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  1. The early night of winter had settled softly but firmly over our little home on the outskirts of the city, and the daytime sounds of trade and travel outside had given way to the nighttime sounds of raucous celebrations and the smells of food being prepared. My husband Eamon and I had already eaten, cleaned up and put our simple wooden dishes away, and Eamon was settled by the fire, his healing body wrapped in a warm blanket and his mind wrapped up in a book he'd waited weeks to read. I took a deep breath of contentment and let my gaze linger on the small, bright little room we called home: The one big window, the hand-smoothed walls and low ceilings, the little bedroom with our big soft bed squashed inside, the cozy kitchen and eating area connected to the rest of the house by a narrow door. It was a little cramped, yes; but I loved all the touches that we'd added to make it uniquely ours. I settled myself across from Eamon in the wooden chair he'd carved and the padded cushions I'd sewn and stuffed myself. The weather was mild and rainy, and I pulled a light blanket over my knees as I picked up my new, blank journal. With my favorite ink pen, I carefully wrote inside the cover: Sky Elvenword Nobleheart Ranger Field Journal Even though I called it that, though, I knew this journal would be different than past journals I'd kept. There wasn't as much time for hunting and exploration as there used to be, and fewer enemies to fight. Many of the pages would be filled with mundane things like recipes, or tracking my archery practice and weekend hikes. But still, it felt good to be writing again, to be tracking my progress as I learned new things. I sketched out a few ideas for topic headings: Dragon riding. Lessons twice a week, practice twice a week. Cooking. Use veggies from cellar? New grain recipes for winter? Herbs? Creativity / fun! Movement. Hiking, archery, meditation, foraging, sightseeing in the city, etc. Silver Bow practice. Keep those skills sharp! Management. House stuff, money, wife stuff. Being an adult. I doodled a few leaves and vines in the margins before setting the pen down and yawning luxuriously. It was the festival of the new year and Eamon and I got to rest for three days before going back to work. I wanted to start planning some blankets for friends' new babies, dream about a garden, and venture out for a hike in the rain. Closing the soft leather cover, I ran my fingers affectionately over its wrinkles and leaned back to doze. I couldn't wait to see what adventures would fill this journal's pages.
  2. This new challenge is all about exploring the habits I’ve been working on since I respawned here back in November. A little poking, a little prodding, and not being afraid to see what happens when I shake up the habits I have to make something new. Habits I’m bringing over from last challenge: Only eat take out or at a restaurant if I am with other people or involved in some kind of social event. This wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and I feel so great knowing I can go into a kitchen without blowing something up. New habits to form and challenges to take on: I’ll be keeping up with my yoga practice, going at least five days per week. However, Mondays will be dedicated to learning crow pose. I’ve found some videos that will hopefully help me on this journey. Even if I don’t fully accomplish the pose, I at least want to start to learn something new and grow from there. Posture. I have terrible posture and with my TMJ problems getting worse, I think my body could benefit from me caring a bit more about how I sit. If there’s one thing I’ve discovered as I get help dealing with my uncooperative jaw, it’s that everything is connected in so many subtle ways. It’s been so interesting to see how the neck/back/spine has been impacting my jaw, and I want to see more progress there. Plus, maybe it will give me a confidence boost, and I won’t say no to that. Meet my My Fitness Pal calorie targets…most of the time, and continuing to track no matter what. I don’t want to be unreasonable, because that sounds like the quickest way to failing and ending up back where I started. I have some good food habits and some bad ones, and I want to eat better over all and lose weight, but I also want to learn what works while not totally removing the enjoyment from my life. Grabbing pizza and a drink on the weekend with friends is not off limits. The goal it to simply keep track, and not overdo it with the mindless snacking/stress eating/boredom-work-from-home-cupboard-adventures on a daily basis.
  3. My health journey starts with the basics: Duolingo Reading Exercises Healthy snacks Shaw academy Bullet Journaling
  4. This challenge will be a boss battle for me. I'm tired of the Procrastination Monkey running my life. It's time to rise up & do battle. You can read more about the monkey Here and steps to overcome Here Monkey Tamers United Productivity Games The above links are where I'll be recording progress. For the Monkey Tamers post, if you click on the spreadsheet; you can see the gameboard. This post will be more of a diary entry.
  5. Deep, deep in the darkest and most overgrown part of the forest, where fallen logs created elaborate spiral staircases and hollow riverbeds formed meandering paths into unseen gathering places, I sat quietly on a flat stone, for once not caring as the damp air froze into a lightly drifting snow around me. Even when I was alone with Soji in my cottage, I felt the need to suppress Eldarwen, to keep my moods under control as best I could. But out here, where no one but squirrels and birds could see, I was simply myself, not thinking or processing, just being. The humid air froze around me, a light frost covered the leaves and fallen trees, and I didn't mind. It was a hot day; they would thaw as soon as I was gone. "You may have weathered the last storm of emotion," I heard my counselor's voice in my head as I lightly traced frosty spirals on the surface of the rock, "but others will be coming. My job is to help you not get sucked under and half-drowned every time something happens that causes you strong feelings." I had felt a bit irritated at her words. I wanted to feel my emotions, not resist or dampen them. But she continued: "One way you can combat 'drowning' in your feelings is by knowing the things that don't change, no matter what is happening around you or even inside you. I want you to focus on those things - specifically, I want you to focus on yourself. Who are you? What are you? And what parts of you don't change, no matter what else in your life changes?" I reached into my bag and pulled out my journal, carefully smoothing open a blank page and wrinkling my nose as the edges became tipped with frost. "I am," I wrote at the top. And then I stopped, looking hesitantly at the rest of the empty space. There were a lot of words that had been tossed at me lately, words used to describe me, that I supposed I could write there. One of the biggest things that regularly threatened to yank me away from my moorings and dunk me into a stormy sea of emotion was romance - it always had been; but while I had longed for it from afar for more than two decades, suddenly it was arriving on my doorstep, in the form of letters and packages tucked under my door or my eccentric neighbor popping over to ask, as if he'd just thought of it, whether I might like to take a walk this evening, as the weather was excellent? And those letters were full of words that sounded like they were describing someone else - I didn't recognize the confident, warm, lovely person they wrote to me about. It forced me to admit that I had truly believed no one would ever be interested in me romantically. But they were. What truths about me were still constant despite that enormous shift in circumstances? What would continue to be true even when I had to tell some of them I didn't want to be with them - or if I told one of them that I did? What would still be true about me then, if I was no longer single? I slowly put my pencil to the paper and a few words began to come out: I am ... independent. (And I will still be independent, even if someday I'm no longer single.) Strong. (I will still be strong, I'll just have a partner in that strength.) Ambitious. Capable. A leader. Curious. Adventurous. Faithful. Good. [... that was a weird one. I looked at it hard, and felt very uncomfortable. Yes, the kind voice whispered in the frosty wind, yes, dear one, you will still be good if you open yourself up to loving and being loved. You are still good when you have physical feelings, not just intellectual or theoretical ones. You are still good if you say the wrong thing sometimes, if you don't always know what to do, if you make a mistake, even if you hurt yourself or someone else. You were made good, and stepping into this new and unfamiliar season of your life doesn't change that. You are free to be here, and free to find your way imperfectly, with open hands and open heart. You are free to feel these things, free to say these things, free to hear these things said about you, without being ashamed. Even if your relationship status on earth changes, your relationship with your King will not. You are still good, dear one. Don't be afraid.] I sat up a little straighter as I turned another page. It had been almost exactly three months since the village leaders had told everyone to stay home to avoid the plague; and while some things were getting back to normal, many were not. The doctors warned that it could be many more months before the plague was truly gone. And that forced me to ask the question: When so much of my life and identity revolved around making myself liked by other people, what would still be true about me if I were this isolated for three more months, or six, or nine? What was true about me when there was no one else around to tell me I was doing well or doing right? I began to write again: I am ... creative. (I can still create whether anyone sees my work or not.) Imaginative. Hard-working. Kind. (Yes, I am still kind, even when there's no one to tell me I am.) Compassionate. Caring. Empathetic. Emotionally intelligent. Thoughtful. Artistic. Responsible. Successful. (I don't need others to tell me I'm successful. What a strange thought that is.) Another page. A few random ones that didn't fit with either of the upcoming storms I foresaw: I am honest. Sensitive. Courageous. (I don't have to feel courageous to be so.) I am loved. Chosen. Needed. Valued. Worthy. I looked at the page, and took a deep breath. No matter what else happens, I am always the Silver Archer. Even if I change beyond all recognition, change my name, change my station in life - even if I were to change completely into the Dark Elf and lose all of my favorite parts of myself - I will never cease to be the Silver Archer. Some of the words I had hastily jotted down could change, I knew. I might not always be courageous; trauma or age could make me more cautious. I might find contentment and be less ambitious and driven someday. I may not always be an outspoken leader; I might find a comfortable place as a follower and supporter. I closed the journal and tucked it back in my bag, and got to my feet, opening my hands to send shimmering showers of icy crystals through the air, and smiling when they landed on my face like chilly pinpricks in the summer heat. Even if all the other things changed, the last six would not. I would always be loved. I would always be chosen. Needed. Valued. Worthy. And the Silver Archer. Come plagues, come riots, come another season of isolation with my cat - even come more suitors - those things would sustain me, steadfast and certain, the Rock I could place my feet on or hang onto when the maelstrom of emotion tried to suck me into its lost depths. And so the question was - what was I going to build on that Foundation?
