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  1. Okay, I might still have a tiny spark of sass and style, but it needs to be fanned into flames for sure. I've got gains, but they aren't the good kind. I'm at 141.6 lbs. and heading the wrong way, so this challenge (my first one) is right on time. I need it. Really, really need it. I have been in a winter slump and it's time to move past it. I wish my brain could conjure a lovely tale complete with a point system and rewards, but that is a bit of a reach at the moment. Perhaps I will work on it during this challenge once my brain is functioning better. Anyway, on to my goals for these five weeks: Fitness: NF app's Bodyweight Level 1 Attempt a pullup every time I look at the anime dudes hanging from the bar in my kitchen doorway. Whatever pops in my head to move a little more that day (walk, dance, etc.). Drop under 135 lbs. Nutrition (I know what works for me and I have to just do it): Lots of good proteins, carbs and fats. Limit tea (seeing if it affects my migraines), caffeine, sugar, grains, and whatever else that keeps me sick and unhealthy. Drink at least five cups of water a day with plans to increase as I adjust. Plan some meals. Mindset: Use music to motivate myself. Spend a little time each week on learning to play either my guitar or the piano. Memorize something (some French, a new word, lyrics, etc.). Try to overcome my shy nature and meet people on here and become part of the community (totally outside of my comfort zone). Follow a better sleep routine and work my way off of Benadryl as a sleep aid. Get creative: art, photography, whatever creative thing pops in my head. Writing: Complete Camp NaNoWriMo (my first time participating in the camps). Set up Scrivener. Work on my novel or something novel related a little each day. Continue journaling and writing on 4TheWords (online fantasy writing game and tool). Okay, I think that is my plan. Detoxing from sugar, grains and caffeine will be rough for the first week or so, but I have done it before, and I can do it again. I just might be prone to growling, snarling and biting for a bit, but it's all good.
  2. Yes, I am still so DPB for Vampire: the Masquerade that I am running my challenge theme around it. A fledgling young kindred making her way and trying to survive the nights ahead and make a name for herself. Actually, the stats for the system work REALLY well for my goals too. So without further ado, let's ... sink our teeth into this one, shall we? To survive the nights and avoid pissing off elder kindred, this fledgling will need to follow The Traditions and learn how to user her new powers and disciplines. Do Not Break the Masquerade This happens most often by getting caught feeding, so we need to put some rules in place. Take no more than you need from your prey. [Track calories daily.] Don't give into the beast. [No binges!] Prey Exclusion : Sweets [Limit these, they offer no nourishment.] Clan Brujah. Learn to use Celerity, Potence and Presence Potence ● ⚬ ⚬ ⚬ ⚬ [Strength Train 2-3x / Week] Celerity ● ⚬ ⚬ ⚬ ⚬ [Move 2-3x / Week] Presence ● ⚬ ⚬ ⚬ ⚬ [Music and Art / 2 hours each / week] (Piano, Guitar, Bass, Art) These are the things I've been working on, and while the music and stuff has really become a nice habit, the food is the biggest challenge right now. I need to make that the priority! That and putting a little more ... hmm, intention behind my work outs. I have my annual physical in 6 weeks and would like to slide in on a hot streak of being on the good path. This mental motivation to get going comes with an extra complication though - lol. "Where's the fun without complications?" - Beckett Finally ... vampires, for as much as they are now predators, are also oddly social things. The interactions, the politics, the posturing... all of these things become the night in night out routine of their immortal unlives. To that end, I am also adding the Social Goal here of doing much better about checking in, updating my posts and following all of you lovelies.
