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  1. The Way of the Jellyfish I’m looking to be able to absorb and go with the flow, no matter what plot twist or power surge comes my way. And, speaking of power surges, I saw meaningful discharges over the course of the last challenge, in the form of messages I sent out and messages I received from my body. Electric fences pack a huge wallop. Conflict is inevitable; combat is a choice. When we are in a position of power, we can choose to act from a place of agency and authority, in elastic response to, and in harmony with, the ocean of chaos and outrage around us, without losing our boundaries. This is the goal. It will require detangling how I have woven the story of my Self with threads (and at times knots) of others, unwinding my habits, tendencies, and fears. This will not be easy or simple, and it will likely be the beginning of a lifetime of weaving who I am in the world. The Details The spreadsheet is much slimmer this round. Constitution: Acupuncture. Rest. This is enough. Strength: Go to work. Do PT. Dexterity: Emotional Balance. Public Transit. Wisdom: Debt Payments. Emergency fund. Taxes. Oh My. Intelligence: Finish the Overdue Paper and turn it in. Charisma: Connect with others. Cultivate a genuine support network. Beginning Stats Constitution 2 Strength 3 Dexterity 4 Wisdom 4 Intelligence 3 Charisma 2
  2. Happy 2023! I know it’s arbitrary… but I always love the dawn of a new year with no mistakes in it yet. It seems like a sweet opportunity to shed some of the baggage and nonsense of the previous year. Spent some time today thinking about my intentions and goals for the year. Physically, I am way stronger than I was this time last year! Let’s (a) keep that up, and (b) double down on sticking to some sort of caloric deficit to melt off the overlay of fluff. Big goal for the year is to drop bodyfat percentage by 10-12%! Aesthetically, feeling cute but could always be cuter! Pandemic and work from home have been DEADLY here. Eventually I will whip up some goals involving showering before noon, and if not getting tarted up, at least wearing a proper bra and proper pants with a waistband and do my brows most days. Teeth whitening touch ups, much needed haircut, and skin routines (sunscreen every am, oil cleansing in the pm). Professionally, I am pretty much where I want to be… full professor, woo! I just need to think carefully before saying ‘yes’ to committees, projects and service traps that don’t get me where I want to be. Another big goal here is to re-kindle my passion for my work. Pandemic and other changes to working conditions have done a number on that, but I think I can get it back! Personal life- well I don’t want to jinx things, but all is currently great in that department. Lovely hub, two great kids in their early 20s, three labs, one feisty cat. I could be more mindful of how lucky I am here, maybe gratitudes in the morning routine are in order, or remembering to do at least one nice thing for the hubba hubba each day! Music- I’m always happiest when surrounded by good tunes! Keep cultivating my theme songs and various playlists. I’ve been on sabbatical from show choir over the fall, but coming back to it later this month. Keep up with that, and with piano. Dry January- I’m usually pretty abstemious but had a lot of holiday related excess on the drinking (and eating, but mostly drinking) front. Actually 3 days into this already. Goals for this challenge, I guess should be smaller and more concrete versions of the above: Keep up 4 workouts/week Track food, 1850 cals/day is awesome but anything under 2100 is an improvement One thing each day for project Cute Say no to at least 10 work things Do something nice for hubby each day ❤️ A song a day! Can be singing something for choir, playing on the piano, even listening to a favourite. no! Booze! Til! February!
