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  1. Challenge 2022 The NF App is running a Jump Start 2022 side quest which coincides with zero week here. The task for today is to come up with a BIG goal for 2022, something inspiring. That's a hard one. My life is pretty comfortable. Sure, there is lots of room for improvement. Those things are incremental - not earthshaking. I'd been pondering whether taking an archery class would count. Probably not, when the universe dropped two videos on me. And @Heidi's post from last challenge here. Both of these are about mental framing. I also got a surprise Yule gift from an old friend, Naked in the Zendo by Grace Schireson. Three things make a pattern. My main goal for this challenge is to examine how I look at the world and change my attitudes. I'll have other goals about exercise and projects too. The main one is a biggie. Edited to fix link to the post in the last challenge. 12/30/21
  2. Holiday Cheer Challenge 2021 Last challenge I worked on having more grace in my life, and that was somewhat successful. This time I am working on cheer. I almost wasn't going to because I thought it would be too hard. I am not feeling at all cheerful at the moment and the holidays typically make that worse. That said, I do have choices about how I deal with the things I don't like. I know that Elf and Cleo both have bad histories with this season. Me being cheerful will help them get through it with far less stress. Goals: 1. Get enough sleep I know that tired => cranky. Now is not the time to try to be disciplined about getting up at a specific time. Continue to work on ending evening activities and getting to bed on time. If things happen, sleep as much as needed and rearrange my morning activities. 2. Sit zen Sitting zen lets me look at what my brain is doing and helps quiet my brain weasels. It also helps develop Jedi powers. Keep doing it every day. Mornings are best, but a short session in the evening is better than nothing. 3. Exercise Movement helps me feel better physically and feel better about myself. a. Finish up the Elements course. I think I have about 10 sessions left. Do those as soon as I can. It is working, but I don't love it. I want to say I gave it a fair shot and finished the whole thing. b. Do the NF pushup challenge. I'm on week 3 of a 6 week challenge. When I finish this, I will move to bodyweight exercises. c. Do PT exercises. I just met with my physical therapist about my left hand and shoulder. Earlier this year I was doing PT for my hips. For now I will do PT in the rest intervals in my other workouts. When I am done with Elements, I will alternate days of PT with days of strength training. d. Aikido - practice as much as I feel works with my life. Aikido is more fun than most things, but it takes a lot of time. Make good choices. 4. Work I am stressed about being behind at work again. Put in extra time as feasible to get caught up. The incoming work volume historically slows in December. Hopefully that will help. 5. Finances I am worried about money. Make time to at least know where we are at. If I can do analysis and budgeting, so much the better. 6. Fun stuff Do a little of this every day. a. Take 10 minutes to spin or knit, even if things are really busy b. Duolingo. I decided to start working on my French again. I would like to spend the month of December doing review. I am not thrilled with the current cost/reward format for Duolingo, but I'm willing to pay for their premium service for a month so that I can blast through a bunch of sections doing review. My goal is to do one topic area a day, like an advent calendar of French grammar. I can do more on weekends if I need to skip days or do short sessions during the week. In order to maintain my cheerful outlook, I am NOT going to worry about cooking or chores. I can do things when I have time and want to. If we actually manage to have a household meeting and divvy up chores, I will do mine and not worry about anyone else's. Our holiday meals might be pizza or Chinese take-out. All good so long as everyone is happy.
  3. Mistr works on grace My theme for this challenge is to handle everything with more grace. What do I mean by that? The opposite of graceful is awkward. I want to work on smoothing out the stiff, frustrating, sticky parts of my life. Certainly I want my movement to be smooth and flowing too. The exercise side is easier to see, if not always to do. Decisions and interactions are harder. That will be the main focus of this challenge. You may notice that the first five goals are the same as last time. Having accountability here helps me keep working on things. Goals: 1. Continue with the Elements program and aikido. I am halfway through the Elements program and already seeing improvement in my movement. Once that is done, I will do bodyweight workouts instead. I need to do lunges and work up to pistol squats so that I can get up gracefully from sitting when one of my feet is asleep. 2. Keep doing zen. Let the passing thoughts go without engaging them. 3. Do creative projects. These give me a sense of accomplishment and progress. I selected the "Practice Creativity 101" mission on the NF app to remind me to do this. 4. Get on top of my &^%$#(@! finances and stay there. Continued from last time. Still climbing the metaphorical hill. Block time on Sundays and Thursdays until this is at a steady state. 5. Flexibility in household tasks. Concentrate on doing the things that I care about. I can let everything else go unless I get a specific request from Dumbledore or Elf. 6. Improve my eating habits. I fell back into bad habits because of stress and working from home. I want to get rid of 12 pounds of extra weight over the next three challenges. My strategy has three parts A. The first is to do intermittent fasting with a window of 12 hours from 7am to 7pm. I usually eat breakfast about 8 and try to eat supper by 6, but want to leave myself some slack. On weekends this can shift to 9am to 8pm. The main thing is no snacking in the evening. B. The second is to limit baked goods to things we make ourselves. No commercial bread or cookies, no buns on burgers. I can make any decadent desserts I want to have. My free time is the main limitation. If Elf makes pizza or Dumbledore makes bread, that is fine too. One the same note, no Halloween candy (or the same thing not in orange wrappers). I can still have high quality chocolate. In a perfect world I would cut way back on sugar, but I'm not ready to go there yet. C. The third thing is to strictly limit dairy. This is for health reasons, not to control my weight. It seems like butter and cheese is okay. Milk, yogurt and sour cream are clearly NOT okay. Keep working on alternatives to the high-dairy foods I grew up with.
  4. It's autumn. I need to do the things. And I need a bit of discipline and structure about it. But the supportive mentor variety. So I need to get the dojo mentality back into my life. This fire dude will do, cuz of all of them, he's the one who has his adulting game on point. Hopefully there will be autumnal moon cakes. (Of the inauthentic low-carb variety. This is Avatar, you're lucky they're not on fire.)
  5. Mistr returns to reality Thanks to @sarakingdom for the inspiration for this challenge. I spent the last week of the previous challenge on a cruise ship visiting coastal Alaska. It was stunningly gorgeous, and far, far away from my normal reality. Having a week where I had no responsibilities was very strange. On port days I went on hikes and went shopping with my mom. On sea days we went to talks by the naturalist and the port historian and read books. No cooking or cleaning. The last time I had a week with no responsibilities was fall 2019, when I did a week-long retreat (sesshin) at a zen monastery. My earlier vacations this year were to my family's cabin. That is a lovely break from normal routine, but we still have to do cooking and cleaning. There is always some project that needs to get done while we are there. It felt very strange not to have a to-do list on the cruise. I missed my normal life a lot. That said, my approach to normal life could use some improvement. Goals: 1. Implement new exercise plan. I just met with my physical therapist and am done with the latest round of PT. She recommended that I keep doing side-steps with a resistance band, leg-lift alphabet writing and foam rolling. My left hip is still not as strong as the right and my IT bands are super tight. I was doing some PT exercises, some yoga and some hiking while I was on vacation. Strength and cardio have been lacking. Now I need to come up with a good all-around plan that will get me back in shape. I would like to get back to doing aikido twice a week. I may talk to the personal trainer at work if I get stuck. 2. Keep doing zen. It makes a big difference in my ability to put up with annoying stuff and make good decisions. 3. Do creative projects. These give me a sense of accomplishment and progress. I selected the "Practice Creativity 101" mission on the NF app to remind me to do this. I did this once before and it helped. 4. Get on top of my &^%$#(@! finances and stay there. I used to be on top of things. I've been sticking my head in the sand for the last year. I may find that the crawling feeling of dread I have is justified, but I will be able to do something to fix it. I have to get delayed tax info to my accountant by the 15th. That will be the first step. 5. Flexibility in household tasks. Concentrate on doing the things that I care about. I can let everything else go unless I get a specific request from Dumbledore or Elf.
