October 2009


The Lost Ones

"The Lost Ones" close up details

Months ago I decided to make Etsy.com my internet browser’s home page, not because Etsy is the Alpha and Omega of my web journeying (although once upon a time it might’ve been, LOL) but because my former home page – MSN.com – was continuously flooding my screen with horrific tales of child abductions, and murder suicides where families were torn apart by a father’s jealousy or uncontrollable debt.
It was depressing to have a daily reminder of the cruelty of mankind, when I’d rather be giggling over the silly pom-pom scarves featured on Etsy’s Front Page.

Reading these murder cases did not immediately cause me to fear for my own family’s safety – no material loss or emotional insecurity would cause either of us to inflict harm on our innocent children, and I’m fortunate to be free from evil voices in my head. Although, if there were voices telling me to murder my family, I would tell said voices to “Go drown thyselves.” Stubborn as I am, I listen to no man, woman, or demonic spirit.

These true stories of tragedy, however, pained me in my soul… for the loss of one child’s life is too much, especially betrayed by the very parents who were put on this earth to love and protect and nurture their offspring. It’s sickening enough that we cannot trust our neighbors to look after our welfare anymore.. that sexual deviants lurk in abandoned buildings, ready to snatch a 7-year-old child from the sidewalk a few blocks from her home.
I remember those care-free days of my youth… a mere quarter century ago… when I frolicked in my backyard without fear, and watched as my peers walked home from school, envious of their independence – my parents chauffeured me to and from my private school. My friends and I traveled about like a pack of wild dogs on bicycles… and if child molesters and aspiring murderers lived among us, they never revealed themselves. We were the lucky ones, I suppose.
Of course, I don’t recall Child Services being so vigilant back then either… my next door neighbor was a SAHM who made pocket-money as a daycare provider. Oy! A classmate of mine was one of her unfortunate charges, and her methods reminded me of a villain straight from Dickens. I witnessed her picking a child up, off the ground, by an arm (to carry him into the house) … and dragging another inside by his ear.

I digress… my usual habit.

My attempts to avoid subjection to the terrible events blasted across the news were hardly successful. We still own a television with Dish Network access.
Recently, while flipping channels, we lingered too long on 20/20… and quickly got swept away by the survival story of Carmina Salcido.
Her father, Ramon, went on a bloody rampage back in 1989… killing 7 people, including her mother and two young sisters. He attempted to kill 3-year-old Carmina, but she survived having her throat cut… and waited beside her sisters’ dead corpses, in a dump, for 36 hours before she was found and taken to the hospital.
(I don’t feel like recounting all the gruesome details here on my blog – but Googling Carmina Salcido will bring up all relevant links, for anyone interested)

Salcido-sisters

Carmina (in the middle) with her sisters, Sophia and Teresa

Yes, it’s a miracle she survived! … The warm fuzzies only last moments, however, when the weight of Ramon’s actions settle in your mind. I watched as she told reporters of her visit (to see her father) years later. She was hoping for some emotion on his part: grief, apologies, an explanation, anything… He gave her nothing.
No excuses. No reasons. No apology.
Apparently, he’s also “found God” (surprised?), has been ordained and preaches to 300 inmates. Good for him. I guess he’s using 2 Corinthians 5:17 as his personal crutch, as so many “sinners” do when they wish to claim past deeds were committed “by another man”… “I’m a new creature” (i.e. that wasn’t me).
I’m sorry, you sick asshole, but you murdered 4 children and 3 adults… God may have forgiven you, but you’re still responsible for their deaths. At the very least, you owe your living child an apology and some genuine remorse for the physical, emotional, and psychological scars she’s endured for the last 20 years. To not acknowledge your wrong-doings is disgusting, and frankly, not Christian… for isn’t “repentance” a requirement?

I personally fell into a minor depression – reading article after article, and gazing at Salcido family photographs… It was such a meaningless waste. I can’t honestly think of a worse crime against man or nature, than to destroy innocent young lives. It seems to be a disease – this slaughtering of children – from abortions and dumping living babies into garbage bags… to microwaving an infant to death because Mommy’s boyfriend was jealous… or a mother allowing her children to be tortured by their step-father (what the hell for?! Is keeping an abusive husband happy more important than a child’s safety?) …
I began to allow my anger for these people fester. There may also have been some additional circumstances that brought me into this dark place, but this murder case certainly was the proverbial straw.

