The Survivor

Bye Conditioner… Hello Apple Cider Vinegar!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar | Good For Cleansing Hair

I’m nearing the end of my second week in my Infertility Workshop and part of is to start switching out personal care products with natural alternatives.  This process excited me because it’s something I already started doing years ago – but have still been hanging on to certain things.  My shampoo and conditioner.  Ugh!  Is there not any good natural alternatives out there?  I just need some suds or I feel like I’m not getting my hair clean.  Also, my hair is very tangly, so I need a great working conditioner.  To go without has just never been an option.  Until…

Apple Cider Vinegar!!!  Woot!!  I couldn’t believe it, either.  It sounds nast, doesn’t it?  I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try, so I did, without much expectation.  In fact, my a’natural aunt was just telling me a couple of months ago that this is what she used in her hair for conditioner – she said it really makes her hair soft, shiny, and clean.  So when it came up as an alternative in my infertility course, I thought for sure I had to at least give it a try – being fully prepared to hop back in the shower and use conditioner.

Okay, so I get out of the shower and start brushing my hair… and the brush combed right through – no snags or tangles.  My hair actually smelled good, not gross, not like when I was putting it on my hair (make sure you rinse it out well).  My hair feels like it’s been stripped of all the nasty gunk it has accumulated over time, that I didn’t even realize was there until the Apple Cider Vinegar got it so clean.  I think I used more than most mixes call for, but I used one part vinegar to three parts water and mixed together in a bottle that has a squirty thingy on top so I could squirt right into my hair.

Being brave with this product now, I also decided to use it in lieu of my fabric softener – which is another thing I haven’t been able to give up yet.  Traditional fabric softener is SO toxic.  I’ve tried using lavender and other essential oils, but my clothes just weren’t as soft as I like them to be.  I am now officially giving up traditional fabric softener and using apple cider vinegar alternatively.  Made my clothes and blankets super soft, and left them smelling good.  I only had to plug my noise as I poured it into the load :-)  I just put it in with the wash, in the liquid fabric softener space.  A couple of tablespoons.

Do a Google search and you’ll find tons of ways to use vinegar in lieu of toxic chemicals – weed killer, cleaner, food cleanser, to name a few.

Do you have any alternative ways you use vinegar?  Please share… :-)

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I Heart Ray LaMontagne

Feeling a touch of Melancholy tonight.  And it doesn’t get any more Melancholy in music than Ray LaMontagne (well, maybe Tom Waits).  This was the first song of Ray’s that I heard and it was instant love for me for him.  Every song after continued to delight and surprise.  I <3 Ray.

I’m working through my Sugar Detox (for my fertility journey) and maybe that’s why I’m feeling blue.  Last week’s challenge was to eliminate all High Fructose Corn Syrup – this week it’s white flour.  Flour… so much harder than I thought it would be.  Tonight I ate white rice.  Duh.  I probably can’t even have that, can I?  The corn syrup was a breeze because I’ve already consciously eliminated that mostly a long time ago.  But did you know it’s even in most of the breads at the grocery store?  Yes, ma’am, it is.  Take a look.  It’s EVERYWHERE.  Even in your crackers.  Boo.

If you want to join in the detox, visit :-)

Weeping Birch Tree

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Captain of My Ship? Master of My Destiny?

Gustov Klimt: The Tree of Life

Gustov Klimt: The Tree of Life

This morning I shed some major tears over my battle with infertility.  I cried because tomorrow I will be a 35-year-old, childless woman.  I cried because I also realized, for the first time, that I’m scared to have a baby.  I have so many fears surrounding having a child, that I’ve kept hidden from myself.  But it’s all surfacing now.  And I’m wondering how much of my own fears have blocked my body from doing what is most natural.

Because I’ve always wanted children so badly, I’ve always had a fear of not being able to have children.  I have fears about not actually being the mother I intend to be.  I have fears about being an old mom, and especially about Mark being an old father (he’s 16 years older than me).  I have fears about giving birth to an unwell child.  I have fears about not being able to provide for my child the way I want to.  And the truth is, since I’ve been married, life circumstances have not been all that favorable to bring a child into.  Do I have a subconscious block from getting pregnant and keeping a growing fetus in my womb?

If this is true, then I want to throw a tantrum right now.  Well, the truth is, I already threw a tantrum this morning.  Many, many, many mothers have children intentionally, and unintentionally, wanting the child they carry, and not wanting the child they carry.  So why should I be any different?  Why would my thoughts contribute one way or the other, when so many other mother’s thoughts were irrelevant?  Yet somehow still, I am open that my fears are a contributing factor in my struggle.  Am I that powerful?

I don’t want to throw tantrums.  I don’t want to think life unfair.  I want to surrender to life and it’s curve balls.  Or at least, what I perceive to be curve balls, only because I had other plans that life did not have for me.  I know I sound like a I’m open to being tossed around by circumstances.  Maybe I am.  Maybe I finally am.  Maybe I’ve held on too tightly to the idea that I am the one and only designer of my life.  Boho Girl recommended this book some time ago, and this morning I read this passage from “Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life“, and it kind of shifted something inside me:

“[Life] is the last word.  Life interrupts us when we are at our most self-assured.  Life diverts us when we are hell-bent on going elsewhere.  Life arrives in a precise and yet unplanned sequence to deliver exactly what we need in order to realize our greatest potential (I know this!).  The delivery is not often what we would choose, and almost never how we intend to satisfy ourselves, because our potential is well beyond our limited, ego-bound choices and self-serving intentions.”

