Wednesday, April 13, 2011
As we start the BLC round 16, the Wisteria Wolves have been challenged to post our personal, daily goals for the next 12 weeks.
Set THREE goals for this round.....and here's my criteria:
1st goal must be food related.
2nd goal must be exercise related.
3rd goal must not be related to food or exercise.
I had a really hard time with this... I wanted goals that weren't too easy (after all, this is supposed to be a challenge) but also realistic. I don't want to set myself up to fail, and my life makes it difficult to set rigid standards. I travel a lot and my schedule.... well, it's fluid, for lack of a better word. Plus I don't want to push myself too hard and re-hurt my hip, like I did with the bootcamp.
1) First goal must be food related.
I think I am going to focus on getting at least one fresh fruit or vegetable a day. That may not sound like much to other people, and I often get more fruits and vegetables in my diet, but vegetables and fruit are a constant struggle for me. And since I don't always control my food options and I don't always have an internet connection to track my food every day, this seemed a good, realistic, daily goal. That will help keep healthy diet in mind, at least. Of course, I won't limit my aspirations to this--but this will be my goal.
2) 2nd goal must be exercise related. This, again, I struggled with but I have decided that 30 minutes pf exercise 5 days a week will be my goal. Part of me really wanted to set it to 6--that's what's needed for the 12 week streak challenge--but my hip doesn't really like it if I don't give it at least one, often 2 days of rest a week and I just don't know that I dare push myself that hard. I usually get well more than 30 minutes of exercise when I do work out--but I'm still recovering from being sick and my hip is bothering me again, and 30 minutes gives me some flexibility for those days when I'm just not my best. Also, some exercise routines I can't do yet for more than 30 minutes.
3) 3rd goal must not be related to food or exercise. After a lot of thought, I decided that this is a good excuse to get into the habit of meditation by meditating at least 5 days a week. It doesn't have to be long--I'm just starting this so even 5 minutes is good enough. It just needs to be regular. I've been wanting to develop some kind of meditation practice for probably 2 years now; this will jump start that. This could be any kind of meditation practice--I have a number I hope to experiment--including moving meditations like knitting or braiding (but braiding while watching tv doesn't count as meditation, since the goal is a quiet mind.)
We were also supposed to post a before picture. I hope that this works as I couldn't get my computer to read the SD card. This picture was taking this evening after we cleaned the balcony off--our apartment complex is doing some work outside tomorrow that we need to have everything, even furniture, off the balcony, so we took the opportunity to clean the balcony while we were at it.
Monday, April 11, 2011
I haven't talked a lot about my involvement in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) outside of fencing, but it's a living history group that recreates courtly life in the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, (600 CE to 1600 CE, roughly) and other cultures that had contact with Europe (eg, Persian, Turkish, even as far as Japan). On the martial side, in addition to fencing, we have armored combat, equestrian (jousting), archery (including combat archery with arrows tipped with wide blunts like tennis balls), and thrown weapons. On the arts and sciences side, we study and, when possible, replicate a wide range of practices, from dancing to cooking to illumination/calligraphy to making furniture to weaving to making jewelry to making soap to spinning. Sometimes these arts and sciences are just done--we make things, like armor or embroidery or whatever because we want to have them to wear, to use, or just because it's fun to have. And sometimes we document them (using pictures or text to show how what we made is based on actual historical practices) and enter them into competitions.
While I'm obviously involved with the fencing element, I also shoot archery (on-and-off, since I don't have access to a regular archery practice right now) and I've been heavily involved with the A&S side for as long as I've been in the SCA. I bead, I braid, I did some lucet (cord making) and embroidery before it hurt my hands; I do Viking wire weaving... among other things. And, I suppose no surprise since I'm in a research-heavy field of study, I love doing research and have, in the time I've been in the SCA, done a lot of research on a lot of different subjects--including clothing styles, because I have found that fashion is a fascinating window into the lives in different times and places. But one thing that I'm not is a seamstress. I know what a lot of the clothing should *look* like; what I don't know is how to make it.
Which is part of the reason it's entertaining that this past weekend I participated in my second Quest for the Golden Seamstress. Golden Seamstress is a particularly intense A&S competition. Instead of entering something we've individually spent months working on to be judged, teams bring all their materials to the site and, in 20 hours, create an entire outfit from the skin out. Documentation is written ahead of time, and we can make certain not clothing elements (shoes and accessories not made from cloth) can be made ahead of time, but the more you can make on site, the higher your score. There are three levels of competition--Novice, Advanced, and Master. My team, Mac and Cheese, had 5 members (we're allowed up to 6) and competed at the Advance level. We created, in one 20 hour period, the clothing of a 10th non-Muslim woman wearing Arab style dress living in Baghdad.
A lot of research and preparation went into this project. Three looms were warped ahead of time, fabric was dyed (though it cannot be cut or marked in advance, we can dye it ahead of time), and lots of research was done, compiled, and written up in a document. We tried to document everything, from clothing design to materials available to techniques. I didn't know anything about Arab dress (let alone 10th Century non-Muslim dress) and I didn't know anything about tablet weaving and not a lot about the documentation for 10th century embroidery... so it was a crash course to learn about these things so that I could help write up the documentation.