  6. Mistr takes it on the road - August 2021 This challenge is starting and ending with trips. I will have two and a half weeks at home in the middle of the challenge. I'm going to have to stay on my toes to keep on top of everything. Right now I am at my family's lake place with Dumbledore. We spent a lovely day exploring Duluth on the way here. After that I took some much needed down time. Dumbledore is under deadline for an academic paper, so he has mostly been working. Today is our last full day here. I am doing all the housecleaning and he is writing. I'm a little salty about that, but I am also proud of him and want to support him. I am planning on asking him to do housecleaning at home to even the score. This weekend I will be in the Twin Cities visiting people. I'm spending most of Friday with my mom. I have lunch plans for Thursday and Saturday with close friends who I have not seen in person in years. I'm also hoping to see my brother. I may run into other friends, but at this point I feel like my dance card is full. The last week of the challenge I will be on an Alaskan cruise with my mom (crosses fingers). We were planning a trip through the Canadian Rockies, but between the fires and COVID she decided it was too risky. The cruise is all technically in the country and requires all passengers to be vaccinated. She went on a similar trip 25 years ago with my dad, but I have never been to Alaska. It should be fun. To add to the fun, I'm hosting my spinning group on Monday, August 23. I need to get my family room/work area cleaned up to host guests. The rest of the upstairs is not bad right now, but not at a party level of neat either. I've done pretty well on sitting zen and doing hip exercises from my PT while traveling. My main goal is to keep both those up. This challenge is going to be a whirlwind for me.
  7. Mistr paces herself - Summer 2021 Challenge My last challenge was all about discernment - picking the best thing to do next. My challenge this time is to keep that up as the world opens up again. I. Battles go much better when I am rested. My first goal is to let go of activities in the evening. So many nights I want to get more done, or I want to have some time to relax. I need to put down work, chores and big projects at 8pm on work nights. All screens off by 8:30pm. I can do fiber arts until 8:50. Reading non-fiction is okay. Reading fiction is not because I can't put it down if it is good. Make peace with the fact that it really does take me 40 minutes to close things down and go to bed. II. Strength and Skill My dojo is open again and I am halfway through a 6-week class to get back in shape. Getting back to where I was at the beginning of 2020 is going to take more than six weeks, but I can make progress. At least one type of exercise every day. Core, bodyweight, kettlebells, yoga, biking - all good. PT at least once a day, twice is better (details later) Aikido twice a week, maybe three times a week. Work on form, not speed. III. Awareness without Attachment Sit zen every day. If I can't fit in a regular 30 minute session, do at least 10 minutes. If my family is doing distracting things, go outside and do walking meditation instead. Battles I am putting back - cooking, cleaning and gardening. I will do some of all of these, but I'm backing off from what I did before. The yard won't be perfect, there will be weeds in the garden. I can eat simple food that doesn't need much prep for a lot of meals. I will do my share of batch cooking for the week, but I won't worry if there is not a lot of food in the fridge (that's a lie, I will worry; I'll just learn to live with it). I can let the dishes pile up and other people take their turn to clean. Projects - pick only one battle for the weekend. If that turns out to be an easy win, I can pick a second battle. Give myself time to actually relax.
  8. Mistr Practices Discernment My biggest challenge right now is picking what to spend time doing. I know what I need to do to get back in shape, lose the weight I gained last year and do things I enjoy. The problem is that my work is demanding a lot of time and many things I would normally want to do just won't fit in my week. All that "just do 15 minutes of this" advice is not working for me. Under normal circumstances I like my job. At the moment we are understaffed and having a hard time finding people to fill our open position. My boss is going to batt with management to get us two new people, if we can get some decent candidates. Until that happens, I am putting in extra hours. I realized that I have to let go of some other things or I'll drive myself nuts. Last challenge @sarakingdom shared a video from a Buddhist monk that I found really helpful. He talked about the stories we tell ourselves about things. Am I enjoying soaking my hands in warm water, listening to music and feeling good about clearing off the kitchen counter? Or am I feeling resentful about doing a chore instead of something more fun? Am I unhappy about my arm hurting, or am I feeling relieved that I got a vaccination and it is doing something? An awful lot of how I feel depends on how I view what is going on. I can work on that. Knowing that I can only do a few things makes it easier in some ways. My tendency is to want to to ALL THE THINGS. Since that is obviously not going to happen, I can pick and choose a few things that will make a difference. Sometimes that will be sitting still and just looking out the window. Things that are high on my list: Sleep. I cannot make good decisions and am a grouch when I don't get enough sleep. Work. I am supporting my family. Work anxiety is worse that working lots of hours. Time with my family. This is always in short supply, enjoy it whenever I can get it. Zen. Very useful for dealing with anxiety and choices Exercise. Good for making me feel better in lots of ways Fiber arts. Creative outlet and destressing. Gardening. Outdoors and a feeling of control over my environment. Cooking and cleaning are only happening when I am inspired or something is bugging me. We have the household cooking divided up so we each cook one day a week (in theory). Elf and I usually batch cook something. I grilled 5 lbs of chicken breast last weekend. The previous week I made a ham. I can live just fine on frozen veggies and protein with an excessive amount of dark chocolate for snacks. I will do my share of the dishes and laundry. If the kitchen is a disaster in between, I can ignore it. I've been practicing and getting much better at letting cleaning chores wait. Scoring for this challenge will be how I feel about the week. Do I feel like I took care of the important things? Am I stressed out? Did I make good choices about self-care? I would love to lose 10 pounds and get back in shape, go biking and deal with the boxes in the garage. Maybe some of those things will happen, but I'm not going to judge on them.
