Reducing – ROW80 2019 R4-17

I’ve been really focused on reducing things in my life lately that aren’t bringing me joy. One of those things is formal piano lessons. I gave up on the formal lessons for now. I just don’t have the time and it’s turned something I enjoyed into something less fun. My teacher was awesome, but I need less on my to do list. I’m going to keep playing regularly at home though. I just felt like someone else would benefit from the time with her more and I’m sure someone out there wants lessons as a Christmas gift. With that said, I’m going to focus on learning music I like and using some songs I don’t to stretch my skills. I need to get into playing with a metronome, but I think I’m going to put it at a slower speed just to get comfortable with it. I think the money I’m going to save on lessons, I’ll put towards a Soundbrenner Pulse.

Also, tickets to concerts. I thought I had missed a band I really like. Then it came up in my Facebook notifications and even though it’s not until August, I got myself a ticket.

Another area is extra martial arts. I think I’m past the point of trying new arts or “collecting kata” as my Grand Sensei might call it. Not that I’m disinterested in learning new things, but I don’t want to commit to those new things the way I do with my other two arts. I decided this one in part while I was at a seminar this weekend. There was nothing bad about it, but while a friend was describing one of the kata at dinner, I could see he was really passionate about it. I didn’t feel that way at all about it. In the end, I just missed the arts I do practice.

Though it has been a short time, I like having less formal bookings on my schedule. I feel a little less stressed and like I have more time for the things I enjoy. I also like not having to leave home as much.

HEALTH & FITNESS

I’m working on getting my medical records transfered to my new doctor.

I also want to get back to skating regularly. I briefly thought about joining a gym, but realized I really just need to get back to skating. Skating, Martial Arts, and some home activities like my glider and Rushfit are more than enough for me to get back into shape. And the money I save can go toward a trip.

HOME

I haven’t done much on the declutter recently, but will get back to it soon. I have written a little plan to deal with the paper portion. I think that is going to be a huge deal once I get going on it. I think I’ll start this Saturday.

PIANO

I’m thinking about trying out the chord-based way of learning piano. It’s supposed to be a quick way to learn. I found an online course that is inexpensive and the bonus is that I won’t have to drive anywhere in bad weather or schedule around it.

  • Let It Be
  • Lean on Me
  • Jurassic Park

READING

I’m about two thirds of the way through Stephen King’s Thinner. I’m really enjoying it and wondering how it’s going to end.

  • 2/3

WRITING: GRIM TIES

I haven’t done more on this project yet.

  • 9,525/50,000

WRITING: SPARKS

I’ve been scaling back to be able to do more on this one.

  • 73,744/80,000

R~

My World is Shrinking

Lately, I’m realizing Ottawa is much smaller than I thought. It began on my birthday when I found the access to the Rideau Canal, which has been close to my workplace all this time. Buildings I’ve known the addresses of for over a year, but never seen are around the corner from my dojo. The sempai, or senior student, at my dojo works in the same building as me. My friend’s dojo is around the corner from the park where Prose in the Park was held a couple of years ago, which is also a short walk from the bus station I frequented during school. All of these things I’ve only discovered this month and many were on the weekend that just passed!

Speaking of the weekend, mine was packed. Friday was spent making a Fukuro Shinai. It took about 4 hours and I still have to finish the handle wrapping. It has been the hardest part to make look nice. My fingernails were a bit sore on Saturday. Some of my fingers still hurt. Leather-working is pretty hard!

Otherwise, this weekend I battled my air conditioner as another heat wave struck Ottawa. For some reason, the exhaust tube keeps coming off and spewing hot air back into my condo instead of out of it. I’m hoping Gorilla tape will settle the matter.

Saturday brought my first piano lesson with my new teacher. She was really nice and I felt pretty comfortable with her right away. I think it’s a good fit. Because I’m only doing lessons biweekly and she has vacation during what would be our second class, I actually won’t have another until mid-August. That gives me plenty of time to perfect the piece and scale she assigned me. I really like the contemporary book we’re working with too.

