The Holistic Chick Online

Heathy and Holistic Inside and Out…Don't Drink Coffee While Riding an Elliptical.

It’s Been a While, Hasn’t It? **warning below**

The United States Air Force Memorial located i...

The United States Air Force Memorial located in Arlington County, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life threw me a curve ball recently, and I have spent the last several months doing…you know, I don’t really know?  I know I still functioned, meaning I still went to work, paid my bills, socialized a bit, but that’s about the extent of it.  One thing I did not do was write, because for some reason, when things really hit the fan the writing comes to a screeching halt.  I even had a difficult time texting people on my phone, that’s how bad it was.  It’s been so long since I have been here I had to change my password.  Just to warn everyone, the following post has to deal with death, so if you don’t want to read on, you need to go no further than this first paragraph.  

Coming here to write was not my first choice.  I was looking around online for personal diaries and journals, even set up an account at two of them, thinking that would get the “want” for writing back, but it didn’t work.  I ended up coming back here, got a new theme for the blog, and here I am.  It’s taken quite a bit for me to get to this point where I have a New Post page open.  I can procrastinate with the best of them.

So.  After months of being in and out of the hospital, rehab and finally hospice, my father died.  It wasn’t sudden, and it’s not a shock, but it did finally happen.  He died at home, in the living room, with my mom sitting next to him.  She had called me hours before, when I was still at work, to tell me the hospice workers said it wasn’t going to be long now, he probably wouldn’t last until the morning.  I told mom I would leave work and come over, which I did, but as I was talking to her in the parking lot at work she said not to come over now, she was OK, but she might need me later.  So I told her sure, call me if anything happens but I was going to go home and take a nap.

My phone rang at exactly two o’clock that morning.  It was a quick conversation.  Mom said he was gone, I said I was leaving.  I threw some clothes in a bag, woke my friend up to tell her, and ran.  I arrived to find mother and the two pretty mortuary boys filling out paperwork in the kitchen.  In the background was my dead father, laying on the hospital gurney, with a horrible grimace on his face.  Save for the oxygen tanks around him and all the other sundries that comes with hospice care, it looked as if he was lying in his own bed.  There was a towel on his chest, but he was wearing a sweater  and was covered up with quilts so you couldn’t tell he was in a diaper.

The paperwork finished, the pretty mortuary boys were very efficient in getting dad out of there.  They had mom take his watch off, then they covered him with a sheet, took the quilts off of him, easily moved him to their gurney to the open body bag, and zipped it closed.

That was it.  He was 73 years old.  My dad and mom were married for 48 years.

Being practical women and not one to stand around, mom and I got to work airing out the living room, lighting candles, stripping the bedding, and moving stuff around because all of the hospice stuff took up the living room.  By 7 AM we were exhausted, this was the end of nearly 6 months of watching my father wasting away, but there were still phone calls to make.  I called out from work, then texted my boss to let her know he was gone and I would be out for a few days.  My mom called my brother, whom I haven’t seen in 20+ years, and he made arrangements to fly out at 11PM that evening.  She left a message with relatives who had already planned to come down from Seattle that day, to let them know that dad had passed, she had a ton of things to do and it wasn’t a good time to come down.  Needless to say, all she got was voicemail.

We had to be at the funeral home by 3PM, and mom was freaked out by that. I had been through it before with a friend’s mother, so for me it really wasn’t a big deal.  It was super easy, and once we discovered dad could be buried in Willamette National Cemetery, we went that route, which took a lot of stress off.  The feds would handle the burial and everything else, all mom had to do was cremate him.  We signed everything and was out of there in less than a half an hour.  Dad’s years in the Air Force really paid off when it counted and made my mom’s life much easier.  The funeral home would take care of the remains, and would call us when he was interred in his niche.

We get back to the house and mom calls the cousins, who are on their way to us after having lunch.  The hospice people still had not shown up.  Mom and I did what we could to make room for four other people but regardless of what we did, it was still a living room filled with hospital equipment.  There was no way around it.  When the cousins showed up, there was still no sign of the hospice people and my two cousins, who are around my age, entered the house with wide-eyes.  Hey, we told them not to come.

