Sanity in Question

I think it’s about time I do another update on my fitness program.  Yes, I still am keeping up with the Hero’s Journey! The first week of August was a bit of a write off though.  I did manage to do a bit but only 2 out of 9 days, oops.  I didn’t feel too bad about skipping the first weekend since I was fairly active.  I did a lot of walking and went dancing for 3 hours on Saturday night.  I was kind of funny when I hit my step goal for Sunday before 9am since I woke up at 8:30.

Then I got thrown off track with having to work out of town for a few days and I had to kiss my routine goodbye. I gave myself the following weekend to relax and just try to get my focus back and it worked!  I’ve done my exercises every day for the past 5 days and done all bonus quests and moved up to level 2 on a few routines.  I’m feeling really good about it all!  I’ve stopped weighing myself for now because I haven’t been moving.  Not sure if it’s the muscle gain or something else, but looking at the scale was depressing me.  Instead, I’m focusing on how I’m feeling and the other minor changes that have happened since starting to exercise.

Just a few days I started doing the Hero’s Journey, some of my coworkers decided to get together at lunch every 2 weeks  to discuss health and fitness.  It’s a bit of a club and we meet to discuss our fitness goals and exchange tips in an effort to motivate each other on living healthier lives.  It’s been great and there’s a wide variety of fitness levels attending these meetings so everyone gets something out of it.

As a group we decided to enter a company team into a 5k walk/run for charity next month.  Well, I’ve started the exercise thing, but I haven’t done anything remotely resembling running in over a year.  It IS a walk/run so I could technically walk the whole thing, but I decided I want to challenge myself even more.  I’ve decided to start the Couch to 5k program on top of the Hero’s Journey.  I’m going to try to do both simultaneously but life does get into the way sometimes, so on some days I might just run and take a rest day from Hero’s Journey.

I am questioning my sanity slightly, but I plan to complete Tough Mudder next summer. I know the more effort I put into it now, the easier it’ll be later.

A Missing Presence

I had all the intentions to finish up the 2nd half of my Beer 101 review today, but I doubt I’ll get to it at this point.  I’m having a lot of trouble focusing, so I apologize if this post is disjointed.

This morning I woke up in a bit of a fog, despite sleeping very well, and the first thing I saw was a birthday notification for a friend who passed last winter. It’s hard to think that it’s already been close to 8 months since he’s passed.  Just the other day I got news about convention guests and thought “He’ll be so excited to find out about this!” before reality came crashing down.

In the grand scheme of things we weren’t really that close. We never hung out much or kept regular contact beyond Twitter, but he’d been a constant in my life for several years.  He was the type of person you could always count on cheering you up and always had a smile even though life dealt him a shitty hand.  I miss him so much and the world is a darker place with him gone.

Happy Birthday, Tai. Hope you’re having a grand ol’ time.

Beer 101 Thoughts (Part 1)

My favourite local watering hole hosts a “Beer 101” once a month.  The title is a little misleading since it’s not really a beer for beginners thing.  It’s a tasting event where you’ll sample 6 different craft brews with a complementary food pairing for each one.  Throughout the session there would be little facts and tidbits about the history and making of beer. Both me and the boyfriend are beer lovers so we try to catch as many of these as we can. And success! Last week we managed to make it out so I thought I’d write down my thoughts on the event.

Beer #1 Lugtread Michelada

A Michelada is similar to a Bloody Mary (or Caesar) except instead of vodka it’s beer mixed with tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce and some lime juice.  This is the first time they’ve served “beer cocktails” and while it wasn’t terrible, I’d have preferred the beer by itself.  The beer that was used is one of my favourite lighter beers.  It was Lug-Tread lagered ale from Beau’s All Natural.

The drink was paired with breaded shrimp wrapped in lettuce with a bit of cocktail sauce and garlic aoli drizzled on top. It paired very nicely but this was a little unsurprising since Caesars are often garnished with a shrimp on the glass.

