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Mistr

Mistr's spring cleaning

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I can't imagine how the parents feel--moms and dads should never have to bury children, that definitely isn't how it ought to go.

+1 for learning by teaching. 

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New thing today: Yoga class

 

I've been doing NF Yoga from videos for the last several months. I signed up when it was first released a couple years ago, but didn't really get into it then. Point of interest is that I got the premium package that came with the yoga mat. I've been using it at home because I discovered that my feet tend to slide on the carpet in wide stance poses. Relevant to my observations today: no one else has ever used it and I use it maybe three times on a good week. 

 

My company is spread over several buildings, one of which has commercial office space on the ground floor. One of the businesses there is a yoga studio. They decided to offer our employees a free week of classes. Our wellness program also offers yoga classes (in a different building) at times that I can't attend. I decided to take advantage of the offer to see what I was missing by doing yoga solo.

 

Class observations: There are a lot of slim, athletic people in the yoga class. Wide age range. Almost all of them seem to know what they are doing. The instructor gave only minimal instruction. Mostly he just told the class what pose to do next and when to breathe. The class was called "Breathe and Flow". Almost all the poses were familiar to me from NF Yoga. New ones were Warrior 1 (easy) and Bird (hard). He gave options for the harder moves. Near the end of the 60-minute class there was a 3-4 minute section for free-choice inverted moves. Wheel pose, bridges, headstands, etc. I did some bridges and the move with shoulders and elbows on the ground with feet and torso straight up (mostly). The instructor had an assistant to give hands-on assistance to people. He asked before class who did not want to be touched (Good work!).

 

I was curious to see where my skills would fall in the group and what sort of feedback I would get. Answers: Intermediate and none. I was able to do most of the moves as gracefully as the people around me. Some were clearly very experienced and flexible and could do things I can't do. Not having the hamstring flexibility to straighten my legs while touching  my toes limits my ability to do quite a few poses. That said, I have good core strength and have been working on balance. I can hold a plank, side plank, up-dog and chair pose. I don't know the Sanskrit names for the poses, so I had to look around to see what other people were doing. I was surprised not to get any feedback or contact from either of the instructors. If a new person shows up at my class, I talk to them and try to make them feel welcome. This was a big class with 20-30 people, but my guess is that most of them were regular attendees. Who knows, maybe I was wrong about the studio wanting to bring in new students.

 

Seriously disturbing observation: I brought my own yoga mat because that seems to be what people do for yoga classes. Turns out the studio has mats too, although about half the class brought their own. The room was quite warm. There was a hot yoga class earlier in the day. Maybe they just didn't air out the room? I rolled out my dark grey NF mat and noticed that it had some white residue near one end. Over the course of the class, I noticed more white footprints showing up on the mat. I washed my feet this morning and was wearing clean black socks. No powder. I strongly suspect that I was seeing fungi getting excited about the warm humid conditions and send up sporulating structures. I am going to scrub my mat with Lysol when I get home. :wacko:

 

On 4/7/2018 at 3:46 PM, Teirin said:

Sock knitting is so fun!  Any particular pattern?  Also, what kind of heels do you prefer?  I keep ending up doing flap heels, but should do better with short row heels at some point.

 

I've done both. I find that short row heels require very careful counting and use of markers. Heel flaps are a little easier to do when knitting a top-down sock. I got Cat Bordhi's book on interesting sock construction methods. I will probably pick one of her toe-up patterns. I like being able to try on the sock as I go and make it as long as the yarn allows.

 

On 4/8/2018 at 8:31 PM, Urgan said:

I can't imagine how the parents feel--moms and dads should never have to bury children, that definitely isn't how it ought to go.

 

Yes, exactly. They are expecting their second child next month. I can't imagine how torn they will be between mourning their oldest and being excited about the baby.

 

On 4/9/2018 at 9:19 AM, sarakingdom said:

Named meat, or a Dibbler special?

 

Chocolate-mint. The perfect first course in uncertain times. :D 

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13 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Class observations: There are a lot of slim, athletic people in the yoga class. Wide age range. Almost all of them seem to know what they are doing. The instructor gave only minimal instruction. Mostly he just told the class what pose to do next and when to breathe. The class was called "Breathe and Flow". Almost all the poses were familiar to me from NF Yoga. New ones were Warrior 1 (easy) and Bird (hard). He gave options for the harder moves. Near the end of the 60-minute class there was a 3-4 minute section for free-choice inverted moves. Wheel pose, bridges, headstands, etc. I did some bridges and the move with shoulders and elbows on the ground with feet and torso straight up (mostly). The instructor had an assistant to give hands-on assistance to people. He asked before class who did not want to be touched (Good work!).

