2018/02/01

t(Hair)sday — It Doesn’t Work

Da Goddess @ 16:02

Please don’t waste your hard earned cash on two-in-one shampoos. You know, shampoo and conditioner in one. It doesn’t work.

Think of what shampoo does: it cleans your scalp and hair of oils, dead skin, and the dirt you pick up throughout the day. It opens the hair cuticle to do so. Conditioner is used to (hopefully) detangle and smooth your hair, add shine, and close the cuticle.

Now, based on the description of those actions, does it sound reasonable that one product could adequately do both? No. It’s not possible. I don’t care what any ad claims, it shampoo and conditioner just don’t work in a way that allows both to happen simultaneously.

Save your money and buy separate shampoo and conditioner.

P.S. I survived the plague!

2018/01/18

(t)HAIRsday – Money Money Money

Da Goddess @ 16:47

Note: I get nothing from the companies that make the products I mention below. I only mention them because I have used them for years and trust the results.

To keep your hair looking and feeling great you don’t need to spend a lot of money.

For the most part, everything you need in a shampoo and conditioner can be purchased for under $10. In 99% of shampoos and conditioners on the market, you get all you need in the same basic ingredients. High priced products may add all sorts of fancy ingredients, but there is absolutely nothing to back their claims that they’re better than less expensive options. In many cases, they’re selling you a solution to a problem you likely never knew you had (and probably never will have).

Stick with the basics when it comes to the products you purchase. Something as simple as Tresemmé or even Suave can keep your hair clean and conditioned.

If you want to up your hair game a bit, try Queen Helene’s Cholesterol or Alberto VO5’s conditioning oil treatment. Use those once every few months and your hair will be just as lovely as you’d like.

That is, if you remember to follow the instructions I gave you last week: clean, dry towel to dry (which you press gently on your hair — NEVER RUBBING!). A clean brush free of hair. Oh! I forgot an important step last week. When attempting to get through tangled hair, never try to strong-arm your way through! Instead, start at the bottom/ends of the hair and gently brush a little at a time. By using this method you’re freeing the ends, preventing excessive breakage, and saving yourself from absolute devastation. It takes a while to get used to brushing this way, but it absolutely works!

If you try any of these tips, let me know how they worked for you.

2018/01/11

(t)HAIRsday – Basics

Da Goddess @ 11:11

I may be a beauty school dropout, but I learned a lot during my time there. So, here are a few basic tips for my friends:

  1. When you’re shampooing your hair, try using about half the amount you think you need. This serves two purposes: you use less shampoo, obviously. And you are being kinder to your hair. You see, when you’re shampooing, you’re actually cleaning the dead skin and dirt from your scalp (unless your hair is full of awful debris, you don’t need to scrub your hair into a dry, lifeless mess).
  2. When conditioning your hair, use about 3/4 of what you think you need. Again, you’ll save some money, but, more importantly, you only need to condition your hair, not your scalp. Plus, too much conditioner can be hard to rinse out and weigh down your hair.
  3. Never leave conditioner on for longer than two minutes. Some conditioners have ingredients that can cause more damage than they’re supposed to repair.
  4. Rinsing your hair with cool water does two good things: it actually helps remove more of the conditioner than warmer water. And it helps to close the cuticle, thereby reducing the frizz and protecting the hair itself from other damage.
  5. When it’s time to get dried off, use a separate DRY towel for your hair. A damp or wet towel can catch hair in its loops, causing breakage.
  6. Once your hair is in that towel, DO NOT rub it vigorously! This can cause more breakage. Instead, blot your hair or press it gently between towel folds.
  7. Finally, before you brush your hair, make sure your brush is clean. Get rid of the hair from the bristles. Wash it if it looks a even a little grungy. I tend to clean my brush after every use. This way, I know it’s done and don’t have to think about it as I’m (generally) rushing around trying to get ready. Anyway, when your brush is dirty you end up negating all the effort you just put into getting your hair clean. Also, if your brush is full of hair it’ll pull at the hair on your head causing (repeat after me!) breakage.

If you’re interested in more tips, I have lots more! tHAIRsday may end up being a semi-regular thing.

