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  1. Hi, I'm AuntDinosaur and was last active (on NF and in life) over five years ago, but I'm back as a Druid-in-training rookie. I'm 37, in the midwest US, and most recently a pastry chef, currently unemployed. Not walking to work or working in a kitchen has dropped my activity level to sedentary, and I definitely notice the effects on my body and mood. My physical goals are to move and stretch more, to build strength, stamina, and flexibility. I used to be pretty active in yoga and Pilates, and would like to get back into that. I also purchased GMB Elements last year and want to, you know, actually do it. On your mark. Get set. BAKE! Roll out the mat. Get on the mat and do something. A mix of yoga and pilates, aiming for around 15 minutes per day, but working under Mini Habits rules of committing to 'just one' a day. 5x per week Week One: [X] [X] [X] [] [] Week Two: [] [] [] [] [] Week Three: [] [] [] [] [] Week Four: [] [] [] [] [] Week Five: [] [] [] [] [] Move it. Shape it. Continue GMB Elements program three times per week. 3x per week (MWF) Week One: [X] [X] [] Week Two: [] [] [] Week Three: [] [] [] Week Four: [] [] [] Week Five: [] [] [] The Big Finish* To catch up on my Goodreads challenge and clear out my TBR and SCR (Simultaneous Current Reads) piles, I need to finish five books. These books do not have to be started during the challenge, as I'm halfway through at least three books right now. I would also like to start posting reviews of books** on Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, and my website. During this challenge, I will write and post five reviews to social media. The five reviews do not have to be of the five books I finished this challenge. Book reviews for my own blog will require me making food and taking pictures, so those are just super-extra-yay points if I do any during this challenge. *Several books on my TBR are romance and I am not sorry for this pun. **Mainly cozy mystery, LGBTQ+ romcoms and culinary romcoms, or something to do with dragons. Finish 5 books. Review 5 books. Book One: Book Two: Book Three: Book Four: Book Five: Review One: Review Two: Review Three: Review Four: Review Five:
  2. "In the Beginning" by David Whyte Sometimes simplicity rises like a blossom of fire from the white silk of your own skin. You were there in the beginning you heard the story, you heard the merciless and tender words telling you where you had to go. Exile is never easy and the journey itself leaves a bitter taste. But then, when you heard that voice, you had to go. You couldn't sit by the fire, you couldn't live so close to the live flame of that compassion you had to go out in the world and make it your own so you could come back with that flame in your voice, saying listen... this warmth, this unbearable light, this fearful love... It is all here, it is all here. For this challenge, I will be recovering, both from an impact injury to my back after running a 15 mile race and to my heart after some changes to the dynamic of our family (no, I'm not getting divorced). I decided to follow the advice I've been given several times when I have felt overwhelmed. Keep it simple... Simple Morning Routine: 0445 wakeup read (scripture, poetry, philosophy, etc.) meditate/pray get grounded (bare feet on the earth) Simple Workout: 20 minutes a day of any activity my body can handle without pain (yoga, walking, stretching, etc.) Simple Nutrition: eat real foods with simple ingredients drink simply: water, tea, coffee, juice (no energy drinks, sodas, store-bought protein drinks, etc.) And that's it. No pressure to "get it right," just the basics. I really need low-stress right now (or is low-impact a better word?). (edited to add the "drink simply" goal)
  3. [Future Home of AuntDinosaur's Epic Quest]
  4. 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.
  5. Long-ass background: The Body Rocks FUEL: Stick to intermittent fasting schedule with an 8-hour eating window (10am to 6 pm). Broth or miso is allowed in the evening. Proper hydration (more water) that avoids dehydration (less coffee, less alcohol). Continue the intention to eat plant-based foods until dinner. WORK: Continue the 20x20 from the last challenge past completion. At least 20 workouts, at least 20 minutes each session of: Endurance: 16 of 20 Strength: 11 of 20 Flexibility: 18 of 20 Use endurance sessions to get my 3-mile running pace up to at least 6 mph (in preparation for the fall autumn epic quest). Continue the push-up progression (10 days at 10, 20 days at 20, etc...I'm in the 30 days of 30 now). The Mental Rocks FUEL: Get the sleep routine set: go dark by 11 pm and get out of bed every day no later than 5:45 am. Read fiction at night instead of playing games on the phone. WORK: Finish the final academic quarter of my life. Use pomodoro at work to make steady progress on important but unexciting projects. The Spirit Rocks (fuel and work are one): Take a morning walk: at least 30 minutes in nature (or at least outside). Practice mindfulness three times daily: on the morning walk, in the yoga session, in the moments before sleep. Yoga streaking? Accounting: I'll use the attached table to keep score: 2 points for each workout (first three), and one point for each day I count as successful (within reasonable parameters). I'm aiming for at least 5 points per week in each category. Best wishes to all!
  6. Multiple things have poked me to get back on NF, after a loooong absence. I've had periods in that absence when I was diligent about diet & exercise, and periods when I wasn't. Morning Routine: 5 minutes yoga, completed before 9am. Track how many days completed. Intermittent fasting: Track how much eating outside of 12pm-8pm window. PROJECT: Attempt soundproofing my barbell & plates. These give me something to build on for the next challenge. The morning routine gets me out of bed AND ACTIVE before 9, instead of sitting around staring at my phone. It keeps my workout space clear. Mornings are the best time for me to work out, and weightlifting is the most effective routine for me, but I have been making excuses because my roommate keeps late hours and is sleeping right nearby. I'm not dropping weights, but the plates and bar clanking is relatively loud. If I can reduce this to a more reasonable noise level, that is one fewer excuse available to me. I have done Intermittent Fasting occasionally in the past, and it is a good fit for me. Lunch and dinner, I am inclined to eat reasonably balanced meals. Mornings and evenings, my willpower is low and I am inclined to snack on mediocre to poor food choices. Also, I'm not inclined to do much exciting cooking, and if I am genuinely hungry at meal time, a boring healthy meal looks pretty good. So it paradoxically makes it easier for me to get in a lot of protein and veg, because I haven't filled up on snacks.
