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Mistr flows gracefully


Mistr

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Mistr works on grace

 

My theme for this challenge is to handle everything with more grace. What do I mean by that?

 

The opposite of graceful is awkward. I want to work on smoothing out the stiff, frustrating, sticky parts of my life. Certainly I want my movement to be smooth and flowing too. The exercise side is easier to see, if not always to do. Decisions and interactions are harder.  That will be the main focus of this challenge.

 

You may notice that the first five goals are the same as last time. Having accountability here helps me keep working on things.

 

Goals:

1. Continue with the Elements program and aikido. I am halfway through the Elements program and already seeing improvement in my movement. Once that is done, I will do bodyweight workouts instead. I need to do lunges and work up to pistol squats so that I can get up gracefully from sitting when one of my feet is asleep.

 

2. Keep doing zen. Let the passing thoughts go without engaging them.

 

3. Do creative projects. These give me a sense of accomplishment and progress. I selected the "Practice Creativity 101" mission on the NF app to remind me to do this.

 

4. Get on top of my &^%$#(@! finances and stay there. Continued from last time. Still climbing the metaphorical hill. Block time on Sundays and Thursdays until this is at a steady state.

 

5. Flexibility in household tasks. Concentrate on doing the things that I care about. I can let everything else go unless I get a specific request from Dumbledore or Elf.

 

6. Improve my eating habits. I fell back into bad habits because of stress and working from home. I want to get rid of 12 pounds of extra weight over the next three challenges. My strategy has three parts

A. The first is to do intermittent fasting with a window of 12 hours from 7am to 7pm. I usually eat breakfast about 8 and try to eat supper by 6, but want to leave myself some slack. On weekends this can shift to 9am to 8pm. The main thing is no snacking in the evening. 

B.  The second is to limit baked goods to things we make ourselves. No commercial bread or cookies, no buns on burgers. I can make any decadent desserts I want to have. My free time is the main limitation. If Elf makes pizza or Dumbledore makes bread, that is fine too. One the same note, no Halloween candy (or the same thing not in orange wrappers). I can still have high quality chocolate.  In a perfect world I would cut way back on sugar, but I'm not ready to go there yet.

C. The third thing is to strictly limit dairy. This is for health reasons, not to control my weight. It seems like butter and cheese is okay. Milk, yogurt and sour cream are clearly NOT okay.  Keep working on alternatives to the high-dairy foods I grew up with.

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So far this week is going well on the grace front. I have been super busy and not freaking out about it.

 

I always have more things to do than time to do them. Just making choices and moving on without flailing is a big win for me. I'm happy with how I did the last couple days. On Monday I was talking with Dumbledore and he mentioned that a friend would be staying with us over the weekend, showing up on Wednesday evening. He swears he told me weeks ago, but I have no memory of that conversation. I was able to shift my plans for Tuesday evening to cleaning up the family room (my workspace) for a guest. The house was in pretty good shape and Dumbledore did vacuuming, so it only took me about an hour to move things and do cleaning that was on my list anyway.

 

Aikido is starting to feel almost normal again. That is a huge relief. I feel alive when I do aikido in a way that I don't in the rest of my life. Last night one of our younger black belts taught the version of shihonage that he learned in Japan. It is completely different from the style I know, and very cool. It was fun to work on something new instead of struggling with techniques I think I should be able to do.

 

Tonight I plan to do cooking and take some downtime. I hope that Dumbledore and our friend will be at the gaming convention until late, so I have the house to myself.

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Today will be a real test of going with the flow and leading it.

 

Things started out with someone else getting in the shower just as I was going to get up. I happily rolled over to get more sleep. Normally I would do exercise or zen with that time, but my space is occupied by my houseguest. Coming into today fully rested is a good start. I logged into work only to find that a third of my team is out today. I knew we would be short, but not this short. The person who called in sick got her COVID booster shot yesterday. I bet she had a bad reaction to it. I suspect that my need for more sleep is because my body is still responding to the booster shot earlier this week.

 

After the initial flurry of activity, I have the house all to myself. My friend played with Amber this morning. She is settled down in the window next to me ready for her mid-morning nap. Shy Dorian has emerged from his hiding spot in the basement and is sitting in the other window. Work may be hectic, but at least I can deal with it in a calm, comfortable space.

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22 hours ago, Mistr said:

So far this week is going well on the grace front. I have been super busy and not freaking out about it.

 

This is great. I mean, if you're going to be busy anyway, why not be busy without the freaking? Very excellent gracefulness.

