urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Note to self: An egg shampoo is not sufficient for washing out a hair treatment involving coconut milk, unless you're wanting that certain greased ramen noodle look.

Ah well, worth a try. :) I was going to leave it for tomorrow, but just couldn't stand the grease, so just washed my hair again with some baking soda and a vinegar rinse. With any luck, that will do the trick.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
The Sainsbury's grocery delivery came, and I was glad to see it. They made an interesting substitution again.

What I ordered: Genius GF brown bread (amazingly good stuff, for commercial GF bread). What they claimed to have substituted: store brand GF part-baked baguettes (OK, not what I wanted, but edible). What they really sent: a big loaf of in-store bakery wholemeal bread (which also costs less than any of the GF stuff).

I forgot to add bread for Ingvar to the order, but it looks like he has some anyway. *shakes head* Ah well.

ETA : OK, now I'm less irked and more baffled. I also found the baguette in a bag. The rest of the stuff seems to be what I ordered, so they didn't just mix up bags or anything.

Further ETA: Tonight's fairly easy supper plans: an adobo-seasoned baked chicken with potatoes crammed in the pan around it. And probably more frozen veggies.

I am also hoping to do a coconut milk amla treatment on my head, in the meantime. (Mixing it with coconut milk keeps it from drying my hair out.) I absolutely love the results, but keep putting off sitting for half an hour with muddy stuff and a plastic bag on my head. *g* It might give my mood a boost.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I tried to post this before supper, but the ADSL was acting screwy again.

Earlier, I made it across the street to Iceland again, so we don't have to get takeout. (The fridge is down to condiments, pickles, and fresh veggies I don't feel like messing with right now, and the rest of the food stores are in about the same shape.) What we ended up with was frozen cottage pie with some frozen broccoli mix on the side, but I was really glad to find something easy-and-almost-nutritious that wasn't full of gluten. (Other than a little barley malt in the gravy, which has only been a problem once from a salad dressing made with malt vinegar.) Annoyingly, I had to get a few "meal for one" size, since the larger ones were apparently from a different manufacturer and full of wheat flour. If we don't eat the third "meal for one", Max will be more than happy to.

Special dietary requirements (GF diabetic here!) can be a huge pain when you don't have much energy available. Usually, I do a lot of scratch cooking, which is tastier and better for us anyway. But, especially with the kitchen time anomalies (an hour can, and frequently does, pass in the blink of an eye), that takes a lot of time and energy. Sometimes it's really nice to be able to just grab something frozen that's not twice the price in the small Free From section. (Which I am glad exists, don't get me wrong.) Something that's available not 300 yards up the street? Even better!

Last night, I finally had the sense to place a rather large Sainsbury's order online, which I'd been putting off. I had to set up a new account, but I think most of it was the old "should be able to drag myself to the store". :( I also had the sense to be less, erm, frugal and get some things that require less prep time and effort. So we should have plenty of food tomorrow, without anyone having to lug it home. That's worth way more than the $3.50 delivery fee for the £100+ order!

Even better: today I've mostly been managing not to kick myself over Not Trying Hard Enough. Bah.

Oh yes, I've also been having surprisingly good luck with just using water and a lot of scalp massage to wash my hair. After about two weeks, it's not greasy and smelly, which shouldn't be a huge surprise since that didn't happen when I switched over to conditioner-only washing. *wry smile* (People managed to have clean hair before this stuff was invented, after all.) My scalp was acting up again in spite of not using shampoos I'm apparently allergic to, so I decided to experiment, hoping it was an allergy to something in the conditioners. Especially since it totally cleared up when I was trying the ultimately too drying baking soda with vinegar rinse approach. That's improved a little, but it's early days yet. It may just be eczema, since it's the time of year for that to really start kicking in--even so, putting fewer chemicals on an existing allergic reaction sounds like a good idea!

The big surprise there? My hair seems to be loving it so far. It's shinier, and even the crown is holding more curl once it's dry, without added gel or anything. (Thick, fine hair with Botticelli curls is kinda renowned for weighting itself down and going flatter on top.) I think even the conditioner was drying it out too much, which is darkly funny since I avoided using much conditioner for years because it make my hair look "stringy"--i.e., less dry and frizzed out, with some curl definition. Using the CO wash method, I could tell it was time for a wash because it started to get dry and frizzy on top. (I think my thyroid conversion is a bit wonky again, and drying my hair and skin out more.) And I was using a heavier conditioner after the cheapo light stuff for washing!

