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  1. Get in, nerds, we’re painting snails. And slugs. And nudibranches. And anythign that looks vaguely related. The goal: draw or paint (or carve or embroider or collage or fold paper into) at gastropods and share them here. Apprentice level: 5 studies. Journeyman level: 10 studies. Master: 15 studies. Are you an artist? Then join the challenge. Are you not an artist but want to draw or paint snails? Join the challenge. Not an artists, don’t want to paint snails, but feel duty bound to contribute to the gallery of gastropods? Join the challenge. Together, we can do it. We can collect a collection of ONE HUNDRED SNAILS. Why? Because it was suggested, and no one can resist a suggestion, ever. Do it do it do it. Also you can use it to practice skills. Painting skills. Drawing skills. Slug recognition skills. If you want free reference photos, try pexels and unplash. Also feel free to invent a snail. I painted this fire snail and she can start us off. That's 1/100
  2. Some mood musique We had some interesting discussions about French dietary habits last challenge (small portions, variety, satiety, quality, etc) that made me want to try a little French-themed experiment this challenge. It may seem like I have a lot of goals (especially after the last extremely simplified challenge), but some of these goals are things I do pretty well anyway and am just adding it to round out the theme. 🍞 Boulangerie An important aspect of French cuisine is fresh, quality ingredients, especially BREAD 😍. Sure, vegetables too, but we will work up to those. My goal is to bake my own bread twice during the challenge. I have no idea how long I should expect a loaf to last, and I don't want to overwhelm, so two is a good goal to start. The bread does not have to be French -- in fact, I can almost guarantee the first one will be focaccia -- but baguette may happen if I am ambitious. 🍰 Patisserie Desserts are de rigeur in France, even among the svelte, but portion sizes are miniscule compared to American servings. So my goal is to keep desserts to French standard portion sizes - two or three good bites. The best way to make this portion size feel satisfying is of course to take smaller bites and savor a quality dessert (no prepackaged cookies, trail mix, or other low quality "junk foods"). A square of dark chocolate is fine. 🛶 La TraverSeine There is an annual rowing event on the Seine in Paris in early September. Kayaks, canoes, even dragon boats may enter for the 15k "explore" event or 26k competition. The route goes under some 30 Parisian bridges and past most of the tourist traps: Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, etc etc. I...will not be going 😂. But, for fun I will pretend to be training for the event by indoor rowing twice a week (minimum) and actually kayaking at least once (hopefully the Poker Run mid-August). 🎨 La Louvre Continue my exploration of pen and ink art via the Inktober52 Instagram challenge. We are on week 29 (I think?) and I haven't missed a week yet! ⚜️ Lingua Franca Maintain my streak of foreign language practice on Duolingo (currently at 209 days).
  3. I am channeling inspiration from Naomi Novik's A Deadly Education this challenge, because the forge thing seems to have burned itself out (ba-dum-crash). I will try not to give too many spoilers if you haven't read the book. I think I can fairly summarize without spoiling: At Scholomance (school for wizard children) everything is trying to kill you -- the monstrous maleficaria "mals" which creep through the pipes and vents, your fellow students, even the school itself (after all, how else would you learn to survive?). Your only hope to survive school -- or worse, graduation -- is to form alliances to watch your back and store up mana to power your magic for fighting the really big mals. How does one gather mana, you ask? You do things that suck while wearing a storage crystal, of course. The more difficult and onerous the task, the more mana it generates. If you focus hard while doing the task, the mana is channeled into your crystal, which is connected to your backup crystals and they begin to charge. Slowly. I am way behind on my mana storage for graduation due to an ill-advised battle with the worst kind of mal *shudders*. I need to fill at least 20 storage crystals before graduation next year to have a prayer of leaving the Scholomance alive. I hope to fill 4 this challenge. Roughly 500 mana fills a crystal. Here is how I hope to earn it: Eat 100 calories under maintenance = 10 mana (can be cumulative) Difficult/onerous exercises for 30 minutes = 30 mana Skipping sweets for a whole day = 50 mana I will use art to track my progress, because why not? As each crystal fills, I will post it here like so: Here's hoping we all make it!
  4. If there's anything I've learned about myself from the past couple of challenges, it's that I can't overextend myself when it comes to building positive habits. I basically spent the last two challenges cementing alcohol avoidance and healthier eating habits (yay for those strides forward!) but basically ignored every other thing that I wanted to do. Why? I don't know, really. I just couldn't focus very well on more than two things. With that in mind, I'm going to just pick two things to work on this challenge. I'm still of the opinion that my health needs to be my greatest priority. I lost almost 18 pounds in the last challenge and am now down to 252.6 pounds at 5'5". Yay for that! Just as a side note, and this really is a side note, I hope to lose another 12 pounds this challenge. Here's what I would like to do to make more progress on my fitness and health journey: - 💪 Challenging Exercise - 30+ Minutes 4 Days a Week And for my second focus, I'd like to make time to express myself, whether it's with writing or painting or whatever form of art: - 🖌️Work on art projects - 45+ Minutes 4 Days a Week
