31 December 2017

Fumbling for Words

Have you ever simultaneously had the breath knocked out of you and the pain of the world knocked into you? That somewhat explains what happened to me last November. Despite the leaps of progress for women after centuries of denial of opportunities, and after getting to a breaking point with many tragic humanitarian issues in the country, a huge portion of the U.S. decided they didn't care about other people. One person really hurt me by saying, "It's not like someone died," but to me, it felt like an expansive death sentence or at the very least a huge, selfish, "We utterly don't care about you" directed at millions of people that would result in harmful policy and ongoing discrimination and tragedy. I didn't just feel my own pain; I felt the weight of widespread devastation. And what can one say when they can't breathe and they've been told their voice doesn't matter?

I'm amazed that despite the heavy burden of constant terrible news over the last year, many people have been able to process quickly and get enough breath to raise strong voices in opposition. I'm just now starting to feel like I can feel around in the dark for my voice, but only because I've been guiltily using my privilege to mute a lot of the constant influx of bad news. All I've been able to do for the last year is focus my energy on building a program that empowers people who have even fewer privileges under the current administration. It's so, so hard, but I care so, so much about this important cause.

08 November 2016


When I was in elementary school, I made friends with an older woman in my neighborhood. Pat had a cute little dog named Goochie, her house was full of curiosities that any young child would marvel at, she would happily give you one of the amazing-smelling roses from her garden, she had the most curious mole on her face that I couldn't help but look at, and she was always friendly and accepting. My family would invite Pat over to Sunday dinner and occasionally she would invite my very large family over to her house for dinner.

One time, when we arrived at Pat’s house, she had the television on. Hillary Clinton was speaking, and Pat said something along the lines of, "Isn't she just wonderful?" Pat occasionally did strange things, and who could blame someone getting up there in years and living alone? At the time I didn't know much about Hillary Clinton, but I watched my mom avoid the question and later heard my parents talk about the Clintons and specifically Hillary in a disparaging way, so naturally I thought Pat's opinion of Hillary must be one of her quirks that was forgivable due to her age.

From people I was surrounded by, I learned that Hillary couldn’t do anything right—I even remember hearing her being criticized for getting expensive haircuts, which most of us would probably do if we had the means and our looks were being critiqued by the world.

It took about 20 years for me to re-evaluate the belief that Hillary was a horrible person. Today, #ImWithHer.

In the past few years as much of my life has circled around my professional life, I have learned a lot about gender bias. I’ve learned that women are often expected to balance on a very thin fence and it’s often impossible to please people—women either have too much makeup, or not enough. They either are not involved enough or too bossy. They either smile too much or too little. These opinions do not just come from men; we've all learned to look at women this way and it takes effort and dedication to look past what we've learned. It's hard for women to completely win at whatever they do.

I’ve seen all the same bias at play with Hillary—her voice is shrill, her voice is too manly, she’s not loving enough, she’s a woman and women are too emotional. She’s been criticized for her husband’s choices and her outfits. Media focus has been more on her past mistakes and where she as a person falls short than on where she stands now. Through it all, she has remained unwaveringly confident. I wish I could have poise like that.

Honestly, I've mostly looked at politics as annoying and to be avoided as much as possible. I think it says something that someone like me has been seriously affected by the hatred and selfishness spewed by Trump in the current election.

I’ve cried when hearing that people I know are supporting Trump—not because they’re not supporting Hillary Clinton, but because I hear "Like Trump, I don't respect you or any woman and I am not willing to show love and understanding to people who are different from me."

A lot of people have had trauma re-surface because of Trump and it’s terrifying to think his hatred could be normalized more than it already is. I can’t even begin to tell you how emotional I’ve been this election, from the trauma of Trump, to the excitement at possibly having a woman in the office of president, to the bitter disappointment at how strong the racism, xenophobia, and sexism are in the U.S.

Although I haven’t lived in Utah for many years, this breaks my heart:

I was so proud of so many from the state I was raised in disliking Trump. What happened? Were people unable to look past their party? Do people know that Utah used to be Democrat and it's okay to vote outside of your party to thwart someone like Trump?

