About My Hair

I haven’t shampooed my hair since last June.

Yup, you read that correctly. I stopped using shampoo on my hair at the beginning of the summer and my hair has never been happier. Instead I use a baking soda and water rinse followed by an apple cider vinegar and water rinse and my hair comes out looking and feeling softer and cleaner that it has since I hit puberty. Once my hair has dried, this method leaves no sent on my hair even with the vinegar. I used to have a lot of trouble styling or even brushing through my hair when it was wet- ending up ripping out a lot of hair if I didn’t do it very, very carefully. Now, the brush goes through my wet hair easily and my hair has more volume because more strands stay attached to my head instead of in my hairbrush. Even more importantly, my scalp, which used to get dry, scaly and itchy once a month, is healthier than ever, too. Last but not least, this method is super cheap- baking soda and vinegar enough for about 3 months cost about $5-7, making it as cheap or cheaper than bargain shampoos and conditioners (which I don’t even need with this method).

This way of cleaning hair is comically named the “No-Poo Method”.

As a child of the 70’s I was surprised to learn that use of shampoo more often than a couple of times a year was really a very recent invention of the soap industry- big business trying to sell more product by convincing us that we were “doing it wrong” if we didn’t do it the way big business said way the right way. (Sounds so familiar.)

The thing that lead me to No-Poo was one of the things we have been trying to do as a family for 20 years- reduce the number of chemicals we expose ourselves to on a daily basis. I began reading and hearing about health concerns linked to the chemical sodium laurel sulfate and, wondered about alternatives. We as a family began using products that were sls free a few years ago because, despite the fact that the jury is still out about how dangerous sls is, if it is at all, we felt it was better safe than sorry. But, even if sls was proved to be completely harmless tomorrow, I still wouldn’t go back to shampoo. My hair and scalp feel way too good using the No-Poo Method.

So, my point is- if you have any concerns about sodium laurel sulfate or find that shampoos dry out your hair and scalp even when you use a conditioner, consider dumping the shampoo and using this more gentle and natural way of getting your hair clean.

More info here and here.


My 2011 Anti-Resolutions

For Fiction Friday at Write Anything:

1. I will not whine about how I want to go vegan only to be lured back to the slightly dimmer side of vegetarianism by the siren call of fried eggs, various cheeses, and desserts with real whipped cream on top. I will just quietly repeat to myself that being vegan is too hard until even the meat eaters start trying to reassure me that I can do it if I really try.
2. I will not text random info-bites to my Dear Daughter during school hours in order to see if she remembered to turn her phone off before she went to class. I will also not try to time it for when she has her least favorite teacher in order to maximize her punishment if she has indeed made that simple mistake that I make all the time. (Do as I say…)
3. I will not lecture the kids just to hear them groan about how they already know why the sky is blue, the complete unabridged history of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and how genetics works. I will also refrain from goading the Little Neighbor Girl into arguing with me about the meanings of words used in anime cartoons that she watches just so I can tell her not to shout in the car.
4. I will not teach the cats to say my Dear Hubby’s name so that he feels obligated to be the one who always feeds them and changes their litter and takes them to the vet when they are all borked up and full of woe.
5. I will not make broccoli just to see my Dear Son writhe on the kitchen floor in anticipatory agony when he has sweetly asked for a well deserved cookie. Later, I will not eat cookies in from of him when I have punished him for throwing a tantrum by taking away both cookies and broccoli.
6. I will not I will not buy my Bug-eyed Little Boston Terrier a hat and booties to go with his jacket and sweaters. He is not so cold that he doesn’t want to retain that last shred of his dignity.
7. I will not teach my kids any more demeaning terms for people who have the very unfortunate habit of eating the carcasses of dead animals is if it were something that a rational human being would do on a regular basis. They already know enough of them and it would be a waste of precious time and resources.
8. I will not assume that everyone who is irresponsible either fiscally, ecologically or socially must be a Republican. Democrats make mistakes sometimes, too (like trusting Republicans).
9. I will not spend any more time ranting about Billy Caxton, who is really the worst thing ever to happen to the English language and directly responsible for my atrocious spelling grades in all years of school. I will also not utter the words “Great Vowel Shift” unless absolutely necessary.
10. I will not write a tenth anti-resolution. (Daggnabit! I broke this one already.)