I sat on the hospital bed.  The bedding had been stripped away and all was left was the mattress covered in its plastic sheeting.  No gore, no signs of death anywhere.  My Great Aunt stood for as long as she could then asked if she could sit with me.  I patted the mattress next to me and said sure, dad died here but you really can’t tell.  My cousins about passed out but Auntie sat.

Mind you, I haven’t seen these people in YEARS, even though they are my closest relatives.  Growing up, I never had anything in common with them.  They were from Atlanta and even though they moved to the Seattle area almost thirty years earlier they still had that Southern Belle mentality.  That’s what I grew up with, and that is how I remembered them.  Age and experience has taken its toll on all of us, so cousin #1 was dealing with her second divorce and was about to move in with Auntie and Uncle with her two kids.  Cousin #2 was just married, for the first time.   Our lives had continued on different paths, so sitting there trying to make small talk with these relatives of mine, in the living room sitting on the bed where my father died well, it was an experience.  Auntie asked me if dad looked peaceful when he passed.  I assured her he did, finally gone from all of those demons that had haunted him for as long as I could remember.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her he had this horrible, horrible grimace on his face which has been burned into my brain.   I told her of the quilt he got from hospice, with bright squares and pictures of cats, given to him by some sweet person who worked with hospice patients.

The time didn’t pass but it did, and they eventually left, after a flurry of exchanging phone numbers.  I harbored no wishes, I knew I would hear from them, and as all mourners they would taper off as new things came into life.   With hugs and well wishes they finally drove off, just as the hospice truck pulled up to haul everything away.  Once all of the equipment was gone, the living room was this huge open space again.  It was finished.  There was nothing left to do but wait for my brother to fly in from Jersey.

Six months of illness, of stress, of wondering what was going to happen, of worrying about my mother, was over.  I thought it was over when the body bag was zipped closed, but the finality hit home when the hospice truck drove off and left us with a wide open space that was empty.

Note:  I started writing this post a week ago.  I started, then stopped.  At the time I couldn’t finish it because I just…couldn’t.  I am now in the space where I can, and did, finish.

My father passed away June 20.  He was interred July 19.

My birthday.

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My Posture Sucks.

Bad posture

Bad posture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a huncher. No matter how much I try to keep my back pressed up against the , back of my chair, I eventually find myself practically laying on my computer keyboard with my nose pressed against my monitor.  Even worse, it’s totally an unconscious thing.  I have no idea I am leaning forward until I stop and completely redirect my mind to what my body is doing.

Earlier today, I was typing a Google search entry and I realized I was nearly laying the upper part of my body on the desk.  Horrified at myself, I straightened up and heard a cracking sound in my neck as I did so.  No pain, but it’s not a sound you want coming from any part of your body.

So, like any savvy blogger, I hit the web to see what I could find on ergonomics and improving my posture, not only for sitting but for standing and walking as well.  From what I can tell so far, I am so out of alignment my knuckles might as well be dragging on the floor.  The amount of information I found was staggering and inconsistent: sit up straight, do NOT sit up straight, walk carrying weights (also known as the Farmers Walk), do not carry anything heavy.  Sit with your feet beneath your hips, pretend there’s a string attached to your head from the ceiling, do a body check every five minutes to see where you are in your posture.  Use wrist rests when typing.  Don’t forget all of the products that you can purchase to help you with your, including someone to massage you if you’re stiff.

First of all, the massage sounds good.  My shoulders bear the weight of all my stress and they are hard as rocks, to the point where I don’t like them being touched, even a simple tap can hurt.  I’ve been massaged before, and it’s not a big thrill for me because I have a difficult time with being touched.  Same reason why I’ve never had a pedicure.  The thought of someone touching my feet frankly freaks me out but that’s a post for another day.

Anyway…I came across a website about sucking in your gut, and how it’s actually beneficial.  It doesn’t solve all problems, but it helps strengthen lower back muscles as well as your core.  The best website I found for information was here.  Yes, it’s a blog about the raw food diet, which is not a turn off for me, I have actually found quite a bit of useful information.

