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Mistr

Mistr starts with Sunday

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Starting with Sundays

 

My main challenge goal is to make good choices for how I use my time. I want to make good choices all the time of course. I'm starting with Sundays because over the last several months I've been dreading Sundays. I feel like I always run out of time and am disappointed that I didn't meet my goals for the weekend. I have complete control over what I do on Sundays, so there is no external reason for me to have issues.

 

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The underlying problem is that I want to do more things than there are hours to do them. I've been like this since I was a teenager. It is time for me to acknowledge that the world is full of fascinating activities and I have to choose. I also know that I tend to underestimate how long it takes me to get things done. All the more reason to be selective.

 

Rather than setting specific goals, I am going to treat this as an experiment. I will track my choices and evaluate how they work out in the short term and over the weeks of the challenge. I already know the things I want to do. I will add more notes on how they sort out for easier analysis.

 

 

Closer look at what and why

 

Fitness activities: What varies over time. Right now it is mostly strength training with a little cardio, core yoga and leg exercises from my physical therapist. Why is so that I can move without pain. My knees feel vastly better than they did two years ago. That is entirely because of exercise. No miracle restored the cartilage in the joints. Another reason to keep doing strength training is combating my fears of aging. I've seen the charts that show substantial decreases in strength for people starting in their 50s. That's my age and I need to address it NOW.

 

Life support: Cooking, laundry, household chores. All these activities let me live a comfortable life. I like having an uncluttered environment, clean clothes and good food. My family is getting better at contributing on these. Elf, Hermes and I just talked about cooking and agreed that we all want to have a good selection of healthy food in the house. We also agreed that we are not including Dumbledore in the planning. He is welcome to eat what we cook or not, we will just make more food as needed. On the cleaning side, I'm going to plan on doing 70% of the work. I'll choose tasks based on what bugs me the most.

 

Mental health: Sleep, zen, fiber arts and video games. The difference between enough and not quite enough sleep is starkly obvious in my productivity at work and attitude at home. Zen is a longer term project. I don't see the results on a daily basis, but Dumbledore tells me that it makes me calmer. From time to time I get glimpses of encouraging side effects, like catching things before they fall to the floor. My teacher tells me that consistency is key for making progress with zen. I really, really hope that will work for me. So far I feel like sitting zen is a mental struggle every time. Fiber arts and phone games are the fun things I do most often. Other things for mental health would fit here too. Sitting by a lake, for example.

 

Social connection: Real-life spending time with people. My on-line social connections are mostly here on NF. I'm working out the introvert balance between connecting with people and time to myself. Aikido contributes to my social connection time too. I know that part of the reason I'm willing to give Elf rides to and from work is that I get 20 minutes of conversation each time. Elf usually disappears into their room when they get home. Once or twice a month is plenty for seeing other friends.

 

Responsibilities: Work, financial planning, getting things repaired. Generally staying on top of things. Why? Peace of mind. Bad things will happen if I don't do these. Some in the short term and others in the longer term.

 

Self improvement: Aikido and zen. I love aikido and enjoy learning the skills of connection and internal power. I was fascinated with the idea of enlightenment when I was in college. Zen combines a chance at that along with a history of improving performance in martial arts.

 

Those are the categories I can think of right now. I'm curious to see if I come up with more over the challenge.

Edited by Mistr
Added section on types of activities
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Week 0 Day 2

 

Yesterday I did several things that worked out well:

 

Weight training at lunch. This is the first time in over a week, so I just replicated my weights on benchpress. I was pleased that supported squats were much easier. I barely need support to get my knees to relax into the bottom position. Short session because of time constraints.

 

Gardening after work. I harvested oregano as planned. It has little light spots on the leaves. I hope that won't affect the flavor. I intended to harvest garlic. I dug it up and found that either it didn't make heads or the heads had already broken open. I planted it two years ago. Who knew. My revised plan is to dig up the bed with the daylilies and the one with the garlic (which is adjacent) and replant the garlic bulbs. The garlic flowered and has bunches of little bulblets in the flower pods. I can plant those too. Probably not for several weeks considering other things that need doing.