 

I was curious to see where my skills would fall in the group and what sort of feedback I would get. Answers: Intermediate and none. I was able to do most of the moves as gracefully as the people around me. Some were clearly very experienced and flexible and could do things I can't do. Not having the hamstring flexibility to straighten my legs while touching  my toes limits my ability to do quite a few poses. That said, I have good core strength and have been working on balance. I can hold a plank, side plank, up-dog and chair pose. I don't know the Sanskrit names for the poses, so I had to look around to see what other people were doing. I was surprised not to get any feedback or contact from either of the instructors. If a new person shows up at my class, I talk to them and try to make them feel welcome. This was a big class with 20-30 people, but my guess is that most of them were regular attendees. Who knows, maybe I was wrong about the studio wanting to bring in new students.

 

This sounds pretty standard to most classes I have been in--the amount of small group/1-on-1 talk before or after class can vary. I think most want to play it cool and not put new students on the spot unless they come up and engage? The atmosphere re: new people seems to err on the side of not scaring them by putting them on the spot, you know? Unlike in the dojo where they take great care to guide new students around and make sure they never feel out of their depth or abandoned. The nature of the activity and demographics can skew the optimum approach for classes.

 

26 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Seriously disturbing observation: I brought my own yoga mat because that seems to be what people do for yoga classes. Turns out the studio has mats too, although about half the class brought their own. The room was quite warm. There was a hot yoga class earlier in the day. Maybe they just didn't air out the room? I rolled out my dark grey NF mat and noticed that it had some white residue near one end. Over the course of the class, I noticed more white footprints showing up on the mat. I washed my feet this morning and was wearing clean black socks. No powder. I strongly suspect that I was seeing fungi getting excited about the warm humid conditions and send up sporulating structures. I am going to scrub my mat with Lysol when I get home. :wacko:

 

New one on me. Can't imagine an innocent explanation for that unless someone busted out the chalk to maintain their grip.

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19 minutes ago, Urgan said:

This sounds pretty standard to most classes I have been in--the amount of small group/1-on-1 talk before or after class can vary. I think most want to play it cool and not put new students on the spot unless they come up and engage? The atmosphere re: new people seems to err on the side of not scaring them by putting them on the spot, you know? Unlike in the dojo where they take great care to guide new students around and make sure they never feel out of their depth or abandoned. The nature of the activity and demographics can skew the optimum approach for classes.

 

This would be my impression as well.  Yoga is a fairly different practice to martial arts and they may not want to scare off newbies, especially ones that appear to be doing fine.  If you talk to an instructor before/after the next class and let them know that you're open to adjustments, that may change.

 

Very good on them for checking and making sure people can opt out of being touched.

 

 

52 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Yes, exactly. They are expecting their second child next month. I can't imagine how torn they will be between mourning their oldest and being excited about the baby.

 

Oh, that's complicated.  I hope they can heal some.

 

53 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Seriously disturbing observation: I brought my own yoga mat because that seems to be what people do for yoga classes. Turns out the studio has mats too, although about half the class brought their own. The room was quite warm. There was a hot yoga class earlier in the day. Maybe they just didn't air out the room? I rolled out my dark grey NF mat and noticed that it had some white residue near one end. Over the course of the class, I noticed more white footprints showing up on the mat. I washed my feet this morning and was wearing clean black socks. No powder. I strongly suspect that I was seeing fungi getting excited about the warm humid conditions and send up sporulating structures. I am going to scrub my mat with Lysol when I get home. :wacko:

 

Huh, does sound like grip powder.  Grief knows I'd need it.  Better than fungi.  A regular Lysol spray and wipe is probably a good practice anyway.

 

Chocolate mint is best pie :love_heart:

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Last night was a fail. Bad decisions and no decent sleep.

 

I got home on time because Dumbledore needed to use my car. Both headlights are out on his car. We are pretty sure it is an electrical problem, not just bulbs. Adding to the ongoing list of reasons why we need to replace his car. That should have been a good start to the evening but my motivation wandered off and played hard-to-get.

