Friday, July 31, 2015

Maybe this is why dinosaurs went extinct before we arrived on the scene.

A long time ago God planned all of us. He made the world to be hospitable to us, and he made us to be able to survive and thrive in the world. You can tell, if you look at us now, that we were made for a world unbroken by sin. We don't have fur to keep us warm, most of our organs are in a squishy, unprotected part of our bodies where any old velociraptor or ostrich can claw them out.

I recently witnessed a runt piglet struggle for life for a week, despite being born premature and contracting an illness in his first few days of life. I cuddled up with in him bed wrapped in a towel nest so I could keep an eye on him and feed him milk or water with a dropper. He looked a lot like a little human baby that should still be in the womb. I have no explination for why he lived as long as he did. He really really should not have. He hyperventilated for 14 hours the first day I noticed he was sick. This tiny, helpless thing should not have had the strength to work that hard to breathe for so long...and yet he soldiered forward for days and days. We named him Colonel Hubert. Hubie for short.

My time with him made me think a lot about people babies, and people in general, and God's miracles.

Hubert looked a bit like this when he was born. Instead of fingers, he had little padded hooves - piglet hooves have a little soft keratin on the tip to prevent them from tearing their embryotic sacs in utero, and he had pointy pig ears. This creature doesn't look like something that is going to make it in this world, does it? Like, how is that going to become a PERSON? And how is that person going to survive? How is life so tenacious that a helpless little piglet that looks like a little person fetus survive for a day under adverse conditions, let alone a week, and cling to life every second?

Outside of a miracle, I don't know. Because outside of a miracle it's not possible. I certainly can't account for how I used to be a little baby-in-utero like this picture and now I'm an adult and have lived from that moment to this without just blinking out of existence or dying or forgetting to want to stay alive.

I was thinking yesterday about how inadequate I am to take on the things I want to accomplish in this life. And God put the image just like this baby in my mind. We were not created to withstand even a sliver of the adversity that we will face in a life lived on Earth, and yet, by God, we do. I know for a fact that I am not cut out for a single piece of this life, and yet I've lived 30 years of it.

So, when I get to worrying about inadequacy, fear of experiencing adversity and suffering...I'll just remember that God looks at all of us and sees in us these beautiful little ugly babies that flop around on Earth like baby Walrus' on beaches - tenacious when it comes to being and staying alive but only because he upholds us with his right hand. I can feel him lifting me up. <3

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bringing you up to date.

I don't have any things to review or anything particular to bring to your attention, but I thought I'd bring you up to speed on how things have gone in the last two years.

- I've lost 15 lbs on the Daniel Plan, a "diet" plan by Pastor Rick Warren with a biblical emphasis. I have not adhered to it super rigidly but it turns out it is a very excellent, relatively sustainable lifestyle that has also helped my husband lose weight and improve his blood sugar after being diagnosed as pre-diabetic.

- I have begun and retired from breeding Mini Juliana pigs. I purchased a breeding trio in 2014 and have had several litters of piglets since then, however all but one has been frought with difficulty. We have kept our original three pigs as pets and also a few of the offspring from some of the litters. As of this writing I have 6 female piglets looking for their forever homes. I absolutely adore pigs, they are fantastic barnyard pets, but they are certainly not for everyone. As far as breeding goes, I felt that my experience breeding goats will equip me for breeding piglets and it turns out that was a bit of an idealistic view. Though I studied up before embarking on this pigventure, I really had no idea how different baby pigs are from many other baby mammals. Much more is required of them early on than many other baby animals, and any sort of abberation in their birth or environment can have dire consequences. Several months ago we had our boar neutered, but too late to prevent several unwanted pregnancies in our females. Baby pigs are to die for adorable, but I am relieved that we will no longer have piglets born here.

- I took on a job at a daycare, an opportunity that took me by surprise, and that gave me a lot of satisfaction over the year+ that I worked in that position. I'm back to being a farmwife now, and I enjoy it because it means a better quality of life for us and our animals, but I do really miss working with kids.

- We have decided to become a foster family. We have not begun the process officially yet as we have had to make some improvements to our home first, but those projects are nearly complete and we are seeking God's will as regards the timing. I have wanted a family for a long time now, the desire has only grown stronger. While I would love to blast ahead and accomplish everything all at once, doing things God's way is really the only way to find the happiness we're all seeking.