  7. Midsummer June 12- July 23: Take Root Yoga, meditation, anti-inflammatory foods, acupuncture, sound healing, love. This Druid challenge I’m focusing on a single element: The Root. Grounded. I made some significant strides with being grounded last challenge, and this challenge I’m looking to focus on that and deepen it. From stillness comes strength. Strong roots that run deep provide the stability to weather the storm. It’s been noted in recent research that deep roots in old forests act as a communication network, allowing the trees to sense what is happening and respond, from restorative rains to rampaging wildfires, and to act accordingly in their own best interests. The Sanskrit word for root is muladhara, and from the root we receive our security and balance, our ability to be in harmony with the world, no matter what might come our way. It is associated with the color red, the slowest of all the hues in the spectrum. It serves as a reminder of our inextricable connection with Mother Earth. Nourish Flower and urban farm shares (including eggs!) and farm fresh vegetables are populating my pantry once again. I love this time of year. There’s a lot going on with needing to wash, prep and store the bounty, and then turn it into the wonderful meals that are waiting. My kidneys in particular are looking forward to this, and to the beets that are surely on their way. I’m looking to deepen my sense of abundance and sit with the miracle that is the power of the earth to produce food. All my needs are met, if I can meet the universe’s gifts. Creative Power, I haven’t felt very powerful over the last few years, and even my creativity has felt diminished. Deepening my sense of boundaries and allowing myself to take up space is essential to having personal power. The foundation of this is a strong and powerful connection with my center and with the ground. The result is an ability to express my boundaries and personal power in a loving and rooted way. Plans: This is summer, and before I was offered the job I had said yes to a whole host of summertime dogsitting. I’m honoring those commitments while also saying no to any future engagements. This is difficult for me, but necessary. I need time in my life for rest, the first part of the word restoration. I cannot be present and available when I’m depleted and scattering my energy all around. Bask : Acupuncture and milk each week help me heal and deepen my glow. I have signed up for restorative yoga sessions on every other Friday that are like a deep meditation session, and I’ll add those where and when I can. Love Visitation is supposed to be expanding, but it isn’t. Encouraging this with firm compassion is going to take some deep calm, deep wisdom, and deep love.
  8. I had plans for this challenge. I am not using them. It's time for a special monk challenge. I need to get in touch with my inner girly monk, and I will be using my blond guru for this. After all, aikido is about elegance, and who is more elegant than Miss Piggy? Miss Piggy's Life Lessons Spirit, Determination, Grit, Confidence, Pursuit of Dreams, Beauty, Being Tough, Kicking Down Barriers with Martial Arts, International Star, Best-selling Author, Diva Kicking Down Barriers: Strength and Mobility I will lift the one I love. I will stretch the one I love. Spirit: Meditation I will meditate. (That's meditation depicted there, right? Pretty sure.) Toughness: Prioritize Sleep and Rest I will sleep well. I will schedule rest breaks timed for better performance. Kicking Down Barriers: Eat Enough I will eat enough for my metabolism to run right. (And maybe try to get some data.) Determination, Grit, and Confidence: Know What I Want I will practice knowing what I want. (This will be partly in a journal, but I also want to practice knowing what I want when I hit roadblocks in the dayor encounter task resistance, so this will evolve.) I will practice rewarding myself for incremental progress on goals to reinforce grit. Diva: Look Fabulous I will incrementally increase my fabulosity. And possibly refuse to age. International Star and Bestselling Author: Art is Important I will make art. I will make things around me beautiful. Diva Bonus: Be a Rockstar I will give myself bonus points for being more rock n' roll. Templates Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Totals Strength: At Least One Exercise Yoga Walk Eat Enough Sleep: Full Lights Out by Midnight Meditate Dopamine Increments Write Schedule of Rest Write Down What I Want (in a Journal) Make Art Make Something Pretty Fabulosity Improvement Bonus: Rock n' Roll Totals While that is a lot, most of it is things I am doing or have been working on, or fun things. It's more about noticing what I do that serves a goal, or opportunities to do something that serves a goal. I am a busy person, being a big international star, so I will just do what I feel like each day, and track it. After all, why should moi do anything she does not feel like, hmmm?
