19 June 2013

18 June 2013

The Main(e) Idea

So here it is...the new title of the blog...The Main(e) Idea.  I'll change the layout and everything as I go-I already changed the "a little history" part to the right.

So I thought I should say some positives about Maine.  I joke a lot about it on facebook, but honestly, I'm looking forward to it. I mean if John suddenly proclaimed that we were moving to...mmm, about 41 other states...I would be ecstatic...but I am still really excited about Maine.  So much so I sent him an email earlier this week about everything...here is my list.

Things I am excited about for Maine:
  • Comedians at local theatre (Bob Marley is July 6th)-turns out this is an actor from one of John's favorite movies (Boondock Saints) 
  • North Atlantic Blues Festival (second weekend of July)
  • Three Vaudvilles by Chekov (one of my favs)  (July 24th)
  • Lobster Fest with the Spin Doctors and a 10K (first weekend of August)
  • Portland Breweries (plus a 10K called Trail to Ale in September)
  • Trolley tour of three wineries-wine and not driving? Thank you, Rockland.
  • Hiking in Camden (there are beautiful day hikes at a local mountain)
  • Local art-apparently on the first friday they do wine and gallery tours-John's quote "oh yeah, that does sound like something you would like :)"
  • Local restaurants-some of which are farm to table-being a Durhamite, I quite a foodie
    • Primo-Farm to Table and James Beard award winning chef for 2013!
  • Closeness to Boston-we are only three hours to one of my favorite big cities!  

So while I do harp on the cold, I am looking forward to outdoor seating, our backyard and firepits.  I saw a picture online from a photographer who took a picture of her fire pit and the caption was "I love the summer time".  I'm sorry, to me, summer means going swimming because it is too hot, not gathering around the fire.  In all fairness though, I remember needing the fire a couple of times while camping with family.  Shhhhh...don't tell John I've been camping!

And, I mean, when it comes down to it?  I'm just excited to be with him.  No matter the temperature, or the granola consumption, we will be together :)  And being together is all that really matters...10 days babe!

17 June 2013

No Math so let's do No Poo

So I have 8 days of school left...but none with students...so really, there isn't much "teaching" going on...

I am too caught up in finishing up loose ends and packing to really explore anymore of Bahrain...

So really the whole "Teaching Math Internationally" title should be "cleaning up math locally" right now...

So let's give a "No 'Poo" update instead!!!
 **sorry for the pic quality on some...I tried resaving and reuploading and I still came out warped**

long, straight, pretty hair
Alright...so, I have been not using shampoo for a bit more than two weeks.  I have had three really awesome hair days (yes I understand the horrible odds here)...see my hair to the right-nice right?  So let me tell you my thoughts on the whole thing...

The pros:
double side braid
1. Four-Five mornings a week it takes me around 5-10 minutes to do my hair, total, including washing and styling.
2. I have used literally no products=money saved
3. I am getting REALLY good at braids.  See?
4. I have been asked multiple times if I have dyed my hair-and I haven't.  But noted, it is not turning brassy-which I was warned about
5.  I am losing a lot less hair in the shower.

The cons:
1. Two-three mornings a week I spend 30-40 minutes washing and styling my hair, so I really do not come out ahead on time (140 minutes a week-roughly-either way)
my hair is thirsty
2. I have used very little of the 2 dinars worth of Baking Soda and Vinegar I bought so I really have (or will) save money.  However, I bought 500 fils of almond oil to add more luster to my hair...it could be a slippery slope (haha, get it, slippery, oil :) of adding oils every so often...
3. my hair looks pretty wretched some days (see dry hair to the right or grease any given day)
4. I haven't mastered the balance of BS and V so I never know how my hair will turn out...
5. I have to brush my hair a lot at night (recommended to distribute the grease...sorry, I mean natural oils) so I'm probably losing just as much hair in brush.

So is it worth it to keep going?  Well the pics below are after 4 days of not washing my hair at all-I told my students that day and they were amazed...
really awesome looking for 4 days...
doesn't look that bad+no makeup
ok...it's a little (lotta) greasy in the back

So here's the problem...I had a pretty good experience with my hair last week...I was pleased and thought, man, I'm getting good at this! So Saturday night I decided to take care of those dry ends (and a little dandruff problem that arose) and I did a hot oil treatment (remember that almond oil I bought?)  Well, apparently, my hair wasn't that dry...or my hair takes to oil really well...not sure which...but no amount of baking soda later, my hair is still an oily, greasy mess!  The braid pic above is from today, because I literally look like a drowned rat with my wet looking, greasy hair.

So do I chalk it up as "stupid Carissa, you should go out on a Saturday night, not do things to your hair that aren't necessary" or do I give up the BSV stuff?  I have had more bad hair days than good, but it is also a transition period...so do I give it more time?

