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Gemma

Gemma pares it down. Waaaaayyyyy down.

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Time: 2 months A.F. (after Florence). 

Scene: Utter chaos. Boxes of flooring planks scattered randomly about, thick layer of drywall dust covering everything. Exhausted husband draped loosely over sofa, barely visible under pile of exhausted pit bull dogs.

 

Gemma (pulling herself up from a collapsed position in an armchair): "Wow, I sort of thought we would be more back to normal by now. (Blinks, looks around at mess as if just noticing it.) I ... guess I ought to try and do something about this, huh?"

Aaaaaannnd - scene! 

 

***

 

What I've learned from Hurricane Florence: 

  1. I have a lot of stuff. I am blessed and lucky that most of my stuff survived the hurricane, unlike much of my part of the country. One of the most heartbreaking sights is the piles of things that people took out of their homes to discard because they were soaked and unsalvageable, piles sometimes six foot high and running the entire length of the curb. Some of those piles have not yet been cleared away. I very definitely do not need as much stuff as I have. I've done without most of it for two months and don't miss it. 
     
  2. I can't not work out. I have not worked out since B.F., and I feel awful. I have to do something. For the first few weeks, there was enough chainsaw and debris hauling and fence building work that I really didn't miss lifting. But now I feel more like a three-toed sloth with each passing day. 

 

 

giphy.gif

 

 

 

De-clutter and minimalize my life, one room at a time. 

Obvious starting point, master bedroom. When we moved into the guest room (much smaller closet) I took only my very favorite clothes. The rest (LOTS!) got dumped into a pile in the Hobbit Hole. I have not missed them at all, and it turns out that what I accidentally created was a pretty functional capsule wardrobe. So I will be taking lots of clothing to the charity shop as I move back in to my much larger closet. I should be able to get all of my clothing into my half of the closet and one or two dresser drawers, eliminating the need for a large ugly shelving unit that I never liked but thought I 'needed' to hold all my workout clothes and t-shirts. 


*** Move NOTHING back into the bedroom unless/until I can clearly articulate why I want it, how often I will use it, and exactly where it lives when not in use*. Create legit color coordinated capsule wardrobe for work, reduce grubs clothes and workout clothes to be proportional to how I actually spend my time.***

 

*these rules will carry over when I get to other rooms 

 

Find a place to fit 15 minutes of movement/day into my life.  At this point I'm not even going to stress about increasing strength or reducing body fat or anything - I just want to prove to myself that I can re-establish the habit now that I've pretty well broken it. I'm not even picky about what. Options include but are not limited to:

  • Nerd Fitness Handstands program work (which I started B.F. but haven't looked at since.)
  • Kettlebells - either the quickie KB workout that Steve Kamm blogged last month, or the Simple and Sinister combination (swings + Turkish Get Ups)
  • Sledgehammer circuit
  • Suspension trainer circuit
  • Body weight circuit
  • Walking during lunch break at work
     

Seriously, if I do any of that I will almost immediately feel better,  but I am fighting through this humongous pile of inertia tribbles and don't really want to do any of that. I'm putting it in a challenge so that I feel accountable to you nerds. Because that helps. It really really does. 

 

And that. Is. All. 

 

sheepsimplify.gif

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Gemma said:


*** Move NOTHING back into the bedroom unless/until I can clearly articulate why I want it, how often I will use it, and exactly where it lives when not in use*. Create legit color coordinated capsule wardrobe for work, reduce grubs clothes and workout clothes to be proportional to how I actually spend my time.***


Oooh, I love the idea of minimalist fashion. That is to say, having just a few pieces that suit you perfectly that you love. I'm sorry Florence forced you into it, though. That's awful. 

 

10 minutes ago, Gemma said:

Seriously, if I do any of that I will almost immediately feel better,  but I am fighting through this humongous pile of inertia tribbles and don't really want to do any of that. I'm putting it in a challenge so that I feel accountable to you nerds. Because that helps. It really really does. 


Lots of yes. Today I did the smallest workout possible and I felt it halting my transmogrification into a pool of goo. I think doing a little exercise has important emotional and mental benefits that are hard to measure, and therefore easy to overlook. Good luck. You will succeed at moving a little every day.

