2012 Solutions
on being a Book Expert

2011: the {hair} year in review

I had big plans in 2011. I had dozens of blog posts—that never made it out of my brain.

I wanted to blog about my hair, for example. But, you know? Blogging about your hair generally should also involve a few photographs. And I’m way more about the words than the pictures when I’m blogging. I know. Blogs with lots of photos are way more appeal. I just hate the whole process. There. I said it. I’m proficient but only barely with Photoshop, and it always, always gives me a headache. And then once you’ve survived the Photoshopping, there’s the uploading and the tweaking and yeah:

I never wrote the blog about my hair.

So instead I’m using "hair" as my 2011 year-in-review theme. (Please. Forgive the fact that we are 1/4 the way through January. I’m slow. I had to open Photoshop.)

the Winter months

My hair in January was pretty blah:

Hair 01
(from Jake’s 13th birthday party)

In January, Kendell went to Mexico for work. (This meant that, a few weeks ago in December, he couldn’t donate blood.) Nathan did his science fair project on bananas. And I wore a heart monitor.

You see, I’d been having chest pains. Random, unpredictable, but still fairly scary (especially since "open heart surgery," "heart murmur," and "bicuspid aortic valve" are fairly regular discussions at our house). I kept ignoring it, thinking it was, like, sympathetic heart pains. You know. Like a sympathetic pregnancy some husbands have. Anyway. I ignored it and ignored it and ignored it and then, at the end of December 2009, I went to a blood drive at our church. You have to know: donating blood doesn’t freak me out. Needles, while not my friends, don’t freak me out. I don’t get anxious or uptight about it. Generally I just sit in the blue sling chair and feel like donating blood is a fairly easy way to help out humanity. But that day? For some reason, I totally passed out. Just as the phlebotomist was sliding the needle out of my vein (meaning, none of my blood was wasted in the making of this story), I was out. I was in a dark, dark, black place for about four minutes.

And then I woke up wondering why in the hell I was asleep in the church gym.

That passing-out thing freaked me out. So I finally went to the doctor, and he set me up with a cardiogram, an EKG, and a Holter monitor. The monitor is like a cell phone, only it’s also got four wires that connect to four leads that connect to specific parts of your torso. You wear it, and then every time you feel a pain or an irregularity in your heartbeat, you push a button. I wore this for two weeks—I was wearing it under my sweater in that photo, in fact.

I still have scars from the leads.

And the results? Nothing is wrong with me. My doctor thought that possibly the pains happened because my thyroid levels were wonky. A year later, I still have them. My theory is that they are little anxiety attacks, only delayed. I started getting obsessive about it for awhile, tracking the chest pains in relation to stressful events. I started seeing connections. Then I decided that since I can’t change the stressful events, and all the 21st century’s advanced medical technology can’t see anything wrong with my heart, and because I ran a marathon and my heart never hurts when I run—I’m not going to worry about it.

I’m not sure what that has to do with hair, but it was a big thing in 2011 for me.

Throughout the winter, my hair grew. It grew and it grew and it grew. I went to Haley’s choir concert in February, where she sang show tunes and sounded amazing. Everyone got 4.0's and we went to Krispy Kreme to celebrate. Kaleb lost his first tooth, we got lots of snow. In March I started working on my mixed media quilt, which is still unfinished. My hair got longer and I started wearing it like this sometimes:

Hair 02
which I don’t like to do because I feel like a cocker spaniel.

the Spring months

April came, I turned 39 (to celebrate, I ate a breakfast sandwich from Gandolfo’s in the car by myself, and then I bought myself the sunglasses I'd been wanting for months), Haley turned 16 and went to prom. We celebrated Easter on Saturday at my sister’s house—in a snow/slush/rainstorm. My hair got to the length that Kendell likes but that starts making me insane:

Hair 03
(apparently I also ran out of make up?)

Spring arrived but the rain didn’t stop. The rain! It rained so much this spring that even *I*, Amy Sorensen, lover of rain and of all gloomy weather, wished for sunshine. We did get a lovely Mother’s Day Saturday:

Hair 05
and my hair was really, really starting to bug me. Why do I let it get long? It never looks good. It makes me crazy. My scalp itches. But I can put it in a ponytail at least! Anyway. I left it. I left it through June, when I braided it for Ragnar:

Hair 06

the Summer months

and into July, when Haley insisted on straightening it, just because it was so. long. I totally thought she took a picture of me with my straight hair but I guess not.


The sizzle of the straight iron was enough to finally convince me: get a freaking hair cut! Plus, I needed to record some videos that everyone who took my 2011 Write Now! class would see. I didn’t want to be all sloppy and unkempt. So, I cut it. And I did something I haven’t done in years. Decades, even: I went blonde.

