Monday, April 30, 2012

No Shampoo Troubleshooting

Okay! My hair!

So all year I've been on this no-shampoo kick. I've told many people about this and have had reactions range from "What?!" to "Oh... ugh." to "Really? Hmm..." to "Yeah, me too."

I have run into a couple of issues. And I combed through the blog sphere looking for answers, ideas for solutions, explanations, etc. I was seeing many benefits, such as healthier hair, fewer split ends, and it's gotten thicker. My hair has always been really thick, but now it's even fuller. I loose less hair in the shower now that I'm shampoo free, so I'm wondering if it's all adding up.

My issues however have been as follows:

Waxy feeling at the roots.
Problem: Unevenly distributed sebum collecting at the scalp. It makes the hair harder to manage, and doesn't really look all that great. Often what accompanies this problem is drier hair.
Solution: Boar brush! Long strokes from root to tip spreads the sebum down the strands of hair, coating them in the protective oil and lessening the appearance of grease and making your hair softer and ultimately shinier.

White film coming off the boar brush/stickiness
Problem: More sebum issues. The scalp sheds dead skin, like any other body part, and if you have a glut of sebum at your roots, it'll collect there. It's unpleasant to find in your brush, and you're going to have to clean your brush far more frequently, as it can make your hair sticky.
Solution: Use the boar brush in the shower. First comb the hair out with a shower comb. I find this useful in loosening everything up. Then brush your hair out with the boar brush in the shower. The water and bristles will carry the sebum down the hair shafts. I noticed a significan't reduction in white film with each passing shower using this method.

Someone I told this about said that because I had thick hair it had to be easier. I'm thinking that's not terribly accurate. Scrubbing through this mane-like mass tires my fingers. As I scrub the Priya cleanser or baking soda in, I find I'm often unsure if I'm using a good amount because of all the hair I have to wade through. And I'm still working on how much apple cider vinegar I need to use and how much to dilute it.

Most people would probably ask me why I'm not just going back to shampoo. Well, I'm not going to. It gives me a skin reaction and now that I know what's in it, I want to limit my exposure as much as I can. I colour my hair and that's enough chemicals for me.

The journey continues!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Groupon Staycation

I am taking a Relaxation Staycation next month. For two weeks in mid-March, I will be using spa-related Groupons to chill out all over the city. So far I have three: a facial, foot reflexology and a pedicure. Way I see it, if I can get a massage, a manicure and something else delightful I'm set to go.

I've been Grouponing it up as of late. I'm pretty sure the company's going to go under soon enough, so best to get as much use of it while I can. I bought 12 training sessions at The Motion Room for something like $39. You make an appointment to train in a small group, get personal attention from someone to show you how to do the exercises right and ensures you don't slack off. For someone as lazy and undisciplined as myself, this suits my needs. I've had three classes and two were great.

The first one was awful, but that wasn't their fault. I was backed up a la IBS and after 20 minutes, my abdomen was doing clenching agonizing waves and I thought I would puke. I lost all the colour in my face, which is quite something because I have so little, and staff rushed over to me. I had to sit, and because I was shaky from exercise, my hands were rattling as I reached for water. Because I was nauseas I couldn't articulate very well, and due to embarrassment I could only manage cryptic explanations.

They took my blood pressure, which was normal, and I went home feeling ridiculous. Half a bottle of Citro-Mag later and I was ready to try again. I've been sore, which is good, and I think the remaining nine workouts are going to go well. I'm seriously considering making a commitment to this place. I respond well to programs that build in accountability. I can't be trusted to exercise entirely on my own.

But back to the Staycation, I sort of accumulated a glut of vacation time. I was earning three weeks a year and taking about two, which caused the days to pile up. My company changed hands, which altered the vacation tally and suddenly I had something like seven weeks to take. And now I'm earning four weeks a year, so if I don't get on this, I'm going to have more time than I'll be able to manage taking. And what's the point of having the days if you don't use them?

