My skin has always been sensitive. But I am stubborn and have tried to pretend it is just normal, or maybe combination? I’m always game to try new tactics when it comes to a beauty regimen. My mother loves to remind me of the time when she convinced me, on good authority from a friend of hers, that if before bed I put a dab of plain, paste-type toothpaste on a pimple, by morning it would be gone.She was right.
But what she didn’t tell me was that all the skin around the pimple site would be gone as well.
Then I spent the next week trying to nurse my face back to health.
Hilarious fun for a high schooler.
In spite of this and other ill-fated adventures, my fascination with beauty products persists.
Now I’m to the age when there are little lines around my eyes, just teeny ones, but enough to notice. So what do I do? I fall victim to American culture and attitudes towards aging and march to the store for a night cream with anti-aging properties.
Night cream, in my mind, is supposed to be a thick, dense, moisturizer that goes above and beyond your daytime face lotion. It conjures up an image of a woman’s face covered in light green cream. The cream I picked up was just white (bummer), but it was thick and held promise.
Soon after I put it on I had an eye itch, so I rubbed my eye. Little flecks of something were on my skin, so I wiped them off…them wiped off some more. At first I thought the lotion had separated or gone bad somehow, but upon closer inspection I discovered that in fact it was my skin that was rubbing away.
Now listen, I can handle a little pain for the sake of beauty. I use those mean spot treatments for blemishes that sting something awful, and I don’t even flinch anymore. But the idea of a lotion purposely peeling off my skin like an end-of-summer hot shower was just too much. On top of that, my eye area wasn’t even moisture-y afterwards anyway! I actually put on additional lotion after the night cream! That is nuts-o.
I have been duly punished for my vanity and attempted fine line reduction. But I am a repeat offender, so don’t be surprised if you run into me in the make-up aisle at Target when I’m supposed to be picking up milk. It’s like a tractor beam and I am virtually powerless to resist.
What about you? Do you have any products you can’t live without? Anything that was a waste of money? Add your comment, and let’s help each other out!
When I had my third child, my hair went cuckoo. I had heard the legend of straight hair that turned curly because of pregnancy, but I thought it was one of those super rare occurences. But my hair went from being straight with a little bit of a cowlick (what a word!) in a couple places, to being full blown wavy all over. It has also gotten long-ish, and this has led to various comparisons.
Such as Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.
Such as Eddie Vedder.
Such as Christopher Lloyd playing Doc Brown in Back to the Future.
Such as a male lion.
Such as a late-1980′s Tina Turner.
I wish I could argue with any of these comparisons, but they are all spot on. The funny thing about it is…
I don’t mind.
I am a child of the 1980′s so for me, the bigger, the better. I can’t deny my roots, my foundational years when the pop idols were men with long hair, rockin’ Hair Bands and the female band Heart. Come on, you expect me to flat iron this puff of wonder? You want me to undo what previously would have taken me an hour of work, or the trouble of sleeping with braids all over my head, a rat-tail comb and a cloud of Aqua-Net? Puh-leaze.
In honor of hair kooky-ness, here’s a clip that discusses various hair styles (I can only vouch for the first minute or two). Enjoy.
P.S. If you have wavy hair, feel free to chime in with tips to subdue or tame the beast, but don’t trouble yourself with any flat iron techniques because they will be wasted on me.
This may come across as callous, but I’m getting kindof tired of hearing about breast cancer.
And I’m a woman, so I can’t even imagine how bored men must be.
Granted, I haven’t had it, nor have I recently known anyone close to me who is “battling” it, (it’s always called a “battle”) so I am writing from a privileged position. My grandmother had it, though, so I’m not completely untouched by it. But my grandfather has had multiple kinds of “minor cancers” and you don’t hear about anybody giving out pins the color of scabby melanoma. Gross.
Keep in mind that in the past 30 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined, and each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast cancer, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined. (I got my impressive stats from the website of the Skin Cancer Foundation: www.skincancer.org) It begs the question: has the United States been made aware of breast cancer yet?
I’m thinking the answer is yes.
But there’s an entire month dedicated to breast cancer. I feel that’s excessive. It makes me want to know more about how it happened, how much lobbying it took and how much money changed hands, and how many women running how many 5k races it took? I mean, they lit up the White House in pink lights last night! I hope it was only for a night, but either way, have they done this for other cancers or causes? Is this a campaign gimmick? (Turns out it’s not, since they lit it up in 2010 as well…unless you think people in government are always campaigning, which may be true. I couldn’t find out if they lit it up last year.)