So first things first, I am going to work on strengthening my core.  Then maybe my lower back won’t ache when I walk or sometimes, even stand.  Sadly, I am parked in front of a computer over 40 hours a week at my jobby-job, and I have got to do something before I turn into a mushroom.

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Cuppow: This Thing is Awesome. Oh, and I now have a Smart Phone.

My Cuppow At Work Action Shot

I cannot for the life of me remember where I came across Cuppow.  I know once I found it I posted it all over my personal Facebook page because really, how ingenious!  My friends saw my posts and commented how cool it looked, but no one had purchased one yet.

I so planned on buying one, but you, dear readers, know things come up.  I wanted it, but I had more pressing things to worry about, like taxes, getting the oil changed in my car, putting gas in my car, the dryer ate my last bra, those things.  So the Cuppow was put on my list of “wants” and I figured I would drool over the pictures until I was able to get one.

Then a friend of mine sent a message to me over Facebook saying he ordered presents and they should be here in about a week.  I scratched my head at that, thinking what on earth, he must have meant someone else.  So I never replied.  He never followed up, so I forgot about it.  Until I got a text on my phone asking if I was home, presents had come in the mail, could he come over?  Um, sure, I texted back, and not a minute later he was at my front door with a Cuppow.

I think his back is still bothering him from when I threw my arms around him.  Ooops.

I mean, how sweet and amazing for him to get me one, right?  The only thing, we are both totally lame, because neither of us had a wide-mouth Mason jar to use it with!  A day later we had that solved, but really?  No wide mouth jars?  He had none, and I had a ton of narrow mouth jars.  I found a box of wide mouth lids with bands, but no jars.  Yeah, all I can do is shake my head.

So!  Cuppow!  These things are super, super cool.  This hard, BPA free plastic lids turn your Mason jar into a leak-proof drinking vessel.  The Cuppow sits right on top of your wide mouth jar, you screw the band on and there you go, the coolest coffee cup ever.   Canning jars are the best really, because they are clean, they don’t stain, absorb flavors, you can wash them, boil them, whatever.  You can have a cup of coffee, then rinse it out and have a cup of tea without any residual flavors from the coffee.  There’s no BPA or chemical worries with a canning jar.

In the summer time I use a quart jar for iced tea at work, with tons of ice, a straw, lemon and fresh mint. A quart jar is big enough to last between breaks, and if I need to I can slap the lid and band back on it.  They really are handy, and the Cuppow makes them handier.

(Shameless Starbucks Plug:  The pint jars are perfect for Via.  Just sayin’)

The only downside is the glass gets hot if you’re drinking hot beverages, but a quick Etsy search will come up with plenty of options for cozies for your jars. With or without handles.  Oh, and for those of you, like me, who have tons of narrow mouthed jars, I was informed the Cuppow people are going to come out with narrow-mouthed lids before the summer.  NICE!

On another topic, we finally got our phones upgraded, so I now have a Smart Phone.  A Samsung Exhibit II4G for Android.  I have been totally geeking out ever since I got the silly thing.  WordPress has an app, so of course I downloaded it, as well as some other cool writing apps.  Even Etsy for Android is just amazing.  I use Dolphin as a browser and don’t worry, the geek simply wipes off.  🙂


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My “Why I Do Not Drink Milk” Story

Deutsch: Ein Glas Milch English: A glass of mi...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I was asked what I thought about milk.  Not raw milk, I’ve no experience with that at all.  I’m talking about the pasteurized stuff that comes in the gallon jugs at the grocery store,  that comes in chocolate or strawberry flavors, that is served in our schools, that is heavily advertised with pretty people wearing milk mustaches have never seen a product so heavily advertised as being the best thing for our bodies.  It is believable, really, until you see the ads are sponsored by the dairy council?


My Milk Story starts with no politics, no indignant feelings towards dairy lobbyists, nothing like that.   I simply could not drink it.