  9. Suddenly the machine was wobbling... In a few hours the shops out there were expecting deliveries, and they weren't going to arrive. The government couldn't sit this one out. A city like Ankh-Morpork was only two meals away from chaos at the best of times. Every day, maybe a hundred cows died for Ankh-Morpork. So did a flock of sheep and a herd of pigs and the gods alone knew how many ducks, chickens and geese. Flour? He'd heard it was eighty tons, and about the same amount of potatoes and maybe twenty tons of herring. He didn't particularly want to know this kind of thing, but once you started having to sort out the everlasting traffic problem these were facts that got handed to you. Every day, forty thousand eggs were laid for the city. Every day, hundreds, thousands of carts and boats and barges converged on the city with fish and honey and oysters and olives and eels and lobsters. And then think of the horses dragging this stuff, and the windmills... and the wool coming in, too, every day, the cloth, the tobacco, the spices, the ore, the timber, the cheese, the coal, the fat, the tallow, the hay, EVERY DAMN DAY. And that was now. Back home, the city was twice as big. Against the dark screen of night, Vimes had a vision of Ankh-Morpork. It wasn't a city, it was a process, a weight on the world that distorted the land for hundreds of miles around. People who'd never see it in their whole life nevertheless spent their life working for it. Thousands and thousands of green acres were part of it, forests were part of it. It drew in and consumed... ...and gave back the dung from its pens and the soot from its chimneys, and steel, and saucepans, and all the tools by which its food was made. And also clothes, and fashions and ideas and interesting vices, songs and knowledge and something which, if looked at in the right light, was called civilization. That's what civilization meant. It meant the city. Was anyone else out there thinking about this? Was anyone important thinking about this? Suddenly the machine was wobbling, but Winder and his cronies didn't think about the machine, they thought about money. Meat and drink came from servants. They happened. Vetinari, Vimes realized, thought about this sort of thing all the time. The Ankh-Morpork back home was twice as big and four times as vulnerable. He wouldn't have let something like this happen. Little wheels must spin so that the machine can turn, he'd say. But now, in the dark, it all spun on Vimes. If the man breaks down, it all breaks down, he thought. The whole machine breaks down. And it goes on breaking down. And it breaks down the people. Terry Pratchett, Night Watch My machine is wobbling, and little wheels must spin so that the machine can turn. Right now, it all spins on me. If I break down, it all breaks down.
  10. SYRRAN: [My name is] Arev. T'POL: That means 'desert wind'. SYRRAN: Does it. Why are you here? ARCHER: We could ask you the same thing. SYRRAN: I follow the path of Surak in meditation and study. Challenge goals: Walk Meditate Study Bonus: Do logical things when there is emotional resistance. Challenge Tasks Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Walk Meditate Study Cleaning Meditation Intermittent Fasting Logic Over Emotion (stretch goal) Yoga (stretch goal) Mindful Sleep Don't Forget Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Meds Mail Monday ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ Trash Tuesday ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ Wash (clothes) Wednesday ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ Food Friday ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖
  11. Mistr works on weekends My major goal this challenge is to get back in shape for aikido. The weather is getting warm enough that aikido in the park will start soon. Hopefully we can go back to training in the dojo by summer. I have put on weight and lost strength and aerobic condition. Lots to work on there. My second goal is to keep balance in my life as the world opens up again. There are some good things about this enforced time that I want to maintain. The third goal is the one in the title, work on my weekends. Which includes doing work for my day job on weekends. We are still short-handed. Unless by some miracle the incoming work flow lightens up, I need to put in a few hours on weekends to keep from feeling like I'm drowning. I also need to change my planning to make time for zen and exercise on weekends. I always want to do more than is feasible, so I need to make better choices. Details: I. Exercise and food. A. Alternate strength and core exercise/yoga days. 1. Strength alternates between days A and B a. bodyweight exercises and back roll practice b. TGUs and sumo shiko (combination bodyweight squats and side leg lifts) 2. Yoga rotates between core routines with other practices thrown in for variety B. Start the NF Journey biking challenge in April. I just dropped off my bike at the shop for a long-needed overhaul. It should be done by the second week of April, just in time to get outside. C. Eating improvements 1. No snacking between breakfast and lunch 2. Protein and produce at every meal 3. Take breaks instead of stress eating. 4. Portion control at meals 5. Take-out must include salads II. Balance Keep a regular schedule. This is easier because my adult offspring, Elf, is working a regular job with an early start time. I can't bargain on sleeping in if I stay up late. So all I have to do is go to bed on time. Still a challenge, but I've been better about it this year than ever before. Stick to the regular schedule on weekends. Staying up late and sleeping in contributes to me not doing zen and exercise. Stay on task at work and stop by 5:30pm. I may not be done, but I can have a plan of what I need to do the next morning. Plan what to do on the weekend ahead of time. Pick one task from my wish list to get done every weekend. Feeling I'm making progress is important. Take breaks to spin or knit to deal with stress at work. This is one of the major benefits of working from home. Take advantage while I can. Clean one thing or do 15 minutes of yard work most days. Sit zen for 10 minutes on days when I feel like I want to do other things and leave it until the end of the day.
  12. This challenge was rudely interrupted by a pandemic last year. However, now that we're settling into our post-apocalyptic plaguescape for the long haul, it is yet again time. This challenge, I will endeavour to become the Disc's second greatest lover. "My name's Casanunda," he said. "I'm reputed to be the world's greatest lover. What do you think?" Nanny Ogg looked him up and down or, at least, down and further down. "You're a dwarf," she said. "Size isn't important." This challenge, I'm working my way up the rankings of the world's lovers by leveling up my international playdwarf lifestyle. (Or, as a previous challenge put it, do things with elegance. Strangely, despite years of aikido and years of urban myths about people being told to do things elegantly, I had to re-derive the principle in another way before I realized this was not about aesthetics but about managing to combine mindfulness with emptying the mind.) Some of these may seem like odd choices for a fitness/life level-up (like increasing alcohol consumption, and, I dunno, taking life advice from the worst possible people), but there are three factors at play here: first, this challenge needs to be fun, cuz this us what we do instead of vacations in plague years; second, it's addressing recovery from a certain amount (which is to say, lots) of cutting corners on self-care in the broader day to day living sense and getting by on "acceptable"; and three, it's addressing the (narrative) causality between good habits and seemingly unrelated projects and lifestyle choices. Or, as Vetinari would have it, all the little wheels must spin so the machine can turn. And this is a timely challenge. I've really been struggling with self-care lately. Part I: Casanunda Training There are two first steps to becoming the world's greatest lover: First, yoga warmups with lots of hip openers, for obvious reasons, and, second, get into bed as often as possible. (For sleep, of course. I don't know what you're thinking.) If I'm going to be a soldier of fortune, I need to work on mental stillness and physical prowess. Walking and strength training, to start with, and some meditation. Tasks to be checked off: rewatch Casanova and take notes. Part II: Be a Better Lover Than Lord Rust "It was a Guild of Assassins, after all. Black was what you wore. The night was black and so were you. And black had such style, and an Assassin without style, everyone agreed, was just a highly paid arrogant thug." While Assassin-School-trained, Lord Ronald Rust did not particularly benefit from the lessons on style. So I think I can outdo him here on the things that make an Assassin an Assassin. The projects I will do here include repairing and replacing bits of my wardrobe with a focus on rotating in my higher quality clothes, leveling up my daily grooming from ultra-practical to something attempting a little actual style, and more aperitifs-and-tapas. This will also involve getting back in the habit of making actual things with recipes and planning and cultural connotations, rather than just going with the fastest and most basic form of slapping nutrition onto the table, and managing my pantry better. Also, getting back to my macros and IF schedule. Part III: Be a Better Lover Than Rufus Drumknott "I believe he collects different types of stationery," said Vetinari. "I have sometimes speculated that he might change his life for the better should he meet a young lady willing to dress up as a manila envelope." All this lifestyle-leveling-up requires a certain amount of organization and schedule-wrangling. Being the world's second greatest is demanding. And for me, leveling up the bachelor pad is going to center on organizing: not just finding the right place for everything, but finding the right use for everything, and the most efficient way to organize it all. Where the Lord Rust half of this focuses on making everything I own beautiful, the Drumknott portion involves making it all useful, and also includes recycling things I don't use into things I do. Things will fit into the storage I already have, be more organized, and work better. Also, the habits I use to clean and organise it will be streamlined.