Now I'm tempted to try using a little coconut milk instead of conditioner to wash with, and see what happens. On the whole, I'd rather get away from commercial products again if it's feasible, anyway.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I got brave, and trimmed my own hair a little while ago. It's really been needing it, since it's gone from a #4 buzz cut to shoulder length without one. (The ends just don't seem to split, even when I was abusing my hair, so it was a lot less pressing than it could have been.)

I really don't like other people messing with my head--a combo of sensory issues, feeling uncomfortable with the usual salon chattiness expectation (especially without my mom there to take up the slack!), and a lot of crying-level bad haircuts. Since I was keeping it buzzed for several years, I don't know any good stylists locally, and one fairly close salon with good reviews is nigh-impossible to get to without a car. So I'd been avoiding going, and the ends were starting to look really straggly and uneven. I also have a history of trying to cut my own hair with pretty horrific results, starting from the age of three with my Daffy Duck scissors, trying to preempt my Nana cutting it! My technique really hasn't gotten much better as an adult, not knowing what the hell I'm doing, and my last lopsided attempt prompted another buzz cut. So I've also been pretty wary of the DIY approach.

But, after a raid on Google and YouTube for some ideas on how to do this reasonably, I decided to risk it, figuring that it couldn't turn out much worse than the usual salon trip or the current straggly woolybooger look. Just trying to even up the ends some--erring on the side of not taking enough off!--seemed like the best plan, and well within my competence level. ;) Adding a little in the way of layering didn't look like a bad plan, since my bushel of really fine hair is extremely good at weighting itself down, and the curls have been sort of intertwining so the bottom of my hair has mostly been moving in one big section lately! Not ideal.

Videos I found helpful, for the curious )

It's still wet, but the results don't seem bad at all. I went back and cleaned up the ends on sections I could tell didn't get trimmed properly while it was clipped up, and then after the post-cut wash got the few looser curls in the back which have been hanging a lot lower and making me not want to wear my hair down. It must not be weighting itself down as much, with the shrinkage factor; the longest pieces I took off were maybe 1.5"--most closer to 0.5"--and it's a good 3" shorter while still damp. It's back up just above my shoulders. The canopy doesn't seem to be wanting to flatten out as much from getting snagged on the hair underneath, either, as I was hoping.

The verdict, at this point? I'll do it again. :)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I managed to forget all about an appointment at the optician's this afternoon, to get the still-unwearable new glasses checked out. Then again, I was laboring under the impression that it was Wednesday, until the phone rang. (What is this "time" of which you speak?!) This kind of thing is frustrating. Especially since I couldn't handle answering the phone, and will probably try to deal with it Monday. It's also one of those things which, other than making sure to enter appointments into my mobile's mini-PDA (then remembering to carry the phone), Just Trying Harder will not help. At all. And I really do not like being unreliable.

Instead of keeping kicking myself over that, however, I used most of my remaining spoons on a sorely needed grocery shopping trip. The walk down there was pleasant, and I'm feeling better for the exercise. (And for having stuff to eat and drink.) Bit of a shame Max couldn't come along, but there is nowhere decent for him to wait outside there; at least he's OK with taking the bus home, if necessary. I didn't get to take him out yesterday.

I was hoping to get one of the goldfish tanks cleaned today, but that will have to wait (again). OTOH, with Ingvar gone and not much else to do tonight, there's no reason not to do that fairly late if I get enough energy back. Otherwise, there will probably be a lot of reading and possibly some Wii after I fix some supper.

After I got home, I noticed a bizarre hair double helix, which struck me as amusing. Then again, sometimes I'm easily amused. ;)

The shape is better than it looks in that photo. More pics on Fotki. Better shots of my armpit than the curl, but hey...
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
No wonder I was feeling grouchy, depressed, and a bit out of it last night and (especially) today: a migraine kicked in while I was out getting some Nurofen Plus for my back and antihistamines. The timing could have been worse, at least. ;)

The prodrome and aura were harder to spot because it was really easy to put feeling crappy off on a combination of allergies and my back acting up, which can be pretty overloading on its own--and it kept me from sleeping well, which also makes me feel generally crappy and prone to overload. (And then I didn't remember to eat lunch. Bleh.) Since the visual snow effect got a lot worse about an hour before the pain hit, and it's done that before, I'm wondering if that's an aura thing too. My visual processing goes screwy that way when I'm overloaded--and prone to straightforward tension headaches--so it's kind of hard to sort things out!

