Bat Fit, part 2 and an update

The all natural skin care regimen, update:

Deciding to switch out my entire skin care regimen right when
the coldest and driest weather struck was probably not the best idea.
There was a week when my face felt really dry and coarse,
but I made a facial scrub out of olive oil, honey and sugar
and gently rubbed my face with it three days straight.
Now my face feels like a baby's bottom, and gone are all the blemishes.
No more hydro-cortisone! No more Nivea! No more chap stick!

That's right, all I use is olive oil and natural baby oil (sunflower seed oil,
canola oil and citric acid) and my skin has never felt so good.
The only downside to this regimen is the olive oil scent.
I notice that it really lingers in hair so I stopped using it there.
And use some old clothes right after you slab it all over your body
because it can take an hour or so to really soak in.
My next experiment is to get some extra virgin coconut oil
for my lips, hair and any particularly dry spots. I'm on an all natural roll!

The meds/doctors/therapy situation

My dear dad has been paying for my therapy this last year
but made it clear that he wouldn't be able to continue doing that
in the new year. Luckily my therapist just got signed up with
Swedish 'medicare' which means I will get free sessions until August.
That's a huge load off my chest since I'm still not making any money.

In February I am seeing the doctor about raising the dose of my
anti-depressants. What I have now has been a helping a little bit
but not enough, but it's a relatively new drug and so far she has been
unwilling to stray from the dosage guidelines. Fingers crossed!

 I know that many of you commented on my insomnia in the earlier post,
and wished for me to be able to get off the sleeping pills,
but I honestly don't see that as a realistic goal for me at the moment.
For now I'm just going to try to establish some better routines.

So, how is your Bat Fit coming along?



Bat Fit 2017: New routines, part 1

This year I am joining darling Franny and a big group of other bloggers
and Facebookers in Bat Fit. My ultimate goals are not clearly defined
but I have a list of changes I want to make during 2017.
What I really want is to get back to myself, to really feel like me, 
and by finding some balance (inside and out) I am hoping to end up there.

The skin and hair care regime

I have very dry skin. I also have thin dry hair and brittle nails.
Everything on my outside (and inside - I drink gallons of water)
needs extreme hydration, and I have been using hydrocortisone
for blemishes for years. But I have finally read up on silicones and sulfates,
and for those who are still confused, here is the cliff-notes version:

Silicones in themselves are neither cleansing nor hydrating agents,
they are basically sealants used in almost every skin care product
and hair conditioner. But because most of them are non-water soluble
they demand harsh cleaning agents to wash out. Enter sulfates.

Sulfates are very effective cleaning agents used in everything
from industrialized cleaners to your shampoo. The problem is
they are as dehydrating to skin and hair as they are to everything else,
forcing us to re-hydrate (with silicone based products) once again.

I never use any soap on my face, and I only use a gentle soap
from the pharmacy for other chosen parts of the body. I stopped
using conditioner about a year ago, realizing it only made my hair flatter
and not actually better. If the ends are dry I rinse with apple cider vinegar,
or use a little oil. I switched to a shampoo without sulfates and decided
to only wash my hair once a week to see if it will make a difference.

When my parents came back from France last they brought me some
high-end olive oil, and I decided to use it for skin and hair care only.
I rub it all over after my bath (instead of a lotion with 30 ingredients)
and my skin actually feels different already - softer, younger.

My face, the driest and most sensitive part, will take longer to adjust
to the olive oil treatment. I can already see blemishes fading away,
and I have been using 100% natural baby oil together with my facial lotion
for many years, but at night my face is still crying out for its 'sealant'.

The insomnia

I have sleep-onset insomnia, which means I have difficulties falling asleep.
If I fall asleep I can usually sleep all night, if not straight through the night
(I wake up at the slightest cat noise). But it doesn't matter how tired I am
- sluggish brain and body, cranky mood, blurred vision - I just don't get sleepy.
I have been taking Zolpidem/Ambien for years. Without them I would
probably only sleep every 2 or 3 nights and my days would all be hell.

The problem with the drug is dependency; one needs to increase the dose
over time as the body gets used to it. Luckily I have been able to increase
it very little and only take 1½ per night but, since my insomnia is linked to my
chronic depression and anxiety, I don't know if I will ever be able to do without.

