DNA results

So, we got our DNA results from Connect My DNA yesterday. I’m very glad I got a steep discount because I think the results are questionable at best.

Here is my graph of DNA hits:

Angela’s DNA hits

Irish I can dig. I’ve researched the family names and United Kingdom is a definite link. But all that Latin America? I’m not so sure. I also love that there’s no obvious Native American Indian anywhere to be seen. THAT doesn’t surprise me, although I’ve seen a pic of my great grandfather on my father’s side and he certainly LOOKS Cherokee. Or some sort of Native American, anyway.

But I dunno, could that dude actually be of Central American Indian descent rather than North American Indian? I suppose that’s a possibility. And on my mother’s side, her father’s lineage is a question because he was born out of wedlock (and of course in the 20s, one didn’t TELL no matter what). Whoever his family was (we think Hall is a good possibility) had black hair and eyes and could tan deeply – like my mother and brother. Also, my brother is practically hairless, which is another Native American trait.

I’ve always assumed their reddish skin full of melanin was the Cherokee or perhaps there was some African in there, but what if it’s the Central American causing their traits? I guess it’s possible. I assume that all the native tribes of the Americas intermingled at some point, so maybe that’s the deal?

Just read this on the wiki about indigenous peoples of the Americas:

“DNA testing is not sufficient to qualify a person for specific tribal membership, as it cannot distinguish among Native American groups.”

I paid for a STR DNA test, which cannot test for indigenous markers, sadly. You need a Y-DNA or mtDNA test for that specific information. Info on that (here). But I think you can extrapolate from this one that indigenous people are involved. I think maybe the family insistence that there’s “Cherokee” in us may not be entirely untrue.

Here are the actual tags:

LOCI values
LOCI values

If anyone out there can read that, HOLLAH, would you? All I know is that I can prove I’m a minority! Yay! LOL

The Irish did make me laugh, though, considering what a sot I am. Makes TOTAL sense! :)

Nick’s came back with Belarus as his primary and Polish at the very bottom, but it was almost all Eastern European, so that makes sense. After looking at the history of Belarus (Lithuania and Poland) it’s perfect.

I think these cheapo DNA tests are more parlour game than useful info, but it’s fun and for $30, why not? Perhaps use a better one than Connect My DNA if you want ancestry info, but do try it if you find a discount coupon. I’m intrigued and will probably do the ancestry one at some point.

ALL Mirena updates AND Removal (2011 – 2020)

Updates for Mirena over the years (original review after updates):
1. 3/26/12 I’m currently on week 8 w/out a period! Yay! But I doubt it’ll last. I’ve had all other indicators of impending bleeding, but none yet. So. I still give it 2.5, but if the periods stop I’ll up it to 3 or 3.5 perhaps. Here’s to hoping!

2. Dec 2012 So, it’s been almost 2 years now and I’m happy with Mirena. The periods stopped a few months ago (Sep?) and I only have occasional spotting. All is well for me and I’ll give Mirena 3.5 stars. The first year is a bitch, but once everything settles, it seems to work like a charm. Hysterectomy would still be more efficient, but if you don’t want that, then Mirena is a pretty good choice.

3. October 2013: Still chugging along with Mirena at almost 3 years. I sometimes get light cramps, but I’ve not bled in a long time. YAY! Mirena has been great for me. Perhaps by the time this one needs replacing (it’s a 5 year device) I’ll be ready to yank out the Vile Organ. ::fingers crossed::

4. December 2015: As I am coming up on the 5 year mark (Jan 2016), I was getting anxious about having to replace the Mirena. Since the previous update, I’ve had no periods and things have been great. It’s about as close to hysterectomy as you can get w/out the knife. Fortunately, my gyno informed me that I do NOT have to replace the Mirena since I don’t use it for birth control. She wants me to keep going on this one to see how long the drugs actually work. I’ve become a test case to see the ACTUAL lifespan of the Mirena for therapeutic use rather than birth control. I’ll post more info as time passes.

