Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Challenge, Day 14 - Two weeks!

The last few days were either fail or I took off from ballet, but I'm back today!  I've been keeping up my walking goals and eating well at the very least.

I've increased my daily walking goal to 12,000 steps.  Yesterday I ran before work, then realized that running before a twelve hour day that turned into 80+ degrees was not good for the stomach.  Trying again tomorrow!

Here are my videos at Give it 100.

Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14

Also, this recipe makes some freaking delicious soup!  I got about seven servings out of the pot I made, and they're quite filling!  I used whole cream instead of coconut milk, and while I finally planted some basil today, dried basil worked quite well!

Here's my balcony garden!  Sweet and Thai basil and peppermint.  And a cat.  Apparently the cats really liked the smell of the basil.  Apparently this is not poisonous to cats, but they still don't get to eat my plants! (I may end up getting them a catnip plant though.)


Today I also contacted a community garden place and requested a small plot to rent so I can plant real veggies.  Yay for healthy vegetables!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Challenge, Day 10!

I made it to Day 10!!  I'm proud of me!

So today's workout was just under 30 minutes, but I did lots of stretching, about 15 minutes of ballet, and then yoga.  Here's my video over at Give it 100.

I'm starting to notice that I can't do a demi plié in fourth or fifth position without my front heel popping up.  Actually I can barely bend my knees at all without my heel popping up, and I'm curious what's up with that.  I've injured my ankles repeatedly in my clumsiness, but you'd think that would effect stability and strength, not ability to bend forward.  Or maybe I'm doing the pliés wrong.  That's possible too.

I've been kinda bad about food the last few days, but surprisingly today I was under my count.  Wouldn't have figured that - I thought I'd be a few hundred over.  I guess I'm getting better at portions.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Challenge, Day 9

Today I got myself a little foam roller for my legs and did some stretches for my hip flexors.  I also tried to think about keeping my hips straight as I walked around and while I was dancing.  It's hard!  I'm fighting my legs to do it.  It doesn't hurt, but my abs get tired really quickly.  It made pliés easier though!

I danced and did some yoga for about 20 minutes, really focusing on where I put my feet and how my hips were moving.  It was pretty exhausting, but felt good.  Lizard pose was a bit easier and I didn't have to put my knee down today.

Here's a video of me explaining how I got a call from an unknown number that deleted my recording at Give it 100.

Summer Reading List


May is almost over, and it's time to get back to work for me.  Not that I've ever really stopped.... but it's time to ramp up the intensity again.  So here's my summer reading list:
I'm keeping track of my progress at Goodreads.  I'm pleased to say I only had to add one of those books to their site!  Can you guess which one?  (They had a different version of the Japanese title.)  Feel free to add me if you're there!

I'm turning 無縁 into another 100 day challenge, which may be harder than getting me off my butt to dance and stretch.  It's one of the foundational works for medieval Japanese history, but Amino's writing style is incredibly dense and my academic vocabulary in Japanese sucks.  It's 268 pages, so I'm aiming for around 2.5 pages a day (stopping at a reasonable break, obviously).  I expect to fill an entire notebook with vocab lists and notes.  I'll be glad I did in the end...

I'm currently reading The Art of Not Being Governed.  I'm about 27% through it, according to Goodreads.  So far it's fantastic.  The chapter I finished discussed how and why people entered state spaces and how state administrators defined "civilized" and "barbarians" according to a given group's position vis-a-vis state administrative control.  An interesting point that we don't deal with too much in Japanese history is the further ethnicization of non-state people and once-state people who moved out of state control and became "barbarians".  I'm really excited to keep reading it.

The next three on the list are Inter Library Loan books, so they need to be read first.  I also need to take copious notes on those as they'll be on my prelims list in three years and, well, if I can read notes on something I've already read when I'm reading through a list of "everything written in English about premodern Japanese history" instead of reading 300 page books again, well...  They're also very thought provoking subjects.  I'm on a state formation/statecraft/performance kick the last couple of months...

I'm super excited about JAPANimals.  It's one of the books we sell through my university, and a damaged copy came through so I was able to snag it since it can't be sold.  I've been itching to read this for a year!

The next two must be read by September, since they were also freebees from a student organization (with the caveat that I read them and present on them in September).  I'm curious about Taiheiki.  I've skimmed a little of it (same with Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns), but the prose is... ick.  It's a translation, for starters, and the bits I've seen in Classical Japanese aren't very nice to read to begin with.  As for Chronicles.... that makes me alternately want to laugh or throw something.  It's a translation of a primary source, and the writing is fine, it's just a pseudo-religious political tract written at a very frustrating point in history (that I probably am too invested in).  Anyway, it's something I need to be more than familiar with, so copious notes will be taken.

The next one is a non-Japanese history book that was cited in The Art of Not Being Governed.  I added this book primarily because it deals with maritime spaces.  I probably won't read all of it, but it looks interesting.  The last book was supposed to be read for April (same deal as my two primary source books - free book, have to present), but I only had time to skim it.  I'm saving the best for last, right?  I'm really itching to read it though!!  I have another book on the sea and island studies (The Sea: Thalassography and Historiography edited by Peter N. Miller) that's been on my reading list since the fall, but I'm not sure how ambitious I want to be with my language program about to start.

So enough writing about reading.  I'm off to read!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Summer Challenge, Day 8

The new pillow is fantastic!  I'm excited for my new bed tonight.   I'll be heading there shortly.