  6. Hey! I'm Kerri. I joined the Academy today and wanted to start a new battle log for this purpose. Most of what is in my old log are outdated measurements and some remnants of black & white thinking. I'm excited to take this new step in my leveling up. I am currently 255 lbs. (Down 40lbs from my highest weight) I am eating three meals a day regularly, with only occasional snacks. I have binge-eating episodes less than once or twice a month? I no longer have tachycardic symptoms and my asthma is controlled without medication. My fasting sugars are out of prediabetic range, and my insulin is almost in the normal range. I'm doing pretty good so far. However, I've not started exercising. I have not "worked out" beyond the demands of my job (which is two days a week, 10hrs a day) and I want this to change. My fibromyalgia pain is getting worse in my shoulders and I know a part of this is due to them no longer being strong from doing PT exercises. I'm hoping the Academy will help me with this. I'm at a standstill with my eating as well - having a chronic illness (not to mention my ADHD) makes cooking, meal planning, and grocery shopping nutritiously difficult. More concrete education and small steps to do this are an exciting start. So here's to my next level up, my middle road journey to spy-hood!
  7. In the two weeks leading up to this challenge I've been focused on sustaining my sobriety (12 days and counting) and my general health and well-being - finding better balance and growing in gratitude, humility and wisdom. I aim to cultivate a more balanced, fun, grateful, engaged/connected/present, and healthy life. I've titled this challenge "Back in the saddle" because I want to prioritize a few things I've neglected in recent months, biking among them. Here are my four goals: 1) Ride my bicycle 200 or more miles between July 1 and July 28 2) Pack a healthy, balanced lunch for work 5+ times between July 1 and July 26 3) Play my guitar (and sing) 3+ times a week between July 1 and July 28 4) Read 2 or more books before July 28 with at least one for enjoyment and one for personal/professional development. A few others I considered and will work on, but not the focus for this challenge: *) Go out with my wife on 2 or more dates in July - just the two of us. *) Complete 2 or more strength workouts every week in July *) Ride the bus 5+ times next month to be a better steward of the environment and secure some time for reading *) Continue my sobriety streak without interruption from 15 consecutive days to 46 days by the end of the month!
  8. 2018 was a giant shitshow for me, and I'm hoping that I'm finally ready to get my life back in order. I'm at my heaviest, weakest, and least healthy that I've been since I started on NerdFitness. Bleh. I know my habits have been awful, but I'm also not sure how much of the low energy and other issues is from the Tamoxifen. My main goal for 2019 is to have vastly fewer doctor visits and medical procedures than 2018. But, since I don't have control over that, here are the goals I actually have the power to make happen: -Test for Level II in Aerial Silks -Lose 15 lbs -Regain my dead hang pull up -Get some sort of data science professional certification -Conquer at least one of the piano songs that I've always wanted to be able to play. -Fix my sleep health issues, so I'm properly rested and energized each day. To meet these goals, I'm going to start small and think more like a noob for this challenge. That means, I'm going to focus mostly on movement every day and healthy eating, with the hopes that I'll lose some weight. Goal 1: Yoga or Darebee each day that I don't have silks or parkour. It doesn't need to be really challenging, and it doesn't need to be more than 15 minutes. I just need to get back into the habit of sweating every day. I'm not planning to push myself to pick challenging workouts. One of my problems over the last 6 months has been picking things that I used to be able to do but were currently too hard for me, get frustrated, and then abandon the workout partway through. Instead, I'm going to stick with easier workouts and finish them. Goal 2: 25 km of walking per week. Yeah, it's cold and nasty out. I still need to just suck it up and do my walking. Goal 3: Engage the pressure cooker. I just got an instant pot for x-mas, and I've already tried a few amazing recipes. For this goal, I'm going to try 2 new, healthy recipes each week. I generally end up with a lot of leftovers, so this ensures that I have a lot of healthy food available all of the time. Goal 4: Limit the treats and sweets. I'm only allowed one serving of sweets each day at a single designated time. At all other times, the junk food is off limits. For now, that's it!
  9. It's a new challenge! I've been away because it was the end of the summer/start of the semester and work becomes "overwhelming" (in a word) at that time. But it's starting to slow down a bit now, so I figured I may just put fingertips to keyboard and write a goal for myself. I've realized that resistance is futile. I need to change my way of life. Things are unmanageable and I always take an "all or nothing" approach to life, and that hasn't worked. So I'm going to slow down, take a level of Druid (not really but kind of) and see what I can do about my biggest pitfalls: Flexibility, and diet. So here's the plan: Four yoga classes per week (or at least a half hour stretching session if that's not possible), and I will track my calories, with a goal of keeping my caloric intake below my caloric expenditure. That's it. Easy enough, right? I get back from a quick trip to Washington DC on Monday. I'll still be riding, maybe running, maybe lifting, but all that counts is the yoga/stretching and the caloric counts. I'll post on MyFitnessPal for anyone who wants to friend me there (just changed my login name to Mediaguy99). Meanwhile I'll probably also post about family life, child rearing, smallbore rifle practice in preparation for winter biathlon season, and archery, and swing / salsa dancing, and Jeep repair, and ancient VW Van repair, and #vanlife, and rain, and wildfires, and all the wonders that are Colorado in the fall. Also I'm getting treated for GERD (gastro-esophogeal reflux disease) which I've had since I was about 18 and discontinued meds for in 2013. It's been hard to keep the symptoms under control but there's a new medical procedure that my doc says I'm a good candidate for, which should help a lot. I'll post more about that as I get closer to finding out if I can really get it done.
