ain't rocket science! Or maybe it is and it's just rocket science that I can easily understand and other's can't. Thoughts? Can you see what I do or does it look like mush to you too?

I was forced to listen to their diatribe because I wanted a picture of the art, but I ended up raising the camera OVER their heads to get the picture because they just WOULD NOT move while they had their debate. It took everything I had to walk up to the painting and go..."tree, tree reflection!". But I did mumble "stupid idiots can't tell what a reflection is" as I walked off. I'm pretty sure they heard me, but I didn't care. Two rooms later, I tried to get back in there, and they were STILL STANDING THERE debating it! I wondered about the children they were "supposed" to be there to supervise! At that point, I was done and went looking for the Seurat that I had come there to see in the first place!

I wasn't expecting it to be as big as it was and, you really can't tell from this picture, but that sucker is huge! Probably ten Monets easily!
I couldn't bring myself to walk up close and look at it...part of me was afraid it would destroy the magic of the art and I think everyone around me felt the same because NO ONE got closer than I was to get the whole thing in the shot. Until, an entire group of foreign students came into the room! They all got right on top of the painting and started taking photos, literally inch by inch! The guard, who was manning the roped off area around it (again, pointing out that the painting was meant to be looked at from a distance), kept trying to get them back, but they all acted like they didn't understand her and kept snapping away. She got more aggressive and brought in more guards to help her push them back, which FINALLY succeeded after quite a BIT of yelling, but most of the usual visitors had already cleared out because no one else could get pictures or appreciate the art because there were dozens of little heads on top of the photo snapping pictures of every square inch. I wish I would have gotten a picture of that (but I didn't want to get in the same trouble), but I did stick around to watch because it was funny, especially when they all were escorted out! By then, the room had cleared, and I had most of the Monets, Degas', and even a few Manet's to myself!

But from an OCD standpoint, I do wish they put the Monet's in one room, the Degas' in another, etc. It was like an easter egg hunt trying to find them all and that place is spread out in multiple different rooms! I'm pretty sure the Monet's were just in four of the rooms, but I hope I didn't miss any!

Found an amazing Renoir:
They also had quite a collection of Camille Pissarro's, another impressionist that I have never seen in person, although we are pushing more neo-impressionism here, so it's not quite the same, but I still count it:
By the time I got to the Renaissance, I had dealt with the bloody foot issue and my shoe was still squeaking, so I hit it VERY fast, taking more wide shots than close ups, although I got a Rubens:
It was so silent in this room, I was almost scared to take a picture (my shutter tends to be quite loud), but then I saw the guy on the bench talking on his cell, so I just started snapping away:
And you can always count on religious imagery to be quite graphic!
And I'll stop there for now although I have dozens more (you can click through the album to find them). I wish I could have gotten more pictures. There were rooms I didn't even get to touch. I'm pretty sure I made it completely through the Impressionists, the Byzantines, the Greeks, Romans and part of the Renaissance, but I never found a Da Vinci or a Van Gogh, and I'm pretty sure they had at least one of both. Maybe next time I go back, I'll find them!

Chicago Tales #5 - Bleach and Marble - The Aftermath

The final bleach and marble story (and thankfully, it's a short one)...that sock, the one I used to soak up all the pure Clorox? The one I THOUGHT I threw away? Well, it somehow made it into my suitcase. It ruined by favorite (and brand new) Fitz from "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." shirt, a pair of jeans, multiple pair of underwear, as well as the inside of my suitcase.

I was able to order a new Fitz shirt though (even though I had to pay full price for this one, the other one I got on sale) and the underwear doesn't matter, no one sees them but me anyway. It was WAY past time for new luggage, and the jeans I just wrote off.

I STILL have NO CLUE how that sock got in my suitcase in the first place! I am 99.9% certain I threw it in the trash, so I don't know if my Sister found it and she threw it in with my stuff, if I picked it back up with the few toiletries I kept by accident, or if I somehow managed to pick it up with another day's dirty clothes...I just don't know.

But even when I got home, the second I opened my suitcase, the bleach and marble was once again another day's problem and a stark reminder of my time in Chicago. I will, henceforth, forever associate Chicago with bleach and marble!

Chicago Tales #4: Bleach and Marble - Part 2: Blood EVERYWHERE!


This whole trip came about because my Sister had a conference and she asked me to tag along. She added an extra day so that we would have time to do some sightseeing, but in the process of planning, she ended up having to go to two conferences instead of one, so that ruined her extra day of doing anything, but it meant that I had more time on my own to do stuff. I was a bit afraid that I would end up stuck in the room the entire trip because I've been extremely anti-social of late, but once I got used to the hop-on-off bus with her, I was fine by myself.

