Simple Living – A Grey Matter

Last year i began to care less  about my clothing. That doesn’t mean i wore clothes with the previous days dinner stains proudly emblazoned across my breast, it means, ‘so what’ if i have a small ‘wardrobe’ of clothes and am seen more frequently in the same clothes?  Would putting clothes purchases on a credit card make me feel better, just so i got to increase my wardrobe? Does the way i dress really impact on anyone elses life? And why should i care if it does? So i don’t have matching handbags/shoes/underwear/accessories…would all those things improve the quality of my life ?

When times weren’t so lean I bought the aforementioned things more regularly but it really didn’t change how i felt about myself…oh i might have felt a little excitement, briefly, at having  something new  to wear, but that soon wore off and i was still left with ‘me’ at the end of the day.

If a person doesn’t like who they are, they can feel fabulous in a new outfit, but who they are doesn’t change permanently because of what they wear.

I remember hearing a  story about someone in the Navy  years ago who met a beautiful looking woman and really had it bad for her, i don’t know if he married her but he and his lady love got intimate one night. In the morning…on the dressing table were the false eyelashes and false hair things and all those kinda undergaments that held in all the squadge and gave the impression of a lean figure, and a piece of bra ‘equipment’ that gave lift in all the right places and helped to give the impression of a full and pert bosom. The morning after, the make up had been washed off his lady-loves face and devoid of ‘beautifying assistance’ the guy looked at his ‘beauty’ and  couldn’t believe that the woman appeared to be so different to the one who he had gone to bed with (tip to you guys, this isn’t unusual :-))

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to decieve.

Okay, moving on….

Was it really way back in March when i posted that i was thinking about drawing a line under the days of colouring my hair?

I have coloured my hair for so long, but now i just don’t want to spend precious time  obsessing about how long my ‘roots’ are getting. What is so wrong with going natural, even if nowadays ‘natural’ for me, is grey?

Should i care that others might not think i am making the ‘best’ of myself?

Why should I?

Will it change the way people think of me or care for me if i do/don’t colour my hair? Is my only value in looking how people want me to look?

Am I only acceptable if i change the way i look, but unacceptable if i don’t change the way i look?

It has to be said that I really do feel liberated from the never ending treadmill of hair cutting and colouring that i spent so many years of my life ‘buying into’. I’m especially enjoying the financial savings of just being my natural self, hair wise too, especially in these times of financial difficulty.

So here is my crown of glory in its current ‘state’…it may be the only crown i ever wear but at least it is  mine.

dsc_1467

Proverbs 16:31: Grey hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.

I haven’t coloured my hair since March, so that’s 9 months now and i have honestly found it quite freeing to let go of something that was actually a cause of vanity for me. I do sometimes see women my age with coloured hair and think their hair looks really nice, but then i remember the cost and inconvenience of colouring and i shelve the idea once again because it’s not something i want to go back to.

I still have it cut and take the time to straighten it if i wake up sporting a look not disimilar to Russel Brand’s barnett (Wondergirl bought me some wicked straighteners for Christmas), but on the whole, i am just loving the freedom that going my natural colour, has given me.

dsc_1486

I do believe that it is important (for me personally) to not be tied up in ‘hair colour vanity’ and  but that is not to say that i am not vain or prideful in other ways, and it is not to say that taking pride in ones appearance is somehow wrong…rather i say it is important for me because i have found it quite challenging to accept that the grey hairs are sprouting out of my hair follicles at all…thankfully they’re no where else. yet! (I know, too much information!)

I used to value myself based on so much faulty personal logic….I primped and primed and plastered on the makeup and squeezed into impossibly small clothing and trussed and fussed for years, none of which ever fulfilled me. Now i am at my heaviest ever but feel as though a weight has been lifted (yes, that’s another kind of streamlining i intend to come to grips with post Christmas…weight) from my shoulders.

Perhaps these changes are taking place because i have a knee jerk reaction to conforming to popular myths  of acceptability…but i think it is much more simple than that. Faffing around, trying too hard to look better than i actually do naturally, is a stresser for me,  it’s just another needless burden on my physical and emotional wellbeing and my time, not to mention a serious infringement on my finances.