WRITING

I haven’t made any progress since Wednesday as I’ve been too busy on the weekend. I’ll be back at it in force soon though.

  • The Page & The Magician: 71,969/80,000

FINANCES

Nothing new here though I think my car might be paid off by now, so yay?

  • OSAP Loan: 3.17%
  • Savings: TBD*

*My adviser and I will meet again in the fall to get things rolling here.

FITNESS

  • Gym: 0/3*
  • Iaido: I was nervous for the demo, but I got a bit of practice time before we went up that helped to calm the nerves. It went really well and there were a few interested people, so maybe we’ll have a couple of new students.

*This will probably be in September.

HOME

  • General: I’ve got another box of stuff ready to go. I hope to be done cleaning sometime in this millennia.
  • Bathroom: Nothing much yet, but I have started some little things like a basket for the things I use everyday. I plan to get a couple more like it to put on eventual corner shelves. One will be for my hair dryer and flat iron.

FRENCH

No news here.

  • Read: 9/30
  • Class: I’ve reached out about assessment at work. After that, I can find out about training.

MUSIC

  • Piano: I started classes and I really like this teacher. She has me working on Let it Be by The Beatles. Also on my homework list is the C Major scale.

R~

Where I’ve Been Lately

Sorry I dropped off the planet for a bit. Last week was packed. A friend was visiting, so I spent a lot of time with her. In between there were meetups, a work lunch for a departing colleague, cleaning Sensei’s garage, responding to a Letter of Intent, the condo Annual General Meeting, a manicure, sightseeing, video games at The Blurry Pixel, a walk through GlowFair, BBQs, and B-Movie night.

Sunday brought the Dojo BBQ where we practised Tameshigiri to test our cutting on straw mats. I seem to be getting worse each year, but it’s likely partly because I haven’t been going much over the winter. Also because of overthinking and trying too hard.

Today brought filling out security clearance application forms and fingerprinting. Hopefully that all works out okay.

With everything going on lately, writing has been taking a backseat. I’m worried I won’t get this short story done in time, but part of me feels like it doesn’t matter because writing shouldn’t be about getting things published and money. It should be about exploration, fun, learning, and more.

My pilot was rejected. I’m okay about it. Maybe I’ll turn it into a feature length film instead. I prefer writing those anyway.

Goals Update

WRITING

  • Horror Short Story: 1,473/7,000 words [Due: June 30]
  • Horror Script: Waiting for the next phase.
  • The Page & The Magician: 71,993/80,000 words
  • Puppy Chow Script: Revision not started.
  • The Blood Waitress Club: 24,092/80,000
  • The Mockumentary Script: 10/120 minutes
  • Artos Red Script: 2/120 minutes

HOME

  • Dishes: 95%
  • Laundry: 85%
  • Entrance: 80%
  • Recycling: 90%
  • Mirrors: 3/7

FRENCH

  • Read: Charlie et la chocolaterie

FINANCES

  • Car Loan: 99.97% paid off.
  • OSAP Debt: 3.16% paid off.
  • Mortgage: 14.81% paid off.

FITNESS

  • Iaido – 1/2 (Sun, Tue)
  • Workouts – 0/5 (Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat)

MUSIC

  • Learn piano*

*I intend to focus on this a lot this summer.

R~

Resilience

I’m late on this post, but I was away at a women’s martial arts weekend. It was an excellent weekend filled with catching up, targeted training, and inspirational speeches. I learned a lot and it even knocked something critical loose for The Blood Waitress Club.

The keynote speaker spoke about everyone having a Bank of Resilience. She said this bank is one you put deposits into by doing things when you don’t feel like it such as going to practice. This allows you to increase your ability to handle adversity. Each obstacle you get past prepares you to handle hardship. In other words, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

I liked that message because I know it to be true for myself. Each situation I have faced has helped me get through others. But it’s also true that it allows you to reach new heights. Another speaker from Team Canada Karate mentioned that we need to stop telling our girls to be careful when they accomplish the same thing as a boy like playing hard at soccer and getting bruises. I think it’s not only girls who are living in fear these days though. I’ve met many people who forsake their dreams out of fear. Fear of failure, of success, of change. I think that’s what it comes down to. Change for many generations meant death, so it is ingrained in us to be wary, but often it will bring us closer to our dreams coming true or prepare us to handle the obstacles that remain in the way of reaching them.