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22 hours ago, Harriet said:


Oooh, I love the idea of minimalist fashion. That is to say, having just a few pieces that suit you perfectly that you love. I'm sorry Florence forced you into it, though. That's awful. 

 

It isn't all Florence's fault - even though I'm still in a mood to blame her for almost everything, as one does after a life-disrupting event of magnitude. But there were other factors. I've been thinking on the benefits of minimalism for quite some time now. Flo just gave me a bit of a nudge. 

 

 

22 hours ago, MikeW said:

Here or you, friend! And love the focus on simplifying down the wardrobe...as I pre Black Friday shop for clothes from my couch. Lol, the irony is strong with this one.

 

LOL, I am doing that too. I'm just trying to do it in a mindful way. For a change. Also, self-aware irony can be cool :) 

 

What I came to is this - a lot of the stuff filling my closet was there because it was "on sale," or because it looked cool in the store on the hangar, or on the model in the internet photo. Very little of it was selected with intelligent though about what I needed, nor about what looks good on me. 

 

Case in point - I just got rid of a pair of tan corduroy trousers. They were in perfect condition and they fit me. But ...

  1. I don't really like tan or brown clothing. My preferred neutrals are ivory, navy blue and charcoal gray, and I don't object to the obligatory black dress pants and skirt. But brown and tan make me feel very meh. 
  2. I despise corduroy*. Really. Dislike it a great deal. I know it has gone trendy again, and I don't object to that in general - for other people. 

So why did I own these pants? Oh, because I saw them new with tags at a thrift shop, and they were my size, and they are by the same company that makes my favorite jeans so I knew they would fit right. So of course I bought them. Because they were a great deal. <eyeroll> 

 

Same thing with a really very nice leather handbag that I am discarding. It is well made, really cute, lots of organizational pocketry, and fits my tablet. It was pricy, (which is why I've held on to it for so long even though I never carry it) but after I had looked at it a few times and thought, "nah, too $$$" -  the site where I bought it had a really good sale. So I ordered it. 

 

For reasons I still do not understand, even years later - I bought it in red. Bright red-crayon red. 

 

Again - red is a great color. A power color. A strong color.

 

But my wardrobe (at least the part I like and wear regularly) is largely gray, blue, green, and purple. When I do wear red (or used to) it is on the burgundy side of things. Literally unless I am in head-to-toe black or gray, I have nothing that a bright red briefbag looks good with. So it has to go. 

 

 

But - in the interests of full disclosure, I am getting rid of the red bag and replacing it with a black and cream one with similar traits  - structure, organization, ability to hold not only my tablet but my laptop at need - expensive, but on sale for Black Friday. 

 

So it's not that I'm not blowing money on clothes and stuff, I totally am - I'm just trying to do it with more attention to what I actually need and will wear. 

 

I figure it is more economically defensible for me to buy one pair of $200 charcoal dress pants that are really well made and fit me properly, and that I might wear 2 or 3 times/week, than to have five pairs of $40 pants from Target or the thrift shop that I don't like wearing and feel bad in when I do. 

 

 

 

* In my defense, I am of an age to have been traumatized by corduroy in the seventies:

7D1Yi-1443477522-blog-18.jpg

 

image.thumb.png.48a0dbb37b03626016632815a2aa78ee.png

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Oh man, I do this all the time. I have bought aspirational clothes for a lifestyle I don't have. I have bought bright clothes and prints that I liked to look at but felt like a clown in. Nor did I only make this mistake once. I have bought so many pairs of shoes that the salesperson said would stretch and become comfortable, or heels that I imagined I would get used to. They never stretched and I never did adapt. At least now I think I know what colours I like. I just have to figure out what cuts suit my shape, and then actually find them in the shops. In decent non-shiny fabrics. In decent, non-bright, non-black colours.Without bows, frills, tassels, inappropriate cut-outs, or, god forbid, bling. 

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Oooh those sale buying impulses are real. I’ve actually unsubscribes from basically all promotional emails because I get trigger happy with “good deals.” And have had to slowly learn how to make my wardrobe reflect what I’ll actually wear and look good in, namely blacks, greys, whites, navy, and jewel tones (and a little bit of khakis / browns). And also not get too trigger happy with kitchen gadgets that are cool but that I don’t need.