I was having some difficulty climbing out of my wallowing hole, until my webmaster Trevor posted a contest on the Foundmyself.com forums. The director of the soon-to-be-released computer animated movie, titled “9”, was calling for artists to design original characters based on the sapient rag-dolls from his film, set in post-apocalyptic times. These worn rag-doll creatures, struggling to survive the aftermath of a global holocaust that wiped out the human race, eerily reminded me of abused children cast down by unloving parents. In fact, the individual who found Carmina said he initially thought they were three large dolls lying on the ground. And then one moved…

Inspired by this dark vision of orphan rag dolls, I painted my acrylic portrait of the two lost little kittens. They represent not only Teresa and Sophia, but all children in this world who were treated cruelly by their guardians. One has a tear in her arm, with stuffing coming out. I just wanted to take them home, stitch them back up, spot-clean them and dress them in new jumpers… and give them to my own children to play with and cherish.

It might not be one of my more popular pieces – not like “Mr. Darcy” or “ARMY Cat” – it might not even be technically good, seeing as I rushed to complete it within the deadline given for the contest. But for me personally, it’s the most meaningful piece I’ve created in a long time… I allowed myself to feel something, and poured all my anger and grief into it. (I guess, on reflection, it would explain why the image is a blend of bright reds and deep greys)

For days afterward, I didn’t even look at it, because seeing their faces brought back the awareness of the loss. I couldn’t even think of a title. When I uploaded it to my Flickr photostream, I called it “Are We Loved?” but that title didn’t really speak to me. I’m leaning now towards calling it “The Lost Ones” because they truly are lost to us.
Even if their souls are in a better place, they are still lost forever to this life. They will never experience the joys of growing up, choosing careers, making friends, owning pets, falling in love, raising their own children, or expressing their creativity. We will never know what their potential contributions, achievements, or talents might have been. And they, who were born and raised into fear and torment, will never know the love they might have had with a different family. That men are born unto monsters is tragedy enough, but these poor souls never had a chance to become men (or women), or to discover the greater world outside of their confined hellish existence.

So I pray my heathen’s prayer, each night, that these poor victims of abuse may truly “rest in peace” after death… and not be tormented even further in their afterlife, or I’ll be forced to kick Satan’s ass with my flaming feet when I get there. >:)

By now, my three faithful followers must know how obsessed I am with grocery store stories, and food marketing in general. Having worked in retail for over a decade, I’ve held my share of inedible jobs, but I keep coming back to grocery.

One thing I always found amusing while stocking shelves – besides finding lingerie hanging from the glass door in Frozen foods – was discovering discarded shopping lists and taking a peek into the personal eating habits of my customers.

I remember one list from 4 years ago, that still brings a smile… someone was apparently throwing a party, because the list went something like this: Fritos, ranch dip, Pepsi, ice, Styrofoam plates, napkins, utensils, trash bags, hamburgers + hot dogs, buns, ice-cream, and so forth. Until you reach the bottom of the paper, and the final item listed was… aspirin!
LMAO! I seriously hope, after all that, they didn’t forget their headache medicine (since they lost their list)! I’d rather see them run back to the store for hot dog buns. 😛

I also enjoy misspelled items on grocery lists, like my recent favorite: CornPoops.
Perhaps that’s a pet nickname for their cereal?

Today I will share a list that I wrote this morning:
1. Strawberry Pop-tarts
2. Betty Crocker Yellow Cake Mix
3. Mountain Dew
4. Vanilla Jell-O
5. Frosted Flakes
6. Chex Mix
7. Kit Kaboodle (cat food)
8. Sunmaid raisins
9. S.O.S. Lemon steel-wool pads
10. Miller’s Lite 24 pack
11. Gilette deodorant
12. Nair hair removal
13. Prilosec
14. Jewish Songs My Mother Sang to Me

This, however, is NOT my actual grocery shopping list! LOL This is the Etsy feature I promised weeks ago, but was derailed by a more serious cause to blog about. (see: Sammy)

IvyLaneDesigns on Etsy creates spiral-bound journals from just about any material! CD and VHS cases, candy wrappers, board game covers, although like me, she especially seems drawn to the packaging from our favorite grocery items. Browsing her Etsy shop is like taking a trip to your corner market, except it’s less crowded… the only spills called for clean-up belong to your own family… and you don’t need to worry about getting stuck with a dead battery on your motorized cart (2 miles away from the check-out lanes).
So grab your shopping cart and let’s hit the aisles, shall we?