  9. Vetinari sighed, and put down his pen. "Drumknott," he called towards the outer chamber. The clerk entered noiselessly. "Yes, my lord?" he said. The Patrician waved at the papers on his desk. "Take these away. I'm..." He trailed off, and rubbed his goatee distractedly. Drumknott cleared his throat. "Bored, sir?" He gathered up the papers on the desk into a neat sheaf. "One does not get bored of ruling a city like Ankh-Morpork, Drumknott," said Vetinari in a tone that would, in other men, be described as slightly peevish. No one ever described the patrician of Ankh-Morpork as peevish. At least, not if they valued a scorpion-free existence on the outside of the dungeon walls. It was, however, the time of year when a certain... restlessness set in. It was the same every May. One would have to be fairly close to the Patrician to notice this shift in mood, and that was precisely where most people strove not to be. Drumknott noticed. "I have taken the liberty, my lord," said Drumknott. He placed a thin file folder in front of Vetinari, and carefully squared it up. "I thought one of these might amuse." Vetinari opened the folder. He flipped past the first sheet, plucked out the second sheet for further perusal, then the third, flipped past the fourth, and paused on the fifth. "Interesting," he said. "She has been away quite some time, has she not?" "Indeed, sir," said Drumknott. "I understand she will be reporting back to work soon. The Dark Clerks have cleared a desk for her. Do you wish to send down an assignment?" "Oh, I think we should have a very special assignment waiting for Sara Kingdom," said Vetinari. He smiled thinly. A Challynge yn Foure Partes Parte I: Clerking "As a wizard, I must tell you, Havelock, that words have power." "As a politician, I must tell you I already know." I'm reading two books that talk about writing as a mental transformation habit, which I was surprised to find, cuz I've been toying with the idea of "write it down or it didn't happen" as a core principle of thinking through plans and problems - basically, the idea that if you don't make it tangible, you're probably kidding yourself on how clearly and well you really thought it through - and writing as a way of finding out what you're not aware you think, the act of recording as a necessary part of the thinking process itself. The first is inspired by Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way", but brings in more research-based stuff, and the second is one of the researchy books it's based on. So I will be hauling out the notebooks and doing a lot of writing. There will be some basic journalling to clear my head and figure out what I'm interested in these days. There will be weekly (and possibly daily) planning and review writing on sets of questions and stuff, to make myself do the job clearly and fully, and bypass the lack of focus going on. There may even be an experiment with expressive writing as a way of processing and clearing the head of various bits of negative flotsam and jetsam it stalls out on, or has to keep handling. (Doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs, but the science is good.) Basically, a lot of writing. A ton of writing. Parte II: Monking "Time has stopped for everyone but you," said Sweeper patiently. "Actually, that sentence is wrong in every particular, but it’s quite a useful lie." Lately, I've been managing to sleep purely by doing very deliberate physical and mental stillness meditations in bed. It's ridiculously hard. This is not normal for me, at least in recent years, so it's a big sign that my meditation habit needs to come back in a big way. If my brain is buzzing that hard when I'm trying to sleep, it's probably jangling that hard all the time, and that can't be helping anything. So I'm gonna learn how to stop time and get some stillness back with meditation. Parte III: Patrolling Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. This part is simple. Walking. I will patrol my city. Parte IV: Assassining The Assassin moved quietly from roof to roof until he was well away from the excitement around the Watch House. His movements could be called catlike, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things. Strength and mobility training, for scaling rooftops and things. The strength training will start with a continuation of the previous challenge's isometric stuff: horse stance (static squat), planks, ITWY exercises, and some bridge. When my schedule gets wrangled into shape, I will try to get some daily yoga before bed, but it's not gonna be a week 1 kinda goal. It was a Guild of Assassins, after all. Black was what you wore. The night was black and so were you. And black had such style, and an Assassin without style, everyone agreed, was just a highly paid arrogant thug. Pure bonus material, but I think some wearing of black and stylishness should get points. A lot of aikido teachers will tell you to focus on elegance, and putting the focus on the process rather than the goal tends to improve the efficacy. I've noticed this with writing, too; a focus on elegant handwriting tends to slow down and smooth the jangly bits in the brain and the content becomes better. Ye Planne The plan is not to jump into doing all of this at once, because I'm currently at very low capacity for getting things done and adding things to my list, but to step up how much I'm doing during the challenge. Some goals aren't even on my list for the initial week or two, and the rest, for the first couple of weeks, I'll be fine with hitting them half the days. Doing something half the days is better than zero of the days, and I'm going to need some time to try to find a good schedule time for them. Wrangling my schedule, especially when it comes to sleep, is turning out to be a big obstacle, so I'm starting by doing just what helps get that stabilized better. Template: Week 0 Day 1 Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Meditation Journal Written Plans & Reviews Emotive Writing Exercise Walking Strength Yoga Assassin Style Bonus
  10. Back to another ‘I won’t be home for most of this Cycle’ challenge. It’s back to hotel life for a few weeks, and a movement shift is in order. I’m still looking to see if there are any good looking daytime yoga classes anywhere near where I’ll be, but thus far - nada. It looks like people are sliding from Ramadan timings to Summer Hours. Boo. That’s fine. I’ve got some inversion homework from one of my teachers, another that has moved to the UK has posted a host of YouTube flows, and I’ll have access to a fairly decent gym if I remember correctly. My big challenge is going to be doing what I need to do motivation-wise to ensure I get a good workout in (i.e. forcing myself to get ready out of order by wearing contacts + workout clothes to breakfast and showering after the gym), and not eating anything too crazy. Or at least not too many crazy meals. Alcohol won’t be an issue. Movement Get something done each day. A trip to the hotel gym, a yoga class out in town, a flow in my hotel room, a mall walk - something. Nutrition Simple breakfasts - most likely back to my egg/spinach/mushroom combo; if I remember correctly, this hotel has soy milk for coffee but that’s it on the dairy-free front. I *think* they also do eggs. At least scrambled. Don’t go too crazy at dinner - watch my hunger cues if I’m getting any that day, otherwise aim for 80% of my plate. Err on the side of veggies when possible. Other I’m bringing a big crochet project and my iPad for drawing, so should be good there. I had intended on bringing a sewing project as well, but didn’t have *quite* enough fusible fleece to complete 1 bag. Boo. I got everything I have cut though. I think that’s mostly it while we are gone. I need to do some scrapbook stuff finding/scrap filling once I get another book - it looks like my Smash Book journals may have been discontinued (at least on Amazon), so I need to find an alternative. I also want to continue working to step up my wardrobe game a bit and may look for some more “fun” pieces while we are gone. I got a super cute but plain orange sun dress while in Paris (I was excited to see a Uniqlo) and a really pretty silk scarf from the Van Gogh Museum I can use to zhuzh up an otherwise basic outfit. Hopefully I can still get away with the jeans I bought right before we left for at least most of the trip - I’ll mostly be living in lounge wear, but we will be hitting the mall pretty much every night. Should be enough a/c so I don’t melt completely. It’s only in the low 90s. I think that’s it for this challenge. The last week or so will be spent rebuilding my yoga schedule, snuggling the pups, and re-acquainting myself with the current grocery stock.