I don’t recall if I was lactose intolerant when I was born, or why my mother didn’t give me milk when I was little.  Up until the age of 13, when it came to milk I drank soy baby formula in cans.  Prosobe, I think it was called, I don’t even know if it’s around anymore, but that’s what I drank, ate my cereal with.  I remember the smell of it vividly, and I also remember how to make it:  one can, along with three cans of water, made a pitcher.  We’re not talking fancy vanilla flavored soy or anything like that, this was the 70’s and soy was NOT flavored back then, and it didn’t come in half gallons.  I drank that stuff until I was 13 years old, when I decided it was time to be a grown up and drink real milk for a change.  I latched onto the cow and didn’t let go for five years.  I drank milk like it was going out of style.  I could never get enough of it.

I should stop here and let everyone know that other than a case of the chicken pox, I don’t recall any other childhood illnesses while I was drinking baby soy formula.  No ear infections, croup, none of that standard stuff kids always get.

Then I spent five years drinking cow’s milk.  Those five years were the sickest years of my life.  I was always coming down with throat infections.  Not strep, it was never strep, just some sort of infection the emergency room doctors couldn’t figure out, no matter how many throat cultures they did.  I would get antibiotics and they would send me on my way.  Also, during that time period I got the one and only ear infection I would ever have in my life.  It was the most painful experience I have ever had.  Having all four wisdom teeth dug (literally) out of my head at the same time was no match for this ear infection.   The pain was horrific. I was stuck on horrid amounts of antibiotics for that as well.  I will never forget that first night on antibiotics, I didn’t want to miss a dose so I stayed up all night, talking on the phone with my friend Patrick who was sweet to stay up with me.  We were on the phone until five in the morning.  I never forgot that.

Because of that ear infection, I developed sensitivity to penicillin, and I can no longer take it.  Period.  As well, that ear infection left me hard of hearing in both ears for two months afterwards.  Hard to listen to your Sony Walkman when your ears are inflamed.   Shortly after that episode, my mother began seeing a health guru, who got her to change her diet, got her to take out her aggression towards her mother by beating pillows, and got her drinking rice milk and eating all sorts of veggies.  Mom was meditating for an hour every night and doing yoga.  She seemed so healthy so I decided I would somewhat follow her route.  The first thing I gave up was milk because I found out how awful it was for humans, how it caused ear infections and the like.  An ear infection was something I was determined never to experience again.

Therefore, I gave up milk, and then the coughing started.  I coughed constantly for just over a month.  I went to the doctor and I was told my body was getting rid of all of the casein that had built up in my lungs; it was very common for people who quit the dairy to go through a detox process.  The garbage coming out of my chest was thick and just nasty, and that was only after drinking milk for five years.  Five years!  I know people who have consumed milk for years, even decades, and I had all those problems after only five year

I was sold.  I wasn’t going to touch milk again.  It was easy, no milk and no ice cream, but cheese was tough.  I had tried my mom’s cheese alternatives, almond cheese and soy cheese and just no.  I went back to my soy milk and figured that was a major step.  My mother, who never got the taste for soy, drank rice milk.  I admit, soy is an acquired taste.  I can’t deny that.  Texture as well.  Major breakthroughs have been made when it comes to soy milk, but I never did buy the ads that said it tasted just like milk.  It doesn’t.  Not at all, and the texture is wrong.

So there I was, on my non-dairy kick.  By this time, I was in community college, and I was given an assignment to write a paper on something (I really don’t remember what) so I chose to write about how cow’s milk can negatively affect our health.  We had to read our papers aloud to the rest of the class as part of the assignment.  One of my fellow students actually started crying because I would dare suggest not giving children milk, which is what they needed to grow into strong, healthy adults.  She would not listen to a word I said, and thought I was Satan incarnate for even thinking milk was not healthy.  I told her I was allergic to it, she said that there must be something wrong with me (it’s called Lactose Intolerance, but I might as well have spoken Klingon to her).  I tried to reason with her by giving her facts, but she didn’t want to hear anything bad about milk.  As I recall, she left the class in tears.  She didn’t speak to me for the rest of the semester.

All that over milk.  Wow.

The events I mentioned above occurred about 20 years ago.  I never had one of those odd throat infections nor have I had an ear infection since I stopped drinking pasteurized cow’s milk.  I know of the political and health reasons to not drink it, but for me, I don’t have to hop on a single bandwagon.  Simply, milk does not do my body good.