  3. The last week of the previous challenge was ... really bad all around. No nothing done! I fell out of all my habits and need to get back into the groove. 🎶 See what I did there? Since leading into the holidays is a tough time to crack down, I am keeping this super simple. EAT BETTER! I had been doing okay with eating 'normal' for 2 weeks after my trip. Then the last week hit and I got a stomach bug/weird ookiness going on, and I just ate total garbage. I will feel better if I am eating cleaner again. I should probably track calories to ensure I get my ass in gear, but this week and weekend is also b-day outings, so ... I have to give some flexibility. EXERCISE!! I skipped exercising for a week straight (partly due to stomach ookiness) mostly due to laziness and 'dunwannas'. I can't be that way. I must get into the warehouse 2x for strength and find some movement/cardio for the other days. Even if that means signing up for the walking track at the local park district by work. Those are the priorities! That's where my first effort goes. Music and art have been been an easy target for me for weeks. I am still super enjoying it and running with it, so I will do those and track them with my time log app. The food and exercise will get tracked here for accountability because I want to start getting my summer body ready now... and not wait till the last 'not happening' like usual lol. Strength⬜⬜ Move ⬜⬜⬜ Food ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ In other news, I got my new guitar! An electric guitar for some day soon (hopefully) music recording and song writing. My sister and brother in law decided it would be part of my Christmas gifts and paid for a chunk of it. I am hoping to get a video up showing my new rig 🎸but I need to find a way to make the sound not sound awful! Art continues with lots of inspiration being drawn from the Vampire: the Masquerade game still, so I'll try and post some of that here too. Plan for Week 1 Monday - Eat good, strength day. Piano, bass and art. Tuesday: Eat good, b-day dinner, maybe some post fam stuff creativity. Wednesday: Eat good, strength day. Guitar. Game night with peeps. Thursday: Eat good, 1/2 day, beat saber, music time, make dinner, Vampire game night. Friday: Day off. Eat good breakfast and light lunch (maybe the zoo?) 4pm Axe Throwing, 6pm Shabu Shabu! Saturday: Get some exercise, eat good, make dinner (for Thursday left overs) to boot. Sunday: Church, music, some hang outs, D&D To Do Stuffs
  4. Creeping, lurking ... ready to devour. Hanging over every minute, every hour. My foe is there, but victory's mine, Remember my light - and let it shine. Stealing a bit of Vampire the Masquerade Floon for this one. I am still super hyped and into that game and using that for inspiration here. The Beast - for vampires, it's the monster within. For me, it's the gloom of autumn and winter, combined with growing feelings of being stuck where I am. I have to re-frame this perspective because if I keep focusing on the negatives, and the "not yet's", or the not where I wanted to be's, I fail to see what I do have. Comparison to other perceived 'better' views is a joy stealer. And I want to stop doing this. Goals are going to be largely based on mental and emotional health this time around. Sure I'll have my other things to keep track of because seeing consistency is GOOD for my brain. And I am still very much thriving on the music endeavors, so that's been great and I want to keep up with that. (The #backtomusic2022 has lasted, ALL year, so this feels legit!) Goal 1: Use Gratitude App Daily - Follow prompts. Make time. Do it. No excuses. The point is to get it done daily to teach your mind how to look past the negatives. If I do it only when I feel good and have a thing immediately come to mind to be thankful for, then I am not learning a new perspective, I am letting the old one dictate my choices. Daily Gratitude on App Goal 2: Track Calories - but Stop Being So Militant about it! - Tracking has worked great the past 6 weeks, and I dropped about 4-5 pounds. I have to stop freaking out for those occasions where I can't really track them. Because that's making me a tyrant. No one wants a raging calorie tracker at an outing. 😛 Track Daily (except for untrackable outings, just enjoy those on occasion) Goal 3: Create! It brings Joy! - I found a really coo, tracker called TimeLog - and it lets me keep track of the hours I spend on various hobbies. I originally did it to keep track of music specifically, but I've also used it for art. Keep doing the music and art. I had it set for 4x a week each thing. And that almost happens. But I find that even if it's 4x/week - I almost always get 2 hours a week on each thing. Which is 4 x 30 minutes. So 4x or 2 hours / week is a doable amount on my stuff. So I'll keep it there for now. 4x / Week or 2 Hours Each Minimum: Bass - Guitar - Piano - Art Goal Eh: Keep exercising. - I thought to take this off as a goal because I am in such a good routine with it, but with winter here it will actually be harder for me to get my move days in - so this might serve as a reminder to focus on the effort. 2-3 Strength / week 2-3 Move / week Finally, a challenge long list of things I want to remember to try and get done. We're calling it a Side Quest list. Side Quests Oil Change Tire Rotation Purge Unused Items from Closet Reorganize Closet Purge Unused Items from TV Stand Cabinet Purge Unused Items from all Drawers in Room Go through Clothes, Donate Items no longer Worn Find Room Arrangement to Allow for easier Creative Outlets (might require getting rid of some furnishings / replacing with new ideas) Research music recording software. Research music notation software. Purchase / ask for Christmas - items needed for above. Look up theory classes to brush up on music theory. Bass lessons? Look into this. Continue watching house market / look at ones that might be doable. Make appt with financial advisor / budget helper. Finish Dad/Daughter Pic
  5. THE CHALLENGE!!! STARPUCK FIGHTS THE BEAST I've fought this beast before. He's often goes by the title Gloom Monster, but we're referring to him as The Beast on this challenge. He gets more powerful as summer ends and autumn gives way to winter. He's a little stronger this time around, because our heroine has been fighting a side of apathy lately. One of my greatest weapons against that is momentum. But to get momentum, you have to get a first step underfoot and follow it up with a second, and third and so on. Bio: ON TO THE CHALLENGE Doing much of the same old same old! In fact, I found a google sheet tracker I made in May 2021 and just changed a few of the things I plan on tracking. I really need to get my food consistency back in place. I do fine at work and during the early part of the week. Going into the Thursday gaming night and weekend tends to unravel full tilt. Exercise is not a problem ever, but I'd like to be more focused in what I am choosing to do. Art is back on the table, on top of me trying to practice three instruments at once. (I did mention Ranger, right?) Goals: Track food daily. If unable to track on a weekend meal, eat sensibly, guesstimate cals. Exercise 5x a week. Art some times a week. Music - try to get 3-4 practices on each instrument, length of time not important. (** Might switch this to amount of time on each per week. Some days I get on a roll, and might jam out for a good amount of time on just one instrument.) Track Spending. I gotta get this under control too. As a side note, I am 8 sessions into our latest TTRPG game; Vampire the Masquerade. I am SO into this game right now, so lots of art for it has been kicked out. It's also where I have borrowed the idea of fighting against the beast within. For vampires, that beast is their monstrous side. For me, it's apathy and inconsistency as we hit the S.A.D heavy days. I'll try and catch up on sharing some art (and a quick backdrop as to what it means.) Vampire Art Taking Zero Week to get slowly back into a better groove after this last hurrah, lol. See ya Rebels tomorrow!