 

Cleaning - I vacuumed my car. This got boosted up from the general summer clean-up list because of a water softener salt incident a few weeks ago. Happily there is not a lot of junk in the car. I got out the shop vac, ear protection and and extension cord and cleaned it out. I was surprised how much better it made me feel to get rid of all the old leaves and sand from the floor mats. I spend at least an hour a day in the car. It makes me feel much better to have it clean. I still need to get a couple spots on the upholstery cleaned, but that can wait.

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Week 0 Day 3-4

 

Implementation: What I've been doing this week is writing down a short list on a post-it note. I put the note on the front of my log book where it is easy to see.

 

I'm treating these as pick one from this list rather than as get all these things done. So far it has been working.

 

On Wednesday I picked up Elf from work on my way home, then talked with Elf and Hermes until I had to go teach aikido. I was happy to learn that Hermes wants to spend more time at home and share in the batch cooking. After class I just ate food and relaxed.

 

Thursday evening I originally planned on going to train with a guest instructor at a neighboring dojo, about an hour away. I was scheduled to leave work early to get there on time. By Thursday morning I had decided I would be better off using the time at home. I didn't get enough sleep (apparently eating after 8pm is a Bad Idea) and had tasks I wanted to get done. Leaving work early and going home sounded great.

 

What really happened:

  • Stopped at the farmer's market by work and got more veggies.
  • Decided to relax for a few minutes before changing out of work clothes. I woke up an hour later. I guess I really was tired.
  • Washed dishes
  • Started the dishwasher
  • Cleaned my candle holder and set up a new candle (actually a very old candle in my ongoing project to use up the stash)
  • Ran an errand to the drug store on my way to pick up Elf from work
  • Zazen

Still on the list for later: cook marinara and spaghetti squash; make ice cream base. I was starting on the marinara when Elf asked for a ride. That was a good thing. I did not have enough time to get the marinara done anyway, and probably did not have enough brain to stop in the middle.

 

I'm going to see how I can adapt this process to the weekend. I like the "choose one from each column" approach to tasks. I have two social things set up. One is going for a hike with a friend, the other is helping a friend move and clean her old apartment. I'm going to do stuff at home instead of going to aikido tonight so that I can get a head start on the laundry and cooking. 

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Week 0 Days 5-7 - 1st Sunday test

 

TL;DR: Sunday went okay, in spite of me not working from a list and having no actual down time.

 

Long form

I started off the weekend with a list for Friday evening. I figured I would see how far I got on that and adjust for the rest of the weekend.

Friday

  • grocery shopping (mostly protein)
  • sorted and started laundry
  • spinning (still plying Wensleydale)
  • vacuumed my bedroom
  • reading for fun: Living Buddhism
  • picked up Elf from work

Saturday

  • cooked Swiss chard with bacon
  •  aikido
  • a friend came over to hang out
  • more laundry
  • relaxed with a cat on my lap
  • put meat in brine
  • cooked aging peppers with onions, made red sauce using some of the peppers and the roma tomatos I bought a week ago.

Sunday

  • farmer's market (all the veggies)
  • aikido
  • talked to my brother about our visit next week
  • Zen - got to talk to my teacher and found out at least one thing I was doing wrong. I have hope changing this will make a big difference.
  • Harvested lettuce and ate it in my salad for lunch
  • put meat in marinade
  • yet more laundry and ironing
  • took Elf to work
  • set up charcoal grill, finished cleaning the gas grill
  • grilled 8 pork chops, 5 chicken breasts and 6 ears corn.
  • short walk with Dumbledore
  • Got Dumbledore to help jump the Mazda. Drove it to pick up Elf and charge the battery. The new alternator works:triumphant: It makes new disturbing noises. :concern:
  • Rubbed Dumbledore's feet. He just got back from Gencon and got in lots of steps.

Analysis of stress and satisfaction

I'm very glad about several things which had been on my list for a week or more.

-Cooking the red sauce used up the tomatos I bought for it. They had been sitting on the counter looking at me accusingly for a week.

-Vacuuming the bedroom had not been done in over a month and it was getting bad. Between me and the cats the floor was full of fur and hair. Now I don't feel so bad about having clothes touch the floor.

-Cleaning the grill has been on my list since June. I did part of it a couple weeks ago. The inside of the grill is now clean enough that food touching it would not need washing off. Hermes has had the gas tubes in his car for a week. Once he gets those cleaned out, it should be good to go. I'm looking forward to having easy grilling again. The charcoal grill takes a lot longer to get started and is much messier.