This is what works for me, but i don’t begrudge anyone else’s right to colour their hair. I share this with you as an approach to one way in which to simplify life, it’s not the be all and end all. I do believe you can be peroxide and still live simply and who knows, one day i might run screeming to the hairdressers for a ‘wipe out the grey quick’ colour treatment, but for now, this is working for me.

Out of interest, in the original ‘grey post’ some of you commented that you would be thinking about going natural too….how did you get on with that I wonder?

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29 Responses to Simple Living – A Grey Matter

  1. Sarah says:

    I love how you are thinking this whole thing out so logically. I love the Biblical quote as well. You know, it has been over a year since I’ve coloured my hair (I think). I have gray in the temple areas and it gets heavier/thicker/more every day. I used to pluck out the one or two, rush to get my hair coloured and . . . go broke in the process. If I have to use my credit card to get my hair done, I feel like crap for it. I find that I am happier now that my hair “looks like shite” (as I usually say, because now days I put zero into it beyond the normal wash, dry and brush) and I’m not going into debt over it. I do need to get it cut, though.

    Anyway, I am so in this line of thinking of yours for myself. I’m only 39, but I’m so over the whole world setting the bar for me. We can look good with the hair colour He gave us, as long as we’re wearing clean and coordinated clothing that fits our bodies.

    Your natural colour is at least very evenly spread – I think it sparkles!

  2. Pia says:

    My hair would be white, and this would have been the case since I was about 28 years old. No, I don’t think at all about going natural, although it is a sacrifice for me to get my hair base done once every 6 weeks. My hair’s short and to keep its shape it needs to be trimmed once every two months. Since I’m pretty good at handling a brush and hairdryer, I do my own hair, but if it were to be longer, I’d have to waste more time trying to dry it well (it’s wavy and frizzy, so I straighten it with my brush as I dry). In the long run, I give up other stuff so I can balance my books, but I won’t give that up…not yet.

    As per clothes, being fashionable is pretty important here in Italy. But I don’t follow this trend. I wear comfortable clothes, more than once in the same week, (though if it’s stained, I won’t). But the big thing is that I do my shopping whenever I go to the States to visit my family. Ok, I don’t go very often, but when I do, I stock up! Clothes are super expensive here, especially for name brands (even Italian designer clothes!), which cost as much as ten times what they would cost in the Us. The funny thing is that most of these clothes are made in China in any case. But in Italy they make you pay for the name much more than in the States.

    As per simplifying life, it’s a very wise thing to do. That’s one thing I love about living in this country. Simple, contemplative living!
    My husband and I didn’t exchange gifts at Christmas. We almost never do. We both have everything we could wish for and it’s not something money can buy!

  3. Suzanne says:

    Well now, I’m letting mine go as we speak and have been for a few weeks now. It was time to put the wash out hair color on then, but for once, I didn’t notice it just around my temples making me look so tired and worn out. I have very pale pasty skin with no make up and brown eyes and I look sick. THAT is the main reason I put on anything, esp. in the colder months. I try to get a little sun pink other times, but anyway…going on, for now, its not bothering me at all.
    I wish it would do like yours..it is beautiful, by the way!
    I am getting more adjusted to the idea of being “older”
    now and as you know, I am older than you by a few years..I have a little kid way and look about me, so people have thought I was years younger. So, it has been harder for me in that respect to just seem like I was jumping into senior citizen. I hate that term. Anyway, I have simplified my wardrobe too and gave alot of things away that I felt I was still trying to hold onto my early 40’s. I almost gave my little black dress away..you know the kind, but my one friend shamed me…said I was going a bit too far and that I should want to dress up sometimes…no matter. I agree, its still fun to have a night out sometimes, you know?
    I am trying to simply too by the things I do…less time wasting …like watching tv or not having a plan for the day..even if all doesn’t get done..still trying to make the most of a day in a simply way by having a good wholesome accomplishment or two. I figure
    retirement never seems to pan out the way some think it will and I’d just better go on and get started…ex. just sitting around putting a jigsaw puzzle together because I want to, does that make sense? What I love most costs little and that is simple pretty surrounds full of color and joy and people I love with a little tasty food. My prayer life comes first in the morning as best I can and attending some daily Masses. So, that is what this year so far is looking like to me…making the best of things in a simple way and helping others to do so.
    I think that is what God wants mostly for us too, don’t you?