  6. Let's keep the music themes going eh? 8 weeks till Vacation, or 4/4! And I've set myself four goals to chart. I still haven't gotten my consistency underfoot, but I got really close to nailing it this last week. (Then had a really stressful weekend and by Sunday, I needed liquid courage and woops.) So, this challenge will be a continuation of trying to get my chops back. Figuratively. Exercise Goals - 5x a week. I do best with strength twice a week and random intentional movement on at least three occasions. Some weeks a third strength is fine, but I know I don't do well with 3x every week right now. Music & Art - I was able to get 4 sessions for each instrument in most of last challenge, and, since I want to improve my skills, I do need to aim for this kind of thoughtful amount of time spent. Monday's and Tuesday's work great for getting lots of music in, so do Friday's and Sundays. The rest of the days, if I just strum a bit before other commitments, cool beans. I would also like to get pencil to sketchbook again too, but no pressure on this. Food - Either track, or don't eat like an ahole. Pretty straight forward here. I know what I should be eating, and how much. Just need to do it. Socials & Self Time - I need to work on two things. Getting social and being with people, but also carving out time for myself to unwind and reflect. This can be tallied up in an easy, totally contradicting phrase. "Start saying yes -- Start saying no." Going to track on here, because that should have me checking the forums more often lol! Weekly trackers below. **ALSO! I want to start doing the recreate gifs thing, so look for that! EXERCISE 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 FOOD 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 ARTSY STUFF 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 PIANO 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 BASS 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 GUITAR 🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲🔲 SKETCH/DOODLE
  7. Perfectly timed you say? Timed?!? Perhaps, because someone has defected to the rhythm section friends! I, along with some other wonderful nerds, decided to "#BackToMusic2022" and folks, I really have done a smashing job of this. I've been playing piano consistently for the whole year! About 6 weeks ago, I also picked up acoustic guitar and started slowing learning that. (It's wrecking my finger tips yo! LOL - And the D chord is impossible for me to play nicely even still.) And, so, what else does one do in that case but decide .oO( Clearly, I am not learning enough instruments, I should buy a bass! It will help my fingers get used to strings, but more gently!) So I bought a bass last week and it's now in my possession. As far as everything else goes... I have major regrets that one thing after another this year has become an excuse for why I am not on track to be slimmed down and back to strong and healthy for the summer. Part of that is, well, health. In January I started dealing with some weird, non-critical but annoying symptoms that lead to several trips to docs and diagnosed theories on what is to blame. About 2 weeks ago, the last of the weird little symptoms were gone and I was anxious for not only a return to feeling myself, but also a much anticipated vacation in early May. And then I got Covid. In fact, I still have 3 more days before I can leave the 10 day 'quarantine and/or mask up' schtick and return to normal routine. I had it mildly, but, as someone who has not even had so much as a two day sniffle in like 4 years, being sick is still being sick. I am not quite fully back on my feet yet, but I have high hopes that at the 2 week proper mark I should be pretty much okay. It did cause my sis and I to also have to cancel our trip. Soooo, yeah, long and short of it is that 2022 hasn't been the easiest year thus far. But, post recovery here, plus the turning of the seasons, plus a brand new bass in my possession are all great reasons to get back to the right tempo! I also am really inspired to clean up my eating habits again after this whole Dances with Germs thing. A well fueled, well nourished body just does things better, usually. I've also been watching more anime again lately, so my interest in getting my art going again is kind flooning. So we've got, piano, guitar, bass, art, strength training, cardio health routines, and my usual D&D nights and friends hang outs, lol. I know that tracking food works best for me to shed a few pounds, so I need to get into the mindset to do that. If I do more cooking with the boyfriend, (who also just had covid, but we didn't catch it from each other actually) that will help with tracking on the weekends, and reining in the spending that's gotten out of hand with me. Woops. So, some goals. Track Food Daily - if a meal out can't be actively tracked, then rely on sensible eating for that meal. Strength Train - 2x a week is my sweet spot. Cardio-Ish - 3x a week. Piano - 4x a week Bass - 4x a week /or 20 minutes daily (lets see how it goes) Guitar - 15m daily has been working, but with other instruments, I won't keep this as a MUST do daily. Art - 2-3x a week, let's see how it fits in Connect - Do that connect with people thing that I talked about last challenge. Follow on the forums, dangit, Starpuck, DO THIS!
