Sunday, January 18, 2009

Small luxuries

As I begin to climb out of my long-term depression (for that is indeed what it was, likely going on years now, coming to a head early last summer), I'm finding ways to spoil myself again. It's been so long since I spoiled myself in meaningful ways, not just by buying something I don't need - a new toy or DVD more yarn, another spindle... these things had stopped making me happy. When the things you love stop making you happy, it's time to find other things to help with the happy, so that you can return to the things you love.

And here we have the most indulgent small luxury of working (mostly) from home: A noon-time bath in the middle of last week. Take one of each of these:

One-half of a Sunny Side Bubble Bar and one Avobath Bath Bomb both from Lush

Add the bubble bar first, while the water is running.

Once the bath has been run, add the bath bomb.

The fizziness! The colour! The smell!

Here is the main reason I love this combination. The Sunny Side bubble bar turns the water golden yellow, with gold sparkles swirling through it. (They don't stick to you in the water, and they rinse down the drain easily.) Avobath turns the water green. So together, not only do they smell orange-tangerine-lemongrass yummy, they are sparkly and pretty and the water is avocado-oil soft and full of bubbles.

See the shimmery gold in the green water? This makes me insanely happy.

And just in case you think it's all boring to lie in a tub for 45 minutes doing nothing else, have no fear. There is coffee, and music, or in this case, Stephen Fry's latest podgram. Only once the bubbles and the podcast are done do I get down to the work of actually, you know, bathing.

Would you care for some soap? For possibly the most perfect soap ever made, try some lightly exfoliating Figs and Leaves, or for more scrub, the scrumptious Porridge.

Here, have some soap. No really, have a couple.

Today, I'm going for less scrubby and more sweet-smelling, so I have some Sultana of Soap and The Godmother. Both smell wonderful. Also, this is a great time to do the face cleaner thing.

I'm trying an experiment - the strong Ocean Salt on the left side of the face and the lighter Herbalism on the right. We'll see which one wins out on the oilies.

Finally, a quick shower to wash the hair and rinse out the tub.

That's a NEW! solid shampoo bar, and a Squeaky Green, as well as a small chunk of Jungle solid conditioner, which btw, works equally well for shaving.


Why, yes, I have been shopping at LUSH a lot lately. So why the inventory? Call it... a journey of discovery.

Here's the thing. I love baths. Love them. I always have. From my pre-teens, I would spend hours in the tub, soaking, thinking, getting wrinkly. I've always liked that more than evening TV. When the water got cool, I would drain part out and warm it up again. From late 1990 - late 2007, I had only intermittent access to bathtubs, perhaps when staying in a hotel or visiting friends. I loathe stand-up showers, but they are a staple of dorm and apartment living. A bathtub was one of the top five things I was looking forward to when we bought a house.

I love bath products that smell good, but I'm also very sensitive to smells. If I use something more than twice in a row, the smell, particularly if it's a stronger one, begins to bother me. It's not an allergy, it's... oh, hell, I don't know what it is. It's a sensitivity to scents that affects my mental state. This is the reason I have so many different kinds of soaps. I'm not a germophobe, rather the only way I can continue to enjoy many wonderful scents and soaps is to rotate through them every few days. The alternative is to not bathe as often. During depression, that is sadly the more common option. No need, really, when you rarely leave the house or even get out of bed.*

I knew I was beginning to feel better - more like myself than I had felt in years, in fact - when I began looking forward to long, relaxing baths again. I've missed them terribly.

* I even try to keep two bottles of dishsoap on the go, or else I'll avoid washing dishes because the smell of the same soap day after day drives me apeshit. It took me a long time to figure out that little personality tick, if you can believe it. When I wash a fleece with dishsoap, it has to be the most lightly-scented, inoffensive smell ever, or I will go nuts when I'm still spinning fleece six months later that smells like lemon Sunlight. I ruin more dishsoaps for myself that way...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We've lived here over a year? No way.

I'm not exactly sure what happened to this last year. It definitely doesn't feel like we've lived in our house for over a year. It really didn't feel like it last week when I was down in the basement digging through boxes looking for something that I hadn't seen in, well, a year, unearthing a whole lot of other things I hadn't seen in... um... a year, and thinking, "Holy crap! We have to start unpacking some of this stuff!" And then I started sneezing profusely, and I realized that all the boxes and bags were covered in a not-insignificant amount of dust, and I had to come back upstairs and sit down with a glass of iced tea, a cookie and contemplate The Year That Was.

Unsurprisingly, I found it upstairs in the living room, in full view in a bag on a bookshelf that I've walked past every day for a year. The Cube is never far away in my house.

Ten minutes later, after I'd messed it up and solved it three times to prove to myself I could, I was being poked by a cat, the phone was ringing, my email was beeping and I had forgotten all about the hole in time that was last year. This was home for me as soon as my husband, cats, knitting, bed and the computers were moved in. In that order. I might as well have always been here. I don't know if it's home for DH yet, but he takes a little longer to warm up to these things than I do. He keeps saying, "It's getting there." I suspect it won't really be home to him until we do something major, like renovate the kitchen, which will come in time.

This past week, I naturally should have been preparing for my second-ever lecture today - this is the first time I've been the course instructor (i.e. head honcho) for a course, and I have 200+ students and no fewer than eight minions teaching assistants to organize. They're all great and experienced, though, I'm very lucky. I, however, have been knitting and weaving instead. I'm mostly finished with my part for one super-seekrit joint project:

Brighter is better!

I'm working up a swatch for another:

Reversible cables without a cable needle, a slight revision of this pattern. Because I am a masochist, apparently.

And I've gotten well underway on a third project, which is also super-seekrit, but not joint.

Why, yes, that is the yellow yarn that was taking the form of yarn barf in the last post. Thanks for noticing!

Emails have been piling up from students who have conflicts with this and questions about that (some of which are answered on the syllabus, but let's not tell them that, OK?), my course website is barely adequate, and I only just got access to the enrollment lists because someone higher up fixed it for me today. One of my TAs is on the other side of the world and wasn't able to get a flight back in time for the first tutorial today (though she certainly did try - and there was someone to cover it, but it makes a good course instructor story, no?). Another TA flew into town late last night and had a solid case of jetlag for the first tutorial, poor thing. It would be nice if I started the next lecture before the day I have to give it - that hasn't happened yet for the first two lectures, which, apparently, I pulled out of my ass with a great deal of support and shared course materials. I owe Lady S an email, and I have a goal of doing some work on the Big D Proposal before the end of the week.

But those are all tomorrow's issues.

Tonight, I can relax in the knowledge that my second lecture, by some miracle, did not suck, my inbox is temporarily empty, and I'm mostly on top of the things I can control. I will weave a little, and attack cables a little, and enjoy being... home.

Weaving post soon.