As far as I know, in my lifetime, Trump is the only U.S. presidential candidate who has been so openly, repeatedly, unapologetically hateful of people different than he is. I do not believe that either party is an advocate for hatred and I’m confounded as to why Donald Trump has come this far. This election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is no longer a question of political views or parties; it is a question of hating/allowing hate for or supporting your fellow humans.

I don’t believe it’s possible for any human to be a perfect leader (do you?!), and I don’t think Hillary Clinton is the exception to that. I do know that Hillary Clinton has long cared about women’s and children’s rights, that she has years of experience dealing with the most difficult situations, that she does her homework to make the best decisions she can, that she stuck it out with an unfaithful spouse (seriously, wow), and that she’s seeking to learn and be more inclusive as we all should.

Having Hillary Clinton as president would be a whole world better than an America with a hateful Trump as leader. Again, I know that Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect. But I also know that she hasn’t sexually assaulted anyone, been unapologetic and even encouraging of sexual assault, mocked people with disabilities, proudly avoided paying taxes, stereotyped minorities as rapists and criminals, stooped to endless name-calling and body-shaming, talked casually about nuking, not paid hundreds of people for their work, been hands-off about raising children and discouraged fathers from being involved, or been endorsed by the KKK.

If I felt like I had any sway and that it’s not mostly too late, I would beg: do not vote for Trump and the hatred and fear he stands for. It has been somewhat relieving to hear of family members who have decided to vote for third-party candidates in mostly Republican states, but in the end, they are essentially voting for Trump and "spoiling" the election. (See this video about voting paradoxes to learn about the spoiler effect.)

It has taken a lot for me to say this publicly online, but the more I think about it and feel upset by the awfulness of Trump, the more I feel like I have to say something or forever regret not standing up for someone I believe in and against a horror. I, like many others, have asked myself if I would have stood up against Nazis in Germany or if I would have been on the wrong side of history. Today, though I'm late, I stand with the person I believe will steer America clear of similar utter chaos and tragedy.

To anyone reading this who has been afraid to publicly support Hillary Clinton or at the very least to speak up against Trump, I encourage you to stand with me.

To anyone who has not closely examined their disgust of Hillary Clinton and needs some inspiration (even if you've already voted), let me know and I will add you to an amazingly inspiring, Hillary-supporting Facebook group that you can read about here.

At the end of today, I hope to be able to know for sure that we will finally have a tough, experienced woman as president who will set an example for generations of girls and women. I hope if Pat is watching, she'll be proud. I also hope that my ballot stub will be a treasure for years to come as I've seen happen with suffragette sashes.

I leave you with some words that resonated with me from blogger CJane:
[Hillary’s] fight feels so personal to me. She's had to fight like hell and she's still standing--and that's important to me because I've never seen it done before. And I need to see it done. What will we gain from a nation full of women who fight and stay strong and don't give up until their voices are heard from the very, very top? We don't know. But I am willing to bet it's going to be radical, transformative and ultimately healing.


Some other things to check out:

31 October 2016

Recognized by LinkedIn

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LinkedIn chose me to be on their first "Next Wave" list of professionals 35 & under—I was in the top 10 for software (you can read more here). This is what they wrote about me:
Any good engineer can solve problems; Glauser challenges the assumptions behind them. If you missed the #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag and billboard campaign in 2015, then you also missed how Glauser, 31, prompted women and minorities throughout the tech industry to empower themselves and to express their identity as engineers. In a similar vein, she’s now working on a startup that will help further empower low-income individuals by giving them free training and helping place them in companies looking to increase diversity. Glauser completed Hackbright Academy in 2012 and has worked as a full-stack developer in several different companies since then. In addition to her tireless efforts to create opportunity in software engineering, she also serves as the Lead for the San Francisco PyLadies meetup.
I don't really know how they came upon my name, chose me, and found out all of those details (it seems a little too specific to be directly from my LinkedIn profile, but maybe not) but it was definitely an exciting day with a lot of people reaching out and following me on various platforms. My feelings were varied from embarrassment and not wanting to share, to doubt that they'd chosen the right person, to being humbled by being placed with other seriously amazing people, to being glad to have some of my hard work recognized in some small way.

