I’ve talked quite a bit about how to dress to communicate who you are, but perhaps less about how you dress communicates what’s in your head right now…


So.  I’ve been trying to be more active and move more, and that’s translated into my wardrobe.  But also there are some things that aren’t so good that translated – like my discomfort with where my bod is right now, which has made itself known by too much “strong, basic” clothing choices (Earth, if you’ve read my book) and not enough sweetness, softness and just plain prettiness (Water).

This is one of my fav outfits right now – it feels to me carelessly elegant and pulled together.  It is.  But it’s not *as good* on me as it would have been on my mom at my age.

Sometimes we dress like our moms…  I do, anyway.

DH doesn’t like it when I do this.  I think I look amazing, and he’s like, “you look fine”.  (He likes a level of sweetness and delicacy that makes me uncomfortable, I don’t feel like it suits me these


years or this weight.)

I adjusted yday and pulled out the dress I made for our date-a-versary.  Gah.  WHY do I lose weight in my upper torso before I lose weight in my face or my



waist?  It doesn’t fit again.  -headdesk-  It was pretty but a little twee.  I don’t do twee.

So, I adjusted yet again and came up with today’s outfit.  It suits.  It fits.  It’s me.  It’s not PERFECT, but it’s much better.  (Would be better minus the squint, but it was sunny outside…)

All that isn’t about the clothes as much as it is about what’s in my head.  Transition is hard on your wardrobe – and your psyche.  You can’t give up too much of who you are in search of who you want to become.

Personal Food Pyramid

  • Whole 30 – check
  • Reintroduction of foods – check
  • Eating too much ’cause it was the 4th of July holiday – check
  • Balancing back and seeing what works – check

Food pyramid

This is my *personal* food pyramid.  No, it’s not very detailed, because I eat whatever I want from all but the top two tiers as my body asks for those things.  (I am keeping my eye on my ‘grains’ portions for weight management).   You’re thinking, surely Hearth isn’t eating that many nuts?  Um, surely she IS.  If this was in proportion, the bottom tier (which includes potatoes, which are a vegetable) would take up about half of the pyramid, then dairy/nuts would fill in about a third, and the rest can fight it out amongst themselves.

Wheat is for special occasions only, and corn is for never if I can avoid it.  I guess at Christmas, when I make caramel corn.  (I don’t like stomachaches).

Yes, it is a high-fat diet.  That’s what was killing me off, the last 10 days of W30, I just don’t like vegetable fats all that much, and I’d reached the limit of the amount of bacon fat one woman can tolerate.   Another avocado?  No thank you!   Butter and cream for me, thanks.

It is a low-sugar diet.  I’ve found that sugars and excess carbs do bad things to my bod.  I mean, really nasty “I feel nauseous” things.  This pleases me, it makes them easier to avoid.

I note that caffeine continues to not  be my friend – one cup of coffee for the glory of cream and sugar/wk is sufficient.  I’ll stick to green tea the rest of the time.   As previously noted, alcohol doesn’t agree with me, so unless I really want the muscle relaxant effect, I’ll skip it.

Beef and dark-meat chicken are my buddies.  White-meat chicken is okay, but needs fat added.  Pork is meh.  I’m happy to eat all the lamb and duck that come my way – but they don’t, at least not very often.

YMMV?  No, your mileage most certainly WILL vary.   Go forth and do the experimentation on your own!

Oh.  I’ve lost another two pounds from … I don’t even know, I wasn’t trying.  Maybe the scale was off.  I’ll double check in a few days.

Dealing with downtime

Els has been writing a lot about dealing with downtime and not sliding into sloth.  I’ve been comboxing away, but I feel like I need to get a little more raw and a lot more verbose to have my girl’s back.  Anyway.  Maybe someone else out there has these issues.  Everyone’s bound to have a moment of this at some point.

The first point to this whole thing is that sloth is a defect of character.  If you’re really enjoying lying on the couch eating bonbons day after day, it doesn’t matter if you could hop up and run a marathon … you’re making a choice to stay on your behind.   Motivating you because of your choice – someone other than me needs to do that.  I am not a slothmonkey.

But.  I often feel like a slothmonkey, because I have various things to deal with that either currently knock me down or have knocked me down in the past.   Let’s make a list, shall we?

  1. Semi-bedrest pregnancies (past)
  2. Depression (past)
  3. Serious injury (past, but limits me a bit)
  4. Menorrhagia (current, has been going about 10 years)

I wrote about how to deal with the physical stuff in a long comment for Els.  It comes down to making priorities and sticking with that list.  It’s a matter of managing your energy levels and what the doctor will allow.