 

The main item on my to-do list was work on taxes. I made great progress on Sunday and assembled all the information and forms. Now I need to plug in the numbers and check for anything that has changed since last year. And file electronically, which is often easier said than done.

 

What I actually did first was cook. I can justify cooking because we are running low on meals and have lots of ingredients that need to be used up. I sauteed a bunch of hamburger with an onion, three aging bell peppers (yellow & red, not green), some garlic and added a can of tomato sauce (dated 2014). I intended to put in mushrooms but I couldn't find them in the fridge until after I was done. :huh:  Good for making tasty food. Not so great in leaving focus for other tasks.

 

My mistake was sitting down to read "just one chapter". Famous last words. Right up there with "play just one more turn". I sat on the couch reading until well after time to get ready for bed. Then felt guilty and did some of the cleaning I'd started. I got the microwave clean and washed a few dishes. Then I took care of the cats. That one was essential because no one else seems to remember to fill their water dishes. I got to talk with Dumbledore when he got home from gaming and got to bed about 11.

 

Apparently 11 is a Bad Time for me to try to go to sleep. I was tired but my brain just wouldn't settle. Usually I fall asleep after Dumbledore comes to bed, but not this time. I was still half-awake when Elf knocked on the door in the we hours. They had a bad misunderstanding with a friend and were broken up about it. Elf did not do anything wrong, but accidentally hurt their friend's feelings and felt terrible about it. I provided hugs and sympathy. After that my brain started in on things I should of done but hadn't. Eventually I got up to take care of another of the things on the cooking list (removing skin from chicken thighs and putting them in brine). I was surprised to see that it was 4am when I got to the kitchen. The task took about 20 minutes. I was hoping that getting it done would ease my conscience enough that I could sleep for a couple hours. Nope. I was kind of drifting off but not really sleeping.

 

Amazingly, I am feeling close to normal after a B-vitamin and a cup of coffee. We'll see how long I can keep that going.

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17 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Apparently 11 is a Bad Time for me to try to go to sleep. I was tired but my brain just wouldn't settle. Usually I fall asleep after Dumbledore comes to bed, but not this time. I was still half-awake when Elf knocked on the door in the we hours. They had a bad misunderstanding with a friend and were broken up about it. Elf did not do anything wrong, but accidentally hurt their friend's feelings and felt terrible about it. I provided hugs and sympathy. After that my brain started in on things I should of done but hadn't. Eventually I got up to take care of another of the things on the cooking list (removing skin from chicken thighs and putting them in brine). I was surprised to see that it was 4am when I got to the kitchen. The task took about 20 minutes. I was hoping that getting it done would ease my conscience enough that I could sleep for a couple hours. Nope. I was kind of drifting off but not really sleeping.

 

The actual worst. 

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2 hours ago, Mistr said:

My mistake was sitting down to read "just one chapter". Famous last words. Right up there with "play just one more turn".

 

Haha!  Not the biggest lie I've ever told myself, but certainly the most frequent.

 

Nice meal!

 

Hope your rough night was a one-off and that Elf is feeling better :-(

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I'm happy to report that I survived Wednesday and got a good 8 hours sleep. I had an amazingly productive day, considering. Thankfully I did not have to teach aikido. I went to class and enjoyed just practicing. I was fading by the time I got home but got things done and was in bed by 10:00pm.  WIN!

 

Today I went to a second yoga class with the same instructor. This one had a different range of asanas. One that was new to me was Eagle pose. I could do it and keep my balance standing on one foot with my arms and legs twisted like a pretzel. I was very glad that I worked through all the NF yoga videos before going to the classes. I knew how to do almost everything he called on us to do. [This time I used one of their mats. I haven't had time to soak mine yet]

 

I enjoyed this session more than the one on Tuesday. It was a harder set of moves and I had to work at it. I don't usually get sweaty doing yoga like I did today. I felt great at the end of the 60 minute class. Fun as it was, I am stretching the rules at work to take more than an hour for lunch. I also don't want to sign on for another monthly exercise subscription. I'm going to stick with yoga videos for now. I can rotate through the NF yoga series and try other free videos. @Teirin recommended some last year that I'd like to try (links please?)

 

Now where did I put that...

