Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Experiment #14: Dry Hand Help, i.e. I really can't do it myself

Sad. So so very sad.

I started typing my blog address into the browser and my computer didn't even recognize my own blog domain. 

Maybe pathetic is a better word.

After nearly two years of treading water, I feel like I finally reached the part of the pool where I can just barely touch the bottom with the tips of my toes. A bit of a respite. Not much, but enough. While I am very glad we chose the spacing of our children the way we did, lately, there have been many days where I have screamed, "Three kids in four years?! What were we thinking?!"

While my last year has been blog-silent, it has been an incredibly crazy, busy, fun, intense, exhausting, exciting, cathartic and agonizingly wonderful year. The girls are so fun. And so irritating. And so loving. And so screamy angry.

And now it's the coldest (snowiest?) winter in 20 years. Sigh.

I actually love winter. I love snow. I even love the cold, crisp, fresh air that takes your breath away. But not when I'm trying to bundle up and keep an infant warm. Thank you, God, that this year was NOT when I had an infant. It may take 45 minutes to get everyone bundled, but this year we can actually stay outside for at least 45 minutes!

One thing I hate about winter, regardless, is the dry, dry, dry, dry bleeding, cracked hands. Especially when one must wash her hands 3000 times a day due to one potty trainer in diapers and one who still can't wipe herself.

But more on hands later.

I've tried to do things myself for too long. I just can't anymore. Nick and I are in the process of determining two evenings a week where a couple hours will be all mine...mine...MINE!!! I will (ideally) leave the house and do me stuff. One of those me stuff items will, in theory, be writing. Not grant writing. Not report writing. Me writing. Hopefully to include this blog. It's hard for me to remember to take time for myself, and even harder to actually do it. But it's long overdue. The creative-craving extreme introvert in me is dying.

I'm in the process of rethinking the structure of the blog. Three major themes have been emerging in my life and I'd like to incorporate them into how I do this blog.

First is intentionality. Being intentional feels a lot like planning to me. And as I have discussed, planning is not something natural for me. For awhile, I thought this theme was supposed to be "routine." I think I do routine even worse than I do planning. Planning can be a one time thing. Routine implies over and over and over and over and over...However, I think intentional is a more manageable word for me. I don't have to do the same things over and over in the same way. I just have to be intentional about what I choose to do with my resources.

The second emerging theme has been embracing assistance. I have fought this one hard because it feels to me like a loss of independence. Stifling. I then have to say, "I can't do it myself," and suddenly I have to create a new blog.  But interestingly, the more I embrace assistance, the freer I feel. I was forced to do this when Madeline was born, and each time I have had to ask for help since then, it gets a little easier.

The third theme, de-compartmentalization, has been hovering since back in our early days of marriage. Americans are experts at compartmentalizing our lives. We worship God at church. We learn at school. We work at work. We exercise at the gym. We see coworkers during the week. We have family time on the weekend. We have high school friends, church friends, school friends, friends with kids, single friends, married friends, exercise friends. Sometimes they overlap. Often they don't. Lately, I have been working to connect the disconnected parts of my life, to let my kids see that life is not the different colors I choose to use in my painting, but how the colors work together, overlapping at times, blending at times, and distinctly contrasting at times. Admittedly, there are some things that need their separate time and place. Some things are like dark, black inky paint that can either outline and emphasize a certain color, or cover up and smother the rest of the painting. It is hard to find the right balance in my de-compartmentalization process, and I feel like the balance is constantly shifting, but so much in my life is better when I see it as a whole instead of the separate parts.

Anyway, enough flowery prose.

Back to hands.

I wanted to get back on the blog writing horse, but felt like I couldn't do that without something to share.  Given where I've been over the past year. Given that this is how my kitchen looks most days.

Given that sleep is soon going to take over, this experiment is all I could muster. Olive oil is similar in pH to sebum (see more about that here) and so it's a good non chemical replacement. For those interested, I also wash my face with the "oil cleansing method," a mix of olive oil and castor oil (4 parts olive oil, 1 part castor oil for my weirdly dry and oily skin). Been using that for 2 years now. Amazing amazing amazing. More on that in a later post. I'm also still using my deodorant and have taken a hiatus from the shampoo/conditioner. Ever since Lidia was born, my hair hasn't been the same, so I'm having to rework the formula...

The Experiment
**UPDATE: Please note that while researching my next blog post, I have found that there is some evidence that repeated use of olive oil as a moisturizer may break down some of the skin's protective barriers, causing irritation and rash. While I have not experienced this, if you have particularly sensitive skin, you may want to try mixing the olive oil with a skin protectant (like lanolin, which, by the way, makes an amazing lip balm) or use a different oil (like sunflower seed oil). coconut oil has not been shown to cause these types of problems, but has been shown to improve skin problems

Simple Help for Super Dry Hands
Cost per application: a penny?
Time to Completion: 60 seconds
A dime-sized glob of Extra Virgin Olive or Coconut Oil
Your Hands
30 seconds to rub them together

Pour or dab a dime-sized (more or less, depending on your hand size and level of horrid dryness) glob of oil onto your hands. Rub them together, top and bottom, for a good 30 seconds to get all the oil rubbed in. Let the oil sit for 10 -15 seconds. Rub again. If you used too much oil, either rub your hands together briefly under running water and dry or dab with a rag. Repeat daily (or twice daily) as necessary. If I have the time, sometimes I'll let the extra oil sit on my hands for 20 minutes, to really let it soak in.

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