And the Artistic Encouragment from My Parents Never Ends (that’s a good thing)

So, as I wrote a few weeks back, I’ve been lucky to have grown up in a family that strongly encourages artistic endeavors and, despite the fact that I’ve been a grown up for a couple of decades now, I’m still getting some new artsy experiences encouraged by my parents:

We went to Sunday Brunch a few days ago and my dad asked both Dear Hubby and I to help him out by letting him record us singing his newest song so he could play with the new super snazzy professional looking mic that he recently got. He was doing this 5 part harmony thing and he had already gotten one of my sisters, one of my brothers, and my sister’s husband to sing two parts each. Dear Hubby sung tenor and bass and I sung soprano and alto. It was a quick, fun new experience and I kind of hope that we get to do it again sometime soon.

On the Arts

So lately I’ve been thinking about the Arts. You know, drawing, painting, sculpting, collage, photography, dance, music, theater, film, poetry, fiction: all those creative things that we all used to do or wished we could do when we were children, but don’t always remember to pursue as we become adults with adult responsibilities and less and less time that feels like it is ours to use as we wish.

I’ve come to realize that the times in my life when I have been the most artistic are the times in my life when I have been the most happy. And, those times in my life when I have let art and creativity fall away under the pressure of adult responsibilities have been the times when my come and go depression has come and stayed a while, sometimes a long while.

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Lost Arts of Common Living- What your great-grandparents knew that you don’t.

So mostly, time marching on is helpful- we learn more about how the world works and more about how we as humans work, and our lives get better. But lately, what seems like a very large amount of the advances made in science and industry have begun to have the opposite effect. Instead of learning how to do things better, we are learning how to have something else- some machine or some process- do it for us and forgetting how to do it ourselves. This lament for ways past is not a new one- every generation looks to the past as a more innocent or purer time. The good old days have been thirty to fifty years earlier for as far back as humans go, but this lament- my lament- is not so much a look at how much better the past was as a look at what we are losing. Go back two generations and nearly every grown woman knew how to cook a decent meal from scratch, go back a few more generations and that included making even those staples that we as modern consumers would never consider making ourselves like butter and bread and jams and pickles- unless we were doing it as a sort of a hobby. The same goes for skills every grown man had- how to construct and repair furniture, care for cars or horses and other essential skills.

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On cold medicines and the FDA

So, being that it’s October (Again? Didn’t we do this like a year ago?) my Dear Son has a cough. And, as with most children, the cough is worst overnight and into the early morning, which makes for less than restful night for him. So, like countless parents on countless nights, I give him cough/sniffle medicine to enable him to breathe and possibly sleep.

Having the annual head-chest cold season start off, got me thinking about something I read the other day. Recently, the FDA decided to review the use of over the counter cold medicines in children. Go read the link quick and come back, okay. If it’s bad, I copied it at the bottom of the post, so scroll down. Go on now. Shoo.

*files nails and contemplates navel*

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So, along the lines of my last post, I have this fantasy hobby in which I take old chairs and repair and improve them (read decorate and maybe cushion up) then give away or sell them. In my fantasy, I use photographs, maps, other documents, pieces of fabric, mosaic tiles and paints to Improve the chair- to bring out a theme and say something- poetry in furniture form.

Yes, that’s right, I have a thing for chairs. It is strange because in a house or out in restaurants or even in furniture shops, chairs are not something I immediately gravitate towards, but driving around town on errands, I am always drawn to the old chairs and sofas and to a lesser extent other furniture that is left by the side of the road on garbage day. I always want to stop and see what is wrong with them, see if they are still useful, see if they could be made more interesting.

