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  1. I'm Ann of Vries, aged 39; a diarist, a fiction writer, a fiber artist, a LARPer (also TTRPG, board games), a traveler, a hiker, and mother of a young toddler. I’m madly in love with my partner, Mr of Vries and my son, Rowan of Vries. I live in London, after having emigrated from Seattle three years ago. I love it here, although I’m still trying to find my tribe (outside of the House of Vries, of course). I long to live in the English countryside, in a stone house with a large garden that grows most of our herbs, vegetables, and fruit. But that time is out in the future—for now, we are city folk and I aim to make the best of that. Not every person gets a chance to move abroad and live in one of the most famous cities in the world! To that end.... *** Depending on who you speak to, some claim Keepers of the Flame are a subset of the wizards. Like metamorphmagi or parseltongue, being a Keeper is just an extra talent that wizards can possess. Since I never got my Hogwarts letter, I’m not convinced we Keepers are wizards except when it’s convenient to the Ministry of Magic. Example, a few days ago many of us Keepers were contacted by the MoM asking for our help with a Calamity that has threatened to expose the wizarding world, and I suspect may play a part in the darkness that has been seeping into the local Hearth Flame network. So maybe I’m still a little bitter about that Hogwarts letter, but I need to do what’s right, and it’s time to increase my patrols in and outside of my domain. *** This challenge is loosely tied to the new Harry Potter: Wizards Unite mobile game.* I’m keeping things relatively simple for this challenge—a focus on fitness. My weight loss has plateaued. We have a 12 mile hike planned conveniently on the last weekend of this challenge, and I don’t want to be the one who backs down from this Boss Battle. (It’s a group hike with varying fitness levels, so there is a likelihood of an early turn-around. That’s fine—I just don’t want to be the one who initiates.) Patrol the Area for the SoS Task Force Go out for daily walks, focusing on the “active minutes” stat of my Fitbit. Actions for this goal: Start with 40 active minutes 4 days a week and ramping up as I go on based on progress. Research (and potentially purchase) hiking boots that I will enjoy wearing. The current pair I have feel like I’m wearing lead weights and I really dislike them. Rock that 12 mile (or whatever it ends up being) hike. Examine and Fix My Eating Habits I hate food tracking, and I make no promises to do it. But my weight loss has stalled, and while I’m considered a “healthy” weight on the UK BMI scale, it’s only just barely. I want to increase that margin. My household already eats pretty clean. The challenge for me is to get back to eating on a sensible schedule instead of “whenever I can cram something into my mouth.” This is most problematic on weekday mornings, as Rowan has breakfast with Mr while I shower and then I have a toddler on the loose while I’m trying to fix and eat something for myself. This usually ends in me eating whatever I can find, and snacking later as it often wasn’t enough. Even healthy foods can be misused. Actions for this goal: Note when I eat (and possibly what I eat). Find and fix unhealthy patterns— particularly regarding breakfast. Stick to these solutions for the remainder of the challenge and check results. ***
  2. It's been....a year since I last checked in on my long-term goals here. Sooooo I have this super detailed system for tracking my life goals, which involves determining what areas of my life are most important to me, making sure my goals fit into those areas, breaking the goals down into actionable steps....it's a lot, but it works for me. These are the 6 categories I have in 2018, and here's a check-in on how the year is going. Here are my goals/plans for 2018, in order of priority: Healthy body * Complete 120 workouts (up from 104 last year) * Complete a nutrition quest in all challenges. * Find a mid-to-long term goal that motivates me (e.g. a skill to learn, a milestone to achieve, whatever it is I need) * Lose 10 pounds. (I'm super skeptical about this goal; more later.) Be happy * Keep reading lots of books! Let's read 30 this year! * Bike once a week * Reduce the number of old projects I have sitting around. Increased financial stability * Fully fund my IRA & 401(k). * Save as much as possible for a house. * Don't spend in any of my restricted categories (beauty, clothing, online writing classes, jewelry, decor). Community * Say yes to opportunities to meet new people. * Find ways to do what I like *with* other people, not just alone. * Set up the internship with Outreachy. Writing Community * Attend three local writing groups or classes. * Finish the cross-stitch projects for my Kickstarter. Work Life * Get comfortable at work. --- My current focus: Healthy Body / Be Happy 1. Go for a walk two nights a week. Why it's great: This quest hits a couple different goals. The only time I really lost weight was when I was walking a ton. My family frequently goes for walks in the evenings and I almost never join them, so this action will help me be closer to them as well. Why it's hard: I frequently am doing something when my family goes for a walk. I will need to make time in my schedule to accommodate these. 