Thursday, November 07, 2013

How I Stopped Destroying My Fingernails

I think 3 weeks ago now I got disgusted enough with myself to really stop biting my nails.  It's a habit that has been with me for a long time but it was a compulsion to bite at my nails and my cuticles.  It was gross. It's an image I've never wanted to project.

So I stopped.

My cuticles are still puffy from the years of trauma they've endured.  Excuse the slightly tacky nail polish, but keeping a good manicure is the only way I've found to really keep from picking.

Here's what I did to stop.
I picked up a bottle of this stuff at the drug store.  SUPER NASTY tasting, but in a couple of days I realized I put my fingers to my mouth roughly 85,000,000 times a day.  I just didn't know.  I couldn't believe how serious it was.

Awareness is half the battle.

I was constantly aware because the ends of my fingers were literally itchy from not being messed with.  I would chew or pick until I bled, and I guess my fingertips were used to nearly constant stimulation.  It's a really weird feeling.  I found that just pressing on the cuticles around my nails would help it to go away.

The other thing I did was figure out how to stop the little bits of dry cuticles from tempting me to pick or chew my fingers.  I did a lot of research and discovered that this:

Is some of the best rated cuticle creme ever.  It's also some of the most expensive EVER.  But the texture is exactly right- very thick and moisturizing and healing, slightly sticky.  I've tried other cuticle cremes and oils and even Neosporin, but nothing compares to the Christian Dior Abricot Creme.

So, what has worked:  forced awareness, nice manicures (if it gets chipped I will pick at it, and then it's all over), and stupifyingly expensive moisturizing creme.  And gallons of regular old hand cream.  Currently I'm using the Nivea Extended Moisture Hand Cream.
 Dehydration is the enemy.

It's working.  But I have to be very vigilant because it is really easy to slide right back into the habit.  Someone actually complimented my nails the other day.  And they don't embarrass me anymore.

And I also don't have to worry about getting some staph infection or something in my cuticles.  Ugh.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Mirena Experience

Hey Blog World!

I don't know if anyone noticed, but I really don't blog much anymore.  I'm working on a new blog at another site and when it's ready I'll link it back over here.  It's a much more focused blog and addresses human rights around the world- things that make me really angry and tend to get ignored.  But it's not ready yet!

I am jumping back over here today to write about my experience getting an IUD.  I am doing this because before I had mine "installed" I googled a lot and read everything I could get my hands on about it and what to expect and the pain levels involved.  My sister had a not-too-lovely month of bleeding after she got hers, and my best friend couldn't get through the procedure (she described pain, sweating, nausea, and near-fainting, and then after all that the IUD came right back out and she couldn't bring herself to go through it again).  I feel like it is important to share what I felt for anyone else making these choices.

I'm not going to gloss over anything.  So if you get grossed out just stop reading and rest assured that it was FINE.  Nothing like the horror stories I read or heard about.  But if you want more detail, here it is!

Here's a brief history of my birth control (yes, let's share this with the world!):
I started taking various BC (birth control) pills on and off when I was probably about 17 for really irregular periods and acne.  Good old Aunt Flo has never been what you might call predictable.  Back in the 90s I started with Ortho-Cyclen.  It was fine.  At some point my blood pressure got kind of high so I was switched to Mircette.  Still high.  There might have been another BC pill in there, but then eventually  I was switched to Yasmin. About 2 1/2 weeks after I started taking it my heart started skipping beats about every 10 seconds.  The nurse at the student health clinic didn't believe me until she heard it. Thumpthump.  Thumpthump.  Thumpthump.  Thump_______.  Thumpthump.  Woooo did I get a look.  That was a very scary day when I had to go get checked out for a pulmonary embolism.  Everything was ok, I stopped the pills and my heart was back to normal within 48 hours.

It was determined that the pill was probably not my bestest bet.

So then I took a break from BC, but once I really needed full-time reliable birth control again I tried the NuvaRing, and I was extremely happy with that for 8 YEARS.  I can't believe it has been that long!  It's easy to use, pretty much foolproof, the timing is fairly flexible, and (for me) it didn't seem to have many, if any, side effects after the first few months.  But I was getting sick of remembering to take it out and put a new one in.  I know, how lazy can I get?  I knew that the IUD was a better choice because you don't have to remember to use it, it has a lower dose of hormones, and is even more effective, so I decided to investigate further.