  8. Most of my habits fell off a cliff last challenge, which I partially blame on Daylight Savings Time and starting a new job (which is going fantastically! I'm working with good people and have awesome benefits and am contributing to community programs that help people!) but I really think the bigger problem is that I've let the mess take over, and not metaphorically. My space is a disaster. I've been making excuses for it because I'm trying to stockpile stuff for my apartment and cram it into one bedroom while keeping the space livable, but while that is a genuine obstacle, the fact remains that my apartment is not going to be completed for quite some time yet and I can't keep living like this. So this challenge, I shall beard the dragon in its lair, organize the hoard, and reclaim the Lonely Mountain as a well organized dwarven kingdom. Instead of making a big check list all at once, I'm just going to take things one step at a time. First step is to sort through the large pile of stuff in the corner that I've been meaning to get rid of and decide if it needs junked or donated. (And then follow through with said junking and donating.) My original plan was to stick to one goal this challenge, but I'm terrible at reasonable things like that, so here are a few bonus goals to round things out. Music: Music is mostly associated with elves in Middle Earth, but the dwarves have been known to produce a nice tune now and then, and it's important to keep morale up when you're fighting a dragon. So the goal is to blast show tunes while cleaning (or other music, but I've been on a huge showtune kick lately) and to make music. I'm not putting a numbers goal on that one (which isn't SMART) but the idea is before I start killing time on unproductive things, stop myself and really think about playing an instrument instead. And speaking of killing time unproductively... Screen Time: One of the dangers of handling dragon treasure is that is starts to corrupt. The best way to combat this is to fill your mind with good things, unlike mindless phone games and doomscrolling. This is me recommitting to my goal of only using my phone for calls or texts after 5. I find myself reaching for my phone in the evenings because I feel too fried for anything else, but even though it seems to be the least tiring option, it is insidiously draining and leaves me feeling even more incapable of applying myself to other things. The idea is, by taking that off the table, I'll be forced to return to other hobbies like music or crochet, that may take more willpower to start, but which in the end prove to be truly restorative in the way that mindless consumption can never be. And to circle back around to decluttering, both of these bonus goals will be greatly helped by cleaning up so I don't have to wade through so much stuff to get to my trombone, yarn, etc, etc.
  9. So I came off the first challenge practically 100%-ing the darn thing and then... As if I'd been touched by a wraith, all the energy and life force in me just vanished. All that momentum gone. The boulder having pushed to the top of the hill, has rolled down and settled in the valley. I know I can't stay down there with old Bouldy. (That's Sisyphus' job.) So I have to keep trekking forward. I might have small boots, and the journey is long, but I have five weeks of budding habits that work and I know it. So this challenge is going to be more about pushing through the slump. No fancy tracker this time; but I have made one page to use for the whole 5 weeks. Filling in boxes in motivating for me, but I needed less weekly time devoted to the making of it. So Goals Then - Keep on keeping on. Track Food 7x/week - best guess for any 'treat meals'. Move 5-6x/week - 3 strengths works really well for me, a few beat sabers, and fill the rest. Make Stuff - This is art and piano and D&D prep. I really liked hitting the stride of 3-4x a week for music/art. I'd like to keep this going. Misc goal "Grow" - This is about growing emotionally and spiritually. My devotion habit is a habit. Cool. Keep that up. I want to challenge myself going forward. This challenge is going to consist of doing some out of the comfort zone projects. I feel like I might have a problem with envy and a side dish of slander - things I don't want in my card catalog in general. So to combat this, I am planning to "write a letter" to any friend I have ever spoke about, in any fashion, behind their back, and fill it with all the reasons I am grateful for who they are and what they've done for me through the years of friendship. Bonus points if I actually send it to them lol. Other things may come up too, but that's what I am starting with. That's all I got for now. I am hoping to make the rounds on your guys challenges soon here ...
