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  1. We are entering the “wasteland†portion of winter here. Smog is here. This means restricted and often NO outdoor time. The Fallout Shelter theme seemed to fit the circumstances. I am prepping myself for optimal vault dwelling with voyages to the wasteland when able. The Main Mission: Stay alive in the vault, perhaps even thrive. This requires daily management and tracking of power, food, and water. I’m going to try and take weekends off, so goals for food and water are based on 5 days of tracking. The intent is for weekend meals/water to stay in line with my overall goals, but without mandatory tracking. If things get out of hand and I start chasing my fork, I will institute full time mandatory tracking ((shivers)). Tracking graphic (%): The goal: collect 100 POWER per week (3 workouts)collect 100 FOOD per week (12 high-protein real-food meals)collect 100 WATER per week (10 water bottles)progress report daily, M-Fperformance summary weekly on Monday morning. The Side Project: Happy dwellers make for a happy vault. A happy vault makes for happy dwellers. The vault has been a bit neglected since I discovered this lovely internet community and a new healthier lifestyle. It’s time to get things in order and create some new healthy habits and routines to go along. The goal: level up your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats. remember this is the side objective, do not lose sight of the REAL mission aboveprogress report weekly S. Strength: level up at 3 - earned with workouts (yeah, I’m double dipping) P. Perception: level up at 8 - earned with 15 minutes of focused room cleaning (pick one room per week) or decluttering E. Endurance: level up at 10 - earned with domestic treadmill (repeating weekly chores), laundry, walking the dog C. Charisma: level up at 5 - earned with guitar practice, family fun/gaming, date with the husband I. Intelligence: level up at 5 - earned with 30+ minutes reading, me time A. Agility: level up at 2 - earned with yoga, flexibility / mobility / squat, hand balancing L. Luck: level up at 2+ - earned with clean air walk, clean air ruck Tracking Graphic (weekly): I am REALLY pleased with the setup of this mission, and even if I decide on a different theme for future challenges, I’m hoping I can stay motivated to continue to level up my S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats. Really, it balances the necessaries with the “want to’s†very well for me. Focus on basic workout routine, food, water, and points-based extra credit for all the other things I want to get done. I do need to set up a reward system. Rewards: TBD.
  2. Yeah, well, I know HP’s been done to death, but it is my everlasting true nerd love and given the calendar timing, I thought the Yule Ball would be a fun add on… Start with what you know, eh. I was sorely tempted to switch out to a Red Rising or Martian theme, but I’ll save those for another time. Excited to be completing my first challenge as a Ranger! ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Marauder uses her 20 seconds of courage and scribbles her name on a small slip of paper, marches forward, and tosses in into the cup… Her doubts rear their ugly heads instantly with a barrage of taunts. but you’re not strong enough to… but you aren’t smart enough to… but you can’t compete with them… Marauder digs deep and, with a confidence she hasn’t felt in a long long time, stifles the voices. I AM strong. I AM smart. I CAN win this thing. Training must commence immediately. I only have 6 weeks to prepare… Preparation is the path. Passion is the key. Victory is the undeniable result. Quest 1: The Dragon Challenge Strength training is a key element to success in all the challenges, but the dragon challenge in particular could require feats I’ve yet to attempt. A very exhausted owl just delivered some dumbbells for my new training. How much does a dragon’s egg weigh? Hopefully lifting some heavy things will have me ready… Scheduled training will be performed three times per week starting with Dumbbell Division level 1. Keep an eye out for progressing something each workout. Trophy: new workout top Points: +3 STR/ +1STA Quest 2: The Merpeople Challenge Gillyweed is the key. Supplies are low in my area, so veggies are the answer for now. Superpowers of improved night vision, boosted immunity, increased blood flow, and anti aging properties are all bound to help in other quests as well. Surely, increased veggie consumption will make the gillyweed more palatable when the actual challenge comes… Required training consists of consumption of 3 servings per day of vegetables. Trophy: TBD Points: +3 CON Quest 3: The Maze The key to success in any maze is to keep your mind focused and clear. Be ready for surprises and obstacles. Observation is key… Required training will be my own form of meditation, an outdoor nature ramble with photo, 5 days per week. No speed or distance criteria, just get your head clear, and SEE. Capture one thing you observe with a photo and post here to training log. Trophy: New wool socks! Points: +2 WIS, +2 CHA Life Quest: Get smart, get warm, and prepare for the Yule Ball… Besides the obvious training required for the challenges, I need to keep up my studies, prepare for winter weather, and get ready for the Yule Ball. get smart… finish the 6 books remaining in your 50-book challenge for 2015. get warm… finish knitting a hat for the cool weather. prepare for the yule ball… work on grace with twice weekly yoga practice. no time restriction, build a healthy habit. bonus yule challenge… have all yule purchases complete or finalized by end of challenge. Trophy: new yoga mat for successful completion (>80%) of yoga challenge (yeah, I’m yoga-ing on the carpet, itchy). Points: +2 DEX, +2 CON
