Don’t wear your hair up. Ever.

From my cousin, Laura:

“Gam got the pics today from Jacky’s prom. While looking at them through her giant magnifying glass, she kept commenting . . . . and I couldn’t help but chuckle when she said, “look at Jenny!  See, I told her she has to wear her hair down and stop pulling it back“. lol.”

That’s more like it . . .

These are the grandkids Gam raised.


Is it just me, or should that girl consider bangs?

Fred Armisten asks it in SNL’s 2010/2011 takes on The Lawrence Welk Show. My sisters and I can quote every sketch by heart. Especially choice lines from “Joonice” or “Eunice,” or whatever her name is–we can’t quite figure it out. But next to my three beautiful sisters I’m definitely the gal with the big forehead, the baby hands and the affinity for mustard. (Is that bad?)

"And I'm Joo-nice!"

“Is it just me, or could you show a movie on that girl’s forehead?”

“Is her forehead really big or am I just looking through a buncha bubbles?”

“Is it just me or does her forehead look like the side of a cliff?”

Anyway. Once I was watching a movie with Gam. I think I was in high school. She studies my face for a few moments before she leans in and asks, matter-of-factly, “Have you ever thought about bangs?”



“Not really, why?”

“Well you do have a rather high forehead. Bangs would cover it up a little bit.”

"Is that bad?"

[Cricket Cricket Cricket]

“And you could let them hang in your eyes, and look up to the right and blow them away, like this.”

She makes a flirty face and blows a tuft of air out of the right corner of her mouth, sending her thin curly  tendrils up, up and away.

“It could be your signature move.”

“My signature move?”

“Yes. Every girl must have one. And that could be yours!”

I wonder what Gam’s signature move is?

There are probably quite a few.

(Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo . . . )

What happened to your boobs?

“Jenny, you’re not very big, are you?”


“Your boobs. You don’t really got ’em.”

“Thanks Gam.”

“So what’s wrong with you?”


“Your mother has them. Your aunt has them. I’ve got bozooms.”


“As a matter of fact I think everyone in your whole family’s got bozooms–‘cept you and your sister.”

[Cricket Cricket Cricket]

“So, what happened to you?”

“I have no idea Gam.”

“Oh well! You’ll have to use your legs. You’ve got nice legs.”

The one about my Polish nose


So we’re sitting at breakfast one morning and Gam makes one of her ninja observations.

“You girls don’t have small noses like your little sisters’.”

“No Gam. Big Polish nose.”

“Yeah. That’s true.”

My sister Patty and I definitely got the short end of the stick when it comes to noses in our family. Luckily Gam is encouraging.

“That’s OK,” she tells me. “You just have to learn how to use it properly!”

Any suggestions on how to properly use a Polish nose? Patty and I welcome your ideas and input.

“Don’t wear your hair up–ever.”

I called Gam this morning. She’s in good ninja spirits. Samurai, even.


“It’s been a good day so far,” she proudly reports. “I had a delightful breakfast. Somebody hung a cake on my doorknob, so I ate the whole thing.”

“A cake? On your doorknob?”

She takes the are you stupid tone. “Well they’re not going to fit underneath it.”

I smile. Of course not.

“Actually there were three cakes on my doorknob today. But I only ate one. People here are trying to fatten me up.”

I think it’s a beautiful thing to live in a world where your neighbors tie cakes to your door and you don’t question whether or not they’ve been poisoned-and where you can forgive the copious amounts of cat hair baked into every bite.

She asks what I’m doing today, and I tell her I’m going to go for a run because its mid-sixties and beautiful and not a cloud in the sky. She tells me Colorado has “doppy” weather–whatever that means.

Then I mention that I’m going to wedding this evening, and she gets very excited.

“Oh, what big fun! What are you wearing to the wedding?!”

I honestly haven’t figured that out yet. So I make something up.

“I think I might wear this black dress I have. Its kinda like the one Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

“Ohhhh….I love that movie. She wore a hat with that dress–you got a hat?

“No Gam. No hat.”

“Well promise me you’ll wear your hair down? I don’t like it when you wear your hair all snatched back. Bleh.”

I smile and roll my eyes. Always honest. But seriously–what girl wouldn’t kill for a pal that will be that honest with you?

Like the time she told me I needed to bangs because my forehead was too big, or that I needed to learn how to properly work my Polish nose? Or when I was wrestling with an eating disorder–the evening when she quietly wrapped an arm around my waist and whispered in my ear that perhaps we both needed to gain some weight, and that she would help and we’d do it together?

I’m thankful. Ok, maybe I could do without the “bleh” sound effects. But I’m thankful.

“Did you hear me, Jennifer? Don’t wear it up! Ever!”

“I’ll wear it down tonight. Heck, I might even curl it.”

She squeals.

I’m lying.

“Jenny, Jesus curled my hair this morning.”

(Oh boy. Here we go.)

“Well you know I can’t see to put my hair up in rollers. But this morning, it got up–chess, it did. I just took a piece of hair and said ‘Lord, help me with this one?’ and he did. And then I took enough piece of hair and said ‘Lord, help me with this one, too?’ and sure enough–Loretta came in to give me my belly-shot, and she said ‘Wow, Pat–how did you get your hair up so perfectly in those rollers?’ and I put my hands in the air and said ‘Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord, for my beautiful hairdo!’

Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord, for doing hair. That definitely falls into the other-duties-as-assigned category. And for “doppy” weather.

And mostly for giving me a ninja for a grandma.