2. Salad lunch 3 days a week. Why it's great: As I realized when I was traveling this week, even though I often struggle to make exercise work when traveling, I could do a much better job of eating well when traveling (and, y'know, all the time). And we all know you can't outrun the fork (though lord, I am trying). Plus, eating better = feeling better. Why it's hard: Specifically, with the salad quest, I have struggled with eating out. I'm going to be home this whole month (not traveling yay!) so I should be able to prepare and keep the ingredients around for this. 3. Finish one of my cross-stitch projects. EDITED TO ADD BONUS QUEST: Design a second project. Why it's great: I will feel so happy when these are finished; they weigh on me constantly. It will feel amazing to send them to people and hear their reactions, plus it means I can do something productive while watching TV. Why it's hard: I'm not sure, but it's been a huge pain! I have really struggled to get started, though once I get started it's quick and easy to finish. 4. Work out twice this week; ride my bike once. Why it's great: I feel better when I work out more--less stiff, stronger, happier. And being on my bike makes me happy. Why it's hard: I'm out of practice on this--I've kept up the habit in terms of setting aside the time, though, so I think it'll be okay. BONUS: Take one fitness/exercise class. Why it's great: My job pays for it! I can try whatever I want! It will be great to try some new things and see if I'm inspired toward a more long-term goal. I am thinking of trying rock climbing, a ninja gym, dance classes, yoga, Feldenkrais, aerial classes....over time, of course. Not all of 'em right now. Just one for now. Why it's hard: I don't always like to leave my house. I am always late...and I hate being late. It's hard to choose which one to try. I want to keep the focus on finding things that make me happy. I always have other stuff going on aside from what's here, like a writing goal, or whatever--but I really want to focus on this challenge over my other goals this month. If I have spare time, I want to turn to this list and not my general list of goals. I want to interact with the forums more. I've lost a little faith in myself over the last few months because I haven't been able to keep up with my own goals. I've been setting goals that weren't honest or achievable, I failed to hit them, and then I felt bad about myself. It's time to build a strong foundation. I'm feeling pretty good about this quest. I like that it's small. I need to remember not to ask so much of myself that I can't complete it. I need to look at every goal I set and say to myself: If you take this challenge, you MUST succeed. Are you ready to do what it takes to get it done? And to honestly say yes or no. The only changes that matter are the ones I'm actually able to make, not the ones I wish I could make. EDITED TO ADD: I added workout twice/ride once as a quest and bumped the class down to a bonus class. I realized that I need to keep up on my workouts, but not having it in my challenge was feeling weird and off-kilter.
  3. Yo! I'm hiking up the ridge line of the "M" trail (the path that goes to the windsock) When: Sunday, May 8th at 10am. Where: Meet at trail base on the stairs. Who: Me! I'll be the dude wearing blue water pack. Why: Because life. Because social. Because GTFO of the house. Because friends. Because meaningful. What: We'll hike, talk about life stuff, you'll see me do stupid things like hike barefoot and grunt about it. Do. It.
  4. “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Thus power generation processes and energy sources actually involve conversion of energy from one form to another, rather than creation of energy from nothing.” The law of conservation of energy. It’s an irrefutable fact of physics. We talk about it a lot in relation to weight loss. Calories in, calories out. But I wonder; what would this look like in terms of the way I spend my daily energy? The way I spend my life? I tend to think about some things as "requiring energy" while others don't. But that's not true. Everything requires energy, according to the first law. And I have all that energy already within me. So it's up to me to be conscious how I spend it. So this challenge I'll still be making my to do list. But I want to explore limiting it. And reflect on what gets done -- and what doesn't. How am I choosing to spend my energy?