I got wrapped up in working at the library this afternoon/evening (suddenly it was getting dark...) and I'm beat, so by the time I got home I didn't have the energy to dance or do yoga.  I did watch an interesting video on anterior pelvic tilt, which is something my chiropractor pointed out to me probably eight years ago now.  The video was interesting, [warning, vulgar guy at the beginning being, well, piggish].  Eric Helms, the guy being interviewed, looks really well studied (B.S., M.S., working on Ph.D in exercise science).  He also doesn't sound like a moron, so if you can ignore the interviewer, he has some interesting points.  Essentially, work on stretching hip flexors and activating glutes and balance muscles.  So I tried a couple light, non-body building variations of things he recommended.  I'll be adding them into my stretching routine.

Other than that, I did my 10k above the 1.5k from this morning.  And I re-realized I need to plan my food better.  I'm good through lunch, and then dinner time happens and I don't want to deal with food again.  Something to work on.

It's nothing spectacular, essentially a 10 second recap of this entry, but for the sake of continuity, here's my video at Give it 100.

Summer Challenge Day 7

Wednesdays are my day off academia for the month of May, so mostly I stuck around my apartment.  I didn't quite make my goal, just over 9k walking, but I was in the middle of my walk when it hit midnight, so I'm considering the remaining 1.5k that showed up on today's count as yesterday's.

I did 30 minutes of ballet and stretching today, with another sequence of the humble warrior/lizard pose that I learned yesterday.  I tried today just based on the notes I took yesterday for pliés and tendus to some piano music.  It was a good workout, and I feel like my body's remembering the sequences a bit.

Here is my video over at Give it 100.

In tangentially related news, I bought a new bed today.  It's being delivered tomorrow.  It's much softer than I've ever slept on, but I have two months to decide if it's right for me.  It seemed at the store like it won't hurt my shoulders, which would be fantastic.  Three years sleeping on the floor was not kind to them.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Summer Challenge Day 6

My motivation lagged a bit today, but I made it!  In spite of oversleeping, falling asleep while reading, and succumbing to a bottle of Pepsi, I still had a healthy breakfast and a fantastic dinner at Piolo's with a couple of my Museum Studies classmates.  And even though I didn't run, I beat my walking goal by 3k!!

In addition to about 40 minutes of pliés and attempting tendus, I did a quick yoga sequence following this video.  Partly, I really want to strengthen my legs (and wow did this sequence highlight how not strong they currently are).  My hip flexors have always been very tight, and while I don't have any ambition of doing the splits this year as I can barely touch the floor with the tips of my fingers right now, it's as good a time to start stretching those as any.  Maybe I'll even stop walking like a duck!

Anyway, here is my video for day five at Give it 100, complete with my "GAH THAT HURT!" face.

I rate today another success!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Summer Challenge Day 5

I'm sure my challenge title will change just about every day until I settle on something that doesn't sound absolutely corny, but for today, it's the "Summer Challenge"...

Anyway, I spent 45 minutes today practicing at my new barre, mostly pliés.  I worked up quite a sweat!  The barre is great.  A little flimsy, but that's good!  Otherwise I'd be leaning on it even more, which would really not help the whole building balance thing.

Here is my day 5 video over at Give it 100.

I narrowly made my walking goal.  Caught the number just in time to go for a stroll around my apartment complex and get to 10k.

All in all, day 5 has been a success!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

New Challenges

I feel like this is the first summer of the rest of my life, and I'm super excited.  The last three years have been tough, and a lot's happened, but my life right now hardly compares to where I was a year ago when I stopped this blog.  So as I'm getting ready for the huge changes coming up, I'm trying to get my physical health up to speed with my mental health, and darn it, my body is going to listen to me!!!

So, I'm on a 100 day challenge.  Today was technically day 4, but I didn't think to revive this blog until talking with my mom today, so first entry.  I'll be updating every day throughout the challenge to keep in touch with my mom, who's doing her own challenge with me.

My main challenge is to learn ballet.  It's less random that it probably appears since I spent a good number of sighs while in Tokyo wishing I had the guts to get myself into a leotard and be a newbie next to the slender, feminine Japanese women and start dancing again.  It's been one of those hobbies I loved sitting in the back of my mind, but at any rate I'm feeling less timid and wanting to take the leap into a dance class here.

So, for one hundred days I'm stretching, practicing what I can off of videos, and enjoying feeling tall and pretty.  My landmarks are 25 days (I buy ballet slippers), 50 days (I buy a leotard and some tights), and 100 days (register for class).

You can follow my Give it 100 profile here, where I'll be posting video updates.

In addition to dancing, my health and fitness goals are:

  1. avoid gluten containing products that make me sick
  2. cook for myself 
  3. run a minimum 3 times per week
  4. work on core strength and posture
  5. minimum of 10k steps per day
I'm also trying to swap some fat for muscle, and since 100 days is about 14 weeks, I'm aiming to loose that many more pounds.  That will put me at 136, my max weight when I lived in Tokyo and 10 pounds above my target weight.

My reward for mornings I run is breakfast of meat and a duck egg omelette.  Yum!!  

I think that's all.  Here's a picture of me working on my new ballet barre Gary helped me assemble.  


For the record, this is the pattern I used, with a couple modifications.  It still needs some paint and I want to stain the the wooden rods, but for now, I'm loving it!

Anybody else want to join my summer challenge?  Let me know!  We can help keep each other accountable!