How Does Ealasaid Keep her Hair so Green?

I get a LOT of compliments on my spiffy green hair:


I also get asked by my friends, “did you just regreen it recently?” — when I haven’t. My hair stays nice and solid green for a good 4-6 weeks before I have to redye it.

As you can probably guess from my post about having long hair, I don’t really do things half-assedly, so when I started dying my hair, I started collecting all the various things one can do to help it stay bright and fresh.

Here’s my list of tips/tricks – I’ll do my best to update it if/when I add new things.

  • I always bleach my hair first.
    This is kind of a given, but even light-haired folks will benefit from it – the bleach opens up the cuticle of the hair.
  • After I put the dye in, I wrap my head in plastic wrap and leave it on overnight.
    This keeps the dye from drying out and lets it have extra time to soak into my hair. I also put a black towel on my pillow.
  • When I rinse the dye out of my hair the next day, I use water as cold as I can stand.
    I continue using as-cold-as-I-can-stand every day as well.
  • After that first rinse, I pour white vinegar over it, then rinse that out (again, with cold water).
    This is like the vinegar soak you do when dying clothing, it helps close the cuticle of the hair back up with the dye inside. When I started doing this, it stopped my color leakage cold. I can sleep on my white-with-snowflakes sheets two days after dying my hair and there’s zero dye on the pillow!
  • I don’t use shampoo.
    This is a habit I picked up when I was growing my hair long, and it’s serving me well even with short hair. I use a non-silicone-bearing conditioner (check the ingredients carefully, anything with “cone” at the end is a type of silicone, and those require detergent to get out of your hair – i.e., shampoo – so no product with ‘cone in it either) and that’s it. On the very rare occasions I feel the need to use shampoo, I use a really gentle, for-dyed-or-damaged-hair shampoo and don’t scrub at my hair much or at all.

This combo is working really well for me! Here’s a shot from when I was undergoing a medical trial and couldn’t redye my hair, so I had my stylist cut it into this awesome style. I believe when this photo was taken, I hadn’t dyed my hair in at least 8 weeks.

E and Z

Dig that green, yo. Also dig my awesome cat.

NOTE: People and their hair vary, so I’m not saying everybody should do all of these. It’s just what’s working for me. Experiment and find out what works for you!

Got a tip for keeping dyed hair looking fresh? Leave it in the comments! I’m always looking for new tricks to try.

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2015 – Discernment, More and Less

New Years resolutions aren’t my thing anymore – like a lot of my friends, I choose a word for my year, set a few goals, and that’s about it.

Last year was recognition – as in recognizing my own habits, recognizing opportunities to use what I already know, and also being recognized/recognizing myself for my talents.

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Peter and Gamora in “Guardians of the Galaxy”

(Yeah, it’s a pretty lackluster title. I’m out of practice, I guess!)

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is easily one  of the best Marvel studios films so far, and I’m pleased to see it getting lots of good press and accolades (and called out on the small handful of things it swings and misses on). There’s one thing people are complaining about, though, that chaps my hide.

The relationship between Gamora and Peter.


So many folks are griping that he’s just like Kirk and she’s reduced to a love interest, and so on.

completely disagree and am really disappointed that nobody seems to interpret their character arcs the way I do. So, since I for once am able to make the time to write a damn post, here we go.

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I’m not dead, just not blogging as much as I wish I had the time/spoons to. :)

Hannibal Season 2 ended last week, and now we’re in the hiatus #HeAteUs until late this year or early next year.

It’s evidence of how little I’ve been blogging that I only have one post specifically about the show.

I have a lot of feels about the finale, but lack the bandwidth to blog about them, at least so far. We’ll see how that goes.

For them as don’t know me offline or follow me on various social media, I’m doing well. I am also, however, actually working to take care of myself on top of my high-priority to-do items, and that means that lower-priority ones (like blogging) tend to fall by the wayside. It’s the pits.

If you miss me, feel free to follow me on Twitter or Tumblr. I’m active on both way more frequently than I am here (although my Tumblr is largely reblogs, including of copious Hannibal gifs, so it’s certainly not for everyone!).

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May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month!

So, May 12 is the official Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, but May in general is being promoted as Fibromyalgia Awareness Month, so I’m posting now to do my part!

Fibromyalgia is a nasty critter. Whether it’s a syndrome or a disease (or something else entirely) is still up for debate. What is generally agreed upon is that there is a collection of symptoms which tend to occur together, ranging from overall body pain to elevated levels of particular chemicals in patients’ spinal fluid.

