It's been so long since my last blog post! As my desire to blog has slowly returned, I've debated whether I should try to revive my poor, neglected Baublicious, or whether I should simply start fresh with a whole new blog. In the end, I decided there have been enough endings and transitions in my life this year, I'm not ready for another.
elimination diet I mentioned in my last post, back in January? The one
that was supposed to last 30 days? Well, I ended up having to stick
with it well into April, continuing to refine and eliminate additional
foods until I could find a stable spot for my body to start healing. The
good news is it has worked. My health has improved significantly in so
many, many ways. Even areas that I simply took for granted as 'the way
things are', like seasonal allergies, haven't been as bad as previous
The only fly in the ointment is I can't stay
on my very restricted diet forever, and I'm still having significant
troubles reintroducing foods. Yep, I'm still in stuck in the
reintroduction phase - it's slow going. I still have bad days, when my
body decides to reject the latest food reintroduction. Thankfully, the
bad days are interspersed amongst the much more frequent good ones. The
bad days help me remember just why I embarked on this journey in the
The good news is that for the first time
in forever, my mind keeps turning to creative endeavors not because I
feel like I 'have to' or 'ought to' do them, but because I truly want to.
At the same time, I feel like I'm relearning how to be creative.
Rebuilding my creative muscles and stamina. Last month I focused on
daily sketching. I signed up for a 30 day "Find Your Flow" workshop
with Karen Abend, and
committed to drawing for at least a half hour every day through the
month of June. My biggest challenge was giving myself permission to
create wonky, imperfect, and often incomplete sketches, and simply enjoy
the process. So far so good!
This happened to
coincide with an invitation from my mother-in-law to join her on an
Alaskan cruise earlier this month. So I have plenty to blog about! I
just need to retrain myself to put blogging into my routine. For so
long, it's taken all of my focus simply to accomplish the must-dos on my
daily lists. It feels amazing to have energy enough to reach out for
creativity, for friendship, to find my way back to the me that makes me
smile. Makes me feel like dancing!
Monday, July 9, 2018
Monday, January 15, 2018
Health-wise, the past few years have been a bit of a roller coaster as I've dealt with a series of auto-immune issues. Things flared up again big time this past fall, to the point that I could barely breath during the day and only slept in 10-15 minute increments before waking up choking. Really not good!
This fall I got to visit with a whole slew of specialists, including an otolaryngologist who sent me to another specialist to verify that my hearing hadn't actually been damaged (it hadn't thank goodness!), and gave me referrals for environmental allergy testing as well as a sleep study. But he discouraged me from being tested for food allergies. I believe his concern was that in the state I was then, the results would say I was sensitive to everything.
Instead, he suggested that I cut out specific foods to see if my symptoms would improve, and suggested that I do an elimination diet, what he called the "Gold Standard" to let my system heal, and then slowly reintroduce 'suspect' foods while keeping a food journal to track sensitivities and reactions.
Here's what I've learned so far.
Week One: Cutting caffeine, sugar and wheat out of one's diet all at once is truly no fun. In fact, it was pretty darned awful. Crushing headaches, joint pain, fevers, nausea, other things best not to mention; if my energy levels hadn't been pretty good, I would have thought I'd caught the flu. But the good news, is if you do it all at once, then when it's done it's done. I don't think I could have gone through that multiple times.
Week Two was more of a mental challenge. I don't love to cook, and this diet pretty much insures that I have to cook every meal at home because it seems that almost everything prepackaged includes something I'm avoiding. Even luncheon meats - if it's not added sugars, it's garlic powder (my one cheat is a little bit of bacon). Figuring out how to make large batches of food that still taste good as leftovers with my limited ingredient list when I'm sick of cooking - yep, that was my challenge. Mostly, I was grumpy at all the things I can't eat right now.
Early in the week I also dealt with some energy issues. I'd head out to walk to the bus and find myself extremely light-headed, and my legs wobbly. Finally figured out that I needed more starchy carbs in my diet - I'd better not develop a sensitivity to sweet potatoes, because they are currently my best friend. Once I figured that out, I was even able to make it through a light work out at the gym on Sunday for the first time in months. Baby steps - I keep reminding myself.
Otherwise, I am seeing a definite improvement in many of my ongoing symptoms. Yippee!
|from Practical Paleo by Dianne Sanfilippo|
Week One I put together a meal plan. Week Two, I kept telling myself to put one together, but never actually did because I was too busy being grumpy. Week Three, I'm determined to make a real meal plan and try out at least three new recipes. I'm debating a recipe for Broc-Cauli Chowder from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. Would it really taste good? Especially without the garlic? Maybe I'd be safer with the Butternut Sage soup on the next page? Hmmm...