  5. Organic Programming II: Rind Reveries I have reviewed the Organic Programming principles. This challenge I’m adding some journalling and preparation to sandwich the day. I think this will be the most helpful expansion to my programme because I have a little extra energy and desire to do things at the moment, but I don’t focus it into activities automatically; I need some prompting. Journalling reminds me of my options in the morning, and helps me prepare in the evening so the activity is more available the next day, and there’s less resistance and more inspiration. I’m dropping the dairy during this second month of carnivorous eating to see if it makes a difference to my weight or energy. So yeah, pretty much just eating beef ("Rind") for a month. I’ll allow spices and condiments, though, because I don’t think I can face plain meat at the moment. I’ll be swapping black tea for herbal teas. I’ll use zero week to taper down the black tea and finish off the dairy that's in the fridge. For art and reading I want to focus on the quality of my attention, not the length of practice, since I have noticed distraction creeping in. I'm feeling like I have a tiny bit more interest in doing things, but I also get tired. So extra cooking and science classes are optional, for when I want a little more movement or study. Standard exercises for this challenge: DB weights at home first thing Look at my journal and plan the day 30 minutes focused reading Get properly dressed 2 x 50 minutes focused art Walk after lunch (or after grocery shopping) Prep for next day’s art & reading Carnivore, no dairy. Spices & minor condiments allowed. Overreach for this challenge: Science class in the afternoon, only if desired Cook extra snacks and lunches for Mr Harriet, only if desired Fatigue Management/Fallback Position DBs: do the first rep. Sundays off! Reading: set the timer and try. Sundays off! Dress: brush and rebraid hair Art: set the timer and try. Sundays off! Walk: take a nap if I really cannot face the walk Song: (Rind) Reverie
  6. Harriet's Organic Programming: Overview I want to combine programming with flexibility. I like how the JTS programming book explains the principles needed to make programming work (like identifying your priorities, determining what traits you want to cultivate and what modalities/exercises will support them, applying specificity, overreach and fatigue management, etc). It makes programming less mysterious. I want to take a structured approach to my programming this year. But at the same time I need to be flexible because I cannot know how bad my fatigue will be in advance. Hence, organic programming. It’s a sapling, testing where the stone might crumble a little to allow a tendril to anchor. It’s the seed of a planet coagulating speck by speck as each new mote joins and adds its own gravity to the growing core. The principles of my organic programming are within the spoiler. Process for Challenges Reflect on the goals, traits and modalities, and determine either the greatest current obstacle or an area that seems ripe for expansion. Choose what ‘exercises’ could help, decide on something to overreach in (difficulty that seems a little beyond me) but also pick a fatigue management fallback; lower-effort options that will help me maintain instead of giving up completely.
  7. RAISE THE BAR !!!! ^CHORD This challenge is going to be about raising the bar! And that includes working on the F bar chord in guitar too, because boy - that thing is a little punk. For a long time NF challenger, it's very easy to get into the place of just doing the same old same old. And that's great. But it's time for me to add a few rings to my tree trunk, -er, I am talking about 'growth', not putting weight on lol! I've coasted a bit and want to get back into growing as a person; improving myself physically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally. That's too much to try and do all at once, so we'll break it down into smaller things that get focused on per challenge. When one gets leveled up, we work on the next, and so on. I am also setting a long term goal here, in writing. I want to compose and record an original song before I am 50. (Honestly, I think I can nail that one far before the expiration date, but I didn't want to feel pressured - I want to enjoy the learning process, so we're setting this out there a few years.) Now for the list of longer term things I want to start working on over the next few months. Understand Starpuck, be the best Starpuck I can be. Step 1: Read "The Road Back to You" (An Enneagram Thingy) Conquer fear of change, and move out into my own place - be it an apartment or a house. Step 1: Rework budgets, set savings goals and plans, use envelope method for 'allowance/eating out'. Find guitar teacher, take a short term session of lessons. Step 1: Reach out to Perry's music. Stop judging teachers by awful pictures, lol! Go meet them. 5 WEEK CHALLENGE GOALS Goal #1 - FOOD! In 5/4 Timing - What? This means, aim to eat 5 times through the day, with quarter note sized meals lol. I was debating if I wanted to track calories, but coming from a total free for all, I don't want to swing too hard to the other end of the spectrum. I think just being mindful will get me back to a good 'starting point'. Plan: Eat Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, Dinner, Snack each day. Avoid adding extra snacks, especially in the evening or on weekends. Track It: Must note when I overdo the snacks, otherwise, each day assumed to have been 'in time' with the band. Goal #2 - Groove and Move - This is about keeping my physical body up to snuff. I want to be healthy and active long term, and that means putting in the work now. I also have noticed that over the past several years, the better my nutrition and sleep have been, the less illness I've had to face. That seems like one heck of a perk there. Groove is for strength training (not that I'm doing grease the groove) and Move is for any other intentional movement. I want to keep my cardio/pulmonary working well too, so getting heart rate up and lungs kicking is a goal, but it can be chill like walking or hiking too. (Not that either of those will be happening during the midst of winter. Plan: 2-3 Strength Days / Week. (Winter means less options for cardio, so a great time to increase strength days to 3.) 2+ other activity days. Track It: Yeah. Easy track here. Did I do them, or skip them? Goal #3 - Pick, Pluck, and Pen - This is the creative ensemble. It covers my music practice, which, I have set a pretty decent achievable goal of 2 hours / instrument per week, and 3 hours of art. I often go over, but this allows me to still hit targets on weeks that have extra changes in the line up, or outings, or hiccups that make practicing harder. Plan: 2 hours / week of guitar, bass and piano. 3 hours of art. Track It: Use Timelog app to keep track of this. Great app! 10/10 would recommend. General To Do's - Boldness, Books and Budgets - This final goal is just to track that I am remembering and paying attention to Step 1's of some of the longer term goals. I don't want to put "weekly" rules and requirements on this, so they will just be general to do's, and check marks that I am, in fact, putting some time and thought into them. Continue search for guitar lessons, check Perry's out. Local is a + and they are cheapest I've found. Read the book. Take it slow. Add notes in the side or on Post-Its. Use this to continue to sort out my challenges and learn to overcome my repeat hurdles. Create budget. Set up house savings / move money monthly into this. Create envelopes and use them. (app, or actual cash?) Start planning for 2023 vacations. (Hawaii still on radar?) Smaller trip / via car somewhere. Start working on the audio interface and software. Take it slow. Don't panic. Also - after original excitement about this theme, lol, I might change it in a week or so. My mood is all over the place right now! LOL. Short Bio
