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Mistr

Mistr works on her base

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Summer 2019

 

1547718939_2018.09.06_3000p_zoom.jpg

 

After five years in NF I have a solid foundation, but my base still needs some work.

 

Maintain:

  • Good eating habits. I am at my goal weight. I could stand to lose a few pounds but not more than 5. Eat mostly veggies and protein. Make good desserts so that I can avoid the junk candy at work. Do fun things instead of eating sugar for happy brain chemicals.
  • No caffeine. Drink tea in social situations where coffee is tempting. No caffeinated soft drinks.
  • Aikido 2-3 times a week. Work on ukemi - keep connection with my partner and keep my mouth shut. Only give advice when asked (when not teaching).
  • Post chore sign-up sheet and assign tasks for Elf, check in with Elf weekly
  • Gardening 2 x 30 minutes a week. More if time and weather permits

 

Build/improve

  • Get to bed early. I'm waking up when it gets light out at 5:30am. Sleeping in is not a good plan. Stick to my bed time on weekends.
  • Sit zen every day. Preferably in the morning. I know I struggle to fit it in later in the day. This relies on me getting up on time.
  • Strength training 2-3 times a week. Break up exercises between three sessions if time is limiting.
  • Work on finances 2 x 1 hr a week. More would be great. Face the scary facts and make a plan to deal with it.
  • Sort stuff. Dumbledore and I promised to sort one box from the garage each week. Make this happen.
  • Do one recurring and one non-recurring chore each week (dishes don't count) more is okay but not necessary.
  • Productivity at work. Continue efforts to front-load the day. Take project time for myself at least twice a week and go to a quiet conference room to work.
  • Fiber arts - take sanity breaks to spin and knit most days.
  • Social connections. Organize video evening for dojo friends. Go out for coffee with at least one person. Watch fireworks with my BFF. Organize family get together. That comes to four things over four weeks - timing is flexible.

 

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Week Zero so far

 

Exercise has been going great. I did strength training Tuesday and Thursday after doing just once a week the previous two weeks. I am starting to see gains in my deadlifts and OHP. I remembered to bring my fractional weights (thanks to @Urgan!) I didn't think I could go from 50# to 55# in OHP, but going up to 51# was no problem.

 

I've been doing a lot of work on squat mobility and training range of motion. Yesterday I did two sets of 10 supported squats with very little support. I just use the support to ease into the bottom position. Going up is easy. Down is touchy. It feels like some of the tendons catch moving across my left knee. I will have to work a while longer on making the descent smooth. While I'm working on squat form, I can do other exercises for my glutes. I've been doing 1-leg hip bridges. The internet has tons of other exercises. Most of them are familiar to me from physical therapy.

 

One of my ongoing habits is to do something active every day. Weekdays I work out at lunch and often do aikido in the evening. Weekends I usually do aikido at least one day. Getting in a third day of strength training means either doing MWF or including a weekend day. In theory I could go to the Y but I hate strength training there and avoid it. A better alternative is to do bodyweight work at home. This would replace a core or yoga routine. I'm curious to see how adding some pushups, reverse lunges and kettlebell exercises will complement my other strength training.

 

I checked with Dumbledore yesterday and he says I am getting better definition. One of the annoying things about middle age is that it is hard to distinguish muscle definition from just losing subcutaneous fat. I will take photos at the end of the month for comparison to last year.

 

Home stuff is going vastly better because Elf is healthier and doing a lot of work. I am taking full advantage of them being unemployed. They are doing a lot of cooking, cleaning and yard work. I am planning on doing more cooking, just a little cleaning and quite a bit of gardening. I'll have time for gardening because Elf and Dumbledore are doing the mowing. Yay!

 

My biggest challenge right now is fitting in enough down time. Several of my days were programmed from dawn to dark. Even when I like most of the things I'm doing, it gets to be too much. Monday I went to spinning straight from work. Wednesday I went to a zen lecture straight from work. Thursday I met Dumbledore for dinner. Tuesday was the only day I had some flexibility in my day. I got a bunch of stuff done: library and grocery stops on the way home, made butterscotch custard for ice cream, called my brother to discuss having a family picnic. Then I sat down with Guards, Guards and stayed up way too late to finish rereading it. I need to have a rule of no novels after 9pm. Stick to spinning or knitting.