-Batch cooking meat and veggies took us from almost nothing edible in the fridge to having plenty of food for the week. My brain weasels get agitated when I don't think we have enough food. Elf and Dumbledore have both talked about cooking. That would be great, but I can't count on it happening before I want to eat. My lunch today is chicken I cooked and veggies that Elf cooked last week.

 

I did one social thing with a friend and got in family time with Elf and Dumbledore. Elf's restaurant is losing people right and left. Elf is getting all the hours they can handle. Some shifts they are the only server working. They like the challenge and the resulting larger share of tips. The future prospects of the restaurant don't look great, but Elf is happier with it for the moment.

Spoiler

Elf's health issues seem to be getting under control. The EEG indicated that Elf may have epilepsy. The neurologist put them on anti-seizure meds which have the happy side effect of helping Elf sleep. Getting more sleep has been one of the worst problems, so hopefully that will be better. Elf still has some bad days, but they are dealing with it by exercising and eating healthy food.

 

They are going on a trip to visit a friend in a couple weeks. I'm curious to see if their on-line relationship turns into something more when the two meet in person. Whatever happens with the relationship, this is Elf's first long distance trip on their own. They made a budget and are figuring out what to pack. I'm proud of them demonstrating adulting skills.

 

I'm glad I did some spinning and reading on Friday. By the end of the week I really want some time off. I did some fun things on Saturday and took some time to just chill. That made it easier for me to keep moving on Sunday. Getting plenty of sleep helped too. There were two points on Sunday when I had a couple minutes to just lie on my back and stare at the ceiling. Those minutes were lovely.

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I like that you've chosen to cut your list from All The Things to Just One Thing. It serves two purposes, it seems: one, to show you that the world isn't going to end just because the things aren't done, and two, to let you pick the thing that bothers you the most and to accomplish it. So, a lot of relief, it seems like.

 

Glad to hear that Elf is doing better! I know that's a huge stressor for you, to say nothing of how they're doing. I hope the good response continues!

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Glad to hear you have plans in place and got some downtime, even if it was only a couple of minutes :D 

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Week 1 day 1

 

I helped a friend clean her old apartment and finish moving the last couple things. Counts as social time with a high virtue content. Another friend came to help too. That was good because our friend who moved has limited mobility and she was already tired from the major part of the move. We went out for burgers after we finished. No regrets.

 

Luckily I was already scheduled to go into work late and stay late today. That let me get 8 hours of sleep.

 

I did strength training at lunch. I'm discovering why people get hooked on this. The slow and steady PRs are soooooo encouraging.

 

My plan for this evening includes:

  • grocery shopping on the way home
  • do another load of laundry
  • roast veggies if Dumbledore doesn't do it first, or make cucumber salad
  • spinning

Dumbledore found that he overbought on veggies last week. He made bags of mixed fresh veggies with about a pound per bag. He discovered that he is only willing to eat about half that. We are going to figure out a way that he can use half a head of cauliflower, half a bunch of celery, etc. For this week, we are going to roast the extra veggies. I want to bring veggie salads to the two BBQ events we will be at this weekend. Luckily, roast veggies keep well.

 

There are plenty of other things that need doing, but I'm going to take the rest of the evening to do fun stuff. I didn't have creative down time on Sunday or Monday and probably won't tomorrow either. That means tonight is the time for a mental health break.

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20 hours ago, Mistr said:

My plan for this evening includes:

  • grocery shopping on the way home  DONE
  • do another load of laundry  DONE
  • roast veggies if Dumbledore doesn't do it first, or make cucumber salad
  • spinning  DONE (actually knitting and reading)

There are plenty of other things that need doing, but I'm going to take the rest of the evening to do fun stuff. I didn't have creative down time on Sunday or Monday and probably won't tomorrow either. That means tonight is the time for a mental health break.

 

I was not entirely sure which veggies Dumbledore wanted roasted and he was not available to ask. That and I had already hit my time limit for doing useful things.

 

I was in bed on time and still did not fall asleep until after midnight. No caffeine, no snacks in the evening, no screen time after 9pm. Go figure.

 

Tonight is the first in the series of guest instructors on Wednesdays. This one is my weapons training partner. I want to be there to support him. I plan on being there to support all of the guest instructors because I still feel responsible for the class.

