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Mistr plays with the pieces


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Mistr plays with the pieces - Challenge 30

 

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The theme of this challenge is to try fitting pieces together in different ways and decide what I want to keep using. Unlike @sarakingdom, I do not know exactly who I want to be. I completed a major goal in April. Since then I have been trying things out and taking time off.

 

Pieces to play with include:

 

Aikido. How often do I want to practice? How often do I need to practice to keep making progress?

 

Archery. This is a new thing that I want to include in my next level. Maybe not precisely a new thing. I did archery for a season in junior high. I'm going to say that any skill I haven't used in over 30 years counts as starting over from scratch.

 

Zen. Ongoing. Sometimes it seems to be getting better. Lots of times I avoid doing it at all. I signed up for a retreat the first weekend of the challenge. I'm feeling nervous about that. Putting it here may help me not make excuses to avoid it.

 

Exercise. My previous program let me make gradual gains in strength, but was not sufficient to keep my knees happy and healthy. In my May challenge I tried the GMB Elements program. That did some good things, but I felt like it neglected core work. It is supposed to have a good strength component. I think I am not yet flexible enough to make that really work. One of my options for this challenge is to work through the Elements series again.

 

Sleep. This means getting to bed early enough to get 7.5-8 hours of sleep. Resisting temptation is part of it. Planning ahead and prepping clothes and food for the next day earlier would be smart. Not trying to fit in ALL THE THINGS would help, but that is not likely to happen. :P

 

Household stuff. The guys are getting better about sharing the cooking and cleaning tasks. Elf is doing a lot and Dumbledore is making an effort. Hermes is missing in action - working 60 hours a week. My goal here is to get my part done efficiently without procrastinating and to negotiate about which parts are mine. Not to assume that if I don't do it, no one will. That might be true, but I need to ask first.

 

Fun stuff. Allow time for some. Even plan ahead to do fun stuff with other people. Radical notion.

 

To be updated as needed.

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Level 58  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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2 hours ago, Kishi said:

I'm feeling you on sleep. I have a lot of struggle with staying asleep and getting up too early. I'll be watching how this goes for you.

 

Also! Archery! Neat! Are you doing kyuudo, or are you doing western archery?

 

Sleep has been better in some respects and a struggle in others. We had a 3 inch memory foam topper on the bed for the last couple years. Dumbledore insisted it made a big difference, while I was not convinced. On our vacation we slept on at least five different firm mattresses. We both slept well and got up less achey than at home. After a couple nights home we took the topper off our bed. That seems to be helping my knees. They are less cranky at night, even when they have been complaining during the day.

 

Another factor is coffee. I decided that being functional at work was more important than avoiding caffeine. I can usually go to sleep okay when I've had coffee early in the day, but I tend to wake up more often in the wee hours and have more trouble staying asleep. I'm good about limiting coffee to one or two cups in the morning. However, I made coffee-Heath bar crunch ice cream last weekend. The big bowl of ice cream that I had after weeding on Sunday afternoon may have been a mistake. :D

 

I have a Mongolian-style recurve bow. The photo below shows a similar one.

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At this point I am doing Western archery. Somewhere in the garage there is a box that has a thumb ring and my archery glove. Until I find that, I am using the Western 3-finger draw. I bought a set of 6 carbon-fiber arrows. Those are much nicer (and more expensive!) than the older types. I may get a dozen cheaper bamboo or wood arrows if this project goes well.

 

My Zen teacher mentioned doing kyuudo at some point. I will ask him about it once I have my act more together. I expect that there will be a place for shooting at the monastery. This summer the big project is getting the residence building constructed. By next summer there will be novices in residence. That means plenty of labor for projects like clearing brush to make an archery range. FYI, there will also be an aikido uchideshi program. It will be old school, with required zen training alongside the budo training.

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Level 58  Viking paladin

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mmm. sweet, nourishing recurve.

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I keep looking to start up archery again. Like you, I did it a jillion years ago in school (and Boy Scouts). I always liked it. At one point, there was an archery range at one of the county parks. I'll have to look into that. Of course, I am about to start Muay Thai and have just embarked on a strength/muscle building weight program, so maybe I shouldn't overload my plate. :ambivalence: Although my daughter is a brown belt in TKD and has started fencing, I bet I could convince myself she wanted to shoot arrows with her old man!  :adoration:

 

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Week one days Sun-Wed

 

Review first, followed by whining.

 

Last Saturday was a total fail. I could not motivate myself to do any of the things on my list, not even the fun ones. I mostly reread YA novels (Patricia Wrede's Dealing with Dragons series). One of the things I didn't do was logging, so I don't have notes. To the best of my recall, I did grocery shopping Saturday morning. I tried to buy more plants for containers and couldn't find what I wanted. I know I skipped aikido. I was short on sleep which did not help. I took a nap in the afternoon in hopes of getting more energy. Nope. Dumbledore was out of town at a gaming convention and Elf went to a friend's birthday party. I got stuck in the "why should I have to work when everyone else is having fun?" trap. Stupid, but there it was.

 

Sunday was only half a fail. I recovered in the afternoon and got quite a bit done. I read the last novel in the series in the morning. I finished just too late to make it to zen practice.