- We quit drinking. My husband and I have both been sober since 2013. Turns out I am an alcoholic! Quitting drinking was one of the best things that ever happened to me. While I didn't really qualify as the sort of alcoholic most people think of when they say "oh, that person definitely has a problem", I definitely did have a problem. One day, God informed me that I would stop drinking. I laughed out loud in my kitchen the morning that he told me - in fact I still had booze in my fridge. And yet...I have not taken a drink since. I certainly had no intention to quit at the time, nor did I understand I was really an alcoholic, so the credit goes 100% to God who made sobriety possible. For the first 6 months it was pretty easy. Then, almost all of the sudden, I was crushed under the weight of cravings and crisis circumstances that nearly drove me to drink again. The product of that experience is that I now know and trust God so much more than I did on that morning in my kitchen when I hardly knew what I had gotten myself into (or what Jesus had gotten me into) when I accepted the Lord and embarked on a new life as a Christian, but as difficult as it's been, it's been the happiest, healthiest time of my life and I would do it all over again if it meant experiencing God in the way he has revealed himself to me over the last two years.

Listen, if you think you might have a drinking problem - put every effort into quitting. You will thank yourself. Even if you don't believe, pray to the God who made the universe and he will rescue you. Even if you think it's bunk, try an AA meeting or 6. You have nothing to lose by trying it. Pick up some AA literature, do the 12 steps. Get serious about sobriety. You'll be shocked at how subversive our cultural attitude toward alcohol is once you see it from the rear view mirror of addiction. Get help. You're worth it, the one who made you says you're to die for. :)

Blog Resurrection

Since my last post in 2013 a lot has changed in my life but the internet is still mostly bereft of normal girls doing normal stuff, and safe places to talk about normal things. So I'm back, and looking forward to normalling more with you. :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Homesteading with Jesus

Obligatory thingie about how I'm sorry I haven't posted in two months goes here: ___________________. K.

Stuff that has happened:

 As you can see, I cutted ma hurr. This is called a side cut. I have NEVER EVER EVER in my life cut my hair before now, as you may know. I dust for split ends and have cut bangs twice in my life and maintained them, but never have I hacked off length or shaved anything until this day. And. I. LOVE IT. It's perfect for summer and I'm stoked I had the huevos to do it because I've always wanted a weird haircut. It may not be apparent from the photos above but it's still long, just with one side shaved. In the second photo (and the one below) I've got it pinned back.
My momma goat had her babies on 4/20 - here the are at about 6 weeks old before going off to their new forever homes. Two girls and one boy, all healthy. Their momma is making record amounts of milk for me and farm life continues to be a joy.

We got another dog. His name is Shadowfax. This picture sums him up better than words ever could.

I got a beehive. It's doing really great.

 And finally, most unexpectedly/awesomely, I have converted to Christianity. Writing that still sounds so strange because nothing could have been farther from my mind than Jesus for the majority of my life. I was not raised religious, have had some bad experiences with unkind Christian family members etc. Everything that people typically cite as reasons Christianity turns them off was true of me - I was a practicing pagan with experience in other modes of spirituality, I have worked as a psychic a few times in my life and I now have a weird haircut and an abiding love of eyeliner. Turns out, none of that is a barrier to Jesus.

I'm getting baptised tomorrow, along with my husband who is having his "believers baptism" tomorrow as well. We are super duper happy and blessed!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Long Hair Nerd Fest

After using my Hair Bean in place of a regular brush for a week now, all I can say is: WOW. I am REALLY glad I tried this brush! There are several other similar brushes out there like the Tangle Teaser and this one and a few different versions from Michel Mercier. Obviously the Hair Bean is lower end and so is its price point. I have not tried the others but there are many reviews on youtube comparing these "detangling" brushes and many of them are done by long haired people.

Here's what I have observed this week: At certain points throughout the average week  before I switched brushes I always knew to expect more visually obvious breakage between oilings (I use olive oil once or twice a week). I often sit in a sunny window and dust my ends for breakage with good quality hair scissors and it seemed that, with my pre-Hair Bean regime that I would see new breakage no. matter. what. And that was really frustrating. Well, all week I have been scouring my hair for the usual splits and honestly, I am having a hard time finding them! I definitely have a lot of damage to my hair because it is always dry and fragile. I never use heat or styling products, I just have a genetic predisposition to easily damaged hair (as does my mom).