  10. Become the Wolf Here we go again (Again again again). Last time I attempted this I tried my hand at Keto and although it worked really well in the beginning it wasn't for me. Near the end I was mentally exhausted, bitter, frustrated and found myself cheating and eating worse than I did while off the diet. Which of course brought on the feelings of guilt and failure. So here I am again, ready to push forward and become the wolf. Fierce, wild and determined. Let's see how far I get this time. The plan - Drink at least 2L of water daily - Meal plan ahead of time - Snacks in moderation - Move a bit more Goals -5lbs by Nov 19 -10lbs by Dec 24 -15lbs by Jan 28 -20lbs by Mar 04 Stats to date Height: 5'10" Weight: 256lbs Est. BF%: 45.3 Measurements Neck: Bust: Bicep: Forearm: Wrist: Waist: Hips: Thigh: Calf:
  11. WARNING: This challenge will have no real goals. It'll just be a lot of blathering. I'm not in a position for goals right now. On March 19, the radiologist thought that something didn't look quite right on my routine, screening mammogram. So, she called me back for another one as well as an ultrasound. One biopsy later, and I was diagnosed with IDC breast cancer. Over the last month, I've gone through 2 mammograms, an ultrasound, an ultrasound guided biopsy, a breast MRI, a CT scan, a lymph node biopsy, a bone scan, an upper arm MRI, an arm X-ray, a visit to the surgical oncologist, a visit to the plastic surgeon, a class at the hospital, and ultimately a bilateral mastectomy. So yeah. As Jayne would say, I took that stick. And, well, I took it. And I guess that's something. All of that being said, everything is considered to be 100% curable, so I don't want anyone worrying about me too much. It was caught relatively early, and it has the best combination of hormonal receptors that you can possibly have for breast cancer. Here I am 2 days before surgery And here I am after surgery. TMI warning.. Things are very tender, but I actually feel pretty good. I'm only using the oxycodone at night, and I'm fine with just tylenol and ibuprofen during the day. The big problem is that I'm currently a T-Rex, meaning I can't raise my arms or use them much. Rather than worrying that a T-Rex can't parkour (or do yoga, pull ups, silks, push ups, etc.), instead I'll focus on what a T-Rex can do. T-Rex can take walks, read books, do physical therapy exercises, paint miniatures, (eventually) play the piano, relax, and heal. So, that's what I will do. On Friday, I should get the pathology report, at which point I'll know if they need to go back in and harvest more lymph nodes. I'll also have a slightly better idea if I'll end up doing chemo. While I really hope they don't need to take more lymph nodes, since that would greatly increase my risk of lymphedema, I'll just deal with whatever happens. I'm feeling pretty positive about everything, have a ton of support, and I'm ready to tackle all of this head-on! I am a little weirded out that Rurik and I seem to be cosmically linked, but the universe works in weird ways.
  12. “Read to beam up,” the transporter engineer said. “Engage,” Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge ordered The transponter engaged and Command Kronos stood on the platform. His red Starfleet uniform was immaculate. Even the rank pips seemed polished. Kronos stepped off the platform and he greeted the Lieutenant. “I’m Lieutenant Commander LaForge, head of Engineeering on the Enterprise,” LaForge said and gestured to his right. “This is Lieutenant Commander Data, he’ll be giving you a tour of the ship, before taking you to the bridge.” “Thank you,” Kronos said, giving the man a nod. He turned towards the Android. “I’m looking forward to getting started.” The android looked at him. “Thank you Commander, if you would please follow me.” Kronos thanked LaForge and followed the android around the ship. For an android, Data was rather articulate. He seemed almost human. It was quite endearing. Kronos used the tour to try to get a rein in on his emotions. He was excited. Kronos had heard of the crew of the Enterprise, and he was honored to have been sent to the ship to learn from such a talented crew. “And this is Sick Bay,” Data stopped, allowing Commander Kronos to enter first. A few nurses attended to their duties. “This way, please, Commander.” The android gestured to a side office in which a woman sat. She stood as the two entered. “Dr. Crusher, this is Commander Kronos. He is hear to observe and learn. Commander - this is Dr. Crusher, the Enterprise’s Chief Medical Officer.” Kronos shook hands with the Doctor. “I’m looking forward to working with you Dr. Crusher,” Kronos said, pulling out a datatape. “My medical records are here. I figured I’d save you the trouble of procuring them yourself.” “Thank you,” she said. “I look forward to working with you as well.” The pair left and went finally to the lift. Data ordered the lift to take them to the bridge. Kronos could feel the anxiety building up as the doors opened. Several crew members worked at their stations. Two men and a woman sat in the center of the bridge. They stood and turned towards the lift as Data left and resumed his own work at his station. “Permission to come aboard the bridge, Captain,” Kronos said, his heart fluttering. “Permission granted,” came the reply from Captain. Kronos entered the bridge and the trio met him. A bald man, the Captain, greeted him. “I’m Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Welcome aboard the Enterprise Commander Kronos. We are very excited to be able to work with you.” “Thank you, Captain,” Kronos said, taking the man’s outstretched hand. “The pleasure is all mine.” Captain Picard gestured to the man at his right, who, like Kronos, wore read and had three rank pips on his collar. “This is my First Officer, Commander William Riker.” The two men greeted each other and the Captain gestured to the woman on his left. “And this is our Counselor, Deanna Troi.” The woman leaned in as Kronos shook her hand. “Relax,” she said, sensing his anxiety. “My security officer, Lieutenant Worf, and I believe you have already met Mr. Data.” the Captain finished introductions. “Please take a seat,” Commander Riker said, gesturing towards his own chair. “I couldn’t,” Kronos said. “I’m just here to observe and learn.” Commander Riker gave him an encouraging smile. “What better way to learn.” Kronos looked at the Captain who smiled and said, “Don’t make me order you to take your seat Commander.” “Aye, sir,” Kronos said taking the seat to the Captain’s right. “Alright Commander, let’s set our heading,” Captain Picard said. “Aye, sir. Mr. Data - set course bearing 151-mark-3 Warp factor three.” Kronos ordered. “Course laid in,” Data said, typing at his pad. “We are ready for warp sir.” Kronos took a deep breath. “Engage.” In this challenge, different members of the Enterprise crew will be giving Commander Kronos advice on how to become a better Starfleet officer. Each officer has also given the Commander a sub-quest and although it is not necessary, it will help the Commander achieve his goals Counselor Troi's Challenge As ship's counselor - Deanna Troi's responsibilities are to make sure the crew is emotionally stable to do their duties with the best judgment. As such, her challenge to Commander Kronos is to continue making progress on fighting depression and anxiety through religious study and prayer. He should also make sure to not isolate himself in an unhealthy way. Sub Quest: Start the day out with mindful meditation/prayer Dr. Crusher's Challenge As the ship's Chief Medical Officer, it is Dr. Crusher's responsibility to make sure the crew is physically fit to perform their duties. Her challenge to the Commander is eating based. She would urge the Commander to not skip meals and to eat more vegetables. He should be also active at least three times a week. Sub Quest: Try a new food once a week Commander Riker's Challenge Commander Riker's responsibilities are to assist the Captain, but the Commander also knows how to have a good time and is a good trombone player. His challenge to Command Kronos is to practice his banjo five days a week for a half an hour each time. Sub Quest: Listen to some new music or share music with others Captain Picard's Challenge The Captain is in charge of all day to day activities on the Enterprise. This requires a great deal of organization. This challenge will be difficult, but with some organization should be possible. Captain Picard's challenge is for Kronos to log his food, activity and practicing. Journaling would be great as well. Setting up a calendar would help a great deal for planning purposes. Sub Quest: Read Level Up Your Life
  13. THE SILVER ARCHER Chapter 1 I pulled my quiver strap tighter with one hand so it wouldn't bounce against my body as I ran hard up the last hill, trying to disguise my heavy breathing. Mistral would be furious that I wasn't at the rendezvous point when she arrived, and I doubted that she would accept my excuse. The sun had long set and the roving bands of enemy elves and men would soon resume their nightly pursuit of our little Ranger band. It was not safe to be out in the woods alone. When I reached the crest of the hill, I looked down and saw Mistral's campfire already burning low. I sighed and began to run down toward her. At least I had shot two small rabbits and traded for some cornmeal in the last village - perhaps that would appease her frustration. I took a deer trail down the hill so I would make as little noise as possible hurrying toward the campsite, but despite my relatively quiet approach, she was already sitting up and poking the fire back to life when I arrived in the clearing. "You stayed longer than you said you would," she said simply. I sighed and dumped the sack at her feet. "I did." She glanced at the bag, didn't open it, and looked up at me out of the corner of her eye. "Why?" I took a deep breath. No sense in covering it up. "I healed three people this afternoon." "What!" She immediately sat up and pushed back her hood to look me full in the face, her eyebrows raised high over huge violet eyes. "I told you not to use your powers without one of your teachers around! You still have much learning to do before you're ready to use them on your