  • Weeded back garden under the tree. Now you can see that there are ornamentals planted on purpose and not just a jungle.
  • Planted flowers in big pots for the front porch and back patio. Planted one hanging basket.
  • Weeded back patio with Elf. It is filled with white rocks and stone pavers. One of the stupidest landscaping choices ever, made by the previous owners. The rocks catch dust and leaves which break down to make dirt. Which grows weeds like mad. The only good thing is that there is landscape fabric somewhere under the rocks so that the weeds don't have deep roots.
  • Washed, tore into salad-sized pieces and spun dry all the lettuce in the fridge. Chopped up cucumbers, peppers, radishes and carrots for salads. Hopefully having easy-to-assemble salad mix will get us to eat it.
  • Made pie crust and put it in the fridge to chill. Harvested rhubarb and chopped it for pie.
  • Weighed out and ground nuts for making baklava.
  • Hauled out the old rolls of carpet scraps that the previous owners left in the storage space under the family room stairs.

I must have made ice cream on Saturday because I have notes about eating it on Sunday. My ice cream maker has two tubs that hold about 800ml (< 1quart) each. Batch one was chocolate almond made with coconut milk and almond milk, with almond extract and Amaretto for flavoring. It turned out very rich and tasty. Batch two was coffee heath bar crunch. I was not able to get heavy cream without additives at the grocery store, so I used half & half. Half & half has a fat content of about 10% compared to ~16% for Ben & Jerry's. That makes it taste more like ice milk than like premium ice cream. No problem. Coffee Heath bar crunch is my favorite flavor. I'll eat it regardless. Which I did on Sunday afternoon when I was taking a break from garden work. Apparently the espresso power I used has enough caffeine to make a difference. I did not sleep well Sunday night.

 

Monday started off on a good note with weapons practice. My partner and I worked on three of the jo katas. Still lots of little things to polish. We are enjoying having the freedom to play with the katas and check out alternative moves.

 

After that things went downhill. There were four people out of the office (two planned, one bereavement, one sick) and a fifth had to leave early to pick up a sick kid. I accidentally worked through lunch. I had been planning on going to aikido in the evening. Monday night class starts 90 minutes after I finish work, so that should have been fine. Nope. I got a chat one minute before I was going to log off and it lasted an hour. Not enough time to get to class. Grrrrrr.

  • I did co-op grocery shopping on the way home. Had things gone as planned, I would have done it on my way to aikido.
  • Finished reading a book of essays written by a friend. (Yay for friends getting published!) Counts as a fun thing.
  • Got clothes ready for Tuesday. Counts toward Sleep.

I did not have enough time left to do meditation. Nor energy for cooking. I think I made the right choice on reading instead of cooking at the end of a frustrating day.

 

Tuesday went a bit better. I did not get enough sleep because I stayed up to talk to Dumbledore a little when he got home from work at 10pm (planned) and woke up before my alarm (not planned - stupid brain).

  • 20 minutes meditation
  • Lunch with Dumbledore. His summer work schedule makes it hard for us to interact at all during the week. We are taking steps to deal.
  • More shopping on the way home. Found liners for the hanging baskets. The grocery store was restocked with heavy cream and Hermes' favorite cereal. Win.
  • Baked strawberry-rhubarb pie.
  • Prepped granola to bake.
  • Prepped clothes for Wednesday.

Still dealing with too much frustration and not enough exercise. I wasted waaaaaay too much time on FB when I intended to get some music playing through my tablet. I ate a bunch of sweets that I didn't need. My weight on Monday was 154.0 lb. That is at the Do Something Now level. Meaning that I would like to lose 5 lbs over the next several weeks. Emotional eating and not enough sleep are exactly the wrong things to do. My resolution for the rest of the challenge is to do something fun BEFORE eating dessert. Spinning, reading, going for a bike ride. No sitting around the kitchen table and eating because I feel sorry for myself and don't want to do work.

 

Wednesday

  • Did not drink coffee, in spite of only getting 7 hours of sleep.
  • Made a big salad for lunch.
  • Baked the granola.
  • Did warm-up and squat flexibility exercises while the granola was in the oven.
  • Picked raspberries and captured Japanese beetles.
  • Taught aikido.
  • Did Duolingo while waiting for Dumbledore to come home (counts as a fun thing)
  • Talked with Elf about friction with his best friend and other stresses in his life. (family thing that caused not enough sleep)

Happy thing: our division hosts an ice cream social every summer. I got to eat all the premium ice cream (local supplier) that I wanted. I had to work through lunch (still short-handed). It was worth it. Even the sleepy part an hour later. I know that some people would say eating lots of high-fat ice cream is no way to start a weight-loss plan. That may be true for them. My first successful weight loss regimen was the Chinese food and ice cream diet. I worked at a Chinese restaurant that summer, so most of my meals were meat and veggies with some rice. The only thing I ate at home was ice cream, because it was too hot to cook. I'm not trying to recreate that this summer. Instead I'm minimizing carbs, emphasizing veggies and trying to keep portion sizes reasonable.

 

Whining:

All the things hitting the fan at once.

  • Tuesday we replaced the leaking, 30-year old central air conditioner with a new one ($$$$).
  • As we were coming back from lunch on Tuesday, a piece of trim on the side of Dumbledore's car started falling off. In itself that is not a big deal. However, it is more proof that the car is rusting out and needs to be replaced soon.
  • Last night Elf hit something with my car. The front corner is crunched and it is not drivable. We were hoping to get a couple more years out of this car. It is paid off and has ~160,000 miles. Chances are that it is totaled. It is a 2006. Kelley Blue Book says that the best price we could get for it is in the same range as the minimum estimate for the repairs.

