I’ve been sick for eight and a half days now. Eight and a half days. The only other time I can remember being sick with anything for that long is the respiratory flu in ninth grade.
Today, I stepped foot outside my apartment for the first time in seven days. I hacked, snuffled, moaned and whined for a half an hour as I threw on some clothes and makeup, gave Andy dirty looks and crawled into the car, going through half a pack of tissues and several cough drops on the way to church. We pulled into the parking lot, I came close to both tears and nausea and we turned around and headed back home, where I crawled right back into bed and slept for another three hours.
I read a 300 page book yesterday. I read 50 pages of a super boring book today and spent the rest of the day watching nine episodes of Psych Season 2. I’ve barely left my favorite corner of the couch for a week. There’s been take-out, and varied medicines, there’s been 7 am bowls of ramen soup and an entire bag of baking chocolate chips consumed.
Why? I’m a healthy individual. It’s just a cold. I spend every day resting, eating loads of antioxidants, drinking more fluids than my body should be able to contain and taking frequent three hour naps. I’ve even worked it out so that I can watch TV on my iMac from the couch without getting up to change episodes, once I realized that my wireless mouse and keyboard worked from across the room. Each evening I go to bed confident that I will wake up renewed and refreshed and ready to move on with my life.
And what happens? I wake myself each morning around 5 or 6 coughing a lung up. I drag myself out of bed to a hot cup of cocoa and a bowl of whatever soup is handy and spend the rest of the day croaking.
So why, I ask you???
Andy’s theory is that it’s the coffee I drank each morning for a week a little while ago in an attempt to get up earlier (he also calls coffee, DayQuil, Ibuprofen, and chai tea “drugs” with that special inflection reserved for only the most nefarious of items).
I think that the culprit is rest. I think that, just like sleep, my body is making up for the years of enforced containment of colds and sickness as I refused to let it get in the way of work, fun, homework, studying, or anything. It’s saying Leah, you WILL stay on this couch until you’ve paid your debt to your immune system.
So here I am. Going to bed with more dreams of grandeur while, deep down, the hope is gone. How many episodes of Psych will it be tomorrow? Ten?
To make up for the horrid blueness of this post, here’s a few pretty pictures of fall in the area – my last memories of the outdoors before I became chained to my living room -
Two things come to mind when I think of perfection.
First is a conversation with a roommate from college in the college cafeteria over, probably, bundt cake. I said, quite emphatically, “I would rather get to eat the food I enjoy than look perfectly skinny.” Let’s forget that we ended the conversation by planning to do 100 crunches every night until the Christmas ball (let’s also forget that I didn’t even do 1 crunch).
Secondly is a comment I got from a new reader the other day, where she said that she started out reading my post assuming that it would be a picture of perfection, only to be refreshed when it turned out that I was really just finding something happy in the midst of a day that could have been a mess. I emailed her back that when I ever do write about a perfect moment, it’s because I’m trying to relish the one-in-a-million-ness of the incident.
I’d been contemplating doing a blog post on the idea of perfection – physical, mental, whatever – when Brene Brown (over at Ordinary Courage blog) made it easy for me. Head on over to her The Perfect Protest post and you’ll understand the following two photos. (Incidentally, Karen Walrond is also doing a blog post in honor of Brene Brown.)
If you want proof that I don’t believe in perfect, please notice that I have day-old mascara smudged under my eyes, chipping nailpolish on my fingers, and I was taking a break from dusting before cleaning the bathrooms in these photos.
How aren’t you perfect???
Last night, I was watching the awesome Carrie Underwood in a music video for her song, “Undo It.” I have long felt that Carrie Underwood is, in my humble opinion, the prettiest celebrity out there. This is due, undoubtedly, to her absolutely gorgeous, flawless, unbelievable skin.
I recognize that every celebrity has loads of cosmetic help with their skin but sometimes, the person just has an unfair advantage over the rest of us to begin with. (Having an awesome, killer voice can’t hurt anything, either.)
I’ve always had a hate relationship with my skin. No love. It has always been contrary, annoying, and occasionally mutinous. But in the last year, my skin and I have reached an uneasy truce. It agrees to be somewhat manageable, as long as I allow it to be a closet tyrant and was willing to try skin care products the world over and only give it what it loved. And believe me, I have tried skin care products the world over. You name it, I have tried it. Tea tree oil, raw egg yolk, chemicals, toothpaste, pills. Nothing was too extreme for me to try over the years.
So I decided to share with you the skin care products that I’ve found to work. My hope is that I am not the only 25 year old out there with the skin of a 15 year old… petty, rebellious, mean skin.