Since Halloween is just around the corner, General Mills is bringing out their limited time monster cereals: Check out the Booberry Cereal Journal:

Booberry Cereal Journal - $12.00

Booberry Cereal Journal - $12.00

Here’s some Minute Maid Limeade that doesn’t need refrigeration:

Minute Maid Limeade Journal - $8.00

Minute Maid Limeade Journal - $8.00

I’m trying to figure out what you could possibly write inside a Tabasco sauce journal;
the pages are incredibly narrow… the phone numbers of hot and spicy dates? –
Aha! Grocery Lists!

Tabasco Mild Jalapeno Journal - $5.00

Tabasco Mild Jalapeno Journal - $5.00

I actually have this box of Mrs. Paul’s Fish Sticks in my own freezer:

Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks Journal - $12.00

Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks Journal - $12.00

Here’s a microwavable Stouffer’s journal that’s ready in 6 minutes:

Stouffer's Spinach Souffle Journal - $8.00

Stouffer's Spinach Souffle Journal - $8.00

For the folks who want their recycled journals to be healthy as well, we have the Silk Soymilk (fortified for kids):

Vanilla Silk Soymilk Journal - $8.00

Vanilla Silk Soymilk Journal - $8.00

No blog about grocery items would be complete without adding a bit of humor for my good old work buddies. We recently had a display of Sweetzel’s Spiced Wafers that was torn down, and the remaining stock sat in the backroom for ….erm…. awhile, waiting for someone to find it a permanent home.
So I pay tribute to our homeless wafers with this journal:

Sweetzel's Spiced Wafer Journal - $8.00

Sweetzel's Spiced Wafer Journal - $8.00

Here’s another Inside Joke…. when our Goya section is empty for weeks, we can blame IvyLane. She hijacked our shipment to create Goya yellow rice journals:

Goya Yellow Rice Journal - $8.00

Goya Yellow Rice Journal - $8.00

Wait! Does the thought of eating paper products all day make you constipated? Forget your Cornpoops? Never fear, come with me to the HBA aisle, and pick up a copy of the Enema Laxative Journal:

Enema Laxative Easy-to-Use Journal - $10.00

Enema Laxative Easy-to-Use Journal - $10.00

(pssst) For us ladies, certain feminine products usually make monthly appearances on our shopping lists, so while we’re here… don’t forget the Tampon Playtex Journal:

Playtex Beyond Tampon Journal - $8.00

Playtex Beyond Tampon Journal - $8.00

What better way to keep track of playdates than with Playtex? But for those of you who find tampons invasive or uncomfortable, she also carries more modest pads:

Always Ultra Thin Journal - $12.00

Always Ultra Thin Journal - $12.00

Guys! Here’s a journal Just For You!

Just For Men Hair Journal - $8.00

Just For Men Hair Journal - $8.00

And this Condom Journal might just be the new version of that little black book!
All your ladies will be flattered to have their digits recorded in here:

Naturalamb Lubricated Journal - $7.00

Naturalamb Lubricated Journal - $7.00

Hey! We must be shopping in Wal-Mart, cause we’ve stumbled upon the lingerie!
This journal is Just My Size, and its spiral binding boasts “magic” rings of comfort:

Just My Size Support Bra Journal - $10.00

Just My Size Support Bra Journal - $10.00

She also has some kid-friendly journals in her shop; this Crayola crayon box journal is rather cute for aspiring young artists:

Crayola 24 Pack Journal - $5.00

Crayola 24 Pack Journal - $5.00

Disclaimer: The prices quoted here may be subject to change without notice in her shop… I’m not going to edit my blog every time she has a sale. Hell, I was too lazy to make sale signs in my own store, half the time. Also, these prices don’t reflect the retail value of the items found in your grocery store. LOL (A box of cereal hasn’t reached $8.00 YET!)
I’m also not going to held accountable for her blatant infringement of the various companies’ copyrights… I’ve provided links to her shop with each item; let them find her and eat cake!

As of 10/20/09, at the time this blog was written, she had 22 pages of listings (over 400 items total)… and I didn’t make it to the very end. 😦
I was rather hoping to find my Good Friends cereal, or Akmak crackers… but I’m certain if she eats Good Friends, their smiling faces will eventually find a place on her Etsy shelves.
Doubtful about the CornPoops though….