own!" "I know ..." I unslung my bow and quiver and sat down heavily on the ground next to her, slowly pulling off my wristlets and unlacing my boots. "But ... I couldn't just leave them there, could I? One of the girls had been hurt ... one of them was a young mother who was very sick ... and then an old gentleman who was very confused and needed help. I was the only one around." "You went to town," Mistral shot back pointedly. "You were not the only one around. Someone else could have helped them." "But not like I could," I shot back without thinking. As soon as I said it, she closed her eyes and her shoulders sank in a deep sigh. Why had I said that? I turned away and pulled my boots off, cringing as I waited for her usual lecture. She threw her stick down on the ground and rubbed her slender hands over her face with another heavy sigh. "Sky, you bear an important responsibility as the Keeper of the Silver Bow, that's true. But you're carrying far more weight on your shoulders than you should - far more than you're ready to carry. No one expects you to fulfill every need or right every wrong that comes your way. You are not the only Healer in the world. There are others. Many others. If you stop to use your powers on every crying child or lonely old man you meet, you won't have any time left to concentrate on your training and get stronger and more prepared to help even more people, in even bigger ways. Your training is the most important thing for you to focus on right now. All these side quests of yours are good, yes, but your training is best. You have a great work ahead of you that you won't be able to do if you don't shut out the distractions and practice and learn." I sighed quietly as I half-listened to the speech she had already given me three or four times in the last week. I knew her reasoning was probably true, but I also knew I couldn't just close my eyes when people saw my Silver Bow in the villages and forest towns and came to me, asking for my help. It only took me a few minutes to hold onto someone's shaking hands and listen to them pour out their heart, or to fire an arrow discreetly into the center of a bickering throng, or to place my hands on the shoulders of a wounded soldier so the King's healing power could flow through his bruised body. The practice drills and dull old texts that Mistral assigned me did not and could not seem as important as real people sitting in front of me and asking for my help. Of course, I couldn't say any of that to my teacher. "You're right," I said meekly, and reached over to push the bag toward her. "I did bring back a couple of rabbits and some cornmeal, if that helps." She looked at the bag, then at me, then shook her head and chuckled. "Sky, I'm not so easily distracted. Thank you for the food. You fry the cornmeal while I prepare the rabbit, and we'll continue this discussion another time."
  14. Snuggles has successfully infiltrated the Blue Water Academy for Higher Learning and has fully adjusted to her new daytime schedule. She has arranged a meeting with Professor Lott to discuss her academic goals and plan of attack. The last leg of her journey was not sucessful though. She completely failed with her physical therapy and struggled to find enough fruit to meet her daily requirements. Although she didn’t reach her goal with regards to entertainment, it was not a failure. She halved her lazy time and has come up with a plan to improve on this in the coming weeks. Snuggles struggled greatly with her physical therapy, but there is hope. She has scheduled the use of the Wellness room at work and will be doing her physical therapy every workday before lunch. So her fitness goal is to continue to develop her Physical Therapy into a daily habit. For this challenge she will aim for 5 days/ 1 full set, 2 days some PT. Spinal rock 10 times Bridge 10 times Spinal stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Dog to Camel pose 10 time Trunk Rotation 10 times Quadriceps Stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Squat 10 times Shoulder Rolls, forward and backward, 10 count each Week #1 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus 1 Butterscotch Root Beer Week #2 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus 1 Butterscotch Root Beer Week #3 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus 1 Butterscotch Root Beer Week #4 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus 1 Butterscotch Root Beer An unexpected challenge of Snuggles undercover work is, now that she is working days, she has greater access and temptation to eat unhealthy. This challenge will focus on making sure she has health meals and snacks ready for during the workweek. This goal will be developed each weekend for the following week. Week 1: Plan 3 different, healthy, lunches for work Week 2: Actually eat lunch every day! Week 3: Plan snacks for work! No buying snacks during the week! Week 4: Week #1 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #2 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #3 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #4 of my challenge = .5(CON) Snuggles has also been struggling with her hydration. She is doing well at work, but after work and on the weekends she is slipping. So this goal is simple, 8 cups of water or tea a day! Week #1 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #2 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #3 of my challenge = .5(CON) Week #4 of my challenge = .5(CON) For personal development Snuggles still wants to decrease her TV time. However, instead of a goal to decrease TV time, the goal will be to replace TV with other activities. This goal will also be developed over the course of the challenge. I average 5 shows a day during the week and 8 shows and 1 movie a day on the weekend. My goal will be to see what I can do instead of TV. Activities to replace TV: Reading Journaling Letter writing Learning to knit Learning to crochet Learning French Learning Latin Game Night Lockpicking Tango Parkour Ideas from peers… Rate will be calculated by the time not spent watching TV, but doing something else. There will be no penalties for watching TV, but I won't earn points unless I replace activities. Points will be calculated based on my activities. Week #1 of my challenge = Week #2 of my challenge = Week #3 of my challenge = Week #4 of my challenge = Builder Goals- Continue to track healthy habits Take time to write 2 times a week Take 5 minutes, 2 times a week to meditate Walk 7 out of 10 times to/from work Follow healthy eating from past goals Practice lock picking 30 minutes weekly Pass- Gain 1 (WIS) Fail- Lose 1 (WIS)
  15. Hey everyone old and new, I'm a 26-year-old British guy who used to do lots of Assassin activities, then quit his software job last August to travel the world During my first 19 challenges I've worked on the following: started weightlifting and became 50% stronger learned to speak Spanish enough to have conversations (thanks partly to NF's Talvi!) learned to handstand [progress video] competed for Britain in the Mental Calculation and Memory Olympics and became the British record-holder for calendar calculations became a volunteer tour guide for hiking expeditions in the Nicaraguan volcanoes with QuetzalTrekkers learned to do ring muscle-ups, front handsprings and failed to learn to backflip created a gymnastics training sampler composed more piano music including a relaxing original piece and an interpretation of some melodic death metal Right now I'm in Guatemala as a tourist until 4th April, seeing places like Semuc Champey, before returning briefly to England and starting a new travelling adventure! For now though, I'm going to spend some working on the basics of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while travelling: Goal #1: healthy eating: eating well is more difficult while you're travelling and... your hostel's kitchen consists of a microwave and a broken corkscrew you can't find your usual healthy restaurants and have to choose between foreign McBurgerDonuts and the local delicacy of fried chicken served with oil and chips you've spent way too much on food already you're stuck on a bus for 8 hours and it's difficult to bring a Mediterranean salad on there so you cope with a packet of potato chips and some oreos as "lunch" you keep getting lost and accidentally ending up in ice-cream shops I want to be travelling for a while longer, so I want to get into healthier habits for eating. sugar when I need it, and not when I don't less fatty food (in Central America they fry everything, even bananas) more fruit and vegetables I'm going to grade this subjectively, awarding +3 CON Goal #2: food budget: I'm currently spending 40% of my money on food, or $15.22/day, and I've just started travelling in a more expensive country so I need to be careful. grade A: $13.50 average, for +1 WIS grade B: $14.00 grade C: $14.50 grade D: $15.00 Goal #3: keep active! I've just finished 3 months of hiking up volcanoes 4-5 days every week, and want to keep my fitness up. Again grading this subjectively, but I'd like to be hiking often, doing cool watersports, and some random workouts to maintain my strength. Graded subjectively, awarding a maximum of +1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 STA Goal #4: understand Spanish: after 6 months in Spanish-speaking places I should be much better at understanding spoken Spanish. So by the end of this challenge I want to be able to understand the majority of what they're saying on EuroNews' Spanish channel. Awarding +1 WIS Goal #5: plan my next adventure! My plan is to live in some cool European city for at least a month while working on a new personal project like learning to create websites. This is very vague, so by the end of the challenge I need to have something much more concrete. Awarding +2 CHA grade A: be very prepared grade B: have a project and some activities planned grade C: have a project or some activities planned grade D: now where I'll be travelling next So that's it! I'll hopefully also be posting some cool photos of my travels here in Guatemala. This is also my first challenge here in the Adventurers' Guild, so I'm looking forward to seeing what some of you are up to Good luck everyone!