Elf was shook up when he woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me about it. I hugged him and told him that I was not mad at him. We will figure something out. So far as I could tell, he was just tired and not paying enough attention. He has prided himself on being a safe driver and feels terrible about it. I've been there, I know how he feels.

 

Dumbledore and I talked this morning and came up with a plan. Hermes is going to see if he can borrow a car from a friend for a few weeks so that we can use his car. That would give us the time we need to do some car shopping. The last time we had only one car (after I totaled my previous car), we lived less than 5 miles from my work. I was able to commute by bike. Now I'm 9.5 miles away. I'd need to work up to that and the extra time would be a problem. Part of the plan is to get Elf a bike or a scooter so that he has reliable transportation of his own. That would help him feel more independent too. We will cope.

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Level 58  Viking paladin

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Bikes are just about the pinnacle of efficiency in human transportation engineering.  If your area is bike-safe, that would be an awesome alternative for him.  (Sympathies for all; car troubles are some of the most annoying troubles.)

 

I am all in favor of ice-cream diets.  If I had an ice cream maker and could tailor to my macros, you can bet I would be on one this summer, too.

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I felt like I could run forever, like I could smell the wind and feel the grass under my feet, and just run forever.

Current Challenge: #24 - Mrs. Cosmopolite Challenge

Past: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6,  #7#8, #9#10, #11a & #11b, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23

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Oh no :( Car issues are dumb, but I'm glad Elf is okay.  I know exactly how it feels to just lose attention for a fraction of a second and have something bad happen to a car.  But I'm glad you guys have a semi-plan for getting everything settled.

RisenPhoenix, the Entish Aikidoka

Challenge: RisenPhoenix Turns to Ash

 

"The essence of koryu [...is] you offer your loyalty to something that you choose to regard as greater than yourself so that you will, someday, be able to offer service to something that truly is transcendent." ~ Ellis Amdur, Old School

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Thursday

 

Things went well considering how little sleep I had. I finally managed to work out at lunch. The left-over ice cream was all gone by the time I got to the cafeteria. Probably just as well. I did a scaled back version of my previous bodyweight day (incline pushups, lat pull-downs, hollow body hold, Roman chair leg raises). Plus squat mobility work as a breather between the hollow body holds and the leg raises. I felt better afterwards.

 

Late in the afternoon I managed to get away for a while to try to sort out a problem with my financial institution. I ended up spending more than 30 minutes on hold and did not get the problem resolved. I was furious about the poor customer service, even more than not getting the resolution I wanted. As soon as I got back to my desk, one of my team asked me to help a customer who was having problems. I talked him through the issue and got him on the right track. Maintaining a positive attitude the whole time. I now have the name of the manager of the service group at my financial institution. I am going to have a little talk with him about what is and is not good quality customer service. :devilish:

 

By the time I got home I was not good for much. I picked up Chinese take-out for myself and Dumbledore's gaming group.

  • Picked up CSA veggies
  • Picked raspberries and killed beetles
  • Did Duolingo
  • Prepped for Friday.
  • Got to bed by 9:40

I feel like I didn't get anything done, but writing the list proves otherwise. I did not have time for meditation. Having gamers in the dining room makes my usual location too noisy. Gaming is supposed to happen in the basement. I may need to lean on Dumbledore to keep working on his projects so that the gaming table is clear.

 

Elf had friends over at sometime after I went to bed. Once again the fan did its job of covering up the noise. Dumbledore stayed up late talking with them. This morning he confessed that he is getting too old to party with the young folks. I'm glad I was too tired to be tempted. Like him, I don't want to admit that I can't keep up with the kids any more.

 

Today has been busy at work. I'm glad that three people are coming back next week and only one is leaving for vacation. I'm probably going to miss weapons class due to car shenanigans. I shouldn't complain - this is one of the necessary steps to borrowing a car for the next few weeks. My big cleaning project will be to do the oven. The weather has cooled off enough that I can leave the windows open overnight.

 

This weekend I'm going to a zen retreat focusing on internal power. Should be interesting. I'll be offline most of the weekend. Have a good one!

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Level 58  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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On 7/14/2017 at 5:20 PM, Mistr said:

I finally managed to work out at lunch. The left-over ice cream was all gone by the time I got to the cafeteria. Probably just as well. I did a scaled back version of my previous bodyweight day (incline pushups, lat pull-downs, hollow body hold, Roman chair leg raises). Plus squat mobility work as a breather between the hollow body holds and the leg raises. I felt better afterwards.

Working out at work is one of those great ideas I seldom hear of people succeeding at actually doing.  You are a hero to the people.

 

On 7/14/2017 at 5:20 PM, Mistr said:

By the time I got home I was not good for much. I picked up Chinese take-out for myself and Dumbledore's gaming group.

  • Picked up CSA veggies
  • Picked raspberries and killed beetles
  • Did Duolingo
  • Prepped for Friday.
  • Got to bed by 9:40

Wow!  That's very productive!  Also beetle murdering.  I don't know how that works, is it cathartic?

 

On 7/14/2017 at 5:20 PM, Mistr said:

Today has been busy at work. I'm glad that three people are coming back next week and only one is leaving for vacation. I'm probably going to miss weapons class due to car shenanigans. I shouldn't complain - this is one of the necessary steps to borrowing a car for the next few weeks. My big cleaning project will be to do the oven. The weather has cooled off enough that I can leave the windows open overnight.