  11. Beltane May 1 - June 11: Bloom Where You’re Planted Yoga, meditation, anti-inflammatory foods, gardening, composting (with worms!!), love. Welcome to a truly Druidic Challenge. Grounded. Like an errant teenager or an injured pilot, like the third prong on the electrical plug, this challenge I am grounded, or looking to get that way. Me, being me, I’m taking this as literally as I take everything else, and I’m looking to dirt and roots to help me out. Even my yoga sessions are on the ground, and meditation is definitely that way. Nourish Flower and urban farm shares (including eggs!) start this week. Nearby farm vegetable delivery starts May 17. I need to make sure I have the fridge and tools prepared and waiting. Eating farm-to-table is a mindset more than an activity, and having the right structure in place makes all the difference. Weekly vegetable delivery means weekly cooking. Last year was a wash with me having no motivation or energy. Truly, it was a sad year on the cooking front. Looking forward to this year in the kitchen. Vermicomposting, the nerdiest druid thing to happen in the dirt. I’m super excited about this. I’ve wanted to do indoor vermicomposting for years, and am finally making this happen. I have the composter ready to be assembled, and lots of thoughts about worms. The composter isn’t large, but every square inch matters in this small apartment, so I’ll need to figure out where it will live and how collecting vegetable scraps and tea leaves will fit into the workflow. Plants! Vivian wants to plant roses and lavender in containers on the rooftop terrace, and I want to have fresh herbs again, especially rosemary and basil, and possibly sunflowers. Look for green thumb reports. Bask I’m kicking the challenge off with a session of sound bowl healing, one of my favorite activities. A second session is scheduled for the first week of June as well. The weather is warming up and there’s a couple free yoga sessions each week with an instructor I really like, so I’m adding those to the calendar, in pencil as my energy level allows. Acupuncture and milk each week help me keep my glow. I have two passes for a salt float (similar to a sensory deprivation tank, but larger) that are like a deep meditation session, and I’ll add those where and when I can. Love I get to see Vivian every other Saturday, still, and we are supposed to start adding in time on the following Sundays, as well as video chats on the Friday before. I’m looking forward to that. Academic Housekeeping: I need to finish up the semester projects and send them off. I’ve been dragging my feet and will have them done and turned in by the end of zero week.
  12. Whew! That last challenge was a real doozy, but I made it! I am now officially graduated from my MA program and just got back into town late last night (the ceremony was several states away from home since it was an online program). It's the last two-ish weeks of the classes I teach and my doctor cleared me to do gentle workouts (with a few "extra" restrictions since we're getting ready to do IVF). I'm finally over that mountain I've been slowly climbing for a long time now - in the case of the MA, 3 years! - and have found myself wondering...what now? What do I do with all this time I've suddenly "found"? What goes in those sections of my daily journal entry anymore? What happens next after the big goal has been achieved? This is something I've often found myself struggling with after big events like this, so I'm not wildly surprised. Still, there is a little bit to finish off here but I've found the best way for me to move forward when I feel like this is to relax a little bit but think up some new goals to set or I end up becoming one of those people who putter around doing nothing and then wonder how in the world they wasted an entire day/week/month/summer, so it's time to start dreaming up the next steps! Quest One: Fitness Okay so here are the rules according to my doctors: 1) start very slow and add time/frequency only if my body is responding well 2) walking or light jogging is okay except during egg retrieval week - no sprints or hard pacing (I believe walking is okay during egg retrieval week but not jogging, I will double check that) 3) No quick changes of body position, especially twisting - slow changes are okay as long as I don't feel any pain 4) Yoga is okay, but no inversion stuff (which could be a challenge, but I hate downward dog anyway so at least there's that?) 5) Be careful of my heart rate - try to keep it under 160, but it's running fast right now anyway, so I have to be extra cautious here 6) Try my best not to work out for more than 30 minutes at a time So with all of that said, my goal is to start with workouts 1x a week that are less than 30 minutes. I'm going to focus on walking and careful yoga with some light jogging - think like C25K but an extra slow, short version. Quest Two: Nutrition I'm still trying to gain weight, as well as improve my nutrient stores in preparation for pregnancy. I got this app called Sidekick that has a bunch of recipe "packs" that are supposed to allow for variety in healthy meals while minimizing food waste. My goal is going to be to cook recipes, probably from this app, 1x or 2x a week that still focus on protein while also including foods (mainly produce) I don't usually eat. This might be a single ingredient or a whole bunch, but the idea is that I get a wider variety of nutrients if I eat a wider variety of foods. Also I love to cook but haven't had time or energy during the last year or so of grad school crunch, so this is a way to get me back into a hobby I enjoy while also meeting a health goal! My weigh-in this morning was at 131.8 but I'm pretty sure that's only because I spent the last 5 days eating mostly takeout and sitting on my butt driving for hours on end. Quest Three: School Well, just because I graduated doesn't mean I'm done! I have the school that I teach in, but I also already have my eye on the next graduate program I want to do - my MA in Romance Languages (which will end up being dual degrees in Spanish and French). I promised my husband I'd take at least a year off before applying to the new program, but some prep in the meanwhile will help me a LOT once I get in! Goals for work: 1) send in dual-credit form to get that process started (I'm trying to get a local university to offer dual credit to my advanced students) 2) finish French 1, Unit 7 curriculum so that's prepped and ready to go in August 3) make the list of realia for my co-worker's son to try to gather for