I don't baby my hair as much as I should. After years of trying to do all the right things to get as much length out of my hair as possible I gave up in frustration. Of course I still like having the healthiest hair I could, but given that I saw new breakage daily no matter how many times I oiled it, no matter how sparingly I used shampoo I figured there was just no fighting the genetic component so I focused on keeping the length I did have as healthy as I could given the amount of time I had to spend on it/myself.

So, I can't tell you how stoked I am to find that much of the new breakage I used to see on a daily brasis was caused by the pulling and snapping of using a regular brush. When I oil my hair, my damaged ends stay "glued" together for a day or two after I wash it. Eventually, after a few brushings I could see the pre-existing damage "unfold" from the folicle as the brush distrupted the glueing effect of the oil residue. The Hair Bean doesn't do that. It just detangles. That's it. No pulling, I have not broken a single hair by pulling with this brush. It's a LOT easier to clean out than a regular brush too and, as I mentioned in my last post it really helps shed pillow lint out of your hair (jersey or flannel pillow cases + recently washed hair = lintapalooza) and it just falls off the brush instead of getting all wrapped around the bristles.

My friend Justice over at Cutting Out Counting Calories turned me on to this woman's youtube channel which has been a fun way to indulge my inner hair nerd (as well as my inner corset nerd!). She has hairstyle tutorials, hair care tips, rants about how weird people can be about long hair and other interesting stuff.

All of that said, now that I feel like I can possibly get the upper hand on my breakage, I am going to make some changes to my hair care regimen. In the above link Lucy talks about why using hair products which contain silicones (or 'cones) works for her and I am of the same school of thought. Some long hairs say 'cones are really bad for their hair and others say they can improve hair health and texture. I have gone 'cone free in the past and my hair was even dryer than before. Like using oil, 'cones seal the hair, and they can either seal IN moisture, or seal it out. Many heat-buffering products contain silicone because they seal/protect the hair shaft (keeping the little flakie bits on the outside of the shaft flat instead of letting them stick out like a pinecone, which is basically what breakage is under a microscope) without causing a "cooking" effect like oil would. So, I am going to continue using 'cone containing products and leave-in "conditioners"/protectors like Organic Root Stimulator's line. This can be really helpful on windy days, btw.

I AM going to switch to a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner though. I live outside a small town of 15,000 people and we have NO specialty beauty or health food stores so my options are limited to drug stores and Wal Mart. If anyone has any suggestions of inexpensive products that do not contain sulfates, I'd be really appreciative if posted your recommendations in the comments!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stuff that might happen to you if you buy a house and how to be prepared!

So, in February my husband and I bought our first house. Now, if you had known us before, you'd probably be like 'WTF how did you pull that off??' because our financial situation has been less-than-steller for...well...ever. All I can say is that the universe is a weird place and I'm still having a hard time convincing myself it's okay to take the helmet off and emerge from the bunker...I am having a blast though, despite all the crazy stuff we're discovering (like the melted electrical outlets) and is generally awesome to finally have a real home.

But...weird stuff happens when you buy a house. Like, SURPRISEGoatPregnancy! We added a beautiful doe to our herd who was suspected to be in very early (accidental) pregnancy by her previous owners. Two weeks after we brought her home we got SURPRISEPrematureBabies! And it was actually pretty terrible because one of them was born with a fatal defect and didn't make it. But the other one is amazing! And we love her!

That very same day that we brought this SURPRISEPregnantGoat home we discovered our other doe had become pregnant during a planned liason with an unproven buck. Yadda yadda, goat jargon. ANYWAY, She is pregnant too, and in fact has been in early-stage labor since last night.

So, if you buy a house, just be aware: Goats. With babies inside them.

And also, asbestos flooring tile. Because, that probably lives under your carpet. At least it did under mine. If anyone ever wants to talk about DIY asbestos abatement I am now kind of an expert.

