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oromendur

Oromendur: Hobbit Yule Cheer

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hobbitdoor.jpg.dcbede276049026cfd8b451fad98ada6.jpg

 

Greetings, all! Just one small and lost Adventurer here, wandering into what appears to be a VERY big holiday party :blink: I'm a mythologist, a Tolkien scholar, and a traveler, among many other things; in a previous challenge I described myself as "an inactive reserve military officer, an occasional musician, a somewhat lapsed medievalist, a keen ballroom dancer, a semi-skilled hiker and moderate wilderness junkie, a former network and RF engineer, and an inveterate seeker of experience," and I guess that's all still more or less true :) I'm also currently in job-seeking mode, looking to show off the shiny new graduate degree I managed to finally finish this past spring.


My plan is to keep this busy holiday challenge short and sweet. I have two loose goals for the next three weeks:

 

A slice of PAI


"Very soon there was a fine commotion in the village by the riverside; but Bilbo escaped into the woods carrying a loaf and a leather bottle of wine and a pie that did not belong to him." (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit)


I wear a fitness tracker that uses heart rate to give me a movement score, which it calls a "Personal Activity Indicator," or PAI. I would like to finish out the year with my daily PAI average over 100. It's easily possible at this point, as long as I don't just kick back lazily and do absolutely nothing physical for the next three weeks. Unfortunately, if the last few weeks are any indication, that's precisely the track I'm on right now :unsure:  I'm not going to focus on any specific ways to make exercise happen. Any movement counts, as long as it satisfies the tracker. I'll post both my daily scores and my running average here once per week.

 

Yule cheer


"Great stores of goods and food, and beer, were found that had been hidden away...so that there was a great deal better cheer that Yule than anyone had hoped for." (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King)

 

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love holiday music, I love the decorations, I love the general good vibes and wintery celebration of it all. Cheer has been kind of thin on the ground for me recently, so I'm going to go out of my way to seek opportunities to revel in it this Yule season. In previous challenges, when I've needed to change my attitude, I've found that an Instagram posting goal has helped, so my plan is to post some sort of gratitude or holiday cheer on my NF Insta account at least three times each week during this challenge. I will report here on my efforts.

 

Holidays are a time for returning to the Shire (or at least my sister's house to see family), and lots of good food and drink and Yule cheer. Since I'm going to be caught up in it all anyway, I think I'm just going to spend the next few weeks communing profitably with my inner hobbit :)

 

Here's wishing everyone else success in their holiday challenges! May you have all the cheer you desire, and not a drop more than you can happily handle 🎄

 

hobbitcheers.gif.5487fc8ba0120e0897becd579bf7855a.gif

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Wonderful, wonderful. I'm following along for the hobbits and Tolkein quotes. Good luck with your goals!

... I didn't think there was anything better than pie, but now I suspect that there is, namely, stolen pie eaten after one has escaped a party and snuck into the woods with wine. It shall henceforth be known as Stolen Party Escape Pie. 

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16 hours ago, Jupiter said:

Great goals! Congrats on the grad degree and good luck with the job search!

 

Thank you! The academic job market is pretty brutal these days, and thus far the search has been more than a little disheartening, but I'm going to keep at it for one solid hiring season. If I don't get any nibbles, I'll eventually have to assume I'm not really competitive and start looking elsewhere.

 

16 hours ago, Harriet said:

Wonderful, wonderful. I'm following along for the hobbits and Tolkein quotes. Good luck with your goals!

 

Thanks!

 

16 hours ago, Harriet said:

... I didn't think there was anything better than pie, but now I suspect that there is, namely, stolen pie eaten after one has escaped a party and snuck into the woods with wine. It shall henceforth be known as Stolen Party Escape Pie. 

 

There's an old saying that there's only one thief in <insert appropriate in-group here> and everybody else is just trying to get their stuff back :) 

 

          “Quite a merry gathering! I hope there is something left for the latecomers to eat and drink! What’s that? Tea! No thank you! A little red wine, I think for me.”

          “And for me,” said Thorin.

          “And raspberry jam and apple-tart,” said Bifur.

