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So I've been on hiatus for most of a year for a variety of reasons (good and bad).  But it's time for a respawn, so I'm reaching out again to the support networks I have (the forums here, Connect on the WeightWatchers app, etc) to try and maintain accountability and get regular feedback on things. 

 

Yet to do: re-write my Life at Level 50 mission statement/goals  (Work changed, and with it, the driving need to drown my frustrations in food and shopping). 

 

The previous battle log is here, if anyone wants to visit the unpleasant swamp of the past: https://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/83812-tokidoki-kittys-daily-log/

 

Going forward: 

- If not a daily log, at least a weekly one

- Revisit and refine my goals regularly (and set them up in smaller, manageable pieces)

- Improve my productivity habits / reduce my procrastination habits -- this goes for both work and home.

- Address, treat/mitigate my physical pains (through diet, exercise, etc). 

- Financial success (large savings account) and freedom (no more credit card debt/recurring balance carryovers) - I want to go to Japan and spend a lot of time on experiences and shopping for tea and kimono equipment that I can't get in the States. Need money to do that. :/ 

 

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Listening to Level Up Your Life again on my lunchtime walks. 

 

As someone who tends to go whole hog into any new idea or project (regardless of cost/time), only to abandon the project later, I at least have the self awareness this round not to go full frontal in diving into a reboot. 

 

So. 

 

Level One: Mise En Place

...I spend money. (Money I don't have; thank you credit card!)  This is partly because while I tend to look at ads and other marketing as utter bullcrap, I DO buy into the insidious mentality that 'stuff' will make me feel better, somehow.  This has been especially true over the last ten years, but it's also a habit learned from my mother; before he passed 14 years ago, my father had heart disease for 28 years. I was only 22 when he died, so that should give you an idea about the uncertainty that often plagued the atmosphere at home. [This isn't to say my home life was bad in any way - I was an only, spoiled little shit of a kid, and we live in a nice neighborhood and are solidly white middle class all around.] Mom took me shopping to 'bond' -- it was the only time we ever really spent together. When my dad was nearing the end, food became an emotional crutch to both me and my mother. To this day, I still have no idea what my 'ideal' weight and body type really are -- I buy stuff, food, etc. whenever I feel a lack or stressor elsewhere.  The challenge is that this habit is now ingrained so deeply that it has been HARD to break. And I mean HARD.  Having a decent-paying job means I don't have to panic about credit card bills, because whether or not I pay them in full, I've got a good credit score so the interest rate is about as low as the bank can offer.  GOAL: Break this habit, one step at a time.

...I spend time. While I don't spend a large number of hours outside of work in front of a TV, I DO use my free time to go down rabbit holes with the help of the internet. Usually this is for something that theoretically relates to whatever latest project I have, researching ideas for my latest drabble of fiction, etc. GOAL: Streamline my time.

...I have a lifetime of nutrition challenges to unlearn; living on a low-fat, low-sodium, low-everything diet for most of my young life (to accommodate my dad's needs) only to binge on readily-available snacks and junk outside of family mealtimes (dad did the shopping and I think bought these things to somehow 'make up' for the fact his health dictated the dinner menu, and also probably because he could, being a child of the Depression era and raised on a mentality of scarcity). In high school, "breakfast" was a bottled Frappuccino drink until I decided I was 'too fat' and then it was one of those Carnation Instant Breakfast packets in milk.  So, chocolate, dairy and sugar were the norm far, far too often. (Later, it was the disordered eating of SlimFast shakes (chocolate flavor) and frozen green beans when I decided I needed to shrink to a number that didn't correlate to my size. I am not - and never will be - built to weigh less than 145 pounds.)   I still find it a strange mental disconnect to actually crave something like vegetables. (It happens, now, as I clean up my diet, but it remains weird.) "Outside" was one of those places other kids' parents sent them to get some peace. I was the artsy book nerd with the redhead mother - "outside" in our house meant third-degree sunburns and buying stock in aloe gel. With my dad's poor health/limited endurance, it also meant that physical activities were simply not a priority. GOAL: Get lean, get stronger, work on conditioning. Get back under the bar and lifting heavy again.

 

So, Level One quests are as follows:

- Delete my shopping bookmarks. (I do use Amazon's subscribe-and-save to unlock discounts, etc on items normally far more expensive in-store, so I'm not going to delete the credit card payment method [my initial lightbulb moment], though once I get my bank account cleaned up, I may switch to the debit card.)  This way, it's no longer convenient to click onto a site, browse and spend willy-nilly. 

- Open more savings accounts. The awesome thing about my bank/credit union is that I can open a number of savings accounts (I already have one called "Japan" that I've set up to automatically get $50 of every paycheck) - and give them descriptive names. So I need to decide on more 'buckets' and contact the bank to set it up. That way, I'm putting money aside for the different things I want to achieve/buy/do ('fun' things like a trip to Japan, and practical things like make sure I have the money for a new mattress and eventually a car down payment, since both of these things are getting old and tired...)  

- Get my space cleared out.  This is a BIG goal -- probably the Level One Boss Battle and Side Quest all in one. I am a borderline hoarder. (See above re: stuff) This means that I have a LOT of crap stuffed in every corner of my space. Some of it is disposable/donate-able (the clothes I buy on a whim, for example -- I live in jeans, tees and workout clothes. The rest I can probably donate or discard, like the three swimsuits that don't fit, the winter layers I have no use for in Southern California, etc).  I've done some of this in stages, but more needs to be done. And a challenge I have is the lack of storage SPACE -- I don't have a large or deep closet, so lots of things are packed into cardboard boxes and stacked up. Other things are just... in piles.  I know I'll be able to a) feel better with a cleaner, organized space and b.) much more easily work on my side hustles when I don't have to spend more time digging for supplies and carving out a workspace than I spend actually hustling/creating/writing/whatever.    This will also be a long-term goal, because my space was partially 'inherited' from my dad's space, so many of HIS things that I don't want to throw away (just because, really - there's not a lot of sentimental value so much as it feels like throwing him away, somehow. Emotions are weird.) also fill nooks and crannies. The workaround I've found thus far is to take advantage of when my mom travels -- I can unpack entire areas and 'stage' them for sorting throughout the upstairs and the open space in her bedroom (that has a walk-in closet and thus plenty of storage so her stuff isn't stacked up everywhere...) and organize accordingly. I've done this once before, but she only travels once or twice a year and I work full-time, so... time crunch.  Later, maybe around Level 20, I'll set a goal of getting new furniture for the office space, since it's old and less functional than it could/should be. But that's another major project and major expense. 