  13. I want to take this challenge to set up improved habits for the year. The world is going to change a lot this year, and I want to be in a good place to adapt to those changes. I was thinking I was coming up with new goals, but here is what I wrote in January last year: My goals for this year are more for fine tuning and continuous improvement rather than major changes. I want to improve in aikido and zen. I’m always going to want to keep moving up along those paths. I want to include more strength training and cardio in my exercise program because I’m at the age where decline is a real concern. My biggest challenges are dealing with the tedious and unpleasant tasks at home and at work. Goal 1: Stay on top of the tedious task at work. It is not so bad if I do a little a couple times a week. I just got caught up this week and want to keep it that way. Goal 2: Stay on top of our financial situation at home. Dumbledore and I are going to meet quarterly to look at how we are doing and what we need to modify. I need to have the data together for those meetings. He takes care of the daily bills, I take care of the long term data analysis (at least I should be doing that). Schedule a two-hour block every weekend to get the info together and keep it going. Doing this will eliminate my stress about not knowing where we are at. Bonus goal: Read I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. I bought the book months ago and started it, but felt too guilt about my financial situation to read advice on how to fix it. Stupid, but true. Things have gotten better recently and I could use some tips. Exercise A. Alternate yoga and strength training. Last challenge I alternated kettlebells and a NF pushup challenge. I missed the yoga. I like turkish get-ups (TGUs) and part of the push-up routine. I will make up my own plan with a rotation of exercises. I just got a set of resistance bands so I can expand the range of things I can do. The NF Journey app uses an A/B workout plan with a rest day in between. Yoga will be on rest days. B. Cardio one day a week. In the before times, I got a lot of cardio taking falls and getting up in aikido. That is not happening now. It is rare for me to do something that gets my heart rate up. We have a treadmill. Dumbledore walks on it a lot. Treadmills make me nervous and I've never used it. Time for me to get past that. It is snowy winter here, I can look forward to outside cardio in the spring. I will do walking interval training every weekend. One day a week is not much, but it is better than I have been doing. Zen Sit every day, even just 5 minutes. The ideal is to sit 30 minutes before work. Some days I manage that and other days I say I'll do it later. My follow-through on doing it later is lousy. Keep using the NF Journey app to remind me. Every day is more important than a long time, with the understanding that more is better. Better food choices I have put on 15 pounds over the last year. My reasons are probably the same as everyone else's. I am going to eat more veggies and fruit and cut back on snacks and sweets. The thought of eliminating sweets makes me want to rebel and eat all the treats, so I'm not going to set a limit. Substituting an orange for a cookie is a win. I've done well before on limiting myself to treats that I cook. I might try that as soon as we get the holiday sweets out of the house. continued from last challenge Just One Thing My ongoing challenge is having too many things I want or need to do, and not enough time to do them. This is not new. The pandemic has not even made it worse. My work goes through cycles of good times when we are fully staffed and busy times when we are short-handed. Early this fall things were getting better as a new person was trained in, then someone else left. So it goes. The major change for me is that I'm now working from home and not practicing aikido. Aikido is a full-contact martial art and zoom classes are not working for me. I also miss the group strength training classes I did at work. I don't have any commuting time but my stress relief is not there either. You would think that I'd have more time with no commute and no classes, but it has not worked out that way. I often feel overwhelmed by all the things I need to do. My goal for this challenge is to pick one thing and do it. If something more important comes up I can put down the thing. Otherwise, keep working on that without distraction until it is at a resting place. I can pick whatever I like on the moment to do. Sometimes that will be a high priority task, sometimes it will be a task that has been waiting, sometimes it will be a fun recharging activity. No judgement. I acknowledge that not everything can possibly fit in the time I have. I need to step back and take a hard look at the things I want to do - do I really want to spend time cooking that thing? Which house project will make the most difference to get done this weekend? Can I ask my family for help or should I really do this myself? Give myself permission to take down time and do fun things. I am not going to get "caught up" and have free time. I just have time. I can choose what to do. Sometimes staring at the ceiling and not doing anything is the right choice. Perspective instead of guilt. In a perfect world I would exercise, sit zen, eat lots of vegetables, be productive and get enough sleep every day. I need to work on making good choices and owning them rather than feeling guilty when I can't do what I "should". I get credit for each thing I get done.