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Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Weekend shenanigans

 

Friday was indeed as busy as I feared. I took a break for dinner, then went back to work until 10pm. Even so, I did not get everything taken care of. Apparently I missed my window for falling asleep. My brain did weird things for hours before I could actually sleep.

 

Saturday morning I cooked breakfast for us and our friend. I was debating between working on things at home and going to aikido. They were unanimous in telling me to go to practice, so I did. It was the right choice. The chief instructor taught an advanced class. There were only six students there, all black belts. The ranks were 1 first degree, 2 second degree, 2 third degree and 1 5th degree (1 shodan, 2 nidans, 2 sandans and 1 godan).  Not on purpose, that was just who showed up. Sensei had us work on combination attacks.

 

Martial Arts Rant - skip this if you aren't interested. I've probably said this here before.

I have read criticism of aikido as being boring at the higher levels because there are not that many techniques. That is like saying that playing music is boring because there are only a couple dozen scales. It shows that the person making the statement has only seen basic classes and demonstrations, not advanced classes. Unfortunately, many aikidoka have not seen advanced classes because their instructors are not that high ranked and don't have the experience to teach them.

 

Technique practice in aikido is a pedological device. Learning techniques is an essential step. No one would question a musician practicing scales, especially a student. These are foundational skills. Once you know the basics, you apply them in a variety of ways. In aikido that training happens at the black belt level. The shodan test is an opportunity for the student to demonstrate that she has learned all the basic techniques and can perform them to an acceptable standard. Not perfect, but competent. With these basic skills, she can start to actually learn the art.

 

Real aikido involves connecting with your partner and moving in a way that you stay safe and get to a place of advantage. People from other martial arts (MMA - I'm looking at you) say that the attacks used in aikido are not realistic. That is certainly true for basic classes. The attacks are simplified and done in slow motion for beginners. The attacker does just one move (strike, grab, etc.) and the student responds. The attacker cooperates so that the student can learn the movement. At the upper levels that changes. Yesterday we trained with the attacker doing a combination of moves. In other classes, we train having both people look for openings in the other's technique. Not directly resisting the technique, because that creates openings that are easy to exploit. More looking for weak places where one can take over the lead. Another practice is to have multiple attackers taking turns, to encourage you not to plan what you will do next. Just flow and move, no thought. Thought is too slow.

 

Sensei said that technique is a trap. We think we are supposed to do one of the moves we have trained. Looking for the right move is too slow. The goal is to connect and see what happens. It might look familiar, or maybe something unexpected will emerge. Stay in the moment and respond to what is really happening.

 

Easy to say, not so easy to do.

 

I found that letting go of a plan was really hard. I don't feel confident in my techniques right now. I want to practice basic things over and over until they feel smooth again (if they ever did). I don't feel like I'm ready for the upper levels yet. Which means that I'm working out beyond the edge of my comfort zone, which is a good place to be.

 

One happy thing from Saturday's class was that my rolls felt smooth for the first time since we came back to the dojo last spring. I still have a long way to go, but at least I don't feel like a bag of rocks anymore. :D 

 

Weekend accomplishments:

  • Long walk with my BFF
  • shopping for cat food and home repair parts
  • cooked chicken soup
  • cooked oatmeal/raisin/date cookies
  • Installed a new door handle in the closet of the room we are painting. This turned out to be harder than expected because the holes for the previous handle were not big enough for the new one. Luckily I had a 1 inch hole bit for my drill. Using it took some nerve. I had to tell myself that it is my house and no one is going to come help, or chew me out if I screw up.
  • Rubbed down the closet door with Howard's Feed & Wax. It looks much better now.
  • Washed dishes twice
  • Washed two loads of sheets because of houseguests
  • Went to zen with other humans at the dojo
  • Finished spinning bobbin #2 of red/purple merino wool singles

There is a much longer list of things that I did not do. I am not going to let that materialize. Tomorrow I will do more of the things.

 

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23 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Sensei said that technique is a trap. We think we are supposed to do one of the moves we have trained. Looking for the right move is too slow. The goal is to connect and see what happens. It might look familiar, or maybe something unexpected will emerge. Stay in the moment and respond to what is really happening.

 

There's one testing rule I've internalized: just do something. It doesn't really matter what, so long as you react to the incoming attack.

 

There is probably a lesson there.

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Your rant is lovely!  It resonates with me and my attitude towards Brazilian Jui-Jitsu.  I don't come from a fight school but a self-defence school.  We drill techniques over and over not so we can remember when to use them but to create muscle memory.  I want to be able to respond with techniques that work before my brain has time to think about what I am doing.  So many people don't understand that this is what we should strive to attain.  This 👇    is a play off of the quote by Bruce Lee about 10,000 kicks and I think it holds a lot of truth!!!