 

There were a couple days when I had trouble getting out of bed because of the list of tasks stretching in front of me with no breaks. I'll see about fitting in time for fun things next week. On a similar note, I'm going to try taking turns between chores and fun stuff this weekend. Who knows, I might make better progress on my to-do list. I am purposely not writing a list this time so I can choose the next thing to do spontaneously.

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I wonder how your knees feel about horse stance lately....

 

20 hours ago, Mistr said:

I checked with Dumbledore yesterday and he says I am getting better definition. One of the annoying things about middle age is that it is hard to distinguish muscle definition from just losing subcutaneous fat. I will take photos at the end of the month for comparison to last year.

 

Honestly if your weight is staying the same more or less and you can see parts of your body changing shape for the better, that's a huge win to celebrate. You clearly have a good thing going.

 

 

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Following for Aikido Badassary.

"There were a couple days when I had trouble getting out of bed because of the list of tasks stretching in front of me with no breaks"

I sometimes find the best way to get anything done is with free time booked into it.

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On 6/28/2019 at 4:56 PM, Mistr said:

Then I sat down with Guards, Guards and stayed up way too late to finish rereading it. 

 

On 6/28/2019 at 4:56 PM, Mistr said:

There were a couple days when I had trouble getting out of bed because of the list of tasks stretching in front of me with no breaks.

 

Let me suggest half an hour of work, half an hour reading Guards Guards.

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13 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

Let me suggest half an hour of work, half an hour reading Guards Guards.

 

The theory is sound, but in practice I am bad about putting down a good book at a specific time. The timer goes off and I want to finish the chapter. Which is a real problem with Pratchett books that don't have chapters.

 

I did not pick up Pyramids all weekend. Partly because I did not want to get sucked in and partly because it is not as compelling a story.

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3 hours ago, Mistr said:

The theory is sound, but in practice I am bad about putting down a good book at a specific time. The timer goes off and I want to finish the chapter. Which is a real problem with Pratchett books that don't have chapters.

 

Facts.

 

3 hours ago, Mistr said:

I did not pick up Pyramids all weekend. Partly because I did not want to get sucked in and partly because it is not as compelling a story.

 

This does me a confuse. I got through it on the strength of hurting myself from laughing at the bits about the camels. Perhaps you just like Guards Guards more, huh? Fair enough.

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Zero week 

 

In bed early: 2/7 days

Sit zen: 5/7

Strength training: 3

Finances: 1/2

Sort stuff: nope

Non-recurring chore: packed away flannel sheets, quilt and blanket. Washed electric throws. Once a year counts as non-recurring for this challenge.

Recurring chore: Swept upstairs hard floors, vacuumed living room. Cleaned hair (mostly mine) out of the vacuum roller.

Work: still struggling to keep up. Did not take project time.

Fiber arts: not nearly enough. Most days had no down time. Played phone games too much instead of knitting or spinning.

Social: started the ball rolling for family picnic.

 

A good start. Still lots of room for improvement.

 

The weather has not been cooperating for gardening. I got in 30 minutes of weeding on Saturday - 20 at the dojo and 10 at home. It was hot and muggy out and the ground was still too wet for digging. I just did a little weeding in the veggie bed while I was picking greens for salad. I'm afraid that my chard seed was too old and didn't germinate. I might buy new seed and replant. Or I could just plant a new row of greens from the giant seed packet I got this spring. I planned to work in the garden Sunday before it got hot, but a thunderstorm came through right after we finished breakfast. All my garden plans are now contingent on weather.

 

My family has been better about doing chores, especially Elf. Dumbledore and Hermes took care of the front yard. Dumbledore mowed and Hermes used the weed trimmer to edge the sidewalk and around the gardens. I had no idea it could do that. It makes the front of the house look so much neater. Elf has been making a real effort to contribute. They grilled chicken and hamburgers, washed dishes, cleaned the bathroom and finally got around to cleaning the toaster oven. The toaster oven went from gross to sparkling. 