  10. #Back2Music22 Several weeks ago over on Ye Olde Discord, several people were interested in a get musical again pact. I'm going to tag those lovely folks here, but absolutely anyone brave enough to click on a thread advertising a Bard Only party can most certainly join in! If you are a rusty musician looking to get back to it, a newly-minted bard hoping to learn your first notes, or a seasoned troubadour who never leaves home without your trusty lute, all are welcome here! @Starpuck @Cheetah @obax @bigm141414 Very sorry if I missed anyone, tag whoever you think might be interested!
  11. I set out on a new journey; a path that travels through many realms and one that will teach me many things. I often daydream about potential -and must admit that I struggle the most with my friends when I see them failing to push toward their own. Which leads me to the honest confession that I often fail to push the boundaries of my own potential. For me, it's never been lack of effort, or the unwillingness to try in the first place. For me, Fear has been my greatest foe and Perfectionism his best accomplice. The only way I am going to thrive- (because if the past two years has taught me anything, it's that the only thing that stops us from thriving, is ourselves) then I must learn that I can be stronger than my circumstances, and that my hope comes from beyond whatever earthly conditions surround me at any given time. Fear is an illness. If you leave it untreated, it can consume you. I'd like to find some balance in the coming challenges, while picking up a few new hobbies and dusting off some old ones. I'd also like to get back into a healthier lifestyle habit as the past several weeks really had me shut down to 0%. That's going to require facing the scale at least once. While I know it's going to be a number that displeases me, it got there based on my choices. I can't change the past. I can reshape the future. FOOD GOAL The best way to get my habits in line again will be tracking my calories. It usually doesn't anger me, and it helps me make better choices. I'm a big fan of 'more bang for your buck' and that works with food too. Track in MFP 7 Days/Week *Impossible to track treats may be skipped or 'best guessed' but must be limited to once a week. EXERCISE GOAL I feel best when I am keeping in shape. It really just makes every other part of my life better. With winter in full effect it's easier to strength train than cardio, so I will do what's easiest to schedule in. Strength 2-3x a week Fill in other days to reach 5x exercise per week. CREATIVITY GOAL I want to continue drawing and have taken steps (costly ones) to get my desk set up more conducive to that. Draw 2x/week. I'm part of the Bard2022 Gang here, and I have both a full size digital piano with weighted keys (mmm) and a brand new 17 key Kalimba. I was VERY active in music in highschool, but reading music is going to be like brushing up on a foreign language you haven't read in 20 years. Music 2x/week. ESTABLISH A DAILY ROUTINE FOR AM AND PM AM - Devotional / bible study + Positivity journaling. PM - Computer off 20 minutes before bed, Teeth routine + Face routine with good health creams. More to come ... including a 'to do list' to be done during the next 5 weeks.
  12. I find myself in a bit of a weird place as the year winds down, and if anyone understands longing for the past and mourning what is gone, it's the elves. So I'm going to spend Christmas with them. And of course, Rivendell is renowned for stories and songs, so that's what I'm going to focus on this challenge. Stories: Reading: My sister and I have come up with a Christmas reading list. Not sure we're going to get to all 8, but we're extending it to 12th Night and some of them are children's books: The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand The Holiday Switch/The Holiday Swap by Tif Marcelo and Maggie Knox (these are rom-coms, and the waiting list at the library is ridiculous. So probably going to replace these with whatever rom-com we can get our hands on.) The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict Hogfather by Terry Pratchett Christmas Dinner of Souls by Ross Montgomery A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig The Christmas Pig by J K Rowling Writing: Just write. I know vague goals aren't SMART, but I've discovered the more parameters I put on this, the less I actually do it. Songs: Listening: Organize my playlists on Spotify. I've already got a bit of a jump on this, but there's lots more songs to sift through and place. Making: Play Christmas carols on my trombone. I've barely touched my trombone this year, and that needs to change. My Christmas book is pretty beginner level, which should be a good thing to use to get my lips back in shape. I'm going to let my garden lie a bit dormant for this challenge, but there are a few things I want to work on Athelas: I have an advent Bible reading plan, so I'm going to add this to my morning routine. Old Man Willow: My evening routine has gone out the window, so I want to work on having the teeth brushed and be in bed between 10 and 11. Party Tree: Get into the Christmas spirit with my mom. Play some Christmas duets, watch holiday movies, decorate, all that good stuff. My poor mom is a night owl in a houseful of early birds. Going to make more of an effort to hang with her in the evenings instead of passing out on the couch, which should help with the bedtime routine as well.