Well, blonde-ish:

Hair 07
I went with the blonde because I knew my favorite hair colors—red and brown—would take a beating in the sun, as I was training for the marathon and outside a lot. At first, I loved it. Then I felt like I was pretending. I debuted my brand new blonde hair on our trip to the Tetons, which included Kendell’s dad’s funeral service. One of my sisters-in-law and one of my nieces does hair, and my other sisters-in-law always look gorgeous and perfectly-done, hair wise. (Make-up too, but this isn't a make-up story.) The hairdressers always make me uncomfortable about my hair, but no one seemed to notice it was any different. Even though I fit in more—everyone, save me, on the Sorensen side of the family is blonde—I felt a little bit off. Not quite right. I went ahead and blamed it on the blonde.

I loved the length, though. And the cut. The only thing that was hard? It was too short for a ponytail, so sometimes it bugged me while I was running. I finally bought myself some Bondi bands and have been in running-headband heaven ever since.

In August, I was starting to have dark roots already for Dad’s funeral

Hair 08
(With my friend Chris) but there was no way I was doing anything with my hair until after the marathon. So I just kept running. I ran a lot. Throughout summer and into

the Fall months,

when we spent a night in a hotel while our wood floor was refinished, purchased a new stove and fridge because our old ones were, well, old, and got everyone started back in school. Kendell and I started going on afternoon hikes together, in theory to get ready to hike Timp, even though we never did. Doesn't matter because I learned that adults-only hikes are a good way to reconnect with your husband. Kaleb had his annual heart check up and, despite my anxiety (and yes, a chest-pain flair-up on my part, two days after the appointment), passed without any complications. 

My blonde hair got rootier and rootier.

And, actually, it wasn’t until after Halloween and after Haley colored her hair red and I ran my marathon and a half marathon with Becky (that I still want to blog about) and I made one of my favoritest-ever baby quilts for friends at work and I taught my Textuality class and I hiked to the top of Y and I had my annual November cold that I finally got my hair done again:

Hair 09
I went back to dark and it makes me happy. Some of the blonde peeks through still, but not enough to bring back that not-quite-me feeling. Since then, Nathan turned 12, Jake turned 14, we had one of the most peacefully-perfect Thanksgivings we've ever had and a Christmas that was wonderful and amazing but also not-so-peaceful in some ways. I got the stomach flu. Nathan lost four teeth in two weeks (one of which he swallowed), I read four novels, one poetry book, and part of an essay collection, and I got a new cell phone.

But, I’m not loving it right now. It’s in that dull-hair-color phase, but I don’t know exactly what I want to do with it. Perhaps continue praying for the magic hair fairy to pay me a visit and bestow some heavy, healthy hair upon me? Or maybe I will get brave and do something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: cut it short. Because, looking at my mom and at her cousin Pat this summer at my dad’s funeral, I realized something: I don’t have a great hair heritage to fall back upon. Women of my mother’s line tend to get thinner and thinner hair as we age. Pat (who Becky and I call Fake Aunt Pat because we always thought she was our aunt until we found out no: she’s our mother’s cousin which makes her...vaguely related to us) has taken care of this by practically buzzing her head. And, you know, it suits her.

Maybe 2012 will be the year I follow suit? Probably not. Instead I’m going to try to be grateful for the hair that I do have. It could be worse, right? At least it’s not completely grey...yet:

Hair 10
(at my mom's house on Christmas day)

(After writing this, I'm certain it was ill-advised.It feels a little too self-centered and look-at-me, look-at-me. I should have just written a 2011 {books} year in review instead. So don't think this will stay up too long. On the other hand, I'm still going to post it. Because I totally photoshopped all those photos and the headache has to be worth something.)



Hello Amy,
I'm glad you had this up long enough for me to read and enjoy it. I always love reading your stories and thoughts in your blog! Your hair is darling by the way.


Don't you dare take this down - it's a great post and so interesting to see the variations in your hairstyle alongside the variations in your lifestyle. It totally rocks!


Whatever you do with it, do let us in touch - you've got us hooked now - a really interesting lens through which to look at events during the year :). It seems to be getting shorter, so I guess that might indeed be the way to go?


I like the post! I think it's a fun year-in-review without being the same as all the others. I like the variations & the hair thinking - I can never decide but my hairdresser likes to have creative license so I let him.

Kary in Colorado

very fun post to read! Would you consider bangs?? You would look great with bangs!


I'm very behind on my blog reading so I'm starting with this one and going backwards... I love this post though :) And! The photo of you looking to the side? With the brown hair? AWESOME. Use that for your author photo when you publish your book. And I will show everyone and say LOOK! MY FANCY, GLAMOROUS, AND EFFORTLESS FRIEND AMY! Hee.

Aside: Never, ever will I share a picture of my own profile. Blech. Don't like it : )

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