 

This weekend I'm going to a zen retreat focusing on internal power. Should be interesting. I'll be offline most of the weekend. Have a good one!

I'm sorry to hear about the car chaos and the AC replacement all hitting the fan at once.  That totally blows and as others have said, probably permits you to as much complaining as you'd like.  I'm sorry you haven't been able to get to as many of the practices as you would have liked, those sound enjoyable and like they're de-stressing activities.  I hope the zen weekend is good and you get what you would like out of it. 

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Current Challenge

Battle Log

Breathe deep.  Seek peace.  Bring a sword.  ---Kishi

Playlist for the Zombie Apocalypse

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On 7/15/2017 at 8:42 PM, Treva said:

Wow!  That's very productive!  Also beetle murdering.  I don't know how that works, is it cathartic?

 

Yes, quite cathartic. Japanese beetles are fairly easy to catch and drown. They are extremely difficult to kill by any other method. Raspberry leaves seem to be their favorite food. The adults attract more of their friends with hormones. I have never seen any small ones. I've been catching a dozen or more every day. I do a hunt for beetles before I pick the raspberries.

 

A friend taught me this method for killing them:

Take a 1 quart (1 liter) plastic tub and fill it halfway with water. Add a good squirt of liquid dish detergent or soap. I use empty yogurt containers. You want something with a big opening.

Hold the container under the leaves with the beetles. Tap the beetles into the container with the lid. They tend to fall off (intentionally) when disturbed. Some of them hang onto the leaves. You can get them off by pulling the leaf between the lid and the rim of the tub.

 

One of my neighbors told me he tried hormone traps to catch Japanese beetles. He said that the traps caught a LOT of beetles, but they attracted even more to his yard. The traps did not catch all the beetles and there were so many that his raspberry plants were eaten to skeletons.

Level 58  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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15 hours ago, Teirin said:

Any tips on oven cleaning?  It's on my list too.  I hate using harsh cleaners, but don't really see any alternatives for this. 

 

I use Easy-Off oven cleaner - the low fume variety. It works well with an overnight soak in a cold oven. I left the windows open even though this version does not stink like the older version. You will still want to wear rubber gloves when you use it. Cleaning the oven is one of the chores I kind of enjoy because it is so satisfying to see it go from black and gunky to shiny clean.

 

Oven cleaning pretty much requires harsh chemicals. The general approach is to use a strong base (usually lye = NaOH) with some detergent. The base combines with any grease in the oven to make soap. If your oven is not terribly greasy, there will be some caustic material remaining in the rinse water. I put down newspapers on the floor around my oven, just in case.

 

I tried cleaning the oven racks by soaking overnight in the tub with 1/2 cup dishwasher detergent in very hot water. The attempt was not fully successful because the tub slowly drained. It probably would have worked better if the gunk had not had a chance to dry again. Even so, I got a lot of the crud off. I put four sponges under the corners of the racks to protect the bathtub from scratches. That trick worked like a charm.

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Level 58  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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Weekend report

 

As I suspected, getting Hermes' car took long enough that I did not make it to practice on Friday. I had made peace with that by the time I was done with work. I got off to a productive start to the weekend.

  • Did Duolingo
  • Killed beetles
  • Sorted and started laundry
  • Set up oven and racks with cleanser
  • Meditation 23 minutes
  • Got to bed before 10pm

Saturday

I had the house all to myself. The weather was great so I had all the windows open. It was lovely to have fresh air. I got 9 hours of sleep.

  • Scrubbed oven racks
  • Scrubbed the tub to get rid of the gunk from the oven racks
  • Scrubbed the oven
  • Laundry
  • Aikido - felt stiff and out of shape
  • Cooked stir-fry with CSA pea pods, summer squash & green onions plus mushrooms I found in the fridge.
  • Did Duolingo

 I was busy getting stuff done right up to the time I had to leave for the retreat. It was a relief to get on the road and not have to think about getting anything else done. The zendo is about a 75 minute drive. This time I was smart and downloaded the Google map before I left. There is no signal at all out in the country by the zendo. I made it there in time to chat with people and pick flowers for the shrine before the retreat started.

 

Zen retreat:

The last time I was at the zendo was for a formal zazenkai. A zazenkai is short (~18 hours) but intense. The retreat was not as formal. It also turned out to be smaller - only six of us plus the Roshi and the jiki-jitsu. It started off about the same with zazen, walking meditation and more zazen. Then we started into the lecture and exercises on internal power. These are breathing and core exercises. The idea is straightforward. Getting the muscle control to do it is something else again.

 

Roshi also emphasized correct posture. This part might be useful to people here AND I think I can convey it correctly. One of his pet peeves is people sitting zazen with too much curve in the lower back. He says this comes from a miss-translation of an old text that says people should sit with the "hips forward". The Japanese term koshi is often translated as "hips", but really means the whole pelvic girdle region. Correct sitting posture has the hips higher than the knees to allow the legs to relax and the spine be erect. The legs can be in front (shins parallel, in half lotus or in full lotus) or kneeling with a cushion for support. The tailbone needs to be tucked down and the crown of the head extending up to stretch the spine straight from both directions. The chin should be in and the head back, not thrust forward. The upper body is tilted a few degrees forward from vertical. It certainly feels like tilting forward if you are used to sitting leaned back in your desk chair or car. If you have someone take a side-view photo, you will see that you are actually sitting straight. This posture puts your spine in alignment so that all the vertebrae stack on each other and you do not need muscle to hold yourself upright.