There are a lot of lingering horror stories from the 1970s about punctured uteruses (uteri?), pelvic inflammatory disease, and women being made barren (I'm using that word for dramatic effect.  BARREN!) from screwed up insertions and products.  And there are myths that IUDs are only suitable for women who have already had children.  Or that they're only suitable for women who are married.  (Seriously, they really make it sound like either having an IUD will turn you into some sort of whore or your whoring ways will turn you into an even  whorier diseased  whore).  Technology has come a LONG WAY in 40 years, and the IUD is no exception.

I have never been pregnant, therefore I have never given birth.  This seems to make a difference in comfort levels during the insertion process. Some doctors are a little behind on the latest research and recommendations, but my doctor was happy to tell me all about it and couldn't praise it highly enough.  His rundown of available options:
  • The ParaGard (copper IUD), lasts 10 years and contains zero hormones but tends to make your periods really heavy and gives you bad cramps.  I really did consider this one because I like the idea of not dealing with hormones anymore but there are better options....
  • Mirena:  Low dose of hormones, lasts 5 years.  Many people stop having periods completely.
  • Skyla:  Very similar to the Mirena, but slightly smaller physically with an even lower dose of hormones.  It lasts three years.  My doctor dismissed it as being "for teenagers".

I went with the Mirena.  My sister has it and she loves it.  I can't ask for a much more glowing recommendation.

I was very nervous about getting it put in though.  My doctor said he'd use some Novocaine to numb my cervix and since I haven't had babies he would use a cervical dilator to open things up and make the whole process more comfortable (Well, I'm not sure if comfortable is the word.  Less painful maybe?).  My appointment was for Tuesday.  I started taking Advil on Sunday to try to get my body ready for the cramps.  I took 2 Advil every 8 hours on Sunday and Monday, and then doubled the dose on Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon came and there I was on the table stark naked from the waist down with a paper sheet over my lower half.  Did I mention that during your period is the best time to do this?  That's when your cervix is the most open.  The doctor came in and got right down to business.

First he cranked me open with the speculum, and he had to use a metal one for this.  God I hate that.  It's so cold.  He swabbed the decks with some kind of iodine-type disinfectant.  Next he did the Novocaine shots.  This is when things were decidedly uncomfortable.  It's one of those situations where doctors say "This might pinch a bit," and you both know they're lying, it's gonna fucking HURT.  He also said I might get a weird taste in my mouth or feel a little high for a few seconds.  (Nope.)  Next he clamped my cervix to stabilize it so it wouldn't move around while he was doing the next couple of steps.  Then, and this is what I was dreading, he did the sounding which basically measures how big my uterus is.  They have to know how far in to place the IUD, so they stick a plastic rod up in there until they hit the back (top?  back? other side?) of your uterus.  This, my friends, is where the cramps start.  I expected it, and it wasn't the worst thing in the world.  But I definitely wouldn't choose to repeat it.

After that they inserted the IUD.  DEEP BREATHS.  Big cramps.  Then he used some cotton to swab up the blood and iodine and god only knows what else, released the speculum, and I was done.  It really wasn't half as bad as I was prepared for.  The sounding was the worst, followed by insertion being 2nd worst.  The entire procedure probably took about 3 minutes.

He asked when my husband and I plan to have more kids.  I pointed out that I haven't had any kids to begin with (just ignoring the whole "husband" part), and he said, "Oh...  OH!  That went really REALLY well then."  He completely forgot about the dilators.  Apparently my cervix is Mammoth Caves or I'm a damn champ.

I sat up and he told me a couple of things (strings?  tampons?)  I don't remember at all because suddenly I got very clammy and nauseous and experienced one of those lovely vasovagal response spells.  The doctor had me lay back down and told me that whenever the cervix is messed with there's a slight risk that the vagus nerve will freak out and make you faint.  I didn't faint but I was definitely unhappy for a few minutes.  I lay down for 10 minutes, had some water, and then drove home.