  5. Welcome, welcome!!!!! Draw up a chair and sit here by the fire while the assembled company prepares its boasts and plans for the coming month!!! I have no doubt that many brave deeds are being contemplated right now. At month's end, many a glorious tale will be told. And more than a few heroes will find themselves back here to nurse wounds and plan anew. I myself am taking a month's leisure to strum a merry tune of an evening and prepare for a long journey, waiting only for the easing of the winter cold before I am bound for the East, to see new lands and seek treasures I've only known of in tales. No one knows for sure what we will encounter on the way; so I need to prepare quite a number of things: 1) Healing Potions and Bandages I seem to catch minor illnesses with some frequency, which interferes with strenuous activity and training. There is a great deal of opinions about what remedies and preparations will prevent one from becoming ill ... or in speeding recovery. I plan to spend time each day reading at the great library and consulting with the local alchemists about the most effective items to take now and to bring with me on the adventure to come. I am a bit frustrated with my frequency of catching the "crud" and plan to do some research into effective ways to improve immunity, adopting tactics that have support of research. Some are obvious ... like getting good sleep and drinking plenty of water. But even a quick look at Harvard Health shows me that there are some stones I've left unturned. If I'm not feeling good, I often don't workout .... or I take it easy ..... so it takes longer to reach goals. I'm going to find ways to stay on task and working hard longer. 2) Food Well, food. A traveler may find places to eat along the road, but the quality of the victuals is often ...... questionable. And one might be better served by eating an apple and greens rather than fried porridge. I am preparing foods to bring with me so that I do not need to rely upon fast food served by the MacDonalds or other similar families. Their pubs may look inviting, but I've heard tales about their chicken nuggets that would curl your toes. I've had two interviews for a job in the Twin Cities at the University. Yea, that doesn't mean that I'll get it, but I started thinking about logistics and remembering that LUNCHES are often a real challenge. And that dinner can also mean that we go out because we're both tired and not interested in cooking. So, I'm going to get back into the habit of cooking ahead and preparing Bento Box lunches for each week day. Even if I'm working on projects on my own time table, this is not a bad thing to do, and it's more interesting than popping a frozen burrito in the microwave to be swilled down with warmed up coffee. 3) Gear I've been gathering up traveling clothes for a few weeks. I've garnered a nice, warm cloak and sturdy hiking boots, suitable for the cold. But I still need a few changes of shirts and trousers. And my time-keeping device has entirely lost the band that keeps it on my wrist. I need to dig through my packs and figure out what I will need for the trip, but I am sure many of my adventuring supplies are worn out or missing. I've been too long sitting by my fire, strumming a tune on this guitar. It is time for an adventure!!! I let my winter gear wear out and not be replaced. I got a few things for Christmas (parka and boots), but I still need more base layer items and a replacement for my FitBit, especially since for goal #5, I need to be prepared for what February in Minnesota can dish out. It can be damn cold (-30F) or very snowy, depending upon the year. 4) Spells No bard would take to the road .... nor no ranger either ..... without having essential spells memorized. It's a dangerous world out there, and one never knows if charm or a wolf will be needed to smooth the way. I am going to finish my personal trainer certification book by the end of February. I won't be able to take the test until April, which will let me work on memorization, but I want to learn the material and put it to work in my own life. 5) .... and I shall spend fair days in scouting the way ahead, as much as the snows permit, of course. It's best to know the lay of the land .... and start to get toughened up for the long walk. I'll gradually go out further each day to stretch my legs and get used to traveling in the cold again. One thing that helps keep me healthy is getting outside to exercise DAILY. Even if it is just a 30 minute walk, the fresh air really does seem to help. This can be a challenge!!!! And the gear for a February afternoon stroll can weigh more than 10 pounds .... so I'll get a leg up on prepping for a Go Ruck or OCR.
  6. Hey, anyone here do any geocaching? I started dabbling in it in 2013, but it turned into full-blown obsession 10 months ago. I'm curious to know if any fellow Rebels are also cachers.
  7. Recently a new app came out called "Land Sliders." As you slide around in Land Sliders, occasionally you'll come across a strange stone block with three lines of text on it and a tiny red symbol. The tiny symbol is the same one that can also found on the ground in much larger form, and it seems the coordinates and this larger version of the symbol may be related somehow. The lines of text on the block include a hint on top (or sometimes a series of question marks), followed by two coordinates. A few players have stumbled across various set of coordinates in the game that lead to actual places irl. A group has been kind enough to input the found coordinates here. So far only two have been found, one of them posting some lovely pictures of their cache on some forums. the little symbol on the coordinate blocks in the game also has a large version, which when stood on brings up a keypad-type window that says "Restricted" with 9 symbol keys on it. It seems like the "Restricted" puzzle and the coordinates have to be linked somehow, but what's it all about? What does it all MEAN? What other weird secrets are waiting for us in Land Sliders? If you're interested in helping the cause, check out the coordinates linked above to see if there are any near you or a fellow rebel so we can hunt down these caches, and let's crack this nut together!
