Friday, January 31, 2014

***UPDATE*** Natural Girl Hair Tales

As I sort of promised, here are some pics for the previous post on natural hair:

Is that a gray hair?! Nope. Split ends, dang it!!!

Still a TWA, huh?

Have to find a style since the new growth...

My hair had a buildup of other products and, since it wasn't time for my shampoo, I did a rinse-out. I applied the Kinky-Curly leave-in detangler before I let my hair dry and put it up for the night in some sloppy cornrows. This morning, I used some JBCO on my scalp and applied just the tiniest bit of the KeraCare leave-in conditioner to the rows. I took the cornrows out and used another teensy bit of KeraCare while I did my comb-out.

You can see my hair growth when looking back at a December photo.

Had leftovers of a texturizer. Kinda like it.

What you can't see is how soft my hair feels. There was a slight feeling of product until it sort of absorbed (after about 15 minutes), then there was no dampness or oily feeling at all. My hair feels a little bit 'sponge-y' but in a good way. There's no coil to my hair right now because I picked it instead of doing using my fingers to style it. I did just spritz the back with some water to see what happens. The water gave me some curl formation, but I'm going for a fluffy 'fro today.

Both products seem to work really well. I am loving the KeraCare the most. Because the Kinky-Curly is so pricey, I probably won't buy anymore until I have more length. I will definitely be getting more of the KeraCare. By the way, I like that neither product has a "smell". I sniffed the containers and the Kinky-Curly is almost odorless (there is the slightest soap-like scent) and the KeraCare smells a bit like body lotion. It's not unpleasant.

I think that the KeraCare is going to be something that works for all hair types, but especially for hair in the 4 range.

So, if you are wondering about these products, that's my take on them. (Now let me go do something to style these naps!)


Thursday, January 30, 2014

***REVIEW*** Glade Wax Melts and Plugins Scented Oil Customizables

I received and coupons for a Glade Wax Melts and a Plugin Scented Oil Customizable starter kit. I got  the freebies to  try as part of my BzzAgent membership.

First off, the wall plugin unit is really pretty. It's also pretty big. I have a TrueAir (filter) plugin which I love except for its size. The Glade is not quite as large and it's very lightweight, but you can see how the two items compare.

Glade on the left. (Scuse my messy room)

Not sure if my glasses help for size relation, but...
I do love that the unit is pretty. The photo doesn't capture how nice it blends in with my decor. (Probably because my 'decor' at 4 a.m. is jeans and purse tossed on the floor next to my bookcase!)

You can't tell, but I have the Glade plugged in to the top outlet. There is room for using the bottom outlet. I can't do that with the TrueAir which takes up too much space. To be fair, the TrueAir is filter. But how cute is the Glade plugin?

Hmmm... I need to tidy the bookshelf!

Now, looks are important, but the fragrance is the real key, right? So...

I am going to give it some more time because after two hours, I don't notice much.My room is maybe 10x8 - not tiny, but not a gangsta-sized space. I turned off my air filter (not the TrueAir, which I unplugged) and closed the window that I had cracked the teeniest bit.

Still... nothing.

Usually, I have a candle burning or a different brand of wax melt going. I've scented my room nicely with a tealight candle. Mainstays has a 3oz Lemon Cake candle I get for one dollar. Whenever I light it, I gain half a pound just from the wonderful smell. I guess you can say that I was a little disappointed with the Glade Plugin.

Don't forget that I also received a coupon for a free set of 8 wax melts. I decided to see if they work better than the plugin.

A bit thicker than other melts

See? (Hope I don't get in trouble for the penny.)

When I picked out the melts at the store, I'd noticed that it was hard to catch a good whiff of the Cashmere Woods melts through the packaging. I did get a faint hint though. I assumed that the melting process would bring out the goodness.


I hate to say just how disappointed I am. More so for the plugin because of the pricing (over $8 here in Alaska) and because of the expectations. I checked out some of the other Glade products while at the store. Nice scents and much more noticeable. In order to get a feel for the Customizable plugin and the wax melts, I had to get my nose right down next to both.

Since BzzAgent is great about supplying coupons to share, I've handed out some to 5 people so far. Pretty sure I won't hear back from the people I handed out to while in the store, but I have some friends and family who are going to use their coupons soon. Can't wait to hear what they think. Good thing is, they are the kind to pick a totally different scent from what I chose Maybe they'll have a better opinion. I will be sure to update this review when I get their feedback.

Bottom line for me: If I had to score this on a scale of 10, I have to give both items a 3. Great design on the plugin, nice size on the melts, but... ~shrug~ I don't want a great-looking but useless person in my life. Same goes for products.

I'm not quite done yet. (I know. I go on and onnnn...)

Here's the thing, because I got a refund on something I returned to the store, I went ahead and picked up a Glade automatic spray refill. I don't remember what the original price was, but I got a markdown price of around $2.00. I chose the Cashmere Woods (which, for some reason, I keep calling Cashmere Mist) scent.

Sprayed the whole apartment & tons left in the can

Now THIS is something I can love. Spray it and the air smells like someone walked through the room wearing a light perfume very well. I'm not kidding. It's a sort of soft, Oriental-hued scent. A couple of sprays made my room smell like a relaxation chamber. Mmmm... So nice. It's a very lasting scent. Love that. The way my room mate smokes, I need to buy this by the freaking case.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Natural Girl Hair Tales

We've all been warned to be careful what we wish for. Just weeks ago, I was wishing for my hair to grow a bit faster. With the mild chemo meds I am on, I'm having to constantly battle to care for every nappy strand on my head.

I remember when I used to complain about having hair. Too much of it, too thick and heavy... At one point I even went and had it all chopped off. Thought I wouldn't miss being able to snatch my hair into a ponytail. The style was cute as heck, but after about three weeks, I got tired of flat-ironing and gelling it to keep up the look. I'm not lazy when it comes to my appearance, but getting up almost two hours before work just so I didn't look like I didn't give a damn got old real fast. Of course, this was pre-sarc. For a fix I only had to throw in a couple inches of weave and wait out the grow period. These days, I'm so afraid of damaging the little bit of hair that I have that I don't even like to use bobby pins.

How many ladies out there know where I'm coming from?

Going all-natural was my first step in getting my hair together. No more straightening relaxers or mild texturizers. I even started using gentler shampoos and styling products. Being natural makes me feel somehow more 'in touch' with myself. It's also fun. Whenever I have a bad hair morning, I look at something like this -
Thank you, Pinterest
Then I just laugh and laugh.

I've also had a few teary moments. One of the reasons I went natural is because I thought it would save money. Yeah, right.

When I used relaxers, I'd get a $5 - $8 box product about every three and half months. Because my hair was so short after the medical treatments, I could stretch two touch-ups from each box. With relaxed hair, I had a small flat-iron, some general combs and brushes and a a few accessories to pin down or dress up the tresses. Shampoo and conditioner lasted forever. I went natural and lost my mind trying out different products. For what I pay for a good curl cream, I could keep Motley Crue in makeup or years. Just ridiculous.

