Friday, July 30, 2010

Going Green: Hair products (part 2)

Batch 1
 The first batch of homemade hair gel. This one was a bit more 'set' than  I had hoped for, but as you saw in the previous post, it did it's job.

I had to smush it in order to get it in my hair. It came out of the bowl in big blobs. Big, very cold blobs. After letting it sit out on the counter it became more jelly-like and easier to handle.

The second batch was more like hair gel. It did set up nicely, and because I let it sit out on the counter for most of the night, it was clearer. I added vanilla extract to this batch instead of lavendar essential oil hence the tan shade. It worked very well, but was still a little chunky, which made it difficult to get in the hair. Alot of the gel rolled off of my hair and ended up in the sink!

The third batch came out similar to the second, but I poured it into a large measuring cup to set up. The next morning I let it warm up on the counter, then whisked it. I was able to almost pour it on my hair which was much easier.

Now I just need a good bottle for it, and hopefully I can squeeze it like regular gel.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I took a little trip...

I find it delightful how I lived 27 years without having my half-sister in my life, but after meeting her and staying with her for 48 hours, I can't imagine ever being apart again.

Something changed in me as the years went by. I always knew about my sister; we had even talked through email and on the phone. We hadn't ever met but always planned to. One day, I couldn't wait any longer. I had to get to know her, or find out that we wouldn't ever be friends.

After picking a weekend and coordinating the flight time, I packed my bags and headed to the coast. I had butterflies for weeks, but now, I had hawks flying around in there. I gingerly bounced out of the terminal to find her and her 2 children waiting for me at the end of the sidewalk.  !!!!! What an amazing feeling. It's like the final bottle was slipped into the wine rack. Complete!
We naturally took to each other. Riding through town, chit-chatting, laughing, agreeing, "I-know"-ing,

I met my niece and nephew also. They were wonderful, even if they are 13 and 16, respectively. My neice is interested in photography, so I let her use my camera to take some pictures. She really enjoyed roaming around her yard with me as I looked for things to snap photos of. I hope I inspired her somehow, even if I'm not actually a photographer myself. Here is a photo that she took for me. I love that she wanted to do what I was doing.

My nephew really liked the orginal NES, so we had a few rounds of Duck Hunt one evening. We also jammed out to Wii Music. He is very talented and genuinely interested in the arts. He was fun to talk to, and gets excited about his hobbies. That's not common anymore with 16 yr old boys. Good for him!

~As a half-aunt, I get to be all the fun of a regular aunt, but with half the calories~

We went to the beach, I got a lot of good pictures in the rain, drank margaritas and stayed up too late. It was an amazing weekend. One I will never forget, and one that will never be duplicated. Thank you sister for wanting to meet me. Thank you niece and nephew for wanting to spend time with me. Thank you Continental Airlines for getting me there, and the beer that you served me on the way.

I really did experience life this weekend.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Going Green: Hair products

The plot:
My first order of business in getting back to nature is my hair. I haven't used 'shampoo' in many years, and have only used mainstream conditioners a few times. I was using more 'natural' gel for a while, but when money gets tight I have had to buy the cheap drugstore kind. Even my no-poo and condish were super expensive, so I didn't always have that. But I never gave in to regular shampoo. Never. Organic and natural products can be pricey but that doesn't mean they are the only way to be organic or natural. So, I've gone back to my baking soda wash, acv or hemp powder condish (although, I am testing Tate's Miracle Conditioner from my local health food store), and have made my first batch of homemade gel!

Behind the scenes:
Gel is pretty easy to make. There are many recipes online, too many to try them all in fact. Last night I did a simple one: unflavored gelatin powder, water, aloe vera gel, and a few drops of lavendar essential oil. It came out ok. I kept adding powder because the directions told me to in order to get the consistency I wanted. Well duh, it meant after it sets up in the fridge, not before. I ended up adding the whole packet of gel powder... it was clear jello this morning! It did do the job though, even if it was a little too crunchy for me. I will have to find a way to make it more conditioning, and less stiff. It made my hair too stringy for my taste today ( I like bigger curls), but I am impressed that I made a hair product.

The sequel:
Tonight, I will try it again. The next recipe is 1/2 cup boiling water, 1/4 tsp. gelatin, and a few drops of vanilla extract (for aroma). This may add a slight tint, but I don't think it will show up on my hair.

