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Oromendur: An Unexpected Party


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"Oh, I don't know. I can't count days in Rivendell."

~Bilbo (The Fellowship of the Ring)

 

What day is it? What week? What even is a month? The only thing I'm absolutely certain of right now date-wise is that this is absolutely, positively, QUITE definitely the year two thousand and twenty of the common era.

 

So far as I can tell, this fact is not necessarily something to be celebrated :wacko:

 

However they're called, the days these days are all the same -- so much so, in fact, that I had sort of decided not to put up a 'real' challenge this time. I feel like my heart really hasn't been in the whole NF thing for a while now, and if I can't be bothered to post and interact regularly, all this place does is remind me how badly I suck at human-ing. But then some intrepid fellow Adventurers posted some positively luminous Tolkien-themed challenges :wub: 

 

Being the Tolkien obsessive I am, I naturally want to comment on them, but I totally feel like an impostor if I comment when I don't have a challenge up, and with all those good examples I can't justify phoning in yet another Scouring challenge, because if my compatriots can do it so beautifully there's no reason I (you know, me, the girl with a [BLEEP]ing useless PhD in a mythological branch of Tolkien Studies) shouldn't be able to join with them in solidarity.

 

So here we are. In honor of the timelessness of these weird days, I plan to as mythic instruction some of the ageless Elven realms of Middle-earth.

 

Details to follow when I get my act together, which might take another couple of days (sigh)

 

[This has been a test of the challenge thread system. This is only a test. In the event of an actual challenge thread, the above introductory prose will be followed by detailed information on challenge goals and their execution. This is only a test.]

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hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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Reserved for list of projects

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hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Link to post

'You do not understand!' said Pippin. 'You must go -- and therefore we must too. Merry and I are coming with you. Sam is an excellent fellow, and would jump down a dragon's throat to save you, if he did not trip over his own feet; but you will need more than one companion in your dangerous adventure.'

'My dear and most beloved hobbits!' said Frodo deeply moved. 'But I could not allow it. I decided that long ago, too. You speak of danger, but you do not understand. This is no treasure-hunt, no there-and-back journey. I am flying from deadly peril into deadly peril.'

'Of course we understand,' said Merry firmly. 'That is why we have decided to come...'

 

I would be honored to join you on this quest through Middle Earth.

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Who am I? -- My NF Character

Current Challenge: WolfDreamer Embraces His Wild Poet

Past Challenges: 

Spoiler

Winter is ComingWolfen Strengthens His Heart, Body, Mind, and Spirit, Wolfen Becomes One of the PeopleWolfen Strengthens His ChakrasWolfen Welcomes Summer and Gets Primal, Soulcon and Spartan, Wolfen Develops Mental ToughnessWolfen Joins the Wander SocietySoulcon, Spartan, School, and Stranger ThingsWolfen Becomes a Warrior EliteWolfen Goes Here and There and Back AgainWolfen Becomes a Soulcon Warrior EliteWolfen Returns to His RootsWolfen Wanders in Soul, Spirit, and BodyWolfen Owns the DayWolfen Searches for His Wild Heart, Wolfen Runs for His LifeWolfen Hits the TrailsWolfen Becomes an Explorer and Joins the ResistanceWolfen Goes Back to the SourceWolfen Begins the Hero's JourneyWolfDreamer Returns to the People,  WolfDreamer Pushes BackWolfDreamer PrioritizesBurpees, Books, and BrainworkBurpees, Books, Brainwork, and BodyworkWolfDreamer Masters the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Continues to Master the Four ElementsWolfDreamer Returns to SpartaWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Continues His Middle Earth AdventureWolfDreamer and the FallWolfDreamer Forges His Own PathWolfDreamer Has HopeWolfDreamer Returns to Middle EarthWolfDreamer Reads Harder, Breathes Harder, and Journals More

I'd rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.” -- Jack London

“I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love.” -- Leo Tolstoy

"I feel love rising in my chest again
Rising like a burning sun into the day..." -- Gungor, "Hurricane"

"...wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17b

 

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Well, it's a good thing I didn't actually get around to posting anything detailed yesterday, because as of this morning there's a huge plot twist...