  4. Tim J says:

    I know this will sound like a horrible cliché, but I said to Sweet Wifey the other day when the subject came up, that (in my opinion) a warm, genuine smile does more for a woman’s appearance than any makeup or hair color.

    This came up because I observed that I had no idea what her natural hair color would be, now. She colors it diligently and it has been at least a decade since I’ve seen it. She was complaining of so many gray hairs and saying her natural hair color was awful.

    I know a few women who are graying and go with their natural dish-water color and who are radiant none the less… because their loving and joyful personalities come through.

  5. John Bowden says:

    Wonderful news! You’ll now be naturally beautiful rather than “made up” beautiful!

  6. Owen says:

    Deb, looks good on you. MyLove has never dyed her hair and I love her silver. She’s never worn much make up and I love her that way. She’s born four wonderful kids and I love her that way. She is a treasure to me. God looks on the inside doesn’t he?

    P.S. I don’t colour my hair either. 😉

  7. Mac McLernon says:

    I wouldn’t say it’s gray… I think you wear a crown of silver!

    😉

    As a sort of natural honey blonde who dyes her hair to change it to light ash blonde, I have to say that I look forward to going grey… it’ll be easier to avoid the brassy yellow tones which annoy me so much!

    If you’re happy with it, that’s fine. I would recommend a regular trim at a hairdresser, purely because it keeps the ends from splitting (and thus the hair is healthier, and less liable to break) and because it is a little luxury to allow yourself to be pampered once in a while… there’s something very soothing about having someone else wash and dry your hair!

    Good luck!

  8. Adrienne says:

    I think your hair is a very pretty color (speaking as a hairdresser). I always encouraged my clients to leave their color alone unless it was just awful, which does sometimes happen.

    Makeup? I love it. On occasion I zip to the grocery store without much on but not too often. My hubby always says I look just as good without it (smart answer), but I know he likes me looking spiffy.

    Clothes? Can you say Thrift Shop, KMart, et al? Here’s the real deal on this. If you have your hair in a cool style, put on your makeup and earrings, you can wear almost anything and look smashing. I am routinely complimented on my “style”. Huh??? What style?

    What I have never understood is the women who use their dowdiness as a benchmark of their holiness. Many of the ladies that attend our local and very large, SSPX chapel, can be spotted at 100 yards. They look ridiculous and draw unnecessary attention to themselves with their ugliness. I mean, really – grown women in combat boots and wool socks with skirts dragging in the mud? They don’t even look clean like the Mennonites that live around here. They (the Mennonites) look clean, healthy, and lovely. I might add that the SSPX husbands are dressed like little dandies.

  9. Suzanne says:

    If I had enough color to my skin, I wouldn’t think of doing anything. The problem with my situation is I look sick and that draws more worrisome attention to me than anything! It always has..from when I was in high school with Sister asking me if I was sickly over and over again, to now. The grey in my hair surrounds my face and makes me looks so tired while connected with the pasty skin color. So, for me, I don’t wish to look sad and sickly and down and all that.
    Even if I smile, it only helps a little, but you can’t put on a grin 24/7 … that isn’t at all natural either, as much as I’d like, by jaws would hurt! LOL! Soooo,
    until more grey comes out I will continue to use the little “wash out” natural color stuff, esp. in the winter…until …
    When I was raising the children and after I lost David, I looked so frumpy for years. I was actually but not realizing it, worrying folks. So, I have a priest friend who loves art and he helped me to realize that there is nothing wrong with wanting to highlight the beauty God gave us, but once again, like everything else, we must keep it tempered and moderate and its not about drawing people to focus just on us. THAT would wrong.
    Like I said though, if my skin coloring HAD SOME,
    I’d not fret over any of it! 🙂

  10. Barbara says:

    Hmmm – food for thought here Deb.

    Time to process – will come back when I have done so..

  11. I don’t colour my hair. I did for a while but hated the chemicals. once the dyed lot grew out enough I had my long hair cut short and really liked it.

    Now in the interests of economy I’m growing it again (or more accurately haven’t been to have it cut for a while) and have self cut the fringe.

