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  1. Welcome, welcome!!!!! Draw up a chair and sit here by the fire while the assembled company prepares its boasts and plans for the coming month!!! I have no doubt that many brave deeds are being contemplated right now. At month's end, many a glorious tale will be told. And more than a few heroes will find themselves back here to nurse wounds and plan anew. I myself am taking a month's leisure to strum a merry tune of an evening and prepare for a long journey, waiting only for the easing of the winter cold before I am bound for the East, to see new lands and seek treasures I've only known of in tales. No one knows for sure what we will encounter on the way; so I need to prepare quite a number of things: 1) Healing Potions and Bandages I seem to catch minor illnesses with some frequency, which interferes with strenuous activity and training. There is a great deal of opinions about what remedies and preparations will prevent one from becoming ill ... or in speeding recovery. I plan to spend time each day reading at the great library and consulting with the local alchemists about the most effective items to take now and to bring with me on the adventure to come. I am a bit frustrated with my frequency of catching the "crud" and plan to do some research into effective ways to improve immunity, adopting tactics that have support of research. Some are obvious ... like getting good sleep and drinking plenty of water. But even a quick look at Harvard Health shows me that there are some stones I've left unturned. If I'm not feeling good, I often don't workout .... or I take it easy ..... so it takes longer to reach goals. I'm going to find ways to stay on task and working hard longer. 2) Food Well, food. A traveler may find places to eat along the road, but the quality of the victuals is often ...... questionable. And one might be better served by eating an apple and greens rather than fried porridge. I am preparing foods to bring with me so that I do not need to rely upon fast food served by the MacDonalds or other similar families. Their pubs may look inviting, but I've heard tales about their chicken nuggets that would curl your toes. I've had two interviews for a job in the Twin Cities at the University. Yea, that doesn't mean that I'll get it, but I started thinking about logistics and remembering that LUNCHES are often a real challenge. And that dinner can also mean that we go out because we're both tired and not interested in cooking. So, I'm going to get back into the habit of cooking ahead and preparing Bento Box lunches for each week day. Even if I'm working on projects on my own time table, this is not a bad thing to do, and it's more interesting than popping a frozen burrito in the microwave to be swilled down with warmed up coffee. 3) Gear I've been gathering up traveling clothes for a few weeks. I've garnered a nice, warm cloak and sturdy hiking boots, suitable for the cold. But I still need a few changes of shirts and trousers. And my time-keeping device has entirely lost the band that keeps it on my wrist. I need to dig through my packs and figure out what I will need for the trip, but I am sure many of my adventuring supplies are worn out or missing. I've been too long sitting by my fire, strumming a tune on this guitar. It is time for an adventure!!! I let my winter gear wear out and not be replaced. I got a few things for Christmas (parka and boots), but I still need more base layer items and a replacement for my FitBit, especially since for goal #5, I need to be prepared for what February in Minnesota can dish out. It can be damn cold (-30F) or very snowy, depending upon the year. 4) Spells No bard would take to the road .... nor no ranger either ..... without having essential spells memorized. It's a dangerous world out there, and one never knows if charm or a wolf will be needed to smooth the way. I am going to finish my personal trainer certification book by the end of February. I won't be able to take the test until April, which will let me work on memorization, but I want to learn the material and put it to work in my own life. 5) .... and I shall spend fair days in scouting the way ahead, as much as the snows permit, of course. It's best to know the lay of the land .... and start to get toughened up for the long walk. I'll gradually go out further each day to stretch my legs and get used to traveling in the cold again. One thing that helps keep me healthy is getting outside to exercise DAILY. Even if it is just a 30 minute walk, the fresh air really does seem to help. This can be a challenge!!!! And the gear for a February afternoon stroll can weigh more than 10 pounds .... so I'll get a leg up on prepping for a Go Ruck or OCR.
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