I bought a book

Its a book on dealing with all the excess stuff in the home.  In modern society, this is a common enough situation, and when one is a crafter and artist on top of it… well things get out of hand.  Then, if your life is messed up too, it all becomes overwhelming.  I was at the overwhelmed stage when I left you last.  For a month and a half I literally did nothing, barely ate, and could not sleep.  Did I need another book?  No, not really.  Is the new book helping?  Yes, it is.  It also takes up no physical room, being it is on my Kindle.  On another note, my Kindle has developed a crack in its casing, despite having two protective sleeves.  This upsets me.  I love my Kindle.  Its my second one, the first I gave to my sister but I don’t think she ever used it.  Wasn’t trendy enough.  Most people want Ipads, so they can flash them around with je ne sais quoi“mug me” flare.  I’ve seen people play with them in a way that makes me think of a combination of adult busy beads and obsessive channel flipping.  I’ll stick with my Kindle, though I may need to buy a new one at some point.  Once they start cracking, its only a matter of time before they fall apart.  Which is a fairly good metaphor for many things in life, including people.

loveglassesI don’t know if this feeling of being buried is to blame for the mess I’m in, but it certainly doesn’t help.  It also stands to reason, if I eliminate the physical clutter that has accumulated in this home, I’ll have more energy to tackle the mental clutter that plagues me.  Lately, I’ve been throwing things away rather than worrying about donating… this is part of how I behave when I am overwhelmed, everything needs to be simplified and it doesn’t get much more simple than tossing something into the garbage.  Clothing-wise, I have a pile of active wear left with no place to live.  It would have had a drawer, but I chose to split up my undergarments into two drawers so they would be more accessible.  I’m attempting the method of having all weights of clothing out, rather than packing up off season wear.  Its simpler, and I can see everything I own at a glance, but it does make space a premium.  I do have one drawer I could use, its broken and I keep it on the bottom of the bureau.  Right now its filled with… stuff.  Not quite sure what all is in there, which means I can likely throw it all away without regret.  I will, however, look at it before I toss it all.  I do find it amusing that the clothes I have left to put away is all active wear which got absolutely no use in the past two months.

I’ve started sorting through the extra blankets and comforters stashed throughout the house, we really don’t need so many and most haven’t been used in years.  I found one that I was thinking of keeping, but once I ran it through the wash I found it had disintegrated.  I wonder what it was made from because it couldn’t have been cotton or wool.  Even polyester holds up over time, so whatever it was made up of… its in the garbage now.  The area I am working myself up to tackling next is the computer room, which doubles as a craft room.  The idea is, you guessed it, overwhelming.  I know I will feel better once it is complete, this room is the reason I bought the book in the first place.  There is no other place in this house better representing my personal Gordian knot than this one.  The room is a time capsule and it is way past time to crack it open, free the stuff and myself as well.  As for why I haven’t jumped right in, well, the small victories are helping to build me up.  I feel better after clearing out a guest room closet filled with decaying blankets, I feel more like me.  It’s as if the process of going through these things are bringing me closer to myself, a strange idea for those of you who have never felt like they were living for someone else.  Sad to say, my life has never felt as though I had any personal meaning or value, and yet, it must be there.  It has to be.  So I am cleaning this house up, and I am looking for parts of me in the process.  Metaphorically, I might be in a drawer, under a stack of books, or hidden in a cardboard box, I won’t know until I look.

tough

Day 5 – Taking it easy

I asked Dad to back the van into the garage so it will be easier for me to load up the boxes of shoes and bags of clothing.  I managed to cull one more pair of shoes from my collection (for a total of 5), a pair of pale blue suede and wood clogs, and two sweaters from the maybe pile, the cabled lace sweater in the same strange antiseptic blue as the shoes, and a striped crew neck which didn’t show in the photo, it was under the light green wool cabled sweater.  I ended up with 7 bags of clothes donated along with in excess of 50 pairs of shoes.  Yay me!  At the last moment, I switched out a pair of camel brown winter boots that were my mom’s but maybe only worn once or twice, for a pair of my boots (dark brown) which tore up my feet and I never wore after that.  Mom actually bought the dark brown boots for me as a gift one Christmas.  She bought the camel ones for herself, but complained they were too warm and didn’t wear them.  My feet are always cold, so I don’t think these boots will be a problem, at least these don’t have strange hidden seams carving wounds into my achilles.

I have not started on my bureau, other than to put the cold weather night wear into the empty drawer.  The two piles of clothes have resolved themselves into one much smaller pile of activewear.  They await an empty drawer in the bureau, and I may attempt to clear another drawer tonight.  However, right now, I am celebrating with a cup of coffee and perhaps some video gaming.

Day 4 – Losing Steam

I am on Day 4 of this closet debacle and I am not sure if I can finish.  I have 5 bags of clothes and over 50 pairs of shoes to take to Goodwill.  True, not all of the shoes or clothes are mine, but in a way they are.  They were part of my “inheritance” from my mother and the process has been stirring up too many memories.  One minute I feel happier and free, the next I’m gutted with feelings of loss.  Incidentally, 6 pairs of mother’s shoes made their way into my closet, sorry Goodwill but they’re mine mine mine.  I’m donating 4 pairs of my shoes, and gained 6.  Hmm, I don’t think this is how a closet clean out is supposed to work.  The worst is over, I hope.