- Credit card gets paid off - and stays that way.  The goal is not only to pay it off (I've done this once with the help of this year's tax refund and the annual bonus from work) but to keep it paid off. THAT has been a harder challenge [a $450 car repair last week didn't help]. But then I'm not funneling every paycheck that doesn't go to rent to Mom to the card to pay it down, I'm funneling that money instead into my new buckets at the bank.  Another boon to this? Now that I'm a licensed kimono teacher, there are specialty kimono courses (bridal, etc) that are available, but they're expensive ($500-$1500...) and cash-only - no credit cards. Which means that money has to be in the account to sign up for the class. 

- Continue to practice Japanese - This is a Level One through Level 50 goal, but I have to start somewhere. I can understand the spoken language moderately well (intermediate, maybe? I still need subtitles for the television both because of slang, the speed of native speakers, etc) but speaking it/keeping up a conversation, using the appropriate formality levels, and reading comprehension (kanji is EVIL) are still VERY sub-par given that I started trying to learn this language in middle school. That was 1995, y'all. "Use it or Lose It" is very, very true. Right now, my listening comprehension is pretty awesome after an intense six-month course on kimono taught primarily in Japanese. Even if I still can't actually READ the fancy textbooks that we were given.

- Continue to work on diet/fitness. I'm on Weight Watchers, I pay for a personal trainer, I have a gym membership. All of these things cost, yes, but they also come with other people and a modicum of peer pressure/accountability (WW has a pretty awesome members-only social network called Connect that's great for giving support and finding motivation). The gym equipment in my garage is home to dust bunnies and spider skeletons. The adjustable workout bench? It's a storage surface.  I bought the Rings and Handstands membership - and rings! - and they just hang there. I spent $100+ on a pull-up bar and paid a neighbor to install it (he has all the power tools and know-how). It's become an extra hanging place for laundry.  Obviously, I don't have the habits or discipline to do this stuff on my own.  And while that bugs the piss out of me, at least I KNOW it. [Hell, my trainer knows he'd better text me an hour before our 7am time slot to make sure I'm awake, since I sleep like the dead. His text tone is a loud, obnoxious R2-D2 scolding that makes people jump. It wakes me up.]  But as other things in my life fall into place, I'm finding that the physical things are also smoothing out. Today was the first time in recent memory that I had a workout where my muscles hurt instead of my joints (and I wanted to puke, but that's what one gets for working core hard and then bracing for barbell squat progressions).  I'm down 8 pounds (probably even more from my highest when I put the scale away out of frustration and shame) and it's actually noticeable. Given that it is HARD for me to lose weight and keep it off (for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is past disordered eating habits), I'm pretty chuffed about these successes.  Level 50 goal: Hips that measure 40" or less, and/or the scale showing sub-165 pounds. [I'm 5'9" and built pretty solid, so the "recommended" weight range of 135-169 is scaled to someone without Viking ancestry. I weighed 140 pounds once. I looked sick.] I have a huge collection of fun 'fashion' kimono that I simply cannot wear correctly at the waist/hips anymore because of my weight gain. (They'll never be long enough in the arms, but that doesn't bother me nearly as much as the fact they don't wrap all the way right now.) 

 

So that's how I'm setting up this respawn's first few walkthroughs, anyway. 

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Made some minor progress -- deleted the shopping bookmarks, which makes it far, far less tempting to browse when bored/hungry/upset. 

 

Spent the weekend in a bad place (hint: when someone asks you to 'get involved' but then sends you in unarmed, don't do it), mentally/emotionally, had an awful emotional hangover yesterday and made non-goal-oriented eating choices much of the afternoon. Trying again today to be better; I am currently allowing/choosing a morning bagel with some cream cheese, and focusing on trying to fill the rest of my day with Weight-Watchers "Zero" point foods (e.g., lean proteins, veggies, fruit) to balance that out. 

 Today's challenge is that I'm still just feeling BLAH about the whole world. Not really "feeling" it about trying to make goal-oriented food (or movement) choices, etc. I don't hurt -- which is awesome, since pain has been a near-constant thing for MONTHS now -- but I just don't care, either.

 

I also really want to browse Amazon for bullet journal resources -- after looking up some free printables, I have all new ideas and inspiration for creating a journal. Problem is, I have a MOUNTAIN of blank journals, supplies, etc, and I never actually USE any of these things. (I'm like the "clean" version of a hoarder - my room won't have dirt or anything, but it is CRAMMED with stuff that I somehow thought was useful or would be of use at some point. Art/craft supplies, writing implements, and books are my biggest culprits.) So. I think, for me, my journal needs to be an undated goal project, rather than any sort of dated to-do function.  And there are far fewer of those.  And it also needs to be something that works at-a-glance, because once it's under a pretty cover or in another section/file, I forget it exists. (Which is why the one-week dated layouts are AWESOME for short-term stuff, but just don't cut it long-term because I don't always need to grok a week at a time more than occasionally when my schedule is super-busy with non-routine items. I am a creature of habit 80% of the time - work, food, etc. are all pretty habitual [for good or bad] and the other 20% of the time is largely recurring things that aren't always at the exact same date/time, such as tea or craft lessons.)   I'm not only risk-averse, I'm largely chaos-averse (moreso than risk-averse, frankly - I can handle risk if I can sort out a process and plan for it. Chaos? Chaos can go to hell on the horse it rode in on. NO THANK YOU.) 

 

So the challenge of all this navelgazing is to figure out a method/system that minimizes chaos, plans out risks, and still allows me to function as the fundamentally non-adventurous hermit that I am, most of the time.  Bleh. 

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Oof.  Yesterday provided a few "ah-hah!" moments. Not really in a good way, so much as a 'wow, that is shit I REALLY need to work on' moments. Rage. 