I ended up sharing in many places for a few reasons:
  1. I was still in the midst of running the crowdfunding campaign for Techtonica and didn't want to miss any opportunity to drive traffic to Techtonica,
  2. Michael threatened to share if I didn't, and
  3. I'm always hearing about how women understate their accomplishments and I'm working on not doing that.
Hilariously enough, when some people from LinkedIn first emailed me and said I was in the running for an award and asked for my best address, I stupidly told them, "This is my best address," thinking they meant email address. When they came back asking for a mailing address, I became really suspicious and asked what they'd be sending and if my mailing address would be added to a list and doom me to never-ending snail mail junk. They didn't answer me the first time, and when they followed up, I again asked the same questions before they told me, "We want to send you a gift for winning, but please don't tell anyone yet, and no, you won't be added to any list." Still, I wasn't quite sure if these people were really from LinkedIn, so I gave them Michael's office address.

LinkedIn Next Wave Sunglasses photo IMG_20161011_202943_zpsbfsplzwy.jpg

These sunglasses arrived in a box much bigger than the sunglasses. They were in a special plastic case nestled in nice packaging and all of that was wrapped in tissue paper. I told Michael, "These are either the most expensive sunglasses I've ever owned or the most delicately-wrapped sunglasses ever."

Thanks for the honor and the gift, LinkedIn!

26 September 2016

I'm Launching a Nonprofit Called Techtonica

I finally publicly announced the reason I've been so busy for the last while . . . I'm launching a nonprofit! Techtonica offers low-income women and non-binary adults free tech training, along with living and childcare stipends, then places them in positions at sponsoring companies that are ready to support more diverse teams. Read more here.

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31 August 2016

Fogust in San Francisco

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I remember wearing sandals and having a couple of warm weeks in August last year, but this "Fogust," Karl the Fog hasn't had many vacation days. Of course, when offices are kept cold enough to turn your hands blue and send you in search of USB-heated gloves, the weather outside doesn't matter much anyway.

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I escaped to warmer afternoons and chilly, but Perseid-graced nights at St. Dorothy's Rest with friends. One night, I woke up in the middle of the night and went outside by myself. I drank in the starry sky, the cool, refreshing air, the smell and towering presence of redwoods, and the quiet. Even though it was pretty cold, I had to wrap up that peaceful moment for later.

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What do you do when you forgot to bring your contact solution and case with you and your eyes are burn-y? Improvise with eye drops and spoons.

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This is Sufi. Though Sufi often looks at me like she's judging me and I'm not usually a huge fan of smaller dogs, Sufi doesn't make messes or bark and I love having her around at work. Sadly, I won't see her anymore after this Friday.

21 July 2016


It's hard to believe that it's been nearly ten years since I had LASIK done on both eyes (wow, look at the terrible quality of that digital photo!). Unfortunately, my eyes have "receded" since, and contacts/too much computer time/post-LASIK dry eyes have made my eyes burn-y all the time. The eye doctor told me that she wouldn't let anyone do LASIK at such a young age now because eyes can still change significantly. She also said that doctors now put people on a prescription before doing LASIK that helps prevent the dry eyes after.

So, for the first time in nearly ten years, I have prescription glasses. They're not very convenient for biking or snuggling, and I keep forgetting they're not screen glasses or sunglasses and putting them on top of my head, which gets my hair snagged in the nose pieces. It's such a relief to be able to give my eyes a rest, though I have to switch back and forth so that I can play soccer and bike places and wear sunglasses while still being able to see, but meh.

Back to Prescription Glasses

Michael also got glasses—his first pair ever. He keeps making a sad face and saying, "I have football eyes" because that's how the doctor described astigmatism to him.

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Thanks to FaceTime and my sister Heidi for helping us pick hip glasses.

30 June 2016

Adventures in Humane Mouse Capture

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered mouse poop in our cupboard. We'd found poop before and blocked the hole in the back of the cupboard, but apparently that wasn't enough this time. A few days later, I went to bed early (which is a clear recipe for Michael forgetting to ever go to bed), and Michael heard scratching before I woke up wondering where he was. When we discovered a bag of chips and a bag of rice had been chewed into despite being moved to a high shelf away from the cupboard, we knew something had to be done.