5. January 2018: At year 7 and still working! Yay! I still have no periods, no PMS, no nuttin. The only time I’ll see a spot is if I’m really sick, really stressed or post surgery. I had Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy in May 2016 and spotted a little after that, but other than that? It’s like the vile organ isn’t even there. The Mirena is the best thing I’ve ever done besides VSG. I’m 70# thinner, I feel great and I still have no vile organ issues! I *do* have some hot flashes, but so far, that’s it. I am 52 and my gyno is interested to see how the Mirena interacts with menopause. I am interested as well. I’ll report more when things happen. (Oh, I did find out that it’s no longer “Mirena”, it’s something else now, but basically the same product.)

6. March 2020: Finally got the Mirena removed. I forgot to mention that at my last visit to the gyno, she informed me that I’d gone through menopause. !! I had no idea!! She said that since it worked so well for me as a menopausal facilitator, she’s going to recommend it to other pre-menopausal women. I had the Mirena for 9 years and it supposedly stopped working at year 5-6. Since I went through menopause at the same time, it’s hard to say. All I can tell you is that it is MAGICAL and I highly recommend it! I had no periods after the first year of adjustment and as I said, I went through menopause without knowing it. Having it removed was literally NOTHING. I was nervous, but on the table she said, “hey, can you hold your breath for a second?” and by the time I answered, she’d popped it out! LOL She held it up and said AHA!! It was all discoloured and gnarly looking, too! EW! But that damn thing worked like a charm and was worth EVERY PENNY of the grand it took to get it.

My overall opinion of the Mirena (or whatever it’s called now) is, if you CAN get it, DO IT. Ovarian cysts will disqualify you and perhaps some other things. There are horror stories of the pain involved with getting one installed, but I didn’t have that. It was odd and slightly painful for a second, but I didn’t have any big issues with the install. And once it’s in, it’s good to go. Mirena changed my life! It ended the horrible periods and got me through menopause seamlessly. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Original post:

I had the Mirena (IUD w/ hormones) installed Jan 3 2011. Read about what it was like to get the IUD installed HERE. The first year has mostly sucked. I had a three+ month long period after I first got it. No cramps, but I fucking bled nonstop. Then it backed off and I was having a period every 5-7 weeks with no cramping. BUT STILL HAVING THEM. That went on for months then I had a 2 month break Oct-Nov, then on Thanksgiving, it came back with a vengeance – complete with mild cramps. I just finished another period with mild cramps. :(

So, the promise of no periods with Mirena has been a LIE for me. I’m not surprised. Nothing involving the Vile Organ EVER works as advertised with me. Yes, I’m glad to not have incapacitating cramps, but I still have to deal with the fucking bleeding (+PMS) and that sucks donkey balls. I’m SICK of dealing with this messy nastiness. I’ve dealt with it for over 30 years and I AM SICK OF IT. I just want it to stop!!

The Mirena is $800 plus installation fees, so about a grand all together. The Mirena company does offer a payment plan with no interest, which is nice.

Are your cramps worth $1000 to eliminate? That’s really the bottom line. (BTW, you do NOT have to be a breeder to get the Mirena. It is approved for ALL women, regardless of breeder status.)

My point is that the Mirena, while great for cramps, is NOT a substitute for a hysterectomy. If given the option, I’d say go for hysterectomy in a heartbeat.

Mirena gets 2.5 out of 5 stars. NOW: 3.5 stars!

Attitude Adjustment in Progress…

Please do not click more than once.

It’s that time of year when I start analysing (obsessing) over what the fuck (WTF) I’m doing with my life and WTF I intend to do as it goes along.

As usual, the Universe is kind enough to drop me hints about WTF I should think about changing. Thanks Universe. I needed this!

First, I read a post by my friend Green who is more or less in the same place as I at the moment. He says:

“I don’t know how long it’s been since I was ME, and not just a place-holder standing in where I should have been.”

Yup, I know that feeling. There’s too much and not enough going on. There’s too much nice and too much snark. Nothing is balanced. And I’m not here much of the time. Gotta FIX THAT.

I’ve also seen a couple of things about body image that have reminded me to STOP beating myself up for being a fat old lady. It’s my fate, why be maudlin? First, I saw the American Apparel plus size incident and I subsequently removed their shit from our store. I am not going to sell AA’s high priced crappy shirts (they ALWAYS get holes) and support those hipsters who think it’s cool to trash fat girls. Fuck them.