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On 11/22/2018 at 11:52 PM, Blocky said:

 

These are epically brilliant... looking forward to the future when these make a comeback...

 

I'm 100% sure that if you are comfortable and happy in them, that will be fabulous. Awaiting pics. 

 

 

9 hours ago, MikeW said:

Oooh those sale buying impulses are real. I’ve actually unsubscribes from basically all promotional emails because I get trigger happy with “good deals.” And have had to slowly learn how to make my wardrobe reflect what I’ll actually wear and look good in, namely blacks, greys, whites, navy, and jewel tones (and a little bit of khakis / browns). And also not get too trigger happy with kitchen gadgets that are cool but that I don’t need.

 

<whispers> I bought a Thermapen instant read thermometer yesterday because it was 20% off. Minimalism is a journey - apparently one that is going to take me a while. I've done mass unsubcribes, too, but then I always seem to wind up signed up for more of 'em ...  

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Yesterday's workout was back to chainsaw, climbing, and lumber-hauling. About four straight hours. Exhausting, but satisfying to see tangible progress. Pictures cannot do justice to the magnitude of this downed pin oak at my buddy's house. 

 

Before:

86d0881f7c8aade8df1fe509eeaa5d41.jpg



After - three chainsaws + five kids hauling debris, and this is all the dent we made. I mean, it's a good dent, but so much work remains ... 

9c365eda49c38edabb6ccebb0dd9f0db.jpg

 

NSV: holding a 20" chainsaw steady above shoulder height while cutting overhead limbs is a good reason to be grateful that I progressed my OHP as far as I did manage it  

 

 

Seymour forgot to feed Audrey II - these thorn vines tried to trip me and eat me with every step.

2ac89512ce2a0586b7e54469626d52e7.jpg

 

 

 

So - several hours using a chainsaw, climbing up and over a downed tree in rubber boots with zero traction, walking on unstable swampy ground completely covered with vines, thorns, calf-grabbing and ankle-turning debris. No injuries. Not even a scratch.

 

Got home safe and sound, tripped over a dog blanket before I got the lights turned on, fell face first onto my very extra-hard floor, and split my lip wide open. Blood. Everywhere. Crime scene level blood. Bad.  

 

I think (but can't prove) that I was so danged tired and my arms were so fatigued that my instincts to get my hands out and break my fall just went too slow. I landed full on my face.  Literally saw stars. I mean, I had heard before that that is a real thing, but I had never personally experienced it. 

 

My lip is swolled to the size of a cocktail weenie, plus a boatload of dried blood and seven stitches - I could totes cosplay Ronda Rousey after the Holly Holm fight right now. I don't know that there's a Con for that, though. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gemma
ETA pics
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On 11/22/2018 at 6:57 PM, Harriet said:

Oh man, I do this all the time. I have bought aspirational clothes for a lifestyle I don't have

Oh, yes! I am getting a *little* better at this, but only because I have a passionate hate affair with shopping, and because I am ever-so-slowly becoming comfortable in my own skin and realizing that it is OK for me to have a personal style all my own. (And as I am also of an age to be traumatized by 70s "fashion," I recognize I am waaaayyy behind the curve on this one.) 

 

Without bows, frills, tassels, inappropriate cut-outs, or, god forbid, bling. 

 

This makes me smile. As a young person, I drove my mother to absolute distraction because I like things plain, and she likes all the icky ultra-girly stuff. I will *sometimes* wear floral print now  (as long as it is not looking like a couch from the 70s-I will spare your eyes by NOT finding an image of this to post--lol), but that's about as "girly" as I get. 

5 hours ago, Gemma said:

'm 100% sure that if you are comfortable and happy in them, that will be fabulous. Awaiting pics. 

Hahahaha. This also made me smile.

 

5 hours ago, Gemma said:

Got home safe and sound, tripped over a dog blanket before I got the lights turned on, fell face first onto my very extra-hard floor, and split my lip wide open. Blood. Everywhere. Crime scene level blood. Bad.  

 

Yikes! I am so sorry to read this! I hope you heal up quickly.

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7 hours ago, Gemma said:

I'm 100% sure that if you are comfortable and happy in them, that will be fabulous. Awaiting pics. 

