Sunday, April 28, 2013

Simple Does Not Equal Boring

Nuwave Baked Chicken
Recently my health has taken a turn for the worse. After a deep cleaning at the dentist, I had a scary night of a weird set of symptoms that landed me in the ER, poked full of holes until they finally managed to get some blood to test and get an IV in me. They sent me home with no real answers, and they told me to see my primary care doctor for follow up. My doctor told me to avoid dairy, nuts, fatty meat, and to stick to the "bland foods diet" and specifically limited my foods to "things that are easy on the stomach" such as chicken, chicken or turkey broth, wheat bread, brown rice, diabetic friendly pasta, sweet potatoes, the occasional other type of potato, bananas and apples. Normally bananas are on my food intolerance list, but since there's so little on my list of foods I am currently allowed to eat, I decided to try them out again.

I also decided to think of it as another step on the path towards simplifying my life. After all, much like Project 333 makes deciding what to wear that much easier, limiting what foods I can eat to such a small list really does make things simpler too. I figured I might as well embrace it.

Vegan Banana Soft Serve Ice Cream
At first I thought of it as "bland food" and made boring things to eat like a plain sweet potato. But then I started to get a bit more creative. Last night I froze smashed banana and ate it as ice cream. (I neglected to take a picture but found this one on This morning for breakfast I had whole wheat egg free pancakes with apple sauce. And for dinner carlie cooked up some "fried potatoes" without oil and baked some chicken in the nu wave oven with just salt and juicy, crispy baked goodness. Simple, but delicious. I look forward to being able to eat my nut butters and green smoothies again, but in the mean time I have been making the most of what I can eat. And hopefully some time soon my body will click back into gear and I won't be forced to eat such a limited diet. But in the mean time, it has been a good reminder of what one can do with so little. Simple does not have to equal boring.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Baby Fishies!

Me in my Tie Dye T and Loom Knit Drop Stitch Slouchy Hat
I was going to talk about the joy of successfully completing new (to me) designs or projects like this drop stitch slouchy hat, but then this happened instead:

Sometimes it's the little things, the very little things that make us happy. This morning I went to check out my Aquaponics system, and while I was cleaning leaves from the top tank I realized, there was a tiny black molly fish swimming around. I guess the fish are doing OK, because they had babies! There was one tiny black fish swimming away, and when I lifted one of the rafts to try and see the rest I only found one large adult clinging to the roots from the plants, so I gently lowered it back into the water thinking maybe other fish were hiding in there before I lifted it up, and screamed in child like glee, "Carlie we have baby fishies!!!!!!!!"

Apparently she'd gone inside without me realizing it, so I was just there talking to myself. Sorry, no photos of the fish, they're too quick! I had worried the Ph of the water was too high and all the fish would die, but so far they're all alive, and apparently they're healthy because I don't think sick fish would breed. What a joy it is to see even one tiny black molly swimming around that tank.

BABY FISHIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Project 333 and Me

Sean-Michael Experiencing the Joy of Organizing
The last few weeks have been emotionally rough (see previous 3 posts) but many good things have been happening during this challenging time. For one thing, it has forced me to really be certain to take care of myself by and make time for cleaning, organizing, reading, relaxing, time with loved ones, time with friends, and times away from the computer/meetings/etc. A major part of that has been about cleaning, organizing, and slimming down the wardrobe for Project 333 which I started on April first.  If you don't know about project 333, check it out here: and if you're interested in trying it out yourself, check this out: but in the mean time I hope this brief write up of my last 2 weeks experiences around 333 will help.

2 Small Dressers, one with a pillow on top as a changing seat
After starting Project 333, I noticed that my wardrobe seemed to multiply on it's own. Almost as if by magic, clothes would show up in drawers I had intended to no longer use. People were giving me clothing, or moving clothes that I had put in the goodwill pile back into my dresser thinking that they were helping me out. I was starting to really stress out about it when a dear friend contacted me and offered to come over and help me clean and organize my bedroom. IT WAS WONDERFUL! Together we tackled a room with many piles that had just been dumped somewhere when arriving home tired, and had become overwhelming. We also tackled a closet that was littered with plastic bags full of yarn, art projects, clothes that needed to be donated, etc. He vacuumed my closet for me after helping me pick up the floor. We emptied my large dresser, moved 2 smaller dressers into my closet which were previously tucked away in a part of my room, got rid of any pajamas, underwear, socks, work out clothes, and swim trunks I no longer wear, and put the rest in the newly cleaned closet. They are now organized by type and color.  He said that he enjoyed doing it so much, he hoped I would invite him back again the next week, so I did with gratitude. And all day after he left I kept going in for a few minutes here and there and further organizing things.  Each time someone new came home, I told them all about it and took them for a tour of my small but organized closet which suddenly felt huge, beautiful, welcoming, peaceful and wonderful! Now maybe it sounds odd to wax on about a closet. It's where we store things, not a place to relax and unwind after all. But I found the whole process freeing.

Hanging Shirts 
Also, I have found that my original clothing choices for the 3 months was unrealistic. I wasn't thinking ahead for the summer, and it is already getting hot here in Phoenix. I had chosen to keep some clothes that really didn't match anything I owned, so I chose to give those and some overly warm clothes to goodwill, and bought a couple of light weight polos. I am normally not a big polo kind of guy, but there are some meetings I'm attending these days which are casual but professional and I really felt inappropriately dressed at some.