I have a couple of unique requirements for my skin care products. First off, I have not tried any tricyclines or Accutane. I have had dermatologists attempt to push these on me but I refused. The potential internal ramifications bothered me, as well as the idea of chemically induced good skin. I have been very upfront with my dermatologist that I was willing to live with Not Perfect skin, as long as it got better. Secondly, I can’t use anything with salicylic acid. My skin hates it. Hates hates hates it. I’ve tried many expensive products with salicylic acid and nope, my skin dies when I put it on.
Lastly, I prefer to focus on healing my skin, on making it healthier, rather than targeting specific blemishes. So the products I use mostly point to nourishing my skin, not quick fixes.
So here we go…
This is what I start with. Simple, efficient, and miraculous eye make up remover. Mary Kay products can be found by consulting an independent seller in your area.
This, my friends, is black soap. In all my discoveries, this is the best one. This is what I use to wash my face, twice a day. It comes in a hard concentrate in a jar, which you then fill with water and let sit so that it begins to form a highly concentrated liquid soap. You pour a bit into your hand, lather up, and scrub away. It lasts for months and months, and you just keep adding water to top the jar off. You’re most likely to find this in a natural or organic shop.
Black soap is wonderful because it not only cleans your skin fantastically, but it is gentle, and it has anti-blemish properties.
Twice a week I follow up with a little bit of this:
Mixed with this:
The first is a basic facial scrub and the second is a green tea masque, both made by BeautiControl. I have really fallen in love with BeautiControl products. My aunt sells them, and they work excellently. To find them, you need to find an independent consultant in your area. These two products combined make for an excellent exfoliation with plenty of nutritive properties.
Once or twice a week, I follow up my regular wash with this masque instead:
This detoxifying clay masque, also by BeautiControl, is probably my favorite skin care product. It (sometimes visibly, ick) pulls out impurities, and after being washed off, it leaves your skin soft, supple and happy. Very happy. My sister, after first trying this product, was reported to have run down the stairs into the living room, rubbing her face and yelling “This stuff is AMAZING!!!”
Once I’m done with all my washing/scrubbing/exfoliating/detoxifying or whatever else I’m doing that day, I use this:
I use this twice a day. I bought this in May and look how little I’ve had to go through! One good, hard swipe with a cotton ball over my face leaves it tingly and purified. It really helps with both oil and large pores. Clinique products always get my vote because of their gentleness.
This lotion works wonders and never leaves me with blemishes or excess oil, as most lotions are bound to do. This little bottle has lasted me for over a year now. Definitely worth the investment.
I came across a flyer for this new product last spring, and used my birthday money to purchase it. I was looking for a natural product to help with extensive scarring, hoping to avoid Cortisone injections. This Clinique Even Better skin tone corrector was just the ticket. It relies mostly on vitamins to restore health to your scarred areas, and works to dispel the excess pigment while helping your skin to heal. It is expensive, but it is worth it. I’ve used it for four months and am actually reaching the end of my need for it. So it’s a great one-time investment.
To deal with actual blemishes, I haven’t found anything better than this Neutrogena treatment. It’s cheap, and it works great.
Lastly, do not forget to use daily sunblock whether you have problem skin or not. This is my favorite, although Clinique’s CityBlock is also excellent. This, however, is cheaper, available at the drugstore, and works just as well. No oil or anything to grease up your skin. I just apply it right before my makeup.
And there you go! I realize that it seems like a lot for the little oval of skin that is your face. But your face is the first thing (most) people see; it is probably your most obvious feature. Feeling great about your face can work wonders on your sense of self and on others’ perceptions of you. Being healthy is always beautiful!
It pains me to say it, but I am not going to be a good mom.
The fact is, I just always thought I would. I’ve got a multitude of younger siblings and I figured out the whole multi-tasking, care-taking, loving, talking thing years ago. Psh, no problem. Um, maybe not.
I began to be a little shaken in my certainty on this when I was home visiting a couple of weeks ago. My Mom had been away for a couple of days when I arrived, so I stepped in to help my Dad and other siblings with taking care of the kids. No problem. I got them settled down, cleaned, tucked in, prayed with, to sleep.
Next morning, made sure their beds were made, made sure they had breakfast and were comfortable. Then, while jotting down a grocery list on the phone with my Mom, my eight year old sister, B, walked into the room in her jammies.
“B, do you want to go shopping with me and Andy?”
“Okay, go get dressed.”
A moment later, B reenters, wearing old sweats and her jammies shirt.