  8. Year of Battle: rout the enemies of fatigue, anxiety, and distraction addiction, win the territories of lifting, art, writing, and whatnot. All right. One last skirmish. Fatigue and distraction addiction are wounded, anxiety is down and being kicked in the head. We’ve got art fairly well fortified. Let’s try to pry lifting back from the hands of the enemy. Goals 3 sets of any lift at home with the first tea every day. Art from roughly 8-12
  9. The last week of the previous challenge was ... really bad all around. No nothing done! I fell out of all my habits and need to get back into the groove. 🎶 See what I did there? Since leading into the holidays is a tough time to crack down, I am keeping this super simple. EAT BETTER! I had been doing okay with eating 'normal' for 2 weeks after my trip. Then the last week hit and I got a stomach bug/weird ookiness going on, and I just ate total garbage. I will feel better if I am eating cleaner again. I should probably track calories to ensure I get my ass in gear, but this week and weekend is also b-day outings, so ... I have to give some flexibility. EXERCISE!! I skipped exercising for a week straight (partly due to stomach ookiness) mostly due to laziness and 'dunwannas'. I can't be that way. I must get into the warehouse 2x for strength and find some movement/cardio for the other days. Even if that means signing up for the walking track at the local park district by work. Those are the priorities! That's where my first effort goes. Music and art have been been an easy target for me for weeks. I am still super enjoying it and running with it, so I will do those and track them with my time log app. The food and exercise will get tracked here for accountability because I want to start getting my summer body ready now... and not wait till the last 'not happening' like usual lol. Strength⬜⬜ Move ⬜⬜⬜ Food ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ In other news, I got my new guitar! An electric guitar for some day soon (hopefully) music recording and song writing. My sister and brother in law decided it would be part of my Christmas gifts and paid for a chunk of it. I am hoping to get a video up showing my new rig 🎸but I need to find a way to make the sound not sound awful! Art continues with lots of inspiration being drawn from the Vampire: the Masquerade game still, so I'll try and post some of that here too. Plan for Week 1 Monday - Eat good, strength day. Piano, bass and art. Tuesday: Eat good, b-day dinner, maybe some post fam stuff creativity. Wednesday: Eat good, strength day. Guitar. Game night with peeps. Thursday: Eat good, 1/2 day, beat saber, music time, make dinner, Vampire game night. Friday: Day off. Eat good breakfast and light lunch (maybe the zoo?) 4pm Axe Throwing, 6pm Shabu Shabu! Saturday: Get some exercise, eat good, make dinner (for Thursday left overs) to boot. Sunday: Church, music, some hang outs, D&D To Do Stuffs
  10. Year of Battle. You know the plan: destroy fatigue, anxiety, and distraction addiction so I can have an actual life with lifting, art, writing, and whatnot. Last challenge I managed to create a sort of routine. I am amazed at myself. This is what I have been struggling to achieve for many years. I am terrified it won’t stick, because I have no idea what I did to make this time different. Oh well. With Tank providing a blessed paladinic example of consistency, I will dig in and fortify. This challenge, the goal is simply to hold the line: gym first thing art until noon sleep routine from 9-10
  11. Creeping, lurking ... ready to devour. Hanging over every minute, every hour. My foe is there, but victory's mine, Remember my light - and let it shine. Stealing a bit of Vampire the Masquerade Floon for this one. I am still super hyped and into that game and using that for inspiration here. The Beast - for vampires, it's the monster within. For me, it's the gloom of autumn and winter, combined with growing feelings of being stuck where I am. I have to re-frame this perspective because if I keep focusing on the negatives, and the "not yet's", or the not where I wanted to be's, I fail to see what I do have. Comparison to other perceived 'better' views is a joy stealer. And I want to stop doing this. Goals are going to be largely based on mental and emotional health this time around. Sure I'll have my other things to keep track of because seeing consistency is GOOD for my brain. And I am still very much thriving on the music endeavors, so that's been great and I want to keep up with that. (The #backtomusic2022 has lasted, ALL year, so this feels legit!) Goal 1: Use Gratitude App Daily - Follow prompts. Make time. Do it. No excuses. The point is to get it done daily to teach your mind how to look past the negatives. If I do it only when I feel good and have a thing immediately come to mind to be thankful for, then I am not learning a new perspective, I am letting the old one dictate my choices. Daily Gratitude on App Goal 2: Track Calories - but Stop Being So Militant about it! - Tracking has worked great the past 6 weeks, and I dropped about 4-5 pounds. I have to stop freaking out for those occasions where I can't really track them. Because that's making me a tyrant. No one wants a raging calorie tracker at an outing. 😛 Track Daily (except for untrackable outings, just enjoy those on occasion) Goal 3: Create! It brings Joy! - I found a really coo, tracker called TimeLog - and it lets me keep track of the hours I spend on various hobbies. I originally did it to keep track of music specifically, but I've also used it for art. Keep doing the music and art. I had it set for 4x a week each thing. And that almost happens. But I find that even if it's 4x/week - I almost always get 2 hours a week on each thing. Which is 4 x 30 minutes. So 4x or 2 hours / week is a doable amount on my stuff. So I'll keep it there for now. 4x / Week or 2 Hours Each Minimum: Bass - Guitar - Piano - Art Goal Eh: Keep exercising. - I thought to take this off as a goal because I am in such a good routine with it, but with winter here it will actually be harder for me to get my move days in - so this might serve as a reminder to focus on the effort. 