For the last week I've been wondering where I saved a spreadsheet on car research that I started last fall. I found the one I made the last time we were shopping for cars in 2011. I know I made a list of the different Prius models and features by year, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Last week I picked up the car research project again. I started a new spreadsheet and made a long list of current prices for used cars. Then I started listing specs on some of the cars that might work for us. Continued searching for my previous work turned up nothing.

 

This morning it struck me that I could have been working in Google Docs instead of on one of my computers. Yep. I intend to share the results with Dumbledore, so that's exactly what I did. My new info is now copied to the spreadsheet in the cloud. :cheerful:

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Challenge wrap-up

 

How did I do?

 

A) Clean up my eating habits. My weight has crept up alarmingly. Still true :( 

The other thing I changed this year was taking supplements. Vitamins, fish oil, magnesium oxide, glucosamine, often melatonin. I can't really say if any of them are making me feel better overall. My knees are still having frequent bad days. I do think they are doing questionable things to my GI tract.

  1. No vitamins, no supplements, no caffeine. Ibuprofen is allowed.  Done. No supplements, very little caffeine. Very little ibuprofen.
  2. No snacking. Nope. Some progress but not nearly enough.
  3. Cook more vegetables. (Not really a new goal, but at least fresh food)  A little. Need to do more.
  4. Make desserts that feature fruit. Nope. And I ate an entire chocolate-mint pie. No progress here.
  5. I bought a new bag of cacao nibs. The previous batch had an unpleasant diesel odor. Replace all the sugared chocolate in my desk with fresh cacao nibs and unsweetened chocolate. Brought in the new but did not get rid of the other chocolate - in fact I brought in more of it.

On the positive side, my knees have been vastly better. I don't know if the supplements had a delayed effect or if it was from doing yoga. In any case, my GI tract is happier and my knees mostly don't hurt. I have gotten out of the stay-up-late-drink-coffee rat race. 

 

B) Clean up my schedule. I've been struggling to get to bed on time. That means that I'm not getting up early enough to do things before work. Sometimes I get those things done in the evening. Too often I stay up late to get some things done and get even more behind. My previous strategy of making time for fun things helped, but not enough. 

  1. Stop doing things at 9:00pm, get to bed by 9:30pm. On Friday and Saturday nights I can move this back by an hour.
  2. Get up at 5:30am during the week. On Mondays when I have aikido I will get up at 5:00am.
  3. Do zen in the morning. My follow-through rate on doing zen in the evening is dismal. A short sit in the morning is better than nothing or staying up late
  4. Leave work on time. This will give me more time to do things before 9pm. Yes, the traffic is worse during rush hour. That is still better than wasting time on the computer at work.

This worked great in week 1 and then fell to pieces. I still think it is a good goal.

 

C) Clean up my aikido. Sensei was pointing out some shortcomings at the advanced classes this weekend. In addition to the constant reminders to watch my posture, bend my knees and keep my center forward work on:

  1. Seminar notes. I'm going to seminars at the beginning and end of the challenge. Write notes each day and put them somewhere that I can find them. Probably Google Docs.
  2. Hamni and line. Keep my feet and center facing where they need to be, engage my hips.
  3. Ukemi. I have been getting a lot of feedback on improving my ukemi.
  • Stay engaged and be aware of places where I am open.
  • Learn not to move to unsafe positions.
  • Take beautiful ukemi even when my partner is struggling to do the technique. I can leave the teaching for the nights when I'm the instructor.

Needs more work.

 

D) Clean up my home. The regular house cleaning is in pretty good shape right now. Well, at least the areas I'm responsible for. ;) Areas we don't use every day have been neglected.

  • Clean up the garden and yard
  • Organize the guys, buy mulch and put it on the gardens (this should have been done last year. Or the year before. Waaaaaaay overdue)
  • Find homes for boxes in the mud room

I spent a total of 30 minutes cleaning up the garden. Then it snowed again this weekend, so I don't feel as bad about it as I might otherwise. I found the contact number and a coupon from the mulch company recommended by a coworker. I need to check with Hermes about having the driveway full of a mountain of mulch. Boxes have not been touched.

 

Other things need to get done too, notably filing taxes. I'm going to give myself a reward for getting them done early.

I got Federal taxes filed on Saturday and state taxes done last night. The state ones were a real pain. I tried to use the long form this year and gave up on it. I may have paid extra because of that. On the other hand, figuring out what I had to do with the long form and associated schedules was so confusing I probably would have messed it up and gotten audited. I did not itemize deductions for my federal taxes. The state tax long form had me itemize anyway (using the federal form). I was gratified to prove that we don't have enough deductions to make itemizing pay off.

