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Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Organizing Journey Day 23 -- It's That Time of Year

I remember reading, while I was pregnant many years ago, that in the days before going into labor many women have a burst of energy specifically geared toward "preparing the nest".

This is sort of how I feel about New Year's Day.  Starting in late November, I start feeling like I want my house in order.

And so here I am back at it in earnest (between all my other life obligations and segues).  I've kind of managing to keep the kitchen and living room clean (okay, it's mostly because I've had a lot of company lately).  But I also made a decent dent in my bedroom.  And as I was cleaning/organizing, I kept finding things and going, "Oh wow, I have been looking for that."


So last week a friend was over and was mentioning that she needed to pick up some scrap leather.  I have some!  Bah!  You guessed it... I have no idea where.  I have no less than 20 boxes of stuff that needs to be sorted for the workroom.  While I won't be getting rid of everything, I will be storing the less used items off-site (meaning, in the garage or something).

It bugs me, seriously bugs me that I don't know where something is when I want it.  I am determined to put an end to that.  A place for everything and everything in its place.

As a start to that, there is that "first step" which is just the bulk organization tactic.  It works, though.  For example, I may not have time to SORT all the pieces of paper in my life, but if I have all the unsorted papers in one pile, at least, that's just one pile I have to look through when I'm looking for something.  It sounds daunting but not HALF as daunting as running around LOOKING for pieces of paper hither and yon.

So yeah, I'm excited to get this over and done with once and for all and then just MAINTAIN.

I also am hoping (fingers crossed) to get all the things listed on eBay or Etsy that I no longer want/need in my life yet are too good to just throw away or donate (yes, I'm stingy like that).  But seriously, a lot of what I have is niche stuff... and I'd rather have it go to someone who actually wants it than to think it's going to sit in some thrift shop for life.

So this is going to be brief because I have to get back to it now.  But I just wanted to touch base and let you know I *am* working toward the goal and I'll show you some of the good ideas I am implementing (when I get around to taking photos).  Right now I'm just gonna say the dollar store is your friend.  Don't go elsewhere for storage bins.  :-)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Seven Months After Starting the Elimination Diet: Follow Up

Yeah, so organizing has taken a back seat for now.  I'm not happy about that, but it is what it is.  I've got two more jewelry shows then I can get back to it with renewed vigor.  In the meantime, I've decided to share a personal experience with you.  This is one I'll be blogging about hopefully on a semi-regular basis.  It has nothing to do with jewelry making or with organizing, but that's why blogger has tabs. :-)

The short version of the story is that seven months ago I decided to try the "elimination diet" to see if I could pin point any food intolerances that were zapping my energy.  Yes, I'm overweight and that contributes to being tired, but I felt there may be something else going on.  We need to listen to our intuition. I'm a great believer in that.

In April 2017, I did six weeks of the hardcore elimination diet--where you cut out the foods that are most frequently the culprits (gluten, sugar, dairy, nightshade, citrus, corn, alcohol, soy, nuts, coffee, etc). [You can get lots of info if you google “elimination diet”.] Anyway, I re-introduced the foods one at a time and take note of any symptoms.

The other way to do this is just cut out one food for a certain amount of time and see if you notice a difference. As I see it, though, the problem with that is that if you are intolerant of multiple foods, you’ll never know it by cutting out only one at a time.

It was a pretty strict diet but it didn’t seem as hard as I thought it was going to be.

The results: cow's milk gives me migraines, yeast gives me eczema, sugar gives me the heebie jeebies, corn makes my ears itchy inside and stuffs them all up.

Of those four items, corn is the hardest to avoid.  I just got back from grocery shopping and it's pretty clear to me that I can never again buy even the slightest of processed foods. Things I thought were "safe" (regarding all my food intolerances) have hidden agendas.  I'm doing a 3-day show this weekend and wanted to find foods I can snack on throughout the day because meals are hard during shows, and I thought "Oh I'll get some roasted almonds". But no. They are roasted in oils that most likely contain corn. Hmph!  (Either that or canola oil which I want to avoid.)

I have to accept that my life is now "Make it yourself or you don't eat" (pretty much). I'm leery of anything that says "spices" or "flavoring" or other vague things. So I picked up celery, radishes, carrots, and raw almonds (I can roast them myself at home in coconut oil).

