Hurrumble: a word to be used in place of words like hurrah or hurray or even huzzah, but not words like cauliflower or mattress.
(Bit of an odd title that, but I’m listening to Bleak Expectations and trying very hard to feel like a Hurrumble and not like a cauliflower.)
One of the things I have sworn to myself, coming out of my first phase of treatment, was that I would write some more. So here!
Apparently I talk far too much, for one of today’s hurrumbles was relating to my freshly pierced ear. Turns out I’d told Ash about my treatment before going in (which will make asking him to design me a brand based on the ED recovery symbol that much less awkward). I asked him to do my navel but being a proper artist he said my belly button is too shallow and he could do it if I wanted but healing might be nasty. We added a right helix instead as I couldn’t decide right then and there on whether I want something more NSFW.
The other hurrumble is a new Pandora bead bought with the presumed gift money I will receive on Monday. This was chosen to mark the first phase of treatment too and is pleasingly swirly, and much less of a problem than the helix is when I forget about it and roll onto my right side. (This could be much worse – I once got both helices pierced on the same day and didn’t sleep properly for a week.)
Tomorrow is the Coventry concert we’ve been asked to sing in by the St Michael’s Singers. I’m trying not to focus on all the neuroses around social angst and looking too fat and worrying about singing flat for a director other than our own and just hoping to enjoy it. Then comes my birthday, although given that the season of Who finishes before my new decade I figure if I don’t watch it I will never turn thirty two days later. Hm. Might be slightly wibbly wobbly timey wimey, but a girl can hope, and keep her eyes open for Police Boxes.
This Christmas surprised me in being remarkably peaceful and I was heartened by my family’s reaction to the dinner I cooked on the day itself (which included taking photos of the main course!) and generally by my ability not to fall off a cliff. I sang in Messiah and Boxing Day carols and generally managed to behave reasonably normally. All through the season, though, I felt something odd. Recently, I have felt a bit blocked, not writing, not really socialising, and struggling badly with my relationship with the Church of England and, if I’m fair, confused and dissatisfied with my relationship with Christ.
It’s an odd form of blockage, though. I’m not up against a dead end, I’m not lost in the dark. I think the best way I can explain how I feel is that I’m floating in a bottle of champagne, with the cork still in, that has recently been shaken up. And someone – God, I hope, or my angel – has a wire around the cork, and is tugging it ever so gradually towards the point of no return. I think this might be what being “called” really feels like. I’ve never felt it before and in all honesty it’s terrifying and exhilarating all at once.
I can’t say yet where I’m going. I have an idea. A lot of elements in my life seem to be coming together to complement one another at the moment. I may never know where the next step will lead me, but it’s time to stop hiding. I’m making inquiries into finding a spiritual director who can help me with this, and I have a lot of reading to do. I’m going to try getting back to church regularly, and Mum and I have also given the local Friends’ Meeting a try. I think with all these approaches I might begin to find the Christ in me, rather than trying to keep Him out with illness and busyness. I have always – always always – been Martha. It’s time to be Mary and see where that leads.
Hello dear readers. I would love as usual to have something big and bold and brilliant to say. I don’t. I can, however, tell you that my poem “Schroedinger’s Tree” has been sold to Strange Horizons for publication in their spring edition. First sale, guys! Now I’ve got to follow that up with something equally brilliant. Um… I shall get back to you on that.
On the more mundane side of life, my homemade soap continues to saponificate and looks like soap! Two and a half hours of stirring and checking, that took me, so I’m rather chuffed. I want to let it develop a little more before using the first block but I think it’s safe to say some people will find winter spice soap in their stockings!
Just as an aside, Lucky is asleep next to me, on her back, with one front leg sticking up into the air (about 65 degrees above horizontal). She’s been like that for five minutes without twitching. Does anyone know why cats stick their legs out like that and how they can hold the pose without getting sore?
Some people have very kindly asked for advice about how I (mostly) eliminated shampoo from my life. I wasn’t going to into go into blogging about all the natural beauty stuff I’ve been working on, because the internet is already full of more people blogging about that than reading about it. But then I thought, hey, I already write a blog no-one but a very dedicated hard core – and my cats – reads. So what the heck.
(As an aside I’m aware of the hypocrisy involved in preaching about natural haircare while I sit here waiting for the coloured semi-permanent dyes on the bleached streaks in my otherwise permanently dyed black hair to develop. Half of one is better than twice of nothing, as I think Talon Karrde may have once said. Unless I made that up, in which case, forget it.)
Non-shampoo haircare is actually a tangent from my overexcited reaction to getting onto the homemade cosmetics bandwagon at large, but I’m going to stick with it because it does make for a cheaper bathroom stock. (Not make-up, though. I have taken to buying my make-up from my mate Sheena who sells Mary Kay which is dermatologically tested, charitably supportive and completely awesome when you start building your own compacts out of little magnetic eyeshadows.)