“B, let’s get you some jeans.”
“I don’t want to go, my throat and tummy hurt.”
“Ok…” Leah assumes here that B just misses her Mom and wants attention. ”Well, how about if I get you a McDonald’s milkshake while we’re out to make your throat feel better?”
“Okay, go get dressed.”
A few minutes later, Leah finds B pulling clothes aimlessly out of her drawers.
“B, did you find some jeans?”
“I don’t want to have to wear jeans! My tummy hurts! I don’t want to go.” B bursts into tears.
“Okay, B, it’s okay honey” Leah gives lots of hugs and kisses. “Why don’t you just stay here, and I’ll have J get you some good things to drink and you can just watch some movies. Oh, you feel a little warm, hon. Why don’t you put on some shorts.”
I leave B at home with her brothers on the couch watching some movies, without a second thought. A few hours later, my Mom arrives home and gives me a call on my cell:
“Leah, B has strep throat. She had a 102 fever and I’m calling the doctor.”
What?! I am such a bad sister. How did I ignore the warmth on her forehead? She said her throat hurt, why didn’t I call to tell my Mom? Why didn’t I call the doctor? Why didn’t I stay home with her? Why didn’t I get her some tylenol and ice cream? How could I not know??? And how did my Mom know, after being home for two minutes?
My faith in myself as a caretaker was severely shaken. Severely. But, undaunted by my recent failures, I proceeded to fail again.
Friday night, Andy approaches me.
“Leah, I feel really sick.”
“Oh, honey, it’s fine. Why don’t you just get a snack and relax for a while.”
Saturday afternoon, after lunch with friends:
“Leah, I feel really sick.”
“What’s the matter?”
“My stomach hurts and my throat is really sore, and I feel achy all over.”
“Well, maybe you got a little stomach bug. It’ll be fine.”
Saturday night, while we are attempting to do some very labor-intensive chores around the living room:
“Leah, I feel really sick.”
“Still your stomach?”
“Well, my throat hurts the worst. I need to sit down, I can’t work anymore.”
“Oh, can’t you just do a little more? I’m sure it’s just a little stomach bug. It’ll go away and you’ll feel better. Why don’t you get a snack?”
Sunday morning, on our way back from church.
“Leah, I feel really sick.”
“Aw, I’m sorry your bug hasn’t gone away yet.”
“It hurts to swallow and I feel really feverish.”
About two hours later:
“Oh my gosh, Andy, you have strep throat!!!”
The worst part is, this is NOT the first time I’ve glossed over Andy’s sickness. The below was taken only five months ago.
That’s me, blithe and unnoticing his nasty virus, on the right. I shouldn’t mention that my sister E, on the left, had mono at the time and was also being forced to play Scrabble. No, I won’t mention that.
Yes, I am going to be such a success as a Mom (and a wife, for that matter). Cultures are going to be growing in their throats, their poor little heads will be burning up, their little bodies will be so tired and I’ll just offer them snacks repeatedly and tell them it’s fine and try to make them shop and do chores and stay up late.
Is perception to illness in people innate? Am I just a failure? Do you eventually learn to recognize signs? Or have I failed before I even started?!
Speaking of fashion, have you ever heard of Polyvore? It’s a site for creating ”Sets” or, really, idea boards, using pictures clipped as you shop around the internet. Here’s how it works: you install a “clipper tool” to your internet browser. As you’re surfing the internet, as you see photos or items you want to save, you just click the clipper tool in your toolbar, then click the image, and it will automatically import it to your Polyvore account. You can do the same thing by surfing the Polyvore website and saving items that other people have “clipped” to Polyvore.
Then, you go to your Polyvore “Create” page, see all the items you’ve saved or clipped, and start creating!
Primarily, it’s used for fashion, as in the case below:
It is also often used for interior design:
And finally, you can use it to create (my favorite) mood boards for whatever you’re brainstorming (here, I brainstormed my dream living room):
It’s an awesome little site. And the neatest thing is, since you are dealing with real products for sale out there on the internet (unless you clip random pictures, which some people do…) you can click on each item in the “Set” and see what site it was clipped from, the brand, and the price! If you don’t want to buy that exact item, you can still refer back to the set as you shop for clothes, fabrics, whatever to remember what you loved.
I discovered this site as I’ve begun reading a lot of home improvement and home decorating blogs. I was fairly warned by each blog that it is addictive, and I have to agree. I love it, and it’s a great way to put pieces together in a way you can’t always do in a store.
Here’s my profile page: Leah’s Polyvore Account
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