 

Holycrap. Rage.  I don't know what set me off (even now, mulling over the day - a lot of little things, yes, but nothing large or particularly distressing) but I was in rare form. To the point that I just gave up and went home from work at 1pm and curled up in bed (the drive home was particularly illuminating about my bad attitude...).  So while NF may be about small actionable changes in terms of education/fitness/etc, I should probably add some spiritual/mental elements in there, too. Because I can't go home and take a nap like a tantrum-y toddler every time this shit happens. (On the bright side, it has been a long time since it happened, but obviously it's still something that needs to be addressed.)  I also spent money to feel better (bujo stuff on Amazon), so way to fail that quest, Kitty. -.-' 

 

Today, the mood is less awful, but not much. I'm less inclined to use whatever is at hand (stapler, car, pencil, fists) as a weapon at the drop of a hat, but I'm still utterly unenthused about the entire. freakin'. world. Hate it all. UGH.   Scale is back on a downward yo-yo path, at least, so there's that.  I've worn an elbow brace (one of those padded bands that goes around the upper part of the forearm) for two days straight and my weird elbow pain is definitely less. Didn't wake up with it, unlike the last few days. So that's cool. 

 

Today's meal plan was the usual a.m. bagel and then packed lunch, but now I'm learning that pizza is involved at a lunchtime meeting. And I really don't want to be in the room with it, because I'll eat it. *sigh* But as I'm part of the core team of presenters, I can't just call in from my desk. And while I would love to go in with the intention NOT to partake, it's not likely to happen and then I'll just hate on myself for 'failing' against a simple roll for willpower.  

 

Not sure where this is going - it's as much a rambly mental unload as it is a daily check-in, right now.  

 

Later, I'll probably hash out my thoughts on an updated Life at Level 50 character sheet, including cross-classing (Ranger fits my fitness goals, Monk/Druid fits my other goals, so probably some flavor of "Samurai" ('OnnaBushi' most likely) is going to be the end result).  

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Additional navelgaze of the day: 

https://www.girlsgonestrong.com/blog/mindset/hunger-satiation/  

 

Yesterday I wound up belly-hungry, not just food-sounds-nice hungry. And even so, the idea of "am I hungry enough to eat chicken and steamed veggies?" as a litmus test didn't work. Because after trying so damn hard to be healthy for so long, chicken is just not appetizing at all anymore. I've had fish every night for dinner for several days running - it, too, loses all appeal. So the answer to the question kept being "I am hungry enough to eat a real meal (protein, veg, starch, fat) rather than poke through the pantry" but couldn't come up with any specific healthy food ideas that didn't include "with melted cheese" or similar.   This is why "low fat" is a terrible long-term plan; it leaves total burnout, salted-earth results when trying to understand our bodies' signals later in life. Bleh.  (Maybe the question should be, "Am I hungry enough to enjoy a fried egg and peppers?" because I'm not burned out on that meal yet.) 

 

Something to ponder. 

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Well, marginal progress on the not-spending front. I ordered a few more items off Amazon [including a used-good condition hard copy of Level Up Your Life so I can commit the cardinal sin of marking up a book and flagging pages I want to keep referring to] (also ordered a cooling sinus mask because I can't find mine and holycrap did I need it this weekend. Better to be prepared for next time. There's always a next time...).   The scale keeps yo-yo-ing up and down the same 2-3 pounds, which is frustrating. I know some is simply food choices (between a coworker's bridal shower and my Tea teacher's birthday dinner out, this was not a very healthful weekend) but other times, I try so dang hard to stay on plan and... nothing. Very frustrating. So while it's probably not ideal, I am focusing instead on organizing myself and getting my space put together, because if nothing else, there's at least less chaos that way. 

 

I drafted out some goals - some are the "holycrap, I've hit Level 50" and some are just "dude, you've been wanting to do this for ages" little stuff. But it's sorted by category, so that's amusing.  Next is to take one of my many blank journals and make these sections a colorful reality with smaller bite-sized steps for each goal. And this is a very incomplete list - there are SO MANY THINGS I want to do...

 

Ryori 料理 (Cooking)

-          Learn basic Japanese knife techniques

-          Prepare a complete Japanese meal without any shortcuts

-          Learn to make wagashi (Nerikiri, koshian, etc)

-          Learn to make a deco cake / roll cake or other deco dessert

Bunka 文化 (Culture)

-          Try one of the OCBC Bonsai meetings

-          Learn the basics of Ikebana

-          Practice calligraphy once/week for 15 minutes

Ryokou 旅行 (Travel)

-          Save up $5000 to go to Japan by 2020

-          Stay in a ryokan for a week in Kyoto

-          Visit Kenroku-En in kimono

-          Stay at Kagaya Onsen again (Kanazawa)

-          Mie Prefecture – Heian-themed ryokan stay

Kansha 感謝(Gratitude)

-          Maintain gratitude journal for:   1 week | 2 weeks | 3 weeks | 1 month | 3 months | 6 months

-          Do better with writing thank-you notes in a timely manner

Omotenashi  (Hospitality)

-          Host tea ceremonies regularly with friends

Fude 筆 (Writing)

-          Map out and finish a full novel draft

-          Participate in NaNoWriMo

-          Complete the first draft of a novel           

Budou 武道 (Fitness)

-          Walk every day, at least 3,000 steps // 30 minutes

-          Take a beginner’s course in a martial art

-          Take a course on kendo

-          Take a course on naginata

-          Take a class on krav maga

-          Deadlift 300 pounds

-          Squat 250 pounds

-          Bench 135 pounds

-          Do an unassisted pull-up

-          Lose 20 pounds of fat / body fat percentage below 25%

Kyoiku 教育 (Education)

-          Learn 2000 kanji

-          Read a Japanese Newspaper unassisted

-          Read The Tale of Genji in Japanese (modern) with minimal assistance from dictionary

-          ?? Masters in Japanese Studies [UCLB has one, I think. Level 50+ goal, need the $$ for the tuition as well.] 

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Also, the repeated "tires slashed" / "packages stolen" / "car broken into" messages coming through the local NextDoor neighborhood app make me stupid-paranoid. I may buy a small security camera and SD card to park in the front window(s) of the house (about $75 all told). Which does not tie in well to my "save money" goal, but... I'd feel at least a LITTLE less paranoid.  (I'm still trying to convince Mom to chip in on the Ring doorbell system.) 