my French classes during his short trip to Paris this summer Goals for the second grad program: 1) find and read a French or Spanish chapter book - I own several of these, I just have to find them and pick one Quest Four: Personal Because if I don't make it a quest, I will get too obsessed with work or random social media nonsense to take up all my time. Either way, goals for my home and family tend to get pushed off, so this is the perfect time to bring them closer to the forefront! Goals: 1) work on my son's quilt - finish through row 15 (I'm currently barely beginning row 12) 2) reach out to a realtor so we can start looking at houses in the neighborhoods we want to move to sometime in the next two years 3) declutter the master bedroom/closet partly for home showing purposes but also because it's a mess. This includes my closet, the floor in front of the closet, the overflowing hamper (which will require a good amount of laundry!), the top of the chest at the foot of our bed (though I can start putting things into said chest, as it's currently empty), and weirdly enough the lamp next to my closet, which has some shelves built into it which tend to collect random hats, scarves, etc. This is not nearly enough to make the house ready to show, but it's a good start especially because I would love to paint our bedroom in June!
  13. After years away from this place, i am back. This used to work so well for me years ago, i feel like it will again this time. I have a lot going on... New job since january. That i adore! And now we are missing some staff so it's a bit hard and stressfull. Time management is important and it's not my strenght. I just finished my 5 year cegep classes last week in building mechanics. Still waiting for my last exam grade to celebrate. Graduation ceremony is may 21st. I want to steadily build my doterra business. Very slowly, but consistently. As a side huslte, to gain more leadership. The goal is not to replace my job sonce i love it. Just to build something i love that uses other strenghts i have. I have 2 boys, 12&7 and an awesome partner i don't want to neglect. And this week i am starting an online 200h yoga teacher training until august. This has been a dream of mine for years. And it will take a lot more time and commitment than i initially expected. But i am all in. So, balancing all that, with my level of energy and my chronic illness (cystic fibrosis) is the current challenge. My main quest: - do all my treatments daily in the morning - sleep enough (~8h) - move a little every day: yoga for YTT in the morning; walk during lunch - meditate daily to unwind and destress (being mindfull, do some cardiac coherence breath between quotes at work, mindfull knitting a project at night) - date night weekly, quality couple time - spend quality time daily with the kids, 100% present. Doesn't have to be long. Side quests : - ytt: do all required reading, practices and study for the week - make lunches, no take out - 2 contacts/follow ups a day with doterra, caring for existing clients
  14. It’s my least favorite month of the year again - Ramadan. Fingers crossed that having 2 years in lockdown during Ramadan will reset the tendency for every business to completely flip their schedules - or shut completely - for the entire month. I think at least yoga will keep a normal-ish schedule this year since the clientele is now majority Western. Still no food or beverage allowed during daylight hours outside, no alcohol and no live music (ever) either. Which is a bummer, since the two big outdoor venues finally got their shit together just in time to close for a month and reopen for maaaaaybe 2 weeks before closing down for the season (until November). Rumor has it the Ministry canceled at least a chunk of the live gigs this weekend in early prep for Ramadan (no idea why other than passive aggressiveness - there have been other ‘knickers in a twist’ things going on in town. I have a feeling this year is going to see all sorts of Westernification pushback in advance of the World Cup and the concessions that will need to be made there. Boo. At least I won’t have to deal much with external negativity, since I a: no longer talk to the group that loved nothing more than to whine about Ramadan daily, and b: aren’t forcing myself to be social through coffee groups with randos. #hermitlife has its perks - all the drama will be of my own making. I will be bummed to miss my weekly post-yoga matcha with those friends. Maybe we can still sit & chat in the outdoor seating of the cafe without being chased off by security. One of these years, I’ll get on the ball and do a month long ashram type deal - that’s a fairly popular thing to do here (use Ramadan as an excuse to do a hard reset), and having a month to work on growth would definitely be a nice thing. Hmmmm …. Maybe I should cobble something together…. DH will be gone for most of this challenge. We’ll also be going on a fun vacation at the end of this cycle - going to visit our friends that moved from here & had a baby + check out Paris for a few days. So that should be fun. I’ve got 90% of the Paris trip planned as well as I want to plan it (Google maps with points of interest/shops/restaurants flagged & a couple tours booked in - + tattoo appointments for the both of us). I’m planning zero things for Amsterdam, since the friend has already got that handled. She’s slightly excited. So. This challenge will be mostly just me, living that temporarily #singleladies life. This sounds like the perfect time to try and force the bulb of growth. Which may end badly; or may get some shit started. Let’s roll those dice and see. PLANNING Nutrition: It’s getting hot so I want “girl spa” food. DH also won’t be home, so shrimp & fruit it is. Maybe. Or maybe ill do vegetarian-lite? I’m in a slightly better place closet-wise, though everything i just pulled to try on of course smells lightly of mildew, since none of it saw the light of day through last mold season… eew. I’ll need to do another mass closet send off to have things cleaned. Should also do a full try on at the same time. I may just segregate out what I don’t fit in if i still cant bear to toss it. Movement: Yoga, yoga, yoga. Maybe extra yoga on top of my 5 classes? Bulbs: Business stuff in case that launches (website, logo, social media, Etsy), Skillshare to learn new things, new craft projects, I’m feeling the yen to draw again. Maybe do something else with home decor. I’m not quite sure what else ill get up to this cycle. We shall see. More tattoo planning to be sure at the least.