 

...I now have tickets to fly to Buffalo for the 4th of July :blink:

 

Wise or otherwise, this is now what's happening. Consequently this challenge -- which was originally going to be a deep meditation on the endless sameness of the time of COVID -- is now going to be a full-fledged, plague-threatened, moderately dangerous Adventure :)

 

Some background: I normally see my sister and her family in Orlando for Disney excitement every Easter, but that was obviously not a thing this year. My brother-in-law convinced me to book Orlando for the 4th of July; I kind of knew it wasn't going to happen, but it didn't cost me anything to do it, so I acquiesced. I was right (naturally ;)) and when it became clear Disney World wasn't going to be open, we agreed to cancel those plans too.

 

But. My eldest nephew finished college this year (he didn't get his big ritual or celebration). My niece finished high school this year (she didn't get her party either). My sister's birthday is July 5th. All of these things added together, mixed with a large dollop of isolation-induced depression, and served up with the force of personality wielded by my sister and brother-in-law (as they were perfectly aware that I have enough flight credits with Southwest to visit them for the 4th)? Yeah, my initial decision to NOT make any decision and instead wait for something to come up later in the summer had no hope of survival in such a climate :rolleyes:

 

SO. Instead of gearing up for a massive, slow and plodding effort to force myself to keep at least minimal human function on a daily basis, I'm now energized and excited -- and contemplating with horror the mess all of this is going to make of my carefully crafted, intricate, and time-consuming home routines.

 

That doesn't mean I should abandon them in the flush of excitement about my coming adventure, though.

 

I think I shall tuck away my concept of a timeless dreamlike vision of Elven realms for another challenge -- I have no doubt there will be many opportunities in the never-ending saga of COVID -- and instead ask that intrepid adventurer Bilbo Baggins to serve as my guide for this Unexpected Party.

 

Spoiler for length:

Spoiler

 

Unlike Bilbo, my party is the goal of the quest rather than its initiation, and I will have more than a morning to plan before I head off (hopefully without forgetting important things like my pocket-handkerchief). So I will use other chapters of his famous Red Book as guidance for what I must do in the coming weeks.

 

Week 1: A Short Rest

 

Their bags were filled with food and provisions light to carry but strong to bring them over the mountain passes. Their plans were improved with the best advice. So the time came to midsummer eve, and they were to go on again with the early sun on midsummer morning.*

 

In Week 1, I will prepare for my trip. Hopefully I'll be able to channel the wisdom of Master Elrond, so I can get things in order to be able to safely and sensibly function out in the dangerous world, and to interact with society again after my long separation from humanity :) During this week, as I sew more masks and buy hand sanitizer and make my general preparations for plague-protocol travel, I will do my best to maintain at least these parts of my current daily routines:

          - Each day I will do my best to keep my PAI score over 100

          - Each morning I will meditate, do my morning pages, do my Taiji, and make my bed

          - Each evening I will: brush/floss, wash my face, tidy the bathroom, and do my stretching routine

As it's unlikely that I'll be able to concentrate fully on the rest of my patterns (they were created with long and unchanging stretches of home time in mind), I'm giving myself explicit permission to let everything besides these pieces of routines slide until my return. I'm not going to delete the other requirements from the spreadsheet, but I'm also not going to worry about whether or not I'm keeping up with getting everything done, as long as I get out the door next Tuesday with solid precautions and sanity intact.

 

Weeks 2 and 3: Queer Lodgings

 

They sat long at the table with their wooden drinking-bowls filled with mead. The dark night came on outside. The fires in the middle of the hall were built with fresh logs and the torches were put out, and still they sat in the light of the dancing flames with the pillars of the house standing tall behind them, and dark at the top like trees of the forest.

 

Beorn's grand Anglo-Saxon mead hall, with its animal servants and shape-shifting master, is not likely to be any queerer a lodging than that provided by my sister's loud, large, crazy family.  I will spend Weeks 2 and 3 up to my ears in the madness. Considering that since my surgery I've been working hard on developing patterns that depend heavily on (and are designed to help me survive) being home alone for long stretches of time, it's going to be an adjustment for me, to say the least (even before we add the weirdness that the COVID is going to inject into the mix). The only thing I will commit to here is keeping my PAI over 100 as much as I can. I may come back and modify this later, if any better goals come to me, but right now I'm worried that survival is going to be enough of a challenge on its own :)

 

Weeks 4 and 5: The Last Stage

 

Coming to a rise he could see his own Hill in the distance, and he stopped suddenly and said:

     Roads go ever ever on,

          Over rock and under tree,

     By caves where never sun has shone,

          By streams that never find the sea;

     Over snow by winter sown,

          And through the merry flowers of June,

     Over grass and over stone,

          And under mountains in the moon.

