No, I’m not getting pregnant. But thanks for asking.

So, Christmas. It really is that joyous time of year when family think it’s okay to get all up in yo bizznizz and ask inappropriate questions and say inadvertently hurtful things. The fact that I have not become pregnant yet or made any attempts at becoming pregnant in order to give my in-laws (or my own parents) grand-babies has officially been pointed out to me. This has not been helped by the fact that distant relations of child-bearing age have been popping out kids left, right and centre. Not to mention my own sister is up to number two. The traitorous bitch!

(No. Not really. She’s just a bitch. ;) )

I feel for the Outlaws. While my mother and father have come to accept that I am probably not going to be the one to give them babies to spoil (because my little sister is fulfilling that role spectacularly), my Outlaws, particularly the manbeast’s mum, are feeling left out of the grandparents stakes. They only had one child – adopted one, in fact, so I think that it makes it a little harder for them for them to come to terms with my childlessness.

I should really make it clear that the Outlaws have not said anything directly to me (or the manbeast, as far as I am aware) but comments around the topic have been heard. Comparisons between myself and another baby-bearer in their family have been made – within earshot.

This is not terribly new, though. The whispers of the possibility of hearing the pitter-patter of little feet started shortly after I married the manbeast and turned 30 – three days apart. Those comments were very occasional, most of the time in jest but even so, there was an underlying tone of “So… when are you actually going to have a baby?” Of course now, six years later, those whispers are turning into shouts of “You’re STILL not pregnant?!”

Outwardly, I can only smile and shrug. Inwardly, I cringe. And get a little annoyed.

Renlish.com - Inigo Montoya

Let me say here and now that I love kids. LOVE them. I am not by any means anti-child at all. I would happily steal everyone’s kids. I’m the cool aunty who hypes up all small people under the age of 10 on sweets and evilly hands them back to parents at the end of the day just before the sugar crash happens.

Seriously, that ALONE is reason enough to never have children. Anyway…

I would love to be a mother. But…

I am anti-pregnancy. I am anti-gene pool. I am anti-starting a family in a turbulent marriage. And it’s not just my decision either!

Okay, so probably having my mate Inigo help me sum things up isn’t going to cut it…

Reason 1: Pregnancy is Gross

It is. I find the whole idea of carrying a baby abhorrent – and I am sorry if that offends anyone. And I know perfectly well that my feelings on the matter are totally irrational and stupid but that’s the way it is. No amount of trying to convince me otherwise is going to get me to change my mind. I know a couple of people who loved being pregnant, adored the idea of new life growing inside them, enjoyed the feeling kicks and sucker punches to their bladders. Most people I know who have kids didn’t like the pregnancy so much but it was simply a means to an end for them. They wanted kids, they had them. Of course you have to get pregnant to get the kids.

Me? I tell everyone “I want kids – I just don’t want to get pregnant.” The confusion on their faces as that sinks in is highly entertaining.

PregnantSpray

I find nothing endearing about the process, and no, contrary to what many people tell me when I say that I am anti-pregnancy, I am not afraid of giving birth. That can be virtually painless if I want it to be. It’s the nine months leading up to birth I don’t want to deal with. It’s the idea of this… thing… growing on me and in me. It’s the hormones which, in all seriousness, screw that! My hormones have been messing me around enough as it is. I am a physical and emotional wreck.

Reason 2: My genes suck.

No, I am not talking about appearance because I am gorgeous and the girls in my family get the maternal genes. No issues there.

How do I put this sensitively? I am a firm believer in the idea that mental dysfunction is hereditary. There have been studies which prove this – though I suppose there are studies which prove anything if you throw enough resources at any given topic. But I’ve found this to be true in the case of me. In every single branch of my family there are issues.

No. Just no. I cannot and will not deal with that possibility. I grew up with it.

Selfish much? Hell yes.

This is the reason why I have not take up a friends half-joking-half-serious offer of surrogacy for me. Yeah, she can have the baby but it’ll still be from my genes and NO. All of the no.


