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  1. Sooo I fell off the face of the Earth last week because surprise! Roofing. Which is to say, I found out midday Friday our roofers were going to be around to replace the roof Monday. Roofing is done but not without discovering a family friend hired to insulate the roof 5 years ago snowed us and pocketed the cash, and discovering the leaky bastard skylight did a number on the roofing boards and a bunch needed replacing. And now I am out an additional 5.2K beyond budget (but like for 1, I can't not have a safe roof and the insulation will pay for itself in 2 years). Bastard skylight is gone and good friggin riddance to it (the previous owner was a damn fool to think a skylight is a good idea in a climate that can swing between -40 and +40C in a single year. There's not a sealant on this Earth that can tolerate that. Buuut I have had a LOT of stress in the past few months and am feeling rather like a bit of metal that's been bent back and forth a bunch. I am feeling cranky and rigid and brittle and argumentative. Too much strain has built up and I need to basically take some time to rest, rebuild & repair my brain. On the upside! I am nearing the 30lbs lost since Xmas benchmark. Challenge this time is to embrace opportunity to de-stress. I am not sure what it's going to look like (aside from defending my vacation in July jealously), but I will spend a few days figuring it out to start.
  2. Running with the Dogs Tired Elize sank down to a shady spot under an Acacia tree, next to her three canine companions. They were deep in the African bush. The dry, dusty African bush. Her assignment was to find and stop the Malicious Monkeys Troop that has been infected by Maltazard. Her three companions each had a very special ability: the first with the wisdom of the ages, the second had the curiosity of the young, eager minded, and the third had the strength of the loyal protector. She herself was half human, half elf, with the lanky athleticism of the elves, their acute hearing too, but the strength of the humans. What she lacked in agility, she made up for in tenacity. She'll keep going at her task. Her blond locks was cut short, standing every which way. Her fingers had tunneled through it so many times, ruffling the locks to make a little bit of cool air to dry off the rivulets of sweat streaming down her face. Rosy, the curious Maltese canine, had been sniffing, leading them along the scent trail for hours. She was still nose to the ground, hunting for that whiff of odour that would give them a new trail to follow. Warily Elize made a cup with her one hand, filling it with water from the flask, for the companions to drink from. They were all weary and hot. The other canines noisily slurped up the precious liquid. They had to catch the monkeys and rid them of this new virus before it infected the other animals, driving them stark raving mad, sending them on rampages around bush and camps alike. It was one thing looking at the devastation that a troop of monkeys rushing through a camp could cause, quite another watching a herd of elephant, or rhino! They had to tranq the lead monkey, known locally as The One with the Evil Eye. Rosy took a noisy drink of water as well, before slumping down between Missy and Zuzu, chests heaving, tongues lolling pink against the dry, yellow grass. Just a quick respite before they go on. Late afternoon found them nearing a stand of trees on a small hillside. In the hollow below huge boulders formed an enclosed area. It was the third time that they passed this place, in as many hours. The MM Troop seemed to be running in circles from a stand of fruit trees (which were planted by migrating humans years ago), to a water hole in a slowly meandering stream, back to a copse of thorny, num-num bushes full of sour red berries, spread out around another rocky outcrop close by. This rocky, cave like area they were at now, would be ideal as base camp. Elize quickly gathered dry, broken branches for a campfire later that night. Upon closer investigation they found a small trickle of clean, fresh water dripping off the rocks in a shady spot, forming a small pool, before slowly disappearing under another rock slab. This would be a mighty fine spot indeed. As she made camp, securing the area, then settling in to make dinner, Elize heard the soft, distant sounds of African drums beating the air. The doof-doof rhythm had a calming effect right at that moment, but she knew from experience that when the rhythm changed, became faster, louder, it sent out a totally different message over the African bush. --------------------00-------------------- I woke up to someone playing this drum sound in our street the other morning. Probably a driver by, sharing his music. It gave me the idea for the theme, and if you know Jumanji, then you know that at one stage monkeys caused a lot of trouble. We are used to Vervet monkeys causing all kinds of mischief in our area. We have two troops living here, swinging and traipsing through the trees, screeching loudly to chase the other troop away when spotted. They do have a couple lookouts who are always on duty. One particular troop is very naughty, habitually stealing food and fruit from our neighbour's kitchen, tearing open bags of pet food, lounging and defecating on their stoep furniture. They even swam in their pool at one stage! Our neighbours don't have dogs. Our three dogs (Missy, Zuzu, and Rosy) are constantly running (not Zuzu so much though) out of the house chasing monkeys that dare come too close. I'm not really going to hunt down and tranquilise the monkeys (that's against the law anyway), but I'm going to try and 'run with the dogs' once a week, for a bit of extra exercise, and to try and get Zuzu a little more