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7 minutes ago, Terra said:

Your rant is lovely!  It resonates with me and my attitude towards Brazilian Jui-Jitsu.  I don't come from a fight school but a self-defence school.  We drill techniques over and over not so we can remember when to use them but to create muscle memory.  I want to be able to respond with techniques that work before my brain has time to think about what I am doing.  So many people don't understand that this is what we should strive to attain. 

 

Thank you!

 

My school is also self-defense focused. That is the norm for aikido.  I expect our schools have a fair bit in common because aikido is an offshoot of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu. :D 

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Your rant is totally on point! So many martial artists are caught up on how the end technique looks and not what caused the result. There's too much focus on what techniques should be used in fixed situations. If the person has to stop and think about what to do, he or she is already on the ground looking up. My Karate Sensei often quotes his Aikido Sensei and says "there is no style." The mental and physical connection between you and your uke, the control of center and the intention of what needs to be done comes down to just move your body. In real life situations, martial arts is ugly. The perfect technique videos and pictures we see in books are all done in with no threat but if someone is trying to hurt you or take your life, you don't have time to execute the perfect technique. For many years, I trained to have to perfect techniques but the problem is, they do not work in all situations. I don't have time to drop into a low front stance with the perfect punch when someone twice  my size and half my ago is coming to attack me. As long as I have control of my body, the punch will be the same if I am in a low stance or standing straight up because of the movement I create with my body.  I feel that if we break the confines of stye and textbook form we will all elevate the arts. I am not saying the we should throw our foundation of our art away but instead remove the handcuffs.

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In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

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Not being able to sleep is a terrible reward for working all day! But I'm glad you got to go to a nice small advanced class the next day.

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Monday I actually was finished with work on time, after a very busy day. That let me go for a walk with Dumbledore before going to aikido. Our chief instructor teaches basic class on Mondays most of the time. Two weeks ago the turnout was low and she was not happy. One of the senior students put the word out and last night's class had a full mat. There was one beginner, two people who will take their first tests this weekend and an intermediate white belt.

 

Thanks to @Happienumber, I brought my weapons. I wanted to try staff twirling before class but did not get there early enough. I didn't get to use my staff, but sensei included basic sword cuts as part of our warm-up. I was glad I had my own boken since the new people are using most of the dojo's boken.

 

I noticed some more things I need to work on in class. Working with new people is much harder than working with experienced people because they have poor body control and no clue what happens next. They are not trying to be difficult, they just are difficult. I will know I have reached the level of good when I can move a beginner through a technique without using force. Yesterday was not that day. I need to lighten up and not resist, especially when people tense up and try to go the wrong way. I am not teaching this class, it is not my job to correct anyone. Now write that on the board 100 times. Four of us stayed an extra half hour for an intermediate class. All that stuff I said about just going with the flow - mostly did not happen. As soon as I focus on fixing one thing, something else goes wonky. I am still tremendously glad to be back on the mat.

 

You would think that with all that exercise I would have slept like a log, but you'd be wrong. I didn't eat anything in the evening either. For some reason my brain would not go back to sleep in the wee hours. I eventually got up to work on something so I would at least feel accomplishment at getting a thing done. Dumbledore came and found me and asked me to rub his feet. That put him right back to sleep and let me relax too.

 

I turned off my alarm and went back to sleep, so I did not exercise or sit zen before work. I got a nice walk in at lunchtime. That will have to serve as exercise for today. I'm thinking that I need to take some downtime and get to bed early tonight. I also have a bunch of veggies that need to be cooked, and chicken that could go into curry with some of the said veggies. We shall see.

 

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On 10/26/2021 at 3:32 PM, Mistr said:

I noticed some more things I need to work on in class. Working with new people is much harder than working with experienced people because they have poor body control and no clue what happens next. They are not trying to be difficult, they just are difficult.

 

I can relate. My word, but I can relate.

 

Also, glad to hear that it sounds like you stuck with the Elements program! Glad to hear you're moving better. Hopefully you feel better too. :)

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Today looks like a good opportunity to practice flexibility in my plans.

 

Yesterday went pretty well. I got up early enough to sit zen before driving into the office. I wanted to work on site because there was a grand opening celebration for a new building after work. I did my Elements session in the aerobics studio at lunchtime. I was almost able to leave on time and was only a little late for my scheduled tour of the new building. I'm glad I got to see it now. It is a highly regulated manufacturing plant and I'm sure they will restrict visitors when it is in operation.