 

In the limited time between work and aikido my plan is to prep veggies. The fridge is once again full of ingredients that need to be turned into food. I can roast them after practice while I'm sitting zen.

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Week 1 W-Th

 

Wednesday night happened pretty much as planned. My weapons partner worked on basic overhead strikes, with a bokken and open hand. I got to practice my swariwaza when I was working with the shortest member of the class (she is 7). My toes have gotten really stiff. Pretty much no bend in the big toe joints anymore. This is one of the reasons that sensei wants to get some younger teachers out in front of class.

 

I got the veggies roasted. It took quite a bit longer than if I had started from whole veggies from the market. Dumbledore got really over-optimistic on how much he would eat. He made up six big bags of chopped cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, mini carrots, celery and cherry tomatos. By the time I got to them, the peppers and most of the broccoli had gone slimy. I separated out the cauliflower to roast with fresh broccoli, peppers and onions. It was getting dark on the cut surfaces, so I trimmed those off. I plan to make zucchini soup with the carrots and celery. I'm not sure if the cherry tomatos are still good. I got a big container of mixed cherry tomatos, so I'm not too concerned about the old ones.

 

I only did 15 minutes of zen because veggie prep took longer than planned. That put me almost an hour late to bed. To add insult to injury, someone rang our doorbell at midnight asking for money. Dumbledore answered the door and sent the person away, then informed the police. He was freaked out and worried that they are scoping out our house for a break-in. That is not entirely unreasonable. Neighbors have reported recent break-ins on NextDoor. It took awhile for both of us to calm down after that.

 

Thursday my only exercise was a short walk at lunch. I thought Dumbledore and I would go for a walk but that didn't work out. Instead we went to pick up Elf from work. I did take advantage of having the two of them in the car to discuss food for the weekend. We agreed to bring cucumber salad, roast veggies and peanut butter chocolate chip bars. I suspect that the roast veggies won't make it that far. I plan to do a salad with cherry tomatos and zucchini instead. This satisfies our social obligations and ensures there will be veggies at the picnics.

 

Task count:

social things: aikido, family time

life support: cooking, washed dishes

mental health: nap, played Drops (thanks @Urgan!) and Duolingo

 

I've been doing French lessons in the car on audio. Drops and Duolingo are just what I need for learning written French. Unlike Spanish, spelling and pronunciation have very little relationship in French. Knowing the word doesn't help much on spelling it. I was happy to see that Duolingo has added a bunch of material since the last time I used it. I had gone through all the exercises about two years ago. They have some new things like sound recognition as well as more vocabulary. The audiobook is teaching future tense right now, so I'm going to take a look at those lessons next in Duolingo.

 

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One thing that might help Dumbledore is to measure out a fistful of veggies. Just pick one, dig out a fistful, and eat that fistful with whatever meal he's doing. Cold if lunch, hot if dinner (for variety of tastes and textures, and also because mixing raw and cooked foods is good for a body). Just those two things for a month, and who knows where he'll be then?

 

Also, glad to hear that everything turned out okay. Yeah, if some dude came up to my place at midnight looking for money, I'd probably be spooked too. Although, I've gotten into people's houses back when I was selling door to door late at night (like 11:00 or so) which kind of took me aback. Oh, and they didn't buy anything. But it was a fun memory. :D

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Week 1 Weekend

 

I am happy to report that the weekend road trip went according to plan. Really amazingly close to the plan, actually.

 

We got out of the house at 10:30am Saturday. The stated target time was 8:00 with my realistic estimate as 9:30. I was ready to go before Elf and Dumbledore and was getting twitchy. As per our usual pattern. I got a load of laundry folded while I was waiting and did not quite snap at anyone. Once we were on the road we were fine. We stopped at an old-style drive-in in a small town for lunch. Introducing Elf to the classic attractions of the Midwest.