I have a headache, and as I wait for the Tylenol to kick in, I’m writing a blog about a heavy topic that has been weighing on me for months. So forgive me if I get snappy or rude… it’s partly my dry sarcasm, but mostly the pain between my eyes.

This is the blog I never intended to write. There are two topics I shy away from discussing, because the discussions between people of opposing opinions never end well… Politics and Religion.  You can’t debate either without offending someone; it’s not like debating whether to become a nurse or a teacher. Whether to decorate your home in Modern Traditional or French Country.
If you’re a Republican or Democrat, you ARE – by your very beliefs – trampling someone’s rights, defiling our nation’s traditions, ruining our children’s future, and destroying the environment.  Likewise, if you have any sort of faith (or lack of faith), you are
endangering your immortal soul and corrupting everyone else’s morals.   Even people claiming to believe in the same deity and dogma, are quick to condemn each other to Hell or worse.

I’m going to write this blog for one purpose only. I’m not going to title it, tag it, or advertise it.  I will however give the link to anyone wishing to debate its contents with me, only to preserve my sanity elsewhere. If I’m on Facebook, Twitter, or pumping gas,
I wish to be left alone. I’m sick of defending myself to everyone, whether the intentions are well-meant or not.

Whatchu talking bout, Willis?

Lately, I’ve become a target for conversion, from every imaginable source.  On-line and off-line, at work and at my front door… there’s been a rash of concern for my relationship with God and everyone claims to have a “pressing need” to share John 3:16 with me.
Raise your hands if you’ve heard John 3:16?
Raise your hands if you can quote it verbatim?
Raise your hands if you can quote it in various translations, and multiple languages?
Sic enim dilexit Deus mundum
Okay, good, we’re all on the same page. 🙂

A bit of background:
I was raised in a Christian family, attended a Christian school, was very active in church activities while in high school, and even held a position as pianist for 4 years, playing hymns for the congregation on Sunday.  I sang 1st soprano in the church choir, and
performed as a “special musical guest” in various local churches, as well as participating in my community choir (which traveled around and performed religious pieces for holidays).
  I’ve also read the Bible cover to cover, including the boring bits, although a complete stranger on Facebook tried to call me a liar:
“Nobody has ever read the entire Bible.” 
Erm… well unless she’s referring to ‘lost scriptures’ burned by Latin monks, then
I know quite a few fanatics, and many pastors, who would disagree with her. 😉

Anyway… I grew up believing the words written in the Bible, as a child takes for granted the existence of Santa Claus until proven otherwise.  In this case, my environment fostered the beliefs, and to this day… it is difficult to deny the existence of God, Jesus,
and all the cast of characters therein.
  That isn’t to say I accepted every word from my teachers and pastors as gospel-truth.  I’ve argued countless times with my elders, on points ranging from inter-racial marriage (me = pro, them = against) to whether animals have souls (again, me = pro, them = against).
 However, the fundamental core of Christianity – the sin of man, which led to our damnation, and the subsequent sacrifice of Jesus to cover our sins (giving us the chance at eternal life) – was something I never questioned. 

So what happened?

I’ve always tolerated the beliefs of others; in the beginning, it bothered me that these folks were “doomed to Hell”, and I realized that their religious beliefs were just as real and “true” for them as mine were. Some of my high school friends (Bobby, bless his heart) even tried to convert me… essentially, we were all being taught the same thing.  Although I still held on to my own religion, I also began to question God’s motives.  These were good people, trying to serve God in their own way… and yet, here we were – Jews and Christians, Catholics and Protestants, Mormons and Jehovah’s – all condemning one another.
Notice I didn’t mention atheists, because at the time, I still believed they were screwed. 😉

Was this what God intended? Was He going to throw a bunch of followers into Hell for a interpretational hang-up?

I began looking for a church that was a bit more open-minded, and at one point considered myself a Universalist.  They were a breath of fresh air, in the sense that spirituality and a faith in Something held rank over petty quarrels about whether Jesus visited America or whether Hell even exists as we know it.

But, I need to fast forward a bit…. I mentioned John 3:16 for a reason.
Every witnessing track and speech, every Christmas service… begins and ends with John 3:16, because it is the crux of what Christianity stands for. Jesus died so we could live.