There are plenty of websites out there all telling you that there are right proportions for the following recipes, but all managing to tell you different things. To them I say, silly silly people. The whole point of this is teaching your hair to rely upon your personal body chemistry, and because we all have different hair and scalp types, the odds are pretty good that the optimum for this varies from person to person. What I have found is that as time has gone on I have needed to use these items less and less. I believe some people manage to eliminate them completely over time, although I doubt I ever will never need them on the shelf, because I do insist on putting these harsh colourants through my hair occasionally, toasting it to a crisp with curlers and crimpers, and so on. If you don’t do any of that you probably never need to deep condition your hair and therefore can skip the Other Treatments section below.
Bicarbonate of Soda
If you’re an American, I mean baking soda. I have taken to keeping a big kilner jar of this (one of the preserving jars with clips and a rubber seal to keep most of the moisture out) on the bathroom shelf. As I said above, all sorts of people like to tell you how to do this and with what consistency and talk as though variables such as body chemistry or even thickness and length of hair don’t impact on this. Of course they would, silly people who don’t seem ever to have done GCSE science coursework. If you’re old, I mean ‘O’ levels. :p
So in the true spirit of blogging, I will tell you what I do and then you can ignore it and do your own thing instead. What I have taken to using is a cheap dessert spoon and a measuring beaker that came with my old breadmaker – it’s a bit over 500ml to the brim. I put one rounded tablespoon of bicarb in the cup, fill it with water from the shower and give it a good stir to make sure it’s all mixed in but quickly or the water goes cold. That doesn’t affect it, I just don’t like pouring lukewarm water over my head and neck when I’m expecting nice warm water. Anyway. Pour that over your hair, aiming at the scalp and the roots, then put the cup down and give it a good scrub through with your fingertips and throw in a scalp massage for good measure – this stimulates blood flow and, so they say, helps your hair to grow. When you’ve done that, rinse thoroughly. I have never yet found the knack to not being able to taste bicarb at some point during this process.
Then I repeat that. I don’t know if that is actually a helpful thing to do or if I am just indoctrinated by “lather, rinse, repeat” into repeating regardless. I shall try experimenting at some point. At any rate, make sure the last rinse is a good one or the next stage will resemble that GCSE science coursework you didn’t do properly and therefore got wrong.
Again I have a big bottle of this in the bathroom – I have decanted mine into a kilner bottle again partly so it looks like it belongs there and not in the kitchen, but partly to tell me the essential oils are in that one so not to put it on my salad. I put essentials in there purely for fragrance – the vinegar fragrance does go, I promise, but the essential oils hang around a little – but you could use ones that are good for hair like cedarwood, sage or rosemary, maybe with a top note of lemon.
Again take your beaker, rinse it out to get rid of any traces of bicarb and pour a little into the beaker, then top up with water. I’m not fastidious about the ratio but tend to use around 1:8 vinegar:water. Some people out there seem to measure it to the nearest millimetre, but who has the time? Pour over your hair again and this time cover the length of the hair, and rinse.
I repeat this too, again, not knowing if I should or not.
Then finish your shower, dry naturally if you have time or blow-dry if not. I say naturally because you will probably find the texture of your hair changes a bit as it gets used to the natural oils of your scalp and if you blow-dry it you might not be able to tell. Some websites claim you can expect six months of oily hair before your scalp adapts – I got to my more-or-less there point after two weeks. Just lucky, I guess!
Dry shampoo – this is very helpful for that oily bit in between as well as when you’re in a rush. Most of the reading I did pointed to using cornstarch, or cornstarch mixed with cocoa powder for the brunettes, and painting it onto oily patches with a tiny tiny paintbrush. I don’t know about you, but if I had time to faff around with anything that time consuming I’d just spend five minutes longer in the shower and wash it…
Anyway, what I finally settled on:
Mix a ratio by volume of 1:1:4 vodka:arrowroot:warm water. Pour into spray bottle. Shake well to mix before using. Spray into hair. Brush. Go.
The water distributes the arrowroot without leaving powder all over your hair, the arrowroot absorbs the excess oils, and the vodka evaporates remaining liquids more quickly. I think. You could of course use cornstarch instead of arrowroot. I have always used arrowroot in everything I make both hair, face, or baking – I have no idea why.
Deep conditioning: Get jar of coconut oil. Put jar of coconut oil in hot water until melted. Add essential oils as desired. Allow to cool. Scoop out hard coconut oil, melt in hands and distribute onto hair. Continue throughout hair. Wrap hair in towel. Leave half an hour, two hours if you can or overnight if you’re hardcore or just want to go to sleep. It is at this point that shampoo becomes a problem, because I found you really can’t take out that much oil with baking soda alone. Since I have also learnt to make hard shampoo bars, that is what I am using but I guess whichever most natural shampoo you can use will be fine, but do put it through your hair before adding water or the water and oil combination will take it straight back off again. Then follow with your vinegar rinse and you’re good.