The budget:
The box of knox gel cost me $1.37 for 4 packets, I had a bottle of aloe vera gel which was probably $2, the bottle of oil was $10, and I have some vanilla extract. I can probably make at least 12 batches of gel from this if I measure the powder correctly (!), and still have aloe gel, vanilla, and oil left for many many more batches. I will only have to replace the powder occassionally which is super cheap.This is much cheaper than store bought hair products.

The review:
Since our scalp is skin, and skin is our largest organ, anything we put on our hair ends up in our bodies, so homemade is healthier too, not just economical.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I know, I'm even lazy at being myself.

I started this blog many years ago as a personal journal while I was in therapy for depression, self-esteem issues, and anger. Over the years it evolved into a rant board for myself of all the things and people that annoy me. And occasionally, I would post something uplifting or funny.

What I wanted it to become was a place that I could discover where I was going, and how I wanted to direct my future. A place that I could be me, without getting the sideways glances I get from people in person. Somewhere my friends and family would be able to go and find out what was really going on with me. Some place special.

I haven't done that. I have designed it properly. I haven't posted the real truth. I have spent milliseconds composing posts that aren't even worth reading. I rush through them just to get them posted, but don't put any real thought into them. No one knows who I really am by reading this blog, if anyone ever reads the blog. I read it, and I can't get an idea of myself from my own writing.

I will dedicate my time. I will dedicate my mind. I will dedicate myself to something: me.

Put your seat belt on darling. I'm ready to go! Now, we just need some gas in the tank.....

Customer Service Reps

Why do they frustrate me so? I know they are there to help. Even if they speak English, they still make my blood boil. I called my bank today and the rep was very nice. Maybe that was it, she was too nice. But she kept pausing and I didn't know what to say. I needed help with freezing my account because my card is missing. I don't know what they need from me or what to do, so I am nice and try to let her talk but she wasn't saying anything! I got so frazzled! I told her my card was missing and she just said "OK". OK what?! Tell me what to do! That is your job!! I hate when people call my office and tell me who they need, what department they work in, what they do for a living, what they need to talk to the person about... and so on. This is my job, let me do it. Just give me a name and let me work. So, it return, I am passive when I call customer service or any business. Why, oh why, can't other people lead me through the steps? That's what they get paid to do!
Phone rings, and there was yet another know-it-all on the line. Sigh.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What is "settled"?

My husband and I are facing 'homelessness' by the end of the month. We have chosen to terminate our lease as our roommate moved out and the home (and rent) are above our level of necessity. We now face the decision of  whether we want to find a smaller, cheaper rental, or store our belongings and couch surf for a while.

We choose: couch surf.

This is by far the smartest choice for us. We have no children, just 2 dogs. And they are house broken and crate trained. We have plenty of family with room to spare, so we aren't exactly out on the street.

I was asked if I would feel unsettled living this way. What really is settled? I think it is just something people say to make themselves feel better, or to wear someone down with a different idea of what is okay in life. Case in point: my in-laws. They can't stand that the hubs and I haven't bought a home yet. They tell us all the time that we need to 'settle down' and buy a home. Why? So I can have a mortgage that I can't afford, and a 2nd mortgage that my grandkids will still be paying on? :)

I'm fine with roaming. The hubs and I both have very good jobs at which we make very good money. And by not having rent to pay, we will be able to put even more money in savings. Money that will help up afford a nice home someday without financing our entire life away.

If you don't have to have a home and an acre, why do people try to make you feel like less of a person for not having it? And further more, for not wanting it?

I don't know who's dream it was to be a homeowner, but it's not this Americans dream.

I'm settled. Right here at my desk, writing in my blog.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Assuming I'm a stand up comic...

This is not a business you get into to be rich. I'm here because I love this job, and you couldn't get by without the laughter I create.  :)

It's lonely though, because my husband has to stay back home and work. He doesn't do it because he has an awesome job, no no. He does it because someone has to pay the damn AT&T bill. That is one crazy expensive bill. And we don't even have an iPhone! Just lame old-school phones, with no internet. But you have to have them. And wasn't it always the cool thing to be "in"? Remember the Cingular ads? "you in?" Yeah, well, we got in, now we can't get out. Because every 2 years we get an upgrade! And that is so exciting. You check your online account twice a week for your upgrade eligibility, like it matters. Then its time, you get the new phone, and in 2 months, you're counting down to upgrade time again. "If my phone can make it another 22 months, I can get a new one.... for free!!!" Ever stop to think about why it's free? But that's that.