  14. Hi, I'm RisenPhoenix. I'm going to try and be normal here (*snort*) , in an attempt to be somewhat accessible to people who might drop into my thread now that we have merged the guilds. I've been around the block here in some form or another since 2012, so I've gotten lax with how I do challenges. For me, this challenge is definitely about becoming more Normal. Or at least MY normal. Which besides 2020 being 2020 I also mostly had upended in the tail end of the last year after almost nearly keeping it together. Almost very nearly practically together. So, here's to getting back on the normal horse that's probably some giant antlered zebra bear but whatever, it's my horse deal with it. 1) Normal Diet: Paleo-leaning calorie counting My diet is normally pretty paleo-leaning, but the holidays and some quarantine baking turned it a bit carb heavy. Not that it's a BAD thing, but it's hard to quantify my baking sometimes, which makes my consumption hard to track. Ultimately I do best on a higher fat diet with counting my calories. I'm going a slightly lower energy counting method which ignores all my veggies - they aren't calorically dense enough to make the hassle of putting them all in worth it. Slightly will underestimate my carb counts and what not, but that's fine. I'm looking to get into a calorie deficit again more than anything. Since I went to the doctor today, we'll use their clothed, mid morning weigh in that I tried to avoid as the start point: 222 pounds (which is still lower than I was in January 2020 so I'm counting it as a win). Goal is to get back down to closer 200-ish. At the very least to fitting easier into my jeans again. Calories logged should be net 2200 calories or less, when accounting for physical activity. But really I have enough glycogen stores right now that I should be able to fuel quite a few workouts before I need to feed myself more. 2) Normal Body: PT Exercises as dictated, 1 yoga class a week, 1 aikido class a week Part of my derailment at the end of last year was screwing up my back after doing a crappy deadlift pull. And then not paying attention to it as much as I should. And then having a mental breakdown where I tried to do a workout to help with the mental health because I felt physically better-ish but learned shortly thereafter that I am impatient as everything seized up on me. A doctor's appointment today got me a referral for PT and a bottle of muscle relaxers. So I need to 1) set up that appointment, 2) do the damn exercises, 3) I should really work on doing weekly yoga that I pay for and the aikido I don't need to pay for but do anyway. Start small and make sure the last two things don't interfere with the PT things. 3) Normal Brain: Self care Journaling, reading/tech disconnect 1/day I am perpetually an anxious mess, but the last year did enjoy ramping it up to 11. After a breakdown I had late November, I decided to put myself back on some meds. A couple weeks in and things are settling in well it seems, but I've also been on vacation for two weeks, so the rest test of work and life really hasn't taken root yet. In addition to drugs I finally got my butt to therapy and it's.... a thing. Not really sure it's giving me much space to benefit from, but we're still relatively early (4 or 5 sessions in). One thing is that I have used NF for years as a journaling space, which this will probably keep being, but I do want to try and find a guided journal or series of prompts to write for my eyes only in an attempt to not have me self-censor (which I have done before - yes people who've followed me before, that was me censoring myself occasionally). So I need to find a journal or a list of prompts to use. Suggestions welcome. I also really need a tech disconnect once a day, even if it's just reading for 30 minutes. My brain works better having that space. Thankfully I have three books on my kindle in queue, plus two others in hand. So reading material is abound. I'm also trying to get my library/study space up and functional (after a year of the room being a junk room I just tossed things into), which will include a space to do crafts/projects/puzzles/legos. That'll help. That's the gist. Try to be normal, or at least as normal as I can be. (New people will quickly see that normal for me is very much a relative scale....)
  15. SYRRAN: [My name is] Arev. T'POL: That means 'desert wind'. SYRRAN: Does it. Why are you here? ARCHER: We could ask you the same thing. SYRRAN: I follow the path of Surak in meditation and study. Challenge goals: Walk Meditate Study Bonus: Do logical things when there is emotional resistance. Just three goals this time, but my head is feeling in need of a clear-out and my physical conditioning is feeling blah, so I want to hit those three hard, to see where I feel health improvements. I'm going for endurance on all three. My end goal for the challenge is two hours a day of walking (though a substitute of half an hour of yoga and alternate day half hour strength workouts will count towards the activity total if I want to mix it up with more mobility and strength), and half an hour of meditation per day. There are two things qualifying for study at the moment, one professional and one brain hacking. I'll count either, with a goal of two hours a day. I won't hit these goals right away, I'll be stepping up to them. No, they're not sustainable amounts of time long-term. But for a focused short-term reset, I think they'll be worth the time I put in. Like a deep spring-clean. The catch: My sleep, hydration, and food need to be fairly stable for this, and they're not. I'm hoping the increased activity will help stabilise my sleep, and the activity plus meditation will take down some brain focus issues that will improve my routines. But there's a hidden hydration reset and diet reset in here. I'm thinking about batch cooking on weekends to keep the diet reset from being a daily concern, at least. I'll be testing this a bit in zero week, though I still have a week of Hogswatch to go. Fortunately, there's enough overlap that I can run both simultaneously.
  16. Hello and welcome to my battle log, est. 2016! I've been doing challenges for over a year straight and I decided to experiment with an alternative style that gets away from the feeling of being perpetually "on" and one step away from the pointy end of the spear that is the 4WC format while not losing the structure that said 4WC format provides. Kinda strike a balance, like? This will be an ongoing experiment, with some room to adjust. This will be accomplished by a month-to-month formal re-evaluation of goals, without grading per say, and the freedom to change things up at any point with no regrets. All in one place! No need to wonder when my new thread will be up, just stay tuned for the next day's post! Below I will update links to each month's first post so you can see change over time. To round off 2016's activity, I'm posting links to prior challenge activity for the sake of completeness. ...And we're off! Index 2016 Challenges: January, February, March, April 2016: May, June, July, August, Intra-Month Madness, September, October, November, December 2017: January, February, March, April, May, Intra-Month Madness v.2, June, July, August, September, October, November, December 2018: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December 2019: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December 2020: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December Lessons Compendium *~* 5/6/2016 *~* Magnesium deficient is something you don't want to be--supplement You might also be deficient in other vitamins and minerals--supplement with a multivitamin Magnesium is a diuretic Squat foot position should be maintained at hip width, no farther: a wide stance is Trouble for your inner legs *~* 5/21/2016 *~* Ukemi must be executed with one's head tucked There is in fact such thing as too much ukemi, especially when biased to one side of the body TM Fact: If you get to a place on Intensity Day where you struggle to PR, add volume to volume day *~* 8/1/2016 *~* Daily neck stretches keep even small tension headaches away Too much of the wrong kind of foot rolling can lead to TIGHTER feet *~* 8/27/2016 *~* Stress is real and it will harm training momentum. Knee sleeves are good tools in the gym for preventing quad tension. *~* 11/7/2016 *~* 1/wk DL Intensity Day is too intense. 2/month is good. *~* 1/29/2017 *~* When stressed, a massive deload is not necessary. Just hold fast to the same weights and...wait it out. Too much magnesium = diarrhea *~* 7/10/2017 *~* A reminder: sleeping on one's back reduces the risk of headaches and muscle knots. *~* 12/09/2017 *~* Do not stop taking Slo-Mag. Just. Don't. *~* 1/19/2018 *~* Drinking a minimum of 44oz of water helps regulate headaches, even migraines to some extent. *~* 7/18/2018 *~* Hormonal birth control does cause migraines. So does looking down at phone with bad posture all day. *~* 7/30/2018 *~* Dairy and yogurt disagree with my stomach. Vegetables + fermented food are keys to BM balance. *~* 10/1/2018 *~* Fruit disagrees with my stomach. Bananas are fruit. Lacrosse ball rolling helps manage bad posture headaches. *~* circa 4/2019 *~* I need the lunch hour away from my desk to keep headaches down *~* 10/4/2019 *~* Remember how fruit disagrees with my stomach? That goes for ingredients found in preworkout. Gas and bloating.
