the hair cut

It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still. I looked down near my Docs then up into the mirror to gauge Margo’s reaction. There wasn’t one. The other girls seemed to be watching for one, too. Instead, silence suffocated the salon.

“Is that okay?” I said, my voice feeling like monstrous thunder in the still of the salon. I retrieved the five inch thick curl of hair from the floor and held it up for Margo to view.

“I s’pose,” Margo hummed. “But I may want even more cut off after yer done, okay?”

“Of course.”

I continued cutting Margo’s silver and black hair and wondered why she was wanting such a change. This was her first time with me. Actually, it was her first time in the salon. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been in a salon to get her hair done, but she needed a change. “Desperately,” Margo added, dropping her eyes from mine.

She wanted a little life put back into her hair, she told me. Something that wouldn’t require her to color it, nor require much maintenance. She couldn’t afford to do either, and I was pretty sure she wasn’t referring to just money.

There was something about Margo that intrigued me more-so than most first time clients, and I found myself trying to get her to talk more.

“I bet you’ll be a lot cooler with shorter hair,” I smiled, focusing on cutting.

“That’d be nice.”

“Has it ever been short?”

“Not since I was a kid.”

What was it about this woman that I needed to know?

“Have you ever tried blowing your hair out?”

Margo shifted in her seat before answering, “It’s just too much work. I’d love it straight, but we all want what we don’t have.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” I snickered.

I looked at the mirror and found Margo’s eyes and immediately felt something that I really don’t know how to describe. A connection of sorts, perhaps? I’m not sure, but I needed to keep this woman talking. It felt necessary.

“What?” she softly asked when our eyes met. “What is it you want that you don’t have?”

Love…happiness…peace, my brain shouted, but instead I smiled and said, “Oh ya know, the usual stuff: my own home, a new car n stuff.”

“Hmm,” a grin washed across Margo’s face. “That’s just ‘stuff’ though. Is there anything you want that doesn’t cost money?”

“Of course,” I replied, trying to focus on more cutting; Margo had a lot of hair.

With another grin washing across her face, Margo continued: “One of my favorite quotes is from Picasso: ‘Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.’”

Our eyes met again, and again there was that… spark.

I thought about what she said for a moment and her eyes dropped back down into her lap like they had done when she first sat down with me. I continued cutting her hair when suddenly I blurted out, “Is that why you’re cutting off all this hair?”

Immediately I wished it back. I don’t know why I had become so defensive. But when I finally looked back at Margo, she was grinning again. And she was looking into my eyes again with so much kindness.

“My hair, for me,” she said smiling, “is just more ‘stuff’. It doesn’t really matter in the long run, ya know?”

I returned her smile and noticed her blue eyes started to shine and that, in turn, made me start to well up as well.

I finished cutting her hair and when it was all said and done, she smiled big again, shook her head and curls and thanked me, telling me I did a great job, that I was right to start cutting it longer.

A couple weeks later, I got a card in the mail at the salon. It was from Margo with no last name, no return address. The front of the card had an image of someone sitting on a bench watching the sunset. Inside the card was a handwritten note:

John Steinbeck said, “I wonder how many people
I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”
I want you to know that I saw you,
the REAL you and you deserve love and happiness.
You just got to believe that. Truly believe it.
Thanks for the great hair cut!





well, this was new for me… i’m not one to generally go sappy when writing fiction. hope it was still enjoyable.

Air: Capturing a Woman’s Final Days

Oh wow. This is just one of the most beautiful things I’ve read and seen in a long time. I felt immediately drawn in because of the photo of the woman with the breathing tubes– it reminded me of my grandmother who I lost a year ago. I was there by my grandmother’s side at the end, and while it was one of the most difficult times in my life, I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. These photos, this story… a must see and read. Incredible.

Jess Dewes

On January 30th, 2014, a woman walked into my photography studio carrying a tote bag full of oxygen tanks and jewelry. She smiled at me from under the hose that disappeared into her nostrils and I fell for her instantly.