We got on site about 6:30 pm Friday to set up though the actual competition doesn't start until 10 pm. We then had until 6 pm Saturday to finish. For our outfit, we had 5 pieces of clothing (long loose shorts/pants that went under everything, a sleeveless short tunic, a closed sleeved tunic, a sleeved tunic that buttoned down the front and opened in front from the waist down, and a heavy, lined coat) 4 veils, and a pair of leather sandals. In addition to that, we made a tablet woven belt and two stretches of tablet woven "wire" brocade (we used thread instead of gold wire because gold wire is very expensive) and decorative embroidered bands... all of which was made on site, including designing the pattern of the clothing. While we did use sewing machines for the structural seams (since this clothing was intended to be worn), all the visible stitches (hems, etc.) were hand sewn except on the pants.
I had someone tell me before the competition that it didn't seem like that much of a challenge since we could use sewing machines, but believe me, it is. 2 of our team members did nothing but weave for the better part of the 20 hour period. 2 of the remaining three created the pattern, worked the machines and did hand sewing; one of them also made the shoes. The last one (me) spent the first part ironing all of our fabric and then hand sewing the rest of the night. It is physically very intense--not in the same way as working out, but we spent hours in the same position, repeating very small movements. I did not sleep at all for over 36 hours total; some of my team members took short naps but only for an hour or two (one of our team members actually fell asleep in the middle of making hand-made buttons--she was still holding her needle and the cloth button she was making but out cold; periodically her hands would move like she was sewing but she was out cold). We tried to remember to eat every few hours--fortunately I had brought food so we had a lot of relatively healthy snacks, though not a lot of vegetables and fruit; mostly things like nuts, peanut butter, whole wheat crackers and bread, hard boiled eggs, and cheese. We drank lots of tea and even more water, and I and another team member got up every couple of hours to do about 5-10 minutes of yoga to stretch our backs and hands out as well as give us a mental break.
It was not a hallmark healthy lifestyle weekend. I did not sleep; I didn't record what I ate and I honestly couldn't tell you at this point what I actually did eat, though I know I stayed away from sweets most of the evening (I did have 2 Hershey kisses around 3 am, and I had a few slices of jello jigglers made with Mt. Dew which can't be at all healthy but gave me the kick I needed to keep going when I was running on fumes). But I met all of my goals as far as eating regularly, drinking lots of water, and stretching regularly.
And we did an AWESOME job on our project, if I do say so myself. It looked great. The fabrics--while bought separately over a long period of time because she liked them, and not been intentionally bought to go together--they looked incredible together and we had lots of compliments all night long on the fabric. Even though we tried a lot of things we had never done before (this is not normal for Golden Seamstress but our team seems to have a tendency to do this) it all came together well and looks, well, gorgeous. I don't know if I have any good pictures; I had problems with my battery and I know a lot of people were having problems getting good pictures because of the lighting and number of people there, so I don't know if I will have any pictures to share. But it looked really beautiful.
At 6 pm, all sewing etc. stops and the model gets dressed for a mini fashion show for the judges, contestants, and day visitors who wanted to see what we'd done. After that, we cleaned up our areas, packed, and waited for the judges to decide... It didn't take all that long this year, but I swear this is the longest part of the whole thing because the adrenaline has crashed, we're all bone tired and beyond, and have nothing to do but wait. But finally the judges came out.... and we won our category! Whoo hoo!
I'm still a little stunned that we actually won. Yes, the outfit we made was beautiful, but you have to realize that the other teams did an incredible job as well. There was a lot of really beautiful outfits made, and lots of quality research that went into them--so it's some pretty stiff competition. But we won!
Thursday, April 07, 2011
I've been really busy I'm afraid.... got a major project this weekend (which I'm really excited about, but isn't health related) so I haven't been around much.
But I wanted to say that I got my team for the BLC 16.... and I'm really excited because I got the team I wanted, Wisteria Wolves, with 4_1Healthycyndi! Whoo hoo!
Or I should say.... ARROOO !
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Remember how my doctor was so upset with me because I weighed (at the office 180) and I couldn't figure out how I jumped 10 pounds? Well, according to my scale, I didn't. I weighed myself this morning, as well as finishing the last of my base line measurements for the BLC, and I weigh.... 169 lbs. Which is within a pound (and smaller, at that) than I weighed the last time I measured myself. And while maybe the Wii Fit isn't the most accurate scale out there, it has held up pretty well against the other scales I've had access to--certainly not off by 10 lbs! Nor did my other measurements jump by any shocking level--not that I was really expecting them too. If they had, I wouldn't be able to keep wearing the same clothes!
Anyway, for the BLC we were encouraged to record some non-scale measure baselines so that we can track our progress in ways beyond the scale. This seemed especially a good idea for me, since I struggle to even lose a little weight, and my total goal for the challenge is only 6 lbs--which places my goal right now for 163 pounds.
So my non-scale baseline:
How many flights of stairs can you take before becoming winded
Well, 20 flights before my legs hurt too much. I never really became winded.
How much weigh can you lift/How many reps
Bicep curls10 lbs, 35 reps
How many crunches
30 (to the point where pain/hard to do control, maybe not limit where physically unable to do any more)
Upper arm: 13.0
Lower arm: 10.5
What size are you wearing
Size 14, but its tight.
I can't say that I'm particularly happy with the size and physical measurements (I'm more happy with the fitness ones) but it's a baseline. That means it's my starting point, not my ending point--by the end of the challenge I hope to have improved all of these measures.
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