Monday, November 30, 2015

two problems with a minimalist wardrobe

I have this bad habit of starting some topic, writing a post or two on it....and then never getting back to it.  Last year I blogged a bit about starting a minimalist wardrobe.  I went through my entire wardrobe and got rid of nearly everything, as most of it was either stained or didn't fit.  I bought some nice replacements that felt like all I needed.  My wardrobe consisted of three jeans, two black slacks, one navy slacks, seven long sleeve knit shirts, two sweaters and a fleece. This brings me to problem number one with the minimalist wardrobe: I seem to gain and lose weight frequently.

Problem Number One: Weight gain and loss
If you are a serial weight gainer/loser, you are probably going to have difficulty with a minimalist wardrobe.  All minimalist websites say invest in one beautiful piece you love instead of multiple cheap pieces you don't.  Except if you spend a large sum of money on a piece that you love, and next winter it doesn't fit, this method may not work for you.

I'm done with the up/down pregnancy weight, praise be, but I still go up and down about 7-10 lbs in weight every few years.  Last year I had some serious allergies that gave me a tuberculosis type cough and sore throat, so I wasn't eating much.  I was also walking six miles a day, nearly every day.  I lost seven lbs.

I walked 25,000 steps per day and ate nearly nothing and lost seven lbs.  Not seventy.  Just seven.

This year I got a concussion, sprained my neck again, went on some fabulous drugs that had weight gain as a side effect, lowered my walking to a mere three miles a day, and started eating again.  Voila, seven lbs (more, actually) back on.

All the clothes I bought last year when I was less plump don't fit any more.  I mean, I can get into my pants, as long as I don't need to sit down.  I can also get into my long sleeve shirts, as long as I don't need to pull my shirt over my hips, or bend my arms.  Arigato, Mr. Roboto.

I packed up all those nice clothes, and put them in a bin in the garage in the event I get another hacking disease that makes me lose weight.

I am currently wearing an extremely minimalist wardrobe--I bought three pairs of pants in a larger size, and I have three old long sleeve shirts that I had consigned to the workout clothes drawer but have been reinstated as everyday wear, two sweaters, and a ten year old fleece.

I....well...I am not excited about this wardrobe.  The problem is not that I don't have enough to wear. I have enough sweaters. The pants are comfortable and I don't look homeless. The problem is that I am at the upper end of my weight range and nothing looks flattering.

I think I could get by with limiting myself to 9 items of clothing if they only looked good on my behind.

(Here I will preemptively thank Anonymous Commenter for the suggestion that I just lose ten lbs and solve all my problems.)

Problem Number Two: klutzy people and stains
I am a klutz.  I have The Fumblefingers.  I drop everything.  Because I drop everything, all of my clothes are stained.

Some minimalists protect their wardrobes by changing out of their clothes into a "house outfit" as soon as they get home.  If I worked outside the home I would probably do this.  However, today I dropped off kids at school, walked a few miles, showered, went to the post office, came home for a while, went to Target, came home, picked up a kid from a playdate, came home, picked up other kids from school, came home to get everyone changed into their sports uniforms, left again for sports, came home for the day. If I changed into a house outfit every time I came home I'd be changing every twenty minutes.

I have a large selection of aprons.  I wear them whenever I am eating or cooking or cleaning.  And yet....everything I own has a stain on it somewhere.

This is such a problem for me that I actually have a wardrobe of fancy clothes that I reserve for nice occasions like meeting the Mister's work colleagues, and I never ever wear them for nice occasions like me and the Mister going to dinner.

So. I'm perfectly happy to have a minimalist wardrobe.  I just end up replacing it on a yearly basis because I either grow or shrink out of it, or I spill stuff all over it.

Do you have a capsule/minimalist wardrobe?  Do you suffer from Fumblefingers or repetitive weight gain?

Friday, November 20, 2015

two One Room Challenge highlights

I didn't participate in the One Room Challenge linking party this time around, but there were two rooms in the designer version that totally knocked my socks off.

The first is this amazeballs living room at The English Room.  I literally gasped when I saw this room.  And immediately sent the link to my husband with the comment "next house!!"

The art in this room is just SO GOOD.  

I'll point out that this room hits pretty much all of my major loves--white walls, colorful textiles, beautiful curtains, jewel tones, tons of art, colorful built-ins/trim.  It is the complete antithesis of my crappy little beige rental.  Go see all the views and angles of the room here.  It is just too good.

The other one that made me sit up and say WHOA is this fabulous room from Hi Sugarplum!