On film, first meeting, 1/30/14.

A few months prior to the day Julie VonderHaar came to my studio for a portrait, I was invited to be part of a group photography show at a gallery called SOHA in South St. Louis, MO.  I was informed that the theme of the exhibit was simply AIR. Each photographer (8 total) was to interpret the theme however they liked and create something for the show. As a businessperson, exhibiting in shows like this is rarely lucrative, but the artist in me couldn’t resist the opportunity to stretch a bit beyond my work portfolio of baby portraits, corporate head shots, and wedding documentation.

I knew…

View original post 1,388 more words

excerpts from Phun’s Blog


Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold, making the tiny blond toddler cry out even louder. Like a vicious circle, the girl’s crying made Winter clamp down even harder on her leg. It all happened so fast and within seconds people swarmed around tossing sticks, bags, rocks, even cell phones; but nobody could make the dog release its hold on the girl’s leg.


Finally a tall man in a blue baseball cap squeezed his way through the crowd and injected the mad dog with something that enabled him to put it into a headlock and lock it into a cage.

It was the craziest thing I’d ever seen.


The poor little girl laid on the ground, blood oozing into a puddle below her, turning her into a stop sign. She stopped crying and screaming by then. In fact, the girl seemed to have lost consciousness.

Stupid fucking dogs.

“Winter!” A woman’s voice called out in a bit of a panic. “Winter?!”

“Tell me you’re not calling after your dog,” I said, peering over the top of my sunglasses.

She looked at me. “Have you see him? He’s got yellow—“

Who the fuck names their dog Winter?

“Yeah he just fucking took a chunk outta that poor girl’s leg,” I nodded my head in the direction of the girl still lying motionless in a pool of her own blood.


“Dude, yer dog’s as good as dead. If not by animal control, by these people who had to witness the horror of all that bullshit.”

“I… I….”

“That kinda dog doesn’t belong in the city, lady; what the fuck is wrong with you?”

The lady looked at me, tears streaming from her eyes. “Winter’s not a dog,” she managed to spit out through her tears. She looked past me and started running toward the animal control truck.

The fuck is wrong with people?


Blog title: Clearly I Am Not a Dog Person
Author: Phun E. Joak


So I was watching the news last night after witnessing that crazy shit with the dog attacking the little girl… Seems there’s a story that’s been released about a woman who kept her son locked in a cage from the time he was born until he escaped the other day. The boy was six years old. She kept him locked in a cage for six years, treating him like a fucking animal. The boy’s name is Winter.


Blog title: Holy shit
Author: Phun E. Joak




my hair is not like duct tape

Even as an adorable baby, I had dark hair and lots of it.

hair baby

As a little kid with no real say-so in much of, well, anything at all, my hair was kept super short.

hair 70s bowlcut

(I suspect it’s because of how much hair I had, and maybe because it was the 70s and short, bowl-cuts were hip? But really, folks? Stay away from putting a bowl atop your child’s head!)

When puberty hit, my hair started getting some texture to it, and it hasn’t stopped since then.

hair late 80s

hello 1988 & trying to brush out curly hair

Now in my forties, I have super curly hair with the added bouncy bonus of silver grays, and until last Monday, my hair was long.

hair looong

Monchichi & me, Halloween 2011

Really long.

I generally wore it tossed together in a ball of sorts atop my head because it just gets to be too much and I hate sweating and feeling hot and let me tell you, all that hair gets HOT.

hair top of head

hello silver circa 2012

For the most part, I’ve really grown to like my hair. A lot. Even the silver. But there are times when I’d love to do something different; I start looking into shorter cuts and dream of someone cutting my hair the way I want it cut, opposed to the way they were taught.

My hair is not like duct tape. You don’t (wet it,) pull at it, hold it, and cut. It doesn’t work like that. I mean, sure it does, but then when the hair dries, it will be inches shorter than when it was wet, and it will, inevitably, look like shit.