  16. Veteran Rebels Mini-Challenge Hi everyone and welcome to the first ever Veteran Rebel Mini-Challenge! While traditionally the Rebel mini has been a step-by-step guide of how to challenge (yes), as things have changed and the Rebel Guild has become an all-Level encompassing place, we found that that started to become repetitive. Therefore, for veteran rebels that have braved the forums for some time, and who wish to add flavour (literally) to their challenges, we have decided to whisk together a simple but fun Mini-Challenge for you. Newcomers are of course welcome as well, but if it’s your first time using the NF Forums, we recommend you go through the challenge Tutorial [LINK] first as well as the Fruit Toss [LINK] mini challenge first to get a taste of the format. For everyone else, the Rules of the Game are Simple: This mini-challenge will run from 12/02 until 11/03 and is open to anyone who wishes to participate. Just add your name to the sign-up sheet and join in, you may sign up at any time. Every Friday (to give you time to plan your weekend shopping), we will be announcing one vegetable of the week. Your challenge is to use that vegetable in as many dishes as possible. For each meal/dish/recipe you use that vegetable in (keyword is use, just coming up with the recipe doesn’t count) you get one point. The Rebel with the most points at the end of the week wins! You are welcome to post pictures. Let us know if you are participating and don’t hesitate to ask any questions! A Note on Mini-Challenges: Mini-challenges are not mandatory, feel free to ignore this one if you don't want to participate. Don't let mini-challenges hinder your own goals. If you're not sure how to register something, post it here. If you get stuck, Rebels @IAmInfinite, @fleaball and myself (@Miw_Sher) will be happy to help you forward.
  17. As we last saw Red, He was hit by a poisoned arrow... *Cough* "What are you doing?" Red asks, lying on the bed. "You were hit with an arrow containing a virus, it's not life-threatening, but you can't do anything until you rid yourself of it." Baron answered, "What I'm going to do is help you." Baron runs back and forth gathering ingredients and putting them into a pot to boil, "Here drink this." Red takes a big gulp, "BLECH!! That's terrible!" "Yeah, I know, but it'll help. Drink more." Hesitantly, Red gulps down another rancid drink. "How long does this illness last?" Red asks lying in bed. "Well, that depends on you. The more you push yourself, the more energy you'll take away from fighting off this illness and the longer you'll be sick." "Great -_-;;" So there you have it folks. My challenge this time will be to move as little as possible and reserve all of my energy fighting off this disease. Drink this - I have to make sure I consume as much fluids as possible! No soda, nothing that can hinder my health, So that means LOTS of water, tea, and Theraflu Don't Move - Only until I'm better. I have to take my time with work (which requires me moving around all over the place) and when I'm not at work, I'm going to park my butt on my bed and stay still. Things I still have to do - I had plans on meeting with the Financial Aid Counselor, but instead, I'm just going to email her, hopefully, this can resolve that business. And at the current moment, I can't think of anything else on this list, so I'll resolve them as they come back to memory.
  18. The forest is silent; the animals still, waiting. Suddenly a Sherkasta stumbles from the shrubs into the open meadow. Her black striped, white coat standing out in stark contrast to the rich green around her. Her simple shirt was streaked with dirt and there was a small tear in her brown wool pants. Her boots, caked with mud, were of an indistinguishable color. This past month was one of trial and of insight. Having journeyed far from her home in the north to seek out the wisdom of the Forest Sage, she is now ready to continue her journey. Though her people are traditionally barbarians, Snuggles has chosen the path of the Assassin. Lacking in the brute strength most of her people have, she makes up for it in stealth and endurance. Tonight she will rest in this beautiful meadow, under the stars. She will regroup and plan the next leg of her journey. Tomorrow she will return to the stable, collect Atlas, her faithful steed, and begin her Epic Quest. The Forest Sage showed her that, though she is making progress, she is going to have to get tough about her physical therapy. *My first goal is I need to work on making my Physical Therapy a daily habit. For this first challenge I will aim for 3 days/ 1 full set, 4 days some PT. Trunk Rotation 10 times Bridge 10 times Spinal stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Dog to Camel pose 10 time Quadriceps Stretch, Hold for 15 seconds 3 times both sides Shoulder Rolls, forward and backward, 10 count each Week #1 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Week #2 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Week #3 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie Week #4 of my challenge = .75(STR) & .75(DEX) bonus slice of cake or pie *With the weather getting better, it’s time to stop riding Atlas (the Bus) all the time. I need to walk at least 7 of the 10 trips each week. Next month this will graduate to a builder goal. Week #1 of my challenge = .75(STA) Week #2 of my challenge = .75(STA) Week #3 of my challenge = .75(STA) Week #4 of my challenge = .75(STA) *My diet has also been neglected over the last couple of months. Eating proper meals is just as important as eating good food. For this goal I will incorporate and/or modify all the things I have covered in past goals. Next month this will graduate to a builder goal. 2 Servings of Fruit every day 2 Servings of Veggies every day No more than 3 servings of meat every week No more than 2 meals or snacks where meat is present, but not a serving (example: Bacon bits) Eat 3 meals and 1 snack every day (I may miss one meal a week) 8 cups of water & tea every day Week #1 of my challenge = .25(CON) Week #2 of my challenge = .25(CON) Week #3 of my challenge = .25(CON) Week #4 of my challenge = .25(CON) *Finally I need to develop my Assassin Skills. For this challenge I will work on my lock picking. This will include 3 parts. (will be put on hold until Grad school work is complete Practice at least 2 hours a week Obtain 2-3 new locks to practice on Attend the Lockpickers Meet-up on 3-7 Part #1 of my challenge = 1(DEX) Part #2 of my challenge = 1(WIS) Part #3 of my challenge = 1(CHA) Builder Goals- Continue to track healthy habits Take time to write 2 times a week Take 5 minutes, 3 times a week to meditate Pass- Gain 1 (WIS) Fail- Lose 1 (WIS) The successful completion of this challenge will also award a bonus treat (fun experience) at it's conclusion. Fellow Rebels, please help me come up with some affordable, (under $50) activities that I could do, without driving. I live in Seattle and want to do something different but ties in with my overall goals. Or is just super cool!