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More weird head space this week.  I'm going to lay the blame mostly on PMDD since it's getting near that time of month (and this also explains feeling like a bottomless pit the last few days) but I am NOT A FAN.  A rough Friday morning (some road rage-y jackass pulling a hit and run meant I spent time waiting for the cops instead of commuting to work) didn't help. I did spend some time last week putting my Quest categories by page into a blank journal (and checking off a few things to feel some sense of progress). And I researched more options for Japanese classes (culture, martial arts, etc) that aren't too far from where I work/live. (I love that OCBC has so many things, but it's in Anaheim and I don't work/live/drive on that side of town, so it winds up being out of the way and thus more likely that I'll give up quickly.)   

 

More re-listening to Level Up Your Life, and I'm on the tail end of it now, the section on remembering to feel alive/gratitude, revisiting your WHY, etc.  I still feel like I don't have some big "why" for all this. I want to do the things on my bucket/fuck-it/Quest list because they are things I enjoy. I enjoy learning new skills, I enjoy spending time immersed in traditional Japanese aesthetics and culture. I find Tea to be relaxing and an excuse to handle objects d'art without setting off a museum alarm.  None of those are 'big' to me.  It just lands in the "flow" category. I could go to classes all day, every day, to the point that I earned my Bachelor's in 2005, as well as the full credit load for a minor in classics AND since 2007 have been registered near-constantly at the local community college for "funsies".   I don't really have any huge 'courage' goals like climbing mountains - I don't mind mild physical challenges but strenuous and high intensity are utter turn-offs. There is absolutely no flow once cardio is involved.  (I've tried and failed Couch to 5K and its many variations often enough to know this well.)  Instead, my goals are entirely knowledge-seeking or knowledge-applying - I want to continue to learn Japanese until some day I can actually parse medieval/Heian-era stuff (a bit like being able to understand Chaucer and Beowulf as written, rather than as updated. Given that this involves not only the modern writing systems used but a working knowledge of Chinese pre-simplification, it's a hell of a stretch goal).  I want to go to Japan, stay in a traditional inn/ryokan, and successfully use only Japanese. (And I mean successfully - understand what's being said to me the first time around, being able to assemble appropriate responses during the conversation, not digging desperately for a dictionary or paper scrap to map out what I mean, using casual speech because I can't remember keigo/formal grammar, etc).   Hell, I would love to attend a Japanese ladies' finishing school.  How to hold the chopsticks and when, table manners, the appropriate timing/amount of bowing, calligraphy, kitchen skills, domestic skills, etc.  (Figuring out how to move to Japan is a larger sacrifice than I'm willing to make - my Mom is my only family and she is unwilling to live alone, and I'm a homebody at heart. So planning some kind of long-term, regular travel schedule is much more appealing. Which rules out getting a job teaching English. Hm.)  

 

That said, I also want to get fit, but... without steady-state or high intensity cardio. :/  Mostly I want to be strong (no more joint pain) and lean (fit in my many kimono) and ideally take up marginally less space in the tea room. (Bonus: Learn to sit longer than 20 minutes in seiza without my feet going completely numb.)   I did find a place near the office that teaches aikido, but haven't heard back since filling out the 'visitor questionnaire' so... that may be a dead end (I hope it isn't - calling to follow up doesn't require 20 s.o.c. so much as 45 s.o.patience because I hate playing phone tag).  The next-nearest place is a few miles away (which doesn't sound like a lot but it would be driving busy streets during rush hour and I already hate driving, so chances become better-than-average that I would give up quickly for my own mental health - the gym I go to is that way and I'm pretty blase about trying to go after work for the same reason).   [Working remotely part of each week is on the Quest list near the top - as it is, I want to sit with my team and discuss the two times/month I'm 'allowed' to work remotely as a non-exempt employee and see what comes up - and whether it works with my current schedule [every other Friday is a short day] - it may not, and I'd rather keep the short Fridays because I can fit kimono classes in.] 

 

So I find myself circling back to the "What's your 'why'?" and don't really have an answer that feels somehow acceptable for such a large question. 

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Despite eating like an asshole the last two days (cookies happened, cookies stop happening when the vending machine runs out. This is A Problem I am working on. They're not even good cookies.)  the scale was at 177.8    Seeing as how I weighed in last week at 177.6, and a mid-week check showed 177 even, I'd say overall I'm not doing too badly. If nothing else, trying to get the bulk of my nutrition from the Zero Points food list (lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, legumes) is at least enforcing an overall change for the better. 

 

I still don't drink enough water and probably too much coffee, but whatever. It's a process. 

 

Goal for weigh-in next Wednesday is to break below 177. 175 if we're feeling optimistic, but weight loss has never been a rapid process for me (or gain, really, which is why it's so frustrating when I don't see progress in any direction, whatever my goal is).

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The scale is juuuuust below 177 right now, so that's good. I've mapped out some consistent habits to work on (walk at least 30 minutes, drink at least 48 oz of not-coffee fluids [as the weather warms up, barley tea is my go-to cold drink], have fruit and vegetables at least once per day *, and work on non-physical goals like Japanese study). If I can stick to it, I can probably break below 173 by the end of the month. 172 is my stretch goal, anyway - that's about 5 pounds down in the next three weeks - a little over a pound and a half lost per week. (Or, if we're looking at purely CICO, a net deficit of 5,250 calories per week / 750 calories per day. My BMR is about 1500, TDEE clocking just shy of 2000 (not including lunchtime walks, so maybe 2200, max).  So yes, I could probably manage a pound and a half in the short-term, if I really, really wanted to hate life for a while. I co-track on MFP and WeightWatchers - my 'normal' eating habits that put me right on target in both WW and macros is a lower-fat balance of macros and 1300-ish calories. Given that WW doesn't use calories but instead uses Points - and the points of an item are basically an indication primarily of how significantly one would have an insulin response [sugar is high in Points, fibrous veggies are zero points, etc.] modified to emphasize healthy, unprocessed food habits (so most fruits are also 0 points despite their high natural sugar content, but if you put those fruits into a smoothie, they have Points), it's impossible to create an exact 1:1 ratio of macros to Points. But 115/40/120 P/F/C with some exercise added back in seems to be working right now. 