Things I have learned:
A. You HAVE to wash all the baking soda out...otherwise you smell like it and your hair crunches.
B. Vinegar really does condition your hair...I have no tangles at all.  It CAN feel really soft...when it doesn't feel like baking soda is caked in...
C. Hair is much better when you don't constantly run your fingers through it.  I used to constantly do that which just brought more grease to my hair and broke down any products I put on.  Now since my "good hair days" are stiffer and I can't put my fingers in it-I notice that overall, my hair looks nicer.

So what do you think?  Do I stick it out or just go back to my good ol' Dove?

08 June 2013

tests...good, bad or ugly?

I hate love hate lovehate assessments.  When they are well created and tell me something in the end, I love grading them.  I really enjoy designing good ones.  However, both of those take huge amounts of time and so neither get done properly all of the time.

We have to assess students to see what they know.  However, they freak out, care more about the grade than anything, and end up showing me what their neighbor's paper knows more often than I care to admit.

I hate testing in class periods because I want to know what a student knows, not what they can do in 50 minutes.  However, if a quiz/assignment/test is designed to be 30 minutes and you are still working on it after 50, is it that you are a slow worker or you actually just didn't know it...

I love when a student says "that was a fair test, but it was hard." I want to challenge them.  I would rather see a student work hard for an 80, than ace a test with a 100.  However, with the drive for GPA and class ranks, this freaks kids out.

So while I'm writing final exams, students should know that teachers hate them just as much as you do...

06 June 2013

Project Schmooze Points

One of my favorites (I know we are not supposed to have favorites but, really, we all do) put this as the last slide of her final project :)

In case you had to ask, she got a 100 :)

05 June 2013

Let's get personal

This is a post that I NEVER expected to write, and probably will look back on in a few years months weeks and laugh…

Well at least parts of it…

Parts of it make me cry…like the following…this gets personal y’all…I was inspired Heidi’s blog of 10 truths.  She was very open and honest in it so even though it is the internet, I don’t want to publically share her entry with the world for her.  However she did mention she has acne-which totally shocked me because every picture I see of her she is drop dead gorgeous.  She is literally the mom of 2 kids we all want to be like.  So reading that she had acne made me feel more comfortable to write this…

I have acne.  From what I can tell from my genetics, always have, always will.  I don’t have little pimples that you can easily pop (I know you are not supposed to pop them, but seriously?) I have huge cysts that hurt…for days…or in my case right now…weeks months.

My triggers are stress and hormones.  I use gentle products, wash my pillow cases, etc.  They all lie right around my cheekbones and chin (typical hormone spot) and sometimes dead center of my forehead (stress).  I get little pimples too, but they are usually a reaction to a huge cyst.   
I have been an active Proactiv user for years.  It does a good job of regulating most of my issues, but sometimes those darn mini planets work their way through.  I was on birth control pills for almost 8 years but love myself WAY more when I’m not on it…I’ve tried about 6 different kinds of BC too, low hormone, high hormone, hormone supplements the week of placebos, everything.  Basically it made my blood pressure rise, caused horrible cramping, and major migraine headaches.  I’ve been off of it for 4 years now (with a 6 month relapse to try it again almost 2 years ago) and I much prefer everything about my body…minus the acne (which I still had on BC but it was noticeably better on it).

In 2010/2011 I went to the dermatologist for the first time in my life.  My skin was so bad I couldn’t handle it.  She recommended Accutane.  I know a handful of people who have taken it, some who loved it, some who hated it.  She told me I had to go on BC.  I told her no.  We worked out that issue and then she said handed me a big book of information (seriously, a 30 page, 8.5”x 11” paper, book) about the issues and my log-in for the online pledge saying I wouldn’t have babies on it.  I wasn’t planning on having babies at this point in my life (obviously), but I started thinking about the fact that I was 27…I wasn’t a 16 year old kid who would have 10 years before the baby makin’ process.  Also, the way it works is it “dries up” the oil in your body.  Great for you face and bacne (which I don’t have…it is only on my face), but not so great for your scalp (when I first started having hormone issues, this was the first sign-my thinning hair…that isn’t an issue anymore), your eyes (which I have dry eyes already), your intestines (which one of the guys I know blames Accutane for this) and other areas that need lubrication…if you get my drift.  For MOST people these are slight side effects that dissipate after you stop taking it.  Here was the kicker for me…the depression issue.  Being someone who is pre-disposed to depression already (thanks genetics again), I don’t really feel like I need to voluntarily put a chemical in my body that could foster it…this may be me freaking out for no reason, but I ended up crying in the doctor’s office and told her no.  She said she didn’t understand, but gave me a cream.  The cream helped get me through my crazy face for awhile, and then, when life slowed down, I went back to my normal Proactiv routine, dealing with an occasional flare ups. 

