Sunday, March 1, 2009

February Princess Challenge

So, I have been remiss in my blogging duties for this month. Several factors have contributed to this: 1.) busy season at my work, which induced a great deal of stress and lead me to taking more me time for myself to recover from crazy-dodging during the day, 2.) my team project for my Negotiation and Conflict course coming to an end, requiring extra time from all of my team to look at it and make sure it was up to snuff, and 3.) getting horribly sick! I had plans for all of the cool stuff I was going to write here, for getting my song finished, and for even talking about Valentine's Day! * pout * Sadly, it was not to be so!

However, I did keep up on my goals and did discover some cool things I want to share briefly before getting to the point, which is of course, my late post about my February Princess Challenge!

While I did miss the opportunity to broadcast about it being Heart Month and all of the cool things that there are to participate in that I discovered, one thing that is still available and very cool is an article-driven blog by my big bro about the queries and thoughts of romance. It's a participatory site, and he responds very quickly to comments that are posted. The site is called Loveqube. I hope that you'll check it out! Even if you're a cynic when it comes to love and romance, this website is bound to make you laugh, think, or at least enjoy the quality of writing available there (far better than what you're getting here!!).

And now, for the challenge! In February, Princess Skye wanted the princesses from around the world to talk about their kingdoms. My first thought was that I don't really think of my world in the traditional sense; I kind of imagine it. So, throughout the month, I thought up the concept in my head about how I visualize my kingdom in my mind, and I think it's more interesting than the reality (though, it is very much based in reality). I was going to draw a map, too, but when I started drawing I realized it could do no justice to my imagination at my current skill level, so I'm just going to write about it.

My kingdom is broken up into the different islands of where I've lived before. Some are so close that you could jump from one to the other . . .

Starting on the western, southern shore, is a long, feather-shaped island called The Island of Lost Angels. I was born there. Many people see this island of mystery as a place of opportunity and go there seeking fame and fortune. What the average person doesn't know is that there seem to be lost souls roaming freely in the warm, island sun. It's difficult to tell the difference between those who are dead and alive because this difference is in their minds and in general, the dead look about the same as the living. However, the opportunity and fortune that is sought is not a lie; it is hidden by the shadows of lies in some cases, while others are at the end of some very hefty quest chains. In addition to dangerous characters and difficult quests, the island itself is a danger, frequently subject to earthquakes.

To survive in this island happily requires a sense of honesty and genuineness that does not exist in many other parts of my kingdom. Sadly, my King felt it was too dangerous to remain there, so at a young age we moved our castle to an island north of there . . .

Separated from the Island of Lost Angels by caves and cold wind, the Isle of Sand and Rain is a hilly island mostly made up of sand dunes on the southern side. A long, perilous mountain range stretches through the middle, separating the southern part of the island from the north, where it rains all of the time and is cooler. The drastic nature of this isle tends to make its inhabitants frequently hostile, and I didn't really like it there as a consequence. There is a magic to the winds of the south, however, which I often sang or whistled to. To this day, I will never forget those winds, and when they sweep across into other parts of my kingdom, I feel again that I am with long lost family.

To the east, connected by a rocky bridge, are the Fields of Solitude. Here is a quiet, mountainous land full of glaciers in the high mountains, with flowered vales and rivers and other peaceful places further down. In these fields I have happy memories, and while I may never return here and experience what I have in the past, I often go here in my mind. It was a beautiful, natural place, and I appreciated its earthiness. It seems to be unraveling with the years and corruption that tends to come through the land. The magic of this place seems to be that the corruption may come there, but it also dies there, and then, as the cycle of nature, the land is renewed with a newness that is fresh and beautiful.

Even further east of the fields, across a long, treacherous bridge of ice connects one of the high glaciers to Winter Land. Despite the name, the place is not cold and isolate (at least, for those who know how to survive the intense snow storms). Those from this land are tightly knit and stronger for it, a community of families who strongly to desire to preserve what they have and work together for a brighter future. While an inspiring place, a person like me who grew up on the western edge of my kingdom where it was warmer and doing a lot to raise myself found this place incredibly uninhabitable. Despite this, it has the most magic snows of anywhere in my kingdom, and I miss seeing the sparkling, fairy-touched ice crystals floating down to greet me.

To the east and south, separated by a large stretch of sea, is the Isle of Lights. While seeming small, the island is extraordinarily full. The people of this island are all blind and deaf, seemingly only aware of themselves until they bump into someone else. Everyone, of course, is seeking survival in the fullest ways, though, and there is so much creativity in the isle despite the disconnected nature of the people that it is hard to not find opportunity or new, exciting things to try here. Many who move here from other parts of my kingdom are confused by the blindness and the deafness, though they manage to collaborate with the natives once they learn how to communicate with them. Tensions do run high here, as communication (the key to negotiation) is difficult between everyone. Some foreigners come here and become blind and deaf as the natives, while others leave and, with the spell seemingly lifted, open their eyes and ears for the first time. From all stretches of my kingdom, people come to see the Isle of Lights with great expectations; untrue to its name, it does not shine like the Island of Lost Angels.

Next to last and perhaps the most important, in the middle of this circle of islands is an immense fog that hides the Isle of Mystery. I have only been to this place in my dreams, and it constantly changes shape, though it retains many attributes each time. Its castle is frequently guarded, but there is a secret entrance through the water . . . But, this is my secret to keep for myself. Within its castle, there is something that I have been searching for, but I never seem able to reach it in my dreams, so this isle remains, as its name indicates, a mystery.

As I explore, I'm sure that my kingdom will expand, but for now I dwell in the Isle of Lights with my Prince, my Princess Stardust, and her Knight Sir Tatsu. Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed sharing them with me! I think I may expand on these in the future, though leaving it kind of vague like this seems more appropriate right now.