Reason 3: It’s just Not a Good Time

I know there are loads of people who’ve been unprepared for their pregnancy – who have felt that they’re not ready, but “Oops!” and they’ve dealt with it with aplomb. I also know a couple of people who HATE being mothers but love their kids and if they had their time over they would make different choices. I don’t want to be either one of those people.

I am however a firm believer in family units. Kids belong in environments where they have loving, supportive guardians who want them. My marriage isn’t wonderful at the moment. Enough said. I refuse to become pregnant and have a baby in this environment and I am definitely not going to get pregnant and start popping out kids just to please specific people or fulfill my destiny in the social norm.

And the next person who says I “don’t know what love truly is” until I have kids, I WILL punch you in the fucking face.

Reason 4: And, well, the MANBEAST doesn’t want them.

This is the one thing that irritates me the most. As the potential sproggin-bearer, I am the one who cops all the looks, all the comments and questions, and all the sideways glances. Does the manbeast? Rarely. Me? Not a day goes by when I am not reminded that my biological clock is running out of battery power.

But has anyone actually asked the manbeast if he wants children?

Guess what? I have.

The answer is no.

Though we both agree that I would make a great mother.

So there you go. If I thought it would make a difference, I would post this blog to all the people who keep asking about the state of my uterus, but I doubt it would make any difference.

I am going to grow old and alone.

And I’m okay with that.

Sims Saturday – The Sims4 – Building Me!

Well, it had to happen sooner or later.

I’ve tried to build myself in The Sims4. It’s hard work, particularly since you can’t get out of the “ideal” curvy shape in Sims4 like you could with Sims3. That being said, I tried to reference my own photos and get a decent look-alike. It looks nothing like me but at the same time has shades of me, but hell, I managed to give her good cheekbones and kick-arse makeup!

If the developers would allow you to super-impose a photograph of a person over the Sim face in game, I think it would make the “push-pull” style of editing much easier. I am hopeless at copying – even when it’s my own face and you would think that I would know my own face, right? Nope. The CAS (create-a-sim) machine also has it’s limitations. You can only make the mouth so big, the eyes so small, etc, before everything starts looking a little funky. At one point I looked like a weird Asian version of myself. Ack!

Stats:

Age: Adult
Aspiration: Wants to be a famous author
Main trait: Creativity
Bonus Trait: Muser
Trait 1: (Emotional) Creative
Trait 2: (Emotional) Hot-headed
Trait 3: (Social) Good

Here is a direct link to …well, Me (!!!) in the gallery via the web. Alternatively, you can search renlish and find me in game.

Renlish.com - The Sims 4 - Create a Sim - Ren

I have two awesome new house builds coming up for you soon. I would have been releasing one tonight, however due to a third-party MoveObjects mod I had installed before EA released the official MoveObjects cheat, it suffered all sorts of glitchiness that needed to be fixed. At the same time I ended up remodelling the house. (I’m a sad Sims nerd. Sorry.) I am also trying to figure out how to do one of those nifty fly-through type of videos so you can see a “live action” film of my houses in all their glory.

An Open Letter

How do you tell someone they are wrong? How do you cut through their delusion, to show them that what they are thinking is incorrect? That statements they’ve made are simply patently untrue?

You can’t. Not really. Not when they really think what they are saying is true.

So it has been with a friend of mine – no longer a friend of mine.

History has repeated over and over again with this one and I never seem to learn. I’ve tried to understand and come to terms with and, most importantly, accept all the parts of him that make him who he is. This is my failing – I cannot accept his problems because he ultimately turns them into my problems. I found discussions from as far back as seven years ago which are an exact carbon copy of this very situation and I’m sure the break that ensued even before then was a result of the same thing. Like I said, history repeats.

From all the years of (off and on) friendship, from all the conversations we’ve had, I do understand that this comes from a good place. It does. Which is why it’s hard for me to remain mad. I get that part. He is ultimately a really good person.

But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

the-road-to-hell-001

Not even my closest girlfriend here would dare say the things that he has to and about me – and it’s not for fear of my reaction but their respect that those issues are absolutely none of their business unless I choose to let it be their business. They know that to be friends with me is to accept the whole of me, no questions asked, no assumptions made and as I have said to several people, I love just having them there. No one needs to do a thing. Just be there. Be a presence in my life. Friendships are not something you should feel the need to set boundaries on and yet that’s what I found myself having to do so he would just back off and stop making himself so involved.