I have been trying to improve my sleep hygiene. I have put up black-out blinds,
gotten an electrical blanket (sleeping in a cool environment is not for me)
and I have increased the amount of pillows in the bed (to feel safe).
I have tried switching off the TV/laptop/phone an hour before bed, but for someone
like me the dark and quiet only kicks my thoughts into high gear. I have tried
different sleep noises (rain, waves etc) but I find them mostly annoying.

The last few months I have experienced some truly erratic sleep behavior
so what I am doing now is quitting the alcohol for a while (more on that
in part 2) and I am starting to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
The value of proper sleep cannot be over-estimated.


I have a longer list of things I want to change in 2017 so I will also
be posting a part 2 and 3 of my Bat Fit intentions during January
covering food, alcohol, meds/doctors/therapy and my new work situation.
Once February rolls around I am hoping to start seeing some changes.



Time for 4th wave feminism

 I believe my send-off to 2015 a year ago was something along the lines of
'Fuck You!' so I am struggling to find the words for 2016... 'Don't let the door
hit you on the ass' just doesn't seem enough. I am known for my pessimism 
 and I have never been a good liar, so 2016: YOU SUCKED BALLS.
 But what's worse is, you laid the ground work for an absolutely horrendous 2017.

Do you guys remember the late 90's, when there was a terrifying and disgusting war
in Europe, a continent-wide economic crisis and sky high unemployment?
I graduated from senior high-school with the words 'Get out while you can!'
ringing in my ears. So I fled to London, started dating a hippie and made minimum wage,
and still I was much better off than most people in Europe - or the World - at that time.

We thought we had it bad. We were told no generation in Sweden had had worse
prospects since the second world war. But 20 years later; THIS! The back-lash, the hatred.
The amount of people just WAITING for this day, to fight back, to claim their superiority,
to destroy. The liberal millennials could never have imagined the fear and anger
that has been stewing... but wait, couldn't they have - and, couldn't we have?

Because haven't we all heard it, again and again? At the breakfast table,
then less frequently, at the Christmas table - but did it actually ever change?
If anything, my dad got worse, more right wing, with old age. And so did
many of his peers. We kind of hoped their opinions didn't matter in the grand
scheme of things, but they still get to vote - and there are so many of them.

Sweden has been considered one of the 5 most feminist countries in the world
for the last 100 years or so, but according to calculations we still have 200 years
to go before women's' salaries are equal to men's, at the rate we're going.
What does that say about equal rights in any form? It tells us we cannot stop fighting,
we cannot afford to be a complacent, trusting people. It tells us the people
in charge will always try to stay in charge, to abuse us, to keep us down.

Obviously I am not just talking about Sweden.
And I am not placing blame. If anything, I am accepting part of the blame.
And I am asking you all to pick up the torch once more, and to hold it high.




 I got home a couple of hours ago and it's getting late, but I'm still wired from Yule
with the cousins, so I'm winding down with a glass of wine in bed
and I thought I might as well do a Yule post.

The drive back was terrible. We've been hit by the same storm that earlier
this week caused complete chaos in London, delaying the flight
my brother's family was on and forcing them to take a different route
and an over night stay in Philadelphia. They arrived in Orlando a day later
than planned and won't be going to Disney world until tomorrow.
Good thing Americans celebrate xmas a day late!

In my family we have always had Santa visiting on Yule Eve,
handing out the gifts - usually a family member or a family friend.
It requires a bit of planning and, when there were 16-18 of us,
several hours of work for Santa. But this year my cousins played it
differently. There was a knock on the balcony door and by the time
the kids had reached it, Santa was already on the street down below,
moving on to the next house (because Santa is magically fast).
But of course he had left bags of gifts on the balcony :)

At that distance the 3 and 6-year-old didn't recognize their grandpa in garb,
he only pretended to go to the bathroom (not a two hour trek to the store)
and could still join in the fun - and the magic of Yule was preserved.
There was some discussion about whether Santa really could fly
or just climb like Spider Man, if he was faster than Lightning McQueen
or whether Tinkerbell's fairydust was involved somehow.
The conclusion was that both kids also wanted to be able to fly.

 Now, the food. As you probably already know, pork and herring
(and Snaps) are the most important foods on the Julbord. We also have several
kinds of cabbage, cheeses and the usual add-ons (bread, eggs, potatoes).

As usual I totally forgot to take pictures of the cakes and the insane candy table.
There were at least 6 home-made candies this year, and LOTS of chocolates.
(The below picture is of when I made some chocolate balls earlier today)

Merry Yule everybody!


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