Pretty much every patient experiences fibromyalgia a little differently, and many folks have one or more of a collection of other chronic conditions (interstitial cystitis, migraines, IBS, environmental sensitivities, TMJ, etc. Plus, of course, anxiety and depression, because being in long-term pain messes up your brain chemistry). This makes diagnosis tricky, and treatment even trickier.

My own personal situation (partly due to fibro and partly due to comorbid issues) is:

  • Frequent headaches, caused by an inflamed disk in my neck or stress or sinus pressure or any one of a million other things. If left untreated (painkillers and rest), they turn into migraines (complete with vomiting and the need for prescription stuff to make them go away).
  • All-over body pain. Think the aches you get when you have the flu.
  • Increased pain sensitivity. If I’m flared up, a friendly clap on the shoulder is really painful. It’s kind of like when you have a sunburn, only in my tissue rather than on the surface.
  • Sensitivity to acidic beverages and foods. Too much coffee/tea/etc. and too little water, and … let’s say the symptoms are not dissimilar to a UTI, except if I drink enough water it goes away. I’m sensitive to citrus anyway, but even if I weren’t, drinking a glass of orange juice on a day I’m a little dehydrated would be a bad idea.
  • Sensitivity to scents. There are some things that just smell like pain to me. Lavender in particular, but plenty of synthetic scents and flowers do me in too.
  • Food sensitivities. I have a long list of foods I really shouldn’t eat regularly, so I do my best to avoid them day-to-day and then when I’m out with friends or whatever, if I have some, it’s okay. But on the daily? Baaaaad idea.
  • Brain fog. This is very common with fibro patients, and with chronic pain patients in general. It’s like being really sleep-deprived or sick, where your brain feels wrapped in cotton and it’s hard to remember things or multitask. Some days it’s better than others, and I have mostly gotten it under control with medication, but when my fibro flares, it gets bad too.
  • Disturbed sleep. Before I started taking supplements to help, I woke up enough to roll over, look at the clock, realize I could go back to sleep, and then go back to sleep multiple times a night. Like, once or twice an hour on a bad night. I didn’t even know that was weird until a nutritionist I was working with on fibro issues asked me about it. The first night I slept all the way through freaked me out because I literally had never experienced it as a regular thing. (There’s some chicken-and-egg questioning about whether the sleep disturbance is due to the fibro, or the fibro is due to the sleep disturbance. Either way, pain isn’t conducive to good sleep, and lack of sleep is a stress on the body.)
  • Fatigue. Not just from the disturbed sleep, but in general. I aim for nine hours of sleep a night, but usually get more like 7.5 or 8, which is just not enough. I tire out easily, and more things tire me than just physical exertion. It’s really annoying.
  • Stress sensitivity. If I’m working too hard or worrying too much, I’ll get flared up.
  • Joint issues. These are probably unrelated but certainly aren’t helped by my fibro. My knees have been messed up since I hit puberty — my IT band was too tight until I had a lengthening surgery in 2009. Tight IT band = kneecap pulled to the outside = squished cartilage = ow. I also have carpal tunnel syndrome, probably from my first time doing NaNoWriMo (I was also working half a dozen freelance type jobs at the time, most of which involved typing), and an inflamed disk in my neck which gives me awful headaches.
  • Depression and anxiety. Unsurprisingly, being in pain 24/7 is not great for your general mood or outlook on life!

I’m fortunate that I’ve gotten very good treatment over the years, so I know what I need to do to recover from a flare. 9/10 of the time, when I flare, I know what I did to set it off. I have a decent self-care regimen — but, of course, things change and shift over time, and my tolerances all affect each other, so things may be obvious in retrospect but less so in the moment.

Plus, of course, the whole fibro fog thing makes it difficult. Nate has been a huge help, not just because he encourages me to care for myself and also takes care of me when I need it, he has a clear perspective of overall patterns which I have trouble seeing myself.

So. That’s what my experience of fibromyalgia is like. I’m not looking for sympathy or coddling, I am looking to raise awareness. This is how I experience fibro. Other people with fibro have similar experiences to a greater or lesser extent.

Those of you who see me in person, consider for a moment that every time you have seen me, I have been in pain. Not always a lot of pain, but always at least some. This shit is invisible. You can’t know who has it and who doesn’t unless they tell you.

Let’s raise awareness. Too many people go undiagnosed or get the brushoff from doctors. Fibromyalgia is real, and it fuckin’ sucks.

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Wrapping up 30 Days of Lists!

It’s a good thing that there’s no wrong way to do the lists, because boy howdy have I not been following my plan — to do it every day. OH WELL.