    I find being grey quite ok. Yes I look my age – not younger but that’ s not a bad thing.

    Where I have let myself go has been in the eating / not exercising department. I put on a lot of weight in 2008. I didn’t like it much when I saw a photo of me just around new year … yes vanity .. but I also realised that I’ve been struggling to keep up with hubby when we walk the dogs and huffing and puffing too much

    so I’m in the second week of a ‘eat more healthily and exercise more’ campaign

    my objective to drop at least two sizes in clothes – and be at least 10 kg (that’s about 25 lb or so lighter) by my birthday. I think I can do it by being sensible and not crash dieting. I’m swimming twice a week for 40mins a time (at the moment that’s 26 laps – 1.3km) and I walk the dogs everyday at least for half an hour. I’ve cut out all alcohol and most ‘pop’ too.

    I’m already feeling better and can already squeeze my skiing trousers shut (which I couldn’t before New Year) so I’ve made some progress – and am feeling good.

    Vanity was what motivated me to try this – but actually my thought that my overeating (and addiction to crisps etc) was probably going to cost me my life – heart attack risk is higher now I’m in my 50th year (I’ll be 50 in 11 months!) – and I don’t want that or a stroke so learning a new way of life (again) seemed the smart choice.

    I still crave crisps and coke and every day without them is a victory 🙂

    all this to say for me going grey was less traumatic than my ongoing struggles with obesity.

  12. mimima says:

    Your hair looks lovely in the natural state. Beautiful crown of glory for a beautiful heart.

  13. Easter A. says:

    living simply. I like that a lot. Deb, thanks for the reminder!

    Your hair is beautiful!

  14. Scotty says:

    Well I am now 100% natural!! I’m a wee bit more silvery than you (although that might be the awesome purple shampoo from Lush that I’ve been using….) but I couldn’t wait for it all to grow so got a shortish cut to get rid of the colour and am now letting it grow a bit longer. At the moment, it’s about 2″ above my shoulders and I can’t decide if I want to keep my fringe or grow it out. Like you, I wash, blow dry and straighten it every day. If you’re going to go naturally gray, you have to have a really sharp cut and keep your hair as glossy and styled as possible to avoid the wicked witch of the west look! (or in my case, cos my hair is quite frizzy – Billy Connolly on a bad day)

    I do find that I HAVE to wear at least a little eye makeup and lippy every day or I look about 100 – and I do have a fair number of pounds to work off – but all in all I like the effect (although my beloved husband isn’t so sure!)

    I think your natural colour looks ace.

  15. ukok says:

    It’s so good to read about all the ways you identify with what i wrote in my post, whether via yourselves or your loved ones.

    Lorna, your comment on weight issues challenge me (indirectly), but as a former buliemic , i have such a battle trying not to allow myself to fall into my old ways of purging, so i am getting fatter and yes i am obese, but i just can’t seem to deal with my weight at the moment. There is so much going on for me healthwise and in other ways that i just don’t need the added stress of worrying about that too, But as i say, your comment about your own weight certainly struck a cord with me.

    I would hate to be like St. Augustine (i think it was he) in one way, because it is said that he was so obese that when he died his body had to be boiled down to the bones so that he could be carriedto the burial ground 😉

  16. ukok says:

    I am loving reading through your comments and i am sure that other will find them helpful and interesting just as i do.

    Sarah,

    i really know exactly what you mean about not letting the world set the bar for you, i feel the same way. This time last year i was paying over the odd for my hair to be coloured and cut and of course i could not afford to do it regularly so my har often looked like crud and i figured i may as well bite the bullet and just let the colour grow out.

    A former friend regularly spent an absolute fortune on her hair and i thought how wasteful it was (the friend went to a much higher class hairdressers too) but the cost of getting her hair and nails done every few weeks could have fed me and my kids for a fortnight easily. I started to think about the whole, keeping up appearances thing and realised i didn’t have to impress anyone and that i really couldn’t give a fig what anyone else thought. It was so tempting in those first few months of going natural, because i knew that i had inherited my families premature grey hair and i could either try to pretend it wasn’t a problem by colouring it, or accept it, not as a problem but as a way of life for me.