Either way, I need a new blender, so I've been researching options. Hoping not to spend too much, and I want something really, really easy to clean. I hated our old blender (dead now for ten plus years); the glass container was too big and heavy, and soooo difficult to clean. This time around I think I'm looking at a personal blender. Lighter weight, and easier to clean. Hopefully it will also work reasonably well. Keeping my fingers crossed. I'm also thinking about buying a hand-crank spiralizer. Zucchini noodles may be in my future.
I fear that's where all of my extra bandwidth has gone, these first two weeks of 2018. I am wide open to recipe suggestions; if you have a favorite recipe that fits (or can be made to fit) my limitations, I'd love to see it. I'd also love to hear your experiences if you've done a similar elimination diet in the past (or are doing one right now). Even with my nutritionist's recommendations, I really feel like I'm making this up as I go.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
|Had to take a 'housie' - it looked so cute all decorated in snow|
Yesterday morning, we woke to a Winter Wonderland; the world outside our door decorated with a liberal coating of snow. And it hadn't stopped snowing; there was more softly drifting through the chilly air like party confetti. Snow Day!!!!
This being Seattle - we weren’t sure how long it would last. By some accounts this was Seattle's eighth White Christmas since 1909! Which is how we found ourselves wandering the neighborhood in the early morning light, drinking in the sights. Pre-coffee, pre-presents, predawn, just us and the snow.
|wandering the neighborhood in the half-light before dawn|
|Cherry trees limned with snow|
These are photos of some cherry trees. The snow made it easy to see the variations in branching patterns between different tree species. Even the littlest branches of the cherry trees provided nice stark, dark lines of contrast. That’s likely the reason they were also my most successful tree photos.
What an amazing way to start Christmas morning! And sure enough, by late afternoon, the snow had begun to melt. Today, there's still snow on the ground, but it's gone from all of the trees.
Snow equals Snowflakes!
In celebration of our first Snow Day in forever, our first White Christmas in even longer, and as a little gift for Boxing Day, I'm putting together a free bonus snowflake tutorial for anyone who has ever purchased my Snowflakes and Stars tutorial, or one of my snowflake kits. This includes people who have taken one of my Snowflake workshops.
How do you receive your copy? Simply let me know where and when you purchased the tutorial (to the best of your memory). On New Year's day, I'll send you instructions for the snowflake pictured in my earlier post, Hoping for Snow, (and below). It's a 'decorated' version of my basic snowflake. Make sure you include an email address, or some way to contact you! If you send me a picture of one of the snowflakes you made, I may include a little extra bonus. Yep, a little bribery because I'd love to see your work. :)
Don't have the original pattern? Purchase it between now and New Years, and I'll send you the bonus instructions, too.
|I'll send out instructions for this beaded snowflake on New Years|
(Speaking of snowflakes, if there are friends who have a Cricut cutter and would like me to share how I made the paper ornaments, let me know. They were really easy; the snowflakes are stock images that I combined with a circle frame).
Happy Boxing Day!
Sunday, December 24, 2017
There’s potential for snow in the forecast, both today and tomorrow. Like always, it’s still uncertain; everything has to go just right (or just wrong depending upon your perspective) for it to snow in Seattle. Today, there’s a chance that by mid-afternoon, the fluffy white stuff might grace our skies and leave a light dusting all around. The original inspiration for glitter! If it doesn’t snow this afternoon, there’s a renewed chance of snow tomorrow. In either case, no real accumulation is expected.
If it does snow, it will be our first white Christmas since 2008. That year was definitely a case of too much of a good thing. It started snowing mid-December and didn’t stop until December 24th. Over a week straight of snow! Pretty much unheard of here. I only want an inch or two; a little extra decoration for the holidays, that disappears in time for the Tuesday commute.
And so I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, while sitting at my local coffee shop in front of the (gas) fireplace enjoying the quiet magic of Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas to all of my friends who celebrate the holiday. In the immortal words of Irving Berlin:
May your Christmas be merry and bright,
and may all your Christmases be white.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
This weekend I took a side trip out of the regular world into the wonderful, amazing, zany world of Geek Girl Con. A world of games, science, imagination and fun where women took center stage for a change.
Panels ran the gamut from sneak peaks and hosted play for upcoming games, to in-depth looks at the demographics of various genres fan bases and their actual representation therein, to DIY science and art projects, to a panel on building realistic fake languages and hardcore STEM panels such as Droid Building 101: Build Your Own Astromech and Build Your Own 2G Phone With that last one, the first 20 participants participated in the workshop, everyone else was welcome to simply listen in.
