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Jumping straight into this so I don't lose all the good progress I made with my respawn last challenge. I feel like the warriors are a good fit for me at the moment as I play a full contact sport and am lifting once more. No other class is really ringing my bell right now Respawn Recap: TL;DR - I play roller derby, weight train as cross training, have some anxiety/depression Motivation issues, and really like food. New office job clashing with old brain habits. Previous Challenge Recap; This challenge I will just be following on from the last, working on some 6-month goals and making some new ones. 6-month goals: My goals this challenge are divided into pre-18th of August and post-18th of August as we have a derby bout on that night. Once it's over I don't have as many big derby things coming up, and I can focus more on other things. Like lifting, and jam skating. 1. WEIGHTLIFTING (Aim: get swole. Beat Bunbury. Squat an actual human. do a real pull up.) 2X week. 0 week will be the virtual comp. I'll smash that out probably tomorrow (Tuesday) or Wednesday. After that I'll be sticking with 5x5 because it's working for me and I don't have to think hard to do it. Pre-18th of Aug -- lift a little lighter and do some Sumo squats and Deadlifts to work on my inner thigh strength. Better inner thighs - better derby plow stops. Post-18 of Aug -- 5x5 as usual. Bonus: Try out Simple & Sinister 1xweek. I am intrigued. This may happen, may not. Definitely not before 18th Aug. what? why? I have found the best success with lifting weights for my self-confidence and general fitness levels, especially relating to hitting and being hit on roller skates. 2. SKATING (Aim: be fancy. Beat bunbury. chain some dance moves together) 2x week. Pre-18th of Aug -- backwards skating footwork practice. Backwards crossovers, lateral movement on toestops, smarty-pants footwork, d-cuts, backwards plows. Post-18 of Aug -- Jam skating. 1 new move weekly. why? I can't always make training due to my whack work schedule so getting more time on skates helps me think less about my feet when trying to do the strategy thing playing a derby game. 3. FOOD (AIm: drop body fat. Feel physically better by not eating crap) 5/7 days compliance. (1x total cheat day, one day's leeway in case of fuck-ups.) a. Slow Carb food (no white carbs, sugar, dairy or fruit) b. Eat mindfully during meals (no playing on phones, computers, etc. Bonus points for finishing after partner!) what? why? I am a guts. eating mindlessly no doubt hinders my attempts at shedding some fat and if I slow down and eat then I should feel fuller and eat less. And my partner mocks me for it xD Dairy makes me a bit ill so cutting that out has had to happen sooner rather then later. I just overindulge in carbs and don't feel full so eating less should help. Fruit and sugar are just a follow-on from last challenge's low-sugar quest. I read Tim Ferriss' 4 hour body and like the idea of doing less for maximal results. Good thing I like beans and eggs. 4. SCHEDULE-FU (Aim: Be a functional human being despite mental health problems. Thanks for the quest-name inspiration Juni0r83!) Schedule your week in advance. Also called time-blocking.1x a week spend some time looking at work roster and work around it. Schedule these things weekly: 3x15 minutes of decluttering 2x loads of laundry, washed dried & put away 1x load of dishes 2x Gym Days 1x food shopping day 1x food prep day 2x jam skating days 1x side hustle / marketable skills practice Schedule these things in to be done at some point in the next month: Get yo' boobies checked (Who has two thumbs and is at high risk for breast cancer?) Book car service (my handbrake went twang the other day. I would be more worried if it had been working beforehand! Also my suspension is shocking and my brakes need some love.) Fix your full iCloud problem Bathe the dog and trim her fur and claws. Chiro appointment The points are scored for actually scheduling this stuff. Do it or don't. Whatevs. What? why? I have a nasty habit of putting crap off when my mood gets low. if I can make more things ingrained habits I will do them even when depressed.