If you thought I haven't been tracking my goals all month, then you are mistaken! Though, admittedly, I didn't accomplish a whole lot. :/ Here's what I've done!

5.) Focus on communicating better through study of etiquette, psychology, and linguistics.

I've learned some new techniques through my Negotiation and Conflict class! Hooray!

9.) Find as much stuff to unlock in Wii Fit and My Fitness Coach as possible (I’ll warn of any spoilers when I post about this in the future, because I really don’t like having things spoiled for me).

Unlocked 10 reps of Single Arm Stand and 10 reps of Push Up and Side in Wii Fit.

10.) Exercise regularly. I don’t like scheduling it on M, W, F or anything like that, but as long as I do it 3 or more times a week, I think that’s good. Monotony of using the same days every week makes me just plain not want to do it (one of the problems I have with My Fitness Coach).

Other than being really sick the last week, I've been keeping to my goals here! YEAH!

18.) Finish reading the Harry Potter books so that I can be in the loop with my friends who are Harry Potter fans.

02/02/09 - finished reading "Quidditch Through the Ages" by Kennilworthy Whisp!

24.) Don’t procrastinate with my school work! Sometimes it’s okay when I need to relax, but I know it’s ultimately better to shoot for doing my work early so that I’m giving a better, more relaxed effort.

I've basically been on task with this. I truly feel that the only time I put off school work was when I knew it would benefit me, and I have no regrets for my Negotiation and Conflict course, which is coming to a close on Tuesday.

26.) Take more time to listen to myself, silently. This is hard for me, sometimes. I think if I take five minutes a week, that’s pretty good.

I feel like I'm being very consistent in doing well here.

37.) Get my ID updated for what my married name will be. EE!

02/28/09 - DONE!

45.) Always write legibly. Sometimes I allow myself to feel rushed, and then I write a bunch of gibberish . . . which really defeats the purpose of writing. :}

I've been focusing on this every time I write and I definitely see improvement!

46.) Talk less and listen more (inspired by Princess Skye’s New Year’s resolutions for this one). Going to use some techniques I learned in my Interpersonal Communication course here! I can do it!

Been focusing on this in February, and I feel like I'm doing better. Kept catching myself trying to make sure I'd get words in when I started, and now doing much better. Also noticed who actually is interested in listening to me or just talking, which is a significant thing to notice when communicating with someone. :)

52.) Keep my nails short. It’s a prerequisite for not stumbling on keyboards or issues with guitar playing, but I do let them get wild sometimes, just because I like their wildness. And then I cut myself on them. :} I’m too clumsy for long nails! :}

03/01/09 - Still on task! Just trimmed them again yesterday. They have not gotten long since I cut them in January! :)

53.) Be more green. I’ve worked hard on this in the past year, both at work and at home, but I can do more, and it’ll help with reducing clutter. (lol, I’ll defy gravity!)

February - Switched our corporate office from using products such as Febreeze and replaced with method products that are better for the environment and for people. (got rid of Air Wick! Huzzah! Aroma Rings! Huzzah!)

56.) Manage Hoshi’s experience points better (my character in L5R). I’m learning how my old techniques are leading to a jack of all trades master of none situation, and I just need to make sacrifices in some areas that aren’t as much in tune with her character and not be afraid to go with the other ones.

I am being good and saving up for Traits, not just buying Skills every chance that I get. :) So far, plan seems okay.

57.) I will look up words that I don’t know so long as I have access to some sort of dictionary. I don’t anticipate remembering them all, but I’m not satisfied with using context all of the time anymore. I’ve already learned that doing a word a day doesn’t help me.

More words! (30, so far)










60.) Will stop and think more often rather than feeling rushed.

This actually saved me from doing something really stupid during our team project! HOORAY! I'm glad that I utilized it. :)

83.) Fast more. It’s good for you, when done properly.

I am working toward alternate day fasting. Terinati and I have been at this for a couple of weeks, and it's been great! I'm still very gradually reducing my intake on "fasting days". It's important not to just stop eating. It's hard to not want to eat just because eating is easy, but this also frees me up to do other things and helps us to save money, so I'm happy with the exchange.

84.) Save more money. We still have lives to try and live and save up for after the wedding, too (that house won’t buy itself! Goal #16).

Working toward alternate day fasting is helping with this goal. :) Eat less, save more!

90.) Stop saying ignorant things out of habit like “that’s so gay” or “that’s so retarded” that I just picked up while growing up and don’t really mean that way. :p

I actually can't remember the last time I've said anything like this... at all. Maybe this goal was already met? Or, maybe I don't hear myself talking. I'm going to try and monitor myself to be sure.

91.) Get rid of subconscious undermining thoughts (usually dealing with my memory). I can accomplish more than I’ve trained myself to believe in the past.

02/28/09 - Surprisingly, I've discovered that waking up every 3 hours for Zicam also results in remembering more dreams. For some reason, doing this makes me feel more energized as I go over my dreams, and I find myself having less undermining thoughts. I'm going to try exchanging Zicam for water once I'm done with this and continue the schedule to see if this continues to help.

92.) Make solid goals with Terinati to work through conflict resolution better in the future (a process that we’re constantly doing better, but I’d like to clear out really old communication problems that are still lingering).

Terinati and I did one of my Negotiation and Conflict assignments together (it was that type of assignment), and I think we're doing better and better at this every day. :)

93.) Be more aware of power distribution in relationships and the perceptions of those power distributions (including my own).

This definitely takes conscious thought for me, but I am seeing it more and more.

94.) I will keep up with the real world news at least once a week.

Doing okay here!

95.) Monitor my work goals with the weekly dedication I intend to give to these goals.

My goals have recently been reset, so this will start in March.

I hope everyone else is doing well with their personal goals too! :)

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