  13. "Denn wer nicht kämpft hat schon verloren; nur wer fällt steht wieder auf." "Because the one who doesn't fight has already lost; only he who falls down gets back up." "Once more onto the breach, dear friends!" Life feels like a circle, a diamond soul, a tempered mind. Iron turning into steel, steel honed to perfection, "vorwärts immer, rückwärts nimmer" (always going forward, never back). When you are lost within the fight, it all can feel like it's not worth it, at times, yet, we keep going, as the tide slowly builds up. We become stronger and get better at the game of life. We gain confidence and become better human beings. The pressure never drops but we adapt, we grow from each blow. We forge onward. I forge onward. I will not let apparent pullbacks pull me down. I will trust my vision and keep pushing, riding the waves until I reach port. I am not drowned. I'm in the game. And I'll reach port. Finding Home Budget for home improvements then search for my next home. Make no compromise, it has to have space, a modern kitchen and an amenable bathroom. Once I get there, don't give up on it but take good care of it. Keep things bare but ordered, clean regularly. It has to be a haven for my people too. Spirit of the Wild Pursue my hiking guide training courses. Achieve the 4 days of internship required. Build a website to gather and crystallize people around the idea of being one within nature, a part of the whole. Take people out, build resilience, thrive through survival. True Strength Master my time and schedule. Set up dedicated moments to work out, find a place to shower and have a nourishing breakfast, keep work clothes there in order to be exercise ready when outside of work. Rest 7h a night with quality sleep, let go of worries and empty my mind. Practice Taiji. Wildfire Be unstoppable, roam free, find unexpected ways, find stability in momentum, raise from ashes, fall and stand up.
  14. Last challenge I worked on building foundational habits for my different skill categories. I was mostly successful, except for the physical skills of STR/DEX/CON - oh the shame of it all on a physical fitness forum! So yeah, this time I have to actually move, rather than just talk about how I've not moved. I'm going to be carrying these foundational habits forward for this challenge so that I can build on them. I also want to start a project. Predictably, this will be a getting-rid-of project. (A glance at the Arts/Skills section of my battle log will reveal that I have a tendency to pile things up and then pretend they're not there when the get overwhelming, sometimes for literal decades. I'm trying to get rid of the accumulated stuff in manageable chunks over a long period of time.) I started this project a little last challenge, when I was bitching about how hard it was to make the rectangles I was using to plan shelving arrangements behave themselves. I need a more functional recording space to make progress on Occ. goals. What I have works, but it's not as convenient as I'd hoped to convert it from living to recording space and back again. And I have too many books for my shelves, so I need more of those anyway. I think the new design I have in mind will work. I have a basic layout in mind. I will need to do a little bit of sewing on the blankets to make new attachment points, but that's no big deal. What is a big deal is the ginormous pile of discarded books from the Great Weeding Project of 2020. I need to get rid of them to make room. Or put them up for sale and shift them to the "for sale" area. Or something other than sitting in piles and being useless. In addition to clearing space for recording, it will give me more living area AND an indoor space for handstand practice, so it's like an achievement that will unlock new levels of the skill tree. I will have to be very careful to keep habits going while project mode is engaged; this is a big deal for this challenge. I'm going to try something fun to round off the challenge. The news cycle runs on terrible news. They get people to tune in by hitting their fear and outrage buttons. It's very effective. But it's also bad for mental health in the long run to be bombarded with so much negativity. When you think about it, even after the disaster that was 2020, things around the world really have been improving for humanity. Since 1990, the child mortality rate has more than halved. The number of people living in absolute poverty is lowest it has ever been even though there are more people alive now than ever before. We have gone from ~370,000 cases of guinea worm to only 28. And look how quickly we rose to the challenge of creating multiple vaccines, some using technology never before used for a vaccine, for a virus whose relatives have resisted our efforts in the past. We are an ingenious, resilient, and scrappy species. I am going to find an example of people using their resourcefulness and creativity to make the world a better place and report it back here daily. (And if you have any you'd like to share yourself, please do! The more the merrier.) Or, as expressed in D&D-speak: STR: Continue the current habit, but actually do it this time. DEX: Same as above. This one I got lazy on, but I do need to modify it to remove some of the jumps because they risk waking people up. CON: Same as above. I anticipate this one being spotty because winter. INT: Same as above, but with at least one session per week of focused reading time (ie. not while eating). WIS: Same as above, but with daily efforts at appreciative mindfulness thrown in as well. This is not a quantifiable goal, I know. Also the positive news challenge mentioned previously. CHA: Monitor charitable organizations to see if any would make good potential volunteer opportunities. Make time on 1-2 evenings to intentionally spend time with my son. Occ.: Continue the current habit. Do something every day to prepare for recording when the space is up. Art.: Book discarding/selling challenge listed previously. Also, continue music practice daily. Lang.: Continue the current habit.