Mistr attacks step 1 This challenge marks my 5-year anniversary in NF (and @Teirin's)! Many things in my life are better, but I still have a long way to go. The next level includes getting into really good shape, having good knees, good meditation habits and pursuing internal power in aikido. I might test again. Dumbledore is pressing me to test. Sensei is not. I need to get to a much better level of aerobic endurance AND aikido skill before I would consider it. Leaving off the scary long-term goals, here are some nice clear short-term goals. 1) Clean eating at work. I was dismayed by my weekly weigh-in this Monday. Time to get back to the good habits that helped me lose weight before. In a perfect world I would drop white sugar and white flour completely. I don't have the mental fortitude to do that while work remains stressful. I can avoid the temptations at work by promising myself that I can have more time to play with fiber and eat good* food at home. Specifically: No treats containing white flour or white sugar (in any form) at work. Fresh fruit is okay. Tortilla chips and salsa is okay if I don't overdo it. I can have 100% chocolate or cocoa nibs for snacks if I really want chocolate. [Edited to add] *Good food includes all the things we cook at home. That includes home-made ice cream and desserts. It might include other treats like pizza. I can have buns with my burgers and brats. Purchased junk food is not good. No store-bought cookies, candy, potato chips or packaged bread. I am not allowed to buy the good chocolate-covered almonds from the co-op until my weight is back below 154. 2) No coffee or caffeinated tea Coffee is contributing to sleep problems as well as eating extra sweets. Plus I suspect that the cream is giving me gas. I can still have coffee-flavored ice cream, but only in the morning on weekends. 3) Deal with my mess This is a longer term goal that I need to start now. My spinning group is meeting at my house on September 24. I am going to be at an aikido seminar the weekend of September 22-23. I need to deal with as much stuff as possible before then. Happily, Dumbledore made good progress on the living room last weekend. We have talked about clearing out a couple drawers in the file cabinet in the garage for papers we need to keep. I could move this project forward by scanning Dumbledore's stash of scientific articles and recycling the paper copies. Tedious but not difficult. Any other projects to clean the house count. 4) Juggle everything else Keep up with exercise, PT, aikido, zazen, cooking healthy food, going to sleep early enough, doing fiber arts and ALL THE THINGS. Life is randori. Make good decisions and keep moving. Stars for doing the good things, black checks for wasting time to avoid things. Taking time to relax is a Good Thing™.
Walking with Giants (Bush Adventures part 3 – some real people, animals and places thrown together in a distinctly fictional story mix) This challenge is in preparation of doing the Aasvoëlkranz Cave hike with the boys, somewhere come spring (Aug/Sept). It is a short day hike of +- 8km, taking no more than 4 hours to complete. You can book to sleep over in either of the big caves (Higher and Lower), which is what I hope to do later this year. The big wooden doors swung open silently on my soft push. Admiring yet again the bushveld scene carved on the door, an elephant matriarch trumpeting in front of an Acacia tree, I dump my dust covered backpack just inside the entrance. The big door was a perfect fit for the huge, modern, but rustic looking, log cabin we lived in. The door was a gift from Rain Queen Makobo Modjadji, who called us in for our expertise on prehistoric creatures that are not as extinct as people, or scientists, believe them to be. This turned out to be the rediscovery of the Heterodontosaurus tucki, a small plant eating reptile, who was (and still is) munching on their protected Cycads up in the Limpopo Valley. The small critters are now also under their protection. I come from a long line of private archaeologists, otherwise known as adventurers. Our family built up quite a reputation over the years here in South Africa, though not nearly as famous as my cousin Lara Croft in England. I have personally always been more interested in dinosaurs, especially those that might still be alive in, as yet unexplored pockets of nature. Dino, my Basotho guide, colleague and friend, walked into the open plan front-cum-dining room with a tray laden with plates of food. When he first started working for me, I thought his name apt to go with the prehistoric animals I’m so fond of, but Dino actually means spearman in Sotho, his native culture. The rest of the crew are also good friends, as close as family. We specialise in leading hikes and bush trails usually under more risky circumstances, and privately looking for not so extinct critters and creatures. I’m the expert on old things, living and non-living, and security. Dino is an extremely experienced nature guide and tracker. @annyshay is our 'Mental and Health Preparationist', or admin and medic. @Elastigirl (E.G.) has literally gotten into and out of the most difficult nooks and crannies on sites with her ring work and gymnastic skills. @Tanktimus the Encourager is extra security, site organiser and cook. Yep, he is in charge of setting things up at base camp, keeping things orderly and our tummies full! He is also a well of general knowledge on almost any topic under the sun. We also have some assistants who join us on occasion, and I'll tell you more about them when they