After that comes a life we couldn’t even imagine we could have. So many settle for less than they are worth and I think that is sad. There is nothing wrong with abandoning a dream because it no longer fits you though.

I got some news today and it sounds like my next chapter is starting soon. More to come on that in the weeks ahead 😉

R~

Seminar Recap

It was wonderful seeing my friends though I was kind of stuck in my head for part of the trip.

One thing that was really good is that I was more prepared for sore feet this year. Also, going with fewer, but larger bags turned out better as we ended up in the section without the elevator and having to lug things up four flights was not something anyone wanted to do more than needed.

I drank a little much the one night, so I can’t remember all of the conversations with Mansfield Sensei from the UK and he had a lot of wisdom to share. I’m sad about this. A lesson learned for the future.

I took a number of notes on katas that were small changes with large ripple effects in terms of my own understanding.

I’m reading The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma right now. It talks about how most people spend much of their days ruminating on the same things as the day before. And how being stuck in a loop won’t get you to where you want to go.

At the seminar, we were told to stop settling for limited iaido when we can have so much more. It was a moment when martial arts learning directly applied to life. In the martial arts context, too many are doing things too literally to the book whether or not it actually would work in a real situation.

It now has been wondering how often I am doing things in life just because it is the way others do it. How often am I settling for less without reason to?

Goals Update

WRITING

  • P.A.N. Pilot: Submitted!*
  • Horror Short Story: 433/7,000 words [Due: June 30]
  • Horror Script: Waiting for the next phase.
  • The Page & The Magician: 71,993/80,000 words
  • Puppy Chow Script: Revision not started.
  • The Blood Waitress Club: 24,092/80,000
  • The Mockumentary Script: 10/120 minutes
  • Artos Red Script: 2/120 minutes

*It feels fantastic to have finished something as it has been awhile!

HOME

  • Bathroom Door: 100%*
  • Dishes: 95%
  • Laundry: 80%
  • Entrance: 80%
  • Recycling: 90%
  • Mirrors: 3/7

*The door has been trimmed and hung. It isn’t hanging level and I need to make another alteration at some point, but I’m calling it done for now!

FRENCH

  • Online: 25/30 hours
  • Class: 24/30 hours*
  • Buy French K.I.S.S.

*I got 49/60 on the practice exam, which I hadn’t studied for!

FINANCES

  • Car Loan: 99.97% paid off.
  • OSAP Debt: 3.16% paid off.
  • Mortgage: 14.81% paid off.

FITNESS

  • Yoga – 0/3 (Wed, Fri, Sat)
  • Iaido – 1/2 (Sun, Tue)
  • Walking – 1/7 (Daily)
  • HIIT – 0/2 (Mon, Thu)

MUSIC

  • Piano: Chopsticks
  • Trumpet: ?

R~

Give Your All

Martial arts today gave me a thought. We were talking about how it’s important to give 100 percent because 90 percent will likely mean you die. And you don’t want to regret not giving that last 10.

Anyway, I got thinking about how people talk about giving 110 percent. Many say that’s not mathematically possible. But what if most what people believe is their 100 percent is actually their 90 percent?

Where did this come from? Well, on a number of occasions, I thought I couldn’t give more until I had to. Playing roller derby was one of those things that pushed me harder than I ever knew my body could physically go at the time. Divorce, miscarriage, and job loss are some of the things that pushed me far beyond what I thought I could handle emotionally.

Translating that to my writing, I have no idea where I will get to. I don’t even know if the sky is the limit. Maybe the only limit is myself.

Anyway, some things have changed lately, so some of my goals are changing. My back and neck have been giving me trouble and the only thing that seems to help them is yoga, so I’m now doing some yoga several times a week.