I really don't like the idea of killing things, and once Michael saw the mouse freeze while using the microwave cable to climb up to the shelf, he started saying, "It's so cuuute. Can we keep it as a pet?" I told him how when I was little, I'd once found a mouse in a mouse trap at my grandparents' cabin. I can't remember if it'd eaten rat poison or if it was in a trap, but it was really weak and unable to run. I felt so bad for it that my dad put it into a box and I watched it and provided it with food. I even gave it a name—Marie. Unfortunately, Marie didn't make it. Telling that story made me remember how my siblings, cousins, and I had caught squirrels, so I told Michael about the squirrel-catching method we used: you attach a string to a stick, prop a box on the stick, put some food under the box, and wait for the squirrel to go for the food before pulling on the string.

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City version of the cabin squirrel trap: garbage can, broken chopstick, and packaging string attached to an iPhone charger cable.

Unfortunately, the mouse was too scared to run out in the open and just stuck to the edges. I was really surprised by how little the mouse was; I don't remember them being the few times I saw them at the cabin. Its ability to squeeze under the oven, dart and wriggle into the cupboard, and hide behind the fridge was quite impressive. We blocked off all the good places to hide and put all the chewable packaging into the fridge or a high, closable cupboard.

The next night, after trying to get the mouse again and turning our kitchen into a disaster area, we started googling. We tried the balancing-spoon-with-peanut-butter method with a Blue Apron box (handy). We tried the balance-a-glass-on-a-nickel method. The mouse didn't fall for any of those methods even though I waited and watched each time until it came back out of hiding and wandered around. Finally, I decided to try the string-through-a-plate method and waited and waited. I think because I'd stuck the ramp right into the mouse's hiding place, it was too scared to come out again, so I went to bed after waiting for a long time.

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The precarious spoon method.

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The precarious plate method.

Nothing in the morning. In the evening, when I got home, I saw this in the box:

Precarious Peanut Butter Plate on a String Worked photo 2016-06-23 20.57.52_zpssf8euwyo.jpg

It looked subdued, like it had jumped itself out and was hopeless. I had no idea how long it had been in there, but it had clearly been jumping and trying to make a hole in a top corner to get out.

As soon as I decided I'd better cover the box, the mouse started going berserk and jumping, and its panic gave it super powers—it jumped right out even though we'd made the walls higher than we thought it could jump (about 18"). I re-set the trap, got some cardboard ready to cover it if I got another chance, and went into another room. A few minutes later, I heard scrabbling, and ran in and taped the cover over the box right away. I didn't really want to do anything with the mouse without Michael, so I left it in the kitchen like that, but I felt nervous that it was going to get out somehow and checked on it several times. Each time it had been jumping and wearing down a corner of the box where I'd added a piece of cardboard to make it taller, so I covered the corner with tape.

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Our kitchen was a disaster.

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The mouse burrowed its way under the bottom flap of the box whenever I'd go to look at it.

I decided to put my camera on the edge of the counter and film what it was doing when I was gone. It took 10 minutes on the dot for the mouse to make its way out.

When Michael got home, he was excited to see the mouse, but it burrowed its way under the flap and was too scared to come out, even when we put peanut butter close to it. So Michael captured this picture:

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Mice can sure get flat!

I said we'd better take it to the park.

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Michael was sad, so I agreed to bring along a "care package" to send the mouse on its way: some sunflower seeds.

Our conversation on the way to the park at nearly 11 PM:

Michael: "Are you sure we can't keep it?"
Michelle: "Yes, it'll chew its way out, escape, and then steal our food again."
Michael: "It wasn't stealing; it was hungry."
Michelle: "It moves really fast, so you can't really cuddle it like you can with hamsters."
Michael: "So I'll just look at it."
Michelle: "Our lease doesn't let us have pets."
Michael: "I can feel it shaking in this box. It's so scared. Maybe we can just put it in this yard [across the street] so we can visit it."
Michelle: "No. The Chow Chow that lives there will scare it to death! And it'll get into that house . . . though it'll probably find its way from the park to someone's house anyway."
Michael: "What about this house? No one has moved in yet, so it can have the whole house to itself."
Michelle: "No! Besides, there's no food in there. Whew . . . it is such a clear, cold night; look! There are a few stars!"
Michael: "Won't it be too cold out here?"
Michelle: "No, it'll build a nest and keep itself warm. My hamsters did that with whatever was nearby."
Michael: "Do you think those people are wondering why we are carrying a box into the park late at night?"
Michelle: "Probably. Maybe you should have just given it to them."
Michael: "Let's let it out here."
Michelle: "No."
Michael: "Do we have to go all the way to the top? How about here?"
Michelle: "No."