Right after I went natural, I accumulated curl 'puddings', softening lotions, shine serums, oils, scarves and plastic conditioning caps. I have a box so full of products, I could hawk them for grocery money. Some worked. Most were too heavy, oily, stinky, sticky or runny. I used one that made my hair look like a chick with a stylist and chauffeur on call. Until I went out in some -2 degree weather. That shit sent my hair into corpse mode: chalky and stiff.

Now that I have found a few products that work for my hair, it's not the money factor that's killing me. Nooooo... My new torment is that my natural hair has a natural mind of its own. I can wake up one morning and these naps just look luscious. Wake up the next morning and I don't know whose hair I've got on my head. Then, of course, there's the whole you-can't-be-lazy-and-beautiful thing.

I just love the natural chicks on Pinterest

That right there is the stone cold truth!

I'm not too lazy to tie up my hair at night. I even like doing it because I have some cute scarves and I like the way I look wearing them. The problem is that I usually sleep out of the scarf sometime during the night. I woke up to go to the bathroom the other night, saw myself in the mirror and had a ten-minute giggle fit. The damn scarf was hanging down inside the front of my t-shirt. It was like I had just sat it on top of my head and said "Hell with it". If I don't lose the scarf completely during the night, I usually wake up looking like a drunk pirate. Not sexy. I have fears that I'll manage to strangle myself one night. With a cute scarf. Damn.

There are good hair days though. I love the look I get right after a shampoo. Curls popping and not crunchy. Yes! That lasts if I splurge and use one of my 'good' products for moisturizing. I'll do that if I have to, but, let's face it, I'm single. No one's snuggling close enough to feel these curls. I usually use the cheap stuff that just makes my hair look touchable. Saving that good stuff for better days ahead.

I just got some new products courtesy an Amazon gift card (sent from an app developer for my feedback - hey-ey!). This is stuff that I would never have spent money on without a trial.

Leave-in detangler

Leave-in conditioner

I've heard great things about both products from all the natural hair sisters out there. When I use them, I'll post a review with pics.

That Kinky-Curly Knot is no joke price-wise. $15.80 for 8oz. I'll be using that sparingly. The KeraCare was slightly less expensive at $6.38 for 4oz. I don't know how it is for delivery elsewhere, but the shipping costs are stupid for Alaska addresses. Merchants must think we get a PFD every month! For $25 in products, I paid over $20 for the shipping alone. Crazy, right. This is why I don't order from Amazon as much as I'd like to. You know it doesn't cost that much for a padded mailer. Pshhh!


I'll try to get to those reviews soon. In the meantime, my hair is calling for moisture. Let me go drench and tie it up for the night. Before I go, I have something for those sisters who think "nappy" is a dirty word. Nobody is buying your ancestry lies, ladies. Straight, curly, nappy, kinky. It's your hair, you might as well claim it.

Claim your hair, girl. Claim your hair!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Mood Music and Poetry

No matter what I'm feeling, I can usually find something something breathed out by another creative soul to catch my mood. Sometimes, that's a comforting thought - like when I realize that almost everything I feel (from physical desire to blind utter despair) is covered in the poetry of the Bible. Sometimes, it's absolutely chilling to know that my deepest fears and worst thoughts are represented by some artistic person in this world.

As a wanna-be novelist myself, anyone else's creative expression makes me feel that I am in unique company. I can't sing, but I hear songs and think, "Yes! That's just what it feels like." ("It" might be pain or worry or joy or madness.)

Though I love music, I often unintentionally re-write song lyrics as I sing them loudly (and badly, badly, badly) while dancing around my apartment. I try not to sing as loudly while I'm driving, or anywhere around the very young or very elderly for fear of causing internal organ trauma.

Before I get too far off subject, here are some songs and poems that fit certain moods. I hope you like them:

If you are sad

If you are in love, out of love or just confused

Just because I loves you-
That's de reason why
My soul is full of color
Like de wings of a butterfly
Just because I loves you
That's de reason why
My heart's a fluttering aspen leaf
When you pass by (Hughes 28)

If you need to dance or do anything else to work off stress
  • Beth Hart just kills it. She's so badass & I love her work. Get her if you need to move, pretend you can move or if you feel love.
  • Go oldies with The Temps, Lionel, or LTD
  • Go new with whoever you want to. I almost gave myself whiplash trying, so I'll stop here.

Getting back to mishearing lyrics, here's a fun fact: There is a name for mishearing/misquoting lyrics - "Mondegreen". Interesting...

More Interesting: The origin of the word.

Most Interesting: The one mondegreen I'm not guilty of is the funniest one ever. ("Desperado, you've been outright offensive, for so long now" (Real lyric: "You've been out riding fences," The Eagles.)

"In Da Club" (by 50 'Fitty' Cent) is one of my favorite songs to have a dancing fit to. My family will never, ever let me forget that I always heard the words as "We gonna slip a tardy" instead of, "We're gonna sip Bacardi." Think that's bad? This next line puts me in a league of my own: I hear "toes down, be's up" instead of "hoes down, G's up." (I just thought he was doing the country grammar thing!) That's what happens when someone my age listens to music way out of generation. (I still like my 'version' best.)


Friday, January 24, 2014

Ruthie, Ruthie, Ruthie...

I'm too lazy to look back at posts to see if I ever mentioned my friend Ruthie here. Put it this way: if I've talked at all about writing, I've talked about Ruthie.

Ruthie is that friend everyone wants to hide from every now and then. She is great, really, but she can be like a bad toothache. The pain is a bitch, but thank god it reminds you to keep up good habits - like brushing and flossing.

The bitch-pain part of Ruthie is that she has more faith in me than I sometimes have in myself. I say I want to be a published novelist. Ruthie knows I'm going to be published someday. She's not going to give up on me even if I have to kill her and write about it from Death Row to make it happen.

We have a pick-up-where-it-fell-off kind of friendship, Ruthie and I. She's married. Has been since the first days of elephant jeans. Actually, if I'd stayed with my first husband, Ruthie and I would be wishing each other Happy 30th anniversaries soon. (Yeah, I do have regrets.) The hilarious thing is, Ruthie and her man divorced once for a few months and got back together but none of us count the breakup. Ruthie gets busy with the "renewed" marriage and her two grandkids (yeah, another thing for me to "what if?" myself about) and our separate lives get in the way. Plus, she lives in another state which forces us to use the phone and internet to keep in touch. The last time we dropped the phone-call ball was last year when I had a minor romance and Ruthie was moving with her husband into a new house.

The other day, Ruthie saw my post about Amazon's writing contest. This blog is her way of peeping in on my life, I guess.

My phone rang at around one this morning.

Those too-late-to-be-good calls always stop my heart for a few seconds. You know how the brain's worry cortex - or whatever it's really called - kicks into gear before you're fully awake, right? Who's sick? What happened? No, God, no...

I've already had enough bad, sad and frustrating news in the past few months to last the next decade. I never even thought to look at the caller's I.D. so I was pretty relieved to hear Ruthie's maniacal cackle when I answered my phone.