  17. 2020 Hindsight Challenge The start of a new decade is just the impetus I need to look back and see how well I’ve been meeting my goals. I’m going back to my first NF challenge and each new year since then. I feel like I’m in much better shape, but let’s see what the evidence really shows. Then: (cut for length) Now: I’ve been doing mostly the same range of things for the last seven years with gradual improvements in my approach and implementation. The major big new thing was becoming the parent of a young adult (Elf). I also started doing zen about the same time, which probably helped me deal with things. Over the last couple years I have spent more time doing knitting and spinning. I completely stopped playing the piano – mostly just due to lack of time. I keep saying that I want to weave, but I have not gotten my loom out in a couple of years. I have a pretty good set of habits for doing aikido, exercise and zen. Most of the time I eat well. I could cut back on desserts, but I’d rather just eat less of other things. The things I struggle to get done haven’t changed. My goals for this year are more for fine tuning and continuous improvement rather than major changes. I want to improve in aikido and zen. I’m always going to want to keep moving up along those paths. I want to include more strength training and cardio in my exercise program because I’m at the age where decline is a real concern. My biggest challenges are dealing with the tedious and unpleasant tasks at home and at work. For this challenge I’m going to keep it simple: Attend the Barbells class at lunchtime T/Th. This hits two goals, maybe three. I get to meet more people at work while doing strength training. Once I get the moves down, there can be a cardio component too. Deal with paperwork at home. I am hosting a big party on January 25th. This time I want to have everything dealt with and filed, not just shoved in a closet for the party. Get through my backlog at work by the end of week one. I have no excuses, I’ve just been avoiding it. Tasks from the task list. Points for getting things done.
  18. It's been a long while since I've had a gif-laden challenge. Or a themed challenge. And everyone can always use more Avatar in their life. And the new year seems a good time to do that. In a way, the limited challenges have been my vague attempts at keeping myself moving forward in some way, while dealing with a whole lot of other crap. There's been a lot of upheaval, a lot of change, a lot of drama, and a whole bunch of RP sitting in the corner rocking back and forth with anxiety. I think a majority of these things are ultimately one-off things (shodan exams, company reorgs, house buying, dojo moves and fundraisers), but also they were a slew of things that I feel prevented me from actually focusing on myself and what I want, rather than being pulled along and put into a form of survival mode (Okay yes, the house thing is all on me, but damned if I underestimated how that process works). And so far in 2020, there are definitely things I'm looking at that aren't my most favorite thing to deal with that I'll have to do, but for the most part I want to take 2020 to refocus on my needs a bit. Within reason. 1) Teaching to Learn - Teach once a week, and train at least four hours After all of the drama that happened a few months ago, I am now covering a Friday night class at my dojo for the foreseeable future. (Cliffnotes version of previous drama: Asked to start covering morning classes and teaching. Then asked to cover a class and told I couldn't teach. When I asked why, got told 3 different reasons for why I couldn't teach and in every case was excluded from any form of communication. Then ignored. Now this.) So the large issue here is.... technically the Friday night class is a weapons class. I have been given permission to *not* have it be a weapons class if I so wish, but my dojo does so few weapons things that I would rather not. Honestly, it's a good chance for me to work on the relation our weapon work has to our unarmed techniques, and is a good study in physiology, using ones center, and extension. But it also means that I need to work on all of those things. So on top of trying to figure out the best ways to relay those things to other people, I really need to solidify things myself on that front. Entertainingly, I taught this same class last week as a last-minute favor. The only 'negative' comment I got from the yukyusha was that he "Did totally stab me" when I was trying to teach something. Hey, I'm learning, was my response. But I should work on not getting stabbed during class. 2) Count All the Calories - Track everything eaten, every day, even if it's a hassle My weight/body fat has spiked pretty high since the car accident/depression/forced shodan exam anxiety that defined Late 2018/Early 2019. I tried to do some things, but nothing really worked that great. I kept kind of waffling on what I allowed and what I didn't. Work has a million snacks, which made stress eating happen a lot more than I would allow over all. And for a while I was pretty much dependent on the food that was ordered on company dime to save money. But that meant I let myself get lax about my eating habits. Stress made me less likely to batch cook anything. And since moving I haven't exactly restocked my kitchen and freezer to have good, quick meals. So I need to start logging things again, and hopefully in a couple months I'll at least comfortably fit in the majority of my clothing again. I'm angling for about 2000 calories a day. No idea where my weight is at, and honestly if I step on a scale I'll get depressed. So I'm avoiding all forms of "pre" measurement here. Yea, not great for trending, but better for my mental health. 3) The Morning is Good - Wake up MWF at 0530. See how plausible it would be to leave the house at 0600 for a workout. So the holiday challenge I got somewhat comfortable with the pre-0600 wake up. I didn't make it to the 0530 time regularly because a lot happened and I needed to prioritize sleep and recovery and sanity over an arbitrary wake up time I set for myself that did not impact when I got to work. But trying to get to that point this time is the goal. I've got a tentative plan that I'll join the gym literally across the street from me early next year, but I want to make sure I'm up and somewhat human before I go drop that cash. I would love if it were a slightly fancier gym, but I can't complain since it's like $15 a month. But anyway, we can see how I fair doing early mornings. At least now I have a coffee pot that will start brewing coffee when I set it, so that's great. 4) All Reading is Good Reading - Read something every morning over coffee I have a goal in 2020 to read 30.... things. I tried to keep some tabs on what I read in 2019, but I lost count, and 30 seems like a good number. I'm leaving it as "things" because I'm totally going to count novellas and graphic novels in this count. Probably not run-of-the-mill comics though, unless its a compilation that covers an entire story arc. But I do want to tone down my morning reddit browsing that's jumped up in the last few months. For the most part I'm not exactly learning anything, and I rarely feel strong enough about my opinion that I consider it worth it to comment on things I do read. So at least I should try and at least read things I feel stronger about and will help me. First book I'll finish in 2020 is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. I'm about halfway through it right now. Nothing particularly earth shattering other than realizing a lot of my reactions make perfect sense, and why I've been feeling so drained at work lately (read: Having to extrovert for things a lot more because a lot is annoying me and not recovering well enough after the fact because crazy 2019). Morning reading should help with the pre-work charging, though. And thus begins my 2020 challenge. We'll see how good I am at maintaining it.
  19. Mistr gets more creative (part two) In an earlier challenge I worked on foresight and making better choices. That went reasonably well. I've been much less stressed about getting ALL THE THINGS done. I want to keep working on the balance of doing useful things and creative things. Since the useful things have guilt attached already, I'm concentrating my goals on doing creative things. I'm also going to need to get creative to work out at home the last week of the challenge. Main goal: work on creative projects at least 3 times a week Bonus points for finishing projects Extra bonus points for weaving My main project right now is spinning fiber from my stash. I checked off two items last challenge. I'm on a roll. I just finished an alpaca 2-ply yarn. Final step is to wash and block it. My current spinning project is angora/merino wool fine yarn for knitting gloves. I'm blending the fibers on hand cards which is time consuming. This will probably take more than three weeks to finish. That's fine, I'm thrilled to be using up the bag of merino that has been in my stash for years. I'm free to choose any of the bags in my stash when I'm done with this yarn. It is all fair game. Other projects include: knitting a pair of socks - nearly done with the leg of sock #2 embroidery - large counted cross-stitch picture of a sorceress anything from my unfinished objects bag - must finish socks first. I might just finish the sock before I have the yarn finished for gloves. Current mending counts because it is sitting out and I started it a couple weeks months ago. This kind of involves being creative with a needle. (1 item completed last challenge, two to go) Check things off goal: Things that need doing and mostly stay done. Taken from @Xena's sushi list idea Swap out summer/winter clothes, take bins back to the attic Put up the new shelves in the laundry room Sort one box from the garage. Bonus points for more boxes sorted. Wash the bag of used gis that showed up at the dojo. Make an electronic list of articles that Dumbledore has on paper (linked to the journals). Recycle the paper and use the file cabinet for things we actually should keep. Donate the stuff that is accumulating next to the coffee maker. Keep up good habits: Lay out clothes the night before Pack lunches and breakfasts ahead of time Do something for exercise every day. I'm struggling to do weight training regularly because it takes a lot of time, even though I enjoy it. Yoga or walking is fine if I'm feeling stressed. Zen every day. This can be after work or at lunch if I'm running late in the morning. Saturdays have been a problem - do zen early in the day. NO CAFFEINE. Exceptions allowed on Saturdays and during winter break. Plan for down time after work. Maybe even take a brief nap. Better to take a break than to drag for the whole evening. Make short lists of things I might do and pick the top ones. Wash, rinse, repeat. I'm also planning on doing a lot of aikido. That is not a goal, it is part of my regular life at this point. My weapons training partner is getting ready for his second-degree black belt (nidan) test. I can get in a lot of high-level training by attending all the advanced classes over the next two months.