It wasn’t until I became a parent myself, that I began to question that statement. I put myself into God’s place… *gasp* (a grave mistake my ex-boyfriend warned me against).  Don’t presume to know God, or His motives… His reasons are beyond our human understanding… blah, blah..  You know what?  God made us human. God gave us brains and emotions. It’s a human thing to feel empathy, and put yourself in the position of others.
People who cannot feel empathy usually become psychopathic killers. Hmmmmmm….

Why did God send his only begotten Son to suffer and die on a cross?  For our sins? Because Adam and Eve ate fruit from a tree, which God forbade them to eat.  They disobeyed in a childish manner, defying their Father’s orders.
  My children do the exact same thing each and every day.  Mia knows not to dump her cup of milk on the table… she gets punished every time, and yet when I give her a drink,
she gets that wicked gleam in her eye.
  I say “No. Don’t spill your milk.” as she starts to turn the cup over, she watches my expression.
“Mia, Stop!” …and she giggles, as the milk pours across the table and onto the carpet.  It’s pure defiance, and she knows that I’m mad.

So I condemn my daughter to eternal Hell-fire. 

Then my son Jacob, who loves his sister very much, gets distraught and begs me to
forgive her.  Of course, I say “no”.  She disobeyed my orders, and she must die.  Jacob, who is a perfect child, offers to sacrifice himself in a horrible manner on her behalf.  If I take my vengeance on him, he pleads, will I overlook the failings of his beloved sister?
It pains me greatly to see my good child punished, and I don’t want to lose him. But he’s adamant.  Mia means everything to him.
And, of course, once he dies I’ll change my mind and they’ll both reside in Heaven with me anyway….

Hold up.. Wait. That would never happen. But it did…

Honestly, I have no issues against Jesus.  I believe that Jesus died willingly, because He felt it was necessary and He had no other alternative.  God was not going to forgive us, unless a sacrifice was made, and He was the only one able to cover everyone’s sins (for
all time).   But why was it necessary??  Why didn’t God simply forgive Adam and Eve, and say
“You know, I love you.  You disobeyed me, and ate from the tree.  I’m extremely angry with you, and now there’s a HUGE MESS I’m going to be forced to clean up as a result. I’m going to punish you.”
  He could banish them from Eden, make their lives miserable… but why condemn their souls to ever-lasting torment?  No caring parent wants to see their child suffer, regardless of their behaviour.

Throughout the Old Testament, God displayed an attitude that didn’t strike me as “loving” towards humanity. 
Sure, he apologized for the Great Flood, after wiping out 98% of the world’s human and animal population (what did the animals do to piss Him off??)…
He favored the Israelites over everyone else (why? Because Jacob tricked the blessing away from his brother – that’s pettiness),
He helped His “People” destroy other civilizations (men, women, and innocent children) in order to establish themselves,
He asked people to sacrifice their children to prove their faithfulness..
and don’t get me started on Job’s suffering, all because God and Satan had a bet going on.
  Sure, God provided Job with a “new family” after allowing Satan to destroy his children, so does that mean his original family meant nothing to God?  Were they just pawns in some sick game, that their lives were forfeit?

In fact, the book of Job was meant to teach us about God’s authority… He can do anything He wants with us, and to us, because He created us.  He doesn’t answer to His creation; we answer to Him.  Does that kind of mentality sound like a loving, caring Father
figure to you?  Seriously?
  It sounds like Someone on a power trip; granted, He is all-powerful and has the freedom to take any method of ego-trip He wants.
But it seems to me that Jesus loves us, not God.  God merely relented, for love of His own Son, and allowed us into Heaven because Jesus sacrificed his life on our behalf.

I feel for Jesus.  I appreciate the sacrifice He made for us.  I will teach my children about Him, and hopefully when they are grown enough to understand, they will examine their own feelings towards Jesus and His Father.  Not My Father…

If being “saved” means that I must submit humbly to God and keep my mouth shut, than I no longer consider myself saved. God doesn’t appreciate half-hearted worship anyhow; I would be reduced to Holy Vomit.
God made the mistake of giving me free will, supposedly to cater to His ego.. since it’s more flattering to be loved by someone with a choice.  I choose not to love Him.  I acknowledge Him as my Creator, and He can torture and kill me, and send me to burn in Hell… I don’t care what He does to me. I’ll be a martyr for my beliefs.
But when He touches a hand on my family and my children, or sits back and allows some evil to befall them, then I will hate Him. (No need to take any bets on it)
Not that He cares anyway.  Our opinions are but a drop of water in the ocean, and since I’m not one of his faithful butt-kissers, my opinions are probably tinier than an atom in that drop of water.