Much to my annoyance, I had a draft for days 17-20, but it has vanished into the ether. Guess I will try to recreate them from memory!

Day 17: People I want to be like when I grow up

There are a lot of people I admire greatly, but I have finally started feeling like an adult, so my actual answer is pretty short:

  • Myself

I want to be like my own self when I grow up. So my job is figuring out what that means, and I’ve been working on it really hard for a long time. Now, at 36, I am finally starting to feel like I know what that means.

Day 18: Where I take out of town guests

Oooo good times! In the SF Bay Area:

  • The Winchester Mystery House
  • Alcatraz
  • Big Basin

In Portland:

  • Portland Japanese Garden
  • International Rose Test Garden
  • Lan Su Chinese Garden
  • Powell’s City of Books

Day 19: “Pins” to try

I don’t really use Pinterest enough to do this list.

Day 20: When I was your age

Oh man. So if the target audience is, say, a high schooler:

  • I didn’t have internet access because the internet barely even existed.
  • I didn’t have a cellphone for basically the same reason.
  • I used a typewriter for my essays and lab reports, not a computer (I did that for my frosh year of college, too)


Day 21: The perfect _____________ involves _____________

Oh man, I could probably do this list forEVER.

  • The perfect day involves reading
  • The perfect life involves cats
  • The perfect evening involves tasty food/drink and good friends
  • The perfect weekend involves sleeping in
  • The perfect video game involves a lot of humor, or at least a light tone


Day 22: This week’s playlist

I listen to music so rarely these days that I guess I will have to use my podcast playlist!

Day 23: It’s time for ….

  • A nap.
  • Lunch.
  • Cards Against Humanity!


Day 24: Best ways to show love

Well, this depends on the person, really. If the person in question is me, the best ways to show (me) love:

  • Ask me questions about my day/activities/cats/whatever. Be interested in what I’m up to!
  • Remembering what I like and letting me know when you see something I’d like that’s on sale or something.
  • Doing or saying something to let me know you were thinking about me when we weren’t together.

Basically just letting me know I’m important. Insecure attachment style + (mostly controlled) Impostor Complex = needs lots of reassurance. :)


Day 25: Songs I’ll record for my album

Oh man. Going by the songs I love performing for karaoke or Rock Band and/or sing along with loudest on the rare occasions I listen to music:

There’d be Dethklok on here if I could do the vocals properly. But I can’t, so no ‘klok. Woe.

I also have a dream of fronting an all-gal band that only does covers of songs written/performed by men about women that are creepy as shit. That playlist:

That’s a list that could be a LOT longer, but I haven’t been keeping it up to date. Time to change that, I think! Putting it into Evernote so I can add things as I think of them. :D

Day 26: Make up your own holidays

Weirdly, this is giving me a lot of trouble. I really like the holidays we have already!

  • Love Your Bookstore Day! Everyone goes to a local bookstore and buys a book. This is celebrated at least once a month.

Day 27: Go to meals/recipes when I have guests

  •  Mongolian Beef
  • Ordering pizza

I know, I’m such a thrilling host.

Day 28: I feel my best when

I feel my best physically when…

  • I’ve been getting 9 hours of sleep a night
  • I’ve been exercising regularly and eating well
  • I’ve been doing yoga regularly

I feel my best mentally when…

  • I’ve just finished Aikido class
  • I’m doing sitting practice every day
  • I’m getting quality time with one of the cats.

Day 29: Favorite local businesses

Oh this one’s easy.

I know I’m forgetting some but just can’t think of them. Argh.

Day 30: Historical figures I would like to meet

  • John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
  • Jesus
  • The Buddha
  • Gerald Gardner
  • Oscar Wilde (preferably via time machine so I could convince him either to dump Bosie before all that shit went down or talk him out of the libel suit)
  • Ada Lovelace
  • Hypatia

Again, I know I’m forgetting some. Very annoying.

And there we are! Done.


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More 30 Days of Lists Catch-up!

Man, I just cannot stay on top of these. But they say there’s no wrong way to do 30 Days of Lists, so I am not going to stress about it. :)

Day 12 – Things I always do for myself

There are a lot of ways to take this prompt. Is it things I always do myself rather than having others do them? Things I always do that are for me that are nice? Things I almost always do for me that are nice? Any sort of things I do for me?

Really, any list where I rigidly enforce the always is going to be pretty short. I am many things but 100% consistent isn’t one of them. I’m as human as the next person, and human means flaws and inconsistency.