Yesterday I mentioned 2 piles of clothes, in addition to the closet shelves, and the bureau.  I started sorting the piles loosely into types, it looks like its mostly athletic (winter) wear, and night clothes.  I don’t have a spot for either until I see to the closet shelves or bureau.  I think the shelves will be easier so shelves it is.

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The I LOVE these pile.

This time I did what I was supposed to and took everything off the center column of shelves, and started putting the sweaters I LOVE back.  So far, I LOVE the majority of my sweaters.  The remaining ones are MAYBEs.  I don’t like the idea of boxing up the Maybes so I am going to try them all on and see what I can pair them up with in my closet, hopefully this will help me decide to either LOVE them or DONATE with a clear conscience.

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The maybe pile

I’m finding the concept of loving my clothes hard to embrace.  There are only a few items I can say I really love, those are my absolute favorites.  Other things I wear often because they are comfortable, look okay on, and play well with my other clothes.  So some of the sweaters I designated as loved, are more accurately described as “I wear this all the time but I don’t have an emotional investment in it”.  I’m supposed to see a definite “style” evolving by this point, but I’m not seeing it unless “schizophrenic” is a fashion statement, or “the moth eaten sweater” look, or “Upscale hobo”.

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The top cubby I’ve allocated to house my hand knits and crocheted items like ponchos and shrugs.  The empty shelf below it will be for tee shirts, both long and short sleeve.  By going through my sweaters, I managed to empty a drawer in the bureau.  I think my bureau houses many items to be donated, so hopefully the clean up will go fast.

The shoes

Oh good lord… the shoes.

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These were mom’s shoes.

I have a feeling there are more of her shoes somewhere, unless we donated a sack of them earlier and I forgot about it.

This is where I am with my shoes.

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As you can see, they don’t all fit in the space dedicated for them.  The cardboard shoe sorter is from my mom’s closet.  The bin to the right inside the closet has handbags, backpacks, etc.  I may move that and get another shoe organizer, but only if I can find one on the cheap.  I also see 2 pairs I can donate without too much anxiety.  The white basket with the handles is where I put the shoes I wear daily.  It has a spot where it lives under the console next to my bed.  I’m off for the summer, it is currently mostly sandals and flip flops.  Since the photo was taken, I tucked the extra shoes in the space between the shoe organizer and the box of bags, moved the white basket to its spot under the console, and the two pairs of shoes to be donated are in the washing machine.

I’m not sure whether to move onto the shelves in the closet or work with my bureau next.  I still have 2 piles of clothing sitting at the base of my bed to go through as well.  I would like all my sweaters to be in the same place, at the moment, some are in the bureau and some are in the closet.  I’m thinking I’d like all my sweaters and tee shirts in the closet, while underwear, nightwear, and thermals etc., can live in the bureau.  I’ll likely have unused drawers, so maybe my handbags can go there or even yarn or bedlinens.

This is a huge amount of work.  No wonder I have avoided it for so long.

Donating a whole bunch of really nice clothes

Like the title says, I’m donating several bags of very nice, high end clothing to Goodwill, so if you happened to be in the Grand Junction area and wear women’s clothing in the 8 to 12 size range, it might be worth taking a look.  I’m aiming to drop them off on Monday.  I have no idea how long it takes them to process the donations and put them out for resale.

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4 bags so far!

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Liz was observing the process, she doesn’t know how lucky she is in her little fur suit.  She declined the opportunity for a photo, so here is one from a few weeks ago.

 

There is no rhyme or reason to women’s sizing, I kept a sweater jacket (sized small)which fit nicely and was flattering, but donated a suit coat (sized large) because it was tight through my shoulders.

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These are unreasonably uncomfortable, but gosh they are cute!

DSCN0213The shoes will be harder to part with, I have a hard time finding shoes that fit in the first place, so arbitrarily donating the ones I don’t often wear seems unnecessarily cruel.  I may save going through those for another day.  I still have to go through my bureau and my collection of tee shirts that “don’t quite fit but…”  On the other hand, it is going to be lovely being able to reach into the closet and know everything in there fits me and looks and feels good on.  I think once I have a handle on what outfits I have, it will be easier to match up the shoes.  I mean, do I really need open toed 3-inch platform heels in bright orange?  Well, yes, yes I do, but they don’t match anything.  I also have the same shoes in red, I like the orange better but the red matches with more things.