I took a week before my wedding, a week at Christmas and a week for the honeymoon. And still I was swimming in time off and for some reason wasn't taking it. And that's just silly. But what's pretty cool is that not since school have I had two weeks off for vacation. I'm seriously looking forward to this. My last year in my 20s is a great time to take a rejuvenating break. And frankly, a good time to get in shape. And if I finish my book (30,000 words, y'all!) then I'll have really entered my 30s with a real bang, and good health to boot.

I'll blog about my Relaxation Staycation when it happens in less than a month (squee!)

Oh, and quite randomly, here is a picture of my hair. It's not been shampooed since I got it coloured back in February, and I often only use hot water now, with only occasional use of Priya Means Love or baking soda and apple cidar vinegar. I'll make a more in-depth entry about that soon:

It's seriously never been this healthy before.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kingston Pen Closes and Other Tomfoolery

Well, I could wax poetic about how out of control our government is, but allow me to say something simple instead: You're doing it wrong, fools.
And by that, I mean when you pass an Omnibus Crime Bill (In response to unreported crime, but never mind that), which will likely increase the number of inmates in a prison, closing down a prison at this time may not prove financially prudent. And of course 300 job losses in Kingston, Ontario, since Kingston Penitentiary is a major Kingston employer, which is totally awesome and a special gift for the city which dared to not vote Tory.
So... yeah. My favourite part from this Globe and Mail article is this gem:
"Mr. Toews said the Tories are closing the prisons in part because the increase in jailed population expected from new harsher crime laws has not materialized."
Maybe you'd want to give it longer than a couple minutes? Oh! But lookee here:
"At the same time those three facilities close, however, the Harper government has plans in the works to expand about 30 other prisons."
Makes sense...?
Chew on that for a bit and I'll leave you with something else I saw in the news that really should only be seen on The Onion. And yet, here we are.

No... not in this day and age!
And here I was thinking racism was imaginary. Jesus Murphy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

You Know You Have IBS When...

1. You don't count calories, you count fibre intake.
2. When you check your weight, you consider how much constipation plays into that number
3. You're not one of those people who "wait to go home" because you can't.
4. You spend a portion of every month looking up ways to improve your digestive system.
5. Your wardrobe choices revolve around bloating concerns.
6. You take an above-average interest in other people's bowel movements.
7. You don't worry about the impact food will have on your weight, only your ability to use the toilet.
8. You've attempted many different regiments involving food restriction, magnesium and/or fibre supplements, colonics, special teas, flax seed etc.
9. You occasionally curse your body or life.
10. When it's been awhile, you start to catalogue just which meals might still be lingering inside of you.
11. You've been given a lot of advice about how to solve your problem from people without IBS, none of which works.
12. Even if you've never given birth, you feel like you've got a good idea what labour feels like.
13. You plan an entire day around using a hardcore laxative.
14. You use advance planning to mitigate your colon issues prior to a big event.
15. You become more interested than other sensible people in Eastern and new age medicines, herbs, and fringe remedies since modern medicine offers almost nothing that helps.
16. Sometimes you feel like you've had a good day only because you were able to go to the bathroom.
17. You've had to explain to people you barely know that you have IBS because it's impacting your ability to work/participate in an activity.
18. When you go through a good stint with no symptoms you indulge in the fantasy that there's nothing wrong with you after all.
19. But the symptoms always come back.

Friday, April 13, 2012


You know something I've never been really able to do? See myself sexually. I'm going to get a little personal here, otherwise known as vulnerable, so bear with me.

Do I have a sexuality? Obviously I do. I'm human, after all, and I'm not in that tiny minority of people known as asexuals (Don't understand them, but generally wish them well in life). No, what I mean is I don't usually believe that upon meeting a man that he will see me sexually. I never have, not even on a date.

I just don't put it out there. Frankly, I don't know how. It's just as well now. I mean, I'm married. I definitely shouldn't be putting it out there to other men in any serious way. It's unnecessary and/or inappropriate. But I've been mulling a few things over in my mind, just how I've related to men, and how men have related to me over my life.