 

Having the correct posture is critical for letting your body relax and being able to breathe deeply using the diaphragm. He said this posture should be considered as an asana, because it comes originally from the same yogic tradition. He has strong feelings about the difference between actual Zen and the current trend for mindfulness meditation. The goal of zen is an integration of body, mind and breath to allow a different mental state. He says that cannot happen if a person is sitting with incorrect posture.

 

One of the nice things about this being an informal retreat was getting more sleep. At a zazenkai the particpants are only allowed 4 hours to sleep. We got to sleep a generous 6.5 hours. I was lying awake before the bell at 5:30am. :D The morning session was similar to the evening one, but with less zazen and more exercises. We practiced kiai (directed shouts). For the second round of practice we had a big bell and worked on making it echo from our kiai. Interestingly, volume matters much less than intensity in getting the bell to respond.

 

Overall it was a great experience. My mind was vastly more collected during zazen in the zendo than it is when I meditate at home or in the dojo. It could be the peace and quiet of being in the woods, the atmosphere of the zendo, or the good energy of the other people. Whatever it was, I felt a lot better about my practice. The internal power exercises are not all unique to zen. I have done some of them in aikido. Martial arts and zen have worked closely together over the last 1000 years. There are many practices shared in common. That said, internal power is not often taught in my lineage of aikido. I've heard some of the senior people mention it, but they don't give beginners exercises to learn it.

 

Sunday

I got home about noon after the retreat and continued to be productive. I was hoping to take the peaceful feeling of the zendo home with me, but that didn't happen. I did more cleaning and cooking. Dumbledore and Elf got back from their weekend trip. Dumbledore and I went for a long walk and compared notes on a bunch of things. Overall an excellent weekend.

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Level 58  Viking paladin

My current challenge    Battle log 

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In the middle of everything you posted, I'm struck by the rolls of carpet you got rid of from the old owners. Seems like you pretty consistenly work hard to sort through things and get rid of things you don't need. I'm perplexed by where in the heck it keeps coming from! One of life's mysteries.

 

I'm really glad you enjoyed the retreat.

 

I'll be interested to hear what you decide about how to move forward with all your different goals/interests/skills.

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Xena, Level 14+ Valkyrie Ranger

January 2017  December 2016

Oct/Nov 2016

 

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Week 2 

 

Monday

 

horse_8-5-2010.jpg?w=122&h=91

I got back on the horse as far as exercising was concerned.

  • Weapons practice before work plus some open hand advantage/disadvantage exercise practice
  • HIIT 20 minutes on the elliptical, squat flexibility, foam rolled ITB and quads. My knees were too sore for the heel-to-butt quad stretch.
  • Aikido - 1 hour basic class. Ukemi felt a lot better than last Saturday. Left after the first hour because my knees are still very cranky.

It was also a good day for getting other things done. I was productive at work in spite of only getting 6.5 hours sleep. Coffee was involved. I got done on time, which gave me enough time to drop off two boxes of clothes and random stuff to the charity shop and do Duolingo before aikido. I picked a full bowl of raspberries after practice.

 

Hermes was home for a change. Clearly he feels that he has been slacking at home, because he washed dishes and cooked the pork chops that were marinating in the fridge. So far as I know it was all on his own initiative. Maybe Dumbledore said something. I certainly didn't. Dumbledore got home from work and packed up the pork chops with veggies that Elf cooked into lunches. I feel like everyone is finally getting onboard the household cooking and cleaning bandwagon. :applause:

 

Dumbledore in particular is fired up to make changes in his diet. He had a frustrating conversation with one of his doctors. The result is that Dumbledore has resolved to take his health into his own hands, clean up his eating, get back on a regular gym schedule and lose 20 pounds. His first step is to cut out baked goods at coffee shops and to track calories for a week. He already precooks oatmeal with protein powder and raisins for breakfasts. He measures everything out so he knows the macros per serving. He would like to come up with standard dinners that can work the same way. Probably some kind of salad in the summer. He is also trying to limit eating in the evening. That is a problem on the days that he works until 9:30pm, but at least he is working on it. He gym memberships at work and at the Y, so that is just a matter of taking the time.

 

Tuesday

Sleep is still not going well. I stayed up half an hour later than ideal to talk with Dumbledore and Hermes, then my knees did not let me sleep well.

  • Mostly flexibility work at lunchtime. Knees not as sore as Monday.
  • Stopped at a greenhouse on the way home in search of fuschias and herbs. They were out of both, but had other plants on a 50% off sale. I succumbed and brought home 2 geraniums, 2 creeping phlox and two annuals for my hanging baskets.
  • Made two batches ice cream: vanilla (dairy) and peach (coconut/almond milk)
  • Did Duolingo
  • Washed dishes.
  • Meditation 13 minutes

Elf was cooking when I got home. I wrote him a list and he did most of the things. This time "cook veggies" was sauteing green beans with onions, garlic and slivered almonds. He washed the bathroom floor, then helped me with the ice cream beaters. He is making an effort to do his part.

Spoiler

He also took responsibility for dealing with the consequences of the accident. Hermes works at an auto supply company, and researched how much parts would cost to fix the car. Hermes has the skills to do the work. Elf volunteered to help with that. Elf does not have auto repair skills, but he can fetch tools and hold things. Hermes was gratified that Elf volunteered without prompting.