 

The party was combined with our annual Oktoberfest, where our home brewers show off their creations. The weather was cold and wet, and people were having a great time anyway. I talked with a coworker who I used to see a lot, and we agreed that people are just starved for parties and seeing each other in person. My plan for the day was to have a healthy breakfast and lunch, then I could indulge at the party. It is really easy to eat healthy and not snack when I'm in the office. All I have to do is pack good meals ahead of time. Since I don't have my own desk right now, I don't have a stash of food in a drawer. It turned out that some of the food at the party was healthy too. I got a Costa Rican plate with chicken, rice and beans and salad. Very yummy. Then I got apple cider mini donuts, which were heavenly. I had hot cider instead of beer. It was too cold and wet for me to enjoy beer.

 

I stopped at Trader Joe's since it was on my way home. I learned that while they do have a good selection of frozen fruit, it is not any cheaper than my regular grocery store. However, they do have chocolate that is substantially cheaper. I got a selection to try. 😇

 

My smooth day hit a bump when I got home and realized I left my laptop at the office. In my hurry to leave, I packed the accessories but not the laptop. That threw a wrench in my plans for today and left me frustrated at messing up when things were going so well.

 

I could have done the prep so that I could work on site again today. However, Dumbledore had plans to go to the gym in the middle of the day and we are sharing a car. I also wanted the flexibility of working from home. So I decided to just drive in, pick up my laptop and drive home before work. This let me card wool during a training. I can't do that at the office. 

 

Apparently I forgot to set my alarm last night. I woke up well-rested at 6:15am, 45 minutes later than planned. I made it back with five minutes to spare. Driving there before 7am took 25 minutes, driving back during rush hour took 36 minutes, including waiting for a train to cross the road. I listened to music (from @Happienumber) and a podcast. It was a pleasant way to start the day.

 

The next opportunity for flexibility came when one of my people went home  sick (figuratively, she is already working from home). That required shuffling my schedule and me staying an hour late. No aikido for me tonight.  I was going to sit zen over lunch while Dumbledore was at the gym. His schedule changed too, so he is going to the gym this evening. He wanted us to have lunch together, so we did. I got in another set of staff twirling practice. 

 

On 10/27/2021 at 7:20 PM, Kishi said:

Also, glad to hear that it sounds like you stuck with the Elements program! Glad to hear you're moving better. Hopefully you feel better too. :)

 

I am halfway through the Elements program and starting to see real progress. I can do the walk into squat from crab position now. Not very smoothly, but much better than on day 1. I think my wrists and shoulders are getting stronger and my aerobic endurance is better. I could walk up two flights of stairs today and was less winded than last week.

 

Another nice observation is that my left shoulder is less sore. It no longer feels unstable when I have a lot of weight on it in a 3-point bridge. I can tell it is still tight, but I can go through a full range of motion without pain. I think that the full arm extension staff exercises are good for my shoulder mobility. I will have to keep these slow and controlled because there is just one spot in my house where I have room to do them. If I let the staff get out of line I will hit the piano, a plant or a lamp. I will probably move to the garage when I want to speed things up. Thanks to the work I did last month, there is room to move in the garage now. :D

 

I noticed that my brain really appreciates the clear spaces in the house. I moved a pile of stuff into the bedroom when my friend was staying in the family room last weekend. Having that space clear makes me feel better. I think I will try to find bins or boxes to pack up that stuff since it is not high on my to-do list to deal with it.

 

I want to use this evening to make progress on some of the smaller projects. We have a laundry bag that fits on a stand in our bedroom. Dumbledore noticed that the straps are coming loose and asked me to mend it. No problem. It has been sitting on the end table waiting for me to get to it for a month. That means the laundry becomes a monster pile in the bed room. I call the hamper the Laundry Monster Cage. By getting this project done I will reduce mess in two areas of the house.

 

The next thing I want to tackle is cleaning two plastic drawer units that Hermes left behind. Dumbledore wants to use them in the bedroom. They would replace the chair that is always stacked with a pile of his clothes. I am highly in favor of this plan. Yesterday Dumbledore cleaned off the top of his dresser for the first time in years. He was hunting for something, which he eventually found. Providing a place for his extra clothes would help a lot in getting the bedroom under better control.

 

I am leaving tomorrow open for whatever projects I want to do. Work is still eating my free time, so we shall see how that really comes out.

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5 hours ago, Mistr said:

I am leaving tomorrow open for whatever projects I want to do. Work is still eating my free time, so we shall see how that really comes out.