2018/01/06

Drunken Choir

Da Goddess @ 19:09

I’m sitting out on the front porch, soaking in the cool evening air. In the distance I can hear the cars zipping down roads both near and not so near. I hear crickets and tree frogs. The occasional bat or owl. The neighbors’ TVs, hard to miss since they are elderly and hard if hearing. And then there’s the drunken chorus of a song I don’t know, in a language I don’t much understand unless it’s spoken slowly and contains most of the words I DO understand.

Behind the house, across the street, someone’s celebrating. I don’t know what occasion is. It doesn’t really matter. What I hear are voices raised in song, communally rejoicing. There are plenty of voices off-key. Some are a bit behind the others. But then there are moments of absolute beauty, in which everyone has hit the right notes. It’s in those moments that I feel my heart swell a bit and smile.

I’ve been thinking about us. The collective us. As a neighborhood, a community, a city, state, country, and a planet. We don’t always know the same songs or speak the same language. We don’t always hit notes perfectly. But we’re all part of the choir. We often sound drunk and uncoordinated. But sometimes we all hit the perfect note at the same time. When we do, it’s not always easy to hear because we’re too busy worrying about what we’re doing and singing to truly appreciate the moment.

I’m doing my best to listen for those moments these days because they’re so rare and precious. I need to get in there and appreciate more often how beautiful it is when we are in harmony and work toward making sure I develop a voice that hits those perfect notes more frequently. If I don’t, I’m part of the reason we sound like a drunken choir.

2017/11/10

TJH: Inspire — People Matching Art

Da Goddess @ 06:01

My favorite of the photos posted to this site would be Starry Night.

Go, get lost in the beauty.

2017/11/09

Hours of Laughter and Tears with Spacegoats and a Moose

Da Goddess @ 20:29

I killed my phone battery TWICE trying to get through all the replies to this tweet.

After the past few months of absolute frustration and pathos, this is just what I needed. You need it, too. I know you do.

2017/09/19

I Can’t Keep Track: Scratch That Itch!

Da Goddess @ 10:10

On my legs I have at least three different skin issues. There’s the dry skin that just doesn’t want to soak up the moisture from even the hardiest of lotions. There are the splotches of a fungal infection I developed while on antibiotics for the spinal cord stimulator trial. And there are the areas that quite recently bubbled up when I developed serious edema two or three months ago. Yes, my skin bubbled. Then it hardened. Then it began a low level ooze. The edema is gone (the only benefit of being off most of my medications), but my skin remains in healing mode.

My arms have a minimum of two things going on. I have areas that are rough and itchy. There are cat scratches that don’t want to heal. Then there’s this ongoing itching that springs up on my hands and wrists.

Shall I even dare tell you about the rawness under and between my breasts? The itching, the erosion of skin, the persistent need for barrier cream (read: diaper cream), or the spreading of this… I’m guessing… fungal infection that threatens to become bacterial due to the diffuse, raw skin in delicate areas. It’s enough to drive one over the edge.

I almost took some quick pics because WORDS are not adequate to describe what’s happening to me and my skin. I didn’t do it, though. At least, not yet. I spared you the horrors of this creeping crud.

Oh, and while I was attending to my skin issues, I noticed a spot on my underboob. It had been a teensy weensy mole a couple years ago. It was measurable in millimeters. Now? It’s almost two inches in length and almost an inch in width. It looks a bit like one of those trilobite fossils found in most natural history museums. It’s quite rough and has the oddest quality to it. I am not pleased. I’m not even in the same state as “pleased”! Being without any health insurance, I can’t just run to a doctor to decide if it’s something I should worry about.

I’ll never be remembered as a one hit wonder. I have far too many complaints and needs for my legacy to be that I was boring. The facts don’t add up at all.

Until such time that I’m no longer using diaper cream and medicated powder to try to keep this body from becoming a much bigger problem than it is.

I think this is the part of the movie where some stunt woman would take my place and throw herself from the tallest window or ledge in utter frustration and as a means of ending the itch.

I’m so very over this bullshit. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that something good, something NOT irritating, happens to alleviate all the bad feels in my body.

But enough about me, let’s talk about you. Have you ever heard such things? Could you tell how any of this is necessary?