I wish they had a procrastinatory disconnect service with cell phones. You know, you pay part of your bill, but not all of it and your service just starts to fuzz out over time until you pay it all. When I was a kid we had cable from this local company called Heartland. After you went past due on your account, they would begin "soft disconnect" where your cable would become increasingly more fuzzy. Eventually it would go out all together. We would usually wait about 10 days in, then we couldn't stand it anymore and mom and dad would have the money by then.

That's what AT&T should do. Actually, they kinda already have that; it's called their service! Man does it suck or what?! But what are you gonna do? Go to Verizon? Or US Cellular? Who uses US Cellular anymore? My grandma maybe.

By the way, I made up procrastinatory. The definition is: to do something in a way that exudes or displays procrastination or the idea of procrastination.

Oooh, aahhh

Sweet "Members Only" bomber jacket on ebay. Want it!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

My brain today

Things for you to consider:

When you call a business, the person who answers the phone probably can't help you with your problem. Most likely it is a receptionist, or someone like me who comes in early and has to answer the phone until the receptionist gets in.

Don't schmooze me on the phone. Don't ask how my day is going. Don't thank me when I reciprocate your stupid "how are you" question. I don't care how you are, and I don't want you to thank me for asking; I'm busy.

Just get on with your inquiry, request, or name of person you need. I don't want to know your story. I don't want to hear your complaint.

Don't be talking to someone else when I answer the phone. I don't want to have to repeat myself, nor do I want to talk over you so you remember you dialed the phone.

Know who you're calling for. If you can't remember what you needed, I surely won't know what it is you forgot.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I knew he had loved me at one time. I was wishing it was still true, maybe it could be.

As we prepared for the gala ball I couldn't resist approaching him and sharing my feelings. He would be so happy to know that I had fallen for him too. We sat facing each other on the couch while the others gathered for our departure. I slowly made my way to his lap on the couch, and placed my lips next to his ear. "Please love me", I said. "Tell me you still love me, that it isn't too late." He turned slightly, but not quite enough to look me in the eyes. "I'm sorry my dear, it's too late."  I began to sob into his shoulder. "I can fix this, you can fall in love with me again", I begged. But I knew I had missed my chance. My heart ached worse than ever. I had no idea that love, or lack of love, could be so physically painful.

I had to clean my self up. We still had a event to attend. I had gotten to my feet somehow, and while hiding my face, stumbled towards the ladies room. I paused in the hall for just a moment, feeling someone's eyes on me. I looked up slowly to find a man standing a few feet up to my left on a flight of stairs, holding a single rose. It was him! My love! My breath caught in my throat as I tried to speak. "You! It's you!", I whispered. He moved down to me, "Shhh, don't cry. I'm here, and it's has always been me." He took me in his arms and wiped my tears away. I had never been so happy to see my husband in all our lives. How could I have ever left him? No one was better than he, no one loved me more than this man. "What will you do about your date to the ball? What will I do about mine?" I asked. "They are both available to each other now. Let them find the answer." "Hurry, we must go", he urged. "Where are we going?" I asked.

"We are going to live, live our future and forget our past."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The master of (ruining) surprise

Again I have stuck my foot in my mouth. I always ask too many questions, assume too early, and unfortunately, am too right too often.

The hubs wanted to surprise me for my birthday by installing a new radio and speakers in my car. Early yesterday I spotted 2 audio  connectors on the kitchen counter, and began to suspect. Then early yesterday afternoon, hubs woke up from a nap and realized he had been sleeping on his keys in his pocket. However, I had his keys as I had driven his car to the store earlier that morning. I began to formulate an idea. Later yesterday evening I awoke from my nap to find he was not in the house, nor was my car in the garage. And I have figured it out.

I should've simply mentioned that I was hungry when I called him, but I had to , absolutely HAD TO, ask if he was doing what I thought he was doing. Because I must know if I'm right, always.

I was right, and he was hurt. Because again, it was supposed to be a surprise, and again, I ruined it. Like I always do.

Why do I have to notice everything and always question?!