Beer #2 Limp Puppet from Great Lakes Brewery

Limp Puppet is an 3.8% Unfiltered IPA and it was paired with a sharp parmesan cheese.  I was pleasantly surprised with Limp Puppet since I’m normally not a fan of IPAs.  I tend to find them entirely too hoppy for my tastes but this one was really nice.  The hop flavour was present, but muted and it had a lot of fruity notes that toned down the harshness of the hops. This pairing while excellent, kind of got lost a little between the other two pairings of this half of the night, but it was a wonderful palate cleanser.

Beer #3 Portes de l’Enfer from Stack Brewery

Portes is a 7% Biere de Garde (“keeping beer”). I’ve had this one before so I don’t have much  initial thoughts.  It’s quite tasty and enjoyable despite it’s higher alcohol content but not a favourite.

The highlight of this one was the food pairing which was SCOTCH EGGS!  You have no idea how happy I was to have these because they’re pretty much non-existent in the area.  For those of you who don’t know what they are, scotch eggs are soft-boiled eggs, wrapped in meat, battered and deep fried.  These particular ones were wrapped in prosciutto but they’re often covered in ground pork sausage.  They’re apparently a new menu item and I’m ecstatic I can finally  cure my cravings for this dish.

Stay tuned for part 2

Return to Final Fantasy!

Yesterday, I finally got some progress in FFXIV after a week of not playing!  It felt nice to come back to this world I love.  I started out with my daily leveling roulette and got Sastasha.  It had been a long while since the last time I’d run this dungeon and it definitely felt weird returning to it while playing a machinist.  At those low levels I have very few skills and starting out at level 30 it was an adjustment to switch around my rotations.  There were lots of skills that are key in my mind that just weren’t available.  It was also difficult to manage my threat. It seemed like I just looked at a mob the wrong way and it suddenly wasn’t interested in the tank. I blame it on the fact that is was a gladiator. Marauder tanks are best.

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Once that was done I got some major headway into the main story quests. They sent me back to Thanalan and picked up the threads to the storyline right before Heavensward released. I won’t mention any story details because I don’t want to spoil it for anybody.  I do have a few non-spoilery thoughts that came up while playing through however. My love for Raubahn continues to grow.  He’s a very enjoyable character.  My first impression of him was a little indiferent. He was the stoic, battleworn general and you really didn’t get to see much beyond that. It’s now clear that he has many more layers and is a very kindhearted person.  You can tell just how much he cares for Nanamo and it’s enough to break my heart.  I’m incredibly interested to see where his story goes from here.

I have to say how impressed I am with how they’re handling the story.  In most of the other MMOs I’ve played, only the plot of the current expansion matters and if you haven’t played the others it really doesn’t matter.  But with FFXIV that isn’t the case.  It’s one epic continuing storyline and if you don’t play through the previous content you won’t understand the plot and will miss out on a lot of the charm.  The story from 2.0 can seem really long and make you feel like you can’t catch up, but trust me it’s 100% worth it.

Gaming Goals

I’m really struggling when it comes to thinking up topics for Blaugust posts. Many of the prompts I’ve been seeing are gaming related, but I’m not playing anything other than FFXIV.  I’m not keeping up with a whole lot of gaming news either.  Whenever I see Twitter blow up (good or bad) about something I tend to just ignore it for the rest of the day.  I’m just not that interested anymore.  That being said, I still do listen to game recommendations and I still consider myself a gamer.  I just think I’m a little burnt out.  So the one prompt I’m running with is:

What are your gaming goals?

Philosophically: Well that’s simple, to have fun with a group of like-minded people, preferably friends.  I’ve realized in the past couple of years that unless a game is short, it won’t stick with me if I can’t play with my friends.  The exception being PVP. I hate PVP. I still love RPGs and action/adventure games, but I find myself getting bored about 6-10 hours in and dropping them completely. (RIP Ni No Kuni and Dragon Age)  I get sad when I see people rave about games like that because I know that I’ll never see them to the end.  Having the option to play with others, even if it’s just interacting in the chat, seems to keep me from getting bored and I can continue playing a game hundreds of hours later.

I have a few goals in my games that I want to set for myself.  I want to level up to 60 in FFXIV, finish Final Fantasy 5 for the Four Job Fiesta, Hatoful Boyfriend as well as Astebreed.  This is in order of priority and hopefully to finish by the end of August. It’ll provide me with more Blaugust content too, so even more incentive!