I’ve always loved Posh Spice’s cut—long in front, short in back—but never dreamed it would be possible to do on my super curly hair.

hair posh

Then during one of my wanting-to-do-something-different moods, I stumbled across pictures of short curly hair in an inverted bob (Posh cut). Regardless, I was terrified of going for it because I still hadn’t found anyone who would cut my hair dry– or they would cut it dry but then they’d still do the whole treating it like duct tape thing (pull, hold, cut).

Finally, after a miscarriage in 2008 and feeling like I needed a drastic change, I went for it. Of course the end result was ridiculously short and so awful I begged that my husband never let me cut my hair short again. (He keeps a picture on his cell for when I get in the mood to do something different.)

hair 2009

2009 after months of growth from awful cut; hell no am I showing pic hub has

Since that horrid cut, I’ve gotten my hair cut a total of two times excluding last Monday’s cut, because last Monday, I got my hair cut at a joint in the city (Chicago) that specializes in the DevaCurl cut.

hair today


I kinda love it, and for the first time (in for)ever, I felt like I finally found a place that really understood me and my hair… until I went and picked up my favorite person in the whole world—my 4 year-old daughter—and, once in our seats in the car, asked her what she thought of my cut. I mean, if you want an honest opinion you ask a kid, right?

She wasn’t too happy.*

The moral of the story? If you have naturally curly hair and can never seem to be happy with a cut, look into the DevaCurl way. Oh, and don’t get a drastic cut and ask your kid how it looks if you’re looking for positive reinforcement.



*This week she’s used to my hair again and doesn’t cringe or cry when she sees me.



I dreamed a movie again last night. Actually it was more like this morning. Do you ever do that? Dream a movie. Like an action movie. It’s exhausting to wake up during an action movie. I feel absolutely drained.

This one involved a bus of sorts. And a prison-like environment. Actually, it was more like a prison/foster home. Or something. It was super dark and big–the “home”. People were walking around with cloaks on. They were alone or with maybe one or two other people. It was quiet, not a lot of talking.

I was there but it was like I was filming myself. There was a small man there as well.

The dream-movie began when we were young children in the “home.” He and his gang of friends or family were loud and obnoxious. But he was small so he seemed to get picked on a lot. Like one time when they were walking down the stairs and he was eating a brownie. Some of the brownie fell to the floor and he looked quite upset. The older kids pointed and laughed and taunted him. He tried to brush it off like it wasn’t a big deal. (I feel like this character is very similar to the hard ass on Shameless. I can’t think of the character’s name but he’s short and quite crass, but he’s also gay which he tries to hide. Update: his name is Mickey.)

Then we flash to the future or present day. I’m trying to escape the “home”. And I make it out. Not quite sure how exactly but I, along with some others, make it out. But then we’re somehow caught and brought back and locked up. (Think Elsa and Frozen.)

The plan is to escape by pretending to be a cloak person. We end up stealing a bus as we pretend to be the cloak people. But again, our escape is quickly squashed and this time, they put us in this underground “home” that makes it near impossible to escape. The only way out is for someone to break in from the outside to get us out.

So the small man from earlier (dude from Shameless??) comes to our rescue. Only we don’t know who it is and my dream has me seeing the action through his eyes. That’s what I mean about dreaming a movie. I could see things to the left and right and in front and below– whenever he moved his head. I knew that I was in someone’s point of view during the dream, but I wasn’t sure whose pov. Then I slip through this huge churning thing and am able to see myself and others to free us.

The point of view shifts back to a general overall view of things. And that’s when I see it’s the small man who rescued us, whose pov I was in earlier. The others are so shocked he saved us because he was one of them. But I knew it was because he’d had enough of following and wanted to become a leader.

Of course he was then locked up. He was planning his escape when my fucking alarm brought me back to reality.

Like I said, I’m exhausted.