No ‘Poo, No More

No, this is not about constipation.  It is about my hair, which happens to be the subject of this week’s Spin Cycle.

I have thick hair.  VERY thick hair, like enough for three people thick.  It’s thinned a bit as I’ve aged (yet another wonderful gift from the Perimenopause Fairy), but it’s still much thicker than your average head.  It is also very wavy, although not quite wavy enough to be curly, which is really inconvenient unless I keep it short, which Beloved hates.

Once I moved to Ohio, with its long, DRY winters, I discovered something else:  I can spend six months of the year looking like Christopher Lloyd in the Back to the Future films before Doc Brown went gray.  Or a mousy brown Ronald McDonald; take your pick.

Oh, with dandruff.  We must not forget my horrifically flaky scalp (although I’m sure you’d like to).

Thus began The Search For Non-Frizzy-Dandruff-Free Hair, which, until recently, has been A Miserable Failure.  No amount of product, blow-drying, flat-or-curling ironing could tame my terrible tresses, unless I was prepared to spend two hours and a small fortune every day doing something about my hair and I’m sorry – I haven’t been that concerned about my appearance since I was 16.

Once I’d moved north, I consulted a hair-stylist about what I could do to cut down on the frizz without putting so much crap on my head that it effectively turned my hair into a gleaming, rock-hard, non-moving helmet.  This wonderful woman (who has, alas, moved away) suggested I not wash my hair every day.  In fact, she suggested I only wash it every four days.  It would give the natural oils produced by my scalp a chance to do what they’re supposed to do – nourish my hair and keep it from drying out.

It worked, too – on the fourth day.  The problem was that no matter the brand of shampoo I used, it would strip my hair so badly that it would take 3 days for it to recover.  So I started going longer and longer between washings: first five days, then seven, then ten.  After awhile, I stopped rinsing my hair in the shower between washings, because even getting it wet was making it dry.

Then, about a year ago, I ran across Richard Nikoley’s post about his no soap and shampoo experiment.  After that, it seemed like blog posts and articles about doing away with shampoo popped up everywhere, and I read them all avidly.

As of this writing, I haven’t used shampoo for almost a year (Beloved hasn’t for about 8 months).  My hair, despite being in need of a trim, is simply gorgeous.  It is not dirty, or oily, or greasy or smelly – it is strong, shiny, sleek and healthy.  And my dandruff, while still present, is not nearly as severe.

Now, we do wash it; about once a month, I scrub my scalp with a paste made from water and baking soda, then rinse it with raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which I am convinced is The Greatest Conditioner Known To Mankind.  (I also wash it if I do something that gets it visibly dirty or if I swim in chlorinated water, which is even worse for hair than shampoo.)  I also vigorously brush it every morning and every evening, to distribute the oils from my scalp down the the strands of hair, especially important now that my hair has grown past my shoulders.

I should also mention that we haven’t gone so far as to give up soap, although we no longer use harsh deodorant or antibacterial soaps.  It’s good old Ivory for us, unless I can get my hands on some old-fashioned, hand-made lye soap.  My use of deodorant has also decreased a great deal; I no longer apply it unless I forget my magnesium oil for several days in a row.  Marvelous stuff, that magnesium oil, although Beloved won’t use it because he says it burns his skin (and I have to be careful about how and where I apply it).

So there you have it.  If you’re questioning my sanity, I guess I can’t blame you – I’ve given up grains, dairy and “healthy” vegetable oils, I eat raw meat, and I no longer use shampoo.  But, you know, if I’ve gone off the deep end…well, I kinda like it down here.

Random Tuesday Exhaustion

It’s been a wonderful and fun 5 days, but today this guy goes home:

It was marvelous to take photos of something not food-related for a change, but I must point out that this handsome young man is laying on the floor.

Which means that I was laying on the floor.

I was tempted to not get up.

I guess it could be worse – Beloved got to do stuff like this:

I have to tell you – I do NOT know how people my age handle being parents of small children (and you know who you are).  We had a great time, but after 5 days, we’re exhausted.

~~~~~~

Sometimes I get a hit from some place like Nepal or Zimbabwe, and think to myself, “Wow – they have internet access there?”  Not that I’m complaining – they’re reading my blog, after all.

Apparently, good taste is global.

~~~~~~

One of the search terms that will find my blog this month is “upside down christmas tree chandelier.”

For the uninitiated, this is why:

This is our “formal” tree, handing in our formal dining room (we have an “informal” tree in our informal family room).

I was a bit surprised to find that upside-down Christmas trees are becoming quite popular; every time someone new sees ours, they just can’t get over it.

“I’ve never seen one of those before!!”

Once I started getting hits from this search term, I Googled it and there are quite a few out there.  I also learned that while the tradition of hanging fir trees upside down goes back to the Middle Ages, it is now the custom to have the tips pointing up – towards heaven – and many people feel that upside-down Christmas trees are disrespectful…even sacrilegious.