2017/09/18

This Much I Know is True

Da Goddess @ 10:41

Chronic pain, chronic illness, depression, isolation… All of these things can make life unbearable. It happens to many people. For some, medication helps. For others, medication only barely gets them from one moment to the next. There’s no ONE answer for everyone collectively.

For one man, he found hope in a Broadway musical based on a hit movie. Groundhog Day the Musical. I happened upon his post and it not only touched me, it spoke deeply to the broken parts of me and the life in which I find myself.

Life is difficult for me these days. I’ve been without ads here, which means I have absolutely ZERO income. True, the revenue generated by the ads I did have was miniscule, but it was just enough to help with 1) paying a bill or two, 2) help buy the kids a gift for birthdays/Christmas, and 3) gave me a sense of security that at least there was *that*.

Aside from the ads, my back and neck have grown even more painful, leaving me wondering how that’s even possible. It weighs on me more each passing day, each passing year. I find myself asking, “is this really how I want to spend my life? Is this who I really want to be?”

Because this was an injury that occurred on the job, I’ve been at the mercy of a system that favors the insurance company, not the patient. I’m stuck in an endless cycle of praying an adjuster will approve my medications or a treatment the doctors feel will help me get control of the pain. Time after time, though, my hopes are dashed and it takes a toll on every part of my being.

Twelve and a half years of living this way has left me more cynical and dejected than I’ve ever been in my life. Despite the medications, my pain has become what identifies me, what defines me. I don’t like it: I don’t want to this person!

Because of the treatment I’ve received from the insurance company, my life has become a roller coaster without a safety bar or seatbelt…that goes underwater and I have no air tank.

I’ve spent the last month without the majority of my meds. Where some patients simply pay for them out of pocket and then submit receipts for reimbursement, I don’t have that luxury. With a VERY deep discount the pharmacist gave me, my monthly tab for my meds would be over $700. That’s WITH the discount! King Arthur and I just can’t afford to pay it. I don’t know anyone who could. So I’ve tried to make do with the bare minimum, which doesn’t do much of anything other than keep me from crying 24/7. I cry, but not ALL DAY LONG.

My attorney drove up here Friday and handed me $500 to help pay for the medications. I was gobsmacked. What lawyer does that? Yes, it’ll need to be repaid, but still, what lawyer does that, I ask you. I’m as grateful as I am stunned. And even with his generous loan, I’ve had to adjust my prescription order so that I get the most bang for the buck. I won’t be getting full prescriptions of several drugs, though I will be able to get the meds that are vital for me to function as your basic bitch.

While my lawyer was here, I signed a new retainer agreement because he’s filing a lawsuit against the insurance company. This is not the norm for a work comp case. However, because they’ve continually played fast and loose with my care it’s our only real option. My brilliant attorney has also filed a formal complaint against the insurance company with the state.

We’re in uncharted waters here. In my attorney’s almost 50 years of practice, he’s never had to do this. He’s never come up against a company that’s so reckless with a claimant.

I doubt there will be a big payout from the lawsuit. I doubt they’ll be run out of the state. But at least we’re DOING SOMETHING! It’s my little glimmer of hope. My only glimmer of hope.

And this is why a total stranger’s post about a musical has given me pause. I’m lucky enough to see a new day, to still be breathing, to fight for my rights to adequate healthcare as the law dictates for injured workers. Maybe my case will save someone else from my nightmare. That thought is enough to make me keep looking at the horizon, hoping to see the first rays of sunshine each day.

All of this… all of it comes down to a Broadway musical I haven’t seen, but whose very message has had a ripple effect on the lives of enough people that its message has been spread far and wide.

I’m off to look for my sun today and tomorrow and the next day and the next and on and on.

2017/09/10

The Lump in My Throat

Da Goddess @ 23:50

Tomorrow is a difficult day for me. For many of us. I always feel a tightness in my throat and my chest this time of year. But this year we have so much happening that makes everything more… agitated and frantic feeling.

I’m talking about these damned hurricanes!

Harvey sucked big donkey balls and put dear Joni in danger. She assured me she was okay and that made my heart stop racing so much. But then that bitch, Irma, had to get in the game. Now Pam and her hubby, as well as other friends, are in harm’s way.

WHY?!!? Isn’t it enough to have a few million people in dire straits? We have to have more? I’m talking to you, weather gods! I’m pointing my finger at you!