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He thinks that I am a time bomb of emotion. Tell me, dear reader, if you’ve known me throughout the years have you ever known me to not be volatile emotionally? It was the whole reason I started blogging nearly 20 (holy shit!) years ago. Go through the stuff that I have. See if you end up the same coming out as you did going in.

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But I wear it. I deal with it. I get help when I need it – I detest having “help” thrust upon me.

Boundaries.

Strangely enough, I haven’t had this problem with anyone else. A fact that amuses me a bit because he thinks this has happened before and it has – but only with him. I think he’s forgotten that, much like I had forgotten it too. I have a handful of friends that I have had the most awful blow-ups with but then we’ve moved on, forgiven each other or at least agreed to forever disagree on whatever it was that caused the problem in the first place. In the excitement of all the great things that happened last year, my friend and I definitely got lulled into a sense of delightful ignorance of our past. I guess with some people, you just can’t change rhythms.

I appreciate everything that he’s done for me and everything that he wanted to do for me. I am sorry that I cannot be what he needed in the same way that I am sorry that he could not be what I needed.

I can honestly say that I hope he finds peace in his topsy-turvy world, much in the same way that I am trying to in mine.

Sims Saturday – The Sims 4 – Desert Condo

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be regular gaming posts here on Renlish. I’ve been playing The Sims since it’s inception and have owned pretty much all of them up to an including the most recent, The Sims 4. I’ve never really been a heavy gamer and I don’t own all every expansion pack that’s ever come out but I regularly dabble to wile away a few hours.

Until now I must admit my gaming goals consistered mostly of building booby-trapped houses in which I could torture and kill my Sims in entertaining ways. (The trait of a psychopath? I dunno…) But with Sims 4, I was more intrigued with the building aspect of the game. And of course with the great new graphics of the new Sims 4, I’ve got a new addiction.

It’s fun to build the sorts of house you could never really hope to live in in reality – because, y’know, stuff like supporting walls and underpinning are an actual Thing™. And you can’t have three-story houses where the middle story is nothing but a pool. With glass walls.

Soooooo… without further ado, here’s a new Sims 4 build.

Desert Condo

Desert Condo features a mezzanine-style, open plan living arrangement similar to what you would find in modern inner city loft appartments.  I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of living in that sort of apartment.  Being someone who needs a lot of light, the idea of a whole wall of windows really appeals to me, though the bills for heating and cooling would be attrocious.  But what the hey – it’s pretty!

Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo

Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Floor plan – upper floor
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Floor plan: upper floor (different angle)
Detail shots:
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
The yard; enclosed decking with a pool.
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Looking across from the mezzanine into the ground floor.
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
The office. I love layering plants!
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
All the beautiful redness. I want this kitchen in real life!
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
The lounge area.
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Lounge and entryway.
Renlish.com - The Sims4 - House Build - Desert Condo
Outside view.

Do you play? Here is a direct link to the Desert Condo on the Sims4 Gallery (via the web). You can find me in the gallery via both the web and in game under the username, renlish (no capital R).

Aldactone (Spironolactone) for Hair Loss

My experience with Aldactone (otherwise known as Spironolactone) has been interesting.

Please be aware that everything in this post is based on information I was given from my own doctor and should not be seen as medical advice! This is based on my experiences only. Please consult your doctor before starting any new medication.

Renlish.com - Aldactone for Hair Loss

 

My Story:

In July 2014 my hair started to fall out again. This would be the fourth time in a period of about 18 years. My GP ran the usual plethora of blood tests to see what might have been the cause. Unfortunately those results told the doctor and I very little about why it might be happening. Apart from being dangerously low in B12 and D vitamins and having a very high bilirubin reading, there really is no real medical reason my GP could find. I had not recently been pregnant/given birth so I couldn’t attribute the loss to those sorts of hormones either. So he sent me off to a well-regarded dermatologist who is somewhat of a specialist in hair loss.

