Book Frenzy

I am way behind in my Goodreads reading quota for the year. So, to make up for it, I’ve been reading at least two books a day since yesterday to catch up. Any faster and I wouldn’t derive enjoyment from the books. Any slower and I’d get bored with the material, open something else and basically do for books what I do for knitting and crocheting.

 

Thus far, I’m doing pretty well. I’ve read Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World…finally. I started her book in January. I must say, it was an interesting read. I learned a lot about a few things, mainly those elusive Soft Skills I wasn’t taught, just in reading her book. It was heartening to see that, at my age (thirty-six years), it isn’t unique to struggle in this area. Reading through her life story encouraged me to redouble my efforts at all the things I’m currently working on to better acclimate to the changing strata I’m finding myself in as I navigate these new business and volunteer opportunities before me.

 

Then, for a bit of light reading, I picked up Twilight from the Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium. Don’t hate or judge. I mainly got it because I wanted something that was cotton candy reading after the meatier offering I’d just finished. So, I’m going to finish all five original books, which shouldn’t take long. If I recall my ancient reading correctly, I didn’t mind the Short Second Life of Bree Tanner so much but it has been a while.

 

Once I finish those, I’m going to read Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy by Robert M. Hazen. I also have a host of other books waiting in the wings to be read. Most of them, I’ve read before and I’m just going over them again because I’m playing reading catch up with myself and they’re an easier read. Once I get back to where I should be in my reading list, I have quite a few good ones lined up. L’engle, Atwood, etc., that I just have sitting here, collecting dust for want of a good reading.

 

Onto the WIPs Clearout Extravaganza. I am presently on round eight of the doily for my neighbor. Sustained injuries have not only kept me from this blog for an extended period but have also kept me from doing any meaningful crafting owing to the pain. Nevertheless, I’m going to keep trying. My left arm’s elbow and my right shoulder hurt something fierce right now but, long term, I can’t let that get in the way of all I want to do. I am loathe to make a deadline but I am shooting for finishing this Pineapple Doily by tonight. To be honest, it has been long enough lounging on my desk. The other intended doilies may have to take a back seat depending on factors influencing my getting them to their intended recipients.

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Once the doily is completed, I am going to make a genuine effort at stitching together the In Love With Color throw. At the very least, I can get the sewing aspect out of the way, even if I have trouble lifting the actual throw for long periods or stitching the edging.

 

Getting clear of these will enable me to focus on the volunteer work I’ve picked up with regard to knitting and crocheting. I’m also doing other things but this will be eating up the bulk of my volunteer time. I’m going to do my level best to aim for making as much as my yarn supply will allow. I’m hoping to deplete my worsted/Aran yarn supply completely actually without having to buy new yarn. Though, if I run out of a particular color, I may have to buy one more skein of it but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

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The plant babies are growing fantastically. Everything is so verdant, the mood in my room is definitely a cheery one. The Mega Cherry Tomato and Sweet Pickle Organic Pepper are competing for which can out fruit the other. As far as I can tell, it is a statistical dead heat. I’m looking forward to the first true harvests from both though, I have been sneaking peppers.

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I am, somewhat, in shock at what I’m about to type. After years of avoiding makeup of any kind at all cost, I purchased three tubes (Do they call them “tubes”?) of lipstick. I also purchased some nail polish, base coat, top coat, and remover. I loathe the stuff but it is a necessary function to get by on in business settings. So, I found the least offensive colors to me that were still acceptable to the masses. I hope this works. It seems such a tedious waste of my time.

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I guess the next step would be styling my hair. *cringe*

 

Regardless of my feelings on the matter, I have already mixed the hair stuff from available oils and such that I had around the house. It is only a matter that I use it. When I’m earning expensive tastes money, I’ll consider the Carol’s Daughter/Shea Moisture options. For now, it has to be homemade hair cream and Suave shampoo.

 

I’ve somewhat paid attention to the Natural Hair vloggers and bloggers in passing but, given my utilitarian manner, I normally didn’t go for the styles I saw and opted, instead, for a drawn back puff or two puffs. Quite frankly, it is far easier to deal with and enables me to put on my hat in Winter without worrying about possibly messing up my hairstyle. Crap, I guess the Cornrow obsession is going to start again. At least I have a book, It’s All Good Hair by Michelle N-K Collison, to sustain me, as well as countless YouTube videos.