But. Nice things I do for myself with regularity:

  • Ask Nate for hugs when I need them.
  • Set money aside for retirement.
  • Work on making myself/my environment better, or at least not consciously making things worse.
  • Daily meditation and spiritual practice (more days than not, at least. I often don’t on non-work days because of their lack of structure).
  • Buy books.
  • Read books.
  • Take time to unwind in the evening.

Day 13 – Describe your childhood home

Oo! Fun!

  • Big (two stories, four bedrooms; one of those was set aside for my parents’ books)
  • Full of books (see above about the library bedroom; also pretty much every room in the house had bookshelves in it. The bathrooms didn’t have shelves but there were always books on the toilet tank lids)
  • Wood floors
  • At Christmas, full of Christmas-tree smell and baking-cookies smell (Dad had a tradition of baking a TON of cookies every holiday season, for us and for friends & family and for parties and and and!)
  • Quiet (no tv on in the background, very little radio on in the background. Lots of reading)
  • Packed with lots of interesting and useful equipment! (camping, horseback riding, playing in the snow, we did all kinds of cool stuff, and had all kinds of cool equipment for it, from my snow saucer to the canvas A-frame tent Mom lived in as a kid)

Day 14 – Favorite treats when traveling

I don’t really treat myself when I’m traveling, though I probably should. Really, the one treat around traveling I love and am generally good at is cleaning before I leave – coming home to clean sheets and clean towels is so nice.

Day 15 – Things I only bought once or twice in my life

Oh ho! This is tricky.

  • My car (One was bought for me when I was in college. I bought my beloved Honda Civic, and that’s it so far)
  • Seriously high-quality dresses (there’s the one I got married in and the one I got to officiate Jenny’s wedding, and that’s it)
  • Messenger bags. I think I’ve only had the one I used back in school and my current one (a ThinkGeek Bag of Holding, which I ADORE)

Day 16 – This week’s to do list

Hoo boy!

  • Tons of work stuff (release on Friday, wheeeee)
  • Laundry
  • Clean
  • Work on unpacking more (maybe start hanging art? Would love to unpack that!)
  • Find another craft fair or two to apply to
  • Bind a bunch of books
  • Track down tax stuff for tax guy
  • More things I am probably forgetting. Been a long day.
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30 Days of Lists: Catching Up!

Busybusybusy. Started this yesterday, then got distracted by shit and left off around Day 9. Pfah!

Day 7: Favorite childhood games/tasks

  • Playing the board games my folks have in the linen closet. Lots of Bookshelf games, whose names I do not now remember. Smess: The Ninny’s Chess. Monopoly.
  • I played a lot of pretend, especially as Darth Vader to the neighbor kids’ Luke and Leia. Good times.
  • SCA events
  • Racing my pony around the arena and pretending to be Conan or pretending to be flying a spaceship with my crop as a joystick (pew pew pew!).

Day 8: How I feel today

Let’s do today today, rather than yesterday today.

  • Tired. I haven’t been getting enough sleep. No good.
  • Sore. Been skimping on my knee exercises, so they are achy.
  • Anxious. Yay brain goblins.
  • Pleased with myself – I’ve gotten a bunch done today and alos have been doing really well playing “Dishonored” lately. W00t!

Day 9: Keep calm and….

I’ve started finding all versions of this to be a bit twee. I really love the sentiment of the original (Keep Calm and Carry On), in large part because I love the way Britain handled WWII. The whole “fuck the Nazis, we will rebuild everything they knock down just as it was before, and if they knock it down again, we will rebuild it again. They don’t get to make permanent marks on our cities! We will have as-normal-as-possible lives, dammit!”

(I’m personally of the opinion that this is the attitude to have toward any sort of terrorist-style destruction. Letting the baddies change your city means letting them control you and make indelible marks you have to see every day. That gives them a lot of power, and I am not a fan of giving those unmitigated shitweasels anything.)

So, no list on this one. Or rather, a short list:

  1. Keep Calm and Carry On

Day 10: If I Ruled the World

Bwah-haha! OK, assuming that I somehow was able to have the power to actually enforce shit but not in a fascist sort of way (I’m envisioning democracy at the local/state/national level, and I’d be the equivalent of the EU/UN, only not incompetent and powerless), here would be my priorities:

  1. Every human has the right to the following:
    1. Food
    2. Water
    3. Healthcare
    4. Education (at least up through an Associates degree, if not a Bachelors, to include sex education as well as comprehensive health/drug education)
    5. Communication (e.g. the internet, cell towers, other infrastructure)
    6. Reasonable privacy (e.g. opting out of things must be respected, no unreasonable search/seizure, etc.)
    7. Control of their own body (e.g. legalizing most drugs, legalizing abortion, no laws against gay marriage or homosexuality in general, etc. Obviously this stops applying to felons, who have to go to jail, where I’d want them to still have the other rights, at least the basic first four)
  2. Transition to sustainable power sources only asap — e.g., all new cars must run on electricity, all new buildings must have solar panels and other energy-efficient stuff, grants to building owners who want to put solar panels or bird-safe wind turbines on their buildings/parking lots, etc.)
    Note: all wind farms would be required to slow their turbines to a speed that’s safe for bats, raptors, and other wildlife. I’m okay with wind power when it’s not decimating endangered species.
  3. Water conservation! Grants for installing gray-water systems, taxes on stupid shit like huge fountains and lawns in deserts, sliding scale water prices (so the less you use, the less you pay per gallon). There’d be a base amount available free to individuals’ homes/apartments, but beyond that, they’d start paying. Companies using water stupidly will pay through the nose, bigtime.
  4. Organic food only. Most pesticides act on our bodies like hormones, and it is fucking up our shit big time.
  5. Finding some way to encourage cities/individuals to archive things, and not digitally. Digital is too hard to keep updated as technologies change, and too susceptible to rain/EMP/crushing damage. I’m all for public libraries culling to keep their collections up to date, but someone somewhere should be archiving things. Ephemera, too. Like, all magazines should be sending copies to a handful of archives around the country, someone should be archiving comic zines and other zines, etc. This shit matters, people.

Can you tell I think about this a lot? Also that I have Very Strong Opinions?

Day 11: When I Need to Focus, I…

  • Take a few deep breaths to center myself and become aware of my surroundings — ensuring that I’m fully present.
  • If that doesn’t work well enough, there’s a technique whose provenance I cannot recall where you visualize a spinning ball behind your forehead, inside your brain, and it’s like a magnet, pulling all the fragments of your attention back from work/school/projects/whatever. Once they’re all sucked in and part of the ball, you take a deep breath and sink it down into your center. I also like to then take a layer of it and expand that layer out to be all around me, like a shield of attention which only allows things into my consciousness if they’re helpful, and doesn’t let my attention fritter away.
  • Put on headphones with white noise and/or Mozart. I love SimplyNoise and SimplyRain for white noise, and often open them in multiple tabs so I can layer different noises over one another. It’s so good for blocking out people talking!
  • Another useful tool is setting a timer for 5 minutes and making a list of every single open loop/distraction/stressor going on for me. After the timer goes off, then I list what I can do about each thing (often, the answer is nothing!). The things I can do become a to-do list, and the things I can’t do anything about get categorized into “welp, nothing I can do there!” and dismissed.
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30 Days of Lists: Day 6! Projects I’m in the Middle Of

Bahahahaha oh man. So many. So, so many. Let’s number this list to see how scary it is.

  1. Knitting a [redacted because he reads this blog] for my Dad. Almost done! GAH!
  2. Knitting a temperature scarf for 2013.
  3. Unpacking from the move.
  4. Ongoing: Binding books for The Book Roadie.
  5. Ongoing: Finding craft fairs to vend at for The Book Roadie.
  6. Shelving my books. I basically finished, except for a stack of graphic novels which needs to be double-checked so I’m sure it’s in my LibraryThing database.
  7. My 2013 taxes. Prepping to meet with my shiny new CPA next week. Yikes.
  8. Re-dying my hair green. Did the roots last night, doing the green this afternoon.
  9. Researching book-related deities.
  10. Paying off my credit cards.
  11. Registering The Book Roadie as a business in Oregon.
  12. Ongoing: Reading the books in my To Read bookcase. Someday, someday I will be down to just a little stack of unread books again. Someday.
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30 Days of Lists: Day 5!

Today’s list: Favorite Fictional Couples!

Oooo fun! In no particular order:

  • Gomez and Morticia AddamsGomez and Morticia Addams have long been my ideal couple, and will probably stay that way.
  • Abigail Wendover and Miles Calvery in Georgette Heyer’s “Black Sheep.” I love Heyer’s regencies, they are the only romances apart from Jane Austen that I can stand, and I generally adore them.
  • Speaking of Austen: Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in “Pride & Prejudice.”
  • Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt from “Parks & Recreation” on NBC. Seriously, they have one of the sweetest and best relationships on TV, and I adore them. ADORE.
  • They are followed closely by April and Andy, on the same show. They’re a couple who really complement each other and bring out the best in each other, and it’s awesome.
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