For myself, I ended up skipping most of the hardcore panels this time and settled into a schedule of make-and-takes and games, including a group story building workshop.
|Saturday opened with a little Betrayal at Baldur's Gate|
The designers at Avalon Hill have written 50 different scenarios for the second half of the game - circumstances within the game determine which one you will face. As far as I could tell, every table in the room was faced with a different scenario, which makes for great replay value.
I was the only one at our table who hadn't played the earlier version, Betrayal at House on the Hill (totally non-D&D). We encountered a pve (player vs environment) scenario. We lost spectacularly, but it was still a lot of fun. If you're a long-time D&D fan, the game has the right feel. If you've never played D&D before, it's a fun adventure game (according to tablemates who fell into this category).
|D&D Dinosaur Races with the Adventurers' League|
Sunday, I joined the local branch of the Adventurer's League for another scenario. My fellow players were a mom who'd never played before and a passel of tween girls who'd played for the first time the day before. This time we got to go to the Dinosaur Races! Complete with cool maps and minis perched on dinosaurs.
I've also learned there are sort of two different organized, drop-in D&D groups around here - the Adventurers' League and Pathfinders. I'm such a geek!
But enough gaming, I did attend a few panels, too.
|The Force is Female panel speakers|
|a photo from a PAX 2017 panel for comparison|
Even still, much of what they said resonated with me. One of the panelists also happened to be an engineer. She noted that in one scene (I think from Rogue One), there's a call for engineers and a bunch of guys come running. Her question, 'Where are the women engineers?' I had noticed this too; that while the new movies were getting better about female leads, they still had a long way to go including women in bit roles outside of female stereotypes.
Speaking of Star Wars, I happened upon these wandering the halls:
|Daleks and Droids wandering the halls|
|My mask is lower left, but other participants let me photograph theirs|
My mask, at the lower left, is unpainted. The woman who made the black one in the upper left corner designed hers to fit over her glasses! How cool is that? These were all made using tinfoil and masking tape, that's all except for the paint.
|Moro and San from Princess Mononoke|
|Band busking just outside the conference center|
Monday, September 25, 2017
|After hours at Fusion Beads|
Talking with Mari, the founder and owner of Fusion Beads, it sounds like more and more customers, including locals, are simply shopping online, rather than visiting the store. (The online store is going strong).
I remember discovering Fusion Beads soon after moving to Seattle in 2001. I was simply a hobbyist beader at that point, and I'd never seen anything like it. The colors, the beads, the possibilities. I took my first ever 'beading' class there, on beginner wire wrapping. I still have the bracelet I made in that class.
Somewhere along the way, I began teaching for them - freeform peyote, my random right angle weave lacework cuffs, snowflakes, and every sort of fish design I came up with - in their fabulous classrooms. I'm not even sure quite when I started, maybe 2011, maybe a little earlier? I know that it's been at least five years, and that it's been a huge part of my life and my social community during that time. As well as an amazing source for inspiration, and beads (did I mention beads?)
I stopped by Saturday and snapped a bunch of pictures, after the store closed for the day, which is why there are no people in my photos. Because it's busy when it's open; everything in the store is half off, with deeper discounts for some items. The walls are looking a little bare, but there's still so many amazing things, so much inspiration. So many amazing, talented women working there.
|Clearance items (last ofs) for 75% in these cardboard bins|
|still lots of beads hiding in their little white cubbies|
|Need any size 15s? Still plenty of those left as of Saturday night!|
|My new-to-me tools!|
|Sunset over the arboretum|
|A peak-a-boo view of Mt. Rainier from Lake Washington|
|Downtown Seattle from Lake Union - my camera had a little trouble with this night shot|
|a photo with our 'captain' while waiting to set sail|
Do you have favorite memories of the Seattle store, or a class there? If yes, please share below - I'd love to hear!
Friday, September 22, 2017
|freeform bead embroidered fishes, stitched from left to right|
Which meant that each little fish was a complete surprise. It was such fun watching them emerge, almost like it wasn't me holding the needle and taking the stitches. It's interesting that even with these little guys - each one is less than three inches long - they all went through an ugly duckling stage where I really wondered if they would 'turn out'.
I still need to trim the interfacing, sew on the backing and decide how exactly I want to hang them as pendants. Need to figure that out quickly, too, as at least two of them are supposed to go to their new homes tomorrow evening. But I thought I'd share them where they are right now, in this little in-between stage, with my slightly-less-than-stellar photos, because hey, I'm beading!
|Fish collage (just noticed - the middle fish on the right is upside down!)|