  19. Experience Tranquility! Why hello, Challenge #2! I'm glad that I have the challenge weeks on my calendar because it keeps me going! My first challenge of the year died off at the end. I was still (sort of?) tracking most of my food choices, but I could tell that I was only giving 50% of the effort. I realized that I don't really like putting heavy time constraints on myself. Having a routine is one thing, and something I am going to be working on, but I don't like doing things in time blocks. I am more of a "Make a List and Do each of the things as they come but not necessarily in any order" and I'm successful with it! I also realized that I sincerely miss doing yoga. I miss having it be part of a daily routine whether it was in the morning, in the afternoon, or bedtime yoga. It helped me keep a calm mind, fight fatigue, sleep better, and just have an overall better outlook on life. All of that said, lets jump right into it: The cycle begins a new... Quest One: "Repetition is the path to mastery" My first quest revolves around establishing a routine. There are not set time slots, but it will be important to maintain the routine as close as possible. Given that life will sometimes throw you lemons, or commitments, don't fret! Just plan accordingly. Daily Routine Brush teeth/wash face/shower Change clothes (don't hang out in pjs all day!) Take out items for dinner If crockpot meal, prep and set to cook Prep items early if possible Breakfast/Coffee with one or two shows If appointments are scheduled, consider breakfast/coffee on the go for both myself and Mom At least two-three housekeeping events (because using the word chore makes it look ominous!) Kitchen always Vacuum Dust Bathroom up-keep Recycling Bedroom de-clutter Maintain an active laundry cycle as to keep from getting behind Daily exercise Lunch at a reasonable time Plan snacks if appointments/errands run long Carry water at all times Play time Computer time Reading time More shows Dinner ready, at the latest, 6:30 PM Kitchen clean-up I think that this will be a great routine to work to establish. There are things that may change, or may be finished prior, which is why not having time constraints work best for me. I am also going to get back into the habit of grading myself! I think it's a good way to keep myself accountable, because who likes seeing a failing mark on anything they do? This particular quest is a Pass/Fail. Along with keeping it here, I am making myself a habit chart so that I can manually check off each time I successfully complete an item. It will also let me see how often certain things need to be done, and if they do not have to be done. I can also note if I substituted something else in an items place. Maintain Routine for Four Weeks: Pass Not Maintaining Routine: Fail Quest Two: "Life is more than a series of ones and zeroes" While the above is to help me establish and maintain a routine, this quest is going to help me remember that there is more to life than fretting over said routine. Once it has been established, and repeated, it will begin to feel like second nature. However, I find myself once again neglecting things that I was very excited to jump back into at the beginning of the last challenge. Therefore, this quest is to help me keep a steady foot on the road of art, photography, silly selfies, writing, and reading. Not to be confused the the play time part of the above routine, I want this to help me continue to build the enthusiasm I had just a few weeks ago. I was drawing, sketching, and just playing around with a variety of art media. I haven't done that in a while, and I can see a drastic difference in my state of mind. I was also sharing things that I was doing, and it really felt good doing so. Even if pieces weren't completed or, in my own opinion "good", I shared them. Not only was it building my confidence, others were voicing their enjoyment on seeing them! So my goal here is to share at least one piece of art every week during this challenge. If there is more, great! It can be in any state of progress and any media. As long as I am doing something and sharing it (here on the forums, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, DeviantArt, etc!), it will count! One Piece of Artwork Shared a Week: Pass No Artwork Shared: Fail Quest Three: "One cannot survive on strength alone" And here we are at the actual fitness part of my challenge. For a long time, I was so intrigued my Yoga. It not only looked cool, but I had always heard how much fun and relaxing it could be. I finally tried it, and actively did at least 15 minutes a day for a while. I was not only losing weight, but a lot of the aches and pains I've regained weren't there. My lower back didn't bother me, my hip joints weren't always sore, and I just felt better. It was good for both my mind and my body, and that is what I need more than anything. So, I am going back to it. Why I left it, it's hard to say. I tried to think about the reasons the other day, and while I did run into some life-related complications, I should not have let it stand in my way. Then again, at the time, I wasn't strong enough mentally to battle it. My ultimate goal is to start and complete Nerd Fitness Yoga Water A, which I believe is the beginner course. I was very close to being able to complete the first one before everything went belly up. While I work toward that, I will be working on the foundation and basic poses of Yoga to establish stamina and do some core strengthening. I know of some great Yogis on Instagram, and also found some good beginner Yoga routines through Pinterest. So, my quest for this challenge will be to do, at least, 10 minutes of yoga a day. It can be more, it can be in two different 5 minute intervals, but I MUST do at least 10 minutes. Even if it's working on one or two different poses. Repetition! 10 Minutes of Yoga a Day: A 10 Minutes of Yoga 4 Days/Week: B 10 Minutes of Yoga 3 Days/Week: C 10 Minutes of Yoga 1 Day/Week or None at All/Week: F Like Zenyatta, my ultimate goal this time around is to balance discord and harmony. Take the discord and throw it back to battle the enemy. Take the harmony and use it to heal wounds overtime. "We walk in harmony, my student." "I know the doubts that plague you."
  20. As Red fights the dragonlord, he starts to become overwhelmed at the strength of the ancient beast. 'Gah... This isn't looking good.' He thinks to himself as he tries to dodge a barrage of fireballs that are hurdled towards him. "I know I can't beat him, but maybe If I can just get that crystal, I can pass this test." Bahamut continues to goad him, "Is that all you're capable of? I thought you would do better than this?" Red quickly thinks up a plan to get to the crystal. 'Aha! I know what to do! Now I just have to look for my opening!' The Dragon inhales for another attack 'There!' Red immediately charges forward, sword drawn while the dragon launches another barrage! 'I'm... almost... there!' And then... "Got it!" As Red touched the crystal, it began glowing with a strange light. It emitted a pulse that pushed him back. Even the Dragonlord was confused by this reaction as the crystal tore itself away from his claws and floated between them. 'I've got a bad feeling about this...' They both thought, as the crystal began to shine brighter and brighter. They both were paralyzed with awe as they were being engulfed by the crystal's light. ... ... "Uhhh... My head..." "Any body catch the number on that Chocobo?" Red mutters as he tries to open his eyes. "You've been asleep for some time." A voice calls out. "WAAAHHH!!! Who the--?? Old guy?! Where am I? What happened?! Why do I look... different?" Red spoke, startled by the voice "Wh-- I'm only 37! *AHEM* I mean, I found you lying on the ground some distance from here, there was rubble and you were in naught but your skivvies. So I brought you here and gave you some armor from my old days in the army. You've been passed out for some time. I am Baron and this is my h--" Suddenly there was a crashing sound shaking the whole house! "No... They're back early!" Baron immediately runs outside, naturally Red quickly follows. "Oi! Old man! We've come fer our payment!" A snarky voice shouts. "Again?! I'm only 3-" "Who are those guys?" Red asks. "These are Borras' men. They come and take whatever Borras demands. They're early today." Baron speaks to the group of henchmen. "I'm afraid you're early, I don't have enough. Please just give me more t--" "Oi! Wazz all dis about not enuff money?!" Shouted what seems like the head henchmen of the bunch. "Borras sayz ya got ta pay! Dat iz it den!" Red steps in, "Look buddy, the old guy clearly doesn't have enough, maybe you should--" "Oi! Who'z dis?!" "Baron found me and cared for my wounds, that's all, I'm about to leave and--" "Well well well, Looks like da old man haz got enuff ta house a stranger, but not enuff ta pay up? Tsk tsk tsk, old man." The leader then strikes Baron, knocking him to the ground. "Hey! That was uncalled for!" "Ohhh... I don't tink I like dat tone of voice. Looks like we needz ta teach ya a lesson!" Red fights back! Shadowboxing + Exercises! - I've got to get back my old strength, I've slacked so much! So now I've formulated a routine where I implement shadowboxing after each exercise, kinda like a modified HIIT. The number of combos I perform will be the same number of reps I do (I.E. 15 push-ups = 15 1-4 Punch combos, etc). I take a 1 min break between each set, and 2 mins between each exercise - STR +3 STA +3 3 x 15 Push-ups + 1-4 Punch Combo 3 x 20 Squats + Teap Kick (10 for each leg) 2 x 4 Pull-ups + Extended Punch combos (i.e. 1-1-2-3, 1-2-3-3-4, etc to make up for the low number of reps) 3 x 20 Lunges + Knees (Grappling knees, 10 for each knee) MT Sit-ups or Planks (I'm still up in the air about which one) Read! - This guy talks worse than he smells! I'm losing Intelligence points just listening to him! I know! I've obtained the classic book 1984 as a Christmas present, so I'm going to set aside time to read it everyday for at minimum 15 mins. WIS +2 Clean eating! - Now that the holidays are over, I need to clean up my food intake! Salads, veggies, and greens will be part of my normal lunches from now on. WIS +3 Red's Absence - OK, now this one is a doozy. I can't continue my Master's program because there wasn't enough financial aid to help me cover my tuition (I've even looked into loans and whatnot, and still no.). So I'm forced to take a Leave of Absence. Today, I'm going to talk to Student Services about how exactly this works, and how I can pay off my balance, as well as plan steps to build up enough financial aid to cover my tuition for when I go back. I'll be looking into Scholarships, grants, and most likely a second job (because my current one will start cutting my hours soon). If you guys have any additional advice, I'd greatly appreciate it. WIS +4