Again, white walls, colorful textiles, brass, vibrant jewel tones, great art.  I love everything about this room....I started to list them but then I listed everything.  So...its all good.  Seriously, though, imagine living in this room.  Makes my heart go pitter-pat.

That art, those drapes, that rug.  Awesome.  See the entire room here.

Next house, guys, next house.  It looks like we should be in this Sad Beige House for another 18 months.  I am saving my pennies for an amazing next house.  For now, these are totally pinned to my someday house pinterest list.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Food: an obsession

Recently we were driving a child friend home when child friend asked "how come your dad is driving the minivan if it is your mom's car?"  My youngest child replied, "my mom hates driving and cooking."  They discussed this further, with responses like "well, they are both a lot of work, and she just doesn't like it."  So true, child, so true.

Food runs my life.  There are five diagnosed medical food issues in this family, up from three a year ago. Food is a lot of work in this family.

On Halloween we went to a party at a friend's house.  Peter didn't eat any candy, or any of his forbidden foods.  After trick or treating (where he didn't eat any candy), Peter complained that his lips were tingling, a sure sign of an impending allergic reaction.  He didn't have any swelling or visible signs, so we dosed him with Benadryl and he felt better.

The next night we had a lovely dinner of salmon, kale and lentils. The Mister was on a work phone call upstairs during dinner, so we were being extra quiet.  In the middle of dinner Peter started complaining that his lips were tingling again. (Bi-phasic reaction!) I noticed that his face was getting red and blotchy, his lips were swelling, and then white hives started popping out on top of the red blotches.  "You need an epipen," I said, getting the pen out of my purse.

Peter screamed and took off running.  I chased him down, tackled him to the sofa, and engaged in hand-to-hand combat trying to get his thigh exposed.  I had an epipen in one hand, while using my other hand to try and hold both of Peter's hand from pushing me away.  I sat on him, threw my legs over his, leaned my upper body into his, and jabbed him in the leg.  If you have ever tried to stab someone with a sharp object, it helps if you have their cooperation.  People who don't want to be stabbed are pretty wiggly.

At this point, Peter is screaming at the top of his lungs.  My other two children figured that if one child is screaming, that's a good enough reason for them to scream in panic too.  The screaming was at home invasion levels.  I kept asking (loudly) for someone to go get the Mister, but really, it was just all screaming.  I called 911 myself.  The Mister was greeted by the EMTs when he came downstairs to see what all the commotion was.

We spent six hours at the hospital and were released late that evening.  I brought Peter into our bed and laid awake all night with him close, my hand over his heart, as if I could keep him safe with the force of my will.

I do my best to keep Peter safe.  We don't eat out with the kids. I make all our meals from scratch. I read every label.  My kid knows to not even ask for candy, or any store-bought treat, because the answer will be no.  I do my best.

Sometimes my best isn't good enough.

Sometimes my kid almost dies, despite my best.

Every time I think to myself that maybe I can ease up on the reins a bit--maybe we can be normal and I can let my life revolve around something other than food--something happens to remind me that no, we are not and will never be normal.

I don't want to blame all the food woes on Peter.  I do my own part to participate in the drama.  A few months ago I was tentatively diagnosed with another autoimmune disorder.  This was not a huge surprise, as autoimmune disorders tend to cluster.  The surprise part was when my doctor said "this disorder can be managed with an extremely restrictive diet, so here is the list of all the things you should not eat."

The list of things that one should not eat with that particular disorder was...well, it would be shorter to list the foods one CAN eat.  In fact, I can list them all right here in one phrase: leafy green vegetables.  Don't plan on putting anything ON those leafy green vegetables to make them taste palatable.

I took that list out to the car and read it carefully.  I noted that at least fifty percent of the delicious foods on the list I have already cut out of my diet because of a different autoimmune disorder.  The things remaining on the list were things I greatly enjoy, like butter, lox, condiments, and fruit. What kind of horrendous disease makes you give up fruit???

I lost it. I am not giving up butter. And my life ALREADY revolves around food we can't eat--I don't wan't to reduce what we CAN eat by another seventy-five percent.  Also, while this disorder won't kill you, people who have this disorder have a dramatically increased chance of being diagnosed with one of the big autoimmune diseases that do kill you. NO THANK YOU.

I finally saw a specialist, and it turns out, I do NOT have the tentatively diagnosed problem. Woohoo! What do I have, then?  Unknown, at the moment.  My doctor said, "hmm, aren't you the complicated case."  But at least I don't have that autoimmune thingy, right?

My doctor also handed me the "food for people who have your problems" sheet, and guess what? It was the same damn sheet.

I'm not giving up butter.

This is not even half of the food issues this family deals with.

Food occupies a very large portion of my time and mental energy.