The specialist examined me and told me what I already knew; I was experiencing an effluvium and he proceeded to tell me all about Telogen Effluvium. I will write another post about that later, though my response to his explanation was that I already knew I was going through that sort of effluvium. I needed know WHY so I could perhaps treat the cause and not the symptom. He then had a good, up-close look at my hair and reported that there was fairly extensive signs of follicle shrinkage.

In other words, Androgynous Alopecia, better known as female pattern baldness.

Women, like men, can lose their hair. Unlike men, for most women it’s a case of a diffuse loss all over the scalp though concentrated at the hairline and crown.

Sounds delightful, eh? No, not really.  This was not my specific diagnosis but the specialist did consider it a major contributing factor. There is no way to reverse the damage of the alopecia. The shrinkage* is permanent. However, the plan was to stop or slow the hair fall. This is where spironolactone comes in.

*Follicle shrinkage means that the hairs grow back finer and finer until they do not grow back at all.

What is Spironolactone / Aldactone?

Spironolactone, more commonly prescribed as the medication, Aldactone, is actually a diuretic that is given to people who are suffering from specific illnesses which cause fluid retention and high blood pressure.  Unlike regular “water pills” that you can get over the counter at your pharmacy, spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic. As such, it can only be used to treat certain illnesses or symptoms and needs to be prescribed by your doctor and usage must be regularly monitored via blood tests.Taken without monitoring, it can raise the potassium in your system to dangerous levels, causing other disorders and illnesses.

That being said, of the handy side-effects of the drug is that is it also an anti-androgen which inhibits the body’s natural production of dihydrotesterone, the hormone responsible for hair loss.  At the same time it can also help with hirsutism and acne.  It is this anti-androgen which makes it an ideal medical treatment for hair loss, in theory.

I say in theory as it’s commonly thought that Aldactone can help regenerate hair follicles and make new hair grow – unfortunately this is not the case. It has not been proven to do so.

My Experience with Aldactone 100mg:

When I initially took the drug, I was advised to take half doses for a week as it may cause some dizziness.  That was good advice to get. My head spun after the first few doses but then things settled down.

I actually haven’t had any other bad side effects that I can think of.  Aldactone can make a mess of your menstrual cycle (as if it’s not messy enough! AMIRITE?!) however being on the contraceptive pill makes that a non-issue for me.

One GOOD side effect of the drug for me has been that my hair is nowhere near as oily as it used to be.  I was a 2nd-day washer.  My hair became very oily very quickly before I started on Aldactane, however I noticed within a few weeks of taking it I didn’t need to wash my hair nearly as often.  In fact, I can now get away with washing it once a week. The only time I really need to wash it is if I’ve been sweating or I want to style it nicely or I want to condition it because it’s looking a bit dry.  Otherwise it stays fluffy and pretty much “just washed” – which helps with the illusion of fuller hair, anyway.

I will admit that the lack of oily hair actually freaked me out a bit, so much so that I had to email my new hair loss guru, Lauren from Corner of Hope & Mane to see if it was normal. She was happy to report that it was.  Lauren’s blog is a great resource for people suffering from hair loss and a site that I found quite comforting when I was at my lowest while dealing with this problem.  I think I can attribute my feeling “ok” with things getting worse (if they do) to her.  So thanks, Lauren!

Another really good side effect is that the pimples on my face have all but vanished. Yes, I’m 36.  I should not be getting pimples, but I do and I’m a picker so I am grateful that the spots are gone.

One of the widely reported side effects of Aldactone is that it can cause what is reported as “the dread shed”, where there is a massive shedding of hair a few weeks or a couple of months into taking the drug. I will admit I have not had this yet.  Considering I have been taking the drug for four months consistently, I don’t think I am likely to experience it now but I will certainly update if that changes.

Has Aldactone worked?
Renlish.com - Selfie
Christmas 2014 – very thin hair.

Yes.  And no.

Maybe?

I don’t know!