  15. I'm actually really pleased with how things went last month, so I'm going to keep going with a few modifications. -Yoga will go from 5 days per week back up to 6. I definitely notice a difference if I go two days in a row without doing anything. Crow practice will still be on Mondays. -Maintaining good posture will be expanded to proper TMJ care. I've being seeing a physical therapist who gave me stretches and advice to do at various times throughout the week and I have to admit I haven't been amazing at keeping up the routine. So...getting more diligent with that. I'm going to program reminders into my calendar so that I really can't forget. So, in summery: -Yoga 6/7 days. Mondays are for crow practice. -Maintaining a proper TMJ routine. -Coming in at/under my MFP targets -Only enjoying restaurants/take out if I am with other people. To be honest, the last week has been incredibly off. It always is whenever family comes to visit, so I need to get back into my normal routine. Let's do it.
  16. 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.
  17. Some may say I need to be committed, I say if it includes my own padded room that doesn't sound so bad! I have reached challenge number 70...not all of these challenges went the way I planned, not all of these challenges resulted in me leveling up, All of those challenges have resulted in learning something, even if it's what doesn't work for me. I'm a pretty typical type A, I prefer to do things myself, have a difficult time asking for help and sharing my feelings...the older I get the more I realize this is not always healthy. I work from home, so making sure I have enough movement in my day as well as not eating "all the unhealthy things" is important. Checking in to hold myself accountable is key to this being successful, I don't want to have to post bad news here. I struggle to get enough sleep so that shall remain on the list until it's no longer a struggle. I've been a workaholic as long as I can remember, mostly because of past experience and not wanting to have to count on anyone for things I need. D (my wife for those new here) and I have had many conversations about this. She understands my feelings because she's the same way, but we also know the importance to our relationship for us to be able to depend and count on each other. This is a very long winded way of saying that we need to remember to step away from work and have some fun, riding our motorcycles are a huge part of this for us for right now our every 4 week trips to FL also count towards this. The Plan... Cardio - 8,000 steps a day (includes 30 min on treadmill), and one kettlebell workout a week Update - Post in thread three times a week. Track - Sleep (7 hours a night) and Food (deficit per tracker) Extra - Rides, 5k's, events, and life events go here Done - Not Done - I have a Terrain Race planned in May that I do not want to embarrass myself at, I'd also like to get rid of the 35 lbs. that I put on since the last race I did in Feb 2020.
  18. This last challenge I started building some good habits I want to carry through. I increased my yoga class load, also sneakily increased my social life behind the scenes, and set myself on a good nutrition trajectory. Nutrition Last challenge, I added my green smoothies back in for breakfast and ate with a focus on hitting 80g/day in protein. This was difficult some weeks and definitely took planning. I felt a little veg-lite some days and relied too heavily on convenience junk foods just to hit that number some days. I’m going to continue to refine this one. I planned poorly this zero week and am riding the struggle bus to even want to hit that goal number as a consequence. Next week, I need to plan better. I’m still weighing whether or not i want to continue on with spreadsheets or tracking; we shall see what shakes out here. Movement Last challenge, I added an unexpected 5th class to the rotation and I want to keep that going. Schedule: Monday stretch & flow, Tuesday mobility, Wednesday detox yoga, Friday slow flow, Saturday slow & strong. All with 20-minute walks to and from. Other Continue on with crochet projects; finish the insides of all completed bags Get supplies to finish the couple bags I ran out of yarn for Get supplies for a cover-up project Start fabric bag project Complete copywriting project(s) as they come and I feel good about doing Try to keep my new weekly post-yoga coffee out going Meet up with a friend who is in town Finally get around to cleaning and reorganizing at least my closet so I can find all my yoga leggings - cull the things that no longer fit me - or that do not have a place to land (for the most part) Upcoming travel may or may not but into this challenge cycle; we are also theoretically hosting family for a few days possibly at the end of this cycle as well. We shall see what happens there: they’d be coming from a country currently on the red list (meaning 2-day hotel quarantine), so may just skip this leg of the trip.
  19. The overarching challenge goals are gonna be: keep and improve my sleep gains, work on chronic burnout (which incorporates a degree of exercise I need for other things), and manage what's looking like a mental heath freefall. The specifics are going to take some time, because I'm not yet sure what the characteristics or attack points of this mental health freefall are. So I will start with zero week tasks. Make a list of things to accomplish in the next two weeks. (50% progress) Pay special attention to health insurance issues on that list. (Done 1x) Find my yoga strap. Do yoga five times. (Done 1x) Exercise twice. (Done 0x) Metta meditation five times. (Done 0x) Post every day. (Done 2x) Take notes on the characteristics of any mental health crashes that interfere with getting things done or other wellbeing issues. Try to increase my good people contact. Bonus: binge-watch something fictional. (Done 1x) I know binge-watching is sort of a symptom of brain weasels, but I'm putting it on my list because I want to at least be able to check it off a list if I'm gonna do it, and because I'm actually not sure that binge-watching isn't a technique for practicing dealing with people and problems in a removed way that is less immediate and more controllable.