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The Best Quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and a picture of the latest goodness!

Handmade just for ME by Nessa's Naturals.

I finally got my umpteenth copy of Of Love and Other Demons today.  The entire book is just excellent, but for me, the best quote ever is this:

“The Bishop called him to account in his office and listened without indulgence to his complete unadorned confession, conscious that he was presiding not over a sacrament but a judicial hearing.  The only leniency he showed him was to keep the true nature of his sin a secret, yet with no public explanation he stripped him of his dignities and privileges and sent him to the Amor de Dios Hospital to nurse the lepers.  Delaura begged for the consolation of saying five-o’clock Mass for them, and the Bishop granted his request.  He kneeled with a sense of profound relief, and together they said an Our Father.  The Bishop blessed him and helped him to his feet.

“May God have mercy on you,” he said.  And erased him from his heart.

Its the last line that shreds me each and every time.  And erased him from his heart.  *sobs*

If anyone is curious, its the very first paragraph of Chapter 5.

All right, readers.  I had to get that last bit out.  Thank you for understanding.

We will be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon.  I have to talk about the new Magic Vegan Eye Shadow Primer from The All Natural Face, as well as some amazing goodies from Nessa’s Naturals.  Owens Acres has a FB page, and Laura has been creating more and more fun things.  So much to talk about!

Also want to give a shout out to a new friend, Susan over at Going Green Fabulously.

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Owens Acres has a Facebook Page, and how’s your January?

Bitter orange foliage, blossoms and fruit

Neroli Blossoms and Fruit Image via Wikipedia

YES!  Owens Acres now has a Facebook page.  Head on over and check it out.

How is the winter season treating everyone?  The Solstice has come and gone, so the days are slowly becoming longer, the holidays are over, life has gone back to some sort of  “normal”, and I couldn’t help but do the “air quotes” after I typed that.

January can be a bit of a let down for some after the hustle and bustle of December, for some it can be a relief.  The holidays were something to look forward to, be it wanting them to get here or wanting the madness to end, and there isn’t that festive level of hope going on in January.  A lot of us are dealing with dreary weather, dark days, cold, colds in general.  Spring is still a quite a ways off and other than that hope of Spring, there’s nothing going on.  Well, other than coping with the aches and pains of the cold weather, I personally deal with bone spurs in my neck and sore hands.  Oh, and year round hayfever.  These days it seems like my eyes will not stop watering.

Oh, the thrill of tax season.  How could I forget that?  *rolls eyes*

I have, so far, stayed well.  Vitamin C every night, plenty of tea with hibiscus in it, rest, hand-washing…I’ve not caught the Kennel Cough that goes around work every winter.  I am keeping myself sane with the wonderful scent of Neroli, which I just discovered a few weeks ago.  Its sweet and cheery smelling, and that’s been keeping the spirits uplifted.  I have indulged in Owens Acres Neroli Goddess Butter, Neroli and Myrrh Solid Perfume, and other citrus scented products.  The brighter the essential oil the happier I am.  I went over t Etsy, put Neroli into the search engine and came up with 454 items, if you’re curious.

Bottom line:  take care of yourself.  There’s only one of you, and you’re worth it.

The proximity of a desirable thing tempts one to overindulgence. On that path lies danger.    -Frank Herbert



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So who is doing what to survive the holidays?

There’s no way around all of the stuff that is throw at us:  the ads, the shopping, families, friends, work, weather, the madness in general.  Working in a customer service oriented job adds to the mayhem (I know this for a fact) because everyone has agendas, schedules, reasons, excuses, you name it to be difficult.  Stress hits nearly everyone.  I haven’t found a way to avoid it, short of crawling under a rock until Spring hits.

I spent nearly all day pulling together my shopping list so I could get my holiday shopping done.  I followed the “Support Indie” mantra, and I am so very grateful the shop owner let me send her an email with my choices instead of checking boxes and going back and fourth from the order page back to the product pages on her website.  No big deal for small orders, but for my big holiday order it takes up quite a bit of time.  So I got that done.