 

Those who were reading last challenge may remember that Dumbledore duplicated my shopping for fresh veggies. He chopped up all the veggies. I used a bunch of them for chicken curry. Elf roasted the rest of the broccoli and cauliflower last night. They took some over to share with friends because we had so much. My cooking for the weekend was the curry, mango/peach salsa, roast pork shoulder for pulled pork and butterscotch ice cream. We are in good shape for food for the week. 

 

Yesterday after work I sat zen, went to aikido and did grocery shopping. I didn't sit zen in the morning because Elf got up early and was making noise. Sadly this was because they are still having nightmares rather than a change in their sleep schedule. I'm very pleased to report that Elf got up and ran on the treadmill to calm down, then started doing productive things. Elf has organized their clothes for the first time in ages. I only went grocery shopping because we were out of milk. Hermes and Dumbledore are the ones who drink milk and neither of them remembered to tell me. I'm always surprised how a short grocery list turns into five bags of groceries.

 

Aikido was interesting. Our chief instructor taught. There were tests on Saturday. Monday after test day is always the time we find out what we need to clean up. This time it was how we use our hands. Some people are too stiff, others are too floppy. Sensei wants us to have relaxed extension. We started off with boken cutting practice to work on smooth movement from the shoulders. Then we did open-hand work keeping the arms in the same shape. The hands show the direction of the cut with the power coming from the hips. There is no pushing or pulling from the arms, just transfer of force. Quite different from my go-to styles for the techniques we did. It also turns out to be amazingly effective when everything connects. I'm going to work on this over the next several weeks.

 

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21 hours ago, Mistr said:

I only went grocery shopping because we were out of milk. Hermes and Dumbledore are the ones who drink milk and neither of them remembered to tell me.

 

Ah the eternal burning question while making the grocery list away from home, having forgotten to check the fridge in the morning.....

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Week 1 Day 2

 

Exercise: PT (side steps, airplane/kick); 20 minutes core yoga

 

Tasks:

  • Farmer's market - they did not have strawberries :(
  • Co-op - they did have bus passes, chocolate and incense for zen
  • Fun things: did spinning AND knitting
  • Zen: 25 minutes
  • Chores: started laundry, put away clean laundry from clotheslines

I am extremely pleased to report that I got everything done and got to bed by 9:30pm. I was really tired. I had gardening on my list and didn't feel up to changing clothes to go outside in the heat and humidity. Just as well considering the time available. I did not get sucked into doing other tasks. It took me a long time to choose clothes and put away regular stuff. That was a clue that I just needed to go to bed early. That and falling asleep in meetings at work.

 

Today I was considerably more awake. I did strength training at lunch and will teach aikido tonight. I might fit in 20 minutes of weeding at the dojo before class. After class it counts as a holiday.

 

I am going to make a strong effort to stay on my normal schedule and take a nap tomorrow. I want to go see fireworks which don't start until after my bedtime. Aside from that it will be an open day. I can work on any of the projects on my list. :D 

 

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I got my weapons sanded and oiled!

 

That took a lot longer than I expected. Both of my bokken had splintery sections on the blade side. Probably from blocking in kata practice. My favorite bokken is a reddish wood with a nice grain that sands smooth. Unfortunately, it is not quite straight. My other bokken is a pale wood with a more open grain. It has tiny holes and cuts in the wood that indicate woodworm. I got it back into usable condition, but it is not as smooth as I would like. I am afraid that I need a new bokken made from better quality wood. I don't remember where I got either of these. One of them may be from a set that my brothers got me for Christmas years ago.

 

My jo does not have signs of woodworm but the grain is more open than I remember the last time I sanded and oiled it. It may have dried out too much last winter. It had quite a few rough spots from blocking other weapons. I'm hoping that letting it sit out on the damp porch and oiling it well will bring it back. I can oil it again in a week and see if that helps. It was made by a friend of mine and I want to keep using it for a long time.