Finally, we let the mouse go, though we had to use a stick to open the flap to get it to run away.

When we got home, I said, "My parents always said that where there's one mouse, there are multiple mice." I re-set the plate trap but didn't really think we'd catch anything. After three nights of being up really late trying to catch a mouse, I weirdly took my time getting ready for bed. And then suddenly I heard scrabbling again! I turned to Michael with wide eyes and said, "Do you hear that? We've got another one!"

The second trip up the hill and release weren't quite so full of fanfare, though I kept exclaiming at catching another mouse and at the fog that had completely moved in during the ~50 minutes we'd been inside. Michael wanted to know if the mice would find each other and if they were siblings or a couple. "Maybe both," I replied.

When we got to the same spot as before, we could see that the chip and peanut butter we'd left were gone, hopefully to Mouse #1. Mouse #2 never figured out the flap thing, and it darted out and in the opposite direction of where Mouse #1 had gone. Here's a video:

No more mice have been caught. I haven't yet decided if we should ask our property owners to fill the hole or not. I don't want them thinking we have a dirty household (which we do not) and blaming it on us (especially since I'm still hoping that some day I can convince them to replace the old windows), but I also would really rather not to have to lose food and clean up after and catch more mice.

For now we have an entirely empty cupboard and we're happy to have a quiet kitchen. The mosquitoes in the bedroom, on the other hand, are as annoying as ever . . . they can smell me through the ancient windows and make their way in with the windows, blinds, and curtains closed, and we don't always find them with our perimeter checks before turning off the light. Our neighbors must wonder about the middle-of-the-night circling followed by a sudden slap of a flip flop on the wall or ceiling.

31 March 2016


It has been a very busy few months. Here are a few simple things that have brought me great joy and tranquility:

Michael Biking in San Francisco photo blog1_zpsvdrjlqmn.jpg Biking with Michael is one of the best things in my life. Each morning after plenty of snuggling, we get dressed and hop on our bikes to fly down the hill and race with Muni buses until we reach Market, where we kiss goodbye and go separate ways for a few more blocks. On the way home in the evening (often after attending a business/civic/tech event together), we talk about our days as we labor our way back up the hill. Sometimes Michael gives me a few pushes to get me up the steepest parts, and I like to make sure his lights are on and that he doesn't run too many reds. Biking to and from everyday activities may seem mundane, but it isn't; I cherish this time spent together. (The pictured area isn't part of our weekday route; we were headed home from Target.)

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Watching dogs play at Lafayette Park is happiness and when I can do that while sharing observations and holding hands with Michael, it's even more delightful. Also, I am convinced that Lafayette Park is the best park in San Francisco. It is well-designed and well-maintained, it has accessible bathrooms and garbage cans, it has a fenced-in playground, there are tall trees that make air you want to breathe deeply, and there are so many friendly dogs to watch (and occasionally even pet). Also, the views of the Bay Bridge, Financial District, Nob Hill, Bernal Heights, Twin Peaks, the bay, Danielle Steel's house, and Pacific Heights architecture are incredible.

Oranges and Lemons with Yellow Flowers photo blog3_zpshyvfeqto.jpgMy friend Lynn brought me flowers and Michael's mom brought us oranges and lemons and their perfectness together pleased me every time I went into the kitchen.

Gold Necklace and New Blouse photo blog4_zpscrsd9lce.jpg I bought this necklace and this shirt and they make me feel cute and modern. I've worn necklaces about once a year for the last ten years and I've hated gold for so long, but it was time to get with the times, and since minty greens and corals are my go-to colors these days, I'm quite happy with the choice.

Tenderloin Community Garden photo blog5_zps8lbne1ai.jpg I was able to help harvest bok choy, Swiss chard, kale, and turnips at a community garden at Civic Center that I've been wondering about for several years. The food went to Tenderloin residents who stopped by. The woman in this picture knows everything about the garden, and she would often start talking and none of us volunteers were quite sure who she was addressing. At one point when I wasn't sure what I was holding, she took a hearty bite of a freshly-harvested radish. The combination of her warmth and the sun and dirt and collaboration and contribution to neighbors and being able to work in a garden again warmed my soul.