This was a good thing too because, she and I have VERY different views on art and The Art Institute was one of our sightseeing places that we were going to do together, but I now had all to myself. I was worried that we would end up fighting (as we often do in Art Museums...I tend to spend too much time in the Impressionists and Renaissance areas and she likes Modern Art, which I can't stand).

As an important side note, I didn't plan on the weather to be as warm and/or as humid as it is down here, so I didn't pack clothing comparable to what I would wear down here. I packed capris, but only dress flip flops (not meant to be worn for everyday use). But it was so warm, I decided on my museum day, I would wear my dress flips anyway, and just blister pad line up the top of my foot (just in case).

Again, here is where I screwed up. Because of the schedule of events, I didn't get to the Art Institute until 3 pm and it closed at 5 pm, so I was moving at a super-fast pace. I have been there before, so it was OK, I just needed some Monet time and I haven't seen the Seurat for A Sunday on La Grande Jatte in person, so I was anxious to do so. I wasn't paying ANY attention to my feet and my flip flops, despite their dressy nature, were Yellow Box, so they were super comfortable and the tops of my feet were covered in blister pads to block the irritating nature of the scratchy tops, so I wasn't bovver'ed. Room to room I bounced, snapping pictures left and right and, despite the fact that my shoes eventually started squeaking (which I just attributed to me getting hot and sweating, although I didn't feel like I was hot at all, it was pretty cold in there actually), I felt no pain.

Once I got to the Greek section, my shoes were squeaking louder, but again, no pain and it was 4:40, so I still wasn't bovver'ed, until a security guard stopped me (the third one to do so for various different reasons...I was a popular tourist, apparently...Aspers just LOVE to be noticed, thank you VERY much!) and very loudly exclaimed "MA'AM! ARE YOU ALRIGHT????". My answer in the weakest, quietest voice I could muster..."yes, thank you, I'm fine, thanks for asking" (since now everyone in creation was staring at me), "BUT MA'AM, YOU'RE BLLLEEEEDDDINGGGG!!!!" and she pointed to the trail of bloody footprints that I had left on the marble floor from the Byzantines to the Greeks.

Yea, one of the blister pads had come loose and I had rubbed my foot raw enough that I was gushing blood from one of the few visible veins I have, like someone had cut a major artery or something! That squeaking I had been hearing, for god knows how long, was the blood soaking, first my shoe, then the floor!

She called another guard on their walkies, they sat me down in a chair (much to my horror), they asked if I needed an ambulance (again, I swore I didn't, much to my horror), I used Kleenex to clog up the bleeding and wipe down my shoe and begged them to at least let me get to a bathroom (which they FINALLY did). Once there, I washed off my shoe (which REALLY made it squeak), put a new blister pad on the space (I forgot I had them in my bag until I got in the bathroom) and bolted out the door for the bus.

Ironically, on my way out, there was a janitor mopping the floor with, you guessed it, bleach!

Once it was all clean, it looked like nothing, and even a couple of days later when I got home, I can't see how I managed to lose THAT much blood from such a superficial wound:
I only wish I would have had the sense to take a photo of the bloody footprints I left in the museum! Wonder if I was the first person to ever do that? Seems like I left my mark on a lot of marble in Chicago! But next up, the final bleach and marble story, the aftermath!

Chicago Tales #3 - Bleach and Marble - Part 1: Purple Stains

Remember the purple shampoo I mentioned in the last post? Well, it haunted me BIG time once we got to Chicago. Granted, almost everything non-clothing I own is purple (I tend to wear black and shades of heather gray when it comes to shirts and jeans as a general rule), so when my purple shampoo leaked in my purple toiletry bag (which is also purple, but I always bag it in a ziploc for just such reasons) inside my checked bag (you guessed it, purple), I wasn't too worried. The bag would dry and it was just shampoo right? WRONG!

Of course, that first night I wasn't conscious enough to grasp the situation of the spill and I didn't wash my hair, but I did the next morning and, because of the light-colored marble in the Hyatt bathroom, I was EXTRA careful to make sure that no purple shampoo remained in the shower so it didn't stain. What I didn't plan for was that my toiletry bag was still wet and that housekeeping would push my bag against the marble-tiled backs plash of the sink and it would leave stain marks on the back splash!

That second night, I noticed it right away and, thankfully, my Sister had Clorox wipes, but they didn't help. I tried hairspray, nail polish remover, and every chemical concoction I could think of to get the purple stain out of the marble, but NOTHING worked! So that night, when we made our Walgreens stop for sodas, I bought pure bleach and a scrubber.

This entire time of my trying to remove said stains, my Sister kept telling me not to worry about it. No one would notice. I was TERRIFIED she would get this MASSIVE bill from the Hyatt for replacing those marble tiles (it literally covered two tiles), so I was not about to let that happen.