The whole time after the IUD was in place I had really bad cramps which I imagine was my body saying, "Get it out get it out GET IT OUT!"   There was so much blood on my paper sheet when I got up that I'm pretty sure my uterus cramped out my entire period in a space of 10 minutes.  I know, you're charmed.  Just be prepared to shower when you get home.

I slept for a few hours, just like you'd take a nap during a really bad period.  I wasn't terribly hungry and I was nervous that my IUD was going to fall out or something (ridiculous).  I hung out with the heating pad, took some leftover Lortab, and slept it off.

The next day I was tired, but the cramps were gone.  I kept taking Advil that day and the next just in case.  Physically though I felt fine and was good to commence with, ahem, "relations" probably 3 days later.  Per my doctors instructions I did another month of the NuvaRing (like all hormonal BC, the Mirena takes a week to take full effect and he wanted to make sure I was completely covered). 

It's not long enough to know if I'll have regular periods yet or if they'll disappear or what.  But so far (about a month) I haven't thought about the IUD much at all.  I can't feel it, my boyfriend hasn't noticed the strings, and just knowing that I won't have to think about birth control for another 59 MONTHS is amazing.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat just for that.  Totally worth it.

I hope this helped.  Clearly I'm not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), so don't take any of this as medical advice.  The whole thing was free (thank you insurance!).  I just want to share what my experience was so you can find one good or at least not so terrible story in a sea of THOUSANDS of horror stories.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Irrational RAGE!

Last week I was driving through a school zone with a crossing guard and everything.  The speed limit was 15 mph.  It was the first day of school and traffic was at a dead stop because every parent on the planet needed to pick up their kid on the first day!  Well okay, I can understand that.

But I only had a few minutes to grab lunch before my next meeting.  I did a u-turn and went back to go down a side road and get out of school traffic hell.  Very aware that I was still in a school zone I was going maybe 13 miles an hour.  I went to turn right onto the side street and "TWEEEEET" the crossing guard was glaring at me.


Maybe I'm not supposed to turn?  I look over again and she's doing that "slow it down" hand tamp thing.  I look at her like "SERIOUSLY?"  She keeps glaring.  And whistling.  What.  The.  Fuck?

I HATE THAT.  I hate when people accuse me of speeding when I'm not.  It makes me furious.  It's happened 3 times in the past 2 years and each time I have been tempted to get out of the car and be like "WHAT?!"

The last time was a guy in a neighborhood on the way to dog daycare.  I drove by at 25 mph and he screams, "SLOW DOWN!!!!!!"  My radio was on and I could still hear him.  He is LUCKY I didn't get out of my car and stomp my way over there and demand to see his speed gun.

The time before that was at the airport on a very crowded day.  I stopped to pick up a friend at the curb and the security guard knocked on my window and told me to watch my speed.  I was so incredulous that I actually said, "Me?"  And she was all attitude, "I'm TALKING to you, right?"

Oh boy.

I don't have a fast looking car.  It's not like that commercial where the dog runs into the car because it looks like it's going fast when it's actually parked.  I haven't had a speeding ticket since 1999.  I'm not going to say I'm perfect because I do stupid stuff just like the next person.
But oh my God, accuse me of something I didn't do and I AM LIVID.

This side of myself is a surprise.

What's your irrational rage trigger?

Monday, August 05, 2013

Do You READ All Them Books?

This weekend I read an entire book.  I don't know the last time I did that, just sat down and read a book and got all sucked into it and couldn't put it down.

It was Ender's Game, and I'm not going to go into the controversy about Orson Scott Card and his anti-gay stupidity because #1, the book was written almost 30 years ago and why was no one caring THEN, #2 the man is a Mormon and they're not exactly known for their gay-friendly outlook, and #3 it was a REALLY good book, and had zilch to say about marriage or sexuality at all.  It's a book about children..  Now I'm not saying that I'd look at paintings by Hitler and go, "Yeah, he killed all those Jews and started a horrible war and stuff but that's a REALLY good painting!"  Those would be hard to separate.  But this book?  This book was great.
I wondered a couple of things as I was reading.  The book starts when Ender is six years old and ends when he's around 20.  But it's definitely not a book for children, I guess more in the young adult age range.  I wonder how it would have impacted my life as a teenager.  Would it have impacted my life?  Would I have done anything differently?  Probably not.  It's always interesting to think about how books and other outside influences change you, or if they would have changed you differently if you'd experienced them at a different time in your life.