          “And mince-pies and cheese,” said Bofur.

          “And pork-pie and salad,” said Bombur.

          “And more cakes — and ale — and coffee, if you don’t mind,” called the other dwarves through the door.

          “Put on a few eggs, there’s a good fellow!” Gandalf called after him, as the hobbit stumped off to the pantries. “And just bring out the cold chicken and pickles!” 

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12 hours ago, Chris Tarly said:

Is your fitness tracker the MIO? 

 

Yes, the MIO Slice. I've been wearing one now for... <checks spreadsheet> ...coming up on three years now.

 

12 hours ago, Chris Tarly said:

I think I almost bought that one a while back. I do remember the PAI thing. How is it?

 

Things I like: the PAI system feels a lot more functional than measuring steps. You can't cheat this thing by shaking it or putting it on your dog. You can't fool it into thinking that strolling leisurely around Disneyland is beneficial exercise. While I will admit that counting steps is better than nothing, and is probably a great way to get completely sedentary people off the couch and onto their feet, once you've made that transition then step measurement is almost meaningless. PAI adjusts to your min/max heart rate and your improvement, so the higher your score the harder it is to earn more.

 

Things I don't like: the physical tracker itself is kind of a pain. I don't like the clasp, it's sluggish to detect HR changes, the battery stops taking a charge after nine months or so, and there's not much hardware support now that MIO has switched to being software-only. Also the Android PAI app only provides seven days of information, so I have to manually input my numbers into a spreadsheet once a week or so.

 

MIO has (FINALLY) licensed their algorithms to Fitbit. Right now all that's available is a crappy web app so I'm in no hurry to switch, but when the stockpile of trackers I bought cheap finally runs out, I'll check again and see if the integration has improved. If so I'm likely to go that direction. A (moderately better but still fairly crappy) PAI app is also available for Apple Watch.

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So, here's tonight's unexpected, last-minute, probably ill-advised, I-don't-give-a-[BLEEP]-I-want-some-[BLEEP]ing-Yule-cheer decision: I'm going dancing.

 

There is a holiday party tonight at a ballroom up in Orange County which I've never visited (and which almost never hosts social ballroom events, as far as I can tell). None of my normal dance friends can go, but it doesn't matter. I can be dressed in fifteen minutes. It will take me an hour to get there. If it turns out I don't like the scene, I can shift fires to another ballroom up there I know has a good Saturday party, and I know I will have a good time there regardless.

 

The house is beyond atrocious and I have a million things I should be doing and it means a really late night and I'll probably be shot and get [BLEEP] all done tomorrow too but I need the exercise anyway and I DON'T CARE I'M GOING DANCING.

 

rosiedancing.gif.648f4d2a0edf3591e61d3d3b8074227c.gif

 

Yule cheer for everyone :)

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Dancing report: the 'holiday party' was ghastly so I retreated to my Plan B ballroom and ended up having an AMAZING night. I mean, any night I get to dance Quickstep socially with a confident and skilled leader is a great night, never mind all the amazing Standard Foxtrots and Waltzes, and there was even that lovely Tango with a professional dancer...mmm... I also got brave and led a stranger in a Viennese Waltz, and we didn't trip on each other, fall over, run into anyone, or collide with the wall. That's success in my book!

 

I'll trade bad Yule cheer for good dancing any day of the week, and there's plenty of glühwein to make up for the cheer here at home :) 

 

Today I actually managed to get off my butt and move enough that my tracker registered some activity, so that nice boost in PAI score from dancing is safe for at least another day. Day 1: success!

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OMG HOLD THE HECK UP THERE'S ANOTHER BALLROOM NERD THAT I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT?!!?!?!?

 

*mashes follow button*

 

That's so cool you were able to socially quickstep!! I feel like... no one does quickstep, especially socially, in my area.  Foxtrot, waltz, tango - sure, but not QS.  It's my favourite standard dance by far so I'm insanely jealous you were able to do that!