 Sic enim dilexit Deus mundum… For God so Loved the World… was written by Jesus’ best friend. A bit biased, methinks.

"Portrait of Jane" featuring TaraFly

"Portrait of Jane" featuring TaraFly

I am a self-proclaimed commitment-phobe; many former boyfriends, bosses, and landlords would agree with me. If a relationship doesn’t seem to be working, I quickly jump ship rather the risk disappointment or enslavement. So it came as a shock to me (and my family) how determined I was to make this au-natural hair treatment work, against all odds.

It has taken me years to perfect my hair-care routine. Not to say that I am high-maintainance in my prepping, because quite the contrary, I prefer a wash-and-go style with no fuss: no blow-drying, hot rollers, curling, or messy creams. Getting the right balance, however, was a chore… which shampoo gives the best volume, shine,
and damage control? Which conditioner is right for me, and how often should I wash my hair? Should I comb while wet, braid it, or let it air-dry first?
In the last couple years, I’ve been very satisfied with my hair. It was fairly long – soft and shiny, and usually had adequate body, although damaged ends were always a problem. Although, that can be blamed on my stinginess with regards to regular trimming. I refuse to pay for a cut, so I force my current love interest to trim the ends for me. In fact, it was an actual test I used on new boyfriends… can you cut a straight line across the back? Good, you’re hired.

Since joining Etsy and jumping on the handmade soap bandwagon, however, I’ve become enlightened to the “truth” of commercial shampoo and skin products. Apparently, they are made with harsh detergents
(like Sodium-Lauryl-Sulfate) and these are BAD, essentially stripping your hair and skin, causing irritation, and leaving your hair shafts weak and prone to breakage. Commercial conditioners are sold to counter-act and “repair” this damage.
Although real soap is made with lye, another harsh chemical (lol!), the soap-making process called sapronification causes the lye and the fatty oils to combine – the chemical composition changes, burning up all the lye until it disappears. The ingredients in handmade soap are very soft and gentle on hair and skin, and most people swear that conditioners aren’t needed anymore.

Okay, sounds great! Sign me up. I purchased some nice-smelling shampoo bars from an Etsy soap seller. She shall remain nameless for now, in case the account of my experiment frightens anyone. 😛

I read the info in her shop policies, and a few forum threads as well, so I assumed that I was prepared for the “transition” period… your hair needs to adjust to the change from harsh shampoos to a milder soap, so it might feel icky for a few days. Mine felt very clumpy and waxy, and I could barely run a comb through it, even though I had continued using my conditioner.

I re-read the forum threads, and the majority of shampoo bar users agreed that a vinegar rinse would remove the wax build-up. My family thought I was nuts, pouring vinegar over my head, but I pointed out an article in October’s “Woman’s Day” magazine that suggested vinegar rinses were a wonderful way to clarify hair inexpensively.
So, vinegar is popular, not crazy at all. 😉

I was excited to try again… I mixed 1 part vinegar with 9 parts water, and dumped it over my head after the shampoo/rinse cycle. The vinegar loosened the waxy film, and made my hair easy to comb. Unfortunately, it was still greasy. Very greasy and stringy. I looked like a dirty hippy. Thinking perhaps the excess oil was due to my conditioner,
I stopped using it… and had limited success. It didn’t appear greasy at first, but as time went on, the grease came back. My hair felt perpetually wet; literally, two days after showering, it was still damp.

Two months went by, while I rocked the greaseball, slimy, stringy look… trying different experiments: Shampoo-rinse, vinegar-rinse, shampoo again… or shampoo-rinse, shampoo-rinse, let vinegar sit for 10 minutes…
I also experimented with different acid rinses: they suggest apple-cider vinegar, but I also used regular white vinegar (Which supposedly dries out hair) as well as lemon and lime juice mixtures (suggested by someone’s blog).
The lime juice mixed with water actually fizzes and smells like Sprite, which is pretty cool for folks who aren’t keen on using vinegar! LOL

However, nothing helped combat the grease. Nobody on the forums could help. Some people suggested that shampoo bars “don’t work for everyone”. A few folks returned to using commercial shampoo because their hair was “too finicky”.