But, I was more than a little relieved when the headache started, and provided a pretty straightforward explanation for the way I'd been feeling. I may not like them, but migraines I can deal with. Disappointed as I was not to get to see people I haven't seen in a long while, it was probably a really excellent thing that I hadn't bulled through and headed for a night out at a pub in Central London after all!

We only live about a mile outside the town centre, but I was so not going to lurch down there today. So traffic heading that way was clogged almost to our bus stop. Stubbornly, I climbed on the bus anyway, and still ended up lurching farther than intended so that I had a hope of getting to Boots before it closed. It did get me at least three quarters of the way closer.

While I was out, I stopped by Sainsbury's in the same shopping centre, and got some easy food, including some frozen chicken and mushroom pies out of the Free From section--junky, but oddly satisfying when you're not feeling great. :) Also some GF bread and sandwich fixings.

By that point, my blood sugar was getting pretty low (stress didn't help!), so I also wolfed down a pretty tasty pseudo-Asian salad with black rice, veggies, edamame, shrimp, and ginger-lime dressing. Convenient, decently balanced, and GF except for the soy sauce in the dressing, which is usually OK--and I was past worrying about it. Sometimes I do get tired of having to think about what and when I eat. I used to be a bit self-conscious about perching on benches in busy areas to light into food like a ravening beast, but needs must. Finally getting some food in helped some.

I also picked up some ground cloves and allspice while I was there, for the Great Henna Experiment. I've been pretty much addicted to blatantly unnatural permanent hair dye for 20+ years, but went off it when I decided to try to let my hair grow out--trying to avoid the eventual "matting frizzy straw" effect--but lately I've been eyeballing the couple of boxes of (ruby) red and purple still in the house. ;) I was even becoming tempted to try really saturated shades of SFX or similar on unbleached hair; maybe Candy Apple Red or Deep Purple, which should still give a decent undertone. This has been on my mind even more lately, since I wasn't entirely pleased in spite of myself to find some silver starting to come in at the temples.

So, I was pleased to find out that henna does not necessarily give you Lucille Ball orangey-red, but it's very possible to get the kinds of colors I want anyway out of it with the right mix and base color. I've probably actually seen people with similar shades from henna, but assumed it was something else. Something that's actually good for your hair and can give you the colors you want? Sounds close to perfect.

I ordered some ostensibly body art quality henna and some indigo from an Indian grocery (could have made a trip into Ilford, but didn't feel like it), but neglected the spice additions--to help with more burgundy tones--while I was at it. So, instead of busing it into Ilford after all, I sucked it up and paid supermarket prices. Which still just about brings the ingredients per batch close to the price of the dye I'd been using, so it's not too bad. :) That will probably wait until tomorrow night.

The bus ride home was a bit surreal. There was the visual snow and sense that things were moving strangely. There was also another (Black) passenger about 20 who, judging from his mannerisms and pretty severe tardive dyskinesia, I'd guess was autistic and on neuroleptics. That made me more than a little sad and frustrated for him. Even the way I was feeling, I made sure to smile in his direction and basically try to acknowledge his humanity; the bus was pretty full, and other passengers were acting like they'd get ebola from sitting anywhere near him. That's gotta hurt. Grrr. Then there was a priest who looked like he felt sorry for me, with my cane and whatever expression was on my face right then. *shakes head* I was glad to get off before someone started into a bizarre monologue nobody else seemed to hear, and it really started to remind me of the kind of Italian film I avoid. It was that kind of bus trip.

Now I'm slurping a big cup of coffee and waiting for the pain relief to kick in. I'll probably stick my pies in the oven and lie down for a while.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I set up a Fotki account for hair photos, as much for my own reference as anything else. :) I also got [personal profile] vatine to take some yesterday evening, which I put into an album.

The hair seems to be responding well to a lot more conditioning. I'll be interested to see how the curl pattern develops as (a) it gets longer, and (b) I continue not abusing it! It was tighter as it got longer before. (Then I tried to comb it all out. :-| )

BTW, that Bozo orange effect from the evening sunlight hitting it does look like what happens when it gets sunbleached (or, gods forbid, I try 20-volume peroxide on it). I used to get exactly that color every summer, especially from spending a lot of time in a chlorinated outdoor pool. Urgh. I was briefly worried that I inexplicably had splotches like that in my hair again, until I figured out it was from the lighting.