    Pia,

    i love white hair! I used to pay to try and get my hair bleached to white when i was in my twenties! I would love not to be grey, but to be white, but at the same time i can appreciate that you may feel differently about it. I can’t imagine living in italy, i don’t think i would find any clothes to fit me as i am a plus size and its hard enough to find decent clothes at decent prices in England! I can certainly see where you are coming from about simple contemplative living, now that, i do envy you 🙂

    John,

    i bet your wife so loves those wonderful compliments you surely give her! it made my day to read what you wrote (((sisterly hugs)))

    Tim,

    I think you are right about a smile saying so much more than a hair colour can, but i also think, as a former hair colourer that if one can afford to colour their hair and keep it in good condition, it can make a woman feel great and then they are prone perhaps to smiling more!

    I don’t think hair colour is a big issue, it is for me kind of, but that’s only cos i’m a newbie to allowing nature to take its course without me sticking my oar in 🙂

    That pic i saw of your beloved on FB, your wife looks so young! I don;t think it would make any difference what colour her hair is because if i remember correctly she had a beautiful complexion.

    Owen,

    It is so refreshing to hear the viewpoint of a man (as with Tim and John’s comments) on the appearance of a woman. I really don’t know that many men who would find a woman of 40 with a grey head of hair, very appealing. But then, i suppose i don’t really know that many single men these days. I think it’s different with married men who have been married to their loves for some time.

    Mac,

    you are so right about keeping it trimmed.I think having it cut as regularly as i can afford will be essential to keeping it in good condition. (((hugs)))

  17. ukok says:

    Adrienne, i have to be honest and say that when i saw your pic on FB i thought, ‘what an attractive and well-kept’ lady. I could tell you take care of your appearance (it comes with the job i suppose), but even beyond that the picture i saw of you captures something beyond the outward appearance of you, you can tell you are just as lovely on the inside, if you know what i mean.

    I totally agree with you about the dowdiness=holiness myth!

    I once knew someone who liked others to think of her as pious and holy, and regulalry drew attention to herself in such a way as to claim that they she were devout and selfless when the fact is that no amount of make-up and hair dye could have covered up the fact that the person was ugly on the inside; devious, manipulative, self serving and self promoting.

    Equally i have known someone who looked to all intents and purposes like a menonite (which stands out a mile in my neck of the woods) and claim that they are on such a rigid fasting and prayer diet that they can not join in any social situaton or celebration, thus drawing attention to themselves and inferring a holier than thou piety.

    One way or another, we are stripped bare in the eyes of God and he sees us as we really are, we can’t pull the wool over his ‘eyes’!

    And yes my dear, you are so right, i am no window shopper! I hate to shop if i have no money to spend and i am becoming more and more aware of my need to draw a line under uneccessary spending (more on that in another post soon!)

  18. ukok says:

    Suzanne, thank you for offering the flip side. Sometimes it is possible to fall into the habit of not looking after ourselves physically because we are experiencing difficulties such as life changing events or even because we are putting up barriers so people will leave us alone. If i am absolutely open with you i would say that should i be a shrink i would be saying

    ‘X amount of years of abuse, of being told that you are ugly and fat and unattractive = 10 years + of not allowing anyne to get near you!”

    But i’m not Freud so i’ll go with the theory that i like to believe, that this is mostly about me just throwing off the entrapments of an natural-intolerant society.

    I respect and understand your reasons for wanting to colour your hair. I know i looked better wih my hair coloured, so i do entirely get where you are coming from, my friend. (((hugs)))

  19. ukok says:

    Barbara, i know. But I think you would look great whatever your hair colour 🙂

  20. ukok says:

    Mimi and Easter,

    big (((hugs)))to you for being so upliftingly sweet!

    Scotty,

    I am another 100%er 😉

    I do agree with you that a sharp cut is needed. The last thing i want to fall into is vanity again, but i do not want to look like someones great grandmother even if i am grey!

    I also agree that a little help from a bit of lippy or mascara does ‘lift’ the grey a bit. I received some lovely mineral make up for Christmas and it is so light to wear that i hardly know i am wearing it, so some days i will take the time to put a little on. I have tried so many mascaras though and i haven’t found a single one in all my years, that doesn’t leave me looking like i have been in a fight and received 2 black eyes!