Well moving to Bahrain completely rocked my face.  Even using Proactiv, by October my face was ridiculous, tons of cysts and just gross.  I went to the spa for a massage and the lady talked me into getting something for my acne.  I told her I was allergic to Salycilic Acid and Sulfur-I can only use Benzoyl Peroxide-and she shrugged and told me it was the best stuff.  Well two weeks later my skin was worse.  I went and asked and they said it had to work itself out….well I went to the big bottles (I got a sample kit) and the treatment medicine was salycilic acid.  I stopped that immediately.  I was out of Proactiv, in a foreign country where the constant air conditioning, large amounts of dirt in the air, constantly being exposed to smoke and alcohol a lot more than I was in the states, and HORRIBLE diet had completely ruined my face.  Now I realize that I could do a lot to help my skin….but some things I could not help.  I started noticing people’s faces here (locals and others) and I noticed a lot of the same type of breakouts….especially in expats.  So some of my horrible face is my fault, some is environment. 

I called Joan before I went home at Christmas and told her my skin looked like a pubescent teenage boy and to buy me Proactiv before I even landed (please and thank you).  In the two weeks I was home my skin started clearing up.  Still not perfect, but better.  It was ok for most of January.  But then in February it started going to shit again.  March was eventful and we all know how awesome April was, but my skin was definitely not the good part.  I actually wore my hair down for most of this time to try to hide behind it. 

So in April I went to the dermatologist again.  I walked into her office and sat down in front of her desk.  I started telling my story and she stopped me and said “hang on”.  I waited for a nurse to enter and say that my insurance didn’t cover this.  I told them I didn’t care, I would pay it, and the doctor looked at me immediately and said “ok, then try Accutane. I’ll write you a prescription for it and birth control.”  I wanted to start crying again.  She didn’t touch my face, didn’t ask about my history, which she cut me off in the middle of telling, and said it was the only thing that would help my face.  So now I have all of the horrible side effects running through my mind but now I am in a position where I plan on having kids in the near(er than before) future too!  On top of all of that the blood work that I would have to do would cost 80BD each month, and the prescription itself was 30BD each month.  BC would be covered, so 5BD.  I just kept thinking no…I don’t know why I am so adamant against it…why I’m so scared of it…but I really do not want to go on it!  So anyways…I left.

A week later I got the balls to go back and ask about other options.  She prescribed two creams and an antibiotic.  She then told me to cut out red meat, processed foods, chocolate, sugar, wheat and alcohol from my diet.  I asked what was left and she said fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish.  Well I could certainly lose weight with that too….

Any side effect you could have from the antibiotic, I had, so I had to stop taking it…I very rarely take medicine.  When I take pain meds for a headache (when it gets so bad), they always work, and very quickly.  Bad thing is that I have reactions to a lot of it…cold medicine is a killer on me…and apparently antibiotics. 
However the creams are helping. 

So here is where we may laugh in a little bit and I never thought my name brand self would admit to this…I was reading up on castor oil and how it helps people with acne.  I read about the oil cleansing method.  I was quite skeptical since my skin was oily itself, why would I want to put more oil on my  face…

But. I. Love. It.  Seriously.  One week now and no cysts, my make up looks better too.  Now I do use a toner after it (I’m still mastering getting all the oil off) and I am using clindamycin (mild acne medication).  I use a drop of moisturizer…but my skin is very moisturized (which therefore cuts down on the oiliness…skin is oily-sometimes-in a reaction to dry skin…it is trying to balance the dry skin by producing too much oil).  In the shower I use a very gentle, soap free exfoliator.  Also my nails are looking awesome and my cuticles are great from reaping the benefits of my face massages each day. 

What pros and cons have you heard about the OCM? 

Now here is the other funny part…I am about to try not ‘pooing.  Shampooing that is.  I hate washing my hair every day.  I seriously do.  If I don’t sweat a lot, I will go 2-3 days without washing if I can.  My hair is uber dry and I cannot find a shampoo I like here (the normal products here, don’t work the same as back home to me-could be psychological).  So I am off to buy baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  So in my bathroom I’ll have castor oil, sunflower oil, baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  Is this a bathroom or a kitchen? 

The only thing, is that during the transition period your hair can look like crap (I’m ok with a pony tail now that my skin is having good days), but it lasts 4+ weeks….and I go home in 4 weeks (from yesterday!) and I want to look pretty for John!  Oh the decisions. 

Anyways I hope you enjoyed hearing (laughing) about my home therapies…and letting me vent about acne. 

****I wrote this last week.  Without even knowing John commented that my skin was looking better!  I had a horrible hair day with the BS and V method, but I’m getting tons of compliments today…so I’m going to try to stick it out…but it is rough y’all.  My hair is definitely adjusting.  I’ll keep you posted :)