active. Otherwise it is business as usual: My challenge will be about de-stressing (personal me time), doing monthly finances, exercising, and watching my food intake. I have been reading the book "Kick your Fat in the Nuts, by T.C. Hale, and he was so friendly as to send me a personal email pointing out some causes for health issues I told him about. I listened to radio broadcasts from his show on various issues (skin problems - Rocco, Adam, and Brandt, gout - Brandt, acid reflux - me, and other minor ailments), to help balance your body and get the 'machine' working right, before attempting to loose weight. After Brandt and I discussed it, we decided that we really didn't want to get too deep into all the nitty-gritty of bodily functions, but to just focus on probable vitamin, mineral, deficiencies and such for now. In general we are healthy, and most of our problems are gone, except for small issues. So... De-stress: Meaning personal time breathing, OR lying down, OR sitting outside to relax, OR pray/talk for at least 10min. at a time. Just let my mind go, no reading, no games, no chatting, except when praying/talking to Father. At least 3x per week. Finances: Do monthly finances. At least August's and September's. Burpees: Twice a week at least (Tuesdays, and Thursdays), but third time on Saturdays would be tops. Every burpee in which I do a full push up, counts towards my pushup count to reach 200 cumulative over these challenges. I am currently at 121 full pushups. Walking: Try for at least the long one of the two walks a week - long one on Wednesdays, and short one on Thursdays. Dog run: Yep... try for some old fun (obstacle) training at home on a Friday afternoon. Get Zuzu running around with us a bit. Get me to lift my butt and moving every day for 10min. but especially with Zuzu. Food: Gluten-free, low on starch, carbs, and sugar: I can have one piece of special coconut oil chocolate treats, once a week. Fruit are not a problem as long as I don't have more than two a day. I'll be using my old Banting portion sizes. Water/Tea - have to keep this here. Equal to 2Lt/day. Coffee: no more than 4 mugs a day (back to small mug size). Only one mug with cream, the other with milk. Measurements: Weigh in first thing on a Monday morning, and take down measurements.
  3. I'm an adult child of 1) an alcoholic and 2) a chronic over-eater. This has left me with no real idea of how to handle stress (and I'm under ALOT of it right now ... see prior threads .....) other than by using alcohol or food as self-soothers. My upbringing left me with this BIG self-destruct button that is ALWAYS waiting to be pushed when things get rough. This challenge is going to focus on taking apart that self-destruct mechanism. Realistically, I won't be able to completely trust that it is gone for good. But I can at least pack it off again for a while so it is not RIGHT THERE saying, "Push me ... you know you want to....." Cue the Mission Impossible Theme ...... Goal #1 - DisARM the button!! (+2 STR, +1 STA) For my daughter's wedding, I'm going to wear a lovely capped sleeve dress. So, by October 9th, I want to have really nice-looking arms. I have made some nice progress toward that goal, but I'll keep working it hard for the next two challenges. Hence .... upper body workout 3 x per week. Grade by simple counting workouts and divide by 18 for a percentage. I'll post the workout below as soon as I work it out. Goal #2 - Lose 3 pound by counting calories (+3 CON) I have been using LoseIt to count calories and keep protein high. I'll revisit IIFYM to get a recommendation on number of grams of protein and number of calories per day. While I hate counting calories, I realize that I don't yet have a good sense of how much I can eat in a day and lose or maintain weight. And if I'm not counting, I can get into mindless eating in a hurry. Grading ... simple .... one point CON for each pound I lose from 168.2 lbs. Goal #3 - Zazen meditation DAILY (+2 WIS, +1 CON) As a preventative measure, I'll meditate daily and grade it by counting days divided by 42 for a percentage. In the past, meditation has been very helpful, and I regret getting out of the habit. It's worth the 10 to 20 minutes!!! Goal #4 - Use a destressing technique from the list daily (+3 CHA) In addition to the meditation daily, I'll pick one of the items from the list below - at least daily. I'll either use my D&D dice or random.org to pick one. I'm a much nicer and more effective person if I have my stress under control. Grade it by counting days divided by 42 for a percentage. Goal #5 - Remove major stressors and barriers (+3 WIS) This one is really hard ..... There are some things that have badly affected my ability to cope for the past year. 1) We've been trying to find jobs in our home town. It hasn't worked yet, and we've been living apart, which really stresses me out. So, we need to buy a house near hubby's work and sell our current house. These are stressful events in their own right, but I think it is worth it in the long run. I already have job interviews in the area where we are house hunting .... a big improvement over our current predicament. 2) I've been having a really hard time with under or unemployment. I don't do well as a housewife, and so I'm working at finding a professional job. Got nibbles already and feel much better about myself already!!!! 3) This is really, really, really hard. We need to put our dog down. I've been nursing her along for the past year, but she's not comfortable. And I have to come to grips with that and let her go. But it will also reduce my stress alot once we get past that point ... this week or next probably. She's licking all 4 limbs raw, and I can't see keeping her in a cone for the indefinite future. Grading .... one point per objective complete.