2-3 Strength / week 2-3 Move / week Finally, a challenge long list of things I want to remember to try and get done. We're calling it a Side Quest list. Side Quests Oil Change Tire Rotation Purge Unused Items from Closet Reorganize Closet Purge Unused Items from TV Stand Cabinet Purge Unused Items from all Drawers in Room Go through Clothes, Donate Items no longer Worn Find Room Arrangement to Allow for easier Creative Outlets (might require getting rid of some furnishings / replacing with new ideas) Research music recording software. Research music notation software. Purchase / ask for Christmas - items needed for above. Look up theory classes to brush up on music theory. Bass lessons? Look into this. Continue watching house market / look at ones that might be doable. Make appt with financial advisor / budget helper. Finish Dad/Daughter Pic
  12. So, I’ve tried a lot of things and tried to develop habits. Sometimes it seems like none of my attempts have worked. But the fatigue is somewhat under control at the moment (for reasons I don’t even understand—maybe the pacing and improvements in sleep?), I currently have nothing much in the way of depression, and I have also created some breathing space for myself by limiting my internet use. I seem to have trouble creating (good) habits. The usual recommendation is to start with small steps, but for me this is not rewarding enough to be reinforcing. And because I am mostly out of work, the sheer amount of time I have to fill is overwhelming and encourages bad habits. So I want to try a routine that is designed to create larger blocks in which I can accomplish flow states, which is also what Hari recommended as the antidote to distraction addiction in his book Stolen Focus. Recently, apart from a few days off, I’ve been doing two hours of art per day. I have experienced flow states, and it’s most definitely the direction I want to be going in. I want to add two hours of writing in the afternoons, which are otherwise empty. I’ve also filled in the rest of the schedule with things like journalling, meditation, meal planning and grocery shopping, gym, chores, etc. It should stay flexible—I may be required to do other things. But I should try not to take off more than one day in a row, because when you put two indolent days together, they breed with ironic industry and birth resistance, distraction, fear, and further indolence. Lastly, I am feeling humiliated by my terrible German listening skills, which for some reason didn’t improve as much as I wanted just by reading German (?!?). So I’m going to listen to something German (podcast, audiobook) in the afternoon for 30-60 minutes. Knitting encouraged. !!!WARPLAN!!! Art (10am-12pm) Writing (2-4pm) Doitsh (4-5pm) Have at thee!!!!!
  13. THE CHALLENGE!!! STARPUCK FIGHTS THE BEAST I've fought this beast before. He's often goes by the title Gloom Monster, but we're referring to him as The Beast on this challenge. He gets more powerful as summer ends and autumn gives way to winter. He's a little stronger this time around, because our heroine has been fighting a side of apathy lately. One of my greatest weapons against that is momentum. But to get momentum, you have to get a first step underfoot and follow it up with a second, and third and so on. Bio: ON TO THE CHALLENGE Doing much of the same old same old! In fact, I found a google sheet tracker I made in May 2021 and just changed a few of the things I plan on tracking. I really need to get my food consistency back in place. I do fine at work and during the early part of the week. Going into the Thursday gaming night and weekend tends to unravel full tilt. Exercise is not a problem ever, but I'd like to be more focused in what I am choosing to do. Art is back on the table, on top of me trying to practice three instruments at once. (I did mention Ranger, right?) Goals: Track food daily. If unable to track on a weekend meal, eat sensibly, guesstimate cals. Exercise 5x a week. Art some times a week. Music - try to get 3-4 practices on each instrument, length of time not important. (** Might switch this to amount of time on each per week. Some days I get on a roll, and might jam out for a good amount of time on just one instrument.) Track Spending. I gotta get this under control too. As a side note, I am 8 sessions into our latest TTRPG game; Vampire the Masquerade. I am SO into this game right now, so lots of art for it has been kicked out. It's also where I have borrowed the idea of fighting against the beast within. For vampires, that beast is their monstrous side. For me, it's apathy and inconsistency as we hit the S.A.D heavy days. I'll try and catch up on sharing some art (and a quick backdrop as to what it means.) Vampire Art Taking Zero Week to get slowly back into a better groove after this last hurrah, lol. See ya Rebels tomorrow!
  14. I am kind of in need of a reboot (or maybe just a kick in the pants). I have decided to bolster my flagging motivation by focusing on creating beauty in myself and my environment. So, without further ado, les goals: 1. Feast of the eyes This one is about getting more color on my plate, namely fruits and vegetables. I tend to stick to brown foods, so the goal is minimum of 3 colorful plates per week to be eaten and posted here for accountability. 2. Movement Naturelle This is about practicing graceful, natural movement through any environment and incorporates mobility, strength, and skill training. The MovNat Journal has some great free workout plans that integrates all of this fairly seamlessly, so the goal is to complete 3 MovNat sessions per week. 3. Create Beauty I need to engage my mind in some healthier, creative pursuits and not solve my boredom/restlessness with food. I am keeping the goal to a minimum of 5 minutes daily, because a) I can do anything for 5 minutes, b) setting a long time goal will make me feel overwhelmed and therefore I will procrastinate, and c) once I get going, I will more than likely go for more than 5 minutes anyway. It's the starting that's hard. Creative pursuits that count for this goal include (but are not limited to): painting/drawing/coloring, gardening, writing, sewing, home decorating, or crafting. Time spent underpants collecting in the name of "planning" art/writing projects does not count.