  21. Main Quest To live a healthy and balanced life by exercising and trying to eat healthy. My motivation I've successfully dropped weight by counting calories so my diet will mostly be staying the same with 1200 calories per day M-F and then blow meals on the weekends. I've managed to put on some muscle in an effort to become stronger by weightlifting and I’ve discovered that I love lifting heavy things! 1. Running One of the Doctor’s most important, and necessary, skills is his ability to run from danger. Run away and live to fight another day! I am still not a runner by nature. I’m of the mind that I shouldn’t have to run unless something is chasing me (t-rex, zombies, Daleks, otters). But in the case of this challenge and in an effort to be a True Hero, I am going to practice this hated exercise since it apparently is good for me and works towards weight loss/toning. Plus, if I’m going to keep up with the Doctor I need to be in decent running shape: don’t want those pesky Daleks to catch up to us! Run 2-3 times per week at the gym for more than 15 minutes. I’m aiming for the following time breakdown: Week #1: 20 minutes Week #2: 20 minutes Week #3: 25 minutes Week #4: 30 minutes Scoring: /4 Reward: +3 to STA 2. Sweet Treats Even though in the episodes I’ve seen the Doctor rarely eats, when he does, it’s something healthy like a banana. I actually like most fruits (unlike veggies!), and bananas are yummy. I’ve mostly got this one down, but since it works and is something I should be doing anyway, particularly after the holidays, I’m adding it back in for this challenge. I want to cut down the sweet treats to 2-3 times Monday through Friday because processed sugar is evil. Scoring: /15 days Reward: +5 to CON & +5 to CHA 3. Animal Flow As a Time Lord, Doctor Who encounters many strange, beautiful and amazing creatures in his travels. And I know he appreciates other cultures and perspectives, even if they’re different than his own. I’m sure he’d love all sorts of animals too! Since it’s been a few challenges, and I enjoyed it when I’ve done it before, I’m going back to practicing Animal Flow poses at least twice a week. Scoring: /8 Reward: +2 to DEX Hopefully I can keep up with the Doctor! Alonsy!
  22. I know what I'm doing! Kicking it off with the first Nerd Fitness Challenge! I attempted a challenge last month in the midst of the holiday craziness, and it didn't turn out well. There was just too much going on at once, and attempting to juggle a challenge? I was driving myself insane. But I'm not giving up! I never want to give up and stop trying. I will continue to come back, push through challenges, ask for help and motivation, and keep my chin up until I have built a concrete and successful routine to better my lifestyle. I did a lot of reflecting on what I need to do in a Respawn Point post, and I plan to dutifully stick to everything as much as I can. I can say that, on an emotional/mental level, I've been doing pretty good! I have been doing things to keep a smile on my face. I'm still learning to accept that being a sensitive individual is NOT a bad thing. I'm no longer pushing myself into social situations that I absolutely do NOT want to be in. Would it be nice to have a few folks to hang out with outside my family? Maybe, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don't need to do that. The times I have gone out in an attempt to meet folks, I just didn't enjoy it. I tried to tell myself and others that I did, but I was trying to make my self-conscious believe it so that I would keep trying I guess. Our brain works in funny ways like that. I've also been fighting with a lot of past events that I still seem to fall back on at the oddest of times. Bad ex-roommate/friend situations, bad job situations, and just bad or sad things in general. I'm not sure why, but it happens every now and again. There were times when I felt guilty about the roommate/friend ordeal, but I have started down the path that I cannot and should not carry blame. I know, in my heart, that I did everything and anything I could for said group of people. I was there when they needed me, took care of them when they needed it, and gave far more than I should have. In the end, I was labeled as the bad friend, but I know the truth. I know what really happened, and that is what I'm going to remember. As for my work situation, I was not happy with my job. I didn't really like my job. It was stressful (probably too stressful for what I was getting into mentally) and just put a lot of pressure on me. I stayed there because it paid very well, offered me a lot of perks, and I was able to work remotely. I was able to visit family during holidays, and stay for a long period of time. In the end, I just couldn't handle it. Not in the state that I was. I am letting go of these things - these feelings and regrets - and not looking back. I am going to continue to look forward. I am going to learn from these lessons and work to be a better me! ALL OF THAT SAID: 2016? And now I move on! QUEST ONE: YOU BETTER WORK, WORK IT GIRL! I found three workouts that I wanted to do in order to start building up some stamina, muscle, endurance, and what not on Darebees. I plan on revisiting these three workouts as they are good for beginners. This quest is going to help me get back into a exercise routine while burning some calories, greasing up rusty muscles, and hopefully boosting my energy levels! I am also going to incorporate one day of yoga a week. This should help me work on my flexibility, maintain some good energy vibes, and possibly help with some lower back pain. THREE TIMES A WEEK: cardio inc workout | slow burn workout | mermaid workout ONCE A WEEK: various beginner yoga sequences QUEST TWO: MILLIONS OF PEACHES, PEACHES FOR ME! TRACK YO FOOD. That is literally what my second quest is going to be. When I was tracking my food, I was eating better. I was junk fooding less. I was just feeling better because I wasn't eating so much. I know that, in the past so many months, I have gained a lot of weight from overeating. Some of it has been stress eating. Some has been eating out of boredom (which is the WORST). There are a lot of things, but the most important thing is that I get back into tracking what I'm eating. Whether it's through My Fitness Pal, in a notebook, in a Google Doc; RECORD IT. Also, record how much water I'm drinking. I was drinking LOTS of water, but have been slacking. I also need to cut back on my soda drinking. It hasn't gotten out of hand, but I want to go down to one a week. I was down to drinking no soda, but I do enjoy Ginger Ale or Sprite every now and again. TRACK ALL FOOD. ONE SODA A WEEK. MORE WATER. QUEST THREE: OOH-OO CHILD, THINGS ARE GONNA GET EASIER! This one contains a WHOLE LOT of things that, I think, will make life EASIER and BRIGHTER. I may also have been watching Guardians of the Galaxy while writing this up. EITHER WAY? IT WORKS. I want to take time out to just make ME feel better. I want to make OTHERS feel better. I want to take better care of myself and not feel so G R O S S in so many words. Whether it's painting my nails, doing one of my Craftsy classes, working on crafts, or watching a silly movie that I love, I NEED TO DO THIS. I also want to do all of this with MY MOM. She needs lots of laughter and smiles right now and always. If I can keep my spirits up and keep myself in a good place, that will help HER be in a good place. See? IT WILL GET EASIER AND BRIGHTER! DO FUN THINGS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. (Once a day, a few times a week, WHATEVER! Just do it.) GET OUT OF YOUR JIMMYJAMS. (Even if it's to put on sweatpants or leggings or whatever! Brush your hair, take a few minutes to reflect, and smile!) YOU ARE IMPORTANT. (Take better care of yourself, girlfriend. You deserve it!) EXTRA: YOU CAN COLOR MY WORLD WITH HAPPINESS ALL THE WAY! As my extra, I keep picking up and putting down my sketch pads with little to nothing to show for it. My creativity and inspiration is very low almost like that weird snow you get on bad channels. STATIC! It's very frustrating because it use to be on HIGH ALERT for a long time. Apparently anti-depression medication (and medication that messes with your head in general) can cause this to happen. I don't want to force it because then it's not fun, but I want to get SOMETHING going. I've been poking around in my "ADULT" coloring books and working with color palettes. I need to find something to give me a bit of a jump start. There are a lot of challenges, inspirations, and what not on Pinterest and Instagram that I might look through. See what speaks to me and everything. I am ALSO trying to do a silly selfie a day through 2017 on Instagram! I just want to bring happiness and smiles to others, and remind myself not to take everything too seriously. I'm having a lot of fun with it so far. I'm even using some great Snapchat filters to add a little VA VA VOOM to them. It's great because the feeling of laughing just makes the day better. I'm very excited about really taking this challenge and owning it like a champ! I know I have a lot of great folks here to help me along the way, and to help me keep my rear in gear!