Lately, I have been thinking about stuff that normal girls and guys and non-gender-defined humans might want or need in order to make their initial house buying experience Here are some things you might want to consider having in your life. I have found all of the following to be fibromyalgia friendly and generally improved my quality of life while we were sleeping on a matress on bare sub floor and hoping our roof doesn't leak:

It might sound sort of cliche but you're going to want a Multi-Tool. A few years back my hubby was gaga over  a three peice multi-tool set for sale at Costco that we ended up buying for our anniversary. He later bequethed the medium sized tool to me and kept the large tool and the mini one with the flashlight for himself. In becoming a home owner I have started to develop my very own set of tools. People: Be prepared to buy yourself a tool box! And since I don't have one, I can't recommend one. If you can recommend a good, uber cheap tool box for a female-bodied person who cannot lift lots of heavy stuff all at once, I would be much obliged! Anyway, here is a link to a review of the multi-tool set we purchased. I am not sure if this particular set is even for sale anymore but it has been immeasurably handy. You should consider a multi-tool with both a phillips and a flat-head screw driver option, a knife and needle nose pliers. Especially if you have to remove bajillions of staples from your scary asbestos flooring (with appopriate safety equipment please and thank you). I have used this little tool to replace outlets and outlet covers, pick up dropped screws while wearing gloves and pulling out little bits of shrapnel from weird little places in my house.

You should also consider a valved respirator. This is the exact version I bought (several times over). It's an N-95 respirator, so it's considered medical quality. I did NOT use this for asbestos abatement and you shouldn't either. But, it did come in exceptionally handy for cleaning the scary amounts of mouse-poop that had accumulated in our home during the 9 months it was "unoccupied" (abandoned). It lasted forever because the valve wicks the moisture from your breath out of the mask, preventing the filtering media from getting bogged down by that moisture. It's cheap, infinitely reusable (unless you crawl under your house and the valve gets clogged with dirt, my husband can tell you about his personal experience with this) and comes in a  pack from Home Depot at a pretty decent discount. Our home was/is a fixer upper and was probably also the filthiest living space I have ever set foot in. Some sort of airway protection was obligatory for cleaning, not only because of the dust and god-knows-what but because of the chemicals I had to use to clean everything. I normally swear by home-made cleaning solutions like baking soda, vinegar and peroxide, but this time around I filled my cart up with oven-cleaner that made scary smokey fumes and soap for my kitchen cabinets. It's also great for wearing while doing your nails if fumes bother you! Here is the respirator in action:

Hey, do you own a shop-vac? If not, your life will get so much easier if you get one. I bought this one, though I think I paid quite a bit less for it. Seriously. It vacuums huge chunks of caved-in-ceiling-detritus (which has since been repaired, fear not) and nails and staples and mouse poop and stuff. If you want to vacuum dangerous stuff, including paint dust which almost certainly contains lead particles if your house was built before sometime in the 70's (I think?) then you will want to buy a special HEPA rated filter for your shop vac. You can also vacuum liquid. I haven't tried the liquid thing yet but seriously, this vacuum changed my life. Can you tell I really like vacuums?

I also got a really nifty super respirator that is rated for radioative air particles but I haven't really used it enough to review it. I did use it when dealing with asbestos but the jury is still out. Stay tuned for another product review on this shortly.

On a not-house related note, I bought a Hair Bean. If you are a long-hair, you should know that it is generally thought that brushes with the little balls on the end of the bristles cause damage by creating snags that break hair, at least this is the consensus among my long-haired brethren. I had been eyeing some Hair Beans at my local Grocery Outlet (I think it's a West Coast thing, it's a discount grocery store like Aldi or Canned Foods) for $5.99 and, after dealing with constant new breakage forming in my hair despite my best efforts and rigorous oiling and dusting, I decided to invest in one. Until now I have always used paddle brushes with the little balls on the bristles and never considered whether or not this was detrimental to my hair - In fact, I was even a little skeptical about it right up until I used the Hair Bean. It does NOT snag your hair, and in using it I realized just how many snags I felt with each stroke of my old paddle brush. The Hair Bean physically cannot break your hair strands. The bristles, which do not have balls on the ends, are so soft and flexible that they cannot cause snags. That said, my hair is fairly thick and so it was not easy to brush my hair in my usual fashion using the Hair Bean. While this brush's bristles are too short and too soft to "penetrate" into a thick lock of hair, it works marvelously if you seperate your hair into two locks and brush that way. You can even flip your hair over upside down and brush from the nape of the neck with no snagging whatsoever. As you can see from the link above, this is geared toward kids with sensitive scalps, but as an adult who wants to baby their hair, it'll work just as well unless your hair is very very thick AND coarse. It works really well for long hair and actually works well for styling bangs and creating side-parts.