I also wondered if the book would have grabbed me in the same way had I read it on my Kindle.  Someone loaned me a copy of the paperback.  Would I have been so enthralled if it was the electronic version?  Again, there is no way to know this.  I can't re-read the book for the first time.

Ender's Game is about brilliant kids being trained to become commanders in an intergalactic army going to war against an alien race.  War games.  Strategy.  Survival.  It would be a good read for kids who feel a little different and have outsider status at school or in general.   I remember feeling like that when I was a kid- I didn't really come into my own until I was in my 20s.

I also painted my bathroom cabinets this weekend, and replaced the hardware, but that is another post for another day.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mad Style

So, my favorite fashion bloggers, Tom and Lorenzo, do two Mad Men posts a week when the show is on.  And it is some of the very best analysis of a tv show I have ever seen.  I think you can only do this with shows that are as detailed as Mad Men because otherwise you'd be picking apart the significance of something that was just a coincidence. 

Anyway, they do a post on Monday mornings that is about the latest episode, followed by a pure fashion analysis post on Wednesdays.  And I LOVE them.  They go into the symbolism of colors, and how costumes call back to (or conflict with) other characters, and other scenes, and even scenes in previous seasons.  Then they get into '50s and '60s fashion and how fast it was changing and how you can tell the older characters have trouble making themselves more modern.  It is so in-depth and interesting.  They point out things I wouldn't have noticed in a million years.

So, with coffee cup in hand, I have to go read that post now.

Join me!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Note: Clearing out my email drafts tonight, I came across this post.  The funny thing is I don't remember this post or book at all.  I feel like this girl doesn't even exist anymore.  But I also want to keep this piece of writing.  I even went and bought the Kindle version of the book (it's $5 on amazon) so I can see if it has the same impact now that it had then.

September 29, 2010

I hate to say this- but this book might be changing my life.  It puts so much pressure on a book to be described as life-changing.  It also puts me in a position of feeling like I have falsely raised your expectations if you go out and get your hands on a copy of this book and you're sorely disappointed.  Well, I'm sorry about that.

But this book might be changing my life.

When I was in college my roommate told me that you are either the star of your own movie of your life or a supporting character.  And I have to be honest and say that I have always felt like I was a supporting character.  The star is a scary place to be.  It is too open to criticism, too exposed, and (it seemed) too self-centered.  But for a long time most of my friends were self-centered people so it made sense to feel like that wasn't a role I desired.

But there isn't a choice- is there?  You are the lead character in your own life.  Period.  You can't be the supporting cast.  To feel that way means that you aren't in charge.  And you are most definitely in charge because no one else is and no one else can be.  It is just you.  It is just me.

It is a scary way to think about life.  That you are in charge of the story.  But it is also sort of exciting.
I lead a boring life.  I am not going to act like I don't.  I get up, go to work, sit in meaningless meetings, deal with bullshit situations that aren't nearly as important as they claim to be.  I come home, watch some TV, or read, or knit, do some yoga, go to bed.  Day in and day out.

I like my life.  It is comfortable.  I don't like change (no one does), and I don't want to come out of my little nest at home because that's scary.   I am generally happy but that doesn't make things interesting.

Is this they story I want my life to be?  No.  It's the most boring story ever, being lived by millions of people all over the world.  There is no zip to this story.  No one would pull that book down and read it because it is dead boring.  My movie isn't going to recoup its costs in the box office, even as a slow little independent film.

I need an "Inciting Incident".  That's the catalyst that makes change happen.  It kickstarts the story.  Sometimes you can make your own inciting incident, and sometimes that incident is brought to you.