 

I think that’s about it. See ya next month or whenever I can get to writing here! Yay!

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The Hair Saga – Relaxers AKA The Nightmare of My Youth

Last night, I took a picture and uploaded it to Facebook. Not the above picture, I just included it because I like it.

I had just washed my hair and hadn’t yet combed it out into a style yet. I liked the look of it so much, that I contemplated wearing it out in an Afro when the weather got warm again. A number of friends of mine “Liked” the picture and one even commented on it positively. As it usually does when the subject is women’s hair, the conversation turned to chemical/mechanical manipulation. I then bemoaned women’s reluctance to wear their hair in its natural state. As it usually does, this brought back memories of my own experiences with chemical and mechanical hair manipulation and the dire after effects of said treatments.

When I was very young, my female relatives and a few select hair dressers used to do what is called “Pressing hair”. A hot comb, made of metal, is heated to a medium temperature and combed through dry, greased hair until it straightened the strands temporarily. It’s really not a fun process to endure. I recall frequently squirming in my seat, hoping to avoid the ritual but, to the minds of the community around me, nothing could be worse than my own unprocessed natural hair. Apparently.

This went on for several years until the hue, cry and clarion call in the surrounding community became one of getting a relaxer in my hair as soon as possible. In particular, one teacher took special interest in commenting on my usually unprocessed hair by making derogatory remarks whenever she could. This was usually laughed at by other adults and students, so there was no hope of rescue from my eventual fate.

When I was ten years old, this teacher pressured the Maternal Parental into getting the first of several relaxers applied to my hair. It was arranged that, a local woman who knew how to apply the chemicals necessary would put it in my hair. So, one Sunday afternoon, we walked up from where we lived to the next block north of us and found the lady’s house. At the time, her daughter was battling leukemia and I guess it was a feeling of empathy and extreme sadness for her situation that kept me from fighting more against the whole endeavor. So, I submitted to this experiment.

I had been asked specifically if I had recently dug in my scalp using my fingernails. I replied that I had. This is an important factor when getting a relaxer. You see, the chemicals used are of such a high pH, that, any purchase it can get will cause scabbing. The Dark & Lovely Permanent Relaxer was applied to my hair and, initially, had a cool, almost icy feeling to it. It was cool in the house and I felt chills all over my body from the rapid application of the chemical mixture. I was slightly uncomfortable but that comparatively blissful cool feeling didn’t last long.

I began feeling a searing, flaming, burning pain all over my scalp. If the Sun had landed on my head, I don’t think it would have been as painful. For those in the know, this was two minutes into the process and I have very thick, tightly curled hair. I hadn’t even gone the full eight to fifteen minutes for my hair to straighten. For those not in the know, depending on your hair’s thickness and curl pattern, you have to leave the relaxer on for a set amount of time according to the recommendations on the box. In my case, it’s a full eight minutes or longer. So, to have blinding pain at two minutes in was not fun. Not fun at all.

Proudly Tomboy ten year old me started crying like a newborn baby. I screamed and screamed for them to take it out. Yet, the process was nowhere near complete and, because it was costing the criticizing teacher money, I had to wait. It was torture. It was beyond torture. So, I sat there, crying and learned a whole new level of what it meant to tolerate pain. Even my precociously procured period pain was nothing compared with this plasma fire sitting on top of my head.

Finally, the preset timer in the kitchen went off at the eight minute mark. The lady rushed me into the kitchen, sat me down in the chair, and put my head in the depression of the hairwashing cradle she’d set up in her sink. I closed my eyes, cried, and prayed for death. It was that bad. I got admonishments from the lady that I must be “tenderheaded” not to be able to take a relaxer. Right….

Quickly, the neutralizing shampoo was applied and rinsed through my hair. It’s pretty self explanatory. It’s a shampoo that neutralizes the chemical in the relaxer to keep it from reacting any further. The initial stream of water felt like fire on top of fire but it was only lukewarm water coming out of the tap. Eventually, the searing, burning pain subsided to a dull ache. Apparently, I had scabs in my head from the relaxer’s burn.