     Roads go ever ever on

          Under cloud and under star,

     Yet feet that wandering have gone

          Turn at last to home afar.

     Eyes that fire and sword have seen

          And horror in the halls of stone

     Look at last on meadows green

          And trees and hills they long have known.

 

Coming back to my hobbit hole, I certainly hope not to find an auction happening -- but, if past experience is any indication, I'm not likely to get out the door with the place in good order, so there is still likely to be quite a mess to clean up. Also, I'm only going to be gone two weeks, and I really don't want to lose anymore of my hard-won patterns than absolutely necessary to this wild adventure. In order to get myself back on track immediately, in Weeks 4 and 5 I will go back to a slightly-less-ambitious version of my original plan for this challenge.

 

Daily: PAI, morning routine, work routine, cleaning routine, evening routine (routines as defined in the spreadsheet, not the modifications I made for Week 1 above)

Weekly: Get outside three times, do three weekly cleaning tasks (I had also planned to add kettlebell workouts to this, but I'm going to save that for next time)

Extra credit: I had this idea last challenge, because I have a whole overwhelming list of crap that needs to be done but doesn't fit into any of my carefully-crafted patterns. I had planned to post a reasonable working list of tasks in this thread, and then imagined I would give myself a single extra credit point to fill in a little green box that otherwise wouldn't get filled in each time I completed one of those tasks. That complex arrangement probably isn't going to survive contact with my adventures, but I'll leave it in here just in case I decide to work on drafting the list. If I get to it, great. If not, well, there's always next challenge...

 

 

So, there we are. With this plot twist in mind, I am now consciously seeking to follow in the inestimable Mr. Baggins's footsteps as I embark on my grand adventure. Here's wishing everyone else great luck in theirs! 

 

Spoiler

 

* The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and Douglas Anderson, p. 94

† Tolkien and Anderson, pp. 176-77

‡ Tolkien and Anderson, pp. 359-60

 

 

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hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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On 6/21/2020 at 6:19 PM, WolfDreamer said:

I would be honored to join you on this quest through Middle Earth.

 

Quote

You are a set of deceitful scoundrels!’ he said, turning to the others. 'But bless you!’ he laughed, getting up and waving his arms, 'I give in.... If the danger were not so dark, I should dance for joy. Even so, I cannot help feeling happy; happier than I have felt for a long time.'

 

Welcome, my friend! Let us head into the Old Forest together, and see where the road may lead us :) 

  • Like 3

hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Link to post
On 6/21/2020 at 7:30 PM, oromendur said:

PhD in a mythological branch of Tolkien Studies

I'm sorry, WHAT‽ Can you talk about this a little more please?

I love all the Tolkien-themed challenges. I'm almost wishing I'd done one instead of Firefly.

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As I am a dedicated partisan of the Challenges-Start-On-MONDAYS-Dammit movement, despite the fact that it’s Tuesday, I’m actually only one day late with this [WEEK ONE UPDATE] :)

 

Week One was kind of a bust, I have to admit: of the much-reduced routine requirements I established for myself, I only accomplished a fairly dismal 68%. My supposedly maintenance-level morning routine fell apart completely (sigh). Part of the problem stemmed from a bout of the chronic back pain that sneaks up on me sometimes (this might not be a Scouring challenge, but that asshole Phil is still showing his face anyway), but another part of it was just me flailing around trying to get ready for plague-protocol travel. I guess I sort of succeeded? Anyway, I got out the door.

 

Travel adventure update (story time!):

 

I did my very best to miss my 7am flight, and only just failed to do so. TSA routing me through the wrong checkpoint and then back through the right one (where Pre-Check wasn’t a thing, apparently) and then fretting over some rocks in my bag didn’t help. (ROCKS! Plain old lava rocks like you’d put in a sauna. What am I going to do, throw them at someone? I guess they might scratch a bit, but no more than the sharp edges of the bag they were in...grr....) I am here to assure you that sprinting across the airport to slide through an airplane door JUST before it closes is much less fun while wearing a mask and trying to adhere to social distancing rules. 

 

Then, while boarding the second of three flights in the day, I got a panicked call from my Dad saying he “just wanted me to know” that New York has, as of three hours AFTER my trip began, instituted quarantine restrictions for travelers from California. He had been trying to dissuade me from this trip anyway. He sounded a bit smug about it all. I told him I had to get off the phone because the airplane door was closing.