In between these reality checks, I cleaned out my closet of the size 10 clothes I’ll never wear again. I’m going to consign what I can and perhaps make some money to finance my NEW wardrobe. I’ll get a waist cincher and move the fuck on. Sitting here moaning about my fat ass is not really helping me have a happy life, yanno? I’m on the downside of middle age, it’s time to let go of shit from my 20s/30s. If I lose the weight, great, if not, well, WHATEVER. I’m so tired and miserable of constantly dieting. What is the goddam point of dieting when you’re middle aged? Clearly you are not going to be 30 EVER again, so why be miserable about it?

I also read a great article about being a blogger today (although I don’t really consider myself a “blogger” since it’s not my job). The article is at Forbes (and has HUGE fonts and is spread over three pages to get maximum ADS in your face, gross). I like this quote about being a blogger and putting it out there for all to see and criticise:

It’s about people who get on the stage and people who don’t, and there are days when you have to remind yourself which person you are. – Susannah Breslin

I’m always introspective before my birthday and this year is no different. BUT hey, this year it’s 11/11/11, which is pretty fucking EPIC even if the number of the birthday is quite large. Heh.

I’m experiencing some technical issues. Regular programming will resume shortly. Please don’t adjust your set. :)

Hair Care & Hair Colour Myths

Hello, Googlers! I hope this post has the info you’re looking for! Thanks for stopping by! -Angela

I’ve coloured my hair since 1985. I’ve used pretty much every brand on the market. Recently I got into a colour debate with someone who has been brainwashed by the hair industry to think that any colour purchased outside a salon is bad for your hair. It’s 100% bullshit, of course, but students tend to believe what they are taught in school and if your school is Wella based, then Wella is the best. If it’s Aveda based, then Aveda is the best. If it’s Paul Mitchell based…well, you get the idea.

I’m here to dispel some myths about hair colour, bleach and hair washing. My mother was a bouffant hairdresser in the 60s-70s, so I grew up in a salon – literally, the salon was IN OUR HOUSE. The hair industry has changed little since then – other than the intense indoctrination of students to be loyal to ONE brand only. And better products in general.

Let’s start with basic hair care myths. (Please note all of the following is about WHITE hair, not ethnic hair.)

Myth: Washing your hair daily will ruin it.
Truth: Not necessarily. It depends on YOUR hair and scalp. This myth is linked to hair colour fading over time, I think. Most average hair and scalp can probably go unwashed for a day. Very dry hair and scalp can go for much longer. Very oily hair and scalp (like mine) simply cannot skip a day. Every morning my hair is saturated with oil and plastered to my scalp. I MUST wash it or have slimy hair. I’ve washed my hair every day for my whole life. My hair has not fallen out, gotten split ends or anything else. If your hair needs washing, WASH IT. There is nothing grosser than seeing an otherwise cute girl with unwashed, visibly dirty hair. GROSS.

Myth: Using “regular” shampoo with sulfates in it will strip your colour and ruin your hair.
Truth: Perhaps in the days of Prell this was true, but not these days. Prell really would strip your hair, but remember, in the days of the bouffant, women put that shit up for a WEEK, sprayed it with lacquer hairspray every day and they NEEDED a stripping shampoo just to get the hairspray off! These days, drugstore hair care products are very mild and generally fine for daily and/or coloured hair use. I’ve spent the big bucks for sulfate free shampoo/conditioner and I feel that it strips MORE colour out of my hair! Maybe it’s just my ultra fine hair that doesn’t like it. I’ve seen no visible difference between high dollar sulfate free salon brands and drugstore brands. Use what you like.

**New! I found L’Oreal Everpure sulfate free at Big Lots and I LOVE IT! You use a TINY amount and my hair is very happy with it. I use the color shampoo and fine hair conditioner. [Oct 2017]**

I don’t put much faith in the claim that sulfate free shampoos/conditioners will keep your colour longer. I’ve not had that experience. But if you like the sulfate free stuff, use it. I’ve determined that SWEAT is the biggest enemy of hair colour. I am a head sweater – most of my sweat comes out of my head. Weird, I know, but true. Sweat is the best colour stripper out there. It has a bleaching effect that I’ve experienced – you should see my bandanna covered in hair colour!