 

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*quietly makes his way towards someone he knows at this massive holiday party*

 

My wife and I danced the Foxtrot at our wedding. Fully choreographed in secret. Fun times!  It’s been a long time since I’ve done ballroom dancing though. :(

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22 hours ago, Raxie said:

OMG HOLD THE HECK UP THERE'S ANOTHER BALLROOM NERD THAT I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT?!!?!?!?

 

OMG THERE ARE OTHER BALLROOM NERDS HERE AND I HAD NO IDEA

 

22 hours ago, Raxie said:

That's so cool you were able to socially quickstep!! I feel like... no one does quickstep, especially socially, in my area.  Foxtrot, waltz, tango - sure, but not QS.  It's my favourite standard dance by far so I'm insanely jealous you were able to do that!

 

frodonodding.gif.a2472158e5595abcb00c6f9a0545e098.gif

 

Girl, same. I really don't understand why people don't like Quickstep. I legit spend at least 60% of my time at a social dance figuring out the one leader into whose close proximity I am going to maneuver myself right before the ONE STINKING QUICKSTEP anybody ever plays these days. There's like ten guys in San Diego who can dance it, and only five of them will dance with me :) I can lead it if I have to, but at one per night (or maybe two if I'm lucky) I'd much rather follow.

 

Funny story: I first encountered ballroom in a European (specifically British) context where Quickstep is a beginner's dance and everybody does it and they play them at dances like people play Foxtrots here. I got home, Googled "ballroom dancing San Diego," turned up at my local Fred Astaire, and said "I wanna do Quickstep!" They laughed and patted me on the head and told me I was cute, and then gave one of their junior instructors one lesson on Quickstep and pointed him at me. I, um, didn't last long at that studio...

 

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17 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

*quietly makes his way towards someone he knows at this massive holiday party*

 

*shares a wide-eyed and somewhat ragged look with her fellow Adventurer*

 

<whispers> Do you think they all know each other? Because other than you, the Doctor, and the nocturnal Writer, I don't recognize anyone. The dreaming Wolf was here earlier, maybe he'll pop in again. *shrugs* There are some pretty impressive folks here. At least everyone seems nice.

 

*offers him some of the cookies she swiped from the huge table at the other end of the room*

 

17 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

My wife and I danced the Foxtrot at our wedding. Fully choreographed in secret. Fun times!  It’s been a long time since I’ve done ballroom dancing though. :(

 

Foxtrot is an awesome wedding dance :wub:  Did you have fun doing it? Have you tried any other dances?

 

Once I found my teachers, everything else physical I was doing (WMA, mostly) kind of fell away. Sometimes I kick myself for not finding dancing sooner. I enjoy it, I'm quite good at it even with only casual instruction, and I occasionally wonder how far I could go if I actually trained seriously. As it is, it is something I will be able to do for the rest of my life, and I have to say it's SO much nicer than getting punched in the face :)

 

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2 hours ago, oromendur said:

 

*shares a wide-eyed and somewhat ragged look with her fellow Adventurer*

 

<whispers> Do you think they all know each other? Because other than you, the Doctor, and the nocturnal Writer, I don't recognize anyone. The dreaming Wolf was here earlier, maybe he'll pop in again. *shrugs* There are some pretty impressive folks here. At least everyone seems nice.

 

*offers him some of the cookies she swiped from the huge table at the other end of the room*

 

*eats some cookies* I saw a few others I recognize. The Tank. A dinosaur robot. I’ve met a few new friends. As you said, everyone seems nice and impressive. They probably all know each other from the beginning. *outsider syndromes*
 

 

Quote

 

 

Foxtrot is an awesome wedding dance :wub:  Did you have fun doing it? Have you tried any other dances?


 

 

It was a blast. We spent what was a small fortune to us at the for the dance instruction and choreography, and we’re still friends with the teachers who taught us (who are now, themselves, a married couple with a tiny hobbit)

 

I can waltz, tango, and swing as well with varying ability. I’m good at performing memorized choreography and generally uncomfortable with improve. Jessie was a member of the swing-dancing club in high school and spent a lot of time teaching friends basic ballroom dance skills throughout high school and college so she actually leads better than I do. I’d be a lot better if we danced regularly instead of mostly just at weddings. And most of our friends and family are married now. I’m incredibly rusty with improv although I still know our wedding choreography (and I’ll probably die knowing it).