  8. It's later than I intended, so I'll just put in a bit of a placeholder here. I'm also watching American Ninja Warrior online and there are so many people involved that I'd like to punch. This is kind of an exciting challenge, since the Warrior Dash -- my first obstacle course race -- is taking place in it. So it's the culmination of a lot. It's also a bit weird, since that event is going to be next weekend -- i.e., day 6 of the challenge. So a big part of my challenge goal will be done early. I'm in the hunt for hobbies. Is there anything I should try? I'm welcoming suggestions. No idea too absurd to consider. Frankly, the randomer the better. (Although I make no promises about anything... resources are finite, after all, and I'm not super-fond of putting my butt over my head.) More to come.
  9. Would any of you Austin locals be interested in this? We could form a nerd fitness team, and crush the competition with our amazing nerdiness and fitness. If I can't find a team, I'll probably run it alone. http://xperienceadventures.com/
  10. 3 sentence intro (Hiya druids!): I’m Pretzle, 25, Dutch, of the female sort. I teach English at college, like reading, cooking, good coffee & tea. A former (and future) assassin who has been mostly primal for the past month or so, loves BW stuff but can be a little mentally unstable at times. (This will be 4 but: I’m also looking for some friends (of the online and/or real life versions).) (Also, I write long posts. Just read the bold/underlined/italics and you'll get what I'm aiming for .) Main goal: Become/Stay sane & healthy - whatever happens. Ok, not really ‘whatever’, because sometimes you simply don’t have a say. But whenever I do have a say, I want to do all I can to achieve my main goal. Goal 1: Feed my mind and soul. * Read and study scripture for 15 minutes a day, before bed. I already have a solid habit of reading. I read about a book every week/10 days, so that’s absolutely fine (and fun) in a general sense. But I need sustenance, proper food. I’m a Christian, so I’d like to study the scriptures a bit more than I currently do. Why time based? I’ve read through the Bible in a year before, with a schedule telling me which chapters to read for the day. This means I would sometimes just read as quickly as I could to get through the planned reading. Good for general Bible knowledge and ‘just having read it all at least once’, but not for actual studying purposes. By setting a time goal it doesn’t matter how much I read. I can decide to study a few verses and really think about them. Which would be a good idea, I think. WIS 1 STA 2 Goal 2: Give them what they pay me for. * No work e-mail after 8 pm, only check once on Saturdays. I’m a teacher. It’s normal in my profession to work a few more hours than you’re actually paid for. I’m absolutely fine with that. The thing is, I’m addicted to checking my e-mail (both personal and work… I still checked my uni mail 2 months after graduating - until they closed my account!). I check my e-mail in the morning before work if I have time for it. I think that’s fine - it helps me anticipate some things which will happen (or suddenly won’t happen) during the day. But still mailing back and forth with a colleague after 9 pm? That’s just silly! So to allow me to get ready for bed, and really enjoy my weekends… I won’t check my work e-mail after 8 pm (all days) or check more than once on a Saturday. This will be difficult for me. … Ugh, habits CON 2 WIS 1 Goal 3: Keep up the good work. * Exercise 3 x a week I feel a bit silly for including this, but I’m afraid I’ll slip back into old (ancient by now) habits if I allow myself to do so… I’ve exercised for about 3 times a week ever since I started running in December 2011. I’m busier now with work, though, and the autumn has started and winter is on its way. That’s why I will still include it as a goal, just to keep myself accountable on days I simply don’t feel like it. Forms of exercise will likely consist of: Bodyweight circuits, balancing, Poi, jump rope, swimming, walking, sprinting… Basically bodyweight exercises (which I love) … and whatever else I feel like! STR 2 STA 2 DEX 1 Lifequest: Try something new! * During this challenge do two things I’ve never done before! Tentative ideas: - Go to KB girl’s KB workshop (I’m terrified, but really want to try ) - Go to a classical concert - Send my grandparents a letter explaining what I’ve learnt from them over the past 25 years, saying thank you - Go to a gym and get a PT to explain weights stuff to me - Organise for a native speaker to visit my classroom (the organising part, not sure I could make this happen during the challenge) - ... I’ve actually been doing REALLY well with this particular goal. I’ve graduated, started a new job, tried in-door climbing, got myself a museumcard and visited a few of those (even went to one all by myself)... Still, I’d like to keep it up and expand my horizon even more. CHA + 4
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