  15. Let's keep the music themes going eh? 8 weeks till Vacation, or 4/4! And I've set myself four goals to chart. I still haven't gotten my consistency underfoot, but I got really close to nailing it this last week. (Then had a really stressful weekend and by Sunday, I needed liquid courage and woops.) So, this challenge will be a continuation of trying to get my chops back. Figuratively. Exercise Goals - 5x a week. I do best with strength twice a week and random intentional movement on at least three occasions. Some weeks a third strength is fine, but I know I don't do well with 3x every week right now. Music & Art - I was able to get 4 sessions for each instrument in most of last challenge, and, since I want to improve my skills, I do need to aim for this kind of thoughtful amount of time spent. Monday's and Tuesday's work great for getting lots of music in, so do Friday's and Sundays. The rest of the days, if I just strum a bit before other commitments, cool beans. I would also like to get pencil to sketchbook again too, but no pressure on this. Food - Either track, or don't eat like an ahole. Pretty straight forward here. I know what I should be eating, and how much. Just need to do it. Socials & Self Time - I need to work on two things. Getting social and being with people, but also carving out time for myself to unwind and reflect. This can be tallied up in an easy, totally contradicting phrase. "Start saying yes -- Start saying no." Going to track on here, because that should have me checking the forums more often lol! Weekly trackers below. **ALSO! I want to start doing the recreate gifs thing, so look for that! EXERCISE 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 FOOD 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 ARTSY STUFF 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 PIANO 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 BASS 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 GUITAR 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 SKETCH/DOODLE
  16. Perfectly timed you say? Timed?!? Perhaps, because someone has defected to the rhythm section friends! I, along with some other wonderful nerds, decided to "#BackToMusic2022" and folks, I really have done a smashing job of this. I've been playing piano consistently for the whole year! About 6 weeks ago, I also picked up acoustic guitar and started slowing learning that. (It's wrecking my finger tips yo! LOL - And the D chord is impossible for me to play nicely even still.) And, so, what else does one do in that case but decide .oO( Clearly, I am not learning enough instruments, I should buy a bass! It will help my fingers get used to strings, but more gently!) So I bought a bass last week and it's now in my possession. As far as everything else goes... I have major regrets that one thing after another this year has become an excuse for why I am not on track to be slimmed down and back to strong and healthy for the summer. Part of that is, well, health. In January I started dealing with some weird, non-critical but annoying symptoms that lead to several trips to docs and diagnosed theories on what is to blame. About 2 weeks ago, the last of the weird little symptoms were gone and I was anxious for not only a return to feeling myself, but also a much anticipated vacation in early May. And then I got Covid. In fact, I still have 3 more days before I can leave the 10 day 'quarantine and/or mask up' schtick and return to normal routine. I had it mildly, but, as someone who has not even had so much as a two day sniffle in like 4 years, being sick is still being sick. I am not quite fully back on my feet yet, but I have high hopes that at the 2 week proper mark I should be pretty much okay. It did cause my sis and I to also have to cancel our trip. Soooo, yeah, long and short of it is that 2022 hasn't been the easiest year thus far. But, post recovery here, plus the turning of the seasons, plus a brand new bass in my possession are all great reasons to get back to the right tempo! I also am really inspired to clean up my eating habits again after this whole Dances with Germs thing. A well fueled, well nourished body just does things better, usually. I've also been watching more anime again lately, so my interest in getting my art going again is kind flooning. So we've got, piano, guitar, bass, art, strength training, cardio health routines, and my usual D&D nights and friends hang outs, lol. I know that tracking food works best for me to shed a few pounds, so I need to get into the mindset to do that. If I do more cooking with the boyfriend, (who also just had covid, but we didn't catch it from each other actually) that will help with tracking on the weekends, and reining in the spending that's gotten out of hand with me. Woops. So, some goals. Track Food Daily - if a meal out can't be actively tracked, then rely on sensible eating for that meal. Strength Train - 2x a week is my sweet spot. Cardio-Ish - 3x a week. Piano - 4x a week Bass - 4x a week /or 20 minutes daily (lets see how it goes) Guitar - 15m daily has been working, but with other instruments, I won't keep this as a MUST do daily. Art - 2-3x a week, let's see how it fits in Connect - Do that connect with people thing that I talked about last challenge. Follow on the forums, dangit, Starpuck, DO THIS!
  17. Overview of the Battle The objective: to gain the mountain and obtain the precious treasures of lifting, writing, painting, walking, cooking and spirit work The enemies: fatigue, emotional resistance, distraction addiction, hopelessness The weapons: axe of strength, sword of courage, staff of clarity, reflective shield Second Skirmish: Invading the Foothills of Figure Sketching The main new habit this challenge will be doing a little work on my art, whether it's sketching or watching lessons. As with the writing, I should start with small, low stakes practices to sidestep the emotional resistance. I want to focus on figures for several months. Reflective Shield Journalling and reflecting on what works -I need to recommit to daily morning journalling, since I have neglected it -I should set a calendar reminder to reflect on Sundays, since I neglected this, too -I should continue noting how I feel after lifting (fatigue, mental fatigue, joint pain) Sword of Courage Overcoming emotional blocks to the creative work I want to do -I am increasing the writing to 20 minutes -I will add 10-20 minutes of art after dinner Staff of Clarity Getting freedom from distraction addiction and negative emotions -I will continue meditating each morning, and may experiment with a short second session at night -I will renew the internet block but update it to support journalling in the mornings and Sunday -I will continue doing 20 minutes of cleaning per day. It's not exactly one of the mountain treasures but it is good to have, and a clean house promotes an uncluttered mood Axe of Strength Strength through food, iron, and rest -I just have to keep going with my high meat keto without getting sidetracked or shamed -I will continue pacing. It's really helping -I will continue lifting: I will design a deload & strength block
  18. So I came off the first challenge practically 100%-ing the darn thing and then... As if I'd been touched by a wraith, all the energy and life force in me just vanished. All that momentum gone. The boulder having pushed to the top of the hill, has rolled down and settled in the valley. I know I can't stay down there with old Bouldy. (That's Sisyphus' job.) So I have to keep trekking forward. I might have small boots, and the journey is long, but I have five weeks of budding habits that work and I know it. So this challenge is going to be more about pushing through the slump. No fancy tracker this time; but I have made one page to use for the whole 5 weeks. Filling in boxes in motivating for me, but I needed less weekly time devoted to the making of it. So Goals Then - Keep on keeping on. Track Food 7x/week - best guess for any 'treat meals'. Move 5-6x/week - 3 strengths works really well for me, a few beat sabers, and fill the rest. Make Stuff - This is art and piano and D&D prep. I really liked hitting the stride of 3-4x a week for music/art. I'd like to keep this going. Misc goal "Grow" - This is about growing emotionally and spiritually. My devotion habit is a habit. Cool. Keep that up. I want to challenge myself going forward. This challenge is going to consist of doing some out of the comfort zone projects. I feel like I might have a problem with envy and a side dish of slander - things I don't want in my card catalog in general. So to combat this, I am planning to "write a letter" to any friend I have ever spoke about, in any fashion, behind their back, and fill it with all the reasons I am grateful for who they are and what they've done for me through the years of friendship. Bonus points if I actually send it to them lol. Other things may come up too, but that's what I am starting with. That's all I got for now. I am hoping to make the rounds on your guys challenges soon here ...