 

I could so do corduroy...

 

I *may* have just bought a dark blue VELVET dinner jacket.... just cos...

 

7 hours ago, Gemma said:

Got home safe and sound, tripped over a dog blanket before I got the lights turned on, fell face first onto my very extra-hard floor, and split my lip wide open. Blood. Everywhere. Crime scene level blood. Bad.  

 

I think (but can't prove) that I was so danged tired and my arms were so fatigued that my instincts to get my hands out and break my fall just went too slow. I landed full on my face.  Literally saw stars. I mean, I had heard before that that is a real thing, but I had never personally experienced it. 

 

My lip is swolled to the size of a cocktail weenie, plus a boatload of dried blood and seven stitches - I could totes cosplay Ronda Rousey after the Holly Holm fight right now. I don't know that there's a Con for that, though. 

 

I'm wondering if you are related to Mrs Blocky, this is something she would do/has done....

 

archer-2.jpg  archer-1.jpg

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8 hours ago, Gemma said:

<whispers> I bought a Thermapen instant read thermometer yesterday because it was 20% off. Minimalism is a journey - apparently one that is going to take me a while. I've done mass unsubcribes, too, but then I always seem to wind up signed up for more of 'em ...  

True that, minimalism is a journey and a processs, not a destination. Glad to be walking this path with good friends!

 

And so sorry to hear about your lip - fingers crossed it heals up well!

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On 11/24/2018 at 5:32 AM, Gemma said:

 

So - several hours using a chainsaw, climbing up and over a downed tree in rubber boots with zero traction, walking on unstable swampy ground completely covered with vines, thorns, calf-grabbing and ankle-turning debris. No injuries. Not even a scratch.

 

Got home safe and sound, tripped over a dog blanket before I got the lights turned on, fell face first onto my very extra-hard floor, and split my lip wide open. Blood. Everywhere. Crime scene level blood. Bad.  

 

I think (but can't prove) that I was so danged tired and my arms were so fatigued that my instincts to get my hands out and break my fall just went too slow. I landed full on my face.  Literally saw stars. I mean, I had heard before that that is a real thing, but I had never personally experienced it. 

 

My lip is swolled to the size of a cocktail weenie, plus a boatload of dried blood and seven stitches - I could totes cosplay Ronda Rousey after the Holly Holm fight right now. I don't know that there's a Con for that, though. 

 

 

 

Oh no! Seven stitches is a lot :/ I hope it gets better as quickly as possible. Have some emotional comfort animals for speedy healing!

 

giphy.gif?cid=3640f6095bfacd696c556c7549giphy.gif?cid=3640f6095bfacdd44c56373032giphy.gif?cid=3640f6095bface0d3147737632

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On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 3:41 PM, Blocky said:

 

I'm wondering if you are related to Mrs Blocky, this is something she would do/has done....

 


If klutziness is genetic, then Mrs. B and I might well have an ancestor in common. One of the rare ones that didn't trip and fall whilst running from the mastodon or the stagecoach robbers or something. I don't think that's a gene that 23&Me tests for, though, so the world may never know.

 

Gemma breaks into song, very off key and slurred from swelling:

 

♪♫ All the clumsy people

Where do they all come from?

All the clumsy people

Where do-oo they all belong? ♪♫

 


 

On ‎11‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 11:30 AM, Harriet said:

 

Oh no! Seven stitches is a lot :/ I hope it gets better as quickly as possible. Have some emotional comfort animals for speedy healing!

 

 

 

Good news is I tend to heal pretty fast.

 

I love the okapis!!!

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On 11/24/2018 at 5:32 AM, Gemma said:

I could totes cosplay Ronda Rousey after the Holly Holm fight right now. I don't know that there's a Con for that, though. 

There's a Con for everything.

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On ‎11‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 2:57 PM, Grumble said:

There's a Con for everything.

 

Not in teeny-weeny small town North Carolina. Sigh.

 

This injury has thrown me a bit off my game. Other than chainsaw day last Friday, I have still not done anything that I could legit count as "working out." I've been more or less active on some days, just in terms of walking around our campus and up and down lots of stairs, but all my good intentions of working out at home have gone the way of the dodo. So many excuses. I need to find ways to make this easier and with a more reliable "trigger."

