The coldest April on record, they say.
I'm slowly tunneling out of the moodiness that March carries in anticipation of real spring - warmth and growth. So far the sun is rising before we are and the birds are back to chaotic song but it's still pretty damn chilly, growing warmer.
Alizah had her Junior prom this month and she went with her BFF. I was on the verge of being the over-emotional mental case mama but I reined it in. She and I are so similar and can tumble into emotional together - I was good. I held it together. Her bestie's mom took tons of pics but I'm only sharing a few of my absolute favorites. They're very "them".
And all of the biopsy results were a-ok as we had expected. Now that the hospital bills are arriving, I'm totally annoyed at the cost we still owe after hubbie's actually good insurance through work covered much of the costs. I hate bills. I was filling out forms for additional financial discounts through the the hospital (since apparently you qualify for a family of 4 if you have a gross income of less than $95,000!) and hubs, being the guy he is, hugged me and said it was best that we had the procedures done. What if it had been breast cancer? It's better this way. Me, being the lunatic that I am, was like - HA! ya right, I'd rather just not know than be dealing with this BS. Mae and I then got into a full-blown argument about her dog barking at the neighbor (the nice lady with the raspberry garden) - and she fully yelled at me. It was one of those teeth gritting moments of fury and shock. I asked her to get the dog for me and she shouted that she couldn't because she was wearing her expensive sneakers - to which I explained the concept of taking off shoes like, can you take them off and get her? Or, I can just get rid of them because this is ridiculous. Her response was like, you'll be throwing your own $150 away *at the top of her lungs* and I've never wanted to shove my own money into a trash can more in my life. We've been saying she would put us through the wringer since she was a tot, knowing her teen years were going to challenge us in ways we never had been with her sister. I just didn't know that "teen" was code for 11.
But you know what, that's real life. We have just as many moments of pure pride and joy in our girls as we do frustration. A couple weeks ago I was trying to diffuse an argument over something stupid and reminded everyone that we're all WIPs (gotta get that knitting lingo in). Parents and kids alike are all works in progress and we need to remember that about ourselves and each other. Mae said, not you mama - you're not a work in progress - you're good. I was a little surprised that she would say that, and flattered, and assured her that I am indeed a WIP. In fact, I can learn so much from Nate and the girls. Even after our little blow up about the dumb dog and the dumb shoes, she was the one to drop it and get the dog without being pissy while I was still festering about the whole thing. I used to be the one telling her to stop a moment when she was in the midst of a fit and make a choice to be an angry person or a happy one. I constantly told her that she has a choice. I should take a page from her book now and take my own advice.
Honestly though, this entire month has been a little static. Not to say I've just been staring at a wall for 30 days, but static. So, what else has been happening in the past month? The little greenhouse my nephew and I erected flew away in a storm even though it was staked down and was pretty damaged after going over the fence, down the hill, and almost half way down our neighbor's drive. It's now propped up over the garden - how I had initially wanted it - to hopefully keep the hens out of the raised beds. It was a real make-it-work moment.
I am still not using shampoo. This was such a big thing for me the first few weeks, especially when my hair went from sleek to oil slick, and pushing through each day was harder than the last. I used my hog bristle brush daily, I bought a scalp exfoliating scrubber for the shower, I washed my face more than ever in my life, and I told everyone about it. Once the oil balanced and my hair became normalized, the excess oil was not exactly gone but invisible. The best way I can describe it is like the lanolin in wool. I love natural wools that aren't dyed and that have those pesky bits of roughage spun into the strands. They have a special sort of feeling, the result of natural oil or lanolin, and the yarn coats your fingers lightly in the stuff. That's how my hair feels now. It looks fluffy, and it doesn't have that tell-tale oily look, but you can feel the coating on my hair. This really doesn't bother me at all. It's like a secret life hack that is so socially questionable that few dare to push through the re-balancing phase. I mentioned before that I was considering the use of essential oils on my hair because I was afraid of having that dirty hair smell. I do occasionally use a bit of tea tree and peppermint in my hair, but not often. I also don't feel that itchy urge to scrub my scalp at the one week mark as I had before. There is certainly still a "clean" to "dirty" feeling, but it's far less drastic.
And while we're on the topic of my non-conformist hygiene... my lymph nodes were severely inflamed in my underarms after my biopsy. I couldn't bear to touch them, even to pat a bit of deodorant on. I can't remember if I've talked about this before, but I had switched to a baking soda deodorant a while back that was effective, but I didn't love it. With my inflamed nodes, I used coconut oil mixed with frankincense, lemon, peppermint, and cypress essential oils and applied liberally to my underarms and chest. Within a day they were less sore and within two days they were completely drained. I'm now back to using my new cream deodorant from Little Seed Farms which you can find HERE. I've been using the grapefruit lemon - perfectly bright and fresh smelling. I use it about every other day, alternating with the coconut oil/essential oil blend. Hubs called me a hippy the other day and I was almost offended. Then I found out he had been secretly using patchouli and I didn't even notice. Honestly, the goal for me here isn't to be smelly or weird, I'm really just trying to be healthy, avoid toxins that are actually avoidable, and endure less pain than my norm.
Which brings me to my strange Lupus flares of the month. I had a slow-start flare before my biopsy that seemed to resolve in a few days. I thought it was a huge win, and then it flooded back in. It wasn't one of my worst, but I couldn't use my hands for a few days and I was exhausted. But, we rode it out and came out the other side rather quickly. Some new info on Lupus has surfaced, along with a list of foods to avoid that cause inflammation - tomatoes, peppers, white potatoes, and eggplant top the list. I'm also thinking about adding Astragalus Root tea to my arsenal. The Astragalus Root is supposed to balance the immune system rather than suppress or boost which is basically what meds or other natural remedies do. If I decide to try it, I'll post about it. I know Lupus isn't a well-understood ail but it's a huge pain in the ass and anything that helps shorten or stop flares is worth its weight in gold!
Though, immune boosting is still one of my favorite things so, a new batch of fire cider is on deck. I used THIS recipe which sounded really punchy with all that citrus. Fingers crossed. And I'm starting to tool around with my sourdough starter. My levain is a separate, more liquid entity that I'm still trying to work out. My first tasty loaf was a bit over-done and under-risen because I plopped my dough by accident when I transferred it to the pan for baking, but there were heaps of air pockets and the texture was divine. Then, I mistakenly left it on the stove and the big dog hopped up and quickly gobbled up the entire loaf. We had each had a slice, which I'm grateful for, but damn.
I have some knitting pattern updates ready to go, so I'll be here to post about those soon.