 

Chores done:

Mowed and edged the back yard. It was very long and still wet so I bagged the grass. I can use the clippings as mulch if I get gardening done this weekend.

Laundry - one load gis and sheets. I traded a week of laundry with Dumbledore so that he could finish grading for the summer term.

 

Fun stuff:
Finished re-reading Doorways in the Sand. By accident, because it was on the kitchen table while I was eating lunch.

Went to see fireworks with my BFF. I was impressed by the length and quality of the show in the neighboring small town/suburb.

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Glad to hear home stuff is better...good job Elf for using physical activity to work through things!

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For replacing the bokken - we’ve found both Tozando (formerly bokken shop) and e-bogu have good quality ones that aren’t too expensive.  E-bogu will often have discounts or specials, too.  Then again, your dojo may have a preferred source, or get better pricing?  

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On 7/6/2019 at 12:18 AM, ChrisWithaStick said:

For replacing the bokken - we’ve found both Tozando (formerly bokken shop) and e-bogu have good quality ones that aren’t too expensive.  E-bogu will often have discounts or specials, too.  Then again, your dojo may have a preferred source, or get better pricing?  

 

Glad Chris had some suggestions...I can only help with running shoes :-)

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Yesterday evening I finally got some gardening done. I got the bed with the strawberries dug up and worked in the compost from my new compost bin. Half a bin of compost made quite a lot. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all the future compost. My rate of weeding and vegetable scrap generation is much higher than my rate of gardening.

 

The other garden bed that needs attention is full of blooming daylilies. They aren't supposed to be there at all, but I hate digging up blooming flowers. It's just as well that I won't have time to work on it for at least a week.

 

I think I found the second strawberry plant after removing most of the weeds. It has only one leaf. The bed is really too shady for strawberries, or for the tomato I planted. I need to do some pruning of bushes to help with that. There is a volunteer maple tree that needs to go which is a major culprit. The tomato plant has one cherry tomato on it already. Hopefully it will now be able to put out more leaves and support more flowers.

 

I also dug up a bunch of ferns for Hermes' friend who cut trees for us. That helped use some of the extra compost. The kitchen scrap bin is clean and airing out in the sun to kill any residual fruit fly larvae. It was getting nasty before I dumped it.

 

Work has been really busy. I'm behind on writing in my log book - I wrote nothing over the weekend. Today I brought in donuts for my team and indulged. If I'm really good I may get to bed on time. I've made an effort for the last two nights and still got to bed after 10. 

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I can see how it would be difficult to dig up flowering plants. They must almost seem like happy accidents, and not necessarily something you'd want to fix.

 

So, I guess you either make room for 'em or you harden your heart and BURN EVERYTHING do what you have to do.

 

Sounds like you're getting a lot of good use out of the new bin!

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Plants are so fussy about that kind of thing. Vines are just all the Drama--don't touch my roots or I'll die just to spite you!

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Week 2 day 3 and weekend retrospective

 

Let's start on the bright side. I got nearly 8 hours of sleep last night. That is helping a lot with facing the pile of work on my desk today.

 

One of my team is out again today, which means I will have to stay late. I was planning on sitting zen between work and aikido. That's not going to happen. I could possibly sit zen after aikido, after Dumbledore's gaming group leaves. I don't have the concentration to ignore a bunch of people making noise down the hall from where I'm sitting. I was hoping to have some down time for spinning today, moved over from yesterday (and the day before). I might just decide to do spinning instead and practice mindfulness at the same time. Zen in daily life is one of the goals of the practice after all.

 

My choices over the weekend were consistent with my list, but I ended up feeling frustrated about things I didn't have time to do. Going to aikido Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday plus zen on Sunday eats a lot of time. I did three social things and some cooking. That was all that fit.

 

One of the social things was a coffee date with a friend of Dumbledore's who does fiber arts. It was fun to get together and compare notes. We both brought socks as our knitting projects and drop spindles with fiber. That checks off one of my tasks.