What I didn’t write about was the depression (past) or managing my emotions (current) when I can’t get things done.  Do you think that doesn’t bother me?  It bothers me.  A lot.  One of my goals is to go a month without making a lame apology to my husband for being wan and useless.  Like I picked that.  -eyeroll-    It usually takes me a few days to agree that sitting on my behind is useful… which is about when the energy makes a turnaround.  So frustrating.

So, let’s talk about the past depression.  Auntie Hearthums has a story for you… sit down.

Once upon a time, my husband and I bought a house.  It had three bedrooms and one bathroom.  We were using one bedroom.  My husband had a friend in jail, and he told me that his friend would be moving in with us while on parole.   I had a friend who was getting out of the military and didn’t have anywhere to be really.  So, we filled up the extra bedrooms within six? months of moving in.

Four adults was fine – except that Auntie Hearthums hadn’t developed a backbone yet, so one of the four of us didn’t do much about chores or grocery sharing, and I didn’t make her, and didn’t think to ask DH to make her.   About a year later, she got married.  And her husband moved in too.  Now we have five adults in a 3bd/1ba.  That might work… if two of the people had pulled their fair share.  But they didn’t.  And anyway, it was super crowded.  (I was working 40 hour weeks at a stressful job at this time).

THEN the two married ladies got pregnant.   Meantime, the new husband’s friend and *his* wife were hanging out a lot, and the single lady’s boyfriend hung out a lot.  The friend’s wife also got pregnant.  (The single lady stopped drinking the water in the house).   Most nights, I cooked dinner for 6-8 people after coming home from a full-time job.   (Why was I cooking 95% of the time?  That’s an excellent question… see: Hadn’t developed a backbone).

Then the company I’d been temping for decided to relocate.  Being insane, they decided they just had to keep me for a few more months… and moved my office equipment into my living room.   We’re up to five people, three cats, an in-home office, two pregnant ladies, one of whom has to rest rather a lot, three usual-guests and around 1400sqft.   Do I have to tell you about the level of squalor?  It wasn’t nice.   It really REALLY wasn’t nice.

And then the military men got relocated, with their wives.   Six weeks before I was due to give birth.   Did they clean before they left?  Was that a joke?  No.  DH shoveled their room out.  We moved my friend into their room (after refurbishing it) and made a room for our baby – but that’s all we could get done.  Did WE clean the house?  Also, no.  What time did we have?  Also, I worked (not very hard) up until two weeks before my due date.  (Baby was late, but that’s not relevant).

So.  I had our first child – by c/s, which means I couldn’t sleep on our waterbed for the first couple of weeks, I had to sleep in the living room on the fold out couch – and my house looks like something blew up.   I’m recovering from surgery, my friend is already due for sainthood and works full time, my mom works full time, MIL works full time, my husband works full time… are you getting the picture here?

Oh, and I was crunchy and doing cloth diapering and trying desperately to breastfeed – so lots of laundry, lots of pumping, not much sleeping.

Four months later… my mother in law died.

Two months after that… my husband got laid off.

Dear Reader – I know what depression feels like.   And I’ve had my awful-times since.   But this one is printable.

What helped?  Flylady.  I don’t still do Flylady.  Haven’t for years.   But Flylady, ever so slowly, helped me dig out.  Flylady helped me build habits to minimize my work going forward.  And all those darn emails made me feel like someone cared about me.  The ethos of “just do a little bit, but do it perfectly and let it spread” as well as, “You can do anything for 15 minutes” – they helped.  They seem silly now.  A bit embarrassing.  But they worked.  They helped.  They changed things.

I still haven’t learned my lesson about asking for help outside my very innermost circle, but at the end of these years I can tell you – the dust on the top of your shelves isn’t going to harm anyone, and it won’t take you long to get rid of when you’re able.   It’s frustrating and shaming to have to be the weak one, the one on the asking end, the one who can’t pull her own weight and a bit more – but it happens.   You can’t always do all the things, and do them all perfectly.  We’re Americans, and that’s our standard.  But that’s not God’s standard – it’s ours.  It’s phariseeism, wanting to feel like you’re doing well enough on your own merits.

Being weak isn’t the same as being slothful.  Being sick isn’t slothful.   It’s just part of life.

And we don’t get to Heaven by virtue of the works of our hands.


The impossible

My “new lifestyle” (laughter) involves a lot more gardening and outdoor time.  Now, even though I will romp in a long skirt, they get in the way climbing up hills and get caught on rosebushes.  Also, they don’t do well at the tidepools.  Shorts are called for.

I haven’t been able to find a pair of shorts I didn’t *loathe* for ten years.  Possibly more.

Yesterday, I did.  Linen/rayon.  $10.  JCP.  I bought four pair.  If I wear them with a long-enough shirt, my tummy is covered… as in, they don’t cup under my tummy, which has been a thing.  (A horrible thing).  I bought a couple of new t-shirts too.