A while ago in therapy I was asked to make a list of what I want in life, and put it in words, describing each in the greatest detail I could.  Why were these desires important to me?  What did I hope the outcome would be once I got there?  Well, I couldn't do it.  I couldn't think of a single thing that I want- really want.  I felt like I already have everything.

Well that's boring and sad.  It's not about ambitious- I'm plenty ambitious.  I just can't think of a goal that I want to reach outside of my job.  How dull is that?

Living without a goal is a sure way to avoid any excitement.  It insures that your story is going to be so dry and boring your 13 cats wouldn't even read it.

What will my inciting incident be?

A good story requires that the central character has courage and daring and a sense of adventure, none of which I have ever thought that I had, but I didn't think I actively lacked them either.  However, when I am staring my stagnant life in the face and seeing the thruth, I know that I haven't never pushed myself enough to know if I do have these things.  I would like to think that I do.

I will never know if I don't have an inciting incident.

Donald Miller is regarded as a Christian author and talks about those moments in his life when The Writer (God) tells him to do something.  Sometimes he ignores it and the urge to do that thing only comes back.  If he does what it tells him to do, things generally smoothly work the way they are supposed to.

Now I know that I had a pretty good atheist rant a few weeks ago, and I still don't believe in God.  But I do believe that people are driven to do things by a force they can't explain.  Is that God?  Because if it is then I guess I will have to take it all back.  I believe that people are meant to do things.  I also believe in free will.  I also believe in that little voice that tells you something and you know you have to listen.  It could be something big, like being called to work for sweeping social change.  It could be small, like something tells you to switch lanes on the highway moments before a truck swerves that would have killed you.  When I was 11 or 12 I was alone in the house and putting dishes away.  I opened the cupboard where we kept the plates.  Something told me BACK UP and I felt like I was physically pulled backwards.  As I moved I heard a whoosing sound and our huge Corningware casserole dish fell from the top shelf onto the counter and smashed into about a million pieces.  There is no doubt in my mind that I would have been severely injured, if not killed, by that casserole dish falling on my head. 

So what was that?  Was that God?  Did the reflexive part of my brain hear the dish falling before I even registered that I heard it and forced my limbs to move?

I don't know.

It's been 2 years since my last big life story.  Although I guess technically, buying a condo a year ago was a big story too.  A big breakup, however, is much more dramatic.  I think I am ready to find another story to live, another thing to put my energies into.  I know that I needed time to hibernate and recouperate, but I don't think I need to do that anymore.  I think I need to get out there and live now. 

I need an inciting incident.

I wonder what I will choose.

It's BACK!

I took the blog down for a while, because, well, it got to be a burden.  The guilt.  Of not blogging. 

Oh come on Heather, it's just a blog.

Today I had deep thoughts to share.  For those of you with long hair (I had to stop myself from limiting the question to the ladies, because some men have very healthy heads of long delicious hair.  They are basically undatable because how vain does a dude have to be to have long hair and UGH.  So annoying.  But I digressed.  Look at that, the first big paragraph and she's tangential.  Wait for it, I'm about to ask deep questions.)  how often do you brush your hair?  I brush mine in the morning, and in the evening, and before I wash it just so it doesn't get as tangled up.  Otherwise I pretty much ignore it, until it's all up in my face, and then I pull it back in a ponytail and ignore it again.  This is how my hair gets really long because I'm not paying attention.

Anyway, I have a shit-ton of hair and it falls out all the time.  And sticks to whatever clothes I'm wearing.  And drives me nuts.  And it occurs to me that maybe if I brushed it more often, it wouldn't fall out so much.

Yes, I have been on this planet for 34 years and just now figuring out how to maintain my hair.

Another deep thought, I sort of hate those Tone It Up Girls. Do you know who I'm talking about.  They're all about health and wellness and sell a lifetime membership to their workouts and nutrition plans.  I don't have the membership, but a very very nice friend shared some of their info with me, because she's nice like that.

So last night I was attempting to do this video.

Which is SO HARD.  And I got through one rotation and I was like okay that's enough for today.  Holy cow.