 

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On 12/10/2019 at 10:27 AM, Raxie said:

That's so cool you were able to socially quickstep!! I feel like... no one does quickstep, especially socially, in my area.  Foxtrot, waltz, tango - sure, but not QS.  It's my favourite standard dance by far so I'm insanely jealous you were able to do that!

Come to Dallas, y'all! Our local USAD chapter plays multiple quicksteps a night, based on the couple nights I've been at their social dance.

 

Also, OF COURSE I'm gonna follow another ballroom nerd on these forums!

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It's a long time ago since I last did any ballroom dancing, but I enjoyed it back in the day as well :).

 

Academic careers are tough, I hope you'll find something (either in academia or industry) soon!

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OH MY GOODNESS. Normally when I am super late with my weekly postings I don’t have to dig through FIVE PAGES of posts to find my thread :blink: Yikes. This is proving to be a very large unexpected party indeed...

 

Anyway. It’s super late but here’s my 

 

[WEEK 1 UPDATE]

 

A slice of PAI

 

Here are this week’s total/daily PAI scores (admittedly a bit artificially heightened by my dancing adventures last weekend, but I’ll take what I can get):

 

Mon 126/20, Tue 127/17, Wed 151/27, Thu 150/3, Fri 153/5, Sat 109/18, Sun 109/1.

Running 2019 daily PAI average as of 15 Dec: 101.07.

 

Between the carryover from last weekend, dance class on Tuesday, and some judicious application of Beat Saber on a few other days, there is nothing to complain about in the numbers for this week. (Since I’m posting from the future, I can also tell you that the Week 2 numbers are not going to be quite so good). I did some spreadsheet work and determined that, to meet my stated goal of finishing out the year with a 100 daily PAI average, I need to maintain a daily average of 81 between now and Dec 31. That’s hardly impossible — it shouldn’t even be very difficult — but holiday and health circumstances are conspiring against me and I need to figure out a way to overcome them.

 

Yule Cheer

 

I made my Instagram posting goal this week, and I think that staying alert for festive visuals is doing a good job of keeping my attitude in the place it needs to be instead of sinking into the depths of self-pity that can sneak up on me if I’m not paying attention. And, seriously: anybody whose week can claim warm Glühwein, Disneyland, and a lovely Norse-themed medieval Yule dinner really doesn’t need to be feeling too sorry for herself :) 

 

“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish,” as the Gaffer used to say, and overall it’s pretty easy to call Week 1 well begun. But, since it’s now nearly the middle of Week 2, I can also say that things are getting much harder...

 

Last Tuesday night I picked up the mother of all chest colds, and for a good solid week now every day has been a battle to loosen up the concrete forming in my chest enough that I can cough up enough of it to breathe :mellow: Then (because of course it’s what you do when you’re sick) I got on a plane and flew from lovely and temperate San Diego to cold and yucky Buffalo :wacko:

 

So now I’m sitting inside, wrapped up in a blanket, hibernating from the unaccustomed blowing snow and frigid cold, drinking gallons of peppermint tea and cough medicine, and trying to figure out a way to get my PAI score up without giving myself pneumonia. Success in this challenge may end up requiring walking up and down the stairs inside my sister’s house for an hour or so every day between now and New Years. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that!

 

Now that I’ve relocated temporarily to snowy WNY, I’m inclined to wish everyone else the same joy to be found in the cold white stuff at this special time of year :D

 

22032EB3-A9FC-4877-99BC-080F2A638178.jpeg.267a9ae344cdd60fb385c25a67dc9e37.jpeg

 

Onward to Week 2!

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On 12/11/2019 at 1:14 PM, Sciread77 said:

I saw a few others I recognize. The Tank. A dinosaur robot.

