Monthly Archives: March 2007

Breaking The Colour Barrier


UPDATE: 4/01/07 April Fool’s! Pictures to the left.

I sit here listening to my kitchen sink gurgle, louder than my hubby snores! Okay, it’s now 11:33pm eastern time and I am done. Won’t take pictures now because I let my hair air dry and I’m not staying up for THAT because I’ve got to be up early as my neighbor needs me to baby sit for her.

Let me preface this post by saying that I can be a nit-picker. I am a born proofreader, have done it professionally; and I’ll tell you that I hold myself back, out of respect for my peers here, from correcting some of the comments. I don’t mean any offense because I know what it’s like trying to whiz through all the comments I want to make and end up with typos and other errors… I’m just too anal to let them go, myself… but I love the spontaneity that they reflect.

First thing I’ll say is who does a swatch test 48 hours before coloring? I mean, I would if I had a known history of skin allergies, but I don’t, so I just bulldoze right on in. Now L’Oreal’s Colour Rays color that I used was Copper Craze. Once I found the English directions, it was pretty straightforward. They give you pretty decent rubber gloves for this product, but I can’t say the same for others. What is the deal with that? Why not give the same quality glove for each product? Annoys me. Okay, so you dump the creme developer into a plastic tub that is marked as to which side you should mix in. The color, itself is in a tube and the hardest thing, EVER, was to get this stuff out. So thick it was solid… almost. I am wondering if it was so reduced in price because of a past expiration date, but never found that out because I could not FIND it on the box.

So got all the color out and mixed with a spatula they give you and went at this thing for literally a few minutes to make sure that it was mixed “thoroughly”. Beforehand, I had carefully separated my hair and held the rest back with a band so that I could be as efficient as “I” can be in applying this paste onto my hair. They give you a wand/brush thing to apply it with, stating that you must take a large amount of paste and “roll” it on top of the strand of hair from root to ends, without leaving a lot at the roots (don’t know why). After the first try of this, I got really annoyed and just used my fingers to apply it, squishing it in, because I already had the designated hair sectioned out and just needed to get the stuff on.

After I did the front, from top of my head to just behind my ears, I did some underneath on the nap of my neck… one on each side. Just pulled out a piece and slapped it on. I still had more paste left, and being that I can’t see just throwing it away, I did three more very thin strands on the top, one on each side and one in the back. Then I put more of the paste on my four fingers and just finger-combed my hair on the sides and back… not very good coverage, but I didn’t want a stark color change there…… oh well, my adventurous self took the wheel on this one.

After my 30 minutes of “developing”, I got myself into the shower and rinsed my hair out; however, before I got in, I read Step 5, which said, “Keeping your gloves on, thoroughly rinse off mixture until water runs clear.” Needless to say, I did not keep my gloves on during my 30 minutes of waiting, and after you get those things off, I’d like to challenge anyone to try and get used, sweaty, plastic, ripped gloves back on a second time. Oh well. My next beef is that you are supposed to apply “after color” shampoo and “after color” rinse that comes in tiny 2 x 3 inch envelopes that are impossible to open in the shower without using your teeth. To be fair, the tiny amount allotted me did cover my head with lather to dye for… felt so luxurious on my head. But that is just foam, is it really working on all the colored area? The one thing that I liked about this product is that every item containing “stuff” was labeled, “1-2-3-4”. I’ll also say that I never noticed excess color run out of my hair. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but it brought my thoughts back to the missing expiration date.

I’d like to ask why they tell you that this product is not good for hair that is more than 20-25% gray. Sorry, I can’t find the exact verbiage on the instructions so it must be on the box… which is all goopy from stray stuff and in the garbage. Now, the gray part of my hair looks great, so why are they saying not to use it on hair that is moderately to predominantly gray?

All the while I was rinsing, I cannot see any change in color.. okay, so the light is kind of dim in there… must wait. Okay, so now I’m ready to come out, and I’m all set to look in the mirror that is right opposite the tub and whip the curtain back, swoosh! DANG the mirror is all fogged up! Jumped out of the tub, dried myself off, trying to act indifferent. I actually dried the mirror AND my eyeglasses, nice and clear so I could see what I had done to myself. Well, I did see the copper color really nice on my grays, themselves, but cannot make out anything more than that. I, too, must wait until tomorrow to see the total effect.