So lo and behold, right after I send my email I check my personal Facebook page and a dear friend of mind posts on my wall that my Christmas present is coming in the mail.  Oooops!  So another email to the shop owner, throwing on one more item for her to ship to my friend directly.  **big hugs to Owens Acres**

The shopping part isn’t that big of a deal for me.  Its everything else.  Schedules, work, traffic, weather…especially weather.  This past week I was lucky to have dry but below freezing temperatures driving to and from work.  I was also lucky this weekend, I didn’t have to work and why do I hear the sanding truck outside on our street?  Oh yeah, it rained and its like 25 degrees out.  Yay.

Work is something else.  Anyone who works any sort of customer service this time of year deserves a healthy dose of extra good karma.  Some people just…wow.  To top it all off, there’s the co-workers as well.  For me, at least, that’s a whole different category of mayhem.

Oh, and of course, trying to not get sick on top of everything else.  My work place is a hotbed of disease.  Colds linger for months as it gets transferred from one person to another.  Last year I was sick for two whole months.  The year before I was diagnosed with asthma, which turned out to be seasonal asthma only.  This year I have been taking my Vitamin C with Rosehips and Echinacea regularly (I know Echiniacea has been given a bad rap, but hey, it works for me) and trying to get enough rest and drinking tea and trying to eat decently.  So far I have been lucky to avoid any sickness, while the people around me have been dropping like flies.

Sometimes I want to simply disengage from everything.  Certain people with their issues and their dispositions and quirks and such are beginning to wear at me.  I wonder if its possible to stay in bed from now until the New Year, give everything and everyone a chance to calm down…

…and I wonder if a pony will fit in my stocking.

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Real Life Can Get In the Way

Autumn colors in Lappeenranta, Finland

Image via Wikipedia

Whoa, its been a while since I have been here.  Real Life has been kicking lately, with job, family, and everything else that has been thrown my way.  The seasons are changing, kids are back in school, the nights are cooler…you name it.  Its happening.

No matter how peaceful I try to be, there’s always STUFF to contend with.  I find it difficult to relax, no matter how many self help books I read.  Take deep breaths.  Fix your posture.  Eat only certain things.  It gets to the point where we are living an extension of ourselves instead of our true selves, because everyone else has the answers for us.

Sometimes I just need to be.   I have to control what comes  into my body, and I don’t mean just food, I mean news, social media, all that.  I can only take so much electronic onslaught before I lose my mind.  Sure, I can spend time on the computer, but I can control what I see or don’t want to see, for the sake of my sanity.

I hope Fall  slows things down a tad.  I would like to be able to stop and breathe on my own again.


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autumn leaf

Image by ientu via Flickr

I am super super ‘cited (as my friend Wendi says) because with the month of August comes the thrill of Fall arriving soon.

Don’t get me wrong, I like summer.  Summer’s abundance brings the most amazing fruits and vegetables, and there’s nothing like pulling a carrot right right out of the ground, rinsing it off with the garden hose, and eating it with the greens still on top.  The taste of a “real” carrot is absolutely amazing.  Those filed down baby carrots in the bag cannot hold a candle to the real thing.  Baby carrots are convenient, but I prefer cutting my own simply for the taste.

I recall one summer years ago, my  mother and I went to this super gourmet grocery store across the street from where I lived at the time.  The places was all hard wood floors and spot lighting and the most amazing local produce.  Mother and I were perusing the fruit, when a local farmer walked in thru the front door with baskets and baskets of just picked blackberries.  These things were absolutely gigantic and the nice man offered my mother a berry, it was still warm from the sun.  I remember watching her eyes rolling to the back of her head in bliss (I mean, mothers do that?) as blackberry  juice ran down her chin.  She took home four pints of berries that day.

Falls brings its own wonderful gifts.  Root vegetables, chillier nights, the warmth of homemade soup and bread coming from the kitchen, sweaters, hot tea, the soothing smell of wood burning stoves  as I drive home from work at night.

Can’t wait for Fall, now.

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Why I let my hair go Natural, and Something About Me.