 

Oh, yes, the Tank is quite famous around here, isn’t he? And I also saw an alabaster spirit I recognized, and recognized one or two other Doodlies from across the room, and made some new ballroom nerd friends myself :) 

 

On 12/11/2019 at 1:14 PM, Sciread77 said:

I can waltz, tango, and swing as well with varying ability. I’m good at performing memorized choreography and generally uncomfortable with improve. Jessie was a member of the swing-dancing club in high school and spent a lot of time teaching friends basic ballroom dance skills throughout high school and college so she actually leads better than I do.

 

As I progress as a leader, I’m beginning to understand exactly how hard we make it for new people to get started in this art. The learning curve is crazy steep when someone new to dancing has to jump right in and try to lead an equally new partner in unchoreographed situations. Part of me thinks the traditional Argentine tango crowd has it right; EVERYONE starts out as a follower, and one is generally required to demonstrate some basic technical skill before one is permitted to try leading. We instead dump all of the challenges of leading — his steps, her steps, the rest of the people on the floor and the craft to avoid them — right up front onto people who have never danced before, and then we wonder why more men don’t want to come back (sigh).

 

For me, though, what you call ‘improv’ is what makes dancing feel so much like a martial art, especially as a follower. It’s a physical, kinesthetic skill that requires sensing and reacting with split-second timing to another person’s movements and energy. I have been known to describe unchoreographed partner dancing as ‘aikido to music’ and it has quickly become one of my most favoritest things :) 

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On 12/11/2019 at 5:07 PM, Mike Wazowski said:

Come to Dallas, y'all! Our local USAD chapter plays multiple quicksteps a night, based on the couple nights I've been at their social dance.

 

Be careful what you say — I have a tendency to turn up in random places occasionally, and now that I know this you might be required to demonstrate the truth of your statement :D

 

On 12/11/2019 at 5:07 PM, Mike Wazowski said:

OF COURSE I'm gonna follow another ballroom nerd on these forums!

 

Ballroom nerds unite! FOR THE REBELLION!!

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On 12/12/2019 at 9:51 AM, Waanie said:

It's a long time ago since I last did any ballroom dancing, but I enjoyed it back in the day as well :).

 

Academic careers are tough, I hope you'll find something (either in academia or industry) soon!

 

I *so* wish that I could have started dancing back in the day (sigh). Still, “late is better than never,” as Éomer says, and it’s keeping my fitness from freefalling too far these days, so I suppose I’m content.

 

Right now I’m feeling pretty down about the academic job search, but I’m not going to give up on it until the end of the hiring season (probably March or so). Even though I know the odds are against me, I want to be able to say I actually gave it a solid go, so that when I turn to other possibilities I can do it with a clear conscience.

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3 hours ago, oromendur said:

 

Oh, yes, the Tank is quite famous around here, isn’t he? And I also saw an alabaster spirit I recognized, and recognized one or two other Doodlies from across the room, and made some new ballroom nerd friends myself :) 


 


He is. He’s quite prolific, intelligent, and kind as well. 

 

3 hours ago, oromendur said:

 

As I progress as a leader, I’m beginning to understand exactly how hard we make it for new people to get started in this art. The learning curve is crazy steep when someone new to dancing has to jump right in and try to lead an equally new partner in unchoreographed situations. Part of me thinks the traditional Argentine tango crowd has it right; EVERYONE starts out as a follower, and one is generally required to demonstrate some basic technical skill before one is permitted to try leading. We instead dump all of the challenges of leading — his steps, her steps, the rest of the people on the floor and the craft to avoid them — right up front onto people who have never danced before, and then we wonder why more men don’t want to come back (sigh).


 

 

It can be rough. I can lead pretty easily in a waltz or a foxtrot without full choreography, even if it is quite basic. But I was terrified at first. 

 

3 hours ago, oromendur said:

For me, though, what you call ‘improv’ is what makes dancing feel so much like a martial art, especially as a follower. It’s a physical, kinesthetic skill that requires sensing and reacting with split-second timing to another person’s movements and energy. I have been known to describe unchoreographed partner dancing as ‘aikido to music’ and it has quickly become one of my most favoritest things :) 


It’s definitely the best part of dancing. It’s a lot like learning a language. First you learn the component words, then discrete strings, then a strictly choreographed interaction, and the more you work on spontaneous stuff the better you get. And, like learning a new language, you’ll be a lot better off if you’re willing to look foolish once in a while. 
 