"Girl! You sleeping?"

Yeah. That's my Ruthie.

"Sleeping, scared straight, having a minor heart attack. Whatever."

"So, listen. What are you submitting to this contest?"

Ruthie was talking like she was calling during a lunch break. One a.m. here means four a.m. where she is. Really, heffa?

"I'm trying to submit sleep to the contest of 'Be My Ass on Time to a 7:30 Doctor's Appointment'," I told her. "What the hell is wrong with your clock?"

"I got a Keurig for an early anniversary present and I've been trying all the different coffees," she said. "I haven't slept in four days."

"Well, I have a twenty dollar Living Essentials one-cup maker that drips mostly water, so I was sleeping just fine."

"Ooh, girl. We're going to have to get you a decent machine," she came right back. "You know how you get without a good cup of caffeine."

I kept reminding myself how I love this friend of mine. And I really was glad to hear from her - even at the ass crack of before dawn.

"Back up. You got a coffee pot - for your anniversary?" I wanted to know. "What's really going on with this 're-marriage' thing?"

"I got myself the Keurig," she said. "Calling my Keurig a 'coffee pot' is like calling Denzel a 'man' Now, what about this contest?"

One-track Ruthie.

"I'm working on something, but I don't know if it will be done in time."

"No excuses," she said. "Get it done, girl. Just. Get. It. Done."

"I can't rush my process."

"What process is that? The one where you criticize yourself to death while you're writing, then delete everything and start over?"

This is what happens when you have a friend who knows you too damn well.

Ruthie did her full routine. She nagged, she encouraged, she made me feel way more intelligent that I am. By the time she finished, Hemingway was a hack who learned under my mentorship in a previous life.

"Yeah, okay," I gave in. "I will get something submitted. I might go crazy trying, but..."

"Good. Now, are you seeing anyone special?"

I ended the conversation right there by reminding Ruthie I had to be up soon to drive in messy weather. Basically, I damn near hung up while she was still talking. If I let that woman get started on my love life, I'll be married before Valentine's Day.



Thursday, January 23, 2014

R.I.P. Kita Cat

Wanted to post these photos of one of my best buddies ever.

Our beautiful cat, Kita, had to be put down yesterday. He got into something that poisoned him. I never thought I'd be so heart-sad about losing a pet. I refuse to cry because I might not be able to stop.

Kita was supposed to be a girl. Hah! We figured out the truth after we named 'her' Kita. He was also supposed to be my sister's cat, but he adopted me as a second owner. I was newly diagnosed with sarcoidosis. Wasted with fatigue and depression, I was too sore and predni-fat to move out of a camp chair set up for me on the back deck. I'd sit there in almost all 18 hours of sunlight, crying, dazed and hallucinating. Kita was just a little ball of fur. I'd only come inside so that I could hold him on my lap and not worry about being so alone. No one else could get near me without getting singed with my roid-rage.

As Kita got a little bigger, my doctors realized my meds were causing my hallucinations and irrational rage. The meds were decreased somewhat so I didn't cry or lash out as much, but I still slept only a couple hours a day. Kita never slept as much as most other cats. He roamed the house and would try to claw his way through the screen door to get to me.

Silly, precious cat. The reason we tried to keep you indoors is to prevent exactly what happened to you.

When I got well enough to move into my own place, I couldn't bring Kita because I'm not supposed to breathe in the dust from kitty litter. No matter. I visit my sister a lot. Any time I'd go over, Kita would come from wherever and remind me that I mattered. He had this thing about tapping my hand at each rail as I walked the stairs. She only did it for me.

I'm going to miss you, Kita.


Effects of Overstimulation

This is something I'm seriously starting to look into. If anyone knows about it, I'd sure like to hear your thoughts. Here goes:

I live with someone who is really dear to me, but is driving me nuts. Sadly, she suffers from depression (I think it's okay to put that out there), and she's been receiving treatment for years. I haven't been the most understanding friend about the problem.

What drives me crazy is that she has to have some kind of noise or activity happening around her all the time. She's not an active person, funny enough. For months, I've thought what irritates me is her lack of motivation and energy. We used to work together and hang out during our time off. I was never bothered by her then.

The other day, it dawned on me what the problem is: there's no peace around her. It's as if she doesn't know how to operate her body's "off" switch. All day, the TV must be on. At night, lights are on - and, often, a radio.

I remember telling her once that the reason I don't watch a lot of television is because I need time to hear my own thoughts. Besides, how do you get anything done if you're sitting in front a television 80% of your day?

Now, here's why I'm curious about overstimulation: what if she is making her problems with depression worse? How do I approach her with the suggestion? And why the hell hasn't her care provider talked about this with her? That is, assuming I'm onto something - and I just might be.

This post at Health Central indicates I'm right about the effects my friend's behavior is having on the both of us.

I was interested in this post because I have my own sensitivity issues because of my creative tendencies. Living with someone like my friend sort of traps me in her environment. I suppose that, if we can, we're going to have to work out some kind of compromise - that or completely change our living situations.

My concern is - whether I change my situation or not - what will happen to my friend?

Another part of her personality is that she is highly addictive - to food, beverages, cigarettes. I don't even think they are tied to pleasure so much as distraction. For instance, she goes shopping several times a week. There are groceries literally crammed into the fridge and cabinets - for one person. (I have a dorm fridge.) She doesn't just smoke, she smokes three different brands and usually keeps all three packs open at the same time. She loves diet soda, so she buys them a couple a cases at a time. We used to go to Sunday dinners at my family home and she'd carry a few sodas with her and trot to smoke a cigarette about every fifteen minutes.

As a former smoker, I understand tobacco addiction, but she takes it to an extreme that I almost can't fathom. She can't sleep through a night for getting up to have a cigarette. What's frightening is that I've seen her sitting up in the center of her bed - cigarette and lighter in hand - head drooping in a nod-off. And this is all through the night. I can honestly say that I have never known her to go sleep completely through a night. She can't. She's either got to get up and run to the bathroom several times or have a smoke.

It was just a couple weeks ago that I started thinking about the over stimulation. I had start finding out a way to block the light and smoke from my room at night. (I lay towels across the bottom of the door.) Her room is directly across the hall from mine so, to block out the sound of the radio or her heavy trotting to and from the bathroom next to my room, I keep my browser open all night to Rainy Moods. Finally, I was like, My god! Do you ever rest your brain? And that's what got me thinking about all this.

Is it a cycle, possibly? You get depressed so you distract yourself then  >>>  You're so distracted you can't function productively then   >>>>  You get depressed because you aren't progessing in life >>> And on on on.

So, am I onto something here? Maybe. I'm going to think of ways to have my friend consult her caregivers with the idea.

Not to be cruel, but all this made me think of the quote that defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (I'm serious when I say that describes my last relationship.) The thing is, in the case of my friend, her main problem is her depression and inertia. Since there are people who are supposed to be helping her then, as a friend, I need to figure out how to push that issue.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Writing Contest at Amazon

I should have posted this as soon as I learned about it. Sorry.