A Little Update…


So glad to hear that a few of you are willing to try some of these recipes… especially this first one which is spice hot, but supposed to be authentic of the first cocoa drink. Did you know that the first drink was actually consumed cold? It was a cold, spicy, and viscous (from the fat content) drink. Thanks for your comments and I will definitely make Wednesdays my Hot Chocolate recipe day and as I find some other chocolate recipes, I will let you know.

I am sitting here 10:30pm eastern time, with 30 minutes to go for my “new look”. We went to the company (L’Oreal) store and they did not have the product that I really love to use because it’s temporary color. It was called Color Pulse and my color is Red Pulse. Alas, they are discontinuing it in the company store, though they still sell it on the outside. I need at least two, maybe three of these babies to get good coverage on my longish hair… ker-ching! Having the opportunity to shop at a discount for this stuff has been great for me, and even allows me to try products that I would never even think of buying because of the ungodly price. Anyway, I settled on a highlighting product that I used on just my gray hair, which is mostly concentrated toward the front of my head, then did a few more strands… very sloppily I must say; but did okay for a regular Jane.

Tonight I was thinking about a beef that I have with these companies. They pack only as much of product that will service short to top-of-the-shoulder length hair. If your hair is longer or thick, you most certainly need to purchase another box or package, no matter what the product is- hair color, deep conditioner, whatever. My hair is thick and long, so I need double, maybe triple the amount and that is just not fair, especially since some of these cost $8-10$ and up. They’ve got us strung up by our Hair!

Okay, it’s almost time! I’m so excited… Even though I’ve been pretty happy with growing my hair out and having my natural grays, I do also ADORE changing it every so often and going to the extreme with the color… which I must say that the Color Pulse is very capable of doing just that even right over my dark brown hair… drat, wish I had that… oh well, I will definitely critic this new product I used.

Wish me luck!

1st Heavenly Cup of Comfort


As promised, this is the first hot chocolate, henceforth will be known as HC. Oh, keep in mind that there is no need to give up HC in the summer months. If you don’t want it hot, just have it COLD. Yeah, am I the problem solver or what! Just so you know, I am sipping on some HC right now and it reached almost 80 degrees today. I wanted to try it without the milk and just got some arrowroot to try. It really IS creamy, using only water… PRESTO, a NO-fat drink.

I am going to start this off with a recipe the ancients used. Originally, I wanted to start with a more mellow, traditional recipe; but then I got the idea to go all the way and show you what HC is capable of! It might not be good for the faint of heart as it’s HOT, I mean spicy hot. This is not your grandmother’s hot chocolate. Here goes:

Ancient Aztec Cacahuatl

  • 5 cups Half-and-Half
  • 1 Vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
  • 8 oz. Mexican chocolate, such as Abuelita, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Natural cocoa powder (you can use unsweetened baking chocolate powder)
  • 1 to 2 tsp. Ancho chile powder, to your taste
  • 3 tbsp. Honey
  • Whipped cream for garnish
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. Slivered unsalted roasted almonds for garnish
  1. In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, combine the half-and-half and vanilla bean. Heat until the mixture comes to a simmer.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine. Simmer for 5 to 10 minute, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Watch it closely so that it does not boil over.
  3. Add the chile powder, a little at a time, to taste. Stir in the honey and blend. Discard the vanilla bean.
  4. Pour the hot chocolate into 8 small cups and top with the whipped cream and slivered almonds.

Serves 8

Chocolate Tidbit~In 1764, in Dorchester, MA, USA, the first American chocolate manufacturer was founded; and Baker’s Chocolate is still in business today.

Tuesday Topics~Iraq War Diehards


redSecond Tuesday Topic
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
Have you convinced anyone else to change their opinion about the Iraq War?
If so, describe that experience and how you convinced them.
If not, imagine what would change your mind if you felt differently about the War.

When I read these questions this morning, I thought to myself, “Uh oh, I have nothing to say,” and I really don’t have anything new to add here. I even had a second thought as to whether I was qualified to participate in this activity. I am glad to say that hesitation was short lived.

Let me say that I’ve read Grace’s post and have found that my experience talking about this war is pretty much the same as hers. I have a history of being a little “flaky” in my family, so I have as yet to collect a little credibility of my own to present to them… on pretty much all issues. So, I’ve decided to start writing and see what comes out.