 

Tell me about it. I can't seem to get any time off work that isn't tied to working somewhere else. -_- Here's hoping for good flow this weekend!

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I'm glad your shoulder feels good. And yes, clean spaces definitely reduce the overall cognitive load on the brain, I feel.

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Weekend report

 

I did lots of cleaning and cooking. I also went to the dojo on Sunday for aikido and zen.

 

There were lots of people at aikido to support the new people for their tests. They all did a fine job. Sensei got on my case again for keeping my posture while I am taking ukemi while I was trying to do exactly that. Needs more work. All my ukemi felt stiff so I did not take ukemi during the tests. Sensei had just given a lecture on how ukes for tests are supposed to help the testee demonstrate the technique to the best of their ability. Me being slow would not help them look good.

 

I had a great zen session on Friday after listening to a couple podcasts from my teacher while mending the laundry bag. I was hoping to keep that up on Sunday, but I had a hard time staying awake. The jikijitsu noticed and appointed me to lead the chanting. I knew this was coming since he told me back in July that he would put me on the spot again. The practice I did certainly helped. I still have a ways to go in vocalizing from my diaphragm instead of somewhere in my chest. On the good side, I was able to sit there with everyone watching (4 people) while he repeatedly stopped and corrected me, and I kept my composure. Younger me would have wanted to crawl into a hole. I could face that my chanting needs work and not feel emotional about it. I don't know if this is a result of the zen training or just getting older and less concerned about what people think of me. Whatever it is, I'll take it.

 

Things accomplished:

  • Washed the two plastic drawer units, a window screen and all the plant pots that have been accumulating by the back door all summer.
  • Collected seed from cilantro, basil and Thai basil
  • Drained the hoses and put them in the garage
  • Turned off the water to the hose taps
  • Cleaned off a counter in the mud room
  • Brought in the geraniums and put them on the clear spot in the mud room for the winter. They are still in full bloom.
  • Took two extra plastic drawer units to the charity shop
  • Made split pea soup using up a ham bone from  2020 (plus extra bones)
  • Made chicken curry using up languishing broccoli and peppers
  • Washed dishes twice
  • Mended section 2 (of 4) on the laundry bag
  • staff practice both days
  • Elements on Saturday

I feel particularly good about getting the outside work done. There is no longer a pile of stuff by the back door. I got the hoses and geraniums inside before the first hard freeze. Having our first hard freeze on Halloween is just wrong, but that is the new reality. I will continue cleaning out the garden this week. Dumbledore harvested the carrots. There is still Swiss chard to harvest. The take-home message from this year is Thinning is Important. We got a lot of very tiny carrots. I also think there was something in the compost I bought that was not good for some of the plants. I'll add more compost from my garden in the spring.

 

I am really glad that Dumbledore did a minor grocery shopping trip on Friday. We have a tendency to buy aspirational produce and then not use it in time. He brought home two bags of salad, a bag of apples and a pineapple. He already chopped up the pineapple and I used some of it in the curry. I still need to cook the green beans I got at the farmer's market a week ago. Otherwise I don't need to do more cooking until next weekend.

 

I did no work at all on the painting project. That and some family emails are on my agenda for tonight.

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10 hours ago, Mistr said:

On the good side, I was able to sit there with everyone watching (4 people) while he repeatedly stopped and corrected me, and I kept my composure. Younger me would have wanted to crawl into a hole. I could face that my chanting needs work and not feel emotional about it. I don't know if this is a result of the zen training or just getting older and less concerned about what people think of me. Whatever it is, I'll take it.

 

I really wish someone had told me about this "when you get older it will be easier to ignore what others think of you" thing when I was younger. I wouldn't have believed them, but having some kind of idea that there could be an end to that paralyzing insecurity might have  been nice :) 

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16 hours ago, Mistr said:

On the good side, I was able to sit there with everyone watching (4 people) while he repeatedly stopped and corrected me, and I kept my composure. Younger me would have wanted to crawl into a hole. I could face that my chanting needs work and not feel emotional about it. I don't know if this is a result of the zen training or just getting older and less concerned about what people think of me. Whatever it is, I'll take it.

 

This sounds awesome and I hope we all grow old and get some more of it!

 

6 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

I really wish someone had told me about this "when you get older it will be easier to ignore what others think of you" thing when I was younger. I wouldn't have believed them, but having some kind of idea that there could be an end to that paralyzing insecurity might have  been nice :) 

 

Indeed.

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Week 2: Monday & Tuesday

 

My level of grace was questionable, but I did manage to get things done.