  20. Mistr gets creative Last challenge I worked on foresight and making better choices. That went reasonably well. I've been much less stressed about getting ALL THE THINGS done. I want to keep working on this. I had an interesting week doing zen and not needing to worry about doing anything. The thing I missed most while I was away from normal life was working on creative projects. I want to maintain the good habits that I've been working to establish over the last year, but with a bit more flexibility. Main goal: work on creative projects at least 3 times a week Bonus points for finishing projects Extra bonus points for weaving My main project right now is spinning fiber from my stash. I just finished spinning the singles for a three-ply silk yarn from silk I dyed in February. Next step is to ply it. I have alpaca yarn in progress on my wheel. I have half of that done and am working through it fairly quickly now that I figured out to pick out the bits of vegetable matter before I start spinning it. This will become a 2-ply yarn. I'm free to choose any of the bags in my stash when I'm done with these two yarns. It is all fair game. Other projects include: knitting a pair of socks - nearly done with the leg of sock #2 embroidery - large counted cross-stitch picture of a sorceress embroidery - packed so long that I've forgotten what the picture is about anything from my unfinished objects bag - must finish socks first. Current mending counts because it is sitting out and I started it a couple weeks ago. This kind of involves being creative with a needle. Check things off goal: Things that need doing and mostly stay done. Taken from @Xena's sushi list idea Swap out summer/winter clothes, take bins back to the attic Put up the new shelves in the laundry room Donate or discard the cooler packs in the trunk of my car Sort one box from the garage. Bonus points for more boxes sorted. Wash and donate the dojo lost & found (currently in my car) Make an electronic list of articles that Dumbledore has on paper (linked to the journals). Recycle the paper and use the file cabinet for things we actually should keep. Donate the stuff that is accumulating next to the coffee maker. Keep up good habits: Lay out clothes the night before Pack lunches and breakfasts ahead of time Do something for exercise every day. I'm struggling to do weight training regularly because it takes a lot of time, even though I enjoy it. Try adjusting my schedule to do weight training before or after work. Yoga or walking is fine if I'm feeling stressed. Zen every day. This can be after work or at lunch if I'm running late in the morning. NO CAFFEINE. I broke this rule yesterday and am regretting it (again) today. Yes, I like coffee. No, it is not worth it. Herbal tea is fine. Plan for down time after work. Maybe even take a brief nap. Better to take a break than to drag for the whole evening. Make short lists of things I might do and pick the top ones. Wash, rinse, repeat.
  21. Mistr works on foresight My last challenge focused on looking at my choices. Looking back over the past challenges gives me plenty of hindsight. Now I need to put that to use to make better choices moving forward. There are two forces at work here: I have a pretty good idea of how my common actions are likely to pan out. I also know that things are going to happen unexpectedly. I know that I'm happier when I have a plan and when I'm not too attached to the plan. Overall my goal is to make good choices and pay attention to what is happening NOW. That often means looking at how I am feeling. Sometimes the smartest thing to do is give up all my project goals for the evening and go to bed.
  22. Starting with Sundays My main challenge goal is to make good choices for how I use my time. I want to make good choices all the time of course. I'm starting with Sundays because over the last several months I've been dreading Sundays. I feel like I always run out of time and am disappointed that I didn't meet my goals for the weekend. I have complete control over what I do on Sundays, so there is no external reason for me to have issues. The underlying problem is that I want to do more things than there are hours to do them. I've been like this since I was a teenager. It is time for me to acknowledge that the world is full of fascinating activities and I have to choose. I also know that I tend to underestimate how long it takes me to get things done. All the more reason to be selective. Rather than setting specific goals, I am going to treat this as an experiment. I will track my choices and evaluate how they work out in the short term and over the weeks of the challenge. I already know the things I want to do. I will add more notes on how they sort out for easier analysis. Closer look at what and why Fitness activities: What varies over time. Right now it is mostly strength training with a little cardio, core yoga and leg exercises from my physical therapist. Why is so that I can move without pain. My knees feel vastly better than they did two years ago. That is entirely because of exercise. No miracle restored the cartilage in the joints. Another reason to keep doing strength training is combating my fears of aging. I've seen the charts that show substantial decreases in strength for people starting in their 50s. That's my age and I need to address it NOW. Life support: Cooking, laundry, household chores. All these activities let me live a comfortable life. I like having an uncluttered environment, clean clothes and good food. My family is getting better at contributing on these. Elf, Hermes and I just talked about cooking and agreed that we all want to have a good selection of healthy food in the house. We also agreed that we are not including Dumbledore in the planning. He is welcome to eat what we cook or not, we will just make more food as needed. On the cleaning side, I'm going to plan on doing 70% of the work. I'll choose tasks based on what bugs me the most. Mental health: Sleep, zen, fiber arts and video games. The difference between enough and not quite enough sleep is starkly obvious in my productivity at work and attitude at home. Zen is a longer term project. I don't see the results on a daily basis, but Dumbledore tells me that it makes me calmer. From time to time I get glimpses of encouraging side effects, like catching things before they fall to the floor. My teacher tells me that consistency is key for making progress with zen. I really, really hope that will work for me. So far I feel like sitting zen is a mental struggle every time. Fiber arts and phone games are the fun things I do most often. Other things for mental health would fit here too. Sitting by a lake, for example. Social connection: Real-life spending time with people. My on-line social connections are mostly here on NF. I'm working out the introvert balance between connecting with people and time to myself. Aikido contributes to my social connection time too. I know that part of the reason I'm willing to give Elf rides to and from work is that I get 20 minutes of conversation each time. Elf usually disappears into their room when they get home. Once or twice a month is plenty for seeing other friends. Responsibilities: Work, financial planning, getting things repaired. Generally staying on top of things. Why? Peace of mind. Bad things will happen if I don't do these. Some in the short term and others in the longer term. Self improvement: Aikido and zen. I love aikido and enjoy learning the skills of connection and internal power. I was fascinated with the idea of enlightenment when I was in college. Zen combines a chance at that along with a history of improving performance in martial arts. Those are the categories I can think of right now. I'm curious to see if I come up with more over the challenge.