 

* I tend to go by a yes/no binary versus number of servings, because I don't generally worry or care about serving sizes when it comes to plain fruit or veggies. I've been known to mow through most of a 5# sack of baby carrots in one sitting. Whenever I batch cook, I invariably dice up a lot of veggies into any soup/chili I'm making. So this is more of a, 'Did you eat something that wasn't reduced to bits by a knife and was it a color other than brown or beige?' checkmark sort of goal. [Hint: I suck at getting colors on my plate.]

 

I still haven't gotten to the gym much - one biweekly session with my trainer and that's it - but overall I'm feeling better, slowly. Less pain and fatigue the further away from stressors (previous work, intense kimono course, etc) I get.  (Left elbow is still doing this weird hit-or-miss twinge thing. Wearing a brace at night helps.) Utterly lacking in motivation and rephrasing "I don't have time" into "it's not a priority" rings a bit false when I'm on the clock 9 hours a day, have a commute each way, and find that I really do need a full 8 hours of good sleep to function and not hate myself or the world. Adding in a 30-45 minute workout and more drive time also adds in a level of stress in trying to fit that priority into my schedule, and impacts my ability to eat healthfully. (I share a kitchen / household with my mother. This means that if we're BOTH sitting down to a healthy meal, we're fine. If not, it becomes near impossible to maintain good habits. We are creatures that need set schedules. This has become a noticeable non-negotiable after so many years of trying and failing to be flexible about evening meals.)  And yes, I have a garage full of equipment (dumbbells, rings, suspension trainer, adjustable bench) but do not have a barbell or plates - or the space to set them up - and that is the fitness I like most. *cue sad trash panda face*  I hate running. I have never liked it, have not figured out how to like it, and have no endurance whatsoever (even as an active kid, it was short bursts or not at all). Zumba looks fun until I see my fat whitegirl-can't-dance ass in the mirror and the song is 5 minutes long. :/ So. Weights. Heavy lifting, short endurance times. Got it? Good.   [Now, if I am successful this fall in negotiating a salaried position (already asked when the next round of promotions would be - go proactivity!), then I sure as hell won't be working overtime for free and my days will be 7.5 hours. I fully intend to work on getting myself into a better morning routine so that I can either gym before work or get to work earlier and gym afterwards. Either way, avoiding the shittiest times of rush-hour driving (7.45-8.15 and 4.45-5.45) are significant factors in figuring out that new schedule.]

 

Minor NSV - my kimono teacher hasn't seen me since April 7th and could really tell I'm slimming down, even though it's only 10 pounds so far. But I carry 90% of my extra weight between my knees and hips - I look like a flabby Kim K from the waist down. My bust measurement hasn't varied by more than an inch since I finished puberty. My pants size has been anywhere from 6-16, and yo-yos up and down all the freakin' time. Bodies are weird, man.  My 'big why' includes taking up less space physically when it comes to being on the tatami mats [there is a rant about relinquishing space as a woman but that can go on tumblr and not here] and that includes fitting into my cute, non-traditional kimono as well (male and female cuts both - kimono are simply NOT designed for pear-shaped figures). I have a collection I'm unwilling to give up but they are all several inches too narrow at the hips/thighs. [They used to fit when I weighed about 160-165 pounds.] 

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Scale this morning 175.8 

 

SO CLOSE TO 175 OMG. 

 

Also filled out another 'contact us' form about the local aikido dojo asking a good time to observe/visit.  Other than Thursday evenings, I don't have any recurring schedule conflicts, so I'm hoping I can add this to my schedule if it looks like something I'd enjoy for getting fitter/conditioned. *fingers crossed* 

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Haven't updated in a while. Oops. 

 

Signed on at the aikido dojo - the first class was fun and useful, and based on my (limited) research, aikido aligns more with my goals [mental and spiritual fortitude as well as martial arts training] than I thought. Bonus, this dojo takes plastic, which means I could do their 'starter' special of two months and the uniform is free (essentially saving me $60) without scrambling to make a transfer from savings to tide over any written checks until payday. And they do their monthly billing to cards on file as well - again, far easier to manage when I'm not worried if the charge will bounce.  I will need to buy a second gi - the heavy cotton weave takes FOR-EV-ER to dry, and one of the dojo rules is that you are not offensive to anyone else - and that includes sense of smell (which, tbh, is perfectly fair when you're training in close quarters and tackling/pinning/etc). So even if i throw it in the wash after class, a full cycle in the dryer isn't necessarily enough to get it un-soggy by the next day, and a spritz with Febreeze and hanging to air out between classes is not an ideal stopgap measure. Other bonus - the monthly rate for the dojo is a carte blanche rate - I can show up once a month or seven days a week. It's the same money either way.  Right now, I've scheduled myself for twice a week; every Monday and then alternating Wed/Friday sessions. The more ambitious I'm feeling, the more I'll show [another reason to buy a second gi - the clean spare can live in my car]. And because it's RIGHT by the office, there's even less of a barrier to going after work - it's a one-block drive and easy parking. Even the gym doesn't promise that (three miles of corporate streets and assholes in luxury cars, plus a maze of a parking structure that's a quarter mile from the gym, and right now, a lot of construction going on) - and lately, the idea of driving and dealing with getting to the gym, and not the gym itself, is the reason I just haven't been going regularly. 

 

Scale and nutrition have stalled somewhat - my weight bounced back up to 177 and is staying there quite stubbornly.  I also did bench press last session with my trainer and have NO muscle strength left. *sad trombone*  So I definitely need to get back under the bar again, more often.  What mental momentum I had for meal prep and planning has sputtered to a crawl as well. I need to get up and moving before work so I can make a proper breakfast rather than default to a bagel, but... I like bagels and hate mornings. So.  Something to work on. 

 

 

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it's been a busy, stressful month (it's the busiest time of year for the office) and it's not over for at least another two or three weeks. 

 

And I really just want to call in sick but this is also the time of year when calling in will catch one a heapton of crap from both coworkers and managers alike (as in, "If you're contagious, work from home, otherwise, show t.f. up"). 