  19. I set out on a new journey; a path that travels through many realms and one that will teach me many things. I often daydream about potential -and must admit that I struggle the most with my friends when I see them failing to push toward their own. Which leads me to the honest confession that I often fail to push the boundaries of my own potential. For me, it's never been lack of effort, or the unwillingness to try in the first place. For me, Fear has been my greatest foe and Perfectionism his best accomplice. The only way I am going to thrive- (because if the past two years has taught me anything, it's that the only thing that stops us from thriving, is ourselves) then I must learn that I can be stronger than my circumstances, and that my hope comes from beyond whatever earthly conditions surround me at any given time. Fear is an illness. If you leave it untreated, it can consume you. I'd like to find some balance in the coming challenges, while picking up a few new hobbies and dusting off some old ones. I'd also like to get back into a healthier lifestyle habit as the past several weeks really had me shut down to 0%. That's going to require facing the scale at least once. While I know it's going to be a number that displeases me, it got there based on my choices. I can't change the past. I can reshape the future. FOOD GOAL The best way to get my habits in line again will be tracking my calories. It usually doesn't anger me, and it helps me make better choices. I'm a big fan of 'more bang for your buck' and that works with food too. Track in MFP 7 Days/Week *Impossible to track treats may be skipped or 'best guessed' but must be limited to once a week. EXERCISE GOAL I feel best when I am keeping in shape. It really just makes every other part of my life better. With winter in full effect it's easier to strength train than cardio, so I will do what's easiest to schedule in. Strength 2-3x a week Fill in other days to reach 5x exercise per week. CREATIVITY GOAL I want to continue drawing and have taken steps (costly ones) to get my desk set up more conducive to that. Draw 2x/week. I'm part of the Bard2022 Gang here, and I have both a full size digital piano with weighted keys (mmm) and a brand new 17 key Kalimba. I was VERY active in music in highschool, but reading music is going to be like brushing up on a foreign language you haven't read in 20 years. Music 2x/week. ESTABLISH A DAILY ROUTINE FOR AM AND PM AM - Devotional / bible study + Positivity journaling. PM - Computer off 20 minutes before bed, Teeth routine + Face routine with good health creams. More to come ... including a 'to do list' to be done during the next 5 weeks.
  20. This is part three of a year that I am setting aside to try to heal from chronic exhaustion and demotivation. There are four aspects to lifestyle healing magic: food, stress, movement, and sleep. This module is for fine tuning the food aspect. Last challenge I started keto, and saw a massive reduction in anxiety, and some other mental benefits. This challenge I will experiment with different variations on the ketogenic diet to increase my knowledge about what works. I have some improved mental energy, and hope to spend it on writing and painting. But I won’t push it if I don’t feel like it. Motivation must come from an un-inflamed and adequately fuelled mind, not from desperate attempts to whip up willpower out of the watery gruel of fatigue. A loose sort of schedule does seem to be developing on its own, so I’m just going to let that continue. I haven’t really recovered my physical strength and energy since the last trip to Munich (now some weeks ago damnit) so exercise will be advised but optional. (We have proven to our satisfaction the inefficacy of forcing the lab mouse to run when exhausted). Lifestyle Healing Magic: Ketonics Module I Potions (food) Lesson One: Do Not Ingest Poison: no sugar, caffeine, or alcohol (Ke)Tonics general instructions: eat at or under 20g net carbohydrates per day. (Ke)tonics specific experiments: Zero week will be no chocolate and no live sauerkraut, to see if this helps with my current heartburn. I must also undergo the trial of the Silberhochzeit, in which I must endure some periods of foodlessness on the train, and evade all attempts to poison me with celebratory food. Weeks 1-5 I will adjust other parameters. Possible experiments could be increasing and decreasing the plant content of my diet, which will probably mean decreasing and increasing the dairy content, since those are my two sources of carbs, and they compete for space. I might also try cutting eggs and processed meats and really going all in on fresh meat, green things, and water. I might add fasting or save it for next challenge. Or maybe I will devise a diet inspired by Artio the bear goddess and eat salmon, berries, meat, and (*googles bears*) herbs, pine cones, hikers, and 20 000 calories worth of moths??? (*note to self: check carbs in moths*). Defence Against the Dark Arts (stress) Occlumency (meditation) is suspended so that its anxiety-lowering effects may be trialled separately from the ketonics. It shall be reintroduced next challenge. Enspiriting Runes: I shall aim to do a little art every other day. Sparking Sigils: I shall aim to write a little every other day. Transfiguration (movement) Hypertrophy Charm: any form of strength training, if energy allows. I seem to be losing weight from the keto, and I don’t really like what I see—my weightlifting over the last few years has added thickness to my legs, arms, and waist, but not to my chest, upper back, or glutes. I seem to be in a slightly longer term tired phase, so I will simply do some exercises for these areas whenever possible, until moderately tired, at home or at the gym. Recommendations for isolating the glutes without the hamstrings welcome. Current ideas include swings and single legged glute bridges. Recommendations for hitting the chest without the arms also welcome. So far, the barbell bench has added weight to my arms only. Spell of Ambulancy: at least one short walk daily. Charms (sleep) Somnolence Ritual: screens off at 9:30 Hmmm. This entry looks kind of dry without any gifs or pictures. Here, have an experimental scribble. And share gifs of mead, honey, and other beautiful liquids, please.