 

Saturday afternoon we met my brother and several of his kids at Irish Fair. It was fun even though the skies opened up on us towards the end. We took the scenic route back to his house to give my sister-in-law more time to clean up before dinner. She was apprehensive about my mom, not about us. With reason, because my mom can be critical. Her house looked great when we got there. My oldest niece and nephew did the grilling. We contributed two salads and a pan of peanut butter chocolate chip bars. Those were the only veggies on offer. The other sides were potato salad and pasta salad. I felt vindicated :star:

 

The only part that was a bit disappointing is that my nieces and nephews did not interact much with Elf. They were polite, but did not make an effort to include Elf in conversation. I sat with my mom and Elf for dinner. Which was fine, but the point of having a family gathering is not to have people talk with the family members they see all the time. We did have a more relaxed conversation with my sister-in-law on Sunday morning.

 

Sunday we had lunch with Dumbledore's brother and his two youngest kids (16 and 21). The reception there was a welcome contrast. They were relaxed and welcomed Elf into the conversation. My youngest nephew said some sort of obnoxious things, but he does that as a matter of course being a teenage boy. The older nephew took Elf for a hike after lunch and they got along well. Sister-in-law put out a feast of summer food. Our salads added some welcome color and fresh veggies. They noted that this was the first time the four of them had sat down to a meal together at home in months. It felt like Thanksgiving, without the expectations.

 

After that we stopped to see friends before heading home. It was lovely to sit and relax and just chat. This stop was a late addition organized by Dumbledore. I agree it was the right thing to do even though it meant we got home at 10pm. I took off a couple hours Monday morning to do things that I had planned for Sunday, like cleaning the cat box.

 

Elf was pleasantly surprised with how nice Dumbledore's family was. Dumbledore and his brother have had some tension in the past, so we don't see them often. This weekend everyone was relaxed and things were fine. After losing their biological family, Elf did not have any expectation of joining a new extended family. They said it felt like meeting second cousins and finding that some of them were cool people. I was proud of Elf for maintaining their cool with two new sets of people.

 

Challenge evaluation:

Double plus bonus points for social connection. Good on mental health. I played language games before bed and listened to music I like in the car on the way home.

Zero for physical activity and zen. There just was no time.

Food was quite good for a road trip. Lots of grilled protein, no buns, lots of veggies. Some junk food. Very little snacking in the car. No change in my weight as of Monday, so I'm counting it as a win.

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Week 2 days 1-3

 

Monday night I balanced the my checkbook and did some creative financing.

 

Tuesday plans were thrown out when Elf asked me to run errands. They are still not quite cleared to drive, either by the state or by Dumbledore. Elf got sunglasses and I got two pairs of cheap exercise shorts. This will allow me to take more time between loads of laundry. Afterwards I got the joint checkbook balanced. I am nearly there on being fiscally responsible. ;)

 

Wednesday morning I took Elf to the airport at o-dark-30. They are spending a few days visiting a friend. I am proud of how they took responsibility for planning this trip. I'm not so thrilled about them staying up all night worrying about things and not doing the dishes. Oh well, Dumbledore has not done dishes in a week either.

 

I bailed on my after work plans and had dinner near the dojo. I'm counting two scoops of ice cream as dinner. I certainly didn't eat anything else and it had plenty of calories. By the time I got home all I managed was to pull out a novel I could read for the weekend. Luckily Dumbledore wanted to talk with me or I would have stayed up late reading. I was out of brain and would not have gotten up to go to bed without help.

 

Tonight I am going to be flexible with what I get done. Top priority is to pack for a weekend aikido seminar. I am staying at the dojo and need to take bedding as well as gis. This time I am travelling solo so I don't need to coordinate with anyone. The fact that I'm really looking forward to alone time means I have not had enough down time. I'm looking forward to training with friends and having some time after they all head out. Plus one of my friends is taking his shodan test. I'm taking Monday off work so that I have time to get stuff done at home.

 

My diet experiment has given some interesting results. I've been eating dinner-type food for breakfast all week. Spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and meatballs; eggs and veggies; chicken breast and veggies. No yogurt and granola. No brassica. I have had almost no gas. Plus I am less inclined to snack in the morning. I think I may change up my version of intermittent fasting to having two substantial meals a day, one about 8am and one about 2pm. Maybe eat something around 6pm, maybe not. I'm still eating a lot of chocolate - mostly 70-100% cocoa. Much less candy and ice cream. I'm curious to see if there is a change in my weight next Monday.