 

During my layover in Denver, I did some quick Googling to discover that, yes, I would indeed technically be subject to quarantine on my arrival in Buffalo. So I contacted my sister and brother-in-law to determine how serious the Port Authority was likely to be taking such a thing in less-COVID-impacted WNY, and while waiting for an answer I also texted some dear friends who live in Boulder. Said friends reiterated their open door for a visit anytime, even unannounced during a pandemic resurgence, and told me to get on the bus and they’d pick me up at the station. (I have awesome friends. So many awesome friends.)

 

In the end, despite some rather uncharitable inner promptings, I decided to get on the plane. What probably put me over the edge was the inconvenience of chasing my checked bag all over CO for days; had I been carryon-only (or if my sister’s birthday wasn’t on Sunday...and all the graduations...and all the important family reasons behind this ill-advised trip in the first place) I might have made a different choice. 

 

But now, here I am, flying over something that is probably Lake Michigan under the patchy clouds, taking advantage of the rare in-flight internet splurge I allowed myself because [BLEEP] me this has been a stressful day, using the opportunity to catch up on my somewhat neglected NF challenge. 

 

PAI? Don’t ask. It sucks. It will probably continue to suck, at least until I don’t need NSAIDs and muscle relaxants to get to sleep in the weird lumpy bed in my nephew’s room (from which I displace him every time I come to visit, another reason I don’t like to do this too much). 

 

But I’ve worked out an awesome birthday present for my sister that revolves around setting her up for sourdough domination (cf earlier mention of lava rocks, for oven steaming purposes), and after so many months of isolation I think some family time will do me good. I’m likely to wait to call my Dad until I get settled in, though ^_^

 

Let the Week Two madness begin!

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hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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On 6/23/2020 at 3:54 AM, Ann of Vries said:

After the fun and madness, you may have a renewed appreciation for your quiet hobbit hole ^_^ 

 

Well, you’re not wrong....

 

But I have a pretty good excuse to get me out of any silliness (I had already warned them I wasn’t down for any large gatherings; now I don’t even have to risk going out to eat — quarantine, you know ;)). And it will be good to see the niephlings. I missed them at Easter. 

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hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Link to post
On 6/27/2020 at 11:41 PM, Mudd said:

I'm sorry, WHAT‽ Can you talk about this a little more please?

 

Yeah, I did a PhD in Mythological Studies, and I wrote my dissertation on the mythic roots of three concepts of wilderness Tolkien presented in Middle-earth. So, depending on who’s asking (or, more to the point, depending on the topic of the article or book chapter or conference presentation I’m trying to get accepted) I’m either a mythologist, a Tolkien scholar, or in the environmental humanities. I even break out some Religious Studies or Depth Psychology buzzwords occasionally when it feels relevant :)

 

On 6/27/2020 at 11:41 PM, Mudd said:

I love all the Tolkien-themed challenges. I'm almost wishing I'd done one instead of Firefly.

 

Hey, I’m all for Tolkien challenges — but there’s always next time. Firefly is AWESOME and IMHO doesn’t get the attention it deserves here on NF. You’d think this Rebellion would be tailor-made for Browncoats, right? 

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hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Link to post
16 hours ago, oromendur said:

Yeah, I did a PhD in Mythological Studies, and I wrote my dissertation on the mythic roots of three concepts of wilderness Tolkien presented in Middle-earth. So, depending on who’s asking (or, more to the point, depending on the topic of the article or book chapter or conference presentation I’m trying to get accepted) I’m either a mythologist, a Tolkien scholar, or in the environmental humanities. I even break out some Religious Studies or Depth Psychology buzzwords occasionally when it feels relevant :)


That's awesome! I do environmental attitudes research, so I'm at the intersection of psychology and ecology/conservation myself. My degree is technically psychology (or rather "Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors," but same idea), but I've most recently been at a conference for what they call human dimensions of wildlife management.

Is your dissertation available to read anywhere?

 

16 hours ago, oromendur said:

 

Hey, I’m all for Tolkien challenges — but there’s always next time. Firefly is AWESOME and IMHO doesn’t get the attention it deserves here on NF. You’d think this Rebellion would be tailor-made for Browncoats, right? 


You know, I never thought of this Rebellion as being that rebellion, but that makes NerdFitness so much cooler. Thanks for this!

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17 hours ago, oromendur said:

Let the Week Two madness begin!