 

Scale is at cruise control around 177 after a few ups and downs. There's too much going on to worry about that - I haven't had a chance to get more than two more aikido classes in since signing up, and right now I'm just trying to tread water, mentally and emotionally. June is a crap month for me, always has been, and that's before the shitstorm of work stress. So there's a finite amount of coping skill I have available at any given moment. (Hell, I slept on the couch last night because clearing my bed off was too much work, even if I know it would all just get dumped on the floor.) 

 

I think once this mad rush at the office is over (and Mom is back from her world traveling so I'm not homesteading solo as well) things will become more manageable. At least, I'll be pointing out in no uncertain terms that I paid for a month of dojo membership ($160!) I could not use and goddamnit, I WILL be going to classes after work once she's home to let the dog out and feed her. (My shift ends at 5:45, the class starts at 6:10, the drive home to deal with a dog who's been locked up all day {~10 hrs} is 45 minutes. i.e., I cannot get to a class but I paid for the month. Kinda pissed about that, tbh.) And if I do adjust my schedule to tend to the dog so I can get home late, it means losing my entire lunch hour to a drive home and back. Which means I also lose pay, because I don't take full lunch hours as a rule but instead walk for 35 minutes. (If I were salaried instead of punch-clock hourly, I'd just go home and log in again from there, but... see above re: attendeeism bullcrap that happens from late May to mid July around here.) 

 

Also really want to just tell my previous team to get stuffed because I still harbor a deep and abiding hatred for that whole department and its toxic b.s., but can't, because *technically* I'm still on call for some of their database needs (since no one else actually wanted to take classes and learn how to make it work) when their needs are a step below Visual Basic but above 'Fuck Around Until It Works' skillsets.  (Hint: I've tried learning VB and it makes my eyes want to crawl out of their sockets. I'll leave it to an outside contractor, thanks.) 

 

And I know that if I go through the H-A-L-T steps (am I Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) to figure out where things are going pear-shaped, I can check off all four at any given moment. The 'Lonely' one is especially frustrating because as an introvert, I know I need interaction with trusted people and at the same time I have a tolerance of +/- about 20 minutes of said interaction before it's no longer a good thing.  So that's a goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation. 

 

TL;DR -- I'll try again to circle back to Life at Level 50 goals when I can figure out which way is up. Right now I'm tired and everything hurts. (My hair hurts. WTF, body. Your coping skills are SHIT.)

 

 

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So, another month of day-to-day surviving. Made some stupid financial decisions and my debt goals are further off than before. (I shop to feel better. I know it's a problem, but sometimes, it's a forest-for-the-trees issue.) Caught some summer cold that went around at the end of July and have been a hacking wheezing not-going-to-the-gym mess since. >_< 

 

I agreed (back in May) to something happening in September before I had any real information on what it is. Now that I know... I really need to back out, because it's going to cost me somewhere around $500 or more. (Japan, your refusal to give pricing up front is REALLY FUCKING OBNOXIOUS OKAY??) And it's $500 in cash/checks, so the credit card can't carry it until a payday comes handy. Fuck. And that's just the financials. The mental/physical is another load I don't think I can balance right now - formal furisode in 15 minutes? Hahahahahahahano.

 

My entire team is on vacation except for me - the last two weeks have been awful, and I'm praying come Monday things finally simmer down as they return. 

 

Trying a slightly higher dose of my Wellbutrin - the mood lately isn't the issue anymore as much as the executive dysfunction, and it's really embarrassing to admit just how badly it has affected my ability to do the bare basics (like showering/washing my hair, laundry and clean linens, etc). So hopefully that will kick my ass in gear at some level. Also, I've scheduled a week off the week of Labor Day and ideally I can tackle some larger projects (getting all my kimono items sorted and put away, for example) so I'm not crawling over and around piles of *stuff* in between work shifts. 

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Still in day-to-day survival mode. Emailed the aikido dojo and asked to put my membership on hold for a while - I haven't been since the end of July and don't feel like paying for a third month I haven't used. I noted lingering sickness - because that was the reason for the first month off - but didn't have the stones to mention the mental health challenges. That will come later, when I ask to cancel for-now and hopefully can get my schedule and self back on track after the holidays, and try again on building a habit when my days aren't so full and frantic (lesson learned AGAIN - stop trying new things during renewal crunch season!!).  It's something I want to learn, but it's also intensely physical, and I'm attuned to the mental, so mustering the willpower is surprisingly difficult.  [I even bought a spare gi so I wouldn't have to wear a slightly-damp one if I attended multiple times a week; the canvas takes FOREVER to dry. It's still in its retail packaging... D'oh.] 

 

Definitely needed the Labor Day week off, though I did NOTHING on my to-do list. I sat and read (for pleasure! Haven't done that in years) or binged K-dramas. Korean is not a language I have an ear for, I'm learning. Enough hours put in for college credits and I still know maybe three phrases (I'm sorry / Are you okay / Thank you) - none of which I can spell. Oh well.  I have another PTO day next Monday and I'm guarding it viciously. I need the downtime after a weekend that promises to be frantic/stressful/frustrating/all of the above. 

 

Still fat and failing at weight loss goals. Not much better at nutrition - I was cruising at about NF Nutrition Level 4 or 5 for a while and now I'm back down to 2, maybe Level 3 on a good day. Motivation comes and goes, and is usually quashed by the nagging executive dysfunction that has become my new normal these days. 

 

Still a hot mess, mentally. I've started the search for a therapist (again - I'm 0 for 4 so far in life) and hopefully won't run afoul of another set of disasters. [Seriously, it's not a high bar, and yet, it's too high for some people - sexist language and behavior, overmedicating instead of actually helping/discussing, telling me I'm "perfectly well adjusted" after I describe panic attacks that have no discernible trigger...]  So. Criteria at this point (since word-of-mouth has failed, and calling for a recommendation from insurance has failed) is: close to either home or office, NOT specializing in couples/fertility issues (since that's not what I need to work on, obv) and female.  Contestant #1 has the +2 bonus to her stats of being Japanese and working with cultural issues, in addition to being 10 minutes from the office. I meet her this Friday (at the end of a hectic week and right before a downright frantic weekend); I've already got discussion notes started, though they'll need to be refined a bit, since I tend to free-write such things and pick through for threads and meaning later.  And while I'm hoping I can get some insight into the (admittedly self-inflicted) struggle of bridging the American and Japanese cultural gap, if she doesn't give me the warm-fuzzies, I'm not sticking around; Contestant #2 and 3 are also not far from the office; one of them notes LGBTQ issues on their resume, though I'm not sure how much of that encompasses the Ace/Grey-A spectrum as well. "Sex? No thanks." is a very different thing than "Sex with not-hetero-partner" and so, so many people just CAN'T fathom it. [Compound this with the fact that I'm not 100% ace but my attraction levels are 90% based on trust and long-standing acquaintance instead of gender or physical traits, and it gets even more muddled.] 