The days of convenience food are over but I am now migraine free, eczema free, and free of stuffed ears. It was worth it.  I do think I have more energy but that one is a work in progress.

Am I mad at the medical community for telling me (for seven years) that my ears itch because I must be getting shampoo in them when I wash my hair?  Am I mad at the medial community for never considering that forty years of migraines might have been avoided had someone thought to consider food sensitivities?

I don't know.  I'm certainly disappointed, but I can't say I'm surprised.

When we look back on archaic medicine and laugh (or shudder) at some of the things they did (ingesting mercury to cure irregularity problems) or thought (smoking cigarettes cures asthma and cancer)... it makes me realize that the early 21st century will eventually be looked back at with the same (or at least) similar shock and derision (assuming the human race survives).

But I do see a time in the future (I mean, it's in the present too but in such minuscule amounts!) when people will have a better understanding of the gut's role in our health.  The importance of a healthy, whole-foods based diet will be clearly understood.  Sugar will be a thing of the past (I can't picture that, but it's so detrimental to our health it saddens me no end).  I believe most illnesses stem from inflammation in the body and I believe that most inflammation is caused by what we eat.

I realize that doctors are excellent for trauma situations but I'm hesitant to make them the "go to" for illnesses or other complaints.

Anyway, just wanted to update you on the latest with my elimination diet.  In my next entry I want to share some of the foods I'm enjoying.  Due to sensitivity to copyright issues, I won't be re-posting recipes from books that I own, but I will be referencing them and the page numbers.  I'll also be giving you hyperlinks to online recipes I'm trying.  I will give you my opinion on the outcomes as well as informing you of any tweaks I make.

Here's what I'll show you next.  This was awesome!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Day 21 – The Elimination Diet and Getting Rid of Clothes

It’s 4:30pm and I’m tired.  Aside from painting some sheets of plywood (that I will make into a garage door), I went and got the flagstone (finally) for the pond.  That stuff’s heavy! 

So I decide to do something a little mindless (not that painting and hauling rocks isn’t mindless).  I want to start tackling the clothes.  I never (ever!) thought of myself as a collector of clothes, but wow, I really have more than I need by a long shot.

I’ve got that same excuse that many Americans have… I’m “between sizes”.  Which basically means I’m on my way to losing weight.  But just to make this legit… I really am.  It was almost unintentional.  In order to discover if I had any food intolerances that could be causing my migraines or my eczema or my exhaustion, I decided to try the “elimination diet”. 

It was a pretty strict diet but it didn’t seem as hard as I thought it was going to be. 

A side effect (other than no migraines [dairy], no eczema [either wheat or yeast], and more energy) is that I lost 15 pounds.  So yes, I am in transition for clothing size.

Anyway, I want to streamline.  Like, instead of having six cardigans, maybe I can do with two or three.  But mostly if there are clothes I’ve outgrown or just plain old don’t wear anymore, I will take them to the garage sale.  Last garage sale I took a big 100% cotton fantastic bathrobe.  It was a tough decision, but there’s no way I need more than one bathrobe (I got rid of both of the ones on the right).

 The closed shoes are all going.  I can’t wear closed shoes anymore.  When I wear anything other than sandals or Keens, the balls of my feet hurt so badly the next day (or later than same day) that I can barely walk.

But I still have piles and piles of clothes and as I see it there is no need for that.  What do they say?  The majority of people wear only 20% of their closet 80% of the time.  I do have a drawer (well, it’s a box, but for the sake of normalcy we’ll refer to it as a drawer) of scruffy t-shirts for work, I can’t remember the last time I wore socks...

... and I really only need a handful of nice clothes.  Underwear, I need a ton of (triple-digit summers means lots of showering and changing).

BTW, not to self: stop buying red things!  No more red towels, dish pads, socks, t-shirts, pajamas, etc.  They sit in the hamper until I have a full load of “red” things.  So stupid!  I need to buy all neutral clothing.  Ha ha ha!

Thanks for all the wonderful comments and feedback.  It’s great hearing from you all and finding out that I’m not alone in this journey.  :-)  Share your tips, tricks, ideas and experiences too, in the comments section.