There is a contest going on at Amazon. It's their Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

Submissions are going to be accepted in 5 areas of writing:

  1. General Fiction (I almost typed "friction"!)
  2. Mystery/Thriller
  3. Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
  4. Romance, and
  5. Young Adult Fiction

If interested, hurry and check out the rules and details soon because the dates to submit are rushing up fast.

Good luck!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mama Ate Clay Dirt. I Ate Ice.

So... I read that poorly written, stereotype-pushing, trash of a paper, the UK Daily Mail. Yeah. I also watch the Real Housewives shows and tell myself I do it so that I know what kind of woman not to be. Whatever.

Anyway, I glanced at the DM a while ago and noticed this story about women who eat dirt. An image of my mother flashed through my memory. She was taking out a pan of clay dirt that she'd baked in the oven. I remembered how she'd almost gone through withdrawals when she was no longer able to get more of the stuff. My aunts used to mail it to her from Arkansas and Texas. When one of them contacted her to tell her there was no more "good, clean" dirt to be found, I think Mama went into a sort of mourning. Boy, she missed getting those packages in the mail.

(By the way, I wanted to write this post before I actually read the DM article so that everything I'm posting isn't contaminated (heh heh) by the news story.)

As crazy as it sounds that my mother ate dirt - and it was, I believe, more of a clay substance - I read somewhere that it's the minerals in the dirt that people crave. Mama ate that red dirt until she was about 50. I don't know when she started, but I know it's when she was young. In our family, we used to joke that a gravelly-looking birthmark on my little brother's temple was from all the dirt Mama ate. I guess she craved the dirt (or clay) most when she was pregnant. Sort of makes sense, when you think of minerals and cravings...

I love the part of Psalms that speaks of our bodies as being "wonderfully made." We are amazing creatures. Weird too.

For years I used to chew ice. I think that habit started when I was in my late teens. I drove people around me crazy with my ice-chewing. Any time I spent around my nieces and nephews, they complained about my crunch-crunch-crunching. Thinking back, I guess it was pretty annoying.

I chewed so much ice, I did damage to a couple of my back teeth. My habit was so bad at one point that I became an ice connoisseur. Ice from the fridge was too hard and chunky. Bagged ice was no good either because it was not uniform enough. The best ice was that from fountain drink machines: not too hard or soft and with just the right amount of crunch.

Weirdest of all about this habit of mine was that I was constantly cold. That didn't stop my cravings. It's as if the colder I got, the more I craved ice. And I shivered all that time, whether I was on an ice binge or not. Sometimes, I shivered so violently that could shake whatever chair or bed I was on. I did realize I was anemic and I did take iron pills. Since I was never sick otherwise, I never thought to mention it to a doctor.

Think the strangeness ends there? My mother had a distant cousin who craved cornstarch. I guess this is back when people bought the stuff in it's cakey-powdery form. Family lore is that this relative bought cornstarch as a part of her regular diet the way other people keep milk or butter or eggs around.

Guess what? Turns out that my habit (and my relative's) might point to signs of medical or nutritional conditions. 


The interesting thing in my case is that, when I was hospitalized for my sarcoidosis, I happened to have one of my shivering fits when some of my doctors were present. I was too loopy from the sarc then to tell you now what they had to say about it, but I know that they considered it part of the symptoms I was exhibiting. The only thing I liked about being in the hospital was discovering they had a blanket warmer. Those wonderful nurses that I had practically wheeled that bad boy right up to my door. After my initial stabilizing treatments for sarc, my shivering (and ice cravings) went away. I can't even imagine chewing on ice now.

I just find it so interesting how our bodies try expressing diseases and issues. Usually, we only listen when our bodies are telling us about things like hunger, thirst and fatigue. I wish I had paid more attention to my cravings and habits years ago. Who knows - I might have been diagnosed before my sarcoidosis got so out of hand.

So, if you know someone who has odd craving, you might want to have them mention it the next time they see a doctor. My mother never did, probably because she was embarrassed or didn't find it important.

Now I'm going to go and read this article about the other women who eat dirt.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

***REVIEW*** 4 Naturals Afro Stretch Curl Cream

4 Naturals Afro Stretch Curl Cream. Make a note of it. It's some good stuff. If this were a 5-star rating system, I'd give this product a 6.

For the ladies rocking their natural hair, if you are like me and find that your hair dries out after several hours or overnight, you might fall in love with this curl cream. I also love that it helps enhance my natural curl pattern and - of course - eliminating the shrinkage. And for anyone asking about the "shrinkage" thing, here ya go:

As someone said: "The shrinkage is real!"
Does it Work?
Now, I'm not looking for the kind of stretch shown in that pic. My TWA is still pretty teeny. I just needed something to bring my curl pattern and get rid of the dryness. When I first tried the cream, I used it on clean, dry hair. Results? Amazing! My hair was moist, but not greasy. My curl pattern took a little work because I didn't follow the instructions about working the product from scalp to ends. Once I used the correct procedure, I could literally watch the change happening as I worked each section of hair.

My Warnings
When I tried applying the product to my hair still damp from a wash, I didn't like it. The main problem here was that I couldn't tell when I was using too much of the cream on one spot. When applied to my dried hair, I had a better sense of the change in moisture and curl pattern. After applying to my damp hair, I ended up with a over-saturated mess. Yuck. I didn't want to let all the cream I'd used just go washing down the drain, so I did a roll-tuck style for a couple of days, tying my hair in t-shirt material at night. I finally got rid of some of the saturation, but, boy - with this cream, a little really does go a long way. You've been warned.

With most products, you can ignore the directions. Like me, you might think it's not that big a deal in how you apply this cream - as long as it gets on your hair, right? Wrong.  Take the time to apply it to sections of your hair and make sure you work it through properly. It took about fifteen minutes for me (probably because I was busy watching TV talking on the phone!). After working it through, I checked my hair, feeling for dry sections and looking for places where the curl pattern was off. It's worth the time because I can get through a couple of days without having to apply any more cream. When I take off my satin hair-wrap in the morning, I have to spend just a couple minutes styling my hair. I will just use my fingers (dampened with a little water if needed) to stretch the curls a bit. If I sleep without my wrap, I might have to use a little-itty bit more cream.

Ingredient information
I read some of the reviews on the 4 Naturals site and have to agree that some hair types might not get much "stretch." I didn't, but the moisturizing benefits make this product a keeper for me. And, because I know that many women are concerned with what is and isn't in the hair products they use, here is the ingredients list I found on the jar in the order given:

(* the links are to more info on an ingredient)

On the front of the jar, other claims: no harsh alcohols, paraben and dye free, no petroleum, mineral oil or silicone.

I really like that 4 Naturals designed the container to show clearly which hair type the product is for. This one: "4 Kinky - Coily".  And, by the way, this is a Bronner Bros product. I got mine at Sally's Beauty when I returned another two products that didn't work for me. This stuff runs around $10 for the 6 ounces I got. Sounds pricey, but because I can use this so sparingly, it's cheaper in the long run than other products that just haven't worked.