To many, this doesn’t seem much of a challenge, but the summer is always incredibly busy for me.  The weekend is usually when I do the majority of my gaming and thus far I’ve been lucky to have one free every month. Once September hits, everything should slow down and I’ll get the chance to catch up with everything.

Rekindling Childhood Hobbies

This week I’m working out of town. I’m a little excited because it’s the first time I’ve been taken to a client review but on the other hand, ugh clients. My mom’s always happy when I get the opportunity to work at the other office because I end up staying with my parents.

Unfortunately this means I don’t get to play any FFXIV this week. I just want to finally get to 60 and start playing with the rest of my Free Company. The story has been really good so far though, and the leveling experience is a lot more enjoyable than most other MMOs I’ve played over the years. The 1-50 content can be a little tedious but with Heavensward they really seem to have refined the experience. I can’t wait to jump back in and see what happens next.

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Not being able to game means that I need to find other ways to entertain myself and fill my evenings. Last night, while sitting in front of the TV, I was perusing the app store on my tablet looking for a simple, mindless game to pass the time. I stumbled upon Colorfy, a mobile colouring app and suddenly the evening was gone. I was transported back to my childhood where I spent many hours filling black and white pages full of colour. It’s such a simple but powerful joy.

My mom was sitting on the couch next to me and after a while inquired as to what I was doing. She was immediately interested but didn’t like the fact that it was a digital medium. She’d much prefer colouring on paper. Suddenly we were looking up various adult colouring books. And earlier tonight we went out to the book store and purchased some with shiny new colouring pencils.

You guys have no idea how excited I am to get started on this book. I’ll grace your eyeballs with the creations that I’m most proud of soon enough.

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Dealing with Anxiety and Self-Doubt

I completely missed Tuesday’s post even though I committed to a post every week in the beginning.  The reason being was that I ended up gaining 2 lbs this week and it hit me harder than I thought it would.  I realize that it’s probably due to gaining muscle mass but it’s difficult to rationalize that.  I’ve still been keeping up with the Hero’s Journey though.  Earlier in the week I even decided to move up to level 2 for some of the days.  Upper body days with push ups are still giving me a hard time so those I’ll still do at level 1.

I’m really proud of myself for keeping up with this.  Yes, I’ve taken rest days, but never more than 2 per week and it’s really because the summer is crazy busy.  I’ve done up to Day 15 at this point and that’s 25% of journey complete!  It doesn’t even feel like that long and I’m baffled that I’ve already moved up an intensity level.

This weekend, I won’t be doing any of Hero’s Journey however because I’m at a weekend-long family reunion camping thing.  Shower facilities are limited and I don’t want to be all stinky and sweaty for that long. I’ll be outside the entire time and doing lots of walking, so at least I won’t just be sitting on my butt the entire time.  Although I think the alcohol consumption might just counter that. Oops. (My family loves to party)

BLAUGUST

Yep, I just started blogging and decided that I’m going to do this thing.  I may be a little crazy but I’m never one to do things by halves lol  For those of you who aren’t in the loop, Blaugust is a blogging event where you’re challenged to write 31 posts in 31 days.  Essentially, one post every day for the month of August, but if you fall behind you can catch up by making 2 posts in a day.

I decided to jump on this train in the hopes that it forces me to write.  I don’t particularly enjoy writing.  My creative outlet in past was drawing but lately that hasn’t been fulfilling to me. My background is engineering so numbers are my happy place.  Technical papers? No, problem! It’s easy to explain my design or summarize findings but I’ve always had trouble putting my thoughts and opinions on paper.  I still have nightmares from having to write essays in English class.  I now realize this stems from a combination of two things: 1) Anxiety related to being terrible at writing and 2) Years of conditioning about  how there’s a “right” and “wrong” answer or way of doing things. By forcing me, or at least giving me good motivation, to post something everyday I’m hoping that writing will get easier and that it’ll work these issues out of me.  Practices makes perfect, right?

It’s only the first day of Blaugust, so there’s still time to join if you’re interested! Head over to Bel’s Blog for a list of rules and guidelines and register on the Blaugust Community Nook to join!  You’re a winner if you complete all 31 posts and a Survivor if you write at least 15.