I do manage to put my opinion out there whenever I can. That is something that I can do. I will keep reading blogs and gather information for my arsenal. I strive to make sure that I take note of sources and names of the people whose opinions I am carrying around. Basically, I am a non-confrontational person. I hate confrontations, and there is no way that I am going to get into a battle of words with anyone about the war. I mean, I hate violence and verbal violence is just as distasteful to me as the physical kind. I was married to a verbally abusive husband, the first time around, for eight years and I simply refuse to fuel the fires of that kind of violence. As Grace said, these people are set in their ways, opinions are already entrenched. With that said, however, I will not back down from voicing my opinion should I get caught up into a discussion. I will unload my arsenal, but then what? We will come to a stale mate and there will be nowhere else to go, except out the door. Why is it that I feel so powerless to change an already made up mind? Grace said it. Explosive Topic, but also my own mental paralysis when stress builds up in a confrontation. I’ve gotten a lot better at conducting my side of a debate, but I have to admit that I am so uneducated. Knowledge is power. I do not have enough of it, at this time, on this topic aside from how I “feel” about it; and this stunts communication of my position. I have been listening to political talk shows on the radio and I am hoping to build up my arsenal.

I have absolutely no confidence in our present government. I am a democrat, yet I really liked Ronald Reagan in the white house. I think he did a great job and the country was doing well under his watch. I would like to invite people to comment here on that. Maybe I am disillusioned… I don’t know. Oh, I’ll take this opportunity to plug a book I read a while ago, “The Reagans: Portrait of a Marriage”. Really great book and I don’t usually read this type of book.

Okay, that is about it for this weeks topic for me. I will be reading the other blogs writing on the subject. If you are interested, you can go here to get a list of the blogs signed up for the One Million Blogs for Peace.

Happy Spring and Baby Oil Fragrance


Sorry for not writing, I’ve not been inspired of late. I also finished my log cabin blanket which is the reason I got to bed at 2am last night and the reason I am up so late today. Today is the Tuesday challenge, so will scoot on over to One Million Blogs For Peace to see what it is and write about it tonight when I get out to write on it.

Happy Spring to everyone out there. Today is the first really mild day we’ve gotten so far. Today is going to be in the 70’s… whoo hoo! Despite our late start (got up over an hour late) we will definitely get out to enjoy the weather. Everything is in sync. I feel okay, Little Drake only has a little rash which we think is due to the fragrance in a new baby oil I bought.

You know, when you see a name that is synonymous with quality baby care, a name you trust and you think everything is good. Safe. Well, recently we saw that was NOT true with dog and cat food with rat poison inside it; and so it is with J&J (Johnson & Johnson). They make these new products with fragrance… lavender, chamomile, some other ones. I wanted to try the lavender one and because the package was purple. I wonder every time I see how companies market their products. The oil, itself, is not purple, just the bottle. It’s definitely more appealing and you “think” you are getting something more, in some way, when you are not. Amazing. The label reads, “GENTLE”. You think it’s okay, but the fragrance is really a chemical and is really only as gentle as the level of tolerance of the baby skin that it’s put on. My son does have sensitive skin, so I should have realized it or just used a little on him. My husband knew what the problem was right away because he also has very sensitive skin. Working at L’Oreal probably adds to his certainty of what the problem was.

Up until now, I had always used unrefined shea butter on my baby’s skin and never had a problem. I used the lavender baby oil two times after his bath and a few days ago, I noticed that he had a bit of a rash, or little bumps that you only notice if you touch them. Today, they do not look worse, he does not have a temperature and he is definitely his bubbly self; so will just call the doctor’s office and they will just tell me to watch it.

I will unceremoniously end my post here because somebody smells of poopie and then we’re outta here!

Greensleeves ~ What Child is This?


Yeah…. Justin is the first one to comment about my new music!

Just for the record, this is an old melody, maybe goes back to medieval times, the name, “Greensleeves” The lyrics are here.

Then somebody wrote a beautifully written Christmas Carol, set it to this music, and called it, “What Child is This?”
The lyrics are here.

Oh wow… forgot to mention that this is one of my most favorites to play on the guitar…. I can go on and on with it. It’s when I get into those zones that my creativity comes out.

Bittersweet


Bittersweet just wrote a great article on chocolate. Those of you who are vegetarians, specifically vegans might be interested in her site called Bittersweet. She crochets great little animals, food, and even a plate of tofu. She is really creative in her own right, and deserves a read. Her article is called: Not All Chocolate Is Created Equal.