 

One good(?) thing -- I finally got a proper assignment to dress someone (other than a fellow student or guinea pig friend) in kimono, and I got paid and learned a lot of good lessons (be assertive about moving/wiggling/etc). I'm putting the money back into the kimono 'biz' - buying supplies from Japan that I will need if this ever picks up, as well as a few more sets of modest black shirts and pants (the de rigeur uniform of the kitsuke-shi if one is not wearing kimono for a job).  I'm probably in the hole, all things considered, but if I'm prepared for the next jobs, it's still an overall gain. [Especially because the woman who recommended me significantly underbid to the client, and it was short enough notice I didn't dare be That Asshole and quote the full amount to someone who was asking out of last-minute desperation (and turned out to be an acquaintance from some years back - small world!). I should have been paid about $100 more between rates and incidentals, but... another lesson learned. :) ]

 

So. That's the rambled update from Lake Woebegone. 

 

 

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The month isn't over yet, no matter how badly I want it to be. 

My screw-up from two weeks back is still gnawing at my ass even though I"m trying to fix it, and I get to re-live that shame spiral in short order when I sit before the broker and explain that I have no reasonable excuse for screwing up. Yay. 

 

I finished the audiobook of Kushiel's Dart and switched over to Brene Brown - it seems I really need the life coach in my ear more often than not. (Kinda wish there were a way to make a custom audiobook that spliced together all the bits that resonated best with me - scrap the parts about parenting because not-a-parent, amp up the work-related ones, the numbing details, etc - that on loop would be an awesome personal Yoda to have around). 

 

And after making it through most of The Power of Vulnerability seminar, I'm learning yet again that I'm not an overperformer - I don't take charge and micromanage everything around me when I'm deep in anxiety and stress -- I'm an underperformer. I start screwing up, dropping the ball, showing up late, and generally hitting the barely-functional level. 

 

I am barely functional right now. 

 

I met with a prospective therapist and left feeling like I didn't need therapy, somehow. (Of course, her expressing shock that I came in with a list - bulleted out in order of priority - of known issues I wanted to address as well as a shorter list of goals to accomplish with therapy gave me the impression that since I"m not a walking disaster yet, I shouldn't be seeking help? I dunno. My ego is a bit raw at this point and asking for help in the first place is SO GODDAMN HARD, y'all.)  But that was also an 'intake' of sorts and we'll likely work on digging deeper into issues with the next session. [Also, my insurance blows and I pay full price for each session so... I really hope I can make some progress quickly.]  

 

Anyway. Shame spiral, underperforming, stressed despite having a day off (after a busy weekend and a three-day headache). Really not doing well. 

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Mo ikkai, yari naosu.

 

After getting sick, then better, then sick again, then the holidays (which is the WORST time of year for me. I hate the holidays. They are not joyful. They are stress and misery incarnate), I looked at the scale and wanted to cry. Back to being the heaviest I've ever been. 

 

So it's back to the grind, to try and get moving more and eating better and HOPEFULLY these habits will stick this time.  I hate discussing my depression because it feels like an excuse, but it's real and some days, it's awful. This week it was awful - a shame spiral fueled by chemical imbalance is miserable. (I didn't shower for five days. Gross, but it's that sort of "too much effort" maintenance that falls to the wayside. Thankfully for the rest of the world, I was working remote or at home, but still. Self-care isn't just rose gold Etsy swag, it's basic hygiene and getting enough sleep at night, too.)

 

I feel like I should dust off my Epic Quest log, but I also feel overwhelmed just clicking through the Academy 'Start here' page, so... baby steps. 

- Get to the gym regularly.

             - If I'm not going to drive to the gym, use the equipment in the garage (This means excavating it from under everything else out there.)  Otherwise, get up and go to the gym BEFORE work, because waiting until after work never pans out.

- Make the better food choice (lean protein > fatty proteins, veggies/fruit > junk food, TRACK EVERYTHING I EAT)

- Try - again - to buckle down on not spending. I don't need another pair of cozy sweats from Amazon, even if they ARE cheap. I don't need more art supplies. I don't need more coffee gadgets. Etc. All purchases that - for that brief moment - I think will make me feel better. They don't. They add to my clutter and stress me out because of the credit card bill.  And if it's not an "i need this" it's an "I have a project in mind for this" instead, which is worse, because all that stuff shows up and NEVER GETS USED. It's nuts. 

- Seek out and use available support resources (keeping a log here, interacting with members on WW's Connect, etc) -- we don't journey alone, but sometimes it's a b*tch finding the right questing party. My meatspace friends are nice, but they are not on the same path and we do not encourage each other to make the better choice of food or movement. (Thus, I reach out to them when wine and a girls' night in is needed.) 

 

Mom is traveling at the end of the month so I can 'gut' my office space again and make a little more progress getting some of it organized (living with my mother is a whole other topic about living with someone who is not supportive and not good for mental health, and being trapped in that situation). I can spread out all across the upstairs without getting scolded for my mess and hopefully, make some progress on getting from 'piles' to folded, tidy containers. (I still haven't really cleaned up since last March's kimono madness. It's pathetic.) 

I *do* need to buy ONE item - a Billy bookcase from Ikea with extra shelves - so that many of the items I have stacked can be put away correctly. If nothing else, my shop-to-feel-better habit means that my tea ceremony collection has quadrupled in size, and it needs better storage than piles of cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. Of course, to put everything away, I need to pull everything in front of that pile out of the way. And if you give a mouse a cookie...  So yes. I will be scheduling time off from work and doing my damndest to scrounge up the energy to tackle this project without interruptions or snide comments. [My mother has the master suite and the only walk-in closet and yet needles me for not being able to put things away because hello, no shelves or closet space. But I'm the 'bad guy' if I push back.] 

