Long Time Coming

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It has been an awfully long time since I posted here. Fear not for I have been busy. Since my last post Nancy and I have moved (which explains the lack of vinyl posting), I worked hard on completing my motorcycle for the warmer months, that motorcycle hit the road and promptly left me stranded in the middle of a 70-mile trip, I bought a new (old) turntable, I’ve gotten a new motorcycle and general life stuff has kept me from hopping on the computer a lot. It sucks. I miss telling my little stories and showing off some photos. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things, although it will be hard now that I have a motorcycle that can carry both Nancy and I on it. I would really like to get out and ride a lot more while it’s still possible.

Also, I’m looking for a new job. I’ve been doing that for quite some time now. It’s a slow process as I am trying to really find something that works for me. Whether that’s in Cleveland or Chicago isn’t up to me but I am looking in both locations.

I am also looking to sell some things. Guitar (maybe 2), older DSLR camera and maybe a few records. I have been really trying to downsize my life lately and it’s all a matter of organizing the things I want to rid myself of that is taking the most time.

Anyway, keep an eye out for more posts soon. I have some new work to show and hopefully soon I will have some photos of both of my bikes to share.

Ileostomy Days // 6 Tips for living with an ostomy

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1. Invest in some high-rise pants.

I love jeans — I could wear them every day. I almost do wear them every day. So, after surgery I had a hard time figuring out what to wear. I stuck to mostly yoga pants and sweats early on, which seems to be pretty typical, but even after trying on all my old clothes I was striking out. Everything sat on or just below my stoma, which poses some problems. I bought a belly band and tried various configurations, but in the end the fix that made the most sense to me was finding pants that came up completely over the appliance.

I’m a low-rise kind of person, so my wardrobe didn’t include anything that might work. I ended up dropping some money on two pairs of these high-rise jeggings from Kohl’s — a dark blue wash and the black (the black version is a bit more fitting than the dark blue). I didn’t feel too bad about shelling out the cash as I may want to avoid things sitting across that area for awhile after my reversal and I’m hopeful I will be able to wear the black pair even after I’m healed.

2. Everyones routine is different.

And sadly, you have to figure it out on your own. I’m glad for the home care I received — all my nurses were great, but during my first week home there was a stretch where I was changing my whole appliance every night due to leaks. I had to try different things because I was desperate. When I finally got it to hold, I tried not to deviate. I believe my issue was cutting things too small, but I had to figure that out on my own. I was always nervous for a little while after a bag change, even if it went well.

3. Ivory soap is boring and oddly hard to find, but it seems to work.

I tried Johnson’s & Johnson’s baby shampoo and Dr. Bronner’s castile soap before settling on plain old Ivory. I’m not sure soap was the culprit of my issues, but Ivory was what I was using when things resolved and I figured I’d stick with it.

However, I ended up with an 8-pack and I have no idea what I’ll do with the other 7 bars. Why does bar soap last an eternity?

4. Heat

If you use a barrier ring, you’ve probably noticed prolonged handling makes it pretty gummy. This is good. An ostomy nurse told me to get it warm in my hands before applying it to my skin, but there are other things I could be doing than clutching that thing. So I stick the barrier ring, in its package, in my armpit while I do other bag change prep.

On a similar note, once I have it on my skin and it’s gone through some firm pressing, I warm it all up with my hair dryer in hopes it adheres even better.

5. Ostomy belts can give you confidence.

Not a wrap, but a belt the supply companies make that hooks into the tabs on your bag. After all the bag changes that first week, I was a little stressed out about sleeping. I would wake up and check things constantly, which meant my sleep was pretty awful. I asked an ostomy nurse if she would help me order a belt and she pulled one out of her work bag. (This one). This also leads me to…

6. Ostomy nurses are awesome.

I always felt better after a visit from an ostomy nurse. Ask them questions! I started keeping a little notebook handy in the kitchen, where I spent most of my time, and whenever a random question would pop into my head I’d be sure to jot it down for my next visit. I even took a photo of my stoma during a bag change when something looked a bit off and I knew I wouldn’t be doing a change when my nurse was there. Don’t feel dumb asking a billion questions — you can’t be expected to know everything right away and you’ll feel better getting someones opinion. Trial and error isn’t always fun and if you can avoid it with some solid advice why wouldn’t you?

Ileostomy Days // 5 Beauty Purchases

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It’s crazy frustrating to want to make changes to work towards a more healthy lifestyle and not be able to. For the past few months I’ve wanted to eat better and start exercising, but my body needed me to eat foods that agreed with my system, rest, and promote healing. I resigned myself to this, especially as I felt better when I took thing slowly.

I’m not a girly girl. I’m pretty horrible at walking in heels, dressing up gives me anxiety, and I don’t know how to french-braid hair. It’s more important for me to feel comfortable than to look pretty and I’m okay with that. In the past few months, though, I noticed my impulse purchases were usually beauty products that boosted my mood and made me feel good about taking care of myself. The following items were 5 purchases that I’m pretty happy with.

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1. White Peony Eau de Parfum from World Market

It took me two trips to purchase this White Peony Eau de Parfum. I went to World Market intending to buy something pretty and was shocked when I liked the White Peony scent better than the Blood Orange. I think that threw me off so badly that after walking around the store with the box I dropped it back on the shelf and scrammed. Thankfully, Ed convinced me I was being ridiculous and I returned the next day to buy it. Bonus: I remember I had a coupon and got it $3 off!

2. Lush’s Dark Angels Face Cleanser

Once again, it took two trips for me to make this purchase. Why? 1. I have a hard time spending money. We walked around Crocker Park before finding Lush and ended up buying candles from Bath & Body Works as well as the Wayne’s World Soundtrack from Urban Outfitters. I felt done. 2. I was totally overwhelmed by the activity and smells that hit me on the way in. I’d rather find things on my own, but Lush is the type of store where you should really ask someone for help. I’m glad I went back, though, as I’m loving the natural, homemade qualities of Lush products. Ironically, Dark Angels is what the store smelled like to me.

3. Burt’s Bees Pink Grapefruit lip balm

I’m obsessed with grapefruit anything right now. This Burt’s Bees Pink Grapefruit lip balm smells divine — it actually makes me crave grapefruit juice, which isn’t normal.

4. Aveeno Pomegranate + Grapefruit body lotion

The struggle to stay hydrated took a toll on my hands and drove me to purchase some to keep at work. I snagged this Aveeno Pomegranate + Grapefruit lotion at T.J. Maxx.

5. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

I’m not sure why I’m so in love with Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. It’s just fancy water and oil blended magic. I’m sure other brands are just as good, but this is the one I tried. I don’t like washing my face at night — I’m too lazy and usually half asleep by the time I’m dragging myself to bed. Swiping this stuff around my face takes almost no time and removes eyeliner so easily I’m still shocked. It has never hurt my eyes or stung and it doesn’t smell like anything (looking at you, witch hazel). Also, you’re probably not supposed to do this, but after I rinse off the Dark Angels scrub I wipe my face off with this to remove any excess charcoal I may have missed (which is usually significant).

Vinyl Wednesday: Instagram Photos

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Nothing long today. Just some photos of vinyl that I’ve taken and posted to Instagram over the years. I believe most of these are from December of 2015 until today. Loads of other vinyl photos I’ve taken are stored somewhere else right now so these were the ones I chose. As you can see there are lots of Metal releases. I love me some Heavy Metal… and Bone Thugs. Can’t forget the Bone Thugs.

If you want to keep up with my comings and goings with vinyl, motorcycle journeys, graphic design, photography and general life shit; follow me on Instagram @eblanken.