Goals Update

WRITING

  • P.A.N. Pilot: 13/44 mins [Due: May 31]
  • Horror Short Story: 360/7,000 words [Due: June
  • Horror Script: Waiting for the next phase.
  • The Page & The Magician: 71,993/80,000 words
  • Puppy Chow Script: Revision not started.
  • The Blood Waitress Club: 24,092/80,000
  • The Mockumentary Script: 10/120 mins
  • Artos Red Script: 2/120 mins

HOME

  • Bathroom Door: 90%*
  • Dishes: 90%
  • Laundry: 70%
  • Entrance: 75%
  • Recycling: 90%
  • Mirrors: 2/7

*To be finished after the long weekend. I have been stalling partly because of my back, but also because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to cut it in a straight line. Recently, I realized I could clamp my large metal level to it and use it as a guide. And maybe if I put the line on painters tape, I won’t disturb my paint job. Then I’ll just have to seal the top of it, reattach the wheels and hang it.

FRENCH

  • Online: 14/30 hours
  • Class: 18/30 hours
  • Buy French K.I.S.S.

FINANCES

  • Car Loan: 98.2% paid off.
  • OSAP Debt: 1.47% paid off.
  • Mortgage: 14.81% paid off.

FITNESS

  • Yoga – 2/3
  • Iaido – 1/2
  • Walking – 1/7
  • HIIT – 0/2

R~

Safety First!

The story of another sword practitioner online upset and angered me. Their “most qualified” dojo person in swords came back to their dojo with a shinken (a sharp katana) and pressed the tip of the blade near the person’s genitals.

Let me explain a couple of things. We practice with wooden swords until our teacher approves us for our first grading, which is a brown belt rank. To take that test, we must use an iaito (a dull katana – or more specifically one that cannot be sharpened as it is made with an alluminum alloy). We train with iaito from brown belt until we are challenging for our 5th level black. Many years of practice happen in between each level of black.

One of the big deal things is never place your sharp sword in a way that is likely to hurt yourself or another. Safety is important. Hell, we practice pretending our non-sharp sword IS sharp to be sure that when we are ready for a sharp one, we won’t be assholes!

This is akin to pointing a loaded gun at someone. One flinch in the wrong way and that man could’ve have been neutered or worse! There is a large artery not far from the genital area. It could have went seriously bad and what if emergency services couldn’t make it in time?

So if you are ever training in sword and your “teacher” pulls that kind of crap, get a new one pronto. Safety is paramount in sword training.

Goals Update

Writing

  • Horror Script: First draft submitted.
  • Digi60 Script: First draft submitted.
  • Horror Short Story: 360/7,000 words*
  • The Page & The Magician: 71,165/80,000 words
  • Puppy Chow Script: Revision not started.
  • The Blood Waitress Club: 24,092/80,000
  • The Mockumentary Script: 10/120 minutes

*I wasn’t sure I’d have room for this, but I do, so why not? If it’s accepted, I’ll make a bit of cash. It’s due in June.

Home

  • Bathroom Door: 90%*
  • Dishes: 30%
  • Laundry: 20%
  • Entrance: 65%
  • Recycling: 70%

*Handsaw acquired, but I may push this to after Easter at this point as it’s heavy, I’m slightly injured, and I want to be able to watch it in case it has issues.

French

  • Online: 5/30 hours*
  • Class: 9/30 hours

*Need to put in 4 hours to catch up.

Finances

  • EI: Complete.
  • Job: 1 application(s)*
  • Taxes: Complete.
  • Car Loan: 95.2% paid off.
  • CC1 Debt: 23.6% paid off.
  • CC2 Debt: 88.7% paid off.
  • OSAP Debt: 1.47% paid off.
  • Mortgage: 14.81% paid off.

*I have a bunch on my radar and am planning to revise my resumes this week.

Fitness

  • Iaido: 0/2
  • Walking: 3/7
  • HIIT: 2/3

All in all, I’m generally pleased with my progress this week. I haven’t gotten everything done, but I’m improving each week.

R~