I was reading up on the wardrobe process when I saw “it might take you 2-5 hours to do”.  *cackles*  I’m on DAY 2 of this and I haven’t touched my shoes, handbags, or bureau yet.  In my defense, I’m still dealing with remnants of my mother’s wardrobe as well as clothes I’ve had since high school.  The last time I did this, I managed to get rid of things that were torn, stained, and ugly.  Another thing I read which had me laughing was, “You only need one handbag.”  Now you all are probably laughing at ME at this point, but I was taught to match my handbag to my shoes, which should then coordinate with my outfit.  No, I don’t have an orange handbag.  If you dress exclusively in shades of beige, yeah one handbag is all you need.  I am not at the all beige, all the time stage yet.  On second thought, I don’t go anywhere anymore so I probably could get away with one bag.  Pretty much anything goes with jeans and a tee shirt or sweater.

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Spring/Summer on the left, Fall\Winter on the right. The center shelves and shoes are a work in progress.

Reading along with this site, has been helping me focus on the end goal.  Though I’m having trouble with “Step 1: Empty your closet. Seriously, take absolutely everything out of your closet and lay it out on your bed.”  My bed isn’t big enough to see everything I have, so I started in sections.  I figure I am in pre-Step 1 mode, I have too many clothes.  I blame it on working in retail for too many years, and having a mother with a shopping habit.  So pre-Step 1 has consisted of culling anything that doesn’t fit or isn’t “me”.  The only exceptions are a handful of items with sentimental value which also almost fit.  I would really regret discarding them.  One is a lacy cardigan that was my mother’s, and two skirts that had belonged to my sister.  The funny thing with the skirts is that she had sent me three, all the same size, but only one fits comfortably.  One of the others fits but isn’t comfortable, and one is simply too tight.  This last one is of course my favorite of them all, figures.  I’m also adding a black dress that was my sister’s, I wore it to her memorial service, as well as to a neighbor’s memorial.  I don’t ever want to have to wear it again, but I know someday I will.  I have managed to separate my clothes into Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter, which makes it easier to see what I have.  It will be hard to go through my sweaters.  I did donate some last year, but man it is hard to let go of a perfectly good sweater, even the out of fashion, ugly ones.  I’m thinking of one sweater in particular, perhaps I should put it with the other sentimental pieces since I doubt I will wear it.

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Hideous, isn’t it? I just cannot let it go, haven’t worn it in years. Its even unraveling in spots.

My arm hasn’t fallen off

It still hurts, though not as much as it did.

I managed to get my hands on some Opal yarn, been wanting to try it out since I hear wonderful things about it.  The type I bought was Wonderland 6 ply and so far I have made a pair of ankle socks in magenta and blue, and have started a pair of legwarmers for Fall.  These will go over the knee and are rather hideous in shades of orange, purple, and tan, very Halloween.  They will clash wonderfully with my orange and black “Bad to the Bone” socks.

I haven’t started spinning yet, the deck isn’t finished, so my plan of sitting out there to practice is in limbo until they do finish.  There isn’t much left, they applied the stain unevenly.  Half the deck is light, the other is dark, so they need to fix that.  Dad also found a split board, which I think he’ll have them replace.  Who knows how long that will take.

In the mean time, I have become preoccupied with my wardrobe again.  I’ve started looking at Wardrobe Architect, as well as a few blogs who discuss Capsule wardrobes.  I’m combining this with the “joy” concept, only keeping those things which make me feel good when I put them on.  Times like these I wish I could sew.  It would be nice to be able to alter my clothes to get a better fit.  Maybe someday I will.  In the interim, I will focus on those items that fit without alterations.  I also need to go through my scarves, I’m fairly certain I have nearly 100 scarves of various materials.  I don’t really wear them except for winter.  I’d like to pare those down by half.

That’s all for me, for now.

Lingering ouchies

Shoulder strain in keyboard workers and its alleviation by arm supports.
Erdelyi A1, Sihvonen T, Helin P, Hänninen O.

 Abstract

Keyboard work consists mostly of dynamic contractions of the small muscles of the forearms and hands. This is accompanied by continuous activity in the arm, shoulder and neck muscles keeping the head and hand in the correct position. Eliminating the weight from the arm by means of support and the position of the arms influences the electrical activity of shoulder muscles when working at a keyboard. We studied the influence of elbow angle; as well as that of different arm supports, on electrical activity of upper trapezius muscle during keyboard work in healthy workers and persons suffering from shoulder pains. The measurements were carried out in the laboratory. EMG activities, which where measured as mean square root (RMS)-values at every 100-millisecond period in trapezius muscle when working, were lower, the greater the elbow angle. Furthermore electrical activity decreased when subjects used arm supports while working. It is evident that the static load to shoulder muscles can be lowered significantly in keyboard work, when the forearms are at an angle of at least 100 degrees and by using arm supports. The most convenient and ergonomic working position can also be found individually be the method used here.

In other words, I need to take a break from the keyboard for an extended amount of time.  I’ve been struggling with shoulder, bicep, and forearm pain (right arm) for several months, and it is directly related to my job.  Now I have some time off, I hope to get a handle on this pain and come up with a solution to keep it from happening in the future.  I’ve been making excuses to myself about why I’m not blogging,  but really it just hurts.  Its not a bad injury, more of a strain but it won’t go away if I keep doing the things causing the strain.