On night three, I spent over an hour in the bathroom scrubbing, and scrubbing, and scrubbing those purple stains. The lighter ones FINALLY came off, the big one didn't. I decided that maybe the scrubber wasn't the best plan because I might damage the marble, so I switched to my toothbrush (yes, I finger-brushed the rest of the trip because I couldn't find a purple toothbrush at Walgreens). When that didn't work either, I decided NOT to use the hotels towels or rags, but instead one of my own socks...this would haunt me later (I was afraid that, if they got soaked in bleach, it would ruin their laundry and they would figure out I was up to something nefarious...paranoid much?). Still nada. The hotel had cotton balls in plastic, so the next day, I soaked cotton balls in bleach, placed them on the worst spots, locked them against the wall with my perfume bottle, and hoped for the best!

THANKFULLY, this last-ditched effort worked and the spots were all gone! But, because I had bleach sitting against the wall all day (with my bleach-soaked sock underneath), I had cleaning up to do that night. I made every attempt to make sure there was no pure bleach sitting anywhere and washed down every surface with water, but I did have to get hotel towels involved in the process. I stacked them all up to the side, dumped the remaining bleach down the sink, threw away the bleach bottle, my toothbrush, the scrubber, my sock (or so I thought), and my favorite toiletry bag just to keep it from getting purple everywhere else. But throwing away my toiletry bag meant I had to loose a lot of toiletries as well since I didn't have anywhere to keep them but in a ziploc. I also threw a bunch of other trash on top and hoped that housekeeping didn't go through it all down to the bleach bottle and got suspicious (although, since it was toiletry heaven, I'm sure they did).

My Sister laughed off the whole debacle and told me I was making a big deal out of nothing, but I was just scared about the stains and what they could charge her.

Note to all those who use purple shampoo for blonde STAINS! Now, remember the bleached sock...that will come up in a later story, but I do have one more bleach and marble story first, and this one is WAY off from this string!

Chicago Tales #2: Bleach & Marble - The Prequel

Bleach and Marble turned out to be a recurring theme throughout my trip, and it all started the week before we even left.

Hi, I'm Keebs and I was born with naturally mouse blonde hair. However, I had been professionally blonde since I was 16 years old (chlorine blonde since childhood from pools). Granted, I tried black once and a few other weird choices throughout the years but, for the majority of my life, it's been blonde. My foray into purple a few years ago (mixed with blue, and blue ALWAYS fades to green, and green HAS to grow off) meant that I had almost a year of growing off all that bad ju-ju color that was left over (covered up with a brown) and a year of my natural color. From what I've been told, you either go gray or go darker as you get older...apparently I got darker. Darker on me made me feel like I looked 10 years older than am, so I was squirming as it was and was going to switch back to blonde, trip or not.

As a side note, when it comes to me and blonde, I don't like gold blonde, especially on me. I don't have the coloring for it. I'm more of the champagne blonde kind of person. Gold blonde looks yellow on me and its horrible! I also can't go red because it ALWAYS goes orange. My hair is VERY weird! The one time I had her do it professionally purple, it turned brown. She is very aware of my weird hair and all its quirks (it matches the weird rest of me), and she's dealt with it for YEARS, so I trust her (usually). I've only ever had two people do my hair, and she's been doing it as long as she's had her license.

I was scheduled for later in the day, but it was a pageant day (and I HATE getting caught in those and she knows it), so she moved me up to avoid that horrible traffic. I get there bright and early, all my example pics/videos ready to go (think Daisy Johnson, Season 6 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D....without the blue/purple streaks, basically balayage'd champagne blonde) and, in no time, I'm all 40-volumed up and sitting there stewing. My Sister was getting her's done at the same time (she, surprisingly enough, was going darker with some copper streaks, she was BORN blonde, go figure...the exact opposite of me), so we kept getting swapped out, but she got finished before me and, despite our plans to mull around town, she didn't feel well, so she went home as the first pageant people started to mill in.

Now, as she's drying my hair, I'm not seeing the "marbling" that my hair should have, but rather just a VERY slightly lighter overall color and I start to squirm and she notices. She keeps saying, "it will lighten as it dries", but I can tell she's starting to squirm too. By the time she's done drying it, she realizes that it didn't take and she now has three little pageant girls starring at her with very impatient demanding faces. I'm more demanding and she knows it, so she quickly slaps another load of 40 volume on hap-hazardly, and kicks me to the side as she starts in on the first kid-victim. She knows I'm unhappy being there with those pageant kids, but we've also been texting back-and-forth, and she knows I'm MORE unhappy with my hair and willing to suffer it out (which is saying a LOT because I don't deal well with a) kids, b) pageant kids, c) people in general, d) mistakes).