I’m just going to say it: is breast cancer the cause we want to be most going after? What about domestic violence? Or what about the institutionalized demeaning of the breasts people are trying to protect through the objectification of women in the media? What about homelessness? What about finding the causes of autism or what about the treatment of the elderly or other at-risk members of society? Are you telling me that boobie cancer is the cause behind which we are all to rally? Even football players wear pink all month: pink shoes, pink sweat rags, pink undershirts, pink doilies, pink tea cozies, pink hair binders (okay, I might have made up a few of those things). Are we to believe those players make a measurable increase in anything breast cancer? There’s a joke in there somewhere, but I can’t bring myself to type it out (think of a t-shirt emblazoned with “portable mamogram”…or something).
[Just for the record, the NFL has lots of charities it supports, and you can find out about them here: http://www.nflcharities.org/, and the Vikings page shows they support a Children's Fund and an environmental effort: http://www.vikings.com/community/index.html I should also mention that people much more interested in football than I have differing opinions about this: http://1045theteam.com/sports-illustrateds-peter-king-complains-about-nfl-wearing-pink-for-entire-breast-cancer-awareness-month/]
I’m curious to hear your perspective on this. It seems taboo to say anything but positive things about the awareness effort, but when you read that lung cancer is the thing that’s on the rise and is particularly lethal, it makes me wonder if people’s efforts are misplaced (http://progressreport.cancer.gov/trends-glance.asp).
Is it because there are boobs involved? They seem to have a real power over people, men and women, and probably because of the importance that’s been placed on big ones, to have anything happen to them threatens a woman’s womanhood. I can wrap my head around that, I guess, because it is a physical distinction between men and women.
But are our breasts where we get our womanhood? Is our intrinsic female-ness tied up in our chests? And let’s not even get started on talking about female attitudes towards their bodies and where those attitudes come from. Let’s just leave it that not all people have a great love for those extra couple pounds (or less) of flesh — not to imply that anyone would willingly undergo a mastectomy if it wasn’t medically necessary. Don’t go twisting what I’m saying, you rascal!
Lots to think about today, and I welcome any comments, but try not to get too mad at me for sharing a dissenting opinion.
Our vegetable garden has done pretty well this year. I learned a few things along the way (who knew that kale got SO HUGE?!? one plant would have been plenty and I had to go and plant FOUR of them!), one of which is that it takes TONS of tomatoes to produce a can of tomatoes — I have a new appreciation for the great bargain I get at the grocery store.
We have plenty of tomatoes and no one in my family appreciates them raw, so I thought it would make sense to freeze the abundance to use later.
What planning, what foresight.
Let me show you what I learned.
I started with a stockpot about half full of tomaotes, which seems like a lot, way more than my family of five would eat in a week.
Before I did any boiling, I prepared an ice bath, just a big container of water with some ice cubes to make it even colder. The goal is to get the boiled tomotoes to quit cooking, so you dunk them in this ice water.
I boiled the tomatoes for just four minutes so I could get the skins off.
Then came the ice bath. This all sounds putzy, and to be honest, it is. There are a lot of pots, a lot of water, and then you have to clean up all that stuff.
Now comes the most severely putzy part. Make an X at one end of the tomato, and peel off the skin. This should be pretty easy. What’s not easy is squishing out all the water, seeds and tomato innards. Sometimes all I had left was a palmful of tomato run-off. Here is one picture of peeling skins (which just sounds gross).
So after all that effort, I was left with this amount of stewed, skinless tomatoes to use in whatever way I want:
On the one hand, I grew these tomatoes from little plants and there is definitely something very gratifying about being able to produce your own food. I know where it has been. I trust my dirt. I know how the labor has been treated…since it’s usually me!
On the other hand, this is plain inefficient. I can’t be doing this with every batch of tomatoes that ripens throughout the season. So I’m left with a couple options: start eating more raw tomatoes, cook with more raw tomatoes, be generous and share more tomatoes, plant fewer tomatoes, break down and admit that sometimes a good thing doesn’t have to be efficient. I’ve got a long way to go before our family is self-sustaining, and that’s not even the goal, but it is fun to know we’re able to do it.
What do you do with all your garden harvest? Do you can it, freeze it, sneak it into your neighbor’s mailbox? Help me out with advice so I can work smarter next year!