I refused to give in. As disgusting as my hair looked, I knew my hair was NOT finicky. The bars worked wonderfully on the children, by the way, and I didn’t even use vinegar on their heads. I simply wasn’t doing something right. I kept scouring the Internet looking for more information…

Then I stumbled across the Chagrin Valley Soap & Craft site; they sell shampoo bars, but I was interested in one particular review. She explained how commercial shampoos actually work – the chemicals are so harsh, that softly massaging the scalp is all that’s required. The suds will clean the rest of your hair simply by rinsing through.
Handmade soap, on the other hand, is not that strong; therefore elbow grease (pardon the pun) is required. The greasy feeling is caused by not washing the hair thoroughly enough. It’s still dirty. It’s like using hot water and a dishrag to clean baked-on grease from the frying pan, as opposed to Ajax. It will eventually work, but it’s more laborious. Commercial shampoos were invented for convenience.

Stubborn person that I am, I have a tendency to do things “the hard way”. After almost three months of disgusting hair, I was anxious to try anything, and her points seemed valid.

On my next adventure in the shower, I lathered up the shampoo bar and started scrubbing. And I scrubbed…scrubbed…scrubbed. When I’d decided that was enough scrubbing, I scrubbed some more.
Days passed. I turned into a prune, and still I scrubbed. One day my toddler knocked on the bathroom door and announced that her Harvard application was accepted, and Dad was taking the family out to dinner to celebrate.
I hollered, “Just give me 10 more minutes, and I’ll be right out.”
And I kept scrubbing.

You think I’m joking?

Well, actually I was. But seriously, you need to scrub!

So I finally rinsed out all the shampoo lather, and did my lime juice rinse, and exited the shower to await the results. …And it worked! Sorta. My hair was no longer greasy. Hallelujah! It felt dry and clean. Unfortunately, it still lacked volume. It was very limp and lifeless. Not to be discouraged, I simply enjoyed the feeling of clean hair for a while. It was such a vast improvement. LOL

I was almost resigned to compromise full, fluffy hair for the knowledge that my hair was healthier without resorting to nasty chemicals… but not quite. I had worked for years to achieve pretty, touchable hair, and I missed having it.
I was running out of ideas, however, until a passing glance at one forum hinted at a new direction.

It was one of those shampoo bar bashing forums, where the no-fuss poster said she preferred to use plain old baking soda and water to wash her hair. Aha! I never considered baking soda, although I use it all the time to clean surfaces. Most recently, I had been adding it to my cats’ litter boxes, because even with daily cleanings, five cats can cause quite a stink. LOL
The back of the box actually suggested using it for fuller hair, by adding a tablespoon to regular shampoo. I used half a cup! I mixed it with water and dumped it over my hair; it felt gritty like sand. I lathered it up a bit and then added my shampoo bar.

Oh. My. God. The lather!! It was unbelievable!
I can’t describe it, except that it felt like an entire bottle of shaving cream exploded onto my head.
I scrubbed it in, and had to rinse a couple times, because the lather was intense.

But, ladies and gentlemen, it works! I found the secret – it’s baking soda!
After my hair dried, it was bouncy and soft again, and I couldn’t stop touching it. 😛

Does this mean the experimentations are over? Hardly. Now that I have positive results and I’m happy with my hair, it means I can make small adjustments and judge the effects. Less baking soda or vinegar, less frequently? A different bar?
Perhaps a regular (non-shampoo) bar of soap would work equally well with baking soda?

During this ordeal, I also realized that these shampoo bars work excellently as shaving lotion… I lathered it on my legs with warm water, and it remained smooth and moist the entire time I shaved. Typically, with those commercial creams, I had to reapply the foam or re-wet my legs, because the lather started to harden and flake.
A couple seconds of rubbing between my hands, and I had enough soap to last an entire leg… so it’s cost effective and makes my skin soft and smell great!

All this hard work proves something else, something significant about me personally… it proves that I CAN commit to something I believe passionately in, if I aim high and refuse to compromise, knowing that I will utterly love the results!

When I give Joe an Anniversary card that proclaims, “Love is like a shampoo bar”, he’ll laugh at me… but he’ll understand. It’s not always pretty, but the ugly greasy parts mean you need to scrub harder!
And don’t forget the baking soda!