I don't flirt, never really have. And by never, I mean never, at least not well. I just didn't know how and, again, didn't see myself as a possible object of desire. I was an artist, I was female, I was short, I was a little odd, and that was that. I liked to wear flat shoes. I enjoyed chin-length hair that I didn't have to style. I wore no makeup. My Catholic schoolgirl's uniform included loose-fitting grey pants and my brother's old button-up shirts, obscuring my figure in every way. I enjoyed sweatshirts, plaid pants and nothing flashy.

I called boys out on their shit. I didn't laugh unless I really thought they were funny, which was infrequent. More than one person thought I was a lesbian, something which was inoffensive to me, just simply inaccurate. I harboured crushes deep in my heart and nurtured them quietly. Actually, when faced with a boy I liked, I once quite literally ran away from him. Looking back, my goodness what a rude and strange thing to do. But it was typical of the way I saw myself.

How I got there, I could guess. I do know starting in elementary school, the idea of "going out" with me was thrown around like a joke. I remember a boy rubbing a windowpane and pretending it was me, in reference to my small breasts. I was called a duck because I walk like one. This is true, I do. And ducks aren't sexy. No one wants to, pardon the silliness, fuck a duck.

In high school a few boys asked me out and then immediately laughed at me. I heard in my first year of high school that one or another guys liked me, and it made me deeply uncomfortable. I was not raised to believe I was pretty, or ugly, and that sort of attention was seriously unnerving, even in small amounts. Also I had to consider it was fake interest and more about humiliating me some more.

One boy in grade 10 sexually harassed me in my science class. I remember getting anxiety before going to class. At the height of his performance he told me he wanted to "rape me and thump me hard," pumping his hand against my chair, saying, "thump, thump, thump." I had no idea what to make of this. But I think it's worth noting in relation to this post, that my thoughts were not that he was sexually attracted to me and selfishly vulgar about it, but instead that he hated me and was trying to make me upset.

I went on dates in my 20s and led with my personality, not looks, not sex, nothing like that. I had no idea how to do that. I'd wear jeans (These were my pre-dress days), a sweater or T-shirt, a bit of powder on my face, and I'd brush my hair. I may or may not have worn perfume.

And the guys I went on dates with in this era of time, all save one (who was way too aggressive and freaked me out) didn't touch me. They asked me out on a second, third, fourth date. But they didn't really touch me. Not really. Perhaps I didn't look like I welcomed it. But then why would they keep asking me out? Don't know. But at the time I didn't think too much about it beyond, "Hey, I'm kinda funny, so why wouldn't they want to hang out?" I didn't think these dates were all that sexually motivated. Sounds silly, but that's how I felt.

If a man wanted to catch up with me, get me a cup of coffee, I thought it was a genuine offer of friendship and nothing more. Now I look back and realize I was incorrect, but it didn't occur to me at the time that said man would be viewing me with sexual interest. Actually, I think because I didn't see myself that way, I couldn't imagine anyone else seeing me like that either.

I don't think I exude sexuality. I don't think I even sprinkle or waft it. Rather, I think it's like a helium balloon for me, something I have on me, but which is far removed from my person, hovering around, loosely associated with my body.

I've never thought I was ugly. But any time I've felt pretty, it's not translated into feeling or believing I'm sexually appealing, only aesthetically pleasing. Something inside of me has never clicked in that way. I don't know what this has meant for me as a woman in my life. It's not prevented me from finding love. In fact, when it came to love or dating I generally was able to get dates, second dates and find long-term relationships prior to getting married. But I do think this non-sexual view of myself prevented me from having some fun. I didn't flirt. I didn't play the game. I didn't let loose.

It's not been a linear journey. I've considered my body in many ways, in varying degrees. I've posed nude for art classes (Non-sexual). I've taken naked pictures for a boyfriend (Sexual). I slept over at a man's home who I barely knew with no intentions towards him (Non-sexual-- and nothing did happen). I initiated my relationship with the Dude, which was sexual (Or rather I tried to and had no idea how and he wound up making the first, second and third move-- so Non-sexual).

It's only lately that I've started seeing myself differently. It's been a subtle shift in personal perception, realizing that men might look at me in a sexual way, which is funny because in a handful of years my most attractive days should be behind me. To realize this now is kind of oddly amusing. Also, being of interest to other men is less important to me now.