Well, that does it.  I’m never getting rid of it now.

~~~~~~

Well, that’s about all the random I have today.  Now go.  Visit Stacy.  Become one with the randomness that is Tuesday.

Dream A Little Dream Of…Salmonella

I had a really bizarre series of dreams last night.

First, an acquaintance of mine showed up to the house (which, of course, was a mess).  She kept hugging and kissing me and it soon became apparent her intentions were a little more than friendly, if you get my drift.  I was saved from an embarrassing situation because she saw a roast chicken on my kitchen counter and immediately started to eat it.  I wanted to tell her “No!  Don’t eat that!  It’s been sitting out all night!”  But I didn’t, either out of embarrassment that there was a chicken on my counter that had been allowed to sit out all night or fear that I’d find myself in an embarrassing situation; I’m not sure.

Then, other people started showing up in my house – people I didn’t even know – and they started to eat the chicken, too, along with the bags of peppers from the farmer’s market I’ve been hoarding in the freezer in the garage.  Beloved must have been out of town on business, because all I could think was, “I can’t tell these people not to eat this chicken because it’s been sitting on the counter all night, but Beloved’s going to kill me because all they’re all going to get salmonella and sue us.”

At which point I was saved awakened by the sounds of The Young One in the kitchen making his lunch.

And the moral of this story, boys and girls, is if you wake up in the middle of the night with a killer hot flash and menopause-induced anxiety attacks and are driven to the sofa so you don’t keep your husband up because a tired husband is a cranky husband, don’t fall asleep while watching Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.

I still don’t know where the whole hugging and kissing thing came from.  And I really don’t want to.

Just A Little Bit

This week’s Spin Cycle is all about respect.  I’ve been mulling it over all week and, to be perfectly honest, have had a hard time deciding what angle I was going to attack this from.  And now here it is, Friday, and I’m still pretty clueless.  This has not been helped by the sleepless night I just spent (eff you, menopause-induced insomnia), so you’ll have to forgive me if this post, well, rambles a bit.

I don’t think about respect as much as I did when I was younger, probably because I respect the people that matter and know they respect me – people that don’t respect me don’t matter, those that don’t matter probably don’t respect me, and I really don’t give a big hairy rat’s patootie.

It took me a long time to get to this point, probably because it took me a long time to learn to respect myself – and, like love, you can’t expect it from someone else unless you first learn to give it to yourself.   I think a lot of us feel like loving and respecting ourselves is just too narcissistic, when it’s really necessary.  After all, if you can’t give yourself the love and respect you’re due, how can you give it to anyone else?  To say nothing of expecting it from others – it’s simply hard to respect someone who has no self-respect.  I used to wonder if my first marriage would have been different if I’d had the self-respect I gained in the years following my divorce, but hindsight coupled with maturity is a both a blessing and a curse – it took me years to realize the answer to that was “probably not” simply because he had so little self-respect.  Nor would he believe me if I told him that I hope he’s found that self-respect…but I really do.

I’ve also found that as I grow older my definition of respect has matured.  When I was younger the respect I wanted from others (as well as that I gave myself) was very intertwined with my desire of approval, something I wanted desperately.  Now, I don’t give a shit if you approve of me or not; I have my reasons for doing the things I do and you don’t have to agree with the actions or the reasons, but I’d like you to respect them.  I respect yours, even when I don’t agree with you.

The focus of my respect has also shifted somewhat in recent years as well.  Like far too many young women, I had little respect for my body – I spent a lot of time abusing it, mostly trying to achieve some sort of silly, socially idealized beauty which, for me, was simply out of reach.  These days I have a much more healthy respect for it, and it has little to do with my looks.  Once you enter your forties, the realization that your entire life is no longer stretching out in front of you sets in – very likely half of it is behind you.  I no longer worry unduly about how I look, but I do care very much about living the rest of my life as a healthy, happy, independent human being.

The scope of my respect has broadened as I’ve matured, as well.  Like a lot of poor, struggling people – especially poor, struggling single parents – I used to have little respect for my environment; at least I didn’t think about it much.  When you’re living paycheck to paycheck and wondering if you’ll be able to pay the rent and the daycare and buy clothes for your kids and still put food on the table, you don’t think much about where the shelter and the clothing and the food come from.  All you care about is obtaining them.  These days I’m fortunate to be secure enough to be able to think about the source of the necessities of life and mature enough to care about how the acquisition of them affects not just me, but those who come after me as well as those around me.

See?  Told you – rambling.  And I’m afraid I’m having trouble respecting my dying ovaries right now.  I know, it could be worse – the rest of me could be going along for the ride.  I sure would respect a good night’s sleep, though.