  20. Ahhhh how I love new beginnings! The start of a challenge is the best part for me: you get to dream up your ideal day and there is always the hope of coming out on the other side having magically lost all the weight and built all the muscle and flexibility! CONSTRUCTION SITE! my body is stiff and brittle and Im old. thats the starting point. Sadly being stiff in my case means my achilles tendons are chronically inflamed and hurt. A lot! so after a year of pain Im trying different orthopedic soles, new advice from my PT and YOGA! certain holy beings among us have finished a 30 day program. So Im doing that too. I chose a yoga teacher with the cool name Fightmaster ,who sadly passed away, leaving me a 30 day beginners course to try out in her honor. I was tempted to go for Adrienne, but I can always do that afterwards. This course starts with 15 minute classes and works up to 30 minutes. I even splurged and ordered two yoga blocks and a yoga belt (??) thingy to pull your body parts in certain directions. they will arrive tomorrow. GOAL do a class daily. you may repeat or adjust classes. main thing is to move about in weird ways every day. HEADBANGERS KITCHEN I have jumped on the keto train a couple of years ago. during the first 2 years I was super diligent and my ass melted down to an acceptable size. Then I proceeded to order pizza during hard times and having croissants with jam as often as I fucking wanted. Those breaks have had my weight exploding and if I ever want be able to run a 5k or fit into my nice clothes again, I will need to change! Last challenge I managed to get back to orderly eating and lost 3kg. Now I want more! While browsing the interwebs for cheap keto recipes I found this hilarious Indian guy ( a death metal musician, thus his title!) whose kitchen equipment looks like mine. No fancy stuff there. The good dude presents keto for people who dont have money for steak every night and makes it fun and accessible. I have his book now and the latest weightloss is due to his no nonsense recipes. I want more of that during this challenge. ( why on earth did I start taking about buttery croissants? now I want one!) GOAL eat cheap and tasty keto foods, prep when necessary. have a tiny cute ass when finished! TALES OF A LOUSY WEEKEND WRITER After publishing a terribly written book in 2019 I have proceeded to call myself a writer without, well erm, writing anything. I have been avoiding writing by planning a podcast, doing other stuff and basically feeling smug about having a book out. To be honest, I like the process of being in the midst of typing down a pice of world literature. I just haven't found what I want to write about next. So during this challenge, my job is to sit down at my desk every weekend and find a topic first, then begin writing a shitty first draft of basically anything. My goal is to get back into the habit and being able to say I used the pandemic to write a bestseller. GOAL find a topic to write about and start a first draft. You must sit down every Saturday and Sunday for at least 30 minutes and stare at your dirty screen. Apart from those 3 goals you will read about the dog child, hiking at the beach, me feeling important by being involved in local politics and tales of a woman with a non existent financial budget.
  21. Trying a New Years challenge to get organized! I exercised like a champ all through 2020, but last June I gradually started dropping off and haven't recovered. I walk/ruck pretty regularly but I'm exercising like once/week and not stretching or working on any little things at all right now. Daily yoga with bird or other yoga/stretching routine since I've been neglecting stretching and it is BAD Track what fitness I'm already doing - walking/rucking/crossfit/cycling - to figure out what my current baseline is Do max pullups at least once/day when taking my dog outside - I was doing this really successfully for a while but I've been slacking on it Rewards: Once I complete 30 yoga sessions I can get...some kind of reward, TBD
  22. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again: something has got to change. That’s up to no one but me. As 2021 draws to a close, I find my body in a state that my back is starting to act up again in a big way (which happens when I hit a certain body fat percentage), 80% of my closet doesn’t fit, and I feel suuuuuuper heavy and unresponsive in my yoga classes. This is no bueno. The good news is, I 100% know how to fix it. Like, that exactly - minus probably the pasta, in my case. Nutrition Thinking back to all the nutrition protocols over the years that have worked best for my body, paleo was the clear winner. I think what worked for me there was the protein consideration (making sure I at least hit that one metric before all else), the consistent working out (20-30 mins/ day 5-7x a week), the focus on getting enough greens, focus away from carbs, focus away from processed foods, and the lower amounts of alcohol (zero, actually). I haven’t had the desire to be but so strict with myself over the past couple years, so I’m going for a hybrid here. Protocol Guidelines 80g/day protein When in doubt, more veggies Bread only when it’s going to be actually worth it - not just because it’s in front of me (killer fresh naan? Yes. Crappy sandwich because I’m bored, no). Rice at a restaurant: after the main and a few sips of water. Alcohol limited to 2-3 drinks per weekend If all goes to plan, this should naturally put my calorie consumption back down to where my body seems to like it (around 1200 calories), and if I’m focusing on protein first, carbs and fat should sort themselves out. If not, we will reassess. I may reassess to add green smoothies back into my life if I can hit my protein goals otherwise, but will be starting out at least with 20g-ish breakfasts. I’ll look for a good protein powder, too, because I do miss my green veg hit in the mornings. I’ve also got a new toy - an air fryer - and will be experimenting with that. I’ll be taking y’all along for the ride with pics and menus. Movement I’m still loving my 4x a week yoga classes with walks to and from, and will continue on with that. I’ll also be adding in simple kettlebell workouts on Thursdays at first but a day or two aside from that as the weeks go on. Edited to add: My schedule just had a little shake-up, and it looks like I’ll be able to block in a first(?) second(?) kettlebell session on Tuesdays on weeks I don’t meet up with my girlfriend in person. Other Crochet projects Crafter Box project Closet clean-out Kitchen reorganization Protein _____ Breakfast Lunch Dinner - Movement Yoga Kettlebell - Other Crafting Organization Closet Clean