But I don't think I want to be this way anymore, this person who shies away from the sexual side of herself and gets all cerebral about it. If only for my own personal joy, while I'm still young, before I become pregnant, I'm going to make a more concentrated effort to see myself as beautiful and an object of desire. I'm glad I haven't devoted my energy in this way all my life. I know who I am and what I'm about. But avoidance of this side of me hasn't been fully amazing either. Something's been missing. A certain enjoyment of being a cute girl has been passing me by.

Perhaps when I started growing out my hair and building wardrobe made up entirely of dresses has been me moving in this direction, the feminine side of me aching to be seen, to be really seen without being shy or embarrassed. I'm not sure. But I'm going to do my best to re-evaluate the way I see myself. I don't just want to feel cute. I want to feel attractive.

And wouldn't you know it, this is the first blog post I've ever labelled with "sexuality" in the three years I've been writing.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Samantha Brick, because why not?

I'm going to talk about about Samantha Brick. Why? Well, why not? She's trending on Twitter like crazy, defending her article (which f you don't know who this is, you'll have to at least skim the link to understand this post), and her unbelievable delusional perspective blows my mind.

I think I'll do this in point form.

1. When women don't like you, odds are it's because you're an ass, not because you're pretty.  I never trust any woman who says other women don't like her. Women are astute. All of them can't be wrong about a person.

Samantha Brick lookin' like
Samantha Brick

2. This woman is not even beautiful. Pretty and cute? Sure. I'd put her about 6/10 on the attractive scale. Above average, not too plain. She has some more unfortunate features, such as her lips, which are kind of ugly when she smiles, and her eyes are asymmetrical and too far apart. But she still manages to be a pretty sort of lady. Nice skin, nice hair, good nose, pleasant figure. She's probably one of the nicer looking women around the workplace, and she's held up well in her 40s. But that's about it. Her looks are not significantly above par to generate mass envy or admiration.

3. Women can feel threatened by attractive women, sure, but I have found that beautiful women who are kind or unassuming or modest tend to be incredibly popular with other women. Reason? If you've got something amazing, you don't throw it in other people's faces. If you're wealthy, for example, bragging about it will garner you no friends. If you're mellow about what is awesome about you or your life and you allow other people the time to shine too, you'll be well liked. Brag at your own peril. Other people are great, too.

4. And if you pretend to have something you don't (Wealth, connections, educational background) and people find out you were padding your prestige with lies and exaggerations, they won't like you. Now, since people can see your face, if you act like you have the best face ever and you don't, the jig is already up. Bam. People won't like you.

5. This woman likely goes through life with the belief she's better looking than all the women she knows (I base this on her article and the sort of mindset one would have to have in order to write such a thing for the world to read), and this is easily understood by all the women around her, who probably find it obnoxious and unpleasant to be around. As an additional eye-roll factor, it not even being true makes it more infuriating. Normal people find delusional thinking unpalatable, generally.

6. My guess is she does flirt with other men or carries herself in an overtly sexual way. That would easily explain male attention, why women don't like her talking to their partners, and in combination with point number 5 in particular, is why she hasn't got many if any female friends. All of which is far more believable than her assertion she's too beautiful to have female friends, which again, see point 2.

Sorry, lady. I think, though, that this will really sink in when women still don't like you when you're 50+ and your looks are all gone. It's your personality that's the problem. Tough pill to swallow, but there you are. Best of luck to you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

IBS, again, and again

Oh man, I am suffering. IBS, that's all. I hate my body sometimes. Some women hate their thighs, I hate my large intestine. I really don't know where it gets off not being a team player.

It kept me up last night, my body aching, my abdomen distended. I have a metallic taste in my mouth. I've been drinking water and peppermint tea all day, and all it's doing for me is making me pee every 75 minutes. I've taken magnesium. I've had a hot bath. I loathe when this happens to me. I always feel so trapped in my skin.

Clothes don't fit as well; my waist is 2.5 inches bigger around. My skin looks puffy. My skin is starting to break out. This is not healthy.

I have other things on my mind, but I can't focus so well lately. Disturbing how much happiness can be disrupted by failures of the body.