 

Dumbledore, Hermes and I are all concerned that Elf may have nightmares/panic attacks because of this. We have all told him that we are not mad and are in this together. Even so, he knows that he made a bad mistake that has consequences for the whole family. There has got to be a little voice in the back of his head that says his world fell apart two years ago when something happened that made his family unhappy. We are not those people. We are worried that it is going to take a long time for that to sink in to a gut level for Elf.

 

Wednesday

Reasonably good day at work, again thanks to coffee.

  • Weapons practice at lunch
  • Taught aikido. Worked on correct position for ura and keeping uke in front. Not trying to drag uke around. I see intermediate people mess this up all the time.
  • Grocery shopping. Not a usual Wednesday chore, but we were out of milk. Bad timing due to weather. Torrential rain. By the time I was done unloading groceries, I was soaked. Dumbledore and Hermes helped put away the food.
  • Washed kneepads, put a load of gis and whites in the washer.
  • Did Duolingo. 

I gotta say, the "keep your streak going" hype in Duolingo is compelling. Also effective in helping learn new vocabulary.

 

On 7/13/2017 at 9:31 PM, sarakingdom said:

Bikes are just about the pinnacle of efficiency in human transportation engineering.  If your area is bike-safe, that would be an awesome alternative for him.  (Sympathies for all; car troubles are some of the most annoying troubles.)

 

I am all in favor of ice-cream diets.  If I had an ice cream maker and could tailor to my macros, you can bet I would be on one this summer, too.

 

My area has tremendous bike trails. It is easy to bike around town, or hundreds of miles on old rail corridors. I did some investigation into bikes and scooters. A used bike would be much more affordable. I want to take Elf to a big bike store so he can figure out what style he prefers.

 

You can totally configure ice cream to your macros! I prefer the coconut milk ones to cream. Custard ice cream made with coconut milk is every bit as rich as the premium cream-based version. I have a Cuisinart dual-tub ice cream maker. It works great.

 

On 7/18/2017 at 8:43 PM, Xena said:

In the middle of everything you posted, I'm struck by the rolls of carpet you got rid of from the old owners. Seems like you pretty consistently work hard to sort through things and get rid of things you don't need. I'm perplexed by where in the heck it keeps coming from! One of life's mysteries.

 

Actually getting rid of the old carpet hasn't happened yet. I was going to ask Elf to drop it off at the city waste site, but now transportation is an issue. Prompted by your comment, I just did the research and learned that it should be recycled. For a fee. :( I can make that happen this Saturday.

 

On the plus side, I can use the storage space that used to be full of carpet to stash all the stuff I need to get cleaned up before Monday.

 

On 7/18/2017 at 8:43 PM, Xena said:

I'll be interested to hear what you decide about how to move forward with all your different goals/interests/skills.

 

One thing I'm going to do is start the GMB Elements program again. They just released an update for it. The program is now 8 weeks instead of 7. I haven't looked through all the changes yet. My knees felt really good in May when I was doing Elements. Hopefully I can get that back.

 

My current plan is to go to the archery range again next week. They have a weekly meet on Thursdays and I can talk to the membership person. They offer a half-year membership starting in August. I think I can swing that. Time is another question that I need to sort out.

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Hmm...I can see how this will be tough for Elf. Feeling guilty and maybe insecure. But maybe there can be a silver lining. Of course you will all get through it together, and then maybe he'll be able to feel more safe and trusting? (Not sure if those are quite the right words, but I think you know what I mean).

 

Elements sounds really interesting! Makes sense for you to give it another round.

Xena, Level 14+ Valkyrie Ranger

January 2017  December 2016

Oct/Nov 2016

 

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Week 2 Wrap-up

 

Thursday

  • Sleep was bad. Implemented zero caffeine protocol.
  • Exercise - started revamped Elements program. I can tell that I made progress from when I first did this in April.
  • Picked up CSA veggies and picked flowers from the CSA garden.
  • Dinner with Dumbledore and Hermes (whose girlfriend cancelled on him at the last minute), walk with Dumbledore. We finally had enough time to get through the backlog of things we wanted to talk about.
  • Duolingo and raspberries for fun.

Friday

  • Slept much better. Still not caught up. Maintain zero caffeine.
  • Elements day 2. Very aerobic and harder than I expected. After warm-ups, the program has you do each animal movement for five minutes, with breaks if you need them. Oh boy yes did I need them. I could feel it in my arms and core.
  • Skipped aikido and had a low energy day at work. I felt a little better after exercise at lunch, but not enough to be productive.
  • Puttered a little at home. Got the laundry going. Avoided doing real cleaning.
  • Got together with my friends to split CSA veggies. My BFFs partner is a bartender. He made us fancy drinks when he got home from work. I was introduced to the Bobby Burns. Yum. We stayed up late talking.

Saturday

  • Slept in. Knees are still bad, but I can sleep through it. Lighten up on caffeine restriction to have coffee-Heath bar ice cream at lunch.
  • Hauled old carpet and other junk to the city site. There a places that take it for recycling, but they charge $0.10 per square foot. That's $10 for a 10x10 scrap of carpet. Yikes. The city does not charge anything if you bring it to them.
  • Lots of weeding. I can tell the Elements movements are paying off. Bear walk and squats are pretty much what one does when weeding. My front garden now looks partially under control again. I got rid of the patch of ragweed right next to the driveway. This is what we get for being gone in June. Elf and I had it clean before we left. We did not have time to get mulch on it, and now it looks like a jungle again.
  • Long walk with Dumbledore
  • More tidying and prep for cleaning.
  • Sat on the back porch and read a novel, at Dumbledore's suggestion. This is me not getting too stressed about having people over.