  3. THE SILVER ARCHER: BOOK II Chapter 4: A Different Path I paused outside Mistral's office to adjust my bracers and tug the strap of my quiver tighter. The Dark Elf's infiltration campaign had been gaining momentum in recent weeks, and it was time for me to take my work in a different direction - up to this point I had watched and listened around the school, seeing signs of his work in harried students and absent faculty; but I needed to go deeper. I needed to go out into the forest and search for him where he lay hidden. My hands were almost fully healed and my powers were growing stronger the more I used them. It was time to see what I could do. I had dressed in my full uniform to speak to my mentor, so she would know I was serious and prepared for this - my snowy-white tunic belted snugly over my loose white culottes; my bright red archer's vest fastened tight to my chest and criscrossed with my quiver and bow; my red leather sandals laced around my winter-white legs and my mother's silver bracers clasped around my wrists. Even my wispy hair was pulled neatly back from my face. This as a very important meeting and I needed her to know that I had given this a lot of thought and preparation. When I entered the room, Mistral was sitting at her paper-strewn desk, writing. The windows were open to let in the chilly spring breeze and ambient city sounds, and she was deep in concentration and did not hear me approach. I cleared my throat softly. "Mistral, could I talk to you for a few minutes?" She looked up, saw my uniform and met my eyes in surprise. "Now isn't a good time, but it looks serious." "It is serious. I've decided to leave the academy." Mistral sucked in her breath sharply and slowly set down her pen. "Sit down. What do you mean, you've decided to leave?" "I mean that I can't properly pursue the Dark Elf and find out why he's building his army unless I have the freedom to set out on my own. I don't have room in this place to seek out his lairs, his tactics. I need to go out and meet him where he is." Mistral folded her hands. "Sky, we've discussed this. You're not ready to go out on your own. You need to stay here and finish the academic part of your training before you're ready to try this alone." I shook my head vigorously. "The academics are slowing me down. I know what I need to do and I know how to use my gifts. You've shown me how to use my powers in new ways, and I've been working with other teachers while you've been gone who have shown me how to do new things, too, like -" "Wait, stop there. You've been working with other teachers?" Her violet-hazel eyes began to gather storm clouds and her brows lowered. "I thought we'd discussed the proper channels for your training. I am your mentor and you're supposed to primarily learn from me." It took a lot of strength to keep my voice even. "We did discuss that. But I couldn't learn from you because you were never here." Her mouth went slack and she sat back in her chair. "I've tried to work with you and learn from you, but you've never seemed interested in teaching me," I continued, breathing deeply to keep my voice even and calm. "You promised Ayre that you would take over where he left off and prepare me to be a Protector, but you've been too busy with your own work and your own concerns to pay attention to mine. Yes, I sought out other teachers to help me with things I knew you didn't have time to teach me. Master Gregory taught me how to control and aim my powers when I throw them; Titus has helped me make them stronger and increase my power to heal. I've been competing in archery tournaments you didn't even know about. I've taught myself, Mistral, and found the resources I needed. If I don't seem ready to you, maybe you haven't been keeping up with my progress very well. I am ready. I know what I need to do and it's time for me to do it." Mistral was angry - dark heat began to rise in her thin cheeks as she folded her hands and sat forward to the desk. But I had fastened my vest tight for a reason - it held my back strong and straight. I was prepared for whatever she was about to say. "You should have come to me sooner and told me you were considering this," she said, her own voice straining against calm. "I've made plans for things I wanted you to learn next semester. This - announcement - of yours will change everything for me." I kept my chin up and my gaze clear. "I'm sorry to hear that. I'll do whatever I can to put my affairs in order before I leave." "You can't leave." Her voice was flat. "You're not ready and I need you." I slowly stood and rested my fingertips on the desk, looking down at my teacher. Everything about this felt wrong; but I knew in my heart that it was right. "I am ready - I told you that before. And the work here at the Temple isn't my primary responsibility. I have a mission of my own that I have to pursue. I was given the title of Silver Archer before I came here to the academy; it's something I have to follow even if it leads me away. It's time, Mistral. I'll help you get your work ready before I go - I'll do everything you ask me to do. But I can't stay. My mission lies out there and I have to follow it." Mistral's eyes were expressionless as she stared up at me; her jaw worked back and forth slowly for a long moment. The silence was heavy, but I waited. She had the right to say her piece, too. "I'm disappointed in you," she finally said quietly. "I'm disappointed that you didn't feel you could trust me. You're wrong that I didn't want to teach you - ever since I took you on as my student, I've tried to understand you and find your heart, but you kept it to yourself and didn't confide in me. I would have helped you with those things you went to other teachers for, if you had asked me, but you never did." I didn't know what to say. Guilt started to gnaw at my resolve. Maybe she was right - maybe this was my fault for not talking to her the way I talked to Ayre. Maybe if I had listened to her and followed her instead of seeking my own path, things would have been different between us. "I'm sorry," I stammered, and had no other words. "I'm sorry too." Mistral pushed back from her desk and stood, once again taller than me. I almost - almost - fell back into my deferential, guilty manner as I looked miserably up at her - but my spine connected with the stiffness of my vest, reminding me of everything I had decided before coming into this room. I couldn't pursue the Dark Elf here - I couldn't do my best work here. I felt in my heart the call to leave and to follow my mission into the forest, to whatever people and experiences lay out there. Yes, it was unfortunate that my time at the academy hadn't turned out the way either of us thought it would, but that didn't change the fact that I needed to go. I stood up straight and looked up at my teacher. "You've taught me more than you realized," I said quietly. "I will take you with me in my heart as I follow the Dark Elf and try to hunt him down. I hope you'll be proud of me one day." Mistral was surprised; her eyebrows lifted slightly. "Sky," she said, "I am already proud of you. I don't understand you, and I don't think you're doing the right thing, but that doesn't mean I don't respect you and think you're a gifted archer and healer. I'm interested to see what you accomplish." Impulsively, I reached across the table to give her a hug, which she received stiffly. "I can't promise to accomplish anything great, but I can promise to do my best, no matter what happens; and that is a promise you know I will finally keep!"