Introducing new chickens into a “flock” is something that presents challenges, no matter how small that flock may be (say, like, two chickens).
We read up before we accepted the replacement chickens (they are replacing two chickens which, over the span of a couple months, were injured by a neighbor dog who developed a taste for chicken). We found out that there can be problems bringing in new chicken pals and they can get picked on quite a bit. Here’s how we did it…
First we put a dog kennel inside the chicken coop run. Then we put the Silkies into the kennel so they could be close but not in danger.
Then after a day or two we let them go into the coop after it was dark and the other two chickens were already roosting for the night. In the morning we tried to open the coop earlier than normal so there would be limited amount of “play time” for the two sets of birds. We kept the Silkies in the coop so they’d learn where home was.
At the end of the day we opened the coop and our other chickens returned home. There was a bit of pecking at this point, but nothing too harmful. We repeated this cycle for a few about a week. Then we let all the chickens out and left the door open so they could come back in when they wanted.
So far so good! Everyone is still alive and we haven’t seen any pecking that’s been anything more than posturing. I’ll have to check in here in a couple months and see if things have continued to go smoothly.
I should mention that the Silkies were laying eggs at their former location but they have yet to lay any for us. We think they are stressed out and need a bit more time to adjust. Our other chickens should begin laying within a month or so, so it is possible that we’ll have four eggs a day for a while, until it gets too cold. Should be fun!
It is nearly fall for real and I must admit a secret pleasure: I love to buy ragged plants at the end of the season at a deep discount. Gimme your wretched refuse yearning to be free, and I’ll take ‘em.
I scored a few small shrubs for a spot that has felt lonely and abandoned. It desperately needed my attention. When we moved in, there were a bunch of dogwood trees that had inexplicably died, but I chalked it up to their need for more sun. Really, I promise, I did not kill them; spring came and I could pull whole dead branches off from the root. Today I got into the project and assigned rock picking duty to one of my children (believe me, he deserved it). We discovered that, true to their behavior in other areas of the yard, the previous owners had laid down industrial strength black plastic under the thin layer of rock mulch.
No problem, right?
I got my scissors, cut through the plastic and made a surprising discovery.
My first thought was that I must have found a place they discarded an old cooler or something, or that it was there to keep an invasive plant in its place. We cleared rocks and plastic for the second shrub and found…
This was getting ridiculous.
Because up to that point we’d been digging very close to where the old shrubs had been, I tried a random spot and found the same, consistently created, inedible layer-cake of rocks, plastic, foam, plastic and MORE FOAM. It appears that the entire raised bed that runs the length of the house holds less than three buckets of dirt, all told. It’s crazy.
When I was clearing out roots of the old bushes, I was struck by the fact that until I started, I had no idea that the garden was essentially a facade. The decorative rock cover made me assume there was dirt underneath, dirt needed for growth and development.
There are still two barberry shrubs that stayed alive, but ultimately their limited root system will keep them from growing any bigger. So regardless of how lovely they could have become (and the dogwoods especially could have been pretty along the back of the house), they will be stunted because no matter how nice they looked on the exterior, they had weak roots.
Have you ever known someone like that?
Someone who looked right, knew the right things to say, but when difficult times came they proved to have a weak spiritual root system?
Have you ever been that person?
If we’re honest, I think we’ve all been there, been in a place where our faith was not deep enough, where we acted out of selfish motives rather than the best interests of the other person, when we acted petty or in an unkind way and may not have connected the dots until many years later.
It made me think about Jesus’ story of the farmer tossing seeds into different types of ground. I know there have been times when I didn’t do or say what I should have, and that demonstrated a weakness or blind spot in my development that I might not have had the maturity to address appropriately at the time.
It reminds me that I should not be quick to make blanket statements about the condition of someone else’s faith. Maybe they’re in a rocky patch. Maybe the faith they have is all that’s left after the birds came and scavenged what they had. Maybe they’ve been scorched by the sun and maybe what they need is the cool water of a kind word. Someone’s lame behavior may just be a blind spot or an area they are working on, and don’t I have those areas myself? Sometimes we are quick to point out other people’s weakness and even quicker to defend our own. Maybe instead, we should spread on some grace and sprinkle a little sugar on top, unless we are in a special relationship with that person or if we are specifically asked by the person. Let’s not underestimate the workings of the Holy Spirit in conviction and in the active work of growing a person’s heart.
I love you, man! Let’s go get another round of scraggly plants and some more dirt!