To see the beginning of this journey, click here.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gratitude Segue: Thank You For Letting Me Be An Artist

This necklace just sold at the gallery today.  That makes me happy, of course.  But maybe not in the exact way one might think.

First of all, any and all sales are good.  Selling my work lets me continue doing my work, something I thoroughly enjoy (and it keeps me out of trouble).  But my first reaction when that piece sold was happiness that "someone understood what I'm saying". 

I'm not a great communicator.  You'd know this easily if you knew me in person.  I often stumble on words and spend time reaching for the elusive way to tell you how I feel.  then the next person comes along and speaks so eloquently and I'm like, "Yeah, what she said."

So when I make a piece of jewelry that really speaks to me, something that has a subject or a technique that is special for some reason, I feel like the buyer and I "communicated" in some way.

Kind of like they're saying, "I get you, Laura."  And that's a nice feeling.

My jewelry is not speaking in any literal sense of the word.  While there can occasionally be an actual "story" behind the inspiration for making a piece, that's not a given. The communication I am talking about having with the customer is a bit more ethereal.

One of the reasons I tend to make jewelry that I like is because it makes me happy.  I've had jobs where I have to do what others want.  But in my studio, I can mostly make what I want.  I say "mostly" because I do take on the occasional custom order and while I still like doing custom orders, it's more stressful than me just experimenting and creating without a finite plan.

But I digress.  This blog post is my round about way of saying that I appreciate all y'all who look at my jewelry and feel something, whether it's thumbs up for a job well done or a passionate "I have to have that" because I'm telling a story you want to hear.  I appreciate each and every one of you.

So thanks!  When you buy (or even comment on) my pieces that are maybe a bit off the beaten path, it makes me feel closer to being in communication with you. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Organizing Journey Day 20 -- You Can Sit On Your Butt and Still Be Organizing

Day  20 –You Can Sit On Your Butt and Still Be Organizing

You know what else counts as organizing?  Going through your email, putting appropriate ones into folders, deleting ones you don’t need, unsubscribing from newsletters you don’t read, etc.

That counts for other things on your computer/mobile device too.  Photos.  Organize them into folders so you can find what you need when you need.  Stick everything else into an “archive” folder.  I create an “archive” folder in just about every main category on my computer.  Any file I’m probably never going to open again goes in there.  No, I don’t just delete it.  I’m not THAT ready to let everything go.  But “archive” keeps them out of my hair and makes looking for important things much easier.

New habit: Every night before bed I open the “gallery” of photos on my phone and delete anything I know I don’t want.  It takes seconds because if I do it every day, I’m only looking at photos I took that day.  Easy peasy.  And doing that every night keeps me from having to spend hours one day deleting photos I don’t want because I ran out of room or just because I don’t want to see them. 

Some could argue that there’s no difference in seconds each day versus hours every couple of months/years.  Probably not.  But I feel better with a continually clutter-free environment.

Now, you know what I’ve been up to lately?  Not organizing, that’s for sure.  Ugh!  I need to make peace with the fact that I have a full-time job (and then some) and organizing will only take place in my free time (you should hear me laughing as I type THOSE words).

But I need to stop beating myself up over the fact that of late I’m getting NO organizing done.  Well, if cleanliness is close to organizing, I did mow and weedeat the entire orchard when I got back from my Tahoe show.  Then after that I scrubbed the ceiling of the bathroom upstairs, cleaned the tub, and did some caulking repairs.  I think that counts toward organizing… the orchard and the upstairs bathroom now make me happy and don’t get me stressed out.

Yeah, Tahoe.  The show was great.  I mean, it was probably my best show to date.  But it was also great because the company was fabulous, the customers were fabulous, my vendor neighbors were fabulous, and the organizers of the event were fabulous.  I think I have 4 or 5 more shows before the year is out.

I’m making this one short.  Just letting you know that even when you delete email, organizing photos, or even move a few files around… you are organizing, so keep it up.  You and me both. 

Thanks for all the wonderful comments and feedback.  It’s great hearing from you all and finding out that I’m not alone in this journey.  :-)  Share your tips, tricks, ideas and experiences too, in the comments section.

To see the beginning of this journey, click here.

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.  (Samuel Johnson)