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Manarelle

Thunderbolts and lightning [Manarelle]

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I've managed to get a stable pattern for challenges and hobbies over the winter months, so naturally, here comes a season change to shake things up. 

 

Goals:

  • Crafting: Mjolnir, skirt, finish bracer, kenpo knife carrier.
  • Exercise: keep it up.
  • Languages: keep it up.
  • Gardening: let the games begin. 

 

The main goal for this month is to finish Mjolnir, my first major EVA foam project, and the main focus of a female Thor cosplay (hence the possibly misleading title). Once/if I get that done, the next projects are: recreate a work skirt (two, if possible), finish the Worbla bracer (need warm weather to work outside), and throw together some sort of carrier for the practice kenpo knives I made last challenge. Exercise is the same: weights, cardio, kenpo, and PT. Languages are the same: maintain French, improve Russian. 

 

The troublemaker is gardening. Gardening takes a lot of time, and is entirely dependent on the weather, making it difficult to plan ahead. I have put several limitations on the garden this year: not starting seeds indoors, buying plants rather than seeds if I'll just have a few plants, a strict "follow the plan" policy to avoid last-minute additions and chaos, and outlining the projects I want to complete this year. Even with these efforts to cut chaos, there's still just a lot of work that goes into a garden. Fun, productive, and calming work, but still work that takes time. My preliminary plan is to only go out on weekends, since my days are pretty strictly scheduled with workouts. This might get tweaked as things progress. 

 

Another point to note, although I don't think it needs to go into goals, is that "reading" is no longer classified as "strictly leisure." My tastes have shifted in that I enjoy reading books that are useful to my long-term goals, so I don't need to feel guilty about devoting a couple hours to reading. It's not stealing time from goals, it's actually helping. All things in moderation. 

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What are you going to plant? That just reminded me that I have basil seeds and I should do something with those very soon :ph34r:

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7 hours ago, @mu said:

What are you going to plant? That just reminded me that I have basil seeds and I should do something with those very soon :ph34r:

 

2018%20Garden.png

 

That's the main garden. Ignore the various colors and numbers - that's for project planning. The backyard will be much simpler, mostly viney things that seem to do poorly at the main garden. I intend to go out tomorrow to do preliminary weeding and prep work. I'm sure things will change, but so far, so good.

 

On 3/14/2018 at 4:19 PM, Akura said:

Reading is rarely unhelpful.

 

In general, yes. Reading about horrible people doing historically awful things right before bedtime, not so much (I found to my chagrin, this week). I think this realization was due to my prior tastes being primarily fantasy/ sci fi. Enjoyable, but not "productive" in that sense. 

 

On 3/15/2018 at 4:51 AM, Norgaard said:

I have had bohemian rhapsody in my brain for half an hour now after I saw your title! Thanks <3

 

cant wait to follow the process of mjöjlner!

 

Yeah, sorry. I'm not so good at titling things. Was looking for something to tie in with the hammer, and that's what came to mind. 

 

Unrelated, I want to get this down for later note. Here's my workout when I started and currently, in lbs unless otherwise noted. I'm still making progress, so I don't think I need to switch it up yet:

           Move                                  Sept '17              March '18

  • Squat lifts (each hand)*     10                     12.5
  • Goblet squats                      20                     27.5
  • Step-ups (each hand)         10                     20
  • Lateral band walk               knees               mid-calf
  • Machine row                        55                     70
  • Barbell row                          12.5                  17.5
  • Curls                                     10                     12.5
  • Tricep pull                            20                     30
  • Core**                                  5x6                    8x4
  • Crow                                     5sec                 23sec

*Not sure what these are really called. Squat with a dumbbell in each hand, then explosively stand and push dumbbells to the sky. 

**Medicine ball leg raises, but with an exercise ball 'cause my core started at zero.

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Day of updates, apparently. I did not count on various aspects of Mjolnir requiring long curing times. This is where things stand now. Can't do anything for 8 hours while it cures, so... time to make a mockup of a work skirt. 

 

IMG_20180317_110402.jpg

 

Lots of disclaimers on this one. I didn't prepare properly for this; I thought I'd spray the first half, measure out where to lay the handle and place it properly, then spray the second half. Didn't read the part where it said "this is a one-time use can," so.... really hoping the handle is, you know, straight. Securely fastened. Centered. We shall see.  

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Day of multiple updates. The foam says it' will be tacky in 15 minutes, cured in 8 hours. It's.... still expanding. I went out at dinner time and it was a little muffin-top-y. I went out two hours later and....