 

Monday evening I got more painting done on the downstairs bedroom. This was a good choice because Dumbledore and Hermes watch episodes in the living room on Monday evenings. I really can't get anything done in the family room. I can go to aikido or work on projects downstairs. I finished painting the walls in the walk-in closet and got another large section of the room done. The closet will be okay with just white primer on the walls and a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling. It was an off-white to start with. There were scuff marks and stains that are now covered.

 

The next part of the project is chipping old paint off the ledge by the window. Not all of it is loose, so that will leave an uneven surface that has to be filled in. I know how to do something similar on a wall with plaster and bonding screen. I need to check with a home improvement help desk about what product would be best in this situation. We are sure to stack things on the ledge. All of the aloe plants are there now because we learned that aloes are toxic to cats and my doofus cat Dorian was chewing on them.

 

Tuesday I finished work on time and went for a nice long walk in the neighborhood. It was sunset and the fall colors were lovely. It felt great to move and let my eyes rest on the horizon instead of a monitor.

 

Elf ordered pizza and left some for me. I really did not need two slices of pizza, but it was delicious. I know I have been stress eating. I'm working on dealing with the stress first, since trying to go the other way around only makes things worse.

 

I worked on finances and got another family email done. I need to do more of that tomorrow. I also discovered that the annoying keyboard behavior happens in Ubuntu just as much as it did in Xubuntu. In some ways that is a relief. It means I can put out the question in the Ubuntu support community. Hopefully there is a fix, and I can go back to the desktop theme I prefer.

 

My prioritizing scheme for this week is to minimize guilt. I'm working on the things that I feel bad for having let slide. In a lot of ways this looks like normal adulting, just with more pressure behind it. I'm realizing that no one is keeping score of my workouts. Sure, I have an app to track them. I have all of you for accountability. But no one will get on my case if I don't work out, like I didn't on Monday. Same for zen and pretty much everything outside of work. I can make time for the things that are important to me. I don't need to follow someone's rule about how much time or how often to do those things. I see that I have been stressed about rules I made for myself. Now I'm trying to figure out a more flexible way of reaching my goals.

 

Tonight is just zen and aikido. If I do the zen right after work, I will have time for spinning and staff practice after aikido. :D 

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22 hours ago, Mistr said:

I worked on finances and got another family email done. I need to do more of that tomorrow. 

 

Tonight is just zen and aikido. If I do the zen right after work, I will have time for spinning and staff practice after aikido. :D 

 

I did the family emails after work. Now I can respond beatifically to the snarky emails from my brother. I feel good about getting contact information for my cousins. I have been relying on my older relatives to stay in touch. That is not going to work much longer.

 

I didn't have time for spinning after aikido, but I did sort through my stash at lunchtime. I have five 66 quart (62 liter) storage bins for yarn and fiber. These were in the closet in Elf's room (from back when it used to be my office) and now are in the garage. I wanted to see one of the bags of fleece I got from my departed friend's garage sale. I also wanted to move the bins so they would always be accessible. I discovered that I have more white wool than I remembered. I also have grey wool left from the fleece I bought at my first Sheep and Wool event many years ago. Unless I improve my processing rate, I don't need to buy white wool again for the rest of my life.

 

Aikido was fun. It was actually a basic class for a change. We reviewed foundational techniques as taught by Jan Nevelius sensei in an online seminar. There were two people in class who I had not met before! This is an encouraging sign that life is starting to return to normal. Neither of the people are precisely new. One used to be in our kid's program and one practiced somewhere else several years ago. We did both forward and backward rolls and those are gradually getting smoother.

 

I have already done Elements and zen for today. This evening I'm going for a walk, then doing more work on finances and taking some fun time to spin and knit.

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9 hours ago, Mistr said:

Unless I improve my processing rate, I don't need to buy white wool again for the rest of my life.

 

Right. Time to buy some beautiful light golden brown alpaca. For balance.

 

On 11/3/2021 at 11:00 PM, Mistr said:

My prioritizing scheme for this week is to minimize guilt. I'm working on the things that I feel bad for having let slide. In a lot of ways this looks like normal adulting, just with more pressure behind it. I'm realizing that no one is keeping score of my workouts. Sure, I have an app to track them. I have all of you for accountability. But no one will get on my case if I don't work out, like I didn't on Monday. Same for zen and pretty much everything outside of work. I can make time for the things that are important to me. I don't need to follow someone's rule about how much time or how often to do those things. I see that I have been stressed about rules I made for myself. Now I'm trying to figure out a more flexible way of reaching my goals.


If we don't guilt ourselves, will we do anything? Will we save energy and do MORE? Or will we do the same amount and just not feel as bad? Who can say? We must experiment to find the answers.