 

I ordered a "clean out kit" from ThredUp, so tonight I will be packing up a box of my really good condition/high quality clothes that I don't really wear (including the too-tight ballgown from last challenge) to take to the post tomorrow. Next step after that is to sort the remainder into "good enough for charity shop" and "not worth it, just recycle" - and then figure out how to recycle old clothes, since I really don't want to just plot them into a landfill.

 

I punched myself in the mouth this morning while changing clothes. Actually probably just barely bumped into my lip with the back of my hand, but there was enough pain involved to make it feel like a solid right cross. I wish I could just hibernate for two or three days and do nothing but lay around with an icepack on my mouth.

 

The worst of it is probably how bad it looks - I'm frightening small children and freaking out grown Marines. A split lip is not an injury you can conceal - absolutely zero options for bandaging, and no groovy make-up tricks = I've become super self-conscious about my appearance whenever out in public, in a way that I have not been for years.

 

In keeping with the idea of minimalism ... and to cheer myself up ... some teensy weensy widdle aminals:

giphy.gif      

 

 

29-tiny-dogs.gif

 

  4E8Z.gif

 

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7 minutes ago, Gemma said:

The worst of it is probably how bad it looks - I'm frightening small children and freaking out grown Marines. A split lip is not an injury you can conceal - absolutely zero options for bandaging, and no groovy make-up tricks = I've become super self-conscious about my appearance whenever out in public, in a way that I have not been for years.

 

Own it. Make up a different outlandish story every time. I'll help.

 

"We were cleaning up after the hurricane, I cut off one of the branches, and a wild squirrel flew out and kicked me, thinking I was stealing its nut store."

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11 minutes ago, Gemma said:

The worst of it is probably how bad it looks - I'm frightening small children and freaking out grown Marines. A split lip is not an injury you can conceal - absolutely zero options for bandaging, and no groovy make-up tricks = I've become super self-conscious about my appearance whenever out in public, in a way that I have not been for years

Fwiw, probably most people are concerned rather than horrified. That may not help the vanity much at the moment, but it may help the self-consciousness.

 

Also, freaking out Marines is pretty BA in the short run ;) (I hope that comes across in the way I intend. . . .)

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2 minutes ago, Katerina said:

Also, freaking out Marines is pretty BA in the short run ;) (I hope that comes across in the way I intend. . . .)

 

This is so midwest polite it hurts.

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Own it. Make up a different outlandish story every time. I'll help.
 
"We were cleaning up after the hurricane, I cut off one of the branches, and a wild squirrel flew out and kicked me, thinking I was stealing its nut store."


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1 minute ago, Gemma said:

 


Like this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

 

Exactly.

 

Also how I imagine you selling it.

Becky Lynch GIF - Becky Lynch The GIFs
 
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11 minutes ago, Grumble said:

 Own it. Make up a different outlandish story every time. I'll

OMG. You really are my twin. I have actually advised doing this to kids whose extended family asks unwelcome questions over holidays.

 

6 minutes ago, Grumble said:

This is so midwest polite it hurts.

I don't understand. :/

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Fwiw, probably most people are concerned rather than horrified. That may not help the vanity much at the moment, but it may help the self-consciousness.
 
Also, freaking out Marines is pretty BA in the short run (I hope that comes across in the way I intend. . . .)


True on both counts. I had to proctor an exam for a large group of senior enlisted on Monday. One of ‘em, right in the front row, made a smart-aleck remark about writing in his test booklet. So I hit him with my patented “cranky ol’ lady don’t play” look, which I assume is only enhanced by my current “yeah I went three rounds w/ Chuck Norris, what about it?” lip - and he actually shrank down into his chair a bit while putting his hands up and promising that he was just kidding and would never.

So, yeah, I really do love my job :)


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1 minute ago, Gemma said:

So I hit him with my patented “cranky ol’ lady don’t play” look, which I assume is only enhanced by my current “yeah I went three rounds w/ Chuck Norris, what about it?” lip - and he actually shrank down into his chair a bit while putting his hands up and promising that he was just kidding and would never.

This. Is awesome. <3

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