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I did another replicate on the ice cream for supper experiment yesterday. Results indicate gas and problems falling asleep. I think the falling asleep part is due to my homemade chocolate shell. Either that or I slept fine on Wednesday night because I was already exhausted from being up at 4:30am and doing an hour of aikido. No more dairy-based ice cream for me for the next two weeks.

 

I'm going to hunt for creative solutions to food at the seminar. There is a good lunch place for Saturday. I need to find breakfasts. The dojo is on the outskirts of town without much nearby.

 

I succeeded in one task last night. The cat box is actually scrubbed for the first time in a year. I know it will be dirty immediately, but at least it is less disgusting. I also changed the furnace filter. That should have been done months ago. The system should work better without having the filter clogged with cat fur.

 

I did not get my stuff packed for the seminar. Everything is in a pile on top of my duffle bag. Except the extra gis, which are still in laundry baskets. I'm going to go home early, take a nap, finish packing, and go to lunch with Dumbledore. I plan on leaving the dishes in the sink. They've been there for a week already, they are not getting worse. I'm curious to see if Dumbledore notices we are running out of cooked food. There is half a container of cucumber salad in the fridge and some grilled chicken in the freezer. No one has cooked in the last week. :ph34r:

 

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Week 2 Weekend

 

Lessons learned:

1) I made it to the seminar with plenty of time even though I was not packed before I went out for a late lunch with Dumbledore. Coming into town a little later probably saved me time stuck in traffic. I made the right choice to take a nap when I got home instead of freaking out.

 

2) Chocolate around 8pm makes it hard for me to fall asleep. I tested this Thursday evening and again on Saturday. Even though I did four hours of training on Saturday and was wearing earplugs, I had trouble falling asleep. I'm going to wait a while before testing this again because I really would like to get caught up on sleep. For the rest of this challenge, the rule is no chocolate after 7:00pm.

 

3) Staying at the dojo was a win. Instead of spending 2.5 hours commuting, I could relax and get plenty of sleep. My air mattress and bedding system worked well. Earplugs and a face mask are absolutely necessary. I'm going to put a high quality face mask on my wish list. Only one other person stayed at the dojo this time. It was lovely and peaceful after everyone else left.

 

4) Planning ahead on food would help. It is hard to find take-out food with veggies. Luckily there was a natural foods store only a few miles away. There is a restaurant that makes good salads and protein bowls nearby. Unfortunately my friends decided to go to a local bar for lunch instead. A slice of tomato and leaf of lettuce on my chicken sandwich is not enough. Next time I need to make wraps and bring a small cooler.

 

5) The strength training and yoga have been helping my ukemi. Taking falls and getting up was easy. I did not get physically tired. Keep up my exercise routine.

 

6) The sensei taught some new exercises that fit well with other things my weapons partner and I have been doing. Add these to the mix. He said "raise your energy first" all the time. That seems to be the same as what the internal power folks are teaching. Different imagery, same message.

 

7) Taking off Monday after the seminar was a REALLY GOOD PLAN. I was able to take my time driving home, go to a neighborhood festival and relax some. I didn't feel pressured to get things ready for the week. I did get my knee supports washed and mowed the back yard.

 

In case anyone was wondering, Dumbledore did wash a sink full of dishes. He also did a bunch of laundry and some picking up. Elf came home from visiting their friend a very happy zombie. The long distance relationship blossomed into full-fledged romance when they got to spend time together in person. That combined with an early morning flight and poor air quality meant that Elf got no sleep Saturday night. I think it will be several days before they are fully recovered and able to go 15 minutes without a coughing jag.

 

 

 

 

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On 8/20/2019 at 5:43 PM, Mistr said:

very happy zombie

This conjures up all sorts of wonderful images! I'm so happy for Elf and hope they feel better soon

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On 8/20/2019 at 5:43 PM, Mistr said:

In case anyone was wondering, Dumbledore did wash a sink full of dishes. He also did a bunch of laundry and some picking up.

am pleasantly surprised :-)

 

I like your new focus on Sundays. It's a manageable way to take stock of all the things without worrying about all the days :-)

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Last weekend went much better than expected. However, I did not get enough sleep last night and am running low on brain. Details to follow soon.