IMG_20180317_200049.jpg

 

Should i be worried? Is it just the chilly temps slowing down expansion? Is it the power of existence infusing the hammer to be a little more? Have I, perhaps, breathed too many fumes and crossed the line between silly and inane? Who knows. Anyway. Got the mockup of the skirt done, surprisingly fast. Naturally, there are some tweaks to be made, but I'm quite happy with it. Pardon the winter-white skin and classy socks (and lots of static):

 

18-03-17%20Green%20Skirt%20Mock-up.jpg

 

Productive day. 

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Week 1: 

Two steps forward, one step back. The expanding foam in Mjolnir expanded all the bubbles upward - making it difficult to attach the top - and pushed the sides at the bottom outward. I could possibly fix the bulging sides with sufficient sanding, but between that, the gaps in the seams left from bad gluing, and the off-center pvc handle from too hastily setting it, I'm just not happy with the prototype. I have plans for a second method; we shall see how that goes. 

 

Wednesday was a snow day, and much-needed attitude adjustment. Work has been slowly pushing my buttons, and weekends have been too busy to reset them. With an unexpected day off, however, I devoted my time to relaxation, and was able to re-balance myself. I found a game I'd downloaded and forgotten about, and was able to lose several hours to it. I also pulled out the prototype Worbla bracer and added D-rings to it, to try it on.... and discovered that my fitting style doesn't quite work with D-rings. I've ordered a sleeve that will be part of the costume, so I can determine if the bracer can be refitted over it or needs to be remade entirely. 

 

While I could get upset that my prototypes aren't working out, a friend pointed out that if I enjoy the actual process (which I do), and I don't have a deadline for the costume (which I don't) then trying different things should be fun and exploratory. Despite being patently obvious in hindsight, this was quite a revelation to me, and I feel much calmer about potentially starting everything from scratch again, but with a bit more experience this time. 

 

In other news, I was able to add more dirt and get the garden tilled last Sunday, so once the snow melts and I replace/ upgrade the borders, planting can begin. Exercise is going well; I subbed an hour of shoveling snow for a workout on Wednesday, since the gym was closed. Languages continue well, and I finally finished a less-than-uplifting book about the intentionally-caused Ukraine famine in the 1930s, so I can move on to a happier topic. Overall, decent week. 

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3 hours ago, Manarelle said:

 

Wednesday was a snow day, and much-needed attitude adjustment. Work has been slowly pushing my buttons, and weekends have been too busy to reset them.

I feel you on this. When my weekends are really busy for consecutive weeks, I can just feel the way I start falling apart at the slightest provocation. Glad you got a snow day! 

 

Sorry the prototypes are giving you trouble, but it sounds like you're taking it the right way.  I have to explicitly talk myself out of frustration sometimes when things don't go swimmingly.  But it's all XP. :)

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On 3/14/2018 at 12:24 PM, Manarelle said:

The troublemaker is gardening. Gardening takes a lot of time, and is entirely dependent on the weather, making it difficult to plan ahead. I have put several limitations on the garden this year: not starting seeds indoors, buying plants rather than seeds if I'll just have a few plants, a strict "follow the plan" policy to avoid last-minute additions and chaos, and outlining the projects I want to complete this year. Even with these efforts to cut chaos, there's still just a lot of work that goes into a garden. Fun, productive, and calming work, but still work that takes time. My preliminary plan is to only go out on weekends, since my days are pretty strictly scheduled with workouts. This might get tweaked as things progress. 

My excitement for gardening has waned over the years.  I'm down to just a couple tomato plants.  Regardless of how much prep work you do, they are still work.

 

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On 3/23/2018 at 6:06 PM, peelout said:

My excitement for gardening has waned over the years.  I'm down to just a couple tomato plants.  Regardless of how much prep work you do, they are still work.

 

The biggest reason I stay with gardening is because for the most part, it's peaceful. There usually aren't many people around so it's quiet, it's physical work so my mind can relax or wander as it will, and I'm able to impose some amount of my will and order on the chaos of the world. I might not be able to influence social change (much), but by gosh, I can make sure that this is a weed-free bed, and the plants come up in orderly rows. Probably gives insight to my mental development or something.

 

Good news, though. The prototype bracer should work with the sleeve. I was expecting it to be more bulky, but it appears to be slightly compressive. I also ordered smaller D-rings, and want to try putting felt strips under the bracer so it's not so rigid against my arm, and I think we should be good. We're back to just waiting for warm weather so I can finish painting. 

 

IMG_20180325_154459.jpg 

 

IMG_20180325_154743.jpg IMG_20180325_154736.jpg 

 

Mjolnir will probably be restarted completely; I really don't like the bulging sides, and my sanding capabilities cannot handle something that large without making the entire basement a mess. There was also a small setback on the kenpo knives - two of the guys were really muscling them at class this weekend, and the seams with gorilla glue didn't hold up. Nothing else was damaged, so I'm going to reattach them with hot glue and see if that's better. Then make like 6 more so we have backups in case this happens again. :) 

 

Unrelated to all that, I hit a new personal best in pull-ups this weekend. I'm still on chin-ups, but I got my nose to the bar - something that has literally never happened before in my life. Woot. 