And, just for your amusement, here is a photo of me in my haz-mat getup preparing to attempt to remove asbestos tiles (using appropriate safety procedures):

Thursday, February 14, 2013


I am super behind on a lot of reviews I wanted to do and some manicures I wanted to share. Once again I only have poor quality pics to post here and I am so sorry for that because I recently recieved some amazing nail polishes as birthday gifts that I wanted to showcase here!

The hand on the right (the one with the ring, technically MY left hand) is Maybelline Color Show in Green with Envy 320. Goes on fairly opaque for a light color, pictured are only two coats instead of the three or four I would expect with similar colors. It stayed on the longest of all of the colors in this image and because it is light it doesn't show chips as much as darker colors do.

On the other hand are Maybelline Color Show in Shocking Seas 370 (pinky and middle finger) and Blue Blowout 80 (ring and index finger) - both very similar colors as you can see but Blue Blowout is very metallic. I had every intention of using my new nail stamps to do a mermaid themed manicure but this is as far as I got! My husband and I switched desks and so my manicure surface is much smaller now and I just need to get my act together and plan to have a clean space to use for a stamp manicure.

I LOVE all three of these colors. I want to experiment with a different base/topcoat (I currently use Sally Hansen Double Duty but hope to upgrade when I can find an affordable, cruelty free topcoat of higher quality). I have I believe two more from my friend that I have not tried yet but hope to experiment with and share soon!

In the same batch of amazing gifties I got two of Revlon Moon Candy colors though they do not appear to have color names (and their website SUCKS and does not show the color combinations available). I just read that Revlon has come out with a bunch of new colors in this line and it looks like the new formula colors have been adjusted. I REALLY like these and I hope they have not altered them too much because I think they are so subtle and perfect!

The first one pictured is not black but a very dark blue base coat with bits of foil or "flakeys" in a blue jelly. The second one is a dark military green with yellow flakeys and it reminded me so much of nori seaweed when I was wearing it!! I wish the second photo came out better because it does not really show off the unusual colors and depth this combo has. In photos of the recently released formulas the "nori" themed duo is a lot lighter green.

Part of the reason I have been delayed on this post is because my husband and I just bought a house! It's been a hectic few weeks with my birthday, a visit from my mom, a mysterious and persistent ear malady that has thankfully subsided and now futurehouse! I will absolutely post more updates about that soon! For now I wanted to focus on fun product reviews before shit gets real.

I placed an order with Sephora in order to recieve some birthday freebies from them which you can sign up for here. I opted for the Real Birthday Turn Ons from Benefit which comes with a mini highlighter/luminizer called Watts Up (link will lead you to the full size version) and They're Real mini mascara. I have only ever tried drug-store mascaras so I was really impressed with the quality of the wand that comes with the mascara. It's not 100% smudge/water proof but it's darn close and it's very easy to apply one coat. However I attempted to apply two coats and instead of beautiful eyelashes I ended up with teeth-like clumps sticking out from my eyelids. NOT the mascara's fault, I just need to improve my application technique or stick to one coat. The highlighter is REALLY shimmery at first though after a few hours seems to basically wear off entirely. It's probably not something I would have bought for myself but it's been fun to experiment with.

I got two other skin-care samples and retained the packages so that I could do a review but honestly after only using each of them for two days I can't tell you enough about them to make it worth the time to post photos and links and all that jazz. If I purchase the products I'll definitely do a review but, being a homeowner now I think my self-customization allowance just became my house-customization allowance!

I also bought some clearance Sephora brand nail bling decal thingies (they have since sold out of the ones I purchased) - they are full nail stickers like what Revlon has been selling. They were very pretty but did not take kindly to being coated in clear polish - the surface of them got all crinkly and rough feeling. They stayed on extremely well and didn't show any wear besides the unusual surface effect for three days. For $3 I would totally buy them again however I believe Sephora is discontinuing them. They were very easy to remove as well, no polish remover needed and withstood showering and hand washing very nicely.

Another lovely friend just sent me a whole package of lovely stuff from ELF that I cannot wait to share photos of! I am playing with those things tonight while watching BBC's Sherlock Holmes.