**New! I have started using the Zotos Quantum Perfect Plums (and Riveting Reds) shampoos to keep my colour fresher and they work! I keep my hair plum (Ion Color Brilliance Permanent Plum 4VV) and I use the Zotos Quantum Perfect Plums about every three washes. I also tried Biotera Sheer Illuminator tinted conditioner in Shiny Red (when my hair was red) that that stuff is great! It has ACTUAL SPARKLIES IN IT. EEEEE!! NEW: Sally has a conditioner by Ion called PIGMENTS that is truly a great conditioner. It stains my hands! HIGHLY RECOMMEND! All these are at Sally.**

Wanna know what damages your hair the most? HEAT. We use much less of it these days than in, say, the grand ole 80s when we strived for BIG HAIR, but heat is what causes the most damage to your hair. Curling and flat irons are especially harsh. For white hairstyles these days, there’s little done other than a decent cut, so it’s a non-issue.

Next, hair colour myths:

Myth: If you use drugstore hair colour, it’s going to ruin your hair due to (pick one) a) metallic dyes b) harsh developers c) cheap ingredients d) whatever the current myth is.
Truth: Like other hair products, the drugstore hair colours have improved immensely since the 70s. They are much gentler on the hair and cause fewer reactions than ever before. As for metallic dyes, I doubt very much that the major brands use any of that since it tends to be an allergen, but I suppose some could. Clairol using metallics would not surprise me, since Clairol is the only colour that bothers my scalp. But I can assure you that L’Oreal Feria colours do not contain metallic dyes (I will include the email they sent me about it at the end of this post). The new pastel colours that Feria has released (Jan 2016) are also NOT metallic, nor will they “melt your hair” as a popular meme suggests. That is stupid. It promises 3 levels of lift, which I am sure is a lie. There’ll be lots of botched colour jobs from people with dark hair expecting it to turn out pink. Not gonna happen.

As for harsh developers, I’m here to tell you that peroxide is peroxide, my friends. There are no “organic” or “natural” peroxide developers. It’s just MARKETING. You HAVE to have peroxide to provide lift and/or deposit of the pigments. Your only other choice is vegetable dyes (think Manic Panic, or henna – which are VEGETABLE based dyes, again, NOT metallic in any way) that stain the hair cuticle but do not penetrate the hair. I will say, however, that again, Clairol is the only colour that aggravated (BURNED) my scalp, so their shit definitely has *something* irritating in it.

As for cheap ingredients… Well, that is marketing, too. Some of the crappiest colours I’ve used are the “professional” ones. Here is what my experience with some of the most common “pro” colours (I could get them through my mother):
– Wella. Muddy colours, orangey reds. Fades quickly.
– Matrix. Bright colours but fades extremely quickly.
– Redken. Nice reds, good staying power. I used Redken for years.
– L’Oreal (professional). Muddy reds, pretty good lasting power.
– Pravana. Orangey reds, nice shimmer, pretty good lasting power.
– Pravana Brights. EXCELLENT. I love their bright stains. These do not use developer, like all veg dyes.
– Framesi. (may not exist any longer) One of the harshest colours I’ve ever used. Marketed as “metallic” colour(!!). Expensive and pretty nasty stuff.
– Feria (pro and boxed). The best reds I’ve ever used. Lovely shimmering colour. Long lasting, albeit with a colour shift. NON METALLIC (see email after post).
NEW: I have started using Ion (Sally Brand) colours. Their line of brights is pretty good. They have permanent and semi-perm choices as well as straight up veg dyes that do not require developer. Their permanent purple is good.

Myth: Bleaching your hair is a recipe for disaster.
Truth: Not necessarily. It really depends on the type of hair you have and the talent of who’s putting on the bleach. Bleach is powdered peroxide. It can be a harsh product and it can really mess up your hair if you’re not careful. It’s not so much the bleach itself that is the problem, it’s the developer that you use – which is usually 20, 30 or 40 volume. 40 volume is some powerful developer, my friends and it can certainly destroy the cuticle of your hair if you leave it on too long! Generally, curly hair is much more difficult to bleach since the cuticle is aleady open and therefore it’s easier to burn than fine, straight hair (straight hair has a closed cuticle). My rule of thumb is to use no more than 30 volume developer for a first time bleach. See how the hair responds and if it holds up well, then bleach again with 30 vol to get the desired lift. With my ultra fine hair, I can bleach the hell out of it with 40 vol and have no damage. I’m lucky that way. I’ve been known to bleach my hair 3x in a week when I went from red to blonde. But that’s MY hair. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else trying that unless you know your hair and know what you’re doing! Bleach is not an automatic ticket to damaged hair. Just be careful and don’t use 40 volume unless you KNOW what you’re doing.