I think that the reason that new or even in current use chairs don’t draw my attention is that they don’t have stories yet, but old chairs- old chairs have stories to tell, even if the only story you can really get from them is how they were worn out or broken. I want to take old chairs, learn their stories and then make the story more plain – a theme on their seat for anyone to read.

My dear husband dislikes this tendency in me to look at chairs and drool as we drive past. He always reminds me of how little spare space we have in our house and, of course, he is right. That doesn’t mean I can’t keep my fantasy hobby in my head, right?

On Approaching Change

In about two weeks, my daily life is going to change a bit. I’ve been home with my kids for the last eleven years, but last year my son went to all day kindergarten. For about three weeks, I tried to figure out what I ought to be doing with the six hours of solitude this brought me- then, my neighbor, for whom I’d done before/after school care for her older daughter, got a new job and she needed care for her four year old. My days were not solitary again, so I got a reprieve from having to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now, that same four year old is starting kindergarten and my reprieve is over.

I have a large number of things I should do with that time, a larger number of things I could do with that time, and also a few things I actually want to do with that time. And, it’s not as if I need to have it all worked out by the first day of school, but knowing myself like I do (better than most people, but not as well as my husband, I think) I know I should make some plans so I don’t spiral into laziness and depression as soon as the kids are out the door.

So, I start with lists (at this point, this will get boring, so I don’t mind if you stop reading- really, it’s okay- go read some of my fiction, instead).


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Ruminations on Going Vegan

Currently, my family of four (Dear Hubby, Dear Daughter (10) and Dear Son (6) and little old me) are ovo-lacto vegetarians, however, recent events have got me thinking about going vegan- for myself at the very least and probably encouraging my family in that direction will come into play, as well. A few months ago, I began trying to have as high a percentage of our food as possible be organically grown/produced. I did this as a way of reducing the amount of chemicals my children were exposed to, as well as in order to try not to be part of the problem of factory farms. It made me much more aware of how the animals from which our eggs and dairy products were treated (cage-less/free roaming, grass-fed/vegetarian feed, no antibiotics/genetically modified anything).

I thought I was doing pretty well on the animal treatment front, then some recent events made me think about situations in which males might be considered inconvenient. I decided not to be part of something that effects the bulls and roosters born on the farms that produce my eggs and dairy products, because what do you think happens to most of them? They don’t get to live and lay eggs or make milk, they get slaughtered as poultry and beef. So, while I might not be buying meat, by buying eggs and dairy products, I am still supporting the meat industry anyway. This is my primary inspiration to go vegan. The next bit for me to think about is how…

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On My Extended Family’s Transitioning Diet

How great this looks together on a plate.

How great this looks together on a plate.

I come from a large family and we were raised pretty traditionally when it comes to diet- that is to say, we all ate meat and sea food and wheat and nuts and dairy and- the thing is, we were the standard American Omnivores. Over my thirty-seven years many of us have made changes from the old square meal/food pyramid to more untraditional diets. Some of us had to make these changes for health reasons- my mother developed a nut allergy, one sister eliminated wheat and some other grains to reduce her eczema, another sister became diabetic, had gall bladder surgery and found that she had a persistent problem with yeast (she also chose to become a vegetarian)- her diet is very far from the American standard diet. Others of us made changes to prevent problems- my cousin, who was raised like a sister to me, her family gave up beef after the Bovine Encephalitis scares, diabetes runs in my husband’s family (as well as high cholesterol) and those things did figure in with our decision to become vegetarians (though there were so many reasons). We also include in many family celebrations some close family friends who keep kosher. Still others of us remained in the mainstream and continued to eat meat and wheat and nuts and dairy and eggs and don’t much seem likely to budge from that diet. The point is, we are all over the map.

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