When I’d opened my eyes finally, I must have had a look of pure hatred on my face because the lady jumped back a bit. Wrapping a clean towel around my head, she ushered me into the diningroom of her home and began combing my hair out to dry it properly. Much to my shock, the comb went right through my hair. I sneaked a peak at my head and my beautiful mane was replaced by a wavy mass of shiny long locks. I was in shock, I didn’t know what to think. Apparently, the relaxer didn’t fully take but it was good enough for a first time, according to her.

She then styled my hair into a single cornrow, coming up the back of my head to terminate in a series of Shirley Temple curls at the front. My hair was pretty long back then. I was then informed that I’d have to come back in about six weeks to get a touch up to the relaxer. I was given a dire warning not to wash my hair the week prior or to dig in my scalp at all or the same burning pain would happen again. She didn’t need to tell me twice. Since this was going to be a regular occurance in my life, I committed that little factoid to memory.

The next day at school was heartbreaking. I was not well liked by most students and was frequently made fun of. I was used to that. I’d come to accept that as a part of my daily existance. What really hurt me was the school’s collective reaction to my new hairstyle. I had come in late that morning, and had gone directly to my fifth grade classroom to sit while I waited for everyone else to come back so the learning could begin. I think they were all in Physical Education at the time. When they came back to class, I was sitting in my usual seat and, after first doing a collective doubletake, they all started applauding.

All I could give was a wry smile at the time but, man, that really hurt to have that reaction. Even at that age, I knew that I was more than the sum of my parts. To be judged and found wanted based on something as trivial as my hair texture was painful. From there, the fake nice “false friends” started coming out of the woodwork to compliment me on my hair. Even the teacher had something backhanded to say. Ah, you just can’t win.

The relaxing of my hair became an almost regular ritual until I was thirteen years old. I was so sick of getting relaxers and the effects they caused by that point that I cut my own hair short in protest and to save myself the embarassment of the chemical fade I had. You see, the relaxer damages the hair follicle so that it eventually breaks off. My hair had gotten to the point where most of the permed hair had fallen out, but for a small amount at the top of my head. To save my sanity, I cut it all off. Surprisingly, the world didn’t end when I did.

This fractured bit of dysfunction was brought to you by the letters P and O and by the number 9. :-p

Okay, just messing with you. Thanks for reading a slice of my history. For more information on natural hair journeys, please check out Naptural85 and CurlyNikki for more information.

Handwritten Journal Time

Wow, apparently, some things in my life are so inestimable, that I need to write stuff down in my sorely neglected hand written journal. It’s involving relationship potentials and, to be honest, I don’t want to hear about how some feel about things like Polyamory right now. So to my composition notebook I go. It’s wild but I haven’t had a need to write in it since 30 December 2007. I am looking forward to my chicken scratch handwriting being seen at length again. Now, I just have to find an ink pen that works…

Nothing much else has been happening in my life lately. I’ve been meeting new people, hence the need for the journal, knitting, reading, writing, crocheting and gardening. I’ve even got a bit of exercise in.

I’m apparently getting the Bissell 1623 Carpet Cleaning machine today. It was scheduled for delivery on the 12th but came from Horsham, PA, so I get it early. Yay! I’m going to get my clean on! I’m going to get my clean on! *silly dancing*

Got a little love note from Amazon to return the stuff Lasership never delivered. I was on that phone so fast, my head spun around. I had thought I’d dealt with this issue when I first got that laughable text notification saying that the package was delivered on Saturday, at the very time I was in the doorway, it was magically, invisibly, left at the front door. I got a lot of packages on Saturday. Lasership’s was not one of them. So, I sent an E-mail to them explaining the whole situation on Sunday morning. Which was why Monday morning’s e-mail came as a complete shock. I talked to a nice but hard to hear CSR and explained the situation. Hopefully, that’ll put an end to it. I am not going to pay for something I didn’t receive.

Any way you slice it, I’m mad right now. Lasership almost cost me $72.00USD. I hope I never get them delivering my packages again. From now on, I only want UPS, FedEx and the USPS to deliver stuff to me. *steam*

This post is a total trainwreck but I just have to get this morning stuff off of my mind.