One Million Blogs For Peace~Tuesday’s Topics


Tuesday Topic
Firstly, let me say that I cannot use spell checker because for some reason I cannot get the visual part of my editor to appear… any mispellings are, of course, either intentional or unintentional.

As you may or may not know, I have signed up ~Dragon’s Yen~ with One Million Blogs for Peace. This is the pledge that I took when I signed up:

“The Pledge
I believe in the immediate withdrawal of all foreign combat troops from the nation of Iraq. I believe in using my blog, in whole or in part, as a tool toward this end.”

It was important for me to write that myself, here. But you can find out what it’s all about here on their site.

Anyway, from what I gather, there are topics we must write about on Tuesdays. With a little more than 2 hours left in the day, I will attempt to do my share.

~***~***~***~***~***~***~

First Tuesday Topic

Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Think back four years ago, to when you first heard that the Iraq War had started.
Were you for or against the war at the time?
If you were for it, what has changed your mind over the last four years?
If you were against it, why were you against it?

I can hardly remember back 4 years ago when this war started; but I was living in Brooklyn, NY at the time and clearly remember when the towers were hit. I was on my way to work and was listening to the morning show, “Scott and Todd” on WPLJ. They used a tv to keep track of Joe Nolan, the traffic guy and I believe they witnessed the plane actually hitting the towers, live… or when the local news first started airing it. I remember that when I first got to work, I saw dark BROWN smoke over the top of our building. I remember that no work got done that day because the whole company was in the president’s office watching the TV coverage in there. We were devastated.

When we first went to war, I was living at my parent’s home at the time and I remember that I got worried about them instituting the draft. I worried about my nephew, my brother and my fiance having to go over there and getting killed. I am against war for any reason. I just don’t believe that anything can be solved through war. Sure a victorious country will be come the dominant force in the losing country, but what is the world really gaining?

Even though I was not for the war when it broke out, I was hopeful that our troops would be able to pull off what they went there to do~ find Osama Bin Laden. Well, they were not able to do that. It seems as if they have lost sight of that goal and now got themselves onto other things. Maybe that was a false pretense to get our guys over there to do what they are doing now. I don’t know, personally I don’t care… I just want our people home. The more and more I think about it, I want this country to become Isolationist and stay out of the affairs of everyone else on this planet and focus more on the needs of it’s own people. There I said it.

Now it seems as if we are stirring up more trouble over there in Iraq. It doesn’t seem as if the people there even want our intervention or presence. I believe that our presence there just makes things worse. Plus, I believe that each country should work out their own problems, their own government. Okay, so we took some people out of there. Now it’s up to them to govern their own country. I do not believe that we, the United States of America, should tell another country how to run their government, period. If we stay, I believe that the individuals actually running the government have no incentive to really make it work for themselves. They turn to us for MONEY and assistance. Where is that money actually going? It just seems to be a problem that will never get solved. If it ever will be solved, it will be by their own people, people who are actually living there and have a personal stake in how it all turns out.

I hear Moses, in the desert, crying, “Let my people go”

Decadent Pleasure


hot chocolateHot Chocolate is one of my fetishes indulgences. THIS is what I do for myself that lifts me out of my every day existence, and into the clouds. I do not need to retire to a private space, I do not need a lengthy period of time; only the time it takes to make and drink a quick visit to heaven. My quasi normal attraction to chocolate became manifest at a young age when I found myself using two envelopes of Swiss Miss in one cup, still not satisfied. Then I added some instant coffee, something still missing. C~H~O~C~O~L~A~T~E hmmmmmmm just rolls through your mouth and off your tongue, doesn’t it?

Currently, I use chocolate bars, various spices, non-dairy creamers, extracts, whipping cream, brewed coffee. Well, you get the picture. Anything that would not make the brew curdle or turn my stomach, whichever came first. I got turned on to putting actual chocolate bars into it by my friend, Cindi. That night she became my very best-est friend! I was so grateful to find someone to share my chocolate fetish! For my son’s birthday party, I put together a weird hot chocolate “mix”. I say “weird” only because I was throwing the stuff together the night before the party in a frenzied state, with cocoa powder flying all around. Oh, and I didn’t have time to make recipe cards…ugh. Got closer, though, cuz I actually bought them. Though I did not know it at the time, what I did was not exactly original… or crazy.