  23. credit: MorJer on DeviantArt CHAPTER 1: AThousandWords finds a Door At the top of the hill. At the back of the wardrobe. At the end of the trail. There is always a Door. Today it is hidden in yellow siding, tucked away at the back of an unused train station, metres away from a bustling pedestrian highway. Hundreds of cyclists and joggers and families passing by daily, none the wiser. Finely painted, with a trompe-l'œil handle that you think you could reach out and turn. An ornate window made of clouded glass, just far enough out of reach that you'd have to get on tip-toes to see through. If there were anything to see. I must have run past it a hundred times myself - surely it's always been there? Tucked away by creeping vines and tall brown grass. I hesitate, torn between wanting to reach out and feel if the doorknob is real and warm from the sun, yet unwilling to let the illusion dissipate. Happy New Year! I'm going to indulge myself this year in a long-running, immersive fantasy. For me, 2022 is a work in peeling back layers of old habits and forging new ones that support the identity I want to embody. I'm unlearning some negative traits (particularly around diet and weight loss) and opening a door to more consistency, simplicity, and joy. My framework for this challenge is based on Atomic Habits: establishing micro-building blocks that feed into the habits I want to establish. It looks a little different from my previous challenges, but I'm giving it a whirl! Habit 1: Schedule and Start 2 hours of Deep Work every weekday Use reclaim.ai to schedule 2 hours of focused work time on work days When the notification goes off, I will actually get started with work - even if it's just 2 minutes Habit 2: Fill up water cup every morning Every morning while I make coffee, I will fill up my big 24oz water cup Habit 3: Spend 15 minutes every weekday adding recipes to Plan to Eat Use reclaim.ai to schedule 15 minutes of time every weekday Add at least one recipe that I'm actually willing to cook/eat to Plan to Eat during this time Habit 4: Practice yoga for 30 min a week I will complete a 30 min yoga class from the Peloton app for 30 min on Tuesdays, after daycare dropoff If, for some reason, I can't do Tuesday, Friday or Sunday are my back up days Behind the scenes, there are lots of other things I'm working on: I'm still training for a half-marathon and running 3-4x a week. I'm trying to read more (that's a work in progress that will probably be its own challenge item down the road). I never finished those dollhouses, so that's definitely going to be happening this month. I'm also still parenting two small kids during a pandemic, with all the associated stress and joy that brings. But these four things feel like a good starting point toward establishing healthy habits this year, and casting a strong vote toward the person I want to be at the end of 2022.
  24. Right, it's 2022 and I've pressed my rest button to turn myself off an on again According to the various diagnostic checks that run, I can see that I have gained a bit of weight over Christmas and lost some stamina but nothing terrible. I haven't drunk too much and I have been exercising periodically. The nagging pain in my knees is still there though And I have a sore back today, which is annoying. So i don't think I'll be doing anything too challenging. 1. Yoga. Yes yoga. Like the meditation I experimented with last year, this is definitely under the heading of things I am predisposed to recoil from but there's a core of something useful there so I'm going to overcome my natural tendency to run away and just go with it. Mrs 18ck has suggested a thirty day course led by a super-spiritual America lady who says Namaste at the end of her videos. It's going to be a long month. 2. Exercise 6 days a week, using a combination of upper-body strength and knee friendly cardio. Rowing, cycling, swimming, but maybe giving running a bit of a rest for a while. 3. Starting on Monday, not tomorrow, go back to calorie counting since that's quite helpful. We're eating "vegan" in January. Pretty heavy quotes there since although we won't be eating meat, the definition of what counts as dairy is pretty fluid. And I will not be drinking booze either. 4. Continue knocking out one to-do list item per day The aim is to restore order and be generally healthy (not in pain, and back to the weight I had before Christmas) at the end of this and then start on something more ambitious. I haven't really got a clear idea of what I want to achieve in the year. Maybe more speed at 10k, maybe longer distances, maybe focus on rowing instead. One thing I definitely do need to do though is make a follow-up appointment for my health checkup. I had one in early 2020 and was supposed to go back for a progress check but then the world ended. I'd like to do that but probably not in this challenge since I feel like I am in a rubbish place, so I am doing the health equivalent of... Well... You know when people who have cleaners but they are ashamed to show what a state their house is so they run around tidying up before they arrive? That.
  25. Happy New Year! I welcomed the first day of the new year with a 4pm breakfast, because why not enjoy one of the last lazy days before real life starts up again. Besides, breakfast is wonderful, no matter what time of day. See? This cat agrees. But since it will be back to business very soon, here are my goals for this month: Complete all 30 days of Yoga with Adriene's MOVE series. I want to add some longer videos into my routine, since the ones I do right now tend to be around 20 minutes. Only get take out/eat out with friends and family. If I'm all by my lonesome, I'm going to focus on saving money and improving my cooking skills by actually making what I am in the mood for. The only exception is if it's a date night, family comes to visit, or I'm with friends. I still want to be reasonable and enjoy myself, and I know completely banning restaurants isn't practical. Track my calories/meals in My Fitness Pal. I always feel better and eat more mindfully when I'm keeping track of things which I haven't exactly been doing these last couple of weeks.
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