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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7 hours ago, Harriet said:

Right. Time to buy some beautiful light golden brown alpaca. For balance.

 

😆🤣😂😇

 

In fact I have a bag of beautiful silver grey alpaca, and some lovely fawn baby camel down. I have not one but two balls of black wool roving. One of those is Shetland, the other has the farm name but not the breed of sheep. I was looking at a sweater design that uses thin lines of black and white to set off colors in the design. I can easily spin up one of the balls of roving to go with the purple merino I'm working on now. I think the two colors of purple would look striking on a grey background. I have a medium bag of grey Border Leister lamb fleece that would probably work. I have PLANS

 

7 hours ago, Harriet said:

If we don't guilt ourselves, will we do anything? Will we save energy and do MORE? Or will we do the same amount and just not feel as bad? Who can say? We must experiment to find the answers.

 

Yes, I am working on these experiments.

 

I am pretty happy with giving up guilt about housework. My grandmother (may she rest in peace) is never going to come over and be disappointed in my housekeeping. I will have houseguests in the next couple weeks, but they will not be critical. I can make choices based on the things that bother me.

 

I'm finding it harder to give up the guilt about how often I go to aikido. There is a very strong message in the interviews and writings from the senior Japanese instructors that people should practice a LOT. There is a clear implication that serious students are devoted to their practice and anyone who does not do that is not serious. They are right that a person has to put in all those hours of training if they want to reach the higher levels of the art. One of the challenges the art is facing now is that the first generation of senior people are passing away and those who remain need to reframe the practice for the modern world. How is aikido valuable to someone who can go to class two or three times a week and has no desire to ever become an instructor? I am figuring out that balance for myself.

 

For this weekend, I decided to go to aikido tonight and not tomorrow. The regular teacher will not be there tonight and I can help whoever is filling in. If no one senior shows up, I can teach the class. After that I can do grocery shopping. The dojo is halfway to the grocery store, and Friday night is the quietest time of the week to shop. For some reason no one takes their kids to the grocery store on Friday evenings.

 

Saturday class is taught by the chief instructor and is excellent, but I want a full day to work on things at home. I have a bunch of tasks on my list: finish cleaning out the garden, rake leaves onto the garden beds, scrub the floor by the porch door, vacuuming upstairs and finishing the mending. Dumbledore wants me to help with putting plastic on the windows. I usually have to do that task all by myself, so I'm happy to be flexible in when I do it to get help. I should also do some batch cooking for next week. I might even take out my frustrations on the flaking paint by the windows in the downstairs bedroom.

 

I have pretty much given up on chore sharing with Elf and Dumbledore. I suggested that we have a discussion about it several weeks ago. Elf has been at their new job for almost two months and has a steady routine. I have not heard a peep out of either one of them about choosing a time to talk. Dumbledore complains about Elf not doing anything and leaving messes. Elf complains about Dumbledore leaving messes too. If I don't want to be responsible for organizing tasks, I need to just sit back and observe. I know that nagging is counterproductive. Things are likely to get disgusting before either of them notice. I can keep my area clean and just ignore the common areas for a while. :P 

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On 11/5/2021 at 9:09 AM, Mistr said:

I am pretty happy with giving up guilt about housework. My grandmother (may she rest in peace) is never going to come over and be disappointed in my housekeeping. I will have houseguests in the next couple weeks, but they will not be critical. I can make choices based on the things that bother me.

 

I fully agree and support this attitude. I've been working towards this mindset for years and I'm finally there. We rarely, if ever, have house guests, and have finally found a balance where we don't bother tidying up before the rare occasion when someone comes over. A person who judges us based on the state of our home, is a person who will not be welcome back and who may even be phased out of our life. :) 

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Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34

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On 11/5/2021 at 4:09 PM, Mistr said:

 

😆🤣😂😇

 

In fact I have a bag of beautiful silver grey alpaca, and some lovely fawn baby camel down. I have not one but two balls of black wool roving. One of those is Shetland, the other has the farm name but not the breed of sheep. I was looking at a sweater design that uses thin lines of black and white to set off colors in the design. I can easily spin up one of the balls of roving to go with the purple merino I'm working on now. I think the two colors of purple would look striking on a grey background. I have a medium bag of grey Border Leister lamb fleece that would probably work. I have PLANS

 

That all sounds wonderful!

 

On 11/5/2021 at 4:09 PM, Mistr said:

 

Yes, I am working on these experiments.