This particular product is for Kinky-Coily, Type 4 hair that tends toward dryness. I'm no expert, but I think that it might be too heavy for some of you ladies. Again, I love that the product site has good information, like this.

I didn't think to take Before & After photos until after I had done my hair again tonight. I will do an update soon. In the meantime, I'm going to be on the lookout for someone who's used products similar to this one.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Alternative Cleansers for the Skin

An acquaintance of mine was asking the other day about things I use on my skin. She's having problems with adult acne and blotching. I had mentioned that I don't use soaps on my face or neck. Ever. guess she didn't want to check out the blog posts I've done about my skincare routine. Whatever. This is what I told her, and if I missed anything, well, she should have read all my posts. (By the way, most of what I learned, that didn't come from my mama, came from other blogs and skincare sites.)

  • Oil - olive, coconut, sesame, cactus. I've even used Crisco if there was nothing else around. (I don't use Vaseline or other petroleum jellies just because they feel way too heavy.) 
  • Baking soda
  • Brown or raw sugar
  • Coconut Milk (this is a recent addition to my skincare routine)
With the oils, what I do is apply one of them and massage until my hands get tired. For removing eye makeup with the oils, I apply it with my fingers (gently), let it sit for a moment, then blot with a baby wipe. I apply again and then wipe remaining traces of the makeup as gently as I can. (I pay attention to the warnings about not pulling and stretching the skin in the eye area.) I did try using my Jamaican Black Castor Oil as a cleanser, but it can be sticky (at least, the Mango & Lime brand I use) and I don't like the way my skin pulled when as I tried to apply the oil.

When I use baking soda, I only use it on areas where I have issues with blackheads. I make a paste with a few drops of water and dab the mixture onto my nose and chin. With as little pressure as possible, I do circular motions on the problem spots. I make sure to rinse away every little bit of the paste. If you try this, don't even think about rubbing the skin dry. Blot, blot, blot - which is best no matter how you choose to clean your skin. Blot it and then let air do the rest.

The sugar is not really something I use to cleanse my skin. I mainly just use this for exfoliating my lips. I have tried dabbing honey on my face, tapping on some sugar and letting it sit for a few minutes as a moisturizing mask, but I once got sugar in my eye and.... Well, I just use the sugar as a lip scrub now.

Like I said, the coconut milk is a new thing I'm trying. I originally heard about using it on natural hair as a conditioner. I actually love using it to flavor my coffee, tea and cocoa drinks. I can't remember what made me think to use it on my face except maybe wanting that wonderful smell to be on my skin. What I do is warm some in the palm of my hand, then dab it all over my face. I massage it in, enjoy the delicious smell while I kill time filing my fingernails or something. I remove it with a warm rinse of water. I can't really say yet what it does for my skin (except make it feel super-soft), but it's a very relaxing routine. And that amazing smell! Ummm... I'd just love to be able to afford taking a whole-body bath in that stuff! 

I love that baby wipes are so inexpensive and versatile. Other than baby wipes or the oldest, softest towels, I try not to use anything else on my face and neck. 

As a side note, let me explain why I don't use baby oil on my face: it's just too, too oily. With the other oils (especially cactus oil), you don't get that greasy feeling left behind. Cactus oil is about to become more of a fave than coconut or JBCO for everyday use on my skin. Great absorbency and makes the skin feel more hydrated than oily.

And that's it. Nothing too fancy. I don't deny that I keep some Avon Anew around (along with some Walmart or Walgreen brand sunscreen) but, if I had to give up one or the other, I'd keep the oils and milk. If you look at a lot of products on the market, you'll notice they incorporate a lot of "natural" items. My question is: why would I pay so much for all the fillers and preservatives if I can just cut right to the good stuff? Or, ask yourself this: Could you use your face-care products to cook and/or flavor your food with as well? If it's too toxic to put inside you, why put it on you at all?

I'm just saying.

The great thing about most of these skincare items is that many women can use them on their hair as well. On that subject, I don't know for sure, but I'd think that women who have or wear their hair straight (non-kinky) could use the oils as wash-out conditioning treatments. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"American Pimp"


Watched this film - American Pimp - the other night, courtesy of Netflix. Feel like I wasted one of my 2-DVDs for the month.

I've always judged anything - books, music, film, art - by the way I feel when I've walked away. I don't mind feeling disturbed. Usually, when something disturbs me, it at least has made me think. Thinking is good. What I hate is when something disturbs me to the point of disgust, where I feel like a lesser (though maybe better informed) person.

"American Pimp" was informative, but it disturbed me in a very negative way. I felt like it re-enforced every negative thought I've had about certain types of people. Bolstering stereotypes is never a good thing.

As a woman, I felt sorry for my black and white sisters allowing themselves to be used by such inadequate men. The film never touched on what circumstances led these women to be with these low-life (yes, I'm about to say it) niggers.

Let me explain what I was taught the word "nigger" means: a person with a heart full of selfish darkness. My mother would tell me to respond to someone calling me nigger by asking how they knew anything about my character. Nigger is one of the ugliest words known to my mind, but I know that there are some people in every race, nationality and culture who gives the word it's usual meaning. For instance, there was a white guy (one) shown in the film. I know that some folks will say that he, as owner of a legalized brothel, was at least being responsible in his pimping duties. His "girls" had healthcare, made great wages and were allowed the right to refuse service. I say that, if the women working at his brothel had so much control, they wouldn't need a pimp. I think he just got off on owner's privileges.

The whole time I watched this film, I kept waiting to see something about the pimps - other than their selfish motivation for living life without ever punching a time-clock. The biggest confusion for me was - what the hell did they have going for them to entice women to work for them? They were not super-smooth talkers, or even that great-looking (except for one guy, Danny, who is the spitting image of one of my brothers, help me, Jesus) and they weren't especially articulate. Other than being personally in love with one of them, I just couldn't see being persuaded to do more than fix them a decent meal every now and then. If they were starving and begging on the streets. Maybe not even then, not with their attitudes.

If I even did want to give these guys any credit, I couldn't. I mean, if they were smart, they would be better organized and run their pimping more like a business. I heard one of them mention the lack of retirement and healthcare benefits. So... you're smart, soul-less and brazen enough to pimp women, but you're not smart enough to set yourself up for old age? (And don't tell me that I should look in a mirror. I never have worn enough gold or had a closet full of suits I could use to pay off a damn mortgage.)

I don't even want to get started on the fact that these so-called pimps actually have an annual ball. I'm being so serious. It's called the "Players Ball." I. wanted. to. cry. I was looking at this ridiculousness and thinking about how other people fought for freedom and equality and human rights, but no one is talking about them everyday. No one is making it accepted to be smarter, braver and more compassionate, but, boy, start calling someone a "baller," "player" or "shot-caller" and just watch the cameras flash.