Hand of Fatima

Image by Abby Cadaver via Flickr

There’s a wonderful article over at The Healthy Beauty Project about embracing the natural texture of your ethnic hair.  It got me thinking about my own hair and the path its taken.

I used to treat my hair like the nasty auntie on your mother’s side of the family:  I would abuse it, mold it to my will, make it sit up and beg, wash, rinse, repeat.  I had no idea of the damage I was doing to my hair, and I really didn’t care, as long as it was straight and cute nothing else mattered.  I would get  a box of straighter from the drugstore twice a month, make sure my Pink Condition and Ultra Sheen jars were stocked up, set my curling iron on Inferno setting and go to work trying to get my thick hair straight.  I generally kept my hair short because there was so much of it.

Straightening my hair was a relief, really.  It was easier to deal with and the feel of water on my scalp in the shower was delicious.  I washed my hair all the time, which was the reason why I relaxed so much, and I did nothing to protect it:  I didn’t wrap it every night, I didn’t moisturize as much as I should, I washed it nearly every day, and I fried it with heat just as much.  My hair kept up with me (unlike that nasty old auntie on my mother’s side) and didn’t let me down the entire time.  Sure, sometimes the ends got gross and every so often I would leave the relaxer on too long and my hair would over process (which isn’t a good thing) but for the most part, my hair did what I wanted it to.

Then I stopped.  My last relaxer I simply let grow out.  I cut off the ends and let it go.  That was several years ago, and I haven’t straightened my hair since with any method.  I realized my hair isn’t really kinky, I have corkscrew curls.  The hair around the nape of my neck and around my ears is bone straight.  I wash and condition daily, I use Coconut Oil as a styling product/moisturiser, I comb it, throw in an elastic headband and that’s it.

Now.  I didn’t go back to the natural texture of my hair due to outside influences, such as going back to my roots, sticking it to the man, going green, going healthy, going to the store, nothing like that.  Me leaving my hair alone stemmed mainly from one revelation:  my hands.

I have been abusing my hands since I was 10, when I got my first typewriter.  Maybe even before than, because I have been writing for as long as I can remember.  Moving on to my first job, where I was scooping ice cream.  Then I was a barista for YEARS, and I mean old school, not this push button madness we have going on now.  I type constantly, at home and at work.  The result of all this abuse as well as the gene pool I swim in?  Reduced strength and mobility.  I went to Occupational Therapy and took their squeezy test thing where they measure the pounds of pressure  your hands can squeeze.  For a female my age, 75# for the dominant hand and something like 60# for the non-dominant hand (don’t quote me on this) so that was the expectation when the therapist put the squeezy thingie in my right hand.  I took the test three times for my right hand, and five times for my left.  The therapist blinked at the results and said I definitely have a problem.  My right hand topped out at 25# and my left hand reached 16# and I was sweating just to get that far.

Well, now I knew why I had a hard, painful time brushing my hair because it hurt to hold onto the handle of a hairbrush.  I had to go to a battery powered toothbrush because I couldn’t hold onto a manual toothbrush.  My wrists will suddenly give out, especially at inopportune times when I am holding a cup of coffee.  I’ve had many a moment when I am holding a cup, and the next thing I know the cup is on the floor because my hand and wrist gave out, my left side is well known for doing this.  I can’t use a knife to cut anything, like meat, my friend has to do it for me.  The last time I brushed my hair, and switched from my right hand to my left to get my entire head, my left hand was in a brace for two weeks.  The pain was incredible.  So I keep my hair short and manageable.  I gave up squeezing a curling iron open long ago, I just can’t do it anymore.

Typing hurts, but I still do it.  I have to do it for my job and I do it at home because I am a writer, dammit, and I will grit my teeth and deal with it.  When its really bad I’ll use salves and balms, when its unbearable I go to my prescription of Motrin, but life goes on.  If I can’t write, then we start the quality of life discussion with my nurse practitioner.

So that’s the reason for the hair.  I haven’t been diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel (my mom had surgery on both hands for that) but I do have tendonitis, arthritis and Overuse Syndrome.  I can manage with that.  If I have to type with a pencil in my teeth, I can go there too.

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