  23. Well, somehow or another I managed to tear one of my lower abdominal muscles. I've been doing PT for it for about two weeks now, and have had to cut out a lot of my favorite activities in order to let my abs rest and recover. It might not actually be possible for them to recover, according to the sports medicine doctor, which might involve surgery. BUT, unless I give PT a solid 100% effort I won't know if it would work. It's actually been pretty hard this fall. I'm an avid exerciser, but I've gotten in a rut. Running became so painful to me that I was relieved when the sports med doc told me to stop doing it. But that left a big hole in my workout schedule. I'd stopped doing aerial dance as well, this past spring/summer, both because it made my lower abs hurt and because it's expensive. I tried to get into weight lifting again, but I just couldn't get the consistency that I needed to succeed. Meanwhile, as I have no "off" switch and I have a hard time sticking to diets, I just started to put on weight. Not much, but with the loss of muscle going on and the lack of cardio I am starting to see it. So I'm back at the beginning, like our much-loved, revenge minded Spaniard swordsman. 1. Study my Agrippa: every day, six days a week, I'll be doing my PT exercises. They're quite extensive! It's taking more than a half hour to do them. 2. Use Bonetti's defense: I will eat more healthy. This is hard because it's the holidays. Specifically I will only eat one "sweet" per day, I will cook vegetables every night, and I will drink a big glass of water before every meal. I'll be trying to drink more the rest of the day, but the water before the meals will be my barometer. It should also help me to eat less. 3. Attack with Capa Ferro: It's time to get stronger. Right now that means putting in workouts when I don't feel like it. Five workouts per week, not counting PT. Could be bodyweight workouts, could be actual weights or TRX, or it could just be the elliptical machine, or some combination thereof. 4. Prepare to die! Yup, it's foam roller time. Three times per week, at least the glutes, quads, and IT bands. Stay tuned.
  24. I have decided to set up several sets of long-term goals. They center around recovering from a back injury, the desire to improve my health and overall fitness and to get my finances in order to buy my dream home. (This is currently a work in progress that will improve over the next couple of weeks) I have decided to start a Battle Log to keep track of my progress and to catch areas in need of improvement. The biggest change I plan to make is in the creation of my Builder Goals. In my reflections of my challenges this past year I have found that I can nail my goals in the short term, but after the challenge is over, I slide back into old habits. To prevent this I will create builder goals for physical fitness, healthy eating, water intake and generally good habits, that I want to maintain. I have decided that these will start out and primary goals during a challenge, but for the next challenge they will be moved into the builder goal. This goal won't earn more than 1 wisdom point, but I will also lose points if I don’t complete them. (I know this isn’t standard, but I’m not a standard rebel so bring it!) By the end of 2017 I want to… I want to improve my mind/body connection through the following goals... Explore several forms of traditional meditation Explore several forms of movement based practices (yoga, qi-gong, tai chi) and decide which one I can best incorporate into my daily life. Practice journal writing 3 times a week Write 2 letters a month Read 1 book every other week (This means starting a new book no later than every 3 weeks) Work on limiting my TV time to 2 TV shows or 1 movie a day I want to improve my hygiene and grooming practices. Brush twice a day, floss & rinse once a day (God! I hate rinsing) Set up a regular schedule for threading my eyebrows Set up 2 more treatments for laser hair removal I want to learn 3 nice hair styles for different activities (One professional, one active one sexy) I want to take “Makeup 101” class and get some good makeup I want to continue improving my eating habits and water intake Develop healthier eating habits for workday vegetarian diet (less processed and junk foods, more fresh prepared meals) Learn to prepare 3 Afghan dishes, 3 Turkish dishes and to try 4 different cultural dishes I want to make it habit to log my food and water intake daily and my weight weekly. (I will be using fitbit) To improve my finances I will work on these goals... I want to set up a “working” budget and practice following it. (I have a budget, but not super functional) I want to have $1000 set aside for emergencies by the end of the year I will either be in Grad School or a better apartment and job by the fall. I want to improve my physical fitness through the following methods… Weight no more than 270lbs by the end of the year Making my physical therapy a daily habit Start a simple strength training regiment Swim weekly (This is open to change if I get a new job where I don’t have access to a pool) Explore 3 different forms of self defense or martial arts (Plan on starting one full time in 2018) Start exploring Parkour Become proficient in Florentine flogging I also want to meet the following physical goals by the end of 2018 Run 3 miles in 18:00 or less 80 sit-ups in 2:00 80 push-ups in 2:00 12 pull-ups Finally I want to have a healthy social life so I will meet the following goals… Attend tango twice a month Cuddle/movies twice a month 1 group outing a month 1 class or club outing a month
  25. Holiday Hustle Gotta hurry in the bustle and get into the holiday hustle! Fortunately I am already in said holiday hustle, but I'm not feeling rushed! In fact, I am strategically planning to make sure things get done without anyone wanting to pull their hair out. No one wants that during the holidays! I want to enjoy it with my family, lay under the tree to admire the lights, and sip coffee while watching all of my favorite holiday flicks without too much worry or care. Along with that, I really want to push myself more into the cardio world. I do love my yoga and meditation, but when it gets cold, this will get the blood flowing! Not that yoga doesn't do that, but I think a little more movement and work will also help my mental state. So I went digging around on the DAREBEE site, and I found some pretty decent beginner Cardio workouts. Perfect! I. If you want them cookies, you gotta shake that tooshie! I've found three workouts that I think will work really well! Cardio Inc. Workout Slow Burn Workout Mermaid Workout My first quest will be to do, at least, one of these workouts 3 days a week. I thought about every day, but being a person who hasn't done a great deal of actual cardio exercise, I don't want to overwhelm myself. I will also be incorporating the 2016 DAREBEE Advent Calendar into each day as well! I LOVE Advent Calendars! *_____* II. Reindeer ain't the only ones chompin' carrots! I'm actually pretty good when it comes to eating vegetables and fruit, but I need to do more of that. I LOVE them, but I find myself eating less and less of them. Why? I'm not entirely sure, but that will change! Apples or celery with peanut butter? YUM! Carrots with hummus? Double yum! Cucumbers and peppers? Yes, please! I know I have options. I just have to, you know, EAT THEM. Stop being so dang lazy and CHOP 'EM UP! Can't let convenience make me so complacent, right? Right. On, Dasher! (...on, dancer! on, prancer! on, vixen! on, comet! on, cupid! on, donner! on, blitzen! ...and yes, I did that totally by memory.) III. Keep yourself from going loco and drink a little cocoa! (This one is a two-parter!) With the planned workouts and mindful intake of better snack/side dish options, that doesn't mean I have to tread lightly around things. Make myself snack baggies with 2 cookies in them, and set them aside. Mark a day on them, and once that day's cookies have been had? That's it and I look forward to the next day! Portion and moderation is key! Along with enjoying the sweeter side of life, I have to start enjoying the little things in life. Taking time out to read for a bit, paint my nails, have a spa day, draw...etc! Keep the mental state in check and balanced. Medicine can only do much (and it does a GREAT deal), but I also need to help myself as well! BONUS STAGE! The Holly and The Ivy Complete The Herbal Alchemist's Course and make Professor Sprout proud! Here is to the last challenge of 2016!!!
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