Basically, this film was almost a total waste of the time and energy I spent watching. "Almost", only because it reminded me that not all men with this "pimp" mentality are out there putting women on the street. Some guys bring the same attitude and emotional depth (not!) into relationships, marriages and parenthood. Some women bring the "ho" attitude. And some people think this is cute or something. By the way, I'm not letting the women in this film go without some blame, but the focus was on the pimps.

Not to be sanctimonious about it - because I know that there are women who've not had my blessings - but I think I'd just rather be hungry than whored out. And, if I was going to sell myself, the only person I'd be feeding with the proceeds would be me. If I ever had to work the streets that way, I think I'd rather go the solo route: owner and operator, me.

"American Pimp" made me embarrassed to have 'American' in the damn title. That it focused almost entirely on black pimps just made me cringe.

I'm not wanting to knock the work of any film-maker (or any other type artist), but where is the worth in something like this?

I can't change that people know more about pimps, slutty celebs and anyone else who pisses on human potential but I can make my own wall of heroes.

There are too many people on this planet trying to do something positive. I hope I never again waste a moment of my time watching something like "American Pimp."


Monday, January 13, 2014

5 Ways to Beat the Blues

In my last post, I talked about having cabin fever. This post is about things I've done to fight back those blues.

  1. Sort out every junk drawer in my home. This was fun for the first 30 seconds. I was intending to get rid of things I hadn't used (or even thought about for a while), but I just ended up finding crap I might need again. Bottom line: I didn't get rid of anything, but I did buy a small trunk to store all the old makeup, lotions, hair items and keys that unlock something somewhere.
  2. Actually watch the videos on my YouTube "Watch Later" list. 4 videos in, I had bored myself to pity. I spent the next hour trying to figure the state of mind I'd been in when I'd bookmarked videos explaining fractal math or they why's and how's of home insulation. I mean, really?
  3. Pull out the bag of hair I bought a few months ago. Yes, hair. Hair for braiding in extensions. I'd watched a video that made the shit look do-able, but after I got an entire 6-inch braid completed, I realized the damn thing wasn't even still attached to my own hair. (I put the braid in the junk trunk because it might make a cool key-chain later on.) If I'd paid more than $0.99 for the bag of fake horsetail, I'd really be pissed. At least I got a good laugh out of the experience. And I did enjoy the video.
  4. Read actual books - the kind with paper pages. Remember those? I barely did. I was thumbing through "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Biblical Mysteries" and got upset because I couldn't just click on the index and shoot right to the page I wanted. (When did I, a wanna-be author, stop reading "real" books? I only have a collection because of the freebies cart at the local library. That right there is a sad thing to admit.)
  5. Remind myself how freaking old I'm getting. This is something I do every now and then, no matter the season. I'll try doing a back-bend or the splits and my body will let me know just how bad my muscle memory is. I almost didn't put this next part in here, but I have no shame, so here ya go: I can barely jump rope anymore. I don't know what the problem is. I can still dance pretty good, so it's not a rhythm thing. Is coordination something that goes with age? Well, damnit.
Just so you know, except for the laughing I do, none of this really does keep my blues completely away. Usually, after I finish laughing, I end up slightly more depressed. Who the hell wouldn't be depressed about not being able to skip rope? That's okay. I read somewhere that 10 or 15 minutes spent laughing can burn the calories found in a piece of chocolate. Great. At the rate that I eat chocolate, I'd have to laugh my way through the entire winter season.

Point of this post? Just another thing to get me through twenty more minutes of winter.


Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever.

Wikipedia defines it as : "an idiomatic term, first recorded in 1918, for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shit in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period."

I just call it Cabin Crazy.

Too tired to raise my hand

I've been suffering from CF/CC, or whatever you want to call it, for the past couple weeks.

I'm tired of winter. I'm tired of snow and slush and cold and dark and having to run my damn car for twenty minutes before it wants to go anywhere. The other day, I got so tired of this shit that, I swear, if my crazy ex had asked me to visit him in Texas for a few days, I might have considered it. Thankfully, that mood has passed, but... If this winter keeps up much longer, I might feel that desperate again.

My attitude has more cabin fever than I do. Everything is irritating the crap out of me. I can't even stand to read the news because, if it's good news, I'm jealous. If it's bad news, I'm hateful. Don't even let me catch a glimpse of a TV ad where some skinny bitch is eating yogurt on a beach. My brain goes into stalker mode and the only thing stopping me from finding that happy heifer and cramming a yogurt container down her throat is the fact that I'd have to go out and warm up my fucking car first.


I need to live somewhere with seasons that know how to come and go on a normal cycle. Who the hell wouldn't have cabin fever or murder on their mind living in a place when winter starts in October and lasts til it feels like leaving? I mean, we might see light-jacket weather sometime around the end of May. And that's only for between the hours of noon and maybe four o'oclock. Yeah, the sun will be up half the night, but it won't be so you can show off your booty-shorts and tank tops.

Seriously, I need a vacation. I'm not talking hotel and planned events. I'd settle for a roadside inn or truck stop and a decent vending machine selection - as long as it's somewhere warm and sunny. And the idea of any kind of a vacation brings up the other thing that makes me crazy about living here: you damn near have to cash in an IRA or some stock options to get out of here. It's not like you can just hop in your car (after warming it up) and take a day trip to a neighboring state. Even if we wanted to take a two-week trip and drive through the mountains, we can no longer just cruise through Canada anymore. No. Now it takes one of those passport card things to do that. It's like the universe is working to keep us here.

The only thing saving me from going completely mad this winter is my Netflix subscription. I've watched entire seasons of shows that a person with a normal life would never have time to squeeze into the past three months. I just ran out of episodes of "Breaking Bad" and there are still weeks and weeks and weeks  to go of this winter.

Someone (who happens to live where they feel the warmth of the sun on their skin all year round) made a comment to me about how living here must be good for writers. You'd think, wouldn't you? All this closed in solitude and darkness, right? Think again. Most writers are people who create characters they can hold conversations with and create worlds out of nothing because they have problems dealing with the one they live in. We're already a little crazy. I don't think solitude and darkness are things we need more of.

Yeah, so...

This coming week, I'm going to force myself to be more social. I'm going to get my head out of the book I'm writing and touch bases with all my social networks. I'm not really in the mood for people I have to actually deal with, but I can handle logging in and out of Google and Twitter. Maybe. We'll see.


Thursday, January 09, 2014

***REVIEW*** Airborne Gummies

My first box from Smiley360 arrived yesterday***. The timing was perfect because my box contained a bottle of Airborne Immune Support Gummies. Just as I am fighting off a cold and feeling even worse because of the methotrexate injection I had last night. Now that the immediate effects of the shot have worn off (nausea and a bone-deep weariness), I can stomach putting a gummie (or anything) in my mouth.

Let me say right here and right now that Airborne does NOT claim to prevent or reduce the risk of colds and germs. It's simply for immune system support. I wanted to try it for the same reason I quit smoking, reduced my stress levels and do all the other things my doctors advise: eat more nutritious food, get better rest and exercise.