Latest Commission - Composer Cat

Latest Commission - Composer Cat

As I get ready to write this blog, there is a commercial playing on the television behind me. I generally tune out the steady feed of Nickelodeon, but this one caught my ears. It advertised a brownie pan with an insert that cuts perfect, square slices.
My first thought: No way! When I bake sweets, the best part is cutting my first slice. I can make it whatever shape and size I want. So when family members come into the kitchen, and exclaim, horrified: “Half the cake is gone!” …I can plead my innocence:
 “Well, I only had one piece.”   Bwahahaha!
One piece that might’ve weighed 2/3 of a pound, but still…. Baker’s Rights! 😛

I’ve been keeping a low profile on the Etsy forums until recently. Sometimes all the social back-stabbing and drama puts me in a sour mood, so I shut off the internet for a couple days and retire to the insanity of my own family. Well, except that since Joe has become obsessed with Facebook games, the only time I can get his attention is to send him a Baby Elephant on Farmville.
 Our worlds have evolved differently in the last few months, as I’ve transitioned into a stay-at-home Mom and artist, and he continues to slave away in retail management. I usually enjoy hearing his stories of stupid shop-lifters and new corporate implementations that are supposed to move the company forward, yet seem to set everyone back hours in extra labor… Home Office decisions ALWAYS crack me up, because those air-conditioned office rats have no clue what is going on in the field… do they run tests on virtual Sims stores? Or are they too busy chatting on Twitter and Facebook.

Anyway, since I gave in to his suggestions and started “farming”: planting and harvesting fake crops, for thousands of fake dollars, to purchase a fake plantation house, and equipment to make the fake harvesting more efficient…. Joe and I actually have common ground (besides the children). We have serious discussions over which crops are more profitable, and make long-term plans for expansion and how to spend our earnings.
The sad part: you can actually pay REAL money to help establish your farming empire… but who on earth is going to pay $40.00 to build a fake manor on a game that crashes from server overload every couple days?

Well… I’m finally seeing a light at the end of my recent tunnel of funk-feeling, and visited the Etsy forums in search of light humor and intelligent adult conversation. My first night back, I stumble across a serious faux-pas in the Etsy world, a “calling-out” where someone discusses an unfavorable transaction in public.
I sit and watch in amusement as this person quickly buries themselves in the scorn and ridicule of their peers, waiting for the Administrators to barge in, swords waving, to Lock the Thread (which keeps people from posting but NOT reading, as the thread remains public forever). It took them 82 whole pages! A few pages into the post, it turned from admonishment of the poster, into a free-for-all – crude humor, spontaneous sales, and a countdown that rivaled Y2K. Waiting for the Lock…
Such posts, commonly referred to as “train wrecks”, are common and great for laughs! Although that poor seller will be forever branded by the humiliation; nobody will look at his “painted tree rings” the same way again!

I scored a deal on handmade soap from HeathensHearth, using the code “tree rings”! So now I get to play with Fresh Grass (scented) soap.
WHoo hoo! Isn’t cut grass an aphrodisiac? Honey, let’s get farming!

Another thread from the forums which I found particularly amusing this morning, involved GLITTER! Or as Starless calls it: The Herpes of Craft Supplies!
You must read this for kicks and screams.

My own bad experience with glitter came in the form of a slinky black dress that I purchased for a former beau’s office party. It was a lavish affair (the party, not the relationship) and we wanted to impress his superiors; well my impression was certainly lasting! Shimmery cheek impressions on the fabric dining chair seat.

The thread recounts tales of horror – from HannahsSupplies, who found glitter and packing peanuts stuck to her mail-ordered cheesecake (the seller blamed the mailman!!) to
PeaceBlossomStudio, whose acrylic, pink fingernail came off and stuck to her rear during Christmas Mass.
Unemployeddesigner described the thread as
“a blended bag of funny all rolled in peanutbutter scented glitter packing peanuts stuck on someone’s butt with fake nails”.
Quite a tongue-twister to say out loud, but I’m going to practice! It such a cute way to describe any humorous situation.
“OMG! That YouTube video was as funny as peanutbutter scented, glitter packing peanuts, stuck to your butt with a fake fingernail!”

Well. It’s lunchtime. For dessert, does anyone want a HUGE, un-square slice of mulberry-scented lemon cheesecake?
How about topped with glitter and packing foam?
No?
Well, fine by me. There probably won’t be any leftovers anyway.

*burps Easter grass*

Ooops. Excuse Me.