Previously I only had one pair of slacks, 2 pairs of jeans, and one pair of shorts. But I can only wear jeans on a rare occasion here, and slacks and shorts are appropriate many more times. Two of those pairs of jeans were size 44, so I passed that on to someone else and kept the one pair I really liked anyway, which are size 42. The one pair of slacks was old and starting to look raggedy, but I wasn't feeling like paying for new ones when I am losing weight so consistently and would probably not fit in them soon. Then I accidentally sat in paint. Yes, turpentine MIGHT have fixed the problem, but it also would probably have eaten holes in the already thread bare slacks. And when there are only 33 items of clothing in my closet, I find myself wanting them to be 33 items of clothing that I can wear and feel I present myself in a manner that is pleasing to me. I don't want to look "tore up" just because I'm living simply.

Hanging cloth shelves with shorts and work out clothes
So we headed to the Men's Warehouse in Ahwatukee where I had bought my 2 suits which were now about 10 sizes too large. They said that they could not completely fix the suits without breaking them down and basically recutting them, but they could do a quick and dirty altering for me since I am still losing so much weight, and that's what we went with. While there, Carlie found me a pair of slacks on sale for only 20 dollars, and the store manager gave me another pair for free! Plus we found 2 polos for each of us which were on the clearance rack, and I took my slacks that were too large in to be altered as well since once you have paid to have something  altered at the Men's Warehouse future alterations are free. I came home with a really nice new pair of shorts, another on order (buy one get one 1/2 off) and the polos, and the rest of the clothing we left there to be hemmed or altered. So soon I will have two suit coats and matching pants that at least do not look like clown clothes, 2 dress pants, 3 dress shirts, 3 pairs of slacks, 2 polos, several button down shirts, 3 belts, and 2 pairs of suspenders hanging in my closet. I also now have 2 pairs of military pants, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of jeans, 8 tshirts, 3 hats, and 6 pairs of shoes and boots. This does not count my pajamas, underwear, socks, work out clothes, or the uniform I sometimes wear as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence. I think that's everything, but we will see for sure when the clothes are finished washing and then I will post a final picture and count.

Squeakers claims the military pants
I hope you enjoyed these pictures, and this account of my Project 333 adventures so far. I will start to take a photo a day of my outfits which will be posted @GettysPhoto on Instagram with #Project333, and once a week I will create a photo which shows a week of outfits which I will post to Facebook every Sunday when I'm working on my blog.  I encourage you to do the same if you are simplifying your wardrobe, I've found it inspiring to look at others pictures and see what they went about doing.

Since this is my first time doing the project I have been lenient with myself about the "rules" after all, this is about simplifying, not about creating more random rules to follow. I also have allowed myself to shift and change what the 33 items of clothing are as I live in them and realize what i am needing more of or less of min my life. It has helped me to clarify how I am presenting myself, and honestly makes picking out an outfit a much simpler and more enjoyable process! I have been getting compliments about my clothes, and that makes me feel that I am at least slightly fashionable in the clothes that I chose to keep. Being the fabulous man I am on the inside, it is nice to know others think I look good on the outside. And more importantly, I enjoy feeling dressed sharply and not having to dig through piles of clothes I don't really get much use out of, but which now, someone else can!

Do you have a method of simplifying your clothing? What is it and how does it work out for you? 
Stay tuned for that final #Project333 update picture which I will post later today.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Self Care Sunday

Sunday is usually my day off from "work" and a day of fun and relaxation with my loved ones. Carlie always has Sundays off (as long as she's in town) and Patch usually has mornings free. Soon we'll be trying to get Nick, our adopted nephew, time on Sundays too as he's moving in today and tomorrow. Sometimes we have Sunday Brunch together.

This Sunday was all about "self care" a term Shellie Ruge talked about in our recent support group for those affected by 1045. She gave us a list that breaks self care into several categories.  The 5 categories are Mind, Body, Spirit, Feelings, and Kid. After a busy couple of weeks (to put it mildly) Saturday was the largest Trans* Pride group ever to participate in Phoenix Pride. It was beautiful, and exhausting. So Sunday became Self Care Sunday and although I did still participate behind the scenes with 1045, I also managed to finally get in (Mind) an hour of reading, (Body) soaked in a tea bath and then used aloe from the yard to treat my pride sunburn, (Feelings) did some crying in front of the TV, (Kid) went out to dinner with Carlie, got some frozen yogurt yumness, and (Spirit) did some gardening and deep breathing before bed.

Paper Cutting over Acrylic Paint
Yesterday I covered each of the 5 areas by happenstance, because I'd made it  a day of self care. But really the goal is to do something different from each category, at least once a day. Since this whole thing started I have been trying to eat healthy, and make sure I do my hour of blogging each week, even tho I am not always getting the blogging done on Sunday as planned. I kept telling myself  "today I'm going to spend an hour reading in my hammock" or "today I will make art that is just for me" and then finding myself at the end of the day having done nothing. But now that I have a list of suggested activities, and orders from Shellie to do at least one a  day,  I plan to be much better about self care. Here are some suggestions in each category:
Mind: Reading, Writing, Sudoku, Body: Exercise, Stretching, Eating Healthy, Spirit: Singing, Meditation, Spiritual Practice, Feelings: Crying, Sharing, Journaling, Kid: Art for fun, Games, Being Silly.

This is important for anyone going through difficult times. I hope that all my friends will read this and take care of themselves as well.