Sunday

Got up to find that a friend of Elf's was sleeping in the family room. So much for my plans for morning cleaning. Dumbledore and I had a lovely breakfast on the front porch so as not to wake the sleeping young people.

  • Got to the dojo with time for warm-ups and Zen, no aikido. My insides were very unhappy about something. I know it was not breakfast because Dumbledore and I had the same yogurt with fruit and granola, split into two bowls. Go figure.
  • I gave Elf's friend a ride home, then Elf and I went to work on cleaning. He did the kitchen, bathroom and back porch while I did the family room, front entry and general picking up. Dumbledore got home later and worked on the walls with a Magic Eraser. He had never used one before. After a couple minutes he was searching for more spots to clean. :D

The house is looking good. Dumbledore promised to put away or stash the books and papers in the living room and dining room. I'm feeling positive about having people over.

 

Another positive thing is that my weight was back to 152.0 this morning. I'm not sure how I lost 2.4 lbs in a week. I was being good about what I ate. I suspect the intestinal distress on Saturday had something to do with it. My waistband snugness matches the scale, so I think the numbers are accurate. I'll take it. I feel a lot better around 150 than around 155.

 

 

 

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Sweet! So it looks like it was a good end to the week. Things seem to have mellowed out some after the drama of the wrecked vehicle, and it sounds like things are going about as well as they can for all of that. But yeah. Life sounds fun right now. Lots of work, lots of things to do, yeah, but lots of leisure, at least for the weekend. Very cool. :)

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Having people over last night went well. I picked up Chinese take-out for Elf and my dinner so that we would not make any mess in the kitchen. Then Elf took off for a friend's house for the evening. ;) I did some last minute cleaning and was ready when people arrived.

 

After almost three years, I'm starting to feel like part of the spinning group. I'm sure it helps that I have made a point of attending meetings more regularly. There were three people who are newer than me. They seemed just as unsure of being there as I was. I did my best to make them feel welcome. It was nice to be able to actually spin on my wheel at a meeting. I have a lovely spinning wheel that does not travel very well. I finished off the silk that I've been working on for the last while.

Spoiler

2673099788_ca8e71d726.jpg 

My wheel looks almost exactly like this one. It is a Country Craftsman. I got mine modified so it can take a larger bobbin or the bobbin shown in the photo. Mine has the same finish and the distaff.

 

I got out my knitting rather than starting the next phase of this spinning project. I'm working on a two-color knee sock. It is shown in white and grey in the photo below. Mine are in light gray and varigated purple. People admired it. I feel like I am at about the same level as most of the people who have been in the group for a while. I'm an advanced spinner and an intermediate knitter. One of the new members is the president of the local knitters group. Everyone is more than willing to help. Several of the members are weavers too.

fe0.jpg

 

After last night I've gone from having mixed feelings to being solidly positive about continuing with the spinning group. I may also start hosting craft nights for other friends. Dumbledore has organized some table-top gaming nights. I enjoy those too. Having a craft night would be a way to broaden my social circle and hopefully increase my connection with people.

 

Project goals:

1. Ply the silk I just finished with the mixed fiber yarn that is waiting on bobbins. Plying goes faster than spinning, but there is a lot of it. I estimate about 10 hours of plying.

 

2. Spin flax for yarn for a hat. I was admiring packable sun hats while I was on vacation. My baseball cap keeps the sun out of my eyes but has absolutely no style. I want to make a fedora/Panama style hat. I will use crochet. There are lots of patterns online that I can adapt. This gives me a good reason to spin the flax that has been sitting in my stash for years.

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Week 3 goal review

 

Aikido. I've been skipping practice a lot. Maybe I needed a break. More likely I need down time and sleep. I have a bunch of aikido seminars coming up in August. For the next week I want to get back on a normal schedule. That means class on Saturday and Monday. Plus weapons class on Friday because my weapons partner had to cancel out today.

 

Archery. Progress so far: Bought arrows. Had a lesson. Checked out the range near work.

To do: go to the archery store three blocks from my house and ask about other ranges. Find archery leathers and thumb ring somewhere in storage.

 

Zen. Did the retreat. That went much better than I expected. To do: sit more often. Closely related to sleep goal.

 

Exercise. I'm happy with my progress on this one. Over the last week I've gone through week one of the revised GMB Elements program. The program has six days a week. The first week alternated more intense workouts with active recovery. I'm glad that they went to just numbering the days instead of labeling them with days of the week. This way I can do them when they fit in my schedule and not feel like I am getting behind. I started week 1 on a Thursday and did day 6 on a Wednesday. I plan to do a core workout tomorrow instead of taking a rest day. It would be convenient if the Elements rest day fell on Wednesday, when I normally have weapons practice. I'm not going to push that because I rarely manage to do two days of planned exercise on weekends. It will probably take me 8-9 days of real life to get through one week of the program.

 

I am still pondering why my knees got so bad at the beginning of July. Definitely not injury. Maybe a combination of inflamation and tight muscles? Too much walking and too much sitting still? Ten days ago I could not pull my knees to my chest or do the heel-to-butt quad stretch because my knees hurt when compressed. Now they are tight but no longer sore. I can do the intense part of the Elements workout longer between breaks and my form is getting better. Dumbledore commented that I have new muscle definition in my arms. So far this is working. Keep it up.