Just this week my ego maniac bubble, for being so creative with chocolate, was broken when I found the above book entitled, “Hot Chocolate~50 Heavenly Cups of Comfort”, by Fred Thompson. I found it while shopping at the A&P on sale for $3.99! So, I just had to scoop one up; such fun finding a book at the A&P. Mr. Thompson uses a lot of the things that I do in search for the Ultimate cup of hot chocolate, including creating dry mixes. What a shot in the arm of pure validation! I’d often tell people of the stuff that I mix with coffee or hot chocolate and always got a strange look, or a little comment of dismissal which ended the conversation, cutting off my zen for chocolate. I am always perplexed at the popularity commercial mixes enjoy. The actual chocolate content is almost non-existent.

I am so much of a chocolate freak that I used it as a topic for a speech given as a class project for a public speaking course I took years ago to help myself become comfortable in front of people…. HEY, btw JUSTIN… it worked! I chose to give a demonstrative speech, or maybe they called it an “instructional” speech. So, I took my favorite subject and spoke about making a fast, but utterly delicious and authentic cup of hot chocolate in the microwave. I’ll post the recipe at the end of this article if any of you are interested. I did my homework and even spoke about the history of the cacao bean and the drink that was made by the ancient Mayans. Did you know that their women were forbidden to drink chocolate? Hmph!

I have a mission! Because of my new life style, I need to convert my hot chocolate favorites into decadent sugar free must-have recipes. I have a couple of things going for me here. I already love the dark chocolate which is chock full of antioxidants. I learned in this book that the most popular way in the world to have this drink is to make it with water and not milk, and that will be a big plus. I think what I am going to do is publish a recipe a week for those of you who would be interested in inserting a little heaven into everyday life.

Okay, so here is my quickie, microwavable recipe for Authentic Hot Chocolate. Keep in mind that this is a basic foundation recipe and you can do almost anything to it. I have no idea what to call it, so maybe you guys can post some suggestions. How about this. The one that I pick will get a special mix. Are ya game? Don’t worry, post office people, no liquids needed.

No need to be exact in the measurements. As a matter of fact, be generous with heaping spoonfuls! Everything to YOUR taste.

(SO FAR, UN-NAMED HOT CHOCOLATE)

1 tbsp. Dutch processed hot cocoa powder

1 tsp… Instant coffee (optional for you caffeine lovers)

1-2 tbsp. Non-Dairy creamer, Plain *(or try 1/2 tsp. Arrowroot)

A pinch/dash of salt (optional, but it really does enhance the flavor)

Sugar (I give no measurements because it should go according to your taste, if you like sweet or not so sweet. Be creative with your sugar. You can use any sweetener from refined white (eww!), brown sugar, molasses, honey, sugar free syrup, or whatever)

Put all ingredients in to a microwavable mug, preferably a large one. Boil up some water and pour a little into the mug and stir until ingredients mix well and dry ingredients emulsify.

Okay, here is the part where you get to choose. You can either use all water like when making instant coffee, or you can fill up the rest of the mug with milk or cream or a combination of both.

Microwave initially for 1 minute on 50% power, and in 30 second increments after that to get desired hotness. If your chocolate is not creamy enough, add more non-dairy creamer, arrowroot, or cream. Grate some fresh nutmeg into your cup for garnish. If you use the dried spice kind, remember that fresh is more intense in flavor, so you might need more of the dried stuff.

I am sorry if this is confusing, but I wanted to make it appealing to a wide range of people with varying dietary needs.

Consumption Taxes


Consumption Taxes

Check out this story from the Brian Lehrer Show:

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/episodes/2007/03/20

Benjamin Barber, professor of civil society at the University of Maryland, distinguished senior fellow at Demos and the author of, Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole (Norton, 2007), discusses the conflicts between American-style democracy and consumerism.”

This was very interesting to listen to today. He spoke about how the spirit of capitalism can create products that are a luxury; but not addressing, indeed ignoring, the basic needs of most of the people of the world. Just like how we will pay a lot of money for a bottle of water, yet there are people in the world who can’t get water clean enough to feed their babies or even wash their clothes.

My only problem with the show was that a lot of the callers did not understand what the guy was really talking about. He constantly had to explain the same thing over and over, which was his main idea; so in my opinion, the discussion portrayed on the show did not go anywhere. He took a lot of hits concerning the new ipod phone, until he had to say that whatever he said didn’t apply to that, but he stood firm on everything else.  I am surprised because the audience of this station usually proves themselves to be pretty intelligent. My guess is that materialism is blocking the normally open airwaves.

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