First monster child is finished up and drag ready, and again, we start in rinsing and drying my hair...still nada! Two FULL rounds of 40 volume bleach and NO BLONDE! We went over my meds, we went over my conditions, we went over what I had to eat the night before (nothing conflicted). She started to go a third time, but the pageant mom complained that they had to be at wherever by a certain time and they would be late if she continued on me. Now here is where I screwed up because I offered to step aside, so her brats could get finished...not something I would normally do, I am not considerate of others. My stylist knew this and asked if I was willing to come back later in the week, but my answer was a definite NO, I wanted to wait. At this point, I probably should have realized that she was asking because she didn't have time for me, but again, I'm NOT considerate of others and I was only thinking of myself. Part of me was thinking of my busy work week, part of me was thinking that it's hard enough for me to get the courage to go there once, twice in a week is just too much, and the other part of me was I just wanted my hair fixed so I can move on with my planned week.

I sat in that shop the ENTIRE day, with kids coming and going, their horrible little demands being met at every turn and their horrible behaviors being completely ignored/placated by their mothers. I just plugged into my iPad and watched numerous episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. and tried to ignore as much as I could (including the baby that was crawling on the dirty, hair-covered floor, sucking on bottles of hair products, throwing containers that had used bleaching agents in them and playing with old foil papers, etc) while her mother paid her absolutely no attention.

At the very end of the day, I was FINALLY back in the chair and we decided that, since I had already been through two full rounds of bleach, a third round could potentially be really damaging, so we would just do from about halfway down to the tips, but again, just in chunks, streaks, and "marbled". As I'm watching her work, I notice she's covering the entire bottom half of my hair with bleach, and I ask her THREE times, "are you covering it all with bleach?" to which I got three responses, "no, I'm spacing it out". She wasn't spacing it out. After an extended bleaching time, again I was washed and dried and, to my horror (and to hers), the entire bottom half of my hair was bright gold.

I think I was just tired and too stunned to speak and I know she was tired. I didn't fight too much and she didn't say anything, so I just paid and left. She recommended purple shampoo and conditioner (remember that...those things are important and will come in handy in the next story), so I proceeded to head directly to Target to get said items along with some last minute trip stuff, not really realizing how bad my hair actually looked.

Once I got home, however, the full weight of what was on my head, hit me. It was a NIGHTMARE! It reminded me of the time I tried to go from blonde to brown as a kid and turned my hair green! I immediately used the purple cocktail (twice), then did it a third time and let it sit, hoping it would take out the yellow brass. It didn't. When I woke up Sunday, I did it again, only this time I let the conditioner sit on it for hours, but I think it was just getting oranger! By late in the day, knowing my hair girl had a birthday party for her son that day, I texted her anyway and told her that she would have to fix my hair before I went to Chicago the following Thursday and possibly before I could leave the house even for work...I couldn't live with my hair like this!

She doesn't work on Mondays at all and wouldn't make an allowance for it, so I wore a ponytail and actually did go to work (although I did seriously debate on calling in sick), but I had an appointment scheduled for first thing Tuesday morning. It interfered with my VERY busy work schedule, but this was an EMERGENCY and I DID phrase it to work like that. They didn't understand, but I didn't give them a choice. There are times when I put my foot down about things and this was one of them.

When I walked back in her shop that morning, she was horrified by the damage she had done and almost started crying (so at least that made me feel better), and she realized that yes, she HAD covered the entire bottom with bleach. Even when I texted her Sunday, she still believed she had "marbled" it. I knew that I had pressured her by staying and I knew she was tired, I just didn't realize HOW tired until that moment. She is kind of a pushover and my Asper self tends to always want my way. And I ended up torturing myself by sitting there for 10 hours with a bunch of horrible children and even worse parents coming and going (my worst nightmare), all so I could leave with horrible hair! I kind of deserved what I got. She started in immediately, and for the FOURTH time in less than a week, I had bleach put on my hair yet again.

But this time, my hair came out absolutely PERFECT! Better than it has in YEARS! Granted, it's more high school Keebs and adult Keebs. The older I got the more bold I tended to get with color. This is very subtle highlighting, nothing wild or crazy, very natural, but it is exactly the right color that I like, even if it is NOTHING like Daisy Johnson's hair. She also had to super deep condition it, but still. I offered to pay her yet again (but she really outdid herself the fourth time), but thankfully she refused (and I'm glad she did because I technically didn't have the money to pay her anyway without using my nail money).

I didn't walk into work that day until well after 1 pm, but at least I could walk into work without a ponytail. I am still fighting dryness, but ironically, my hair was falling out a lot more BEFORE I had this done than it is now and it's been growing a LOT faster SINCE I had this done! I think my hair missed being blonde.

Short story long? I was meant to be blonde and I need to NEVER go back to my natural color! Granted, considering some of the very white blonde pieces at the bottom (where it's been over bleached), I have been more than tempted to streak some purple underneath but, I'm holding off that craving for now.

Next time...the side effects of the purple shampoo and marble!