Now, on to the product.

Airborne via airmail :-)
As soon as I opened the bottle, I could smell the nice, fruity scent of the product. I received the "assorted fruit flavors" in my bottle, but I mostly smell orange. There are 21 gummies to the bottle. They were a little bigger than I expected so I was hoping they really did taste as pleasant as they smelled.

I wasn't disappointed in the taste or freshness (you know how some gummies can be stale and tough?) and I liked that the chew didn't stick to my teeth. The taste is just slightly tangy and not sugary-sweet. Nice.

In case you are someone who doesn't like gummies, you can try it in other forms. While I like the gummies, I might also try the On-the-Go packets that I could add to a water bottle. Airborne includes products for kids, by the way.

Overall, I'm pleased with the product. I don't mind the calorie count for the recommended serving of 3 gummies.

I used to chew about a million calories in gum!
I haven't yet checked out the pricing for the product in my area, but I can save myself money by looking for it at Sam's Club or WalMart.


disclosure ***I received my Airborne product free of charge from Smiley360.***

Monday, January 06, 2014

***REVIEW* Mama Chia Vitality Beverage

Was up way too late last night (2am) and made a store run for something to drink. Water just wasn't going to do it for me and coffee is the whole reason I was probably so wired in the first place.

Picked up two things: some chai  and coconut milk (that I will review later) and this right here -

I found the "Seed Your Soul" a little cheesy-sounding ~shrug~
The name is cool. Mama Chia.

I was thinking about picking up some Naked Juice or Pom, but the seeds in this drink are what caught my attention. And I love the flavors of coconut and mango - blended or separate.

Of course, the older I get, the more interested I become in diet and nutrition. If I can only tolerate but so many calories a day, they better either do my body good or make my mouth happy. So, I checked out the label:

Didn't taste like 14 grams of sugar, but what do I know?

And then I checked the hype on the label - just like I checked the hype on Naked before they got busted for exaggerating. (I hope you got your claim filed before the deadline. I did.)

They keep their claims pretty verifiable

Not bad - if true. (Damn you, Naked. You ruined my innocent belief in liquid miracles. Wine: you're still safe.)

When I paid $3.00 for the 10 zo bottle (I saved $0.99 with my store savings card), I was thinking "there goes a whole case of water." Since I just refill water bottles with tap for a couple weeks, I wasn't too mad.

The very first taste of this is... odd. Hard to describe. It has a very faint taste of sweetness. The texture is what threw my mouth for a loop. Sort of slippery-feeling - not slimey, just slick-ish. The seeds are gel-covered. With the second mouthful, I chewed to see how the seeds would be. They just cracked under the  bite, but still had no real taste. Maybe their natural taste is covered by the flavoring in the drink.

By the third or fourth mouthful, I found myself neither in love or repelled (repulsed?). Halfway through the bottle, I was okay with the taste. It's not bad, but I wish the flavors were more pronounced. (Listen to me, sounding like a expert!)

+Ben Johnson on G+ told me that he's tried the cherry flavor. I might go for that the next time. For now, I'm not feeling the urge to run out and get more but, if I'm ever wandering the store with an extra three bucks - well, maybe.

As for the claims made on the label, I have to give them points for keeping it simple. Of course, I've heard other things about chia seeds, such as how they provide appetite control and support weight loss. I headed over to WebMD to see what they had to say.

First, I'm no professional. Do your own research so that you don't have a health or other problem.

Now, since there are warning's I've seen, it's good to know that "chia seeds" are known by other names:

  • Chia as a Fresca, grain, oil, seed, sprout
  • Germe de Chia
  • Graine de Salba
  • Huile de Chia
  • S. Hispanica
  • Salba Grain
  • Salvia hispanica
  • Salvia Hispanica L

Some of the chia seed hype that's trending is that it According to WebMD, there's "insufficient evidence" for any positive effect of chia seeds on diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and "other conditions."

LiveStrong details the nutritional benefits of ingesting chia seeds.

By the way, I started this post day before yesterday. I didn't finish the entire Vitality drink. When I pulled it out this morning to finish it for breakfast... I'm not sure if it's because it's so much colder than when I first tasted it, but I definitely don't like the texture. It seems a little bit more gummy. Ugh. I'm going to let that sit out for a little while before I finish it off.

Of course, everything comes down to personal taste. As to how the drink made me feel, I didn't notice a huge difference in energy, but that may be because I didn't finish the bottle. One thing I can say is that, unlike after drinking coffee, soda or, on rare occasions, an Rockstar/Monster- type drink, I didn't feel like I needed to gulp down a gallon of water. ~shrug~

If you do get this beverage, try finding it on sale. $3 bucks or more is sort of pricey - especially if you fall in love with it and want more.

Now, I'm going to grab a good old cup of java and go smack the day around.


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Websites That Reveal and Repel

If I haven't done this before (my memory is asleep and I'm too lazy to check old posts), here are some of things websites do that will have me clicking the the close button in a hurry. I'm not naming names (mostly). You know exactly who you are...

  • You blast sound at me as soon as the page loads. Sound from your embedded music player, sound from an ad or, worse yet, sound from something that sounds like porn (and you aren't even a porn site). Notice the YouTube vids on this blog's sidebar. I leave it up to the viewer to decide whether or not they want to share my "Song of the Day" or not. No pressure.
  • And if you do force your tattle-tale audio on me, I have to go scrolling all over the place to find it so I can shut that sh*t down. (Well, I use to look for the Mute button. Now I just close out of the site. It's less disturbing to my nerves.) I mean, come on. Forget being at work or some other place where you shouldn't be checking out the sleaze that is mediatakeoutdotcom anyway. What about when you are just sitting up home late at night with a sleeping child, cranky roommate or jumpy pet in the vicinity? I clicked on a shopping site one night and the blast of an ad nearly made my cat climb up the side of my face. STAHP! Just. Stop.
  • Your page barely finishes loading up before it's flashing your damn plea for me to "Like" you on Facebook. First, we all know how I (and many other people) detest any and all things FB. Second of all, why would anyone "Like" your page until they have a chance to even see it? If it's not Facebook pimping, it's a beg for me to subscribe - to a newsletter, email list, or whatever. That right there is a turn-off. It really just makes me NOT like you, or want to subscribe to your page, or ever click on another link to your site. EVER. I went to a site once after hearing about their fashion items. It took me two seconds to leave because there was no way to see anything on the site without first joining up. That's so stupid. How about you let me see what you're offering members before asking me to join? That's like letting me meet one person in your clubhouse and making me sign a blood oath to love all the members before I get in the door. Nah. You can miss me with it.
  • The sites that post great articles or interesting information need to stop spoon-feeding it out. If I have to click "Next Page" every two paragraphs, I will get annoyed enough to leave. This is really a pain in the butt on those sites with the audio or "Like" begs that come up on every single page that load. At least Cracked Magazine has the option to "view entire article." That's cool because I have a theory that other sites only make you click over so that they can load your brain with more advertising. I'm just saying,
  •  If I do get onto your site - with some initial peace and quiet, no membership required - you ruin the game with another peeve: anything that starts madly flashing at me. Reminds me too much of porn sites when I've, um, accidentally landed on them... Obviously,  you had my attention when I came over to view your site, right? All that damn flashing is just going to make my brain go into flee mode and get the hell out of there as fast as I can. Imagine a married man, trying to slink into a titty bar and being greeted with a flashing spotlight -outside the entrance? I don't even want everyone in town to know that I'm walking into Nordstrom.
  • I hate the shopping sites that claim to let a user "sort" items by price, when their sorting doesn't actually work. I was looking at fragrances on a favorite site and sorted some items by "prices low to high." I had two things in my Checkout Cart before I noticed similar items at even lower prices. Just to make sure I wasn't screwing up, I went back and re-sorted. Guess what? On this particular site, $37.99 for Oil de Vanille is less expensive than $7.85 for Oil de Vanille. And I thought I was bad with numbers.
  • If you are selling products, try to have: a) a decent image of the product, or b) an image of the actual product - not just one "representative" of the product, or c) an image at all. I hate trying to use my browser's Zoom to view something that you want to charge $20, $30 or even $100 for when the image looks like it was taken from space. And I have returned items that looked legit on your site, yet, when delivered, looked like it came from the Dollar Store's clearance bin.
Am I the only one with these peeves? I can't be. We live in a world where a lot of us do everything via website: learn, shop, amuse ourselves, socialize... You'd think any site out there would do all they could to keep viewers coming back.