I also have a lovely recipe for hot oil using almond oil and avocado oil, frankincense and myrrh essential oils, but I should probably not put that up here as it is copyright the Neal’s Yard Recipe Book, which I find to be a very useful book anyway. Avocado oil is allegedly very good for your hair but you wouldn’t want to use it on its own so dilute with a carrier oil such as I guess sweet almond, fractionated coconut or basic olive oil. Or jojoba if you can be bothered to find it, which is supposed to be helpful for oily scalps anyway.
Brandy has just hopped up in front of the monitor and is sitting there getting in my way and making pathetic little begging calls, so I think it must be breakfast time. The other thing I wanted to do briefly today is plug the Brita Filter bottles that Sainsbury’s has in stock, which are big drinking bottles with a regular spout but a charcoal disc behind that so that all the water that you drink is freshly filtered. I’m not normally one for plugging things but I am rubbish at making sure I drink enough enough caffeine-free liquid and since getting this five days ago and carrying it around with me (it fits in the holder in the car) I am knocking the stuff back and am absolutely convinced that I can feel the hydration. Although I may be making that last bit up.
Yes Brandy, breakfast.
It was suggested to me this weekend that I should spend the whole time asleep, that it would do me the world of good. After a VERY wobbly Friday night I figud that it was the best idea I’d heard for a while, so yesterday involved lots of lying about feeling warm and comfy with breaks to put stuff in my hair to take it back to a nice monochrome look.
I don’t feel wholly myself, not yet. But for the rest I feel much stronger and more able to fake it until I get back to actually feeling solid. I may be on my own a lot, but maybe if I can con myself into thinking I’m okay, then getting to okay won’t seem to be such a long way. It’s harder to face that walk on my own, but there’s nothing I can do except start walking.
Hello, dear readers. Reader. Is there someone there? Anyone? No-one? Lots of no-one? No-one with multiple personality disorder?
_Don’t joke about mental health. Except your own. Bad Maddy._
Hello there. I was hoping to have something witty to bring to the internet to mark my triumphant return. A poem, or some wry observations. A boycott or a lecture on how I’m much more ethical than everyone else in the universe. Oh, hang on, I can do that last one. I have become a mad hippy.
All right, a bit more of a mad hippy than I was before.
You see, my dears, I am learning new tricks. Inspired by the Wartime Farm series I made a haybox cooker, which works very well only I then remembered I’m not much interested in eating at the moment. I have taught myself rebatch soap, make body and face oils, shampoo bars, toothpaste, skin conditioners, and bath bombs and soaps made from scratch will follow in due course. Most mad hippy ish of all, though… I have not washed my hair in a month.
Not strictly accurate, that last one, stop backing away. I have not shampooed my hair in a month. Doesn’t that sound better?
Oh. Well, anyway, I rinse my hair frequently, fear not. And with the judicious application of baking soda, arrowroot, cider vinegar and essential oils, I have begun to teach my scalp to produce the oils it needs to keep my hair in condition itself. You know, the ones expensive shampoos strip away so you end up reliant on their chemicals? Like I said, mad hippy! I have to say, though, my hair feels great and most of the reading I’ve done on no ‘poo living (such an elegant turn of phrase) says I have about another month to go before it optimises.
As you can see, my transition to being the mad cat witch who lives in the scary house that the children have to run past is proceeding according to schedule. And for the obligatory cat update, they have all put on their winterweight and some a little more than they should. Lucky and Archie have their winter coats as well and look like big tribbles with tails. And there I must end, for I think I hear my mother at the door with my prescription. I shall try to be more interesting next post and not to leave it as long until next time.
It’s been a long time since I posted anything here. I don’t exactly have regular readers so that’s not a huge problem, but I tend to feel the need to chatter aimlessly at the internet occasionally.
I have a problem. Lots of my friends are on facebook and nowhere else I can find them online. Unfortunately I increasingly hate facebook. Not just for the many reasons around using users as a product, auto recognition, the website deciding what I want to see or the battle it wages agains the use of pseudonyms (although these are not helpful) but because I find it an increasingly horrible place. It’s like a room full of people shouting and for the first time my agoraphobic tendecies are making themselves evident while I’m online. That can’t be right or healthy and I want to leave.
Unfortunately right now a lot of friends aren’t anywhere else and the games through it are fun. Given my tendency to post short bollocksy statements that could just as easily go on Twitter but occasionally freak my mother out, I think the short term solution is to move anything I want to say here and start actually tagging things, and just post links to this on fb.
Whether I shall bother reading my feed? Don’t know. Right now it’s an almost painful place for me and I need to establish if I can use it without more agoraphobia raising it’s head.
(I quite like agoraphobia – literally fear of marketplaces – in reference to Facebook though, as it is in reality a people market.)
If anyone needs my Twitter ID or wants to brave the insanity of my lj, drop me a line. Although the Twitter might already be linked to this blog, I can’t tell from here.