This?  This looks like me.  Driver’s arm tan and all.  😀

Reintroduction of food

Dairy:  Yes.  Thank you.  I missed you.  How I missed you.  You make my life complete.  I stopped being hungry.  Never leave me again.

Sugar:  You make me queasy.  You taste good.  But you make me queasy.

Peanut Butter/Legumes:  Eh.  I guess I’d call this a “sometimes” food.  Bod doesn’t cry out for joy, doesn’t complain… much.

Non-wheat grains:  Wow.  Really filling.  Not sure I want very much of this, but I do want a little.  Properly soaked, so filling.   Portion control, much easier.  (Of course the last time I went grain-free for a while, portion control was cake **at first**).

Almost-wheat grains (soaked overnight):  I tried spelt this morning.  I don’t know that the recipe in question was very good – too long a baking at too low a temp, the biscuits were crunchy rather than fluffy.  But spelt has a sweet nutty taste that practically begs to be used in chocolate chip cookies or anything including brown sugar.  I think it would be good in carrot cake.  Grains continue to be madly filling.  AND something you somehow want more of.  I think W30 calls this “food with no brakes”.  Word to the wise – hopefully I’m the “wise” in this case.

Well – it turns out that the daughter and husband loathe spelt, so there’s no problem there.  :p  I do think it would be good in cookies.  Or spice cake.  Gingerbread would be really excellent with spelt flour.

Wheat (DH ordered pizza):  Same ol’, same ol’ – insta bloat, and yet I could eat more, though it makes me feel yucky.    This is not a food I want to have in my life more often than birthday cakes are concerned.  Or when all hands give me puppy eyes and I make pancakes or something.

Alcohol:  Um, I’ll let you know when I can be bothered to have some.  I don’t drink very often, it makes me queasy.  (See:  Sugar).   Like, I can have half a portion or less and be seasick.  Mostly I skip it.  This is not a major part of my life.

Other notes:  13yo and I are both HUGELY full with smaller portions of food than we ate pre-W30, or (in 13yo’s case) skipping meals entirely.  It’s a nice change from scrounging for anything fatty to fill that ??? void the last 10 days of W30.   Of course dairy/grains are much more calorie dense than veggies or meat, so that’s not too weird.   It’s nice though.  Very nice.

So far, we’ve been fairly well behaved with our food intake.   DH got us ice cream the first night.  I regretted eating any.  So queasy after.  :p

I’m feeling much fuller and much more sensitive to how various foods make me feel, which makes making good choices just that much easier.

W30 might not be my life, but it was a good choice.

I went shopping today.  How did 4lb turn into half a dress size?  As in, down half a dress size.  Did they get cute with the vanity sizing again?   I did get some shorts I don’t loathe.  Pix tomorrow maybe.

More planting

A small picture… We have the basic bits of the terracing in, and most of the planting done.  (I can find more interplanting to do).  Reminder to all… these are baby plants, next year or the year after you’ll see them full-size.

(I seriously can’t wait for Spring, it’s going to be *insane*)


Top terrace from the back (you can’t even see it):

  • Tea Tree (4-8 foot shrub, red flowers)
  • Pineapple Sage (3 ft, hot-pink flowers)
  • Lavender (3 ft, purple flowers)
  • Russian Sage (3 ft, purple flowers)
  • Pink Butterfly Bush (6 ft, pink flowers)

Bottom terrace from the back:

  • Honeysuckle vine (trained to fence)
  • Purple sage (4-5 foot, purple tufted flowers)
  • Varigated sage (2-3 foot, interesting foliage)
  • Penstemon (2 foot, pink flowers)
  • White butterfly bush (6-8 ft, white flowers)

I’ve interplanted red flowering ice plant, white flowering ice plant, creeping thyme, and creeping rosemary, and hopefully some of the milkweed seeds will come up.

There’s a top tier, up from the jade plant, that tier has culinary sage, russian tarragon, white lavender (1 ft), a purple butterfly bush, lemon verbena, and the jacaranda tree, which will one day give light shade to my entire hill.

We picked up a kumquat tree while we were at Lowe’s Saturday.  I’m not sure what we should do with that, but I *might* see if DH wants to just put it in a pot.  They don’t get very big (6-8 ft), and we could use a patio tree.  It has fruit on it already, it’s not young.  Has a thicker trunk than my little orange tree does, for true.

It looks pretty mild now, but just you wait.  Work done today produces results for tomorrow… and I think that’s a concept that carries.



I think this is the best (minus the horrid lighting) vlog I’ve recorded.   I managed to capture a bit of the “real me”, not the facade.

All transformation has to start somewhere……