I have been taking the medication at the same time as trying many other things.  I also suffer from pompholyx so I am constantly on the look-out for skin products that won’t bring me out in an itchy, blistery mess.  I changed brands of shampoo and conditioner twice (I’m now using Dermaveen shower gel as well as the shampoo and conditioner), I’ve changed brands of oral contraceptive, I’ve started taking B12, Flaxseed oil, Vit D, Biotin and a mega multivitamin to help with my deficiencies. I’ve even been using laser light therapy on my hair semi-regularly for about eight weeks. Any or all of these, together with the Aldactone may be helping.

The hair loss has been lessened, this much I am sure of.

Has it stopped?  Sadly, no.  At this point in time, unless it does stop fairly soon, I am seriously considering investing in some “helper hair” to see me through.

 

 

 

 

 

Reluctant Resolutions and Plans for 2015

I didn’t really want to make resolutions for the year.  For the past few years I’ve been avoiding making them because I know that putting any sort of pressure on myself for the year really only sets me up for disappointment by the time December 31st rolls around again. But I thought I would make a bucket list of sorts for the year. Stuff that I will aim to do but if I don’t, no big deal.

Last year was horrible. Mentally, emotionally, physically. Just horrible. There were some good parts and some pretty awesome parts but on the whole, 2014 can go right back to where it came from. I don’t want a repeat of it. It involved mental breakdowns, fights, friendships gone awry (more than one of those, oy), physical atrophy, and more. But it also involved a trip of a lifetime, some wonderful moments with friends and family and some small accomplishments.

I am sure this year is going to have a few bumps but I’m determined this will also be the year of trying to simply do better and be better.

So my 2015 Bucket List of Resolutions:

  • Lose weight. Derr. I haven’t got on the scales since just after Christmas and I was at 110kg… There’s been a couple weeks of solid nomming since then and I no longer need to wear a belt to hold my “fat jeans” up.
  • Drink more water. Going for days without a drink of water (or anything) is not good for you, mmmm’kay?
  • Exercise no less than three times a week. The body needs to be doing things. I’ve lost all my gym fitness over the last half of 2014 by simply choosing to sit on my butt at home.
  • Sleep!  My natural light sleeping patterns and stress-induced insomnia have been causing havoc and I average on five hours of sleep a night. For an elderly person, that’s fine. For me? Not so much… the bags under my eyes are so deep and blue that people have started asking me if I’ve been punched.
  • Read more books. I’d forgotten the joy of reading. That was brought back to me at Christmas when I managed to get through two very solid novels.
  • Write more words. This goes hand-in-hand with the reading. I noticed as soon as I got a little more reading done, the inspiration to write hit me. Go figure.
  • Create. Create ANYTHING at least once a week. Even if it’s just a doodle or an epic photomanipulation or a quick pair of earrings. Just create. I find my happy place when I am creating.
  • Learn something new. Whether it be just to cook a new dish or research a topic of interest or a new computer program, learn something new at least once every few weeks.
  • Stick to a project. This is a big one. I have lost count of how many times I’ve started a blogging or a photography project and it’s always lasted approximately 2.7 days before I’ve either forgotten or developed a case of the “can’t be bothereds”.

That’s my resolutions done.

Now, as for plans for 2015, it’s going to be a relatively quiet year, I think. I am going to concentrate on expanding my horizons, starting with this blog. I really want to get stuck into doing more beauty stuff with makeup and post some of the umptymillion looks that I’ve done on myself (I have to get better at taking selfies) and also learn how to do make videos for vlogging and gamecasting. I want this blog to be slightly more meaningful and useful than just being an occasional brain-dump.

I’ve made a good start on that with changing the layout of the blog with a great new face and menu system. Now I just need to add the content.

It, like I am, is ever-changing and always growing.

Or that’s the plan, anyway.

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Hello, welcome to 2015!

As you can see, there’s changes afoot!

I’ve decided to go get a decent theme and set this blog up properly. So given on when you’re visiting, this blog may look really, really awesome or like crap.

If it looks like crap, come back in a few days.

Until then, I hope everyone had a fun New Years Eve and saw the new year in with a bang – of any particular sort you desire – and lots of fun.

Last one for the year…

An important message…

Renlish.com - Thoughts

Everyone, please have a very safe and happy Christmas (however you celebrate it) and a glorious, fun new year.

I will be back for 2015 with plans to get back into the business of blogging regularly with interesting things to show and say.

