First stage done. Got my hair colored close to its natural shade (sort of) and then pretty much cut it all off. The cut is a bit more extreme than I meant to have but it grows quickly and this way the time until it's all grey (or gray) will be so much faster. In the end, that's worth more to me.
My hairdresser (Amy/Nash Hair Design/Falls Church, VA) was wonderful. She is talented, precise and she was excited for me which is just what I was looking for.
A strange thing happened when I got home. I walked over to a mirror to surprise myself with the new me. Instead I found myself thinking "But that's who I was all this time" as if my red hair had been a disguise. A friend of mine, Marion Roach, wrote a book about redheads called "The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning and Sexual Power of Red Hair" and she inscribed it to me this way: "For Nancy, a natural redhead in all ways." Someone else told me I had the "personality of a redhead." Not sure those were compliments, but I will take them that way.
So here's to my red hair, it was a lot of fun while it lasted.