I wonder if these girls are the real deal.  Some of their advice is HIGHLY suspect, and maybe they're just genetically blessed.  Also, everyone looks better with a tan.  Maybe that's the secret.  Or maybe they really do drink kale juice and do 1,000 planks a day. 

Glow glow sparkle glow.

Anyway, that's it from me for today.

Heather, Out.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Goals Revisited- January

Sooooooo, here it is over 2 weeks since my last post and since it is the last day of January I though I could revisit the new year's resolutions I posted and see how it's going.

And I am laughing at this list because it's not going so well!

So, resolution #1: Blog.  A minimum of twice a week.  Well I think we all know how well I'm holding up THAT end of the bargain.

Resolution #2: Lose 60 more lbs.  This is going well.  I am in the gym about 4 days a week and I am still really focused and determined.  I love that I can feel the improvement in my strength and flexibility. I can bust out some perfect pushups.  I can grab my foot from behind me to stretch.  Baby steps!

Resolution #3: Go to 80% plant based foods.  This one is not going well AT ALL.  I've been craving chicken soup.  Lots and lots of it.  Probably because after I had the flu I got a cold and it has been lingering.  Chicken soup is soothing. I will get back to plant-based foods when I'm feeling better.  I'm not eating any red meat and barely any dairy products.  Just lots of chicken.  I have to admit I was slightly concerned because when I came back to the gym after recovering from the flu and going to plant-based foods, I almost passed out twice.  I'm sure that was thanks to being weak after being so sick, but it did make me wonder if there was something I wasn't getting out of my diet.

Resolution #4:  Twitter?  I should tweet more.  Meh, Tweets.  At least I am looking at Twitter more.  It is a great tool when bad weather is one the way.

Resolution #5: Dating.  Well I'm not dating new people but I do have a new boyfriend, so I think I knocked that goal out of the park!

I think this isn't half bad really.  The stuff I'm lagging with I can improve...  there are 11 more months to the year.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wallet Update!

Okay, I know this is only interesting to about .5% of anyone reading this, but I found a wallet that will replace my old busted one.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Kipling Large Brownie Organizer Wallet:
Ohhhh, it's so pretty.  Let's compare it to my old, rather destroyed, Kohl's wallet!

From the outside, pretty similar.  But instead of some sort of textured PVC that picked up dirt (the edges of this are red thanks to the red cotton lining in an old bag, and won't come clean), the new wallet is red nylon.  Lightweight and super durable.  And can I be honest and admit my OCD tenancies?  The metal embellishment on the old one is crooked.  It drove me bonkers.

Here are the organizer pockets.  I was using the silver Kohl's wallet exactly how the labels said:  Cash, Receipts, and Coupons.  I like that system so much I'm going to use it here too.  The new one has the exact same pockets, with a zippered coin pocket in the same place.

And finally, look at all of the card pockets!  They are exactly the same configuration as my old wallet, and the inside of the pockets on the red Kipling wallet are lightly coated with some sort of rubberized finish so the cards don't fall out.

The ONLY differences I can see functionally between the two wallets are that the Kohl's wallet has a zippered pocket on the back, which I never used.  And the snap to hold the card section closed is on the side on the Kohl's wallet, but on the bottom on the Kipling wallet.  (Or I guess on the top and on the side, depending on how you look at it, but I think the pictures will make it clear!)

Otherwise, they're twins, but the red is an upgrade.  I have several Kipling pouches in my purse, and I like that they are well-made, colorful, and durable.  This should hold up for a long time.


Holy cow I can't believe it's Monday already.  This is going to be a stupidly busy week.  Today I have some employee reviews and a dentist appointment.  Tomorrow I have more reviews and I have about 40,000 things to finish, none of which I can talk about because it's all work-related and I don't talk about specifics here.

I don't speak for my employer, y'all.

So, thoughts for the day.

Golden Globes: Did you see Jodie Foster give her big "coming out" speech?  She is amazing.  I hope I look half as good at 50 as she does, and that I will one day have the class and poise that seems to come so naturally to her.  Okay, THAT is never going to happen, I just snickered at myself typing that.  But what I want to say is that I respect the hell out of her.

Tina Fey was a knockout.