And there are the wildfires across the western part of the United States. And an earthquake in Mexico.

I think we’ve had it. The very fabric of our souls have creases from all the worry and frowning.

Those in the midst of these horrifying events needs a break. A really big break.

I’m not asking for a miracle, but I am asking for a respite from disaster for those who’ve been slammed, battered, sizzled, and shaken.

Please.

My prayers and thoughts are with everyone stuck in the middle of all this mess (these messes).

2017/09/03

Don’t Dismiss the Miss and Her Pain

Da Goddess @ 08:47

As you all know, chronic pain has been my constant companion for the past 12 years. As far as getting treated for it, I’ve been fortunate enough to be taken seriously. (We’ll leave the discussion about the insurance company and their shoddy treatment of me for another time, m’kay?)

But, the fact of the matter is that many women find their pain is minimized by the very people they turn to for help.

I read an exceptional article this morning to which I will now direct your attention. You can come back with your thoughts and we can discuss afterwards, if you’d like. I’ll be here.

2017/07/27

The CUTEST Site on the Internet

Da Goddess @ 15:45

You’ll thank me for this. You will.

2017/07/04

Happy Independence Day!

Da Goddess @ 10:26

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

Celebrate our hard won rights and remember those who fought for those rights.

Be safe and have yourselves a beautiful day!

2017/05/18

Five One

Da Goddess @ 21:24

Today I turned 51.

My exciting day has been full of thrills, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Well, you probably have, but I’m betting you wouldn’t wish to experience.

I got back my voice after a day of not having one, the consequence of some crazy ass sore throat of unbelievable intensity. My uvula was swollen and bumpy, as was the back of my tongue. The tongue bumps were large, scratchy, and raw, surrounded by hard patches. I’ve never had anything like this before and hope to never have again. I’m dousing my throat with chloraseptic spray, eating jello, drinking tea and water, and basically resting as much as possible, while also trying to keep my back pain to just under a roar.

This was on top of knowing my sister was dealing with my dad getting out of the hospital for the second time in three weeks due to congestive heart failure. It’s a new diagnosis for Dad and I know all too well what that means for him. He insists he feels fine in between hospital stays, but it’ll eventually get to the point where he’ll need more meds to help keep fluid from building up and he’ll become less comfortable more frequently.

Dad’s 86 now and even though I’m older, I don’t like the thought of losing him (or my mom, or any sisters) any time in the near future. I’m not ready for this.

So. Yeah, so. That’s how I’ve spent my birthday. Happy fucking birthday to me.

2017/05/16

#15: The Blogiversary

Da Goddess @ 10:29

In the past 15 years, a lot has happened.

I’ve moved ten times (more if you count the times I’ve had “transitional housing” in between stops), I’ve made some lovely friends, I’ve lost three of my favorite bloggers (death can suck it), lost several offline friends, finalized a divorce, lived with one blogger, broke up with that blogger, met the love of my life, had to say goodbye to the love of my life, moved forward, lost a career, gained a new perspective on life (one I wouldn’t wish on anyone), have taken THOUSANDS of pills in an attempt to fight pain, had two kids graduate from high school, had one kid get married, met a swell guy whom I love a great deal, became a “grandma” by association, became a crazy cat lady mommy to two​ lovely cats, had one cat die, have doted on remaining cat, taught remaining cat a number of tricks, fallen in love with hummingbirds, done some traveling, complained a lot, cried even more, had poop bark, laughed, cursed, found joy and sadness, and just kept on living life one day at a time as best as I can.

It’s been strange and occasionally exciting, fun and delightful, heartwarming and heartbreaking, and I still survive.

There are no deeply profound lessons to be found here in this post. It’s just the verbose version of making a mark on the door jamb as a means of recording the passage of time and the growing pains that come with the territory. I’m here. I exist. My blog still rambles along with me.

You know, when I began blogging, I had no idea where it would lead (I still don’t) or how much it would change my life, but I’m glad I started this journey. Fifteen years seems an eternity. Fifteen years seems like the blink of an eye. Either way, it happened and the archives offer some smidgen of proof that it did.

Thanks to all who’ve stuck around for the ride.