  3. I'm hooked, so I thought it might be time for a real intro. And so it came to pass... TL;DR: small town living, moved west, health struggles, recovery, NF, ooh pretty pictures. I am 46 (47 this month and during the challenge, woot!) and I call Utah home. I was born and raised back east. Have lived in Tennessee and Maryland. My youth was a typical small town story with a bit of hiking, fishing, rapelling, farm adventures, even some target shooting. A combination of unsavory youthful dalliances led me to move back home with my folks in my early 20s… always a stellar moment in one’s history! As luck would have it, my folks made a big move out west within a couple of months of my arrival and I went along for the adventure. The west was home instantly. Alpine, desert, red rock vistas, hot springs, salt flats, lakes, rivers. Ahhh…. It was a new beginning in many ways. My 20s were filled with adventure. I maximized my western experience. I backpacked, camped, rock climbed, skydived, even did a little flying. Visited all the places. Some of the most amazing and awe-filled times of my life. Perhaps a bit reckless in my ways, but nearing the end of my 20s, married my husband and began to settle in. Bought a house, had 2 kids, 2 dogs. My medical @#$% hit the fan in my early to mid 30s with a diagnosis of Graves disease and the aftermath of same. I hesitate to list my trials here, but in participating in the women’s NF Academy group, I’ve found many others going through some of these things with questions and fears. My path was ripe with complications and certainly most with a Graves diagnosis do not have this sort of experience. It is, however, a BIG part of who I am. Here is my 30s people… (skip ahead if you like… seriously) after the birth of my 2nd child, I joined weight watchers to take off a few. It worked miraculously well. In fact, it seemed I could eat far beyond my “points†and still win at the scale every week. It was amazing. Weight watchers was the best thing EVER!started falling down a lot, knees gave way, could not put on mascara without taking out an eye, severe hand tremors, racing heart most of the time, kept losing weight despite terrible overeating, terrible temperself-diagnosed and got confirmation from MD… graves disease. referred to endocrinologist.tried thyroid blocking drugs, but was madly swinging from hypo to hyper and EKG indicated ongoing resting heart rate of 120 bpm and doctors recommended RAI, radioactive iodine, treatment to essentially kill thyroiddrank radioactive juice out of a straw under a giant vent hood while guy in a biohazard suit watched from across the rubber lined room, escorted from hospital by security. Freakiest experience of my life. No superpowers were gained.at first post-RAI checkup, a lump was found in my neck and surgery scheduled. Cancer possible. Biopsy to happen during surgery. I awoke from surgery with no voice and no ability to swallow. Tumor was non cancerous, but growing around nerve that goes to vocal cord. 2 inch tumor in total. Enormous for a neck tumor. Frankenstein scar… totally! Sadly, not Halloween.attempt raise 2 kids under 5 with no voice above a whisper (lots of clapping and stomping), drink only from a straw, speech therapy for swallowing help and voice.wake repeatedly at night with laryngospasm, a very terrifying sudden inability to breathe accompanied by loud wheezing noises and occasionally passing out, likely caused by lack of tension in vocal cords allowing for reflux.sign up for experimental surgery to reinnervate my vocal cord with a nerve from the sternocleidomastoid muscle, two surgeries later I can speak at a normal conversational level and shout if I have to. Eternally grateful for this. It was a huge turning point for me.now that I can eat, and speak, it’s time to deal with my eyes. I have protrusion associated with the Graves and severe dry eye. In fact, I’ve had plugs inserted to keep my tear ducts from draining and thereby keeping my eyes wet. I wear goggles to sleep in (yes, this is not comfortable) to help retain moisture. orbital decompression surgery (you can google it if you want, but suffice to say… it’s a bitch and the pictures ain’t pretty), two procedures, one each eye. 4 or 5 blepharoplasties to fix my eyelids afterward without anesthetic or sedative (really not very fun to watch someone cut and sew your eyelid, but you have to be able to move your eyelids for them).at some point during this time, I also had a breast cancer scare and lumpectomy. It’s a blur. My 30s weren’t all strife though. Our family had many, many adventures during this time. We camped in incredibly amazing places… We hiked, biked, skied, visited the ocean, grew our hair long, had disco parties, and celebrated all the victories! We badassed those 30s! Ah, the golden 40s… A time for gratitude, mental and physical recuperation. I am still in awe of my and my family’s ability to gracefully persevere in the face of my trials the last decade. It was hard for everyone and they were rock solid. I don’t think I ever really lost it during the whole of those medical processes thanks to their support. Near the end, at a general physical, my doctor was a bit concerned upon palpating my neck and sent me in for an emergency thyroid ultrasound and I LOST MY SHIT. I parked my car in the parking lot and threw a giant pity party with tears, throwing things, whole 9 yards. I still don’t understand why. I suppose it was my limit. It turned out everything was fine and I left feeling it was over, really over. I’d made it. We’d made it. It was a perceptible shift from survival mode to healing mode. I look back at that list above and it seems unsurmountable even when I know I made it. In hindsight (and with the wisdom of NF), the key to my success was my support system and that I naturally fell into a one-step-at-a-time mode. The next step was unknown or out of my hands. This is NOT my normal mental state. I am a classic underpants-collector to the extreme and extremely impatient. My greatest successes have happened one step at a time and when I bring my team. I’ve gained weight through the last decade, nothing insurmountable, but it’s harder to lose with hormone issues of any kind. I’ve given myself too much leeway in eating well and being active. I’m turning that around now with NF… one step at a time. Dear self, small sustainable steps. Don’t think too far ahead… about 6 weeks is perfect. PS. Fell in love with photography along the way, all photos my own.
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