Aside from all the recent trouble, my hair has been growing. I’m now at the point where I am seriously considering getting two packs of Curlformers to style my hair with using the Heatless method of many YouTube hair vloggers. It’s getting long enough to put into two pigtails, so the afro puffs are a little surfeit at this point. I am so low maintenance when it comes to hair. Read that as “Lazy” because that’s the truth. I see the Team Natural Hair Vloggers on YouTube and I feel so inept. Still, I’d better get into the habit if I want to keep my hair rather than get frustrated and cut it again.

On the pain front, I just taped my own thumb up for a suspected sprain. Go me! Seriously, It’s been really hurting these past few days and I’ve had no drive or means to get to the doctor lately. I have an appointment coming up next month, so I’ll take that opportunity to explain my delicate situation. You can imagine how this is making typing. I’m going to enjoy the respite of writing in my hand written journal after this fiasco. The Real Lifestyles of the Agoraphobic.

On the socialization front, I’ve joined two Gardening social networking sites. One is called GardenWeb and the other is called GardenStew. I like them both but, admittedly, I’ve done more on GardenStew. Both sites are valuable repositories of Horticultural information but GardenStew is more user friendly. No, I am not getting paid to say that. Wish I was. I’m starved and could do with some takeout. Anyway, my handle on both sites is “xantedeschia” if you’d like to connect. On GardenStew, I’ve got pictures up of my sorely poorly container garden in all its glory.

Okay, it’s official, I’m starving now. I’m wrapping this up by saying, I hope you all have a fantastic day. Later! 🙂

New Schedule and Other Things

Revisions, revisions!

I have updated my weekly schedule to reflect the change I made in my exercise routine. I’ve moved exercise to 7pm and switched off the internet for 7am. This will enable me to get my work done during the day without being exhausted from the 90 minute exercise routine I normally do. I can get my other stuff done, exercise, then wind down with a bit of crafting before going to bed.

Speaking of crafting, I am no further along with the socks. I stopped mid-heel flaps the other day. As soon as I finish this blog post, I am going to work on them to complete the heel flaps and, hopefully, make progress past the gusset decreases today.

I had to reset my phone the other day. The LG Optimus V was rebooting itself over and over again. I’d heard about this bug in the phone after I got it but, until now, I’d not experienced it firsthand. Funny how, when I’m about to get a new phone, this one suddenly starts acting up. I was almost going to keep this old phone and save my money but now? I do not think so. I’m going to welcome that new phone with open arms. This LG Optimus V will be the plaything of the Maternal Parental in her quest to become computer literate.

Further along in the Hair Saga, I didn’t cornrow my hair. I just wasn’t in the mood to do it. So now, I’m rocking two big Afro puffs. I’ll probably do the cornrows next week.

Regarding the Zimmerman trial, I just can’t bring myself to write indepth about something so sad. A young man lost his life and I’ve been watching people tear the internet apart on pages and in comments with some people really making me question the need for humanity in existence. I’ve even lost friends over this whole thing due to their racism and or callousness in the face of the verdict. It’s just tragedy on top of tragic.

Anyway, that’s about it. I’m going to go knit now and watch Jesus Christ Superstar 2000 on a loop. Later, People. By the way, check out the blanket Queer Joe’s making.

Experimentation in Exercise

I have been keeping up with my exercise routine these past few weeks. I haven’t missed a day’s exercising. With this, I have seen positive results in that my strength has been returning, I have been sleeping better, my appetite has been healthy (for a change) and I have been losing some weight. There was just one problem in all of this: The overwhelming exhaustion that occurred with exercising for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Nothing would shake this sleepy pall that covered me day after day.

Despite my schedule, I would take naps during the day and still be sleepy enough to get 7-10 hours of sleep a night. This, on the whole, wasn’t working with my schedule. I’m meant to be up at 5am writing. It’s when my mind is most conducive to creativity, hence the early time. When I was younger, insomnia kept me awake for days at a time and I frequently would write during those early hours as a means of escape from my plight of sleeplessness. Now, I’m just trying to write to bring back my creative streak. The sleepiness was getting in the way of the coherence of that goal.