 

I am pretty happy with giving up guilt about housework. My grandmother (may she rest in peace) is never going to come over and be disappointed in my housekeeping. I will have houseguests in the next couple weeks, but they will not be critical. I can make choices based on the things that bother me.

 

I'm finding it harder to give up the guilt about how often I go to aikido. There is a very strong message in the interviews and writings from the senior Japanese instructors that people should practice a LOT. There is a clear implication that serious students are devoted to their practice and anyone who does not do that is not serious. They are right that a person has to put in all those hours of training if they want to reach the higher levels of the art. One of the challenges the art is facing now is that the first generation of senior people are passing away and those who remain need to reframe the practice for the modern world. How is aikido valuable to someone who can go to class two or three times a week and has no desire to ever become an instructor? I am figuring out that balance for myself.

 

Hmm, difficult. It sounds like they're being pretty firm about what they want from you, but everyone wants something.

 

On 11/5/2021 at 4:09 PM, Mistr said:

I have pretty much given up on chore sharing with Elf and Dumbledore. I suggested that we have a discussion about it several weeks ago. Elf has been at their new job for almost two months and has a steady routine. I have not heard a peep out of either one of them about choosing a time to talk. Dumbledore complains about Elf not doing anything and leaving messes. Elf complains about Dumbledore leaving messes too. If I don't want to be responsible for organizing tasks, I need to just sit back and observe. I know that nagging is counterproductive. Things are likely to get disgusting before either of them notice. I can keep my area clean and just ignore the common areas for a while. :P 

 

Alas! Although Mr Harriet does a lot of organising and other work for us, he does not put things away reliably, especially in the kitchen. Even if I ask him to clean up he will do 90% and leave something. I want the kitchen clean. So now every morning if I find dishes and rubbish on my main work space, I just move it all to the area around the coffee grinder that I don't use. I just pile it up there so it can be the gross "Mr Harriet's Stuff" corner, while my main bench is clean. I think this approach is better for me than nagging.

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Weekend Report

 

I was on task all weekend. Sunday was rather less graceful than I would have liked. No points lost for slacking off.

 

Friday night I went to aikido weapons class as planned. One of the weapons instructors was there, so I was off the hook for teaching. I could relax and work on kata practice. After that I did the grocery shopping.  Elf and Dumbledore put away the groceries, which helps a lot. By the time I got home I felt like I'd been responsible all week and was grouchy. Dumbledore did his best to be silly and cheer me up. 🥰

 

Saturday I wrote a long list and got most of it done. I took breaks between the less pleasant tasks to do fun things. I finished spinning the third bobbin of singles of red-purple merino wool. I got a bunch of cooking done and scrubbed the section of floor that has been on my list since summer. There is nothing quite like doing floor exercises to make a person motivated to clean the floor.

 

Sunday was not as smooth. I got off to a good start, then Dumbledore wanted to go for a drive to check out a small town half an hour away. It was a lovely day and we had a nice walk and admired the turn-of-the century buildings in the downtown area. Things started to go sideways when Dumbledore wanted to take a different route back instead of the highway. We love going exploring in the country. The problem was that I had not allowed that much time in my plan for the weekend. We also did not find anywhere convenient to stop for lunch. We had agreed to stop at the hardware store on the way home to pick up window plastic and other supplies. By the time we got done with that, we were both hungry and grouchy. We barely managed to agree on a take-out place to get food. It was nearly 4pm by the time we got home. That did not leave me much time to do the outside work we had agreed to do. I mowed the front yard and half the side yard before it got dark. I was working on the garden when Dumbledore came out and finished the side yard mowing. (We are mowing instead of raking this year). Then I got back to the inside tasks.

 

I finished all the essential things, but it was a struggle and I had no down time. Any relaxation from the drive and walk were long gone by then.

 

On 11/7/2021 at 12:28 PM, Harriet said:

Alas! Although Mr Harriet does a lot of organising and other work for us, he does not put things away reliably, especially in the kitchen. Even if I ask him to clean up he will do 90% and leave something. I want the kitchen clean. So now every morning if I find dishes and rubbish on my main work space, I just move it all to the area around the coffee grinder that I don't use. I just pile it up there so it can be the gross "Mr Harriet's Stuff" corner, while my main bench is clean. I think this approach is better for me than nagging.

 

Yes, that approach can work well. Dumbledore used to share an apartment with roommates. Each of them had a tub for their dirty dishes. That way no one ever had to wash up after someone else. They tried to keep the stove and counters clear. Dumbledore said it motivated him to do his dishes when his roommates tubs were suddenly empty and his was full. :D 

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Level 60  Viking paladin

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