Ballroom dancing is fun. 

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18 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

It’s definitely the best part of dancing. It’s a lot like learning a language. First you learn the component words, then discrete strings, then a strictly choreographed interaction, and the more you work on spontaneous stuff the better you get. And, like learning a new language, you’ll be a lot better off if you’re willing to look foolish once in a while. 
 

Ballroom dancing is fun. 

 

B562F58B-5E9F-4137-921F-117950A2AA8F.jpeg.fdf2f0fe78ce40a3977e63c0efb570b0.jpeg

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On 12/11/2019 at 10:11 AM, oromendur said:

Girl, same. I really don't understand why people don't like Quickstep. I legit spend at least 60% of my time at a social dance figuring out the one leader into whose close proximity I am going to maneuver myself right before the ONE STINKING QUICKSTEP anybody ever plays these days. There's like ten guys in San Diego who can dance it, and only five of them will dance with me :) I can lead it if I have to, but at one per night (or maybe two if I'm lucky) I'd much rather follow.

 

I mean it's definitely not the easiest of dances - its so quick I feel like if you're not experienced in it it can tend on the disastrous side especially socially, kind of like v. waltz too it's just so fast! I feel like foxtrot and waltz are easier to get away with messiness so that's why people would gravitate towards it? Though, I've only danced quickstep and v. waltz socially with people I already have danced with and have a connection with and know their leads and such so maybe it wouldn't be so bad - I could just be being dramatic about it XD

 

On 12/11/2019 at 10:11 AM, oromendur said:

Funny story: I first encountered ballroom in a European (specifically British) context where Quickstep is a beginner's dance and everybody does it and they play them at dances like people play Foxtrots here. I got home, Googled "ballroom dancing San Diego," turned up at my local Fred Astaire, and said "I wanna do Quickstep!" They laughed and patted me on the head and told me I was cute, and then gave one of their junior instructors one lesson on Quickstep and pointed him at me. I, um, didn't last long at that studio...

 

Heh. I have a lot of Opinions on Fred Astaire and franchised studios in general but I will keep them to myself for the moment....

 

That is super interesting though I had no idea it was considered a beginner dance overseas! It's definitely like the paso of standard in my brain.

 

On 12/11/2019 at 5:07 PM, Mike Wazowski said:

Come to Dallas, y'all! Our local USAD chapter plays multiple quicksteps a night, based on the couple nights I've been at their social dance.

 

Ugh I really owe TX a visit, I haven't been in a few years and I really need to get back there either in 2020 or 2021 for sure. The call of quickstep is only making this more a necessary venture for me hahah

 

On 12/18/2019 at 6:18 PM, oromendur said:

Last Tuesday night I picked up the mother of all chest colds, and for a good solid week now every day has been a battle to loosen up the concrete forming in my chest enough that I can cough up enough of it to breathe :mellow: Then (because of course it’s what you do when you’re sick) I got on a plane and flew from lovely and temperate San Diego to cold and yucky Buffalo :wacko:

 

So now I’m sitting inside, wrapped up in a blanket, hibernating from the unaccustomed blowing snow and frigid cold, drinking gallons of peppermint tea and cough medicine, and trying to figure out a way to get my PAI score up without giving myself pneumonia. Success in this challenge may end up requiring walking up and down the stairs inside my sister’s house for an hour or so every day between now and New Years. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that!

 

Ugh that sounds awful! I go up to Rochester a lot so I know how brutal it can be, not idea for a chest chold! Hope you feel better soon and PLEASE take it easy, if you've gotta sacrifice your PAI score for healing up that isn't the end of the world (I mean your PAI tracking is all about your health anyway isn't it? And not letting yourself heal certainly isn't good for that ::shrug::)

 

On 12/18/2019 at 6:47 PM, oromendur said:

Be careful what you say — I have a tendency to turn up in random places occasionally, and now that I know this you might be required to demonstrate the truth of your statement :D

 

Honestly, same. Hahaha

 

On 12/18/2019 at 6:47 PM, oromendur said:

Ballroom nerds unite! FOR THE REBELLION!!