So, I decided to experiment with my exercise schedule to see if working out at a different time might aid in normalizing my sleeping patterns. Instead of exercising at 7am, I opted instead to exercise at 19:00 (7pm) in the hopes that this change would positively affect my somnolency. Day one of the experiement was a success. I exercised at 19:00 through 20:30 (7pm – 8:30pm) and my body was quite effectively tired. I then spent the rest of my night before bed time knitting and watching Jerome Pradon videos via YouTube until 23:30 (11:30pm). I went to bed and promptly fell asleep until 5:19(am), only waking once during the night at 2:15(am) owing to thirst.

If I can repeat the results tonight, I’m changing my schedule. I have a good feeling about it though. 🙂

On the sock front, Keith’s Socks II and Ziller’s Symphony are a little under half done. I am presently in the middle of the heel flaps of socks one and two. It shouldn’t take me that long to get beyond this, through the turning of the heels, the gusset decreases and into the sock feet. It feels good to be beyond the legs of the socks finally. I feel like there’s a light at the end of this sock tunnel now.

Once I finish these socks, I go back to Villimarjatar and the Return of the Scrap Yarn Shiver Stopper, though, I’m thinking of doubling the width of Villimarjatar. I think I want a full shawl rather than a scarf/stole as it would be on me with the present stitch count. For this, I would need circular needles and more yarn. I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. Right now, I’m focused on the socks.

In the furtherance of the Hair Saga, I cornrow my hair today for sure. Yesterday was a pins and needles day for me what with the heel flaps, exercise experiment, etc. Considering I exercised twelve hours ago, my arms feel great and up to the task of styling my hair. I’m going to attempt to put the exact same style in my hair as before, just neater hopefully.

That’s about it really. Later, people. 🙂

Tentative Agreement

Apparently, the Maternal Parental has missed braiding my hair. So, I made a bargain with her. Every second week, she can do my hair and every other week, I’ll do my own hair. This should be enough to satisfy everyone and allow me to put my hair in a passable style that I can actually go out wearing. Regardless of how neatly she does them, the little girl braids are getting pulled back into a pony tail. As it stands, I just got the cornrows taken out of my hair. It’s time to wash my hair and, quite frankly, I don’t feel like braiding it up today. My arms are strong enough but the energy isn’t there. So a week off from braiding will be nice.

Aside from this, not much has been happening today. I’ve just been knitting and watching television all day long. I also baked some bread. I baked another megaloaf of slicing bread and I made buttermilk biscuits. Pretty much an easy day.

Late Again But Still Kicking Booty

Oh, I had such a weird dream this morning, I couldn’t get up from it. The funny thing is, I don’t even remember it well. What I do remember is, in my sleepy haze, checking the time on my phone several times leading up to 4:55am. I should have gotten up then but the dream was so hypnotic that I continued to lay there until 6:33am and then finally 7:06am, checking the phones time each time while still sleeping. After I got up, I stretched and did the twelfth consecutive workout routine of this month. I went for longer, did more and did it faster than I’ve ever done before. I’m proud of myself for this accomplishment.

Now that I’ve exercised, my plans for today are thus: Eat breakfast, knit, knit, knit and knit some more. Pause for food before going back to knitting. Pause to make some bread, then go back to knitting. Somewhere in there, I may text the bloke to update him on the status of his socks and to say hi.

Today is Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiday! I am so happy it’s the weekend. I get to watch my plethora of cooking shows on PBS tomorrow. I may even try to get WETA 26 in by putting aluminium foil on the antennae so I can watch New Scandinavian Cooking. It’s so weird that I love cooking shows the way that I do. I don’t eat or try most of the recipes I see shown on the shows but I love the process of creating something. I’ll tell you this, if WETA brought back their CREATE TV channel alongside their WETAUK channel and boosted their signal so I could pick it up, I’d never leave that station except for weather checks.

Anyway, today is hair washing and styling day. The Maternal Parental is meant to be making her first attempt at cornrowing my hair but…she’s nowhere to be found. So, I guess I’ll be doing it myself. Again. I don’t mind so much. Due to the exercises, my arms are much stronger now and I feel like I can tolerate the pain of doing the cornrows much longer. As a result, they should come out neater than the last time. I hope so. Looks like this is going to be the backup style for the rest of the summer for when the Maternal Parental disappears on her cigarette sojourns.

That’s about all I can muster. I’m going to go fix breakfast and a cup of tea while watching Knitting Daily. Later Y’all.