    I wore some the other day and when i got home i caught my reflection in the mirror and frighteneed myself! LOL!

  21. scotty says:

    I’d love to try the mineral makeup stuff – but I’m sure I’d get it everywhere! Laughed about your mascara quests – I’m a long black spider leg lashed woman myself! But then, my natural hair colour in my youth was virtually black, so I can still (just about) get away with black lashes. Dreading when I have to move to something softer….. means my rock and roll chick days are finally gone!

  22. Barbara says:

    Thank you – you are most kind…

    But you really have gotten me thinking…..

    I am starting a healthy eating plan this week so one thing at a time but still….vanity… mia culpa…

  23. “I know i looked better wih my hair coloured, ”
    are you sure

    your hair colour looks beautiful now … and with a lovely style it will look fab

    I think many of us are tricked into thinking that the coloured looked better – but I’m not sure it’s true.

    grey =/= old or at least it doesn’t have to

    I have an American friend – her hair suddenly went grey all over – she had it cut very short, very slick, very chiq and she looks FABULOUS -really does. Much nicer than the dyed hair (or indeed her own hair before it went grey)

  24. ukok says:

    Scotty,

    My rock chic days are over too….there once were days when i would ride pillion on the back of some rockers enormous motorbike with my long hair flowing in the breeze…i used to fit into a size 10 jeans in those days too LOL!

    It really doesn’t seem that long ago…i even used to headbang at rock concerts LMBFAO!!!

    Barbara,

    i bought the kids a wii fit for Christmas and i did 4 minutes (and was knackered. LOL!!) on it this afternoon….i am listed on the wii at the furthest end of v.obese…but i still whipped my kids butts at hula dancing!!!

    Lorna,

    Thanks friend, for offering me a different perspective. I just might get meself a new haircut in the next few weeks, it could do with a tidyup. I’m too tubby for a short cut, but i could get something sassy!

  25. Pingback: Simply living | Great Life Debt Free

  26. Colleen says:

    I’ve been fully gray since the age of 12. I covered it for 15 years, when I turned 27, I cut off all my hair and went natural. It was a hard time, because no one thought it was real. I still get questions almost daily if it’s really my hair. It’s a bit more crisp white rather than gray now.

    I’m only 32, so I know it looks ‘strange’, but I don’t truly understand why people care. Someone gave me the bible verse when I was feel poorly and it really lifts my spirits. Whenever someone complains about their horrible gray hair, then they look at me and say but it looks good on you, I remember this verse and it helps me smile back.

    I just had one of those moments and I found this blog. Thank you for placing it here to remind me that I am beautiful in God’s eyes, regardless of what others may think. I display my crown of glory, because it would be a shame to be embarrassed of such a gift.

    • ukok says:

      Colleen, good for you for choosing your own way in life with regard to how you choose to wear your hair.

      Never have any doubt whatsoever that you are indeed beautiful in the eyes of God. Sadly too many people make judgements about grey haired ladies, where men are often seen as becoming more appealing as they age. I think the secret is ‘not to care’, and just work on pleasing God. We can waste so much time and energy on trying to live up to the expectations placed on us by the media etc. It takes a brave woman to stand against that in this day and age.

      Thanks so much for sharing your comment.

      God Bless you!

  27. I am almost 42 years old and i stopped coloring my hair just 13 weeks ago. It is coming in mostly silver. I love it and hate it. I feel so free but rather unattractive right now. This grow out stage is no fun! I am really looking forward to the day when the last of the colored hair is gone and I am truly free!

    • ukok says:

      Hi Korrine,

      Well done on braving it out for 13 weeks so far! It can be a bit hard at first and i am not going to lie, sometimes when my hair feels very unnattractive i am tempted to go out and buy a box of hair colourant, but i stop myself every time because i know it will just be entering that cycle of colouring my hair every time the roots start coming through. Some days, on ‘good hair days’ (usually when it is freshly washed and styled) it looks almost like it has some blonde/white streaks in it.

      My advice to you would be to persist with this for as long as you can, it doesn’t mean you cant keep a nice hairstyle, maybe even go along and have it cut shorter than usual so that it will grow out quicker. Get the advice of a hairdresser.

      Let me know how you go on with it!

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