  15. We are going to ignore ALL conventions of musical theory instruction and skip over primum and secondo practica, completely forget about chorale forms, promise ourselves we will return to fugues, sonatas et al, and just go to a form that makes sense for this challenge. I started a few days ago, giving it at 7-week feel, therefore a seven part form, therefore rondo. I swear, I swear this makes sense. But this is a mad postapocalyptic wasteland so who even cares. The rondo form is a 5 or 7 part musical form that is characterized by discrete themes/sections that rotate themselves in a predictable pattern, and is a common form used as the final movement of symphonic works or sonatas. Episodes are given capital letters to designate their identifying theme. Seven part is ABACABA, five part is ABACA Besides! This is a workout place! Where we obsess over forms! So we can do ALL KINDS of forms!! Anyways whatever here we go. A weeks are focus on body/exercise/diet, B and C weeks are focus on brain/spirit stuff. A: get a leg day done and meditate (Past week, done) B: Catch up on birthday presents, focus on journaling. A: Start Barre workouts C. Recording session at a church—Midway challenge reward with wobble board, mat, and odds and ends. A: Weight loss and body fat percentage check in, go to tox rounds, make and give away religieuse B: Stream with my sister if I haven't A: Weight loss check in—Spoil myself and buy the stuff in my sephora basket The basic structure looks like this Ahh!! it works!! it uploaded!!! anyways, I will be filling out one of these per week so I can track my progress simply, update simply, and stay focused on building routines while using the length of the challenge to build good habits. I may update the goals as I go along, but it's a start.
  16. And no, I don't mean the painter's/welder's mask I use to protect myself from the pandemic! But seriously though. Now that I'm (mostly) recovered from surgery, I need to start building up my mind and body again. I've gotten too tired, too soft, too blah. So it's time to fight back and try some new things... as if I have time for all that, on top of everything else! #1 MUSIC Last June, my in-laws bought my daughter and I an entry-level digital piano (88 weighted keys). It is not too much to say that it has actually changed my life. I've been playing the guitar for two decades, but the past half-year has revolutionized my understanding and feel for musical composition. Maybe it's the piano, maybe it's just exactly the right time... I dunno. Can't be sure. What I CAN be sure of, though, is that I'm finally able to bring some original music to life! And it's about gosh-darn time, too. I've created a SoundCloud account where I am posting original instrumental songs under a CC-BY license. These are learning, study pieces. They're not intended to be revolutionary, or mind-bendingly awesome and technical. Over the past few years I've developed a deep and abiding joy in simple melancholy and ambient instrumentals. "Meditation music", if you will. Quiet, textural pieces that evoke a mood or a feeling, instead of songs with direction and purpose (though I do love some of those too). I'm posting them as CC-BY because I like the idea of giving art to the world without trying to make a buck off of it. Of course, that has a lot to do with the fact that I have a job that pays me enough to live, which I realize is a privilege not everyone enjoys. So, I want to post a minimum of one new piece for every week of this Challenge. Doesn't have to be long or complicated, just something new. Here's my most recent one. #2 MEDITATION It's time for meditation again. Right now I'll settle for five minutes of quite respite per day. That should be achievable. #3 MOVEMENT This one's the trickiest. I need to get my body moving again, and I need to not take it too fast. It's arctic cold where I am, which is keeping me inside and away from my wonderful 4-mile walks (oh how I miss the walks). I have a whole house, but few rooms with actual room to move in them. (My personal space has steep eaves, for example, meaning that I can't even stand up in the middle without hunching my neck). So, for Week 1, I'm going to figure out WHAT I can do inside and WHERE I can do it in order to facilitate movement. After that I'll figure out a goal of actual working time. That's it for now. Back to work. WEEK 1 MUSIC [ X ] MEDITATION [ X ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] MOVEMENT [ ]
  17. Warrior's Barracks: A warrior needs proper rest: In bed by 11pm A warrior needs to keep her barracks clean: Make bed Sunday thru Thursday A warrior needs to be physically fit & flexible: Exercise 3x per week Stretch every day A warrior keeps track of her workouts: Track dates, names of workouts done, & length of workouts Monk's Temple: A disciple spends time with God: Prayer Bible/devotional readings Sabbath readings Meditation on memory verses Room of Ritual: Habits must be tracked: Track challenge activity Journaling helps mental health: Journal every day to spot weak areas/triggers Athenaeum: Time for learning/recreation: Knitting-finish my project & start learning a new stitch Do the 21 Day Positive Mindset Challenge Play piano 5x per week for 35 minutes each time
  18. ***Real challenge to be posted soon*** I'm starting this thread so I don't forget or put it off tomorrow when something more fun shows up. New year means reviewing the goals of the past year - what worked, what didn't, and what should be added, changed, or deleted. I also turn 40 this challenge, so it's a good time to reflect on where I am in life, and where I want to be headed. But this is all too much for my poor tired brain right now. Tomorrow.