  4. Blaze

    Blaze - Reborn

    The good news from last challenge: My second year doing the Fight For Air stair climb, I beat my previous time by 5 minutes and 1 second. The bad news from last challenge: Going on vacation threw me off considerably, and then I had a back spasm two days after the stair climb that finished the job and derailed my challenge completely. For this challenge I need to simplify, make smart goals, and get a win under my belt. I really need a win. And since I'm starting over with my stats, because I completely lost track and have had such sucky times lately and have no idea how many challenges I've done because I lost count... Let's call this the first one EVAH! (not really, but sure, why not) Main Quest: To weigh what I did in high school, when people made me feel fat but I really wasn't. Quest for this Challenge: De-stress Work has suddenly become very stressful. I work in a banking environment, so there's inherent pressure in getting things right and doing them timely. But we had one person retire on April 1st, and another quit very suddenly the next week. So now there are four of us managers doing the work of six until they bring in and train the replacements. And what's more, I have had little or no training on the accounts I've been assigned. These next six weeks will be VERY STRESSFUL. So I'm going to focus on alleviating that. Goal 1: BACK UP PLAN I need to strengthen my back and my core so I stop having these problems with my back all the time. Yes, I'm getting older, but no it doesn't have to stuck. So I will do strength and stretching moves for twenty minutes, three times a week. For each session, I get 1 point. 15 or more = A, 12-14 = B, 9-11 = C, 6-9 = D, 5 or less = F DEX +2 | STR +2 Goal 2: YOU ARE GETTING VERY SLEEPY I really need to get more sleep, to be better rested to face the day. So I will start prepping for bed at 10:30 nightly, with lights out around 11pm so that I can wake up at 6:30 feeling good. For every work night that I get at least 7 hours of sleep, I get 1 point. I have an app that tracks this. 25 or more = A, 20-24 = B, 15-19 = C, 10-14 = D, 9 or less = F CON +3 Goal 3: STEP TO THE MUSIC I'm going to wear my pedometer every day as I have been doing for the past five days now. My goal is to get 50,000 steps per week. I'm hoping to reboot my running program at some point in the very near future, so that will help me reach this goal. I also think this will motivate me to try and get away for at least a few minutes on my lunch hours, to walk outside. And listening to music as I go relieves stress too. For every week that I get at least 50,000 steps, I get 1 point. 6-7 = A, 5 = B, 4 = C, 3 = D, 2 or less = F STA +3 Bonus Goal: DROP (the candy) AND GIVE ME TWENTY When I'm stressed I tend to reach for food. Instead, I will make an effort to step away from the cause of my stress and do some sort of exercise - like jumping jacks or wall push-ups or squats - for a minute. Exercise is supposed to be helpful in managing stress so I will try it first. This should make me a happier camper at work, and more pleasant to be around. Stress happens every day at work, so for every work day that I take a break to exercise at least once, I get 1 point. 25 or more = A, 20-24 = B, 15-19 = C, 10-14 = D, 9 or less = F CHA +2 Life Goal - UNPLUG (I stole this one directly from PhoenixRising) I will spend at least one evening a week doing something relaxing that doesn't involve the TV or computer. For example: going for an evening walk, reading a book, playing my ukulele, writing, playing with the cat, taking a hot bath, listening to music, whatever. For every evening that I spend at least two hours unplugged from TV, computer, and other devices, I get 1 point. 6-7 = A, 5 = B, 4 = C, 3 = D, 2 or less = F WIS +2 I'm trying to remember the rules for attribute points. Is it 14 per challenge? Or is it 15?
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