Since I was an adolescent, I started believing that I was the Captain of my Ship, Master of my Destiny.  Now, I am only sure that I am Captain of my response to life, Master of my emotions and clarity.  I think this is good.  I think this is right.  Life does have a way of throwing curve balls.  Life corrects our course when we go off track of what we intended to accomplish before we were born.  It supports us, whether we recognize that support or not.

Here is another passage from “Hand Wash Cold” that speaks deeply to me now:

“You might think, for instance, that the life you have is not at all the life you had in mind and so it doesn’t constitute your real life at all.  Your real life is the life you pine for, the life you’re planning or the life you’ve already lost, the life fulfilled by the person, place, [etc], of your dreams.  This is the life we are most devoted to: the life we don’t have.”

The life we don’t have… ouch.  It’s true.  I’ve been devoted to the life I don’t have.  The life I pine for every day.  The life with my husband and two kids, self-sustained, living on a rural farm, homeschooling, learning, and crafting my days away.  Instead, I’m a childless woman, living with my husband in my parents home after economic devastation to our business, and in the early, struggling phase of a new business.  That is my life.  I’ve lost the 4000 square foot home, the Cadillac Escalade, the Utopian neighborhood.

My life can’t begin again some other day – the day I have my children and my farm.  My life is here, now.  And so is yours.  We’ve got to accept it and live in it.  We’ve got to find our home in it.

Jill O'Flannery | Cherry Blossoms

Jill O'Flannery | Cherry Blossoms

I surrender.

*Update: This post was syndicated at BlogHer on February 13th, 2011!

I was syndicated on

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Deep Fried Twinkies

Deep Fried Twinkies

As if Twinkies weren’t bad enough… they need to be deep fried?  This photo was taken last summer at The Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. Yes, I tried one.  But in my defense, four of us split one.  We just had to try it.

It’s been a rough day in my new mercury detox journey.  I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and spent the day staring at my computer, really getting nothing accomplished.  Headaches.  Body aches.  Brain Fog.  Tooth aches.  Nausea.  And a little depression, to boot.  Perhaps what it may feel like after eating several Deep Fried Twinkies…

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the vitamins I should be taking (and not taking *all* of them), the steam rooms I should be sitting in (and not), the foods I should be eating (and not), the massages and acupressure I should be getting (and not).  Sigh.

Tomorrow is a new day, and maybe I’ll find the strength to stop ‘shoulding’ on myself.  :-)

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Celebrating a Mercury Free Mouth!

Amalgam Dental Revision

Yesterday I had my second and final visit to get my amalgam teeth fillings taken out and replaced with a compatible material.  That first step is done, and I’m SO glad, but I’m not fooling myself… I know there are months and possibly years of mercury detox ahead of me.  This picture is of me – fully prepped (sans oxygen in this picture) for removal from my mouth of one of the most hazardous materials known to man… mercury.

There is a huge list of mercury poisoning symptoms.  Mine include:

  • extreme irritability
  • indecision
  • memory loss
  • inability to concentrate
  • chronic fatigue
  • insomnia
  • withdrawal
  • numbness in limbs
  • metallic taste and metallic smelling hair at times
  • chronic dizziness/nausea
  • low blood pressure
  • heart murmur (benign)
  • poor immune response
  • candida overgrowth
  • chronic headaches
  • kidney infection
  • trouble conceiving and miscarriage
  • in previous years, persistent depression

…to name a few.  By far, the worst thing I’ve struggled with since I was in my late teens is chronic fatigue – it’s debilitating.  It’s not normal and I always knew there was something ‘wrong’ with me, though no doctor could ever find anything abnormal.  Over the years I’ve prayed for answers and my journey has led me here.  You can read more about this in my first post about safe amalgam removal.

There are many safety precautions that must be taken during the removal process.  In the picture you will see the blue rubber dam over my mouth with only my teeth poking through, to protect me from any falling mercury as it is chunked out of my teeth.  You can also see that I am mostly covered up, for similar protection, and the big white vacuum hose under my chin to suck out the mercury vapors being released into three levels of filtration.  In the room is also a negative ion generator.

I had a separate oxygen supply, took large doses of liquid vitamin C before and after, as well as activated charcoal.  Removal is done is quadrants, with highest charged quadrants taken out first.  (I had seven fillings total.)

The reason for such precautions is because many people get their amalgam fillings removed randomly and end up with serious nervous system diseases.  This is a highly toxic metal that is treated as hazardous waste in dental offices (what is it doing in our mouths???).  And CA proposition 65 requires this warning label in all dental offices:

“WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

It just makes my heart ache to think about mercury poisoning having anything to do with our troubles conceiving and suffering miscarriage(s).  But on the good side, this whole revision and subsequent mercury detoxing could be an answer to that painful life challenge.

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