Freude und Seelenruhe.

15 February 2016

Valentine's Day 2016

I finally made the Irish brown bread recipe that we got in Ireland, even though I was unsure if the linseed/flaxseed should be whole or ground. Turns out the ground flaxseed from Trader Joe's worked just fine. Also, I just made educated guesses about the amounts. Mmmm.

Michael is good about making things look pretty (and yes, we're going to need to order more glass-jarred Nutella or make a trip to Canada or Europe!):

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After we watched The Intern (I enjoyed it more than I thought I would), I pulled my valentine for Michael from behind the couch:

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"I will send a fully-armed battalion to remind you of my love" is a fabulous line from Hamilton the musical that I've been obsessed with recently. Michael wasn't too sure about Hamilton when I first played it for him, but we listened to the whole thing while driving to Fremont and then Sunnyvale a few weeks ago, and he reacted the same way I did once I got it—by reading a whole bunch of Wikipedia articles and playing the album on repeat on Spotify. He finds King George's songs especially hilarious. You can listen to Hamilton here. (I was about to list my favorite songs for you, but there are simply too many. Be forewarned that there is some strong language.)

We cleaned our apartment (wow it felt great to have things scrubbed down—it's been too long) and cooked a simple dinner of dream potatoes, rosemary chicken, and asparagus. Michael's family came over to enjoy it with us:

Valentine's Dinner with the Tsai Family photo 2016-02-14 18.03.35_zpsnjcti8kq.jpg

It was a lovely Valentine's Day.

02 December 2015

Edgy Haircut

So apparently I'm updated now.

I signed up to get my hair cut at Sassoon Academy, because ever since I had my mom cut off ~12 inches earlier this year, I've felt like I didn't know what to do with my hair and that maybe they could help me figure something out. Because I signed up to be a model, I only paid $21, but it was a surprise when I was lined up with the edgiest-looking student, a 60-something-year-old Japanese woman named Yoko. When I told her I was open to ideas, I wanted something easy, and that I had some pictures I could show her of haircuts I liked, she was very insistent that she didn't want to see the photos.

The teacher who walked around checking progress mentioned several times that she didn't get the feeling that "Michelle really wants something super edgy" and that she thought I'd just want to tuck it behind my ear. I agreed. But Yoko was really set on doing something so I would be "updated." Her idea included a fringe and I haven't had one since I was 12 or so. I hated my mom saying, "You can't go to school until your bangs are curled" every morning, and the process of growing said bangs out seemed so annoying to me at the time that I just haven't wanted them since. Oh well, they're back! Also, I don't ever recall having hair short enough to feel like it's been buzzed, so it's a first to have a weird little short part in the back.

Anyway, I kept telling myself that it was just hair, but the result was a bit shocking to me and for the first few days I felt like Cousin It (I had to show Michael who that is) and I felt like I had to explain to friends I saw that yes, I had a weird new haircut. I actually really liked that I finally had a new hairdo and that they'd taken my face shape, hair texture, desired maintenance, cowlicks, and other things into consideration, but in a way I felt like Yoko tried to make me someone I'm not and I feared that I might have to go find someone to give me a pixie. However, I've since kind of figured out how to calm it down a bit, and it's definitely less edgy when parted on my right instead of my left.

Yoko told me that all I needed to do was blow dry and then basically mess up my hair to make it look good, but I didn't expect that I'd need to wash my hair every single day to make it look good—no pony tails for me right now. It's weird to wash because there's not enough long hair to gather together to squeeze out. Also, the bangs sometimes get really greasy and separated from me biking and/or not wanting them in my eyes all the time and then I feel really embarrassed by them and can't do much to hide them—they still get a greasy split in them when I use a bobby pin because of how thin my hair is, and dry shampoo doesn't seem to do much.

I've since grown to like my new hair.

So here are the photos Yoko took (meaning this is how she intended it to look on a daily basis, which it definitely doesn't because I just can't handle it all over the place). 

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And here are some pictures of me with the new 'do:

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