join us on this adventure. After a long, hot shower, I joined the group in the dining room where a plate of food stood waiting. I seemed to have caught them in the middle of a conversation about Compsognathus critters found in the Drakensberg! More specifically in the Highmoor Valley, or Kamberg Valley Hideaway as the tourists know it. “The King has asked for our help as soon as possible.” Dino informed me as I sat down. That was not good. “Shoot,” I tell him, digging in to Tank’s delicious meal, after greeting the others. “Well, you remember those giant footprints you discovered at The Cleansing Pool?” I nodded a yes, not looking up from my plate. “It seems some researchers from the Lesotho University went there to see whether they could find more footprints, and they went missing. Two of the original group of 5 had returned to the nature reserve office last night, looking haggard. Deep lacerations with bite marks covered their backs and arms, infected wounds, dehydration, and they were delirious from exhaustion. One mentioned a hidden valley where they were attacked by small reptilian creatures looking like Compsognathus, before he fell into a coma.” I immediately thought of the blocked off valley near The Cleansing Pools. The first King of the Basotho had that path blocked off with boulders and blocks of rock his people cut straight from the mountain. He called it Forbidden Valley of the Giants. -------------------------------- We reached Highmoor Nature Reserve early the next day, close to elevenses. The sky was clear, and typically of the Berg, you could see for miles around you. Deep valleys lay dark and mysterious between high peaks shining in the harsh light. Being early spring, it hadn’t rained much yet, thus the grass and surrounding bush were dry, yellow and coarse. Our group met up with the King and a representative from the University. The reserve people refused to inspect the path and caves due to the condition of the men who returned. The King confirmed my suspicion that the scientists had gone into the forbidden valley. We had to find out how they got in, what happened, and whether the others were still alive! It was a quick four hour hike into the valley. We soon reached a narrow stream with a stable rock path that lead across. The scientists must have been seriously spooked to have dragged themselves past water, not even stopping to drink, I thought to myself. This was one of many shallow indentations in the rolling hills surrounding us. Not long after, we reached the ridge that was the start of the gradual zig-zag descent into the valley. As we walked along the path, the air got cooler, and the sharp edges of the trail with blunt drop offs in places, made us move even more carefully to reach the Higher Cave of Aasvoëlkranz. Aasvoël is the Afrikaans name for vulture. This area hasn’t seen vultures in decades! The cave was actually more of a natural eroded area, forming a ledge over top, which protected you from the sun and some rain in summer. It was high enough to stand in, and flat enough to sleep on, bit did not go deep. Following the path out the other side, we started the steeper, narrower decent to the Lower Cave. We soon reached the Lower Cave which had much more space than the previous one, and the overhang stretched way past the mouth of the cave. Annyshay and E.G. immediately put down their packs and scrambled over the rocks to the icy cold, crystal clear waterfall and pool. A small ray of sunlight reached a flat rocky area leading down to the edge of the pool with a line of trees forming some type of 'privacy' screen. The women quickly discovered the water was too cold for them to frolic in after all, so they scampered back over the rocks to find some heat next to Tanks slowly growing fire. After unpacking and setting up, Dino and I found the path that lead deeper into the valley. It was a well trodden path wide enough to walk two abreast. We could clearly see signs of struggle in the soft sand: feet dragged here; someone fell on their hands and knees there, leaned on trees next to the path, twigs broken. Bark scraped. “No big animal spoor. Only small animal. Mouse... here and here... insects... birds...” Dino pointed out the different spoor he could pick up in the late afternoon light. That was about the same time that I realised it was unnaturally quiet around us. No rustling, no birdsong, no cricking of insects. I quickly scanned the area and felt the unease crawling up my spine. A chill made my neck hairs stand on end. Something was off. I signaled to Dino that we should follow the trail to where it split: right for the Cleansing Pools and left for the Forbidden Valley. We easily found the path leading to where the boulders blocked the entrance to the next valley. Right at the top was an opening, big enough for a person to squeeze through. Dark splotches were everywhere on the rocks. Blood? On closer inspection it looked like a heap of rocks had been packed orderly to one side in front of the blockage. Then there were some smaller rocks strewn all over, looking as if they had been pushed from the top, as if someone had been in a great hurry to get back out. Dino tried to find spoor in the dwindling light, but it was of no use. The light was fading too fast. We should head back to camp and come back in the morning. A black eagle suddenly swooped down, barely missing us with his claws! He screeched his annoyance before turning sharply back to the canopy and cliffs above us. “Hi-bo! Something is very wrong here!” Dino exclaimed, as we high-tailed it back to camp.