The fake nominations were hilarious- I loved the first one where they said Amy Poehler starred as a psychic who solved her own murder.  SO FUNNY.

And moving on from the Globes of Gold, I ran out of my stevia so I brought my old bag of Teavana's German rock sugar to use in tea at work.  What the hell is the point of this stuff?  IT DOES NOT DISSOLVE.

Put that down on the list of 8 million things I regret purchasing.  It's a long list.

Happy Monday everybody.  I hope your week is off to a great start. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

We're Bouncing Into Graceland

Last weekend the local public television station (okay, it could have been on all of them, I don't know), aired a documentary about Paul Simon's album Graceland.

AMAZING.  I've always loved the album (I remember hearing it when I was growing up) and I already own it, but I didn't know exactly how groundbreaking and controversial it was until I was watching the documentary.  There was a cultural embargo, a boycott, bomb threats, racial tension, fighting over writing credits, and protests.  This sucker has HISTORY.  I even had to go do some research on The Apartheid in South Africa because that was a big part of the story.

And then there is the music.  Which has been playing nonstop in my car and in my head for the past 3 days.  The lyrics sort of hit you between the eyes with how clean and evocative they are, and the instrumental part is genius.  I hear each layer differently every time I hear the album, from the African influence to the Zydeco beats to the incredible a capella vocals of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. 

So I'm never going to claim to be up on music or something, and clearly I am way behind (Graceland is on a ridiculous number of top 25 album lists.) But it is really cool to listen to something that is 25 years old and still sounds as fresh and dynamic as it did when it was released.

If you have listened to Graceland in a while, I think you should go check it out.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

And the rain rain rain came down down down

And traffic in Nashville stopped.

I was going to go to the gym this morning.  Therefore I didn't wash my hair last night.  So when my alarm woke me up at 5:15 and I promptly went right back to sleep after about 10 seconds of saying "HA.  Gym.  So not happening." I also skipped the post-gym shower.

That means scary hair.  But with a little dry shampoo and teasing into a ponytail it doesn't look half bad:

Geez that is one massive expanse of forehead at that angle.  I guess it's better than the massive expanse of chin if the camera is at a different level.

Camera.  HA.  Let's try phone.

Also, check out the amazingness of MAC's Satin Taupe eyeshadow.  It looks like I spent a lot of time on my dang eyelids but all I did was smoosh on some satin taupe.  It's the most versatile shade there is in my opinion.  I guess the secret is in the way the light reflects off of it.  There's no need for crease or highlight shades because of how this shadow seems to do that all by itself.

Okay, enough with the vanity posting.  It is pouring rain this morning, the roads are a mess.  I got to work 45 minutes late and I wasn't the last one here. It's another one of those days where I want to be on the couch in sweatpants watching movies.

This week's researching/purchasing obsession is wallets.  I have a great wallet from Kohls that I just love, but is getting worn out and kinda cruddy looking.  However, it is the best wallet I have ever had and I want to replace it.  I could just get the same wallet again, but I would like to get something of better quality so that it lasts a long time. 

The Kohl's wallet has:
  • 3 separate labeled pockets for cash, receipts, and coupons.
  • An inside zippered coin pocket
  • A fold out RFID blocking card section with TONS of pockets
  • Snaps instead of zippers (I hate the zip-around wallets because they are so hard to close once you get stuff in them)
  • Somehow, despite all the storage, it is streamlined and not bulky

Just like my search for the perfect handbag, I have a lot of requirements when it comes to wallets.  Namely, the zippers must open and close smoothly, and the snaps have to be magnetized.  I have the cutest clutch/wallet thing from Kipling that I use every now and then, but it folds in half and is secured with two of the crappiest, hard to close snaps invented.  If it had some magnetized snaps it would be perfect.  But I am all about function and that bag just annoys the snot out of me.  I plan to donate it to Goodwill in my next drop off.

Another requirement: pockets.  I am not getting another wallet that just has one big pocket for cash and receipts and coupons and whatever other paper winds up in a wallet.  There needs to be some built-in organization.

Once I find the perfect wallet I will write up a review!