 

Ballroom nerdsssss ❤️

 

giphy.gif

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So somehow it got to be Monday again when I wasn’t looking, so here is my 

 

[WEEK 2 UPDATE]

 

A slice of PAI: Mon 106/17, Tue 99/11, Wed 70/1, Thu 76/9, Fri 84/15, Sat 86/20, Sun 86/2. 2019 daily PAI average as of 22 Dec: 100.78

 

I’m really kind of skating close to the numerical edge here, but I was sick a good amount this last week, and I’m only just starting to feel better. I have a hazy idea that I’ll take my sister’s weird-looking Italian greyhound out for a jog around the neighborhood today. We’ll have to see how it goes. I’m thinking I did really well on the goal choosing here, though — the psychological pressure not to lose the work I’ve done for the whole year, combined with the reasonable-but-not-negligible nature of what I’ll need to do to hang onto it, is doing just enough to keep me moving without being overwhelming. The jury’s still out on the actual goal achievement, but I’m going to call the setting of the goal itself an unqualified success :) 

 

Yule cheer: I just missed my goal this week, but it was not due to a lack of Yule cheer! I meant to put together a cute entry with images from my sister’s kids’ Christmas concerts (my niece is a senior and sings in her high school’s high-level select chorus, and my youngest nephew plays saxophone in the fifth grade band), but while I composed it in my mind I never actually made it manifest in the real world, so I’m short one post. But the extra initiative to notice and record visuals that capture my enjoyment of holiday pretties is enhancing my mood in what could be a fraught time, so the challenge is doing what it’s supposed to do.

 

Spoiler for some boring job rumination:

Spoiler

 

I’ve been studiously ignoring my academic job search since coming to Buffalo, but of course everyone is asking those annoying ‘what’s next’ or ‘whatcha doin’ now’ questions, and my standard answer of ‘I’m still applying for jobs all over’ is kind of depressing. Then, to make things worse, my brother-in-law offered me a position at his wealth management firm. The situation is this: he just broke away from a big-name house to set up his own business. His significant trust issues make him hesitant to hire a stranger, but he is beginning to realize that in order to keep expanding he is going to need some help. He’s got in his mind that having me on his team (well, to be perfectly honest, I think it’s much more the prestige of my military rank and academic title than me as a person) would give him access to demographic groups he thinks he can’t reach right now.

 

I can’t deny that it’s a fabulous opportunity. He is basically offering to put me through the big-name house training program on his dime and then have me skip over all of the really unpleasant cold-calling grunt work of the financial services field and start right at the top as a partner. Although finance would be a completely new field for me, I’m a smart person, and I’m certain I could figure it out if I wanted to.

 

But I’m just not sure I want to. I’m trying hard to keep an open mind and not reject it out of hand for purely emotional reasons. There are things about it that make sense, not the least of which is I really do need the money, but there are a lot of concerns as well, starting with the fact that I really just don’t like him all that much (sigh). And, even though I wouldn’t have to go through the typically ugly dues-paying period that sucks out so many souls, it would still at heart be a sales position. This is so far from anything I’ve ever even thought about wanting to do that even the fact that I’m considering it makes me feel a little queasy.

 

So much of these kinds of decisions resides in how they’re framed. Is this a “choose to compromise my values to make a buck” situation or a “superb opportunity to help people and do well in the process” situation? Is it “I’m afraid that I won’t find a job and afraid I can’t make a living writing and so I’m considering something that really doesn’t suit me purely out of fear” or “The universe has dropped a perfect opportunity into my lap to fill the gap for me before I can start drawing my military pension and I should grab it?” I want to say my gut is telling me not to do it — but I don’t know if that’s fear talking so loud intuition can’t be heard. So I’m going to be chewing on this for a while.

 

 

Anyway. The last few days have been a small bubble of quiet, but as of this evening the main holiday craziness begins in earnest. I think it’s time to go fortify myself with some Christmas cookies and take on the world.

 

Wishing everyone else the best in Yule cheer!

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