Myth: Manic Panic, Special FX and other bright dyes are metallic.
Truth: Of course they are NOT metallic! They are basically vegetable dyes that just stain the hair. You don’t even use developer with them! These stains require that the hair be very blonde to work. So if you’re a naturally light blonde, then you can put it on and rock. Most of us are not level 9-10 blondes, tho, so typically we bleach first then apply the bright stain. Any brights you look at (Manic Panic, Special FX, Splat, Adore, Ion, etc.) will say that you must have blonde hair to get results.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had women with dark hair tell me that they want to go blue, pink, whatever, and are shocked to learn that you can’t put these dyes on dark hair and expect results. Every time I go to Sally I have to school someone on this.

You MUST have very light hair to do a pastel! It’s PASTEL! Anyone who thinks you can put the Feria boxed pastels on her hair w/out lightening first will have horrible results. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then PLEASE head to a pro colourist. If you really want that perfect pastel and you have no experience with multiple process colours, SEE A PROFESSIONAL. **This advice is double if you have ethnic hair.**

Cosmetology schools these days are all about creating brand loyal students. They pound it into their heads that Brand X is by far the best on the planet and everything else is inferior. It makes sense for the brands to do this. It just puts out a ton of misinformation about drugstore and less popular brands, which is why I wrote this post.

When it comes to hair, do what is best for YOUR hair. Use the brands you like! Don’t get caught up in the pro brand wars. Trust me, the stuff on the shelves at Rite Aid are just as good. I’ve got 25+ years of using this crap to tell you that with confidence. And don’t believe everything you read on the intertubes, either. There are plenty of sites saying that Feria is “dangerous” and “full of metallic dyes”, neither of which is true. I’ve put the email from L’Oreal regarding their Feria line after the cut.

As they say at Manic Panic: LIVE FAST AND DYE YOUR HAIR! :)
Continue reading “Hair Care & Hair Colour Myths”

On our way

So, the Knoxville con was really fun and we made a bigger percentage of our table fee than we did at Heroes – which I’ll take as VICTORY! We’re going to try to do a couple more small cons this year. Time will tell.

We had our consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer on Monday. He was very nice and he thinks there should be no problem doing the deed and having a clean slate. I hate to have to let go of our Kroger card and the AmEx, but there’s no way around it. Too bad, so sad. Meh. We’ll have almost $1k a month free to start a REAL savings account and that’s what we plan to do. We’ll also bump up the amount going to the 401k. In a couple of years we’ll start up an investment account as well. We are looking forward to starting fresh and we will be squirrelling away money right and left. This is our chance to get a grip on our financial future and we are not going to squander it.

Hmm, what else? Well, apparently Nick pulled a tendon at the boil on Saturday. His right arm (thank gods) has been very painful – even to the point of keeping him awake at night. :( Even though it’s his right arm and he’s left handed, the comic is on hiatus because he uses the mouse RIGHT handed and it’s painful to use the computer for extended periods. I’ve had my own bullshit going on. I’m still having a period with the Mirena. As I’ve said before, with my luck, I’ll be the one in a hundred that continues to have periods with this thing. Godsdammit. I just can’t win when it comes to the Vile Organ.

I need to put the coasters up on Etsy. They are not going to work for cons, but hopefully they’ll work there. Nick wants me to make some comics based ones to try at cons so that’s the next step. I also think that making them personalised will be a great selling point. Who wouldn’t want a coaster set of their precious babies for the bargain price of $25? I figure I’ll sell the regular sets for $20 and the custom ones for $25. That is pretty good, too, since they are Italian tile and all. I got a commission for a bracelet and earrings from the Knoxville con. I’ve got to go to ye olde Bead Shoppe today and see if she has what I’m looking for. I really like doing commissions. It gives me some sort of direction! I’ve always been more of a make-it-happen girl than a dream-stuff-up girl.

It appears that Nick will be working a LOT more for the foreseeable future, so cons may have to be off the table. I tell you what, though, we WILL get out to San Francisco this fall, dammit.

Lots of stuff going on. LOTS. Just nothing really exciting. In any case, changes are a-comin’. Here we GO!