  21. Hello. I'm back. I am Stronkey Kong. I'm still trying to figure this out. Last challenge took an early nose-dive. I was training with weights, losing my enthusiasm for my nutrition plans. Then I started stockpiling Halloween candy... You know how that ends, and now I feel shitty and I'm back to where I started at the beginning of summer. So now it's time to reboot, and reset a balance, and work on some goals that are satisfying too. MEDITATE -- Once a Day, Every Day: I actually broke my streak. I had meditated every single day since March 21st. Then last weekend, as I was preparing to shift my wake sleep cycle to dayshift for a week of training, I missed a day, then another, and it's been almost a week now. Anywho, it's time to get back on it. MOVE -- Everyday, As often as possible: I am not touching a barbell until my weight is down. To many here, that sounds like blasphemy, but I've proven to myself time and time again that every time I get into a strength routine, and go for too much strength or intensity, I either give myself permission to overeat or burn myself out. Right now, and until I get my weight down to... idk... 225 lbs., I just need to keep moving, lightly even, and I need to avoid the couch potato days. So every day I need to do some kind of movement, or at least get something done. I'll just be asking myself "Did I move today?" -- that is anything beyond getting up, eating, going to work etc. Chores and projects would count, purposely going for walks, yoga or stat bike in front of theTV... it all counts. Pay back the Halloween candy calorie debt -- I still have over 28000 calories to burn. NOOM -- Daily Tracking. Weigh in and track the foods. All else is optional. ART-- I am making a big painting, and started prepping a huge canvas... (spoiler'd cuz huge) 75 x 60 in. I have an idea and sketches, I just need to do it. Not sure what the goal is here. First and foremost work on the painting. Second, finish the painting. I have a feeling I'm either going to finish it Alla prima this weekend or agonize about it all challenge. We'll see.
  22. Cracks and blemishes. Soil and rust. What had been her weapon, her force against the darkness, sat heavy in the barrens beyond. It must be reclaimed. Found, carried, reforged. It was hers to wield, and though it had long been from her hand, she knew she wanted it back. A deviation from the normal plan of attack here perhaps? Yes! Food, exercise, art, all these things are wonderful and important - but I believe I have a new #1 priority for myself right now. Something, that in turn, will likely help all the other stuff too! Today I feel like taking the first step on a new journey. But just like Mr Frodo accepting the quest to return the ring to the fires of the mountain, mine will be a hard journey fraught with enemies! It will take a Fellowship of helpers to keep me on this path (that's your cue) too! I am on a quest to return to the brighter, more out-going, more cheerful, more kind, more patient Starpuck that I used to be! I'm not sure how I got to this part of The Dismal Forest - maybe just life and circumstances, maybe being too long in a house with someone who is negative day in and day out, I'm not sure. And I am not blaming him, or anyone , for my arrival into this place. Ultimately, I decide who I am, and how I react to things. This isn't going to be just a light switch that gets turned on though. I'm going to forget, or fail, or feel too tired or too upset about this or that on occasion. But the more I work toward it, the more little wins I will get, and those wins will build up, and gain momentum, until eventually, the overall general outlook and being will start to change too. Like slowly sweeping up the dust and grit in a warehouse that hasn't been aired out in years. Little by little. I can clean it up and then it will be bright and ready to house all sorts of things and people again! The first things first, I need to stop venting / complaining about people and things. I think this is natural human nature. And indeed, it is important to air out feelings now and then instead of bottling things up and letting them fester into a poison. But I will limit this, and also work to communicate all the great things about people. Or see things from a different angle so as to not overly blame or come down on folks. I've gotten into a terrible habit of complaining almost daily about people I consider friends and whom I care about, and that's not good. This is all fine and good, but without track-able goals, how am I going to make sure I am putting one foot in front of another in the right direction?! And do I really want to give up on the other things I've been working on? No! Of course not! So let's get our boots on and grab our cloak and figure out how to complete this quest. Goal #1 - MAKE THE CHOICE Every journey begins with a decision. As my mindset is really, truly, the biggest rival I have on this, I am making this top priority. I will work on this by, daily, in the morning, use my bullet journal to set the tone for the day. I must write something positive to start my day. It can be something I am grateful for, a positive choice I plan on making, a comment about a friend or family member I am glad to have in my life. Anything that would be considered a bright, positive output. DAILY. 7x/week Goal #2 - PUT YOUR BOOTS ON After making the choice, the next step is to get your gear together and start moving. This goal will represent that I need to maintain healthy physical habits, because exercise helps keep my mood up, so I need to get my boots on and keep moving one step after the next. Any kind of movement counts toward this, but I would like to still aim for 2x strength a week. 5x/week Goal #3 - PACK YOUR RATIONS You can't survive a long journey without having rations with you in your bag of holding. This will be about eating good food, in healthy amounts, and that's that. I don't believe I will track calories while working so hard on the mental/emotional side of things. But without some kind of tracking, there's no way to be accountable to this. So, since I will be using my BuJo daily anyway, I will write down what I've eaten at least, daily. 7x/week Goal #4 - BRING YOUR PARCHMENT AND INK What, why? To document your journey of course! But in my case, it will be less about journaling my antics, and more about putting implement to canvas. Inktober got me back into art, as it always does, and I think it's essential for me to have a hobby that I don't feel 'super good' at, but continue doing anyway. As I've got a lot on my plate this challenge, I am keeping it toned down (hah pun) so it's not oppressive. 3x/week Now all that's left ... is to start the journey!