Edited by Manarelle
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11 hours ago, Manarelle said:

Good news, though. The prototype bracer should work with the sleeve. I was expecting it to be more bulky, but it appears to be slightly compressive. I also ordered smaller D-rings, and want to try putting felt strips under the bracer so it's not so rigid against my arm, and I think we should be good. We're back to just waiting for warm weather so I can finish painting. 

 

IMG_20180325_154459.jpg 

 

IMG_20180325_154743.jpg IMG_20180325_154736.jpg 

 

Unrelated to all that, I hit a new personal best in pull-ups this weekend. I'm still on chin-ups, but I got my nose to the bar - something that has literally never happened before in my life. Woot. 

 

Wow this is so cool!

And pullup PR woot woot!!

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On 3/26/2018 at 5:22 PM, peelout said:

Your hobbies are starting to make me nervous. lol  Impressive looking.  Can't wait to see where all this goes.

 

Hah, no; all harmless, I promise. No desire to appear in the news here. 

 

Week 2 check-in:

  • Crafting: Order has gotten a bit mixed up, but got a lot done this week(end).
  • Exercise: Doing well. 
  • Languages: Also doing well. 
  • Gardening: Begun.

In no semblance of order, this week, I have: finished the books I wanted to read, set up a sewing dummy (which took several hilarious hours, actually, wrestling with pads, pins, and an excessively tight cover to make it look like me), put in brick edging on the backyard garden, replaced the boards of the terrace in the big garden (and decided how to replace/ upgrade the rest of the beds for much less than the initial plan), spray painted the bracer, and cut out enough EVA foam for 7 more practice knives. I am pleased to say that 3 hours of digging, hauling boards, and raking mulch has left me tired but not sore or in pain. Yet. We shall see.

 

IMG_20180331_115230_01.jpg  IMG_20180401_102235.jpg  IMG_20180401_134955.jpg

 

You'll have to take my word on the other items, because pictures either don't exist yet, or are are of questionable quality. Needless to say, it was a productive week, and I'm feeling pretty good about life. 

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23 hours ago, Manarelle said:

In no semblance of order, this week, I have: finished the books I wanted to read, set up a sewing dummy (which took several hilarious hours, actually, wrestling with pads, pins, and an excessively tight cover to make it look like me), put in brick edging on the backyard garden, replaced the boards of the terrace in the big garden (and decided how to replace/ upgrade the rest of the beds for much less than the initial plan), spray painted the bracer, and cut out enough EVA foam for 7 more practice knives. I am pleased to say that 3 hours of digging, hauling boards, and raking mulch has left me tired but not sore or in pain. Yet. We shall see.

You are killing it! I wish I could see a sped-up version of you and the sewing dummy with Yakkity Sax overlaid. 

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On 4/2/2018 at 5:51 PM, traaki said:

You are killing it! I wish I could see a sped-up version of you and the sewing dummy with Yakkity Sax overlaid. 

 

Appropriate music. 

 

On 4/4/2018 at 1:34 PM, Red1263 said:

Your cosplay is looking fantastic! I’m excited to see the finished product!

 

Thank you. I am also excited, especially when things are going slowly and not much appears to be accomplished.

 

Week 3:

  • Crafting: Figured out the final wearing method for the bracer, just waiting on warm weather to be able to finish it. 
  • Exercise: Doing well, definitely seeing changes and feeling warmer all the time, a very odd feeling.
  • Languages: A much better Russian class this week, French also doing well.
  • Garden: Nothing done, week was rainy, weekend is cold so far. Might be able to do some tomorrow morning; we shall see.

As usual, it doesn't feel like I've accomplished much this week, but for once, I have an excuse. My gentleman and I will be out of the country for two weeks, so there's been a lot of planning and prepping going on. Unfortunately, the person who is house-sitting for us has become rather a source of drama and needless work, wasting several hours this week which could have been more productively spent.  My gentleman and I agree that continued association is inadvisable after we return. In the meantime, we are trying to make the best of it. 

 

I'm not sure how the trip will impact my exercise progress; I will be bringing resistance bands to continue PT while abroad, but that's not the same as weights, and many other countries are not as rabid about offering gyms in hotels as America is. We shall see. We will also, by necessity, have to eat out more, though efforts will certainly be made to remain healthy. Languages will be put to the test, but other goals will, obviously, not be addressed. Still, it was planned, goals will be adjusted as necessary, and I'm rather happy to be going abroad again. If I don't check in again before the challenge ends, good luck, and you've got this.

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