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Weekend 3 report

 

It's been a busy week. Last weekend went well both on both the social and choices fronts. We had friends come to visit from Friday evening through Sunday morning. They are relaxed people, but I still wanted to do some cleaning up before they arrived. One of my aikido friends once said "the bathroom should be clean enough that a guest feels comfortable being sick in it". With that in mind, I scrubbed the toilet and tub on Friday morning before work. I worked through lunch and left early. My sleep debt from the week caught up with me and I napped hard for an hour when I got home. That gave me energy to enjoy socializing in the evening. 

 

In addition to house guests, we got together with other friends from out of town on Thursday evening and I met up with a friend from high school for brunch on Saturday. I went on a long walk with her, then another walk with Dumbledore and our guests. Saturday afternoon I did a bunch of cooking so that we could have good food at home. Green beans with caramelized onions, roast potatos and sweet potatos, grilled chicken and peach/blueberry cobbler. Dumbledore did the grilling and our friends helped with food prep. Elf even joined us for dinner. It was fun.

 

Sunday I made brunch (waffles, bacon, fruit salad, scrambled eggs with cheese) with help from Dumbledore on the eggs. After our guests left I did laundry, mowed the side yard and started cleaning the house. Dumbledore and I went for a nice long walk along the river. When we got home we pulled everything out of the top two shelves of the fridge, got rid of the dubious food and cleaned the shelves. By evening I was out of motivation and curled up with a novel.

 

I scheduled Monday off well in advance because I knew I would want prep time before having my spinning group over. They are all nice people, but several of them are older women who keep immaculate houses (at least the houses are immaculate when they host spinning). Taking the day off was a great move. It let me get plenty of sleep and not freak out about cleaning while my friends were visiting. We got the upstairs entirely clean for the first time in months. Elf washed dishes and Dumbledore put away stuff and vacuumed the living room. I swept and vacuumed the rest of the upstairs, cleaned the kitchen sink, scrubbed the top of the stove and cleaned the kitchen island. Luckily for me the spinners decided not to do snacks for meetings this year. That said, a complete lack of snacks is a violation of my standards of hospitality. I put out watermelon, grapes, cherry tomatos and iced tea.

 

The actual social event went off smoothly, although only seven people showed up. That was the perfect number to fit in the family room without needing to open up the porch. I got a bunch of spinning done, including the misplaced fiber from my British friend. We had fun. It was easy to put away the extra chairs and clean up, leaving the house looking great.

 

Analysis of choices

Fitness - this one got put on the back burner for the weekend. I got a couple long walks and mowed part of the yard. Maybe I could count vacuuming if I wanted to stretch it. No aikido, strength training or yoga. Reasonable, considering.

 

Life support - I did All The Things on this one. We would not have had home-cooked food if I had not planned and prepared it. That was important both for hospitality and frugality. Dumbledore was not working the last half of the summer, so money is tight until the school year starts. I am very happy with how our living space looked at the end of the weekend.

 

Mental health - Good. I got mostly enough sleep and took naps. I did not have the time and quiet space to sit zen. I took time to spin and read and play language games on my phone.

 

Social connection - Stellar. Four different groups of people from Thursday through Monday. Win.

 

Responsibilities - not so much. Next time.

 

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Week 4

 

This week I've been working at getting back on track after skipping strength training week 3 and not doing zen over the weekend. My record with zen has been awfully spotty this challenge. I can tell that my strength and stamina are suffering. On the bright side, I've been getting mostly enough sleep, have been eating well and have not been stressed. Work has been going okay. That is good because my boss comes back from medical leave on Tuesday.

 

My goals for the weekend:

  • Do zen every day (including today)
  • Do aikido every day. We have a koshinage workshop this weekend. My koshis need all the help they can get.
  • Go to the YMCA on Sunday to do strength training. I need to be more consistent if I want to make progress.
  • Work on finances. The other projects can wait until I'm caught up on this one.
  • Cooking for next week and making desserts that have been on my wish list for months
  • Go swimming if the weather cooperates. It is the end of summer and I have not gone swimming once.
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So far so good. I squeeked in a little zen on Saturday right before bed.

 

The koshinage workshop was excellent. My knees were complaining last night, but feel much better now. There were several times during class this morning when I felt like I was moving smoothly and in the right place. I'll take it.

 

Going straight from aikido to zen (in the dojo) worked really well today. I still had the centered feeling from aikido as I was sitting zen. My knees did not complain any more than they usually do. Now I need to keep up the consistent practice.