 

Sleep. Gahgh - sleep has been a bear. At least I am getting better quality sleep over the last few days because my knees are less painful and I cut way back on caffeine. Planning ahead and prepping clothes and food for the next day has been going okay.

Things I can do to make a difference:

  • Do the prep earlier. I can lay out clothes and make lunch any time after I get home. It does not have to happen right before bed.
  • Wash up early. I can brush my teeth and change into pjs before Dumbledore gets home from work. One less thing to do last.
  • Block time for meditation last on nights when Dumbledore is not around.
  • Make better choices between chores and fun so I feel relaxed and accomplished. A person has to have aspirations, right?

Household stuff. Thanks to the massive efforts this weekend, we now have a clean house.

Cooking:

I did no cooking and there are no lunches ready to go. Worse, I thawed a package of chicken thighs that are adding to my cooking guilt. I volunteered to bring a salad to the work picnic yesterday. That used up half a cabbage, the aged pea pods and most of the green onions. The fridge is still full of veggies of conscience. Tomorrow is CSA day when we get yet more veggies. Elf is spending a couple days with a friend and Dumbledore and Hermes are working. This time I know for sure that no one else is going to cook.

  • Saute summer squash with onions and red bell peppers
  • Cook greens (collard, kale and carrot) with pine nuts, garlic and lemon juice
  • Make granola (we are going through a batch a week)
  • Marinate the cucumbers or make salad
  • Make calico beans to use up the hamburger
  • Figure out how to use up the fennel and the other half a cabbage. I have recipes that use cabbage. Fennel does not occur in my cooking world.
  • Marinate and grill chicken breasts and thighs
  • Stretch goal: make baklava. I have the nuts ground and ready to go. I've thawed the phyllo dough and put it back in the freezer. Hopefully it will still be okay. Now it is just a matter of time for buttering layers of dough and putting it all together. This falls under the Dark Side attractions banner.

Dreaded tasks:

Pick up the balls that dropped when I was working on other things. I DID do some work on weeding and finances this weekend. Both need lots more work. I haven't done filing in a couple months and it is piling up. I need to dig through boxes in the garage to find my archery stuff, so I might as well deal with the junk at the same time. You would think it would be easy to throw out stuff that I haven't used in years. Amazing how much emotional pull it still has. Highest priority for this weekend is to get budgeting done so we can figure out a plan for all the big ticket items we are facing.

 

Fun stuff. I have done a bunch of fun social stuff. Walks with Dumbledore. Having the spinning group over. Hanging out with my friends. I've been less good about taking down time for myself. When I look back over the last week, the part that glows in my memory is lounging on the back porch after dark, reading a novel. I can tell I'm not getting enough down time when playing sudoku on my phone seems like a great time.

Implementation: make it a goal here to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something fun that does not involve screen time. Having to report to you will help me decide I can let the dishes wait.

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17 hours ago, Mistr said:

I'm happy with my progress on this one. Over the last week I've gone through week one of the revised GMB Elements program. The program has six days a week. The first week alternated more intense workouts with active recovery. I'm glad that they went to just numbering the days instead of labeling them with days of the week. This way I can do them when they fit in my schedule and not feel like I am getting behind. I started week 1 on a Thursday and did day 6 on a Wednesday. I plan to do a core workout tomorrow instead of taking a rest day. It would be convenient if the Elements rest day fell on Wednesday, when I normally have weapons practice. I'm not going to push that because I rarely manage to do two days of planned exercise on weekends. It will probably take me 8-9 days of real life to get through one week of the program.

 

Bodies are funny like that. They don't always necessarily respond to programs, and they don't really punish you for missing a program either, but they do tend to respond well to hard work being done when it can be done. Take what you can get and make the most of it.

 

17 hours ago, Mistr said:

Sleep. Gahgh - sleep has been a bear. At least I am getting better quality sleep over the last few days because my knees are less painful and I cut way back on caffeine. Planning ahead and prepping clothes and food for the next day has been going okay.

Things I can do to make a difference:

  • Do the prep earlier. I can lay out clothes and make lunch any time after I get home. It does not have to happen right before bed.
  • Wash up early. I can brush my teeth and change into pjs before Dumbledore gets home from work. One less thing to do last.
  • Block time for meditation last on nights when Dumbledore is not around.
  • Make better choices between chores and fun so I feel relaxed and accomplished. A person has to have aspirations, right?

 

Hmm. These are probably some things I could stand to do as well. Part of the reason I get to bed so late is because of the shared restroom. I could totally shower early and then pop dinner in the microwave.

 

Also, I hear you on making better choices between chores and fun. Getting dinner is a chore. Sitting on the phone for a while before then is fun. It's not fun having to deal w/ the consequences afterward.

 

18 hours ago, Mistr said:

Fun stuff. I have done a bunch of fun social stuff. Walks with Dumbledore. Having the spinning group over. Hanging out with my friends. I've been less good about taking down time for myself. When I look back over the last week, the part that glows in my memory is lounging on the back porch after dark, reading a novel. I can tell I'm not getting enough down time when playing sudoku on my phone seems like a great time.

Implementation: make it a goal here to spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something fun that does not involve screen time. Having to report to you will help me decide I can let the dishes wait.

 

Yeah. There's definitely a difference between fun social stuff and just fun stuff that you do by yourself. They both have value, but that means you need them both to get good out of them.

 

I hope you enjoy your time away from the screen!

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