 

I did dig out all my bluetooth headphones and have been charging them (some are not worth it, some are... amazing what works for some people doesn't for others - most were bought on the recommendation of other gym regulars).  I'm still using my 2014 iPhone 5C, and while Apple's planned obsolescence is more and more of a p.i.t.a., it works well enough. I do wish it had halfway decent storage space, though. Oh well. I've got one playlist and enough monthly data allowance to stream Amazon music at lunch. [Going in to address the over priced, under-provided plan we have is on the list, though. EVERYONE offers unlimited data now and we're still paying the unlimited price for 3GB a month. But the phones are under mom's name/social so I either pretend to be her or drag her in with me and it's an all-day trip. So.]

 

Rambling now. Logging off.  

 

 

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I never did get to the clutter-cleanup I'd planned, but I'm getting marginally better about my spending, sort of.  At least now I can look at it and go, "That is a project I will never get to" and take it out of the shopping cart. On the other hand, I've been asked to go to more and more client meetings, which means I can't wear the same shirt every time I show up (or the same clothes three days running if it's with several clients) so I ordered a few more nice-looking shirts to go with the one blazer and two pairs of pants-that-actually-fit in my closet. I also found some pants on final-sale clearance that look a little nicer than jeans, so if I'm meeting with carriers in the office or something, I can pretend I'm not a hopeless slob 90% of the time. [If I'm not going to a meeting, I sit in a corner all day and don't interact much - the rest of my work team is 100% remote.]   I also ordered a second monitor and docking station for home, because data entry is maddening and headache-inducing without dual screens. 

So, still spending a chunk, but it's all very deliberate purchases instead of some kind of 'If I buy this, I"ll feel better' or 'I will buy all these things for a project that I will never get to'.  [I did also go nuts buying LED bulbs for the house, because we still have halogen fixtures in the bathrooms, etc and the electric bill is NUTS even without the air conditioning running.] 

 

Weight is still meh. Scale is at 185-ish, and I NEED to be down to sub-170 by the end of June. So if I buckle down like mad on making better food choices and really sticking to the Weight Watchers plan, I can do it. I hope.  If not the scale, the inches - I realize muscle 'weighs more' than fat in that it is denser - I'm trying (failing more often than not) to get to the gym regularly for barbell time. 

 

The promised-for-years promotion at work finally came up and it's actually going to be a pay CUT because it's a salaried position, not hourly. So I have not signed on the dotted line to accept it yet, because I know my workload is going to steadily increase AND once I hit that salaried-not-hourly post, they will not be revisiting my upward mobility any time soon. (And my job is famous for being stingy on pay, yet salaries posted by employees on job sites, the same job at another company, etc. all show me that I can and should be asking for much more than they offered. So that's a twenty-minutes-of-courage leap to craft the polite 'thanks but no thanks, try again' email in response. I hate negotiating.) 

 

So. Still fat, still in debt, still hating that I have not made nearly as much progress as I hoped in ANY area of my life. Ugh.

 

 

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Wow, been awhile. Hisashibuuuuri, y'all. 

 

2019 was a crap year overall. On the good side, I got another level in my kimono teaching license, but it also took another loan out (this time from Mom, who at least doesn't charge interest). And by the time that was over, the stress had messed up my already shaky brain chemistry, so I was tiptoeing along the edge of suicidal for most of September and October.  And what do we do to feel better? Eat and shop. And then my car wanted in on the action, so despite a scheduled $1400 repair (timing belt after 13 years, so not a sign of impending carplosion), the radiator gave up the ghost for another $800.  It's still - in the long run - cheaper to fix than paying monthly for a new one, but oooof. Not cool. 

 

So I'm still probably $13k in debt all told.  I'm less suicidal - the intrusive thought of turning my car at 80mph into a wall is far less common - and given that I am a coward when it comes to causing myself harm, any other method I can come up with will hurt and not be guaranteed to succeed, so I'm around for now. [And yes, I upped my meds and yes, I tried finding a therapist and no, insurance does not cover nearly enough of that so yes, I'm doing this on my own right now.] 

 

On the bright(?) side, in between the bouts of grey misery and anhedonia, I get a bit of a manic frustration at my surroundings and will go to town cleaning up, one spot at a time. So here and there are pockets of organization in the chaos now. My birthday present from Mom was an Ikea bookcase, to hold my tea ceremony things. Turns out I need more than one because I am a hoarder when it comes to my hobbies. Oops.  I have a Christmas rain-check for a new desk, since I'm still using my late father's old Plummers [the previous iteration of Ikea, basically - inexpensive DIY furnishings] desk that is at this point a glorified table because the drawers fell off. So once I can get that side of the office a little more under control, I'll get the gaming desk Ikea offers, which seems like it will work well for my dual monitor-plus-one-old-iMac setup. The bigger challenge is honestly all the cabinets I have crammed in the space now - ancient credenza from the Plummers set on top of an equally ancient bookcase. I'm wondering if I can move it into the shallow closet and use it as an alternative to built-ins there, but that would mean going through my fabric stash.  [I have too many damn hobbies. Ooof.] 

 

I'm half tempted to go to the local storage/moving place and pick up about twenty moving boxes, and just start packing things up to stack somewhere. It won't look good, but everything will be sorted into boxes and I can clear out space and then work backwards on how it should be filled.  The hard part is that I have nowhere to move my stuff *to* for the interim - the rest of the house belongs to Mom and she has made it pretty clear she doesn't appreciate my crap stacked anywhere, however temporary. And she's not going on a trip any time soon so I don't have a week where I can invade other areas while she's away (the last time I got a decent clean-and-purge done, I filled half of her bedroom while I dug out and sorted). Ugh. 

 

Anyway. Ramble over. Open to ideas for how to un-hoard without having extra space to do so. Right now, it's one pile, and then the trash in stacks until it can go out (we over-filled the recycling bin three weeks running and I don't want to be That Asshole that puts the rest in the non-recycling bin just to get it out of the house). I'd rent a dumpster but I know the room won't be done in a day. :/ 

 

 

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