 

Reward for getting them done early (8pm on 4/15 when they are due 4/17) was making chocolate chip cookies and reading for the rest of the evening.

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Elf had a bunch of friends over this Saturday. Some observations and reflections:

 

Things have changed since Elf first came to live with us. I've gotten used to Elf being non-binary. Elf's new romantic interest is a young woman. That threw me for a loop. Long-time readers may remember back to when Elf felt betrayed by his (at the time) first boyfriend when said boyfriend admitted to being bi, not gay. I thought that Elf's preference was at the end of the Kinsey scale. Apparently that has relaxed a bit.

 

The new interest has a good group of friends. Apparently everyone in that section of the dorm is queer. They also have good communications skills. They all introduced themselves to me when they came over. Then did another round to give the pronouns to use for each person. Funny how quickly that has become normal for the younger set. I think I got cool adult points for taking it in stride. Also for making guacamole and staying around and having real conversation with some of them.

 

Earlier in the day, I went to the grocery store with Elf (to take a break from doing taxes). We needed water softener salt, which the store keeps in front past the registers. I told the cashier what I needed and then went and picked up a 40 lb. bag of salt. As I turned to come back to the checkout, I saw Elf coming to help me. I put the bag on the bottom of our cart and gave Elf a questioning look. "Badass" they whispered. B) 

 

One of the terminology things that drives me nuts is not having a good word for my relationship with Elf and visa versa. "Son" or "daughter" are not correct. "Kid" would be fine for someone younger, but feels disrespectful in talking about an adult. Similarly, "Mom" just does not fit, to the point where it feels creepy. Dumbledore reported that Elf clarified this to their friends. We are not their parents, we are their "Dumbledore and Mistr". I like that.

 

I hope that things continue to work with Elf and this group of people. The challenge is that Elf just decided not to go to school now and they are all at the university. In some ways Elf is more mature, but it might bother them that this group of friends are working toward goals they don't share. I hope that does not become an issue. They all have a lot of other things in common. The romantic interest had a long talk with Dumbledore. She is well aware of the challenges they might face, and still is interested in dating Elf.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Menage a Quatre

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Tax prep software sounds like it'd make your life easier. Tax Act is pretty good.

 

It might be good for Elf to have a bunch of college friends. It can be hard to get back on the college track once you leave.

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Taxes ugh.

 

I agree with @sarakingdom, it's really important to keep in touch with that lifestyle if Elf is still remotely interested in ever doing the college thing. Time and distance makes going back seem ever less doable. Even if I think working life has made it easier to put the stresses of class into perspective (i.e., not the end all be all of life as we know it, my BS detector is now finely calibrated, etc).... However, if college will never be a thing, all Elf needs is the ability to separate from the stress of the college semester, you know? Twice a year it gets kinda crazy.

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I'm stuck with the boxes too. Kind of struggling with places for putting all this stuff at this point. May have to get rid of some things, which I'm not too terribly looking forward to, but what can one do.

 

On 4/16/2018 at 4:12 PM, Mistr said:

C) Clean up my aikido. Sensei was pointing out some shortcomings at the advanced classes this weekend. In addition to the constant reminders to watch my posture, bend my knees and keep my center forward work on:

  1. Seminar notes. I'm going to seminars at the beginning and end of the challenge. Write notes each day and put them somewhere that I can find them. Probably Google Docs.
  2. Hamni and line. Keep my feet and center facing where they need to be, engage my hips.
  3. Ukemi. I have been getting a lot of feedback on improving my ukemi.
  • Stay engaged and be aware of places where I am open.
  • Learn not to move to unsafe positions.
  • Take beautiful ukemi even when my partner is struggling to do the technique. I can leave the teaching for the nights when I'm the instructor.

Needs more work.

 

I feel like this is probably a constant no matter what martial art one does. As soon as something's fixed: "Oh. That needs more work."

 

So it sounds like it was a bit of a muddle, but on the whole, you moved forward and got something from the challenge. Good work!

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On 4/16/2018 at 5:12 PM, Mistr said:

This worked great in week 1 and then fell to pieces. I still think it is a good goal.

 

It's a simple good goal that is also really hard  :-/

 

 

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