 

Going to the Y is not happening. One of my aikido friends said that lifting people with your hips is a good stand-in for deadlifts. Maybe, maybe not. I will do bodyweight exercises at home later tonight or tomorrow. I can easily do pushups and goblet squats.

 

I did grocery shopping yesterday. Next I do finances, then cooking. Hopefully some spinning too. If things go well tomorrow, I'm going to bring in my table loom from the garage and do weaving.

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Sunday (& Monday) evaluation

 

The first part of the weekend was good. Monday was a fight against my brain weasels all day. I worked hard on making good choices, but I that did not make me happier. By the end of the day I was tired of listening to my brain weasels ranting about no one else in the household doing anything.

 

At least I had the self-possession to not rant at either Elf or Dumbledore. I knew that would only make things worse. Dumbledore was really sweet about trying to cheer me up. I mentioned to Elf that I was feeling prickly and they said they had time to help with whatever needed doing. Then they did online things and got together with friends and did no chores or house projects. :(  I need to get in a better frame of mind before I talk to them about it. There is a real problem and me yelling will not help fix it. Dumbledore's excuse is that the new semester starts today and he had materials to get done for the first class. The fact that he has been getting together with people for social events for the last three weeks instead of getting his work done does not factor into it at all. What he says and what he does do not match. We have been keeping weekly task lists on the fridge, so I have documentation. The next time we have a household meeting I will pull those out for review.

 

In spite of being grouchy, I got a lot done on Monday (which felt like a Sunday)

  • sat zen first thing
  • made pastry cream - went clumpy in the last heating step and did not thicken properly, but still tasted good.
  • worked on finances - I think I know where we are at. My records do not entirely line up with the financial institution records. I did not get as far as doing budget reporting.
  • Finished plying yarn for my British friend. I tried Andean plying again and it worked this time. I am happy with the yarn and even happier that I got it finished.
  • Made Gateau Basque which has a filling of pastry cream and jam. It is tasty, even if the texture is not quite right.
  • Did bodyweight exercises. I finally used the kettlebells for something! Goblet squats with kettlebells are much easier than with dumbbells.
  • Short walk with Dumbledore
  • Cooked roast cauliflower with peppers and onions
  • Washed dishes
  • Scrubbed the bathtub and toilet
  • Fixed the toilet handle connector

The bit of the toilet that connects the handle to the mechanism broke on Sunday. Dumbledore was firm about wanting to go buy parts on Sunday and not wait. Okay, fine. When we got to the home improvement store he asked if we could get a dual-flow toilet set. Sure, it would save water. I approve. I insisted that we also get the plain part, just in case. It was clear to me that Dumbledore was not going to be the one replacing the innards of the toilet. I've done all the toilet repairs for the last 35 years, I don't see him jumping in to start now. Hermes is really good at fixing things, but he has been spending all his time at his girlfriend's house in an experiment to see if they are compatible living together full time.

 

I looked through the instructions on Monday morning. Best case is it would take an hour. Worst case is an all-afternoon job with several trips to the hardware store. I know better than to start a plumbing project when the hardware store is closed. No one else showed any sign of attacking this project all day, so in the evening I took 15 minutes to install the handle connector. It would have been faster if I had figured out that it was reverse-threaded. :stupid:  As long as I was working on the toilet, I scrubbed it out. I'm taking bets on how long it will be before one of us gets around to replacing the innards of a perfectly functional toilet.

 

My plan for today involves more cooking and spinning. I'm looking for fun things to reward myself instead of eating all the ice cream like I've been doing.

 

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3 hours ago, Mistr said:

The bit of the toilet that connects the handle to the mechanism broke on Sunday. Dumbledore was firm about wanting to go buy parts on Sunday and not wait. Okay, fine. When we got to the home improvement store he asked if we could get a dual-flow toilet set. Sure, it would save water. I approve. I insisted that we also get the plain part, just in case. It was clear to me that Dumbledore was not going to be the one replacing the innards of the toilet. I've done all the toilet repairs for the last 35 years, I don't see him jumping in to start now. Hermes is really good at fixing things, but he has been spending all his time at his girlfriend's house in an experiment to see if they are compatible living together full time.

 

You are very wise. If it wasn't you doing it, I would vote for Hermes as second most likely.

 

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