  23. Summer 2019 After five years in NF I have a solid foundation, but my base still needs some work. Maintain: Good eating habits. I am at my goal weight. I could stand to lose a few pounds but not more than 5. Eat mostly veggies and protein. Make good desserts so that I can avoid the junk candy at work. Do fun things instead of eating sugar for happy brain chemicals. No caffeine. Drink tea in social situations where coffee is tempting. No caffeinated soft drinks. Aikido 2-3 times a week. Work on ukemi - keep connection with my partner and keep my mouth shut. Only give advice when asked (when not teaching). Post chore sign-up sheet and assign tasks for Elf, check in with Elf weekly Gardening 2 x 30 minutes a week. More if time and weather permits Build/improve Get to bed early. I'm waking up when it gets light out at 5:30am. Sleeping in is not a good plan. Stick to my bed time on weekends. Sit zen every day. Preferably in the morning. I know I struggle to fit it in later in the day. This relies on me getting up on time. Strength training 2-3 times a week. Break up exercises between three sessions if time is limiting. Work on finances 2 x 1 hr a week. More would be great. Face the scary facts and make a plan to deal with it. Sort stuff. Dumbledore and I promised to sort one box from the garage each week. Make this happen. Do one recurring and one non-recurring chore each week (dishes don't count) more is okay but not necessary. Productivity at work. Continue efforts to front-load the day. Take project time for myself at least twice a week and go to a quiet conference room to work. Fiber arts - take sanity breaks to spin and knit most days. Social connections. Organize video evening for dojo friends. Go out for coffee with at least one person. Watch fireworks with my BFF. Organize family get together. That comes to four things over four weeks - timing is flexible.
  24. Tsune is a Japanese term which roughly translates as "Everyday habits." I read about it first in a martial arts/Budo book by Dave Lowrey, and kind of glossed over it for a bit. I re-read the essay recently, and felt a great deal more attached to it than I initially felt. The basic idea presented is that when trying to follow Budo, a practitioner will eventually reach a point where it has permeated their life so much, it becomes almost mundane. Something you don't think about. Something that even when you don't want to perform it, you do so anyway, because you almost feel lost without its presence. My training habits, by and large, are my tsune. Go a few days without some form of activity, and I get anxious, nervous, and grouchy. Make me miss time on the mat, and I go extra hay wire. Otherwise, my regular habits of lifting, November Project, and aikido have become so subsumed by me that I cannot imagine a moment without them now - a vast difference from two years ago when I started here. My habits are well established, and I have goals, but most of these are longer-term goals than a 6-week challenge would allow (besides an over arching Main Goal). So I'm creating this to document my tsune, and to help me see my progress in the long run, rather than a short snippet of time. Longer term goals, in no particular order: ~BW Squat (~210 pounds) Accomplished 01/31/15 ~2BW Dead lift (~420 pounds) ~Learn to properly Clean and Jerk and Front Squat ~Get below 200 pounds in weight Eh. Ish. Accomplished 09/24/2016 ~Run Harvard Stadium (37 sections) in under 40 minutes Accomplished 02/17/2016 ~Run 50 sections at Harvard Stadium Accomplished 05/9/2015 ~Run Harvard Stadium in under 36 minutes ~Ruck a full tour at Harvard Stadium ~Run a consistent 8 minute/mile pace ~Prepare to run a Spartan Super race ~Run 50 sections at Harvard Stadium in under an hour Accomplished 08/17/2016 To furthering my tsune and beyond.
  25. Mistr

    Mistr catches up

    Mistr catches up My challenge goals are pretty much the same as last time, so I'm putting those below. I'll start with catching up. Week 1 What I did on my summer vacation by Mistr age (old enough to know better) I took week one off from work because I had friends visiting. I knew Dumbledore would be busy with the first week of summer session. That was a good decision on my part. I thought I would have lots of time to get things done on my task list from last time. Hahahahahahahahahaha It was a fond hope. So what did I really do? Reread Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. Realized I had not read Monstrous Regiment so I got that out from the library and read it too. Gardening: weeding x 3; planted herbs and flowers in pots, planted cilantro and basil seeds around the herbs and alyssum seeds around the flowers. Planted swiss chard and basil in the main garden between the rows of salad greens. Shopping: groceries x 3; hardware store; pet food; garden center; clothes Spinning - finished plying lace-weight yarn for my friend, got it washed and blocked to send home with her. When I weighed it I noticed it was only 65g. I started out with about 90g. There is very little loss during spinning. Then I found a box with more fiber in it, ready to spin. I must have prepped that last summer and put it in a safe place. So much for being done with this project... Socializing with friends who were in town over Memorial Day weekend Knitting and spinning silk on my drop spindle (mostly while socializing) Driving Elf to work and errands Laundry - I did three loads of sheets and towels to prepare for and clean up after guests, even though it is officially Dumbledore's turn. Cooking: Lots and lots of cooking. Cabbage and ground turkey hot dish; coconut macaroons, hard boiled eggs; coconut milk custard with chocolate or peanut butter - made into ice cream; grilled chicken and asparagus; roast carrots; couscous; grilled turkey; broccoli salad; stuffing; strawberry-rhubarb pie (with rhubarb from our garden!); meat loaf; roast pea pods; lime bars; bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with feta. Cleaning: dusted upstairs; swept hard floors; cleaned the bedroom for guests. Elf did most of the vacuuming and cleaned the bathroom. I washed all the cooking dishes except for one evening, when our guests pitched in. Mowed the whole yard I was going to have a goal to keep exercising while on vacation. Good thing I didn't write that down because there was no way I could have made it to the gym. I didn't even have time or space to do yoga until after my friends left. No zen either. I picked up both this weekend. Friday night aikido was rusty but not horrible. I was pleased that my rolls felt smooth on Sunday. Zen wasn't great, but was still better than a couple months ago. I did not get to any of the things on my task list. I was feeling good about gardening before my friends arrived, so I bought a bunch of impatiens to put in the front garden. I figured it was full of holes from pulling dandelions, so I might as well put flowers in them. That will make it look like a garden with some weeds instead of a sad neglected area around the maple tree. The flowers are still waiting. I was grouchy about having to do all the mowing. Elf said they would do the front yard, then weaseled out. They did cook a batch of roast potatos for me while I was mowing for them. By the time my friends left on Friday, I was done with being responsible for everything. I had time to do some of the errands Friday and Saturday, but had no motivation left. I did reading, gardening and aikido. I wanted to get this written, but ending up doing other things. I had almost no online time all week. On Sunday I did aikido, zen and spent time with Dumbledore. In addition to starting the summer session, he had to finish submitting grades for spring semester. We went for a long walk and went out for dinner. We agreed that we had both been running as fast as we could.
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