Friday, January 03, 2014

Dumping Burdens

It took getting a good 24 hours into the new year to feel so good, but I do feel good. I made a promise to myself about my life in this year that I will turn 53:

If it's not fun, it should be satisfying.
If it's not satisfying, it should be rewarding.
If it's not rewarding, then to hell with it.

Simple, right? I think so. (FYI: I'm informally copyrighting that right here and right now.)

So, for anyone who may wonder about your status in my life - you're either now out of it or only in it because I want you to be or I can't get rid of you. For those that I can't get out of my life, I sure as hell can limit my exposure to you. If being around you doesn't do anything positive for me, I've got no reason to linger. You may not owe that to me, but I owe it to myself. It's a debt I can gladly pay.

If I don't feel better for being around you - you're out or limited.
If I don't feel respected when I'm around you - go away, or I will.
If your love is selfish or greedy - bye.
If you can't appreciate the sacrifices I make for you, I won't ask you to make anymore for me. And bye.

I have too much to battle out there in the world. I'm not going to let you poison the air my soul needs to breathe to survive that.

It feels so good to put that into words. It's going to be tough to put it into action, but I DID choose the word "strive" for my year. In that pursuit, I'm learning to be healthfully selfish.


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Real Resolve

I didn't make any New Year resolutions, but I sure as hell hope some of you will. I'm so tired of just a few people wrecking chances for the rest of us to be happier and more content with this beautiful life we've been given. So, if I can be honest, let me suggest a few goals for some folks out there.

  • Will you "yummy mummys" please go away with your rubber-band bodies? The media have overloaded the rest of us with your useless wonderfulness.You have a baby and, two weeks later, we see your naked ass all over Instagram and Twitter. I am speaking for the rest of us who are a little fatigued of seeing your 110-pound bodies (where the tits account for 10 of those pounds) all over the news. With the exception of a few ladies (who just happen to have stolen the metabolism I had in my twenties), you gals forget to mention the staff of "Personals" you have helping you make the rest of us hate you: personal trainers, personal chefs, and those folks you hire to keep you away from fattening food the way you hire other folks to keep you away from drugs. Get out of my face.
  • You celebrities who like comparing yourself to soldiers and policemen and even (~sigh~) Jesus... Will you stop already? When you can honestly say that you personally rescued someone or laid down your very life for them (without calling the paparazzi to record the event), then I won't hurt myself doing an extreme eye-roll the next time I hear you bragging about making it rain in a strip club. 
  • This one is a little random, but touches closer on us "regular" people. Let me ask all the international vacationers to be a little more courteous to the citizens of the land you're guests in. I am so embarrassed when I hear about the way we Americans act away from home. Keep it up and the next time I go somewhere out of the country, I'm not going to correct people who assume Alaska is part of Canada. And for the folks visiting us here in the U.S., please treat us the way you'd want us to treat you. I'm not going to call out any specific people here, but I will just say that being rude does not make you look classy, educated or above the rest of us actual mortals.
  • (To the ladies) For those of you who like to whine about the poor quality of men in the world, why not try being a better person yourself. I believe that we attract what we signal for. I'm not saying that there aren't some bad apples out there, but, if you don't talk but scream like a banshee, dress like you just don't give a damn, and act like a skank, well... Don't be surprised when you attract guys who wouldn't be ashamed to have you as their woman. And please stop judging a man by his wallet. If he's got a job, he might only need a good woman to work his way to the "de-lux apartment in the sky-y-y". If you do get a jerk, hope that your friends wonder why you are with him. By the way, there are lots of jerks with great jobs or lots of money. Who the hell wants a jerk? Oh yeah, a skank gold-digger.
  • (To the guys) Please start wearing your big boy pants again. If you like a woman, don't wait for her to break the ice. When you break the ice, try to be a gentleman about it. Wolf-whistling and making a comment about a woman's ass is not the way to go. (Well, not most of the time.) And please stop rating women only by the way they look. Haven't you ever been attracted to someone for their smarts, their quirks or sense of humor? Well, you don't "see" all that until you get past the makeup, hairstyle and Victoria's Secret magic. One more thing: before you start looking for Miss Universe, take a good look in the mirror. (That also go for the Plain Janes looking for a Channing Tatum.)
  • (To the kids) I'm talking to those of you in your teens - thirteen to nineteen. You are young. Be young. Enjoy it because you're going to miss it when it's gone. Stop trying to be as stupid as some adults who think that being "gangsta" or "hard" is a good thing. Being stupid is not a good thing - for the young or old. Try being smarter and kinder. Shoot for setting trends that will make a positive difference in this world. Get your education. Enjoy the paid-for roof over your head. Talk to - no, listen to, all those "old" people in your life. They are part of your history and you, someday, are going to need to share that with your kids.
Yeah, so...

Maybe the only resolution any of us should make is one that is easy to accomplish: to just be better today than we were yesterday. I can handle that. Can you?


Happy 2014!

Here's wishing for us all to have a little more peace and love and laughter. I hope we make new friends, keep our old ones and cherish our families.

I'm sending out love to the people who have enriched my life, touched my heart and healed my body.

Happy New Year to all the writers and bloggers and artists who bless us with their creativity.

Let's all go into this new year with more patience, kindness and honesty. I'm praying for our celebration of the best times and our strength in the difficult times.

Thanks to everyone who visited Being Free to laugh, rant, cry, be sad and be silly with me. Big hugs especially to my buddies on Google Plus.

Here it comes, ready of not...