And for those who are still waiting for a review on the Lumosity thing, it is still being tested. I am brain training every other day or so – trying to remember to do it is a hassle and I have to set reminders on my phone, but in the short term I do feel more alert and able after doing the brief training sessions. Some of the games that I have encountered are fun, whereas others are harder and frustrating. Anything with numbers and/or timed is my nemesis. My only beef with the system is that you only get to play five short games per session with no option for any “free play”.

Over and out.

Broken Brains & Lumosity.

So, I have this Thing. It’s a Thing that causes me lots of trouble. It’s a Brain Thing.

And this will probably be the first time in my blogging history that I have admitted this “out loud” at all in any serious way.

Sometimes this Thing apparently makes my brain not want to work properly.

It started with a slight stutter that began in high school. Don’t ask me why it started then. It was early on, probably in Year 7 (that’s junior year of high school, I guess, for those of you who may not understand the Australian grading system). I was sad, lonely, friendless, depressed, being bullied by a particular girl who made my life a living misery for twelve solid months. I wagged almost a full term of my first year. How I passed I really don’t know. I think I was also overcompensating for a mouth full of metal – metal which I had for SEVEN. FUCKING. YEARS. For all the good it did me. I didn’t want to talk, I still couldn’t get my lips to move around the braces properly but then I would get so stressed about it that even when I could speak, the wrong words came out.

It was something which became more noticeable to me as I got older and as a result I simply got quieter.

It’s something that continued to the present day.

It was a few years ago now that I was hit with a scenario that will probably stay with me forever – because it made me realise that this wasn’t just a little inconvenience. This was an actual, serious Thing. I was stuck at home because my car – my lovely old 1978 Datsun 120Y Coupe (mustard yellow, if you please, with all leather interior) wouldn’t start. The battery was fine (because I’d only bought a new one the month before) so it wasn’t just an issue of jump-starting it and heading off. In my despair, I called the RACV for help.

I mean, seriously. This how ridiculous it gets – and I can laugh now but when it happened it was painfully embarrassing.

I was reciting my registration number and I said “G for Dad”.

G for Dad.

There was a brief yet intensely uncomfortable pause and then a snortgiggle at the other end of the line. I joined in, even though I was cringing and then said I was having a right shit of a morning and I was late for work and I really needed someone to come out and get my car started for me SO STOP LAUGHING AND PLEASE HELP.

So there’s that.

And now there’s the memory thing. I have been having trouble remembering things. Short term, long term, it doesn’t matter. There have been days where I have arrived at work and I don’t remember certain parts of my journey. For a twenty-minute ride, that’s impressive. A little bit scary. I have trouble remembering things at work that I should be remembering after 18 months being there. The list continues.

And numbers. Seriously, I hate it when someone calls with a problem with their account. It takes me forever to work it out – if I can even work it out. I don’t see numbers right. I cannot work things out in my head. I would be in serious trouble without a calculator.

I’m not smart. I would really like to consider myself intelligent but I know that I am not. I have a basic knowledge of many things so I can carry on a conversation well enough. But I am not smart. I have many friends who may disagree with me on this and while it would be sweet of them to say so, I know that what they perceive as intelligence may just very well be the fact that I am more perceptive than intelligent – when you spend a lot of time not talking because you can’t physically and mentally form the right words, you tend to observe and take in a fuckload of information. But at age 35 (almost 36) I would expect my brain to be working at it’s peak, not heading in the opposite direction. Intelligence I can improve on with practice but ye olde grey matter needs to be in working order for that to happen.

So with that in mind, I joined up with Lumosity. I’ve been doing some brain training which, if nothing else, makes me a little more alert afterwards. It’s basically playing a set number of games each day to improve brain function. Activities include things like memory, speed, reaction time, complex recognition, spatial memory and all that fun stuff. There’s a whole lot of science-y stuff around it but I figure that anything which will help my poor little neurons to pick up their game a bit is a good thing. I’ve also got mum and the manbeast into it as well seeing as how a family subscription was only $30 more than a single.

I guess I’ll report back in a few weeks and let you know if there’s been any marked improvement.