 

On Saturday night I took Elf out to my favorite cafe for supper. They had never been there. It's main attraction is a fabulous view on the shore of a lake. We had a good talk. Elf is starting a new job this week and is signed up to do volunteer work again. They have cleaned their room, sorted their clothes and have piles of stuff to take to the charity shop. Things are not perfect, but Elf is making a serious effort to improve their life.

 

Sunday evening I spent time with Dumbledore. This was a reschedule of date night because he doesn't care for fireworks and we both wanted to work on projects on Thursday. We had a long walk. Then we tried to keep talking while I did meal prep for Monday. That was frustrating for both of us. We did okay, but lots of room for improvement. Working that out meant I did not make my bedtime Sunday night.

 

I ended up having no free time between making meals and going places with people. I made granola and shortbread on Saturday afternoon to help with food for this week. Even though I got to do fun stuff, I can tell that being continuously scheduled is getting to me. Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually bad in that regard. I'm going to squeeze in down time when I can and plan on taking part of Friday evening completely off.

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8 hours ago, Mistr said:

plan on taking part of Friday evening completely off.

This sounds much needed!

 

 

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No zen. No spinning. :( 

 

I came straight home after practice and did logistics stuff for an hour:

  • put dirty dishes in the dishwasher
  • packed yogurt and fruit for breakfast for the next two days
  • set out clothes for the morning
  • washed kneepads and put my gi in the laundry basket
  • put the clean load of gis in the dryer
  • gave the cats water and scooped the catbox
  • talked briefly with Dumbledore about an errand that he could do today instead of me (which he will do :love_heart:)

That put me at my bedtime with my before bed washing still to do. I decided to skip spinning or zen and just go to bed. I think that was the right call. I hit snooze on my alarm this morning so that I could get a full 8 hours sleep. Which means no zen before work today. My time after work is all earmarked to spend with Dumbledore. That means no zen unless he has to bow out to get something done this evening. I'm meeting with my weapons partner at lunch, so that time is already taken.

 

This week has also been bad for strength training. I was planning on Tuesday/Friday. On Tuesday I had a lunch meeting. Wednesday I should have had weapons practice but was stuck at my desk. Today is rescheduled weapons training. I would not have done strength training today because there is a social event with food right before that. I can do aikido without falls on a full stomach if I'm good and don't eat too much. That leaves Friday as my only strength day, a week since my last strength training.

 

People keep saying that consistency is critical for progress. That applies to strength training, zen and martial arts. Right now the only ball I'm keeping in the air consistently is aikido. I think that is the right choice, but I'm frustrated that I have to make the choice at all. I would like everything to fit with less struggle. I don't feel guilty because I haven't been goofing off. There are other balls sitting on the table - cooking, creative projects, financial planning and cleaning. I am inclined to argue that some of those are more important and should get picked up next. I'll see how I feel about it on Friday afternoon.

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Mistr said:

This week has also been bad for strength training. I was planning on Tuesday/Friday. On Tuesday I had a lunch meeting. Wednesday I should have had weapons practice but was stuck at my desk. Today is rescheduled weapons training. I would not have done strength training today because there is a social event with food right before that. I can do aikido without falls on a full stomach if I'm good and don't eat too much. That leaves Friday as my only strength day, a week since my last strength training.

 

People keep saying that consistency is critical for progress. That applies to strength training, zen and martial arts. Right now the only ball I'm keeping in the air consistently is aikido. I think that is the right choice, but I'm frustrated that I have to make the choice at all. I would like everything to fit with less struggle. I don't feel guilty because I haven't been goofing off. There are other balls sitting on the table - cooking, creative projects, financial planning and cleaning. I am inclined to argue that some of those are more important and should get picked up next. I'll see how I feel about it on Friday afternoon.

 

Sometimes these weeks happen. Sometimes the proverbial balls spawn on the table from seeming nothing and choices have to be made. Doesn't make prioritization any more fun, but there ya go.

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Yeah, gonna echo @Urgan on this one. Bad weeks happen from time to time. I honestly think the only reason I'm able to make up bad training weeks is because I have so much less going on overall than you do. Just adding one thing to my own stuff makes everything else so complicated.

 

So hats off to you for everything you do and have done and will do. One off week doesn't make or break any of that.

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