Most of the ones from the front did, indeed, turn out not quite in focus. That was not the only reason I did not include the few that were, however. Even knowing where it's coming from, I recoiled in horror from all of them. It took some courage to ask Ingvar to drag the camera out at all!

At the same time, I got very frustrated at the huge ball of internalized racism and fat acceptance* fail. It still frustrates me today. I did a post on this kind of thing last year: I used to feel very ugly indeed. It's not like I wasn't aware of what was going on well before that. Actually, in this context, a pair of the badly-GIMPed up pics from that post illustrate the point pretty well:

More on this, with pics, behind the cut )
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I am sitting here with my head slathered in goop made of egg, mayonnaise, and olive oil for an hour. Topped off with a plastic produce baggie held in place by a rubber band (who needs processing caps? ;) ) and a towel. Some kind of distraction is welcome. *g*

Lately, I've been a lot happier with my hair, since I've been trying to work with it. It's rarely tangling much, and I've been finding maybe one fairy knot a week--rather than multiple a day, when I realized what I was doing was just not working. At all.

The best thing I ever did for it? Only using a wide-toothed wooden comb to untangle it before washing, instead of combing and brushing it multiple times a day to make it look less "stringy". *headdesk*

What I'm doing to it now has been a huge improvement over the purposely drying stuff I thought it needed before#, but it's still too harsh. My crown, especially, is getting a bit crispity and flyaway, and flattening out. Not nearly as unpleasant as before, but it's still time for some deep conditioning/protein treatment and a change in routine.

It's time to cave in and buy some products, other than baking soda, vinegar, and coconut oil. :) I ordered some Darcy's Botanicals Natural Coils Curling Jelly last night, hoping it will double as leave-in conditioner and lightweight gel for curl definition. Running across the excellent site, Live Curly, Live Free was a good bonus. Heck, I hadn't even thought of the perils of the "wet cut, with no regard for how the hair lies dry, then try to whip it into shape with products and heat" hair styling approach--which is the only one I've ever gotten!

Between the info there and this amazing before and after thread at naturallycurly.com, some version of the Curly Girl method seems well worth trying. Just the second photo set on that thread was enough. :/ Yeah, my hair used to look like the before picture pretty much all the time.## Eeek.

In a while, I'm planning a trip to the local Sally's. Initially, I was thinking of getting some flat clips and no-snag mini elastics, since I want to try some flat twists at the front of my head to keep the hair out of my face without having to slap on headbands or clip it back. (I finally figured that just because you don't usually see that done with hair the texture of mine, that doesn't mean it's not worth a try. With elastics, since there's no chance in hell the twists will hold themselves.) Now I also want to look for some non-scary conditioner, hopefully unlikely to break my head out, to try conditioner-only washing.

I did consider the idea before, but it scared me initially, just starting out of the "must strip my hair within an inch of its life" mentality. Only washing it with something other than water once a week or so--and oiling it!--has worked out great. Since it's still kinda dry, the CO is not looking like a bad option at all now. And I've had long enough with the minimal intervention, basically benign neglect approach, not to mind adding some slightly more complicated care back in. That's still a lot less than I was doing to it when it was longer before. :-|

BTW, the "hair reflecting mental state/abilities" metaphor also seems to apply here. Treating myself decently and trying to figure out what my strengths are--rather than trying to force my mind to do what other people tell me it should--has also led to much better results. (Not to mention getting away from the "better living through socially acceptable/mandated chemistry" approach to the point that I had no reasonable baseline, in both cases.) And metaphorically combing out some of the snakes has let me treat both my mind and my hair (and probably other people!) more kindly. Imagine that.

That's probably enough hair care geekery for the moment. It's just about time to get the goop rinsed out, anyway. Yay!

# Much in the way of conditioning made it "stringy" and "dirty-looking"--i.e., with the beginnings of some curl definition!

## So, ironically, one time I tried a spiral perm to try to make it "behave". Then kept using permanent dyes on top of that. Within a year, it started breaking off and eventually matted to the scalp--with daily sulphate washing and light conditioning thrown in the mix. I'm still impressed at how tough my hair is, to be super-fine. *facepalm*

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