  4. This is mostly a placeholder but here are my thoughts at the moment: Goal 1: Walk 4 times per week. Goal 2: Prep at least 3 lunches per week, five breakfasts and five snacks. Goal 3: Write and post a poem every day. Goal 4: Meditation/focus goal? Next week is a big conference that is always super exhilarating and super exhausting, and this year promises to be more of both. So basically all my goals for week one are out and I'm going to be doing something. I think: Goal 1: Stay hydrated (3 nalgenes per day) Goal 2: Lie down on the floor for ten minutes every day. Goal 3: At the end of the day, review your notes and prepare a checklist of tasks/ideas etc to pursue when conference is over. Goal 4: Check-in with my conference buddies at least once a day. Okay, that's it for now.
  5. Prequel--- I love myself, so now what the fuck do I do? Boundaries, accepting and repairing what I can of the past that seems to directly affect my present, realize that its not anyone's responsibility but mine to do this work, stop expecting too little (or too much) from others, be patient with myself, trust that its not going to kill me in the meantime. Sometimes we create the exact thing that we fear and hate most of all, because its all we know. Time for that to change. Main Quest: Bulid a Strong Foundation I need to not be so vulnerable to attack from trolls, goblins, dragons, evil witches and wizards, vampires and the like...and the best way to do that is to protect myself. How do I do that? Well, I need to build a castle to keep them out, but make sure that it has enough light and air so that I don't suffocate and die, and a nice big drawbridge opening over the moat for the good people to come in when they need to. So, that means boundary work. LOTS of it. I have recently learned some things about myself, towards the end of the last challenge...that severely impact my ability to have good healthy relationships...and that HAS to change. Princess or not, certain attributes can just flat out ruin a fairytale, and ultimately I do want my own personal version of a fairytale. Unfortunately, I don't have a fairy godmother, so I have to do it my damn self. That means goal setting. Goal #1: Read and do the exercises in Boundaries: Where you end and I begin: How to Recognize and Set Healthy Boundaries over the course of the challenge. Reward for A grade: A book from the Wheel of Time Series Goal #2: Do yoga 4x per week for the 6 weeks of the challenge. Reward for A grade: $25 towards these pants so that by the time I am doing 6/6 days of yoga per week, I have saved enough to buy them Goal #3: Establish a Routine (including a bedtime and limited internet time) and follow it by partcipating in another Flylady PVP Reward for A grade:A weighted blanket Diet Goal: Continue my diet changes from last challenge, but measure food and track daily intake (I did well until I stopped doing that). Reward for A grade: aforementioned weighted blanket Mini Challenge: Do Angry Birds Workout 3x a week Reward for A grade: aforementioned weighted blanket. Basically I have to get A's in 3/5 goals to get this blanket, which I actually need, rather than just want, but cant afford without preplanning for it Grading for the Goals: 1. Read I will grade this on x/42 for the number of days I worked on this throughout the whole challenge 36+/42: A 30-35/42: B 24-29/42: C 18/23/42: D < 18/42: F 2. Yoga I will grade this on x/4 per week 4/4: A 3/4: B 2/4: C 1/4: D 0/4: F 3. Routines I will grade this on x/5 per week (each routine (morning/evening) is worth 0.5 pt) 5/5: A 4/5: B 3/5: C 2/5: D 1/5: F 4. Food I will grade this on x/20 per week and each meal that I don't eat is -1 pt 17-20/20: A 12-16/20: B 8-12/20: C 5-8/20: D < 5/20: F 5. Angry Birds Workout I will grade this on x/3 per week 3/3: A 2/3: B 1/3: C 0/3: F
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