2017/03/02

Happy World Book Day!

Da Goddess @ 15:06

If you know me, you know I absolutely adore books. I love the written word. I love getting lost in the written word. I love the feeling I get from reading, even if that feeling is of frustration or anger at the writer (if I’m involved enough in a story to get upset, then the author’s done something right — they made me CARE!).

My mom gave me the second greatest gift of all when she taught me to read. The first gift, obvs, was love. But even if she hadn’t loved me, I’d still have reading. And reading is power.

A good story will draw you in. It will make you FEEL. It will make you forget the real world for a while. It will open your mind. A good story will open your heart. It will take you to places that only exist in the imagination. It will help develop your imagination. And, dare I say, a good story will inspire you to reach for the stars, and beyond.

There are no goals without imagination, without dreams or dreaming. How do you learn to dream, to believe something is possible if not for the stories other people tell?

I often ask kids about their favorite books. I ask them what they like about the story and the characters. Many kids tell me how they’re inspired by the ideas set forth in the books they read. They tell me how the story could continue, what adventures the characters might find in a new chapter (or seven!). When a kid can tell you what they’d like to have happen next? Well, my friends, that’s magic! That’s imagination. That’s the sign of a child whose brain has been engaged. And that’s a big win in my (pardon/no pardon the pun) book.

Whether our children are reading physical books or on an electronic device, WE ARE WINNING! They’re learning. If their minds are engaged in reading, they’re developing tools they’ll need to become whoever they dream they can be. Because, and here’s the secret, when they read, they can become the characters in the stories, if only for a while. And if they can do that for a while, they begin to believe it’s possible more and more often…in real life. That astronaut in the book? That could be me! That brave knight/princess in the story? That could be me! The character who just discovered a new tribe or animal? Me! Even when the author includes a physical description of a character, while you’re reading, that description falls away and you begin to inhabit the character. If you were to close your eyes in the middle of the tale, your face is the one you’d see if the character looked in the mirror. That’s the power of reading, of imagination. That’s how you start teaching kids to dream.

When I was little, I loved stories that inhabited colorful lands full of colorful characters. Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing. Sneeches, with or without stars upon thars, were fun playmates on days I was kept inside. Or maybe one of the twenty-twenty Daves would come by to save…the day from absolute boredom while stuck in my cave. Chances are, the Cat in the Hat would also stop by, if only to help me find trouble to squeeze out of by the lash of an eye.

As I got a bit older, Trixie Belden became my muse. With her and the Bobwhites, I solved neighborhood mysteries that no one else could have solved. I traveled with her, laughed with her, cried with her. When I felt lonely, Trixie was there for me.

Always, always have a book. When you’re watching TV, have a book to read during commercials. Going to the doctor? Take a book. Got a lot of books and spend a lot of time at the doctor’s like I do? Ask if you can bring in a few to start a lending library. Old magazines will only last so long.

As soon as possible, get a child their own library card. Make the library or bookstore a regular part of your week. Investing in a child’s mind is investing in the possibilities of their future. Let them become invested, too, as they tell you what they’ve read and what it means to them.

I know I’ve told the story many times of how Mojo would walk into walls because her nose was stuck in a book. And how LD was potty trained with the help of book on dolphins, porpoises, and whales. He was so proud the day he was allowed to take that book everywhere he wanted because he was finally out of diapers. And let’s not forget how my kids would do their chores or finish dinner because their reward was a trip to the library or bookstore!

As my kids grew up, people would give them gift cards for Borders or Barnes & Noble so they could choose their own gifts. Instead of ONE present, they ended up with many. And they were the kind of gifts that kept giving because they turned out to be creative, thoughtful, and funny people. Had they only had TV or video games, I doubt I’d be saying the same (or I’d be lying about them).

I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as a kid. I don’t know where I’d be if not for the books I read as an adult. I do know I’d never have dared to dream of becoming a nurse if I hadn’t read books about candy stripers and nurses. I’d have never dreamed of being a photographer, either. I wouldn’t be passionate about wildlife if not for reading “Born Free” or even “Misty of Chincoteague”. That’s how powerful the written word can be.

I wish you a very happy World Book Day today — and every day! May the book be with you.

* Inspired by Definitely Dreaming

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