  23. This Cycle may or may not see me home the entire time - I may end up following DH on a trip; we may end up taking an actual vacation - who knows? We may just be here the whole time. If I need to adjust, adjustment protocols will be enacted. Nutrition I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s time to shift some weight. I don’t want to buy a second round of new clothes. Cook paleo-ish meals (fake meats, soy and the occasional garbanzo bean are ok) with an emphasis on protein Go back to tracking macros. My scale had itself an electrical aneurysm and started muttering to itself all on its lonesome (it was seriously sad - poor little guy kept trying to weigh air, coming up with wildly different answers, until his batteries died). As it stands, I’m estimating my TDEE at 1541 based on my current weight and activity levels. I’ll start with reporting and tracking via MFP with an eye on coming in under calories and will strive to make protein a priority. We’ll see what that gets me re: fitting into some of my clothes again by the end of challenge and refocus from there. Movement Keep up with my 4x a week yoga with walks to and fro - hopefully in less than 115F temps, “windchill” of 125, and over 70% humidity. Fall, as it were, is coming - the news and the Ministry promised. As my schedule stands, and I hope it continues, I’ve got: Monday morning: Slow Flow (a mostly gentle class) Tuesday evening: Functional Flow (hella hard rehab style movements) Wednesday morning: Detox (a hard class with lots of twists and fun movements) Friday morning: Slow Flow (ha! I guess it’s slow? It’s usually hard and full of novel movement - same teacher as Wednesday’s class) With an 18-minute walk to and from. I also want to add more HIIT or Barre videos at home, but wasn’t quite meshing with that this past challenge. We shall see here and I’ll do what I can. I need to get on my ass about it a bit, but finding the balance between that and the don’t wannas has proven difficult without an actual tangible goal in sight. Enrichment I’m still playing both Stardew Valley and Cozy Grove and will pick Animal Crossing back up if they ever release an update. I’m currently working on an 18thc. shift & chemise set. After I finish that, I want to dye the rest of my medium weight linen with avocado pits, and jump to a modernized walking skirt/vest/petticoat project. I also have some crochet supplies on order - I want to do something with my hands again while watching tv at night. Sashiko sounded great, but is a bit fiddly for my hands at the moment. Hand sewing has been great, but I want to give crochet another go. It seems to hurt my hands less than knitting. I also want to keep up with my digital art practice, and still feel like I should be doing something actually useful instead of just killing time. It’ll ostensibly be cooler soon, so the pups would appreciate more evening enrichment. Although it’s going to suck mightily, walk practice and desensitization with Odin should go back on the docket. And that’s it. Nothing earth shattering, but without something big looming (like a mud run or series of 5ks), self-starting is not my strong suit.
  24. This is part two of a year that I am setting aside to try to heal from chronic exhaustion and demotivation. There are four aspects to lifestyle healing magic: food, stress, movement, and sleep. I'm adding a little to the basics which I established last challenge, and testing a specific diet to see if it helps. Potions (food): Do Not Ingest Poison: no sugar, caffeine, alcohol, refined carbs, industrial seed oils (Ke)Tonics: eat a very low carb, very high fat diet. Leave out grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, low fat dairy, fruit, and honey. Focus on meat, fish, eggs, full fat dairy, above ground vegetables, and healthful fats. Defence Against the Dark Arts (stress) Occlumency: meditate 20 minutes daily, after first tea and before second tea Hydrotherapy: end all showers with cold water Defensive Gesture: book a massage and show up! Defensive Ward: schedule daily internet block from 8-10am Enspiriting Rune: one effortlessly bad and therapeutic scribble per day Transfiguration (movement) Barbellogy: continue with four lift split three days per week, if energy allows. Ambulancy: at least one short walk daily Charms (sleep) Somnolence ritual: screens off at 9:15, stretch, sleep at 9:45
  25. I started working on this concept a couple of years ago. Shelved it for a while. Brought it back as an RPG but there wasn't much interaction and I still wanted to tell this story so I shifted the medium. I originally had beats for challenges and stuff but I tend to hold onto massive ideas in my head and mull them over until it feels right. I follow the Bukowski idea of writing: I didn't want to be pretentious or have to write it and re-write it. I didn't want to have to proofread and show it to other people before I went back to the drawing board. I wanted to wait until the fire roared in me. I wanted to just write through passion and if I felt it: write. If I didn't: don't write. And currently, that is what's happening. What started as an interesting idea for a short campaign turned into research upon research and more and more ideas. I had to cull what I wanted to fit. Once I had a plot-line sort of figured out, I looked at how many words I was writing per plot-point and I realized that at this rate, I will have a full-scale book. Not a Game of Thrones or an IT sized tome, but something that qualifies as a regular book you'd buy these days. I've been writing a lot (for me at least) and I know a few beats that I want to have happen next and I know where I want the ending to go; but towards the end where I connect these things is a little fuzzy. Not really a writer's block, but more of a 'how do I make it fit and sound awesome?' With the rate I've been writing, I think I seriously may finish writing a whole damn book by the time Halloween comes around so that's my main goal this challenge. This challenge is the following: -Book -Diet: I've gotten into a groove with the 2400 cal set up that my dietician put me on. I have my checkup this Thursday. I'm going to ask about meeting more often to stay on track because I can use that as an excuse for more accountability. -Workouts: This is 3 parts. 1) Cardio at the gym 4-5x week. 2) Lifting weights at home 3-4x week. 3) Lordosis stretches and exercises 4-5x week. I would like to hit the high number of all of these but I consider it passing if I can consistently hit the low-end. I'll post my lordosis vid here to make it easy to find and also seeing as how this is NerdFITNESS, there might be someone who stops by this thread and realizes they also have lordosis since it's common if overweight: -Projects: Mold is growing downstairs really REALLY bad with all this heat and humidity. Even with running the dehumidifier, it's wall-to-wall spreading so washing every wall downstairs is a project. I have a bunch of plants that I've been gardening with this summer and I need to stay on top with picking and also setting up a compost bin, prepping soil for next year, drafting up some plans for what I want to do, etc. My next post is going to be what I have so far of my horror book, all edited into [spoiler] chapters so the post itself isn't stupidly long. I'm ahead by about 2 posts currently so I'll wait until the end of this week to put up new content on here and then I'll actually, like, socialize with people's threads. ❤️, Teros
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