  19. Yes, I meant Bassline. Like figured bass. Get it? Ok, maybe not. #musicnerdjokes Anyways, the challenges are good and healthy for me, so why not do another one? Sounds good to me! Build on progress! Avoid thinking about the apocalypse aggressively worseningl! Consider tarts! I've found where to start, I've found a rhythm, and the next thing to add (or get back to) is a Bassline. This post needs more music gifs. I will need to add more. Like this one! Let's be honest: Same. Tonic Exercise: Ramping up my goals from last time: Exercise 4x/week minimum with Cardio paired with one of the following. 1. Strength Training 2. Sword 3. Pilates Diet: No more call days!! Yay!!!! At least until march. Then the Sadness Returns. 1. If it's healthy, it has to be tasty. 2. Eat out once a week or less. Sleep: set timer for 8:30 pm as a bedtime alarm. Ritual Must Include 1. Skincare 2. Calling Home 3. Watching some TV in bed before sleeping 4. Dealing with anxiety by: thoughtjournal app, calm meditation app, audiobooks, calling home again, video games, telling myself it will be ok and crying a lot. 5. Add Yoga Nightly Success Measurement: Weight loss: (lose 4 pounds by the end of the month), habitbull tracker. Subdominant Water the Self: I got a water bottle, so now my goal is to drink the whole bottle while at work. Music practice: Increase to 30 minutes 5x a week. Control Your Thoughts: Meditate once per week. Success Measurement: Habitbull Tracker Dominant Make Something Once a Week (like a fun healthy recipe). Check in with friends every day, even if it's just a simple text. Stand up for myself, at all costs Set up a Twitch account and stream my favorite video game with my sister. Success Measurement: Weekly self-checkins and Habitbull Tracker Mini Goals: Week 1: Invention Tonic: Set the bedtime alarm Subdominant: Start drinking more water at work Dominant: Sausage and peppers this week, and set up a twitch account. Week 2: Sinfonia Tonic: weigh in Subdominant Dominant Week 3: Trio Tonic: Restart weight training (done) Subdominant: Get sheet music for Greatest Showman (today) Dominant: Check in on other people's challenges (to do) Week 4: Fugue Tonic: Add in another leg exercise (started) Subdominant: TBD Dominant: Set another gaming with sister time this week Week 5: BWV 682 Tonic: Final weigh in Subdominant: Go back to BWV 682 and commit to it for the next three weeks, since I will FINALLY have the brainpower for that beast Dominant: Answer the list of questions I made up for myself to help decide What I Want.
  20. Hello everyone, for those of you who don't me; I shall give a short intoduction: *daughter of the King *bibliophile *tea lover *creative Anything else you want to know? Just ask.
  21. 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.
  22. Maybe peeps on here have already seen this, but I just discovered it and thought I'd share. Just a bit of fun...
  23. Posting late due to technical glitches on the forum. Shout out to the NF IT team for fixing it quickly! This challenge is similar in format to my holiday one; but I added more elements to stretch creativity. Last challenge
  24. Finance- Complete. Fitness- Attempt an aerial class. Jan 2015. Joined an aikido class. Great Big Backyard- Dinosaur Monument Glenwood Caverns Royal Gorge 2 14ers Great Sand Dunes 7/6/15 Cheyenne Zoo 10/9/15 Mesa Verde Red Rocks Pikes Peak Garden of the Gods Great Big Country- Evermore, Utah ECCC / Seattle Bourbon Street, New Orleans Boston Hawaii Aleutians, Alaska California Adventure at Disneyland, California 12/5/16 Zion National Park, Utah Disney World, Orlando, Florida Diagon Alley & Hogsmeade, Orlando, Florida Napa Valley, California Las Vegas, Nevada Yellowstone National Park Great Big World- Cruise the Caribbean. Dublin Greece Tokyo, including Disneyland and DisneySea 10/2018 Hong Kong, including Disneyland Shanghai, including Disneyland Perth Egypt Rome Venice Paris London Hobbies- 1 new cosplay item per Challenge. Work on poster cross stitch between projects. 1 new show per Challenge. Theatre/music/podcasts/comedy. QUARANTINE EDIT: online streams of theatre, music festivals (including ShakeItOut), Night Vale episodes, new Netflix stand up. 2 new books per Challenge. New/used shelf, graphic novels. Learn Japanese. 2018 Personal- Commit to alone time once per week. Take a joy ride, for more than 10 minutes, once per week. Get all desired/designed tattoos (3/6 to date). 12/2014, 3/2015, 11/2016.
  25. 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!
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