 

You had some pretty great madness there in Week One! You definitely embody the life of Adventurer ^_^ I hope your family time is rejuvenating. 

 

(All that running for closing air plane doors have to count for some exercise....)

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Druid and Adventurer

The Wye/Dean, UK

Current Storyline: Tales of Owlshire | 0 | 1

Previous  Storyline: The Entwife’s Heart | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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Well, I have survived my first plague-protocol travel adventure and have rocked back up at my own hobbit hole in heat-blanketed Southern California. To be fair, there was a heat wave in Buffalo too, but my sister has central air conditioning and so I didn't really notice it. I, um, don't have air conditioning (sigh). But hey -- it's home.

 

I guess it's time for a [WEEKS TWO AND THREE UPDATE]

 

Spoiler for length:

Spoiler

In Week Two I set the bar at ground level and then did my best to tunnel into the dirt to avoid clearing it (sigh) The only thing I said I would do is keep my PAI over 100 for seven days. I managed a fairly unimpressive three. (This is a pathetic F grade of 43%, for those keeping score at home.) But, although it wasn't a stated requirement, I did keep track of what parts of my routine didn't fall into the abyss, and I actually managed to do 24% of them. That would be a complete failure number had the tasks been required, but as extra credit they actually bumped me up enough to squeak out a pathetic D- grade of 67% for the week. (Yes, I am aware of the numerous statistical inconsistencies here. I don't care. I mean, what's the hecking use of a complex task scoring system if I can't manipulate the numbers to ease my embarrassment and trick myself into believing I passed?)

 

Week Three fared MUCH better, largely because my sister's family is an active bunch. There were walks at the dog park, days at a (secluded and reasonably socially distant) beach on Lake Erie near where I grew up, and once a jog around the neighborhood with a dog just to get my PAI up. Oh, and the 20km bike ride :rolleyes:

 

That event was somewhat unexpected and deserves more description. I had originally signed up for a quick 15-minute jaunt into town to visit the newly-re-opened local frou-frou coffee spot and get my sister a long-awaited treat for her birthday. But my brother-in-law (a former enlisted Marine) sometimes gets carried away -- and when he realized that I was happy to ride with him without complaining, and that he wouldn't have to stop every half-mile to lift flagging spirits like he does with everyone else in his family, he changed his plans without informing me and I ended up chasing him through the rolling hills of farm country for nearly an hour and a half. It was a a beautiful day, and honestly a nice ride, but even though I refused to take his bait and instead kept myself to a slower, steady pace I could sustain, the trip was still a few miles too long for me. (The fact that I haven't been on a bike in *mumblemumble* years probably had something to do with this). We turned up late, sweaty, and sore to the in-progress birthday brunch with his nephews and their fiancées and his sister and his mom (which he himself had organized the night before, and then forgot about because he was enjoying the ride so much) -- and we never even got the coffee (sigh). That's just kind of how he rolls. It can be absolutely infuriating at times. I felt bad, but everyone knows how he is, and my sister pointed out that when I ride with him then nobody else has to suffer through it, and so they were all more than willing to forgive me for being late to brunch.

 

I also had one huge true adventure, a day trip from Buffalo all the way to the southern tip of Cayuga Lake (about a three-hour one-way drive) as a guest of my eldest nephew (age 21) and his girlfriend. He was on a quest to revisit a state park, he wasn't sure which one, that he'd visited and loved at Boy Scout camp years ago. He finally found it! I felt pretty honored by his invitation. He likes driving and wanted to take country roads through the farm towns instead of taking the toll-plagued Thruway, so it was a fun countryside drive on the way down. (I actually used my old-lady Aunt prerogative to pay the tolls and insist that we take the most direct route home, but it was late and I saw no benefit in toodling along through a hundred miles of stoplights after midnight just because.) It was an AWESOME day. We had an amazing hike, splashed around in a gorgeous freshwater swimming hole where I put my head under the warm waterfall crashing down from the cliffs high above, and got yummy take-out from a terrific gastropub in Ithaca to eat on the way home. It was really fun to interact with him as an adult. He took such pride in his ability to host me and make the trip happen despite the many things (including his slightly drama-addicted girlfriend having insomnia the night before) that were operating against it. I was proud of him. He's on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, and so he is (always has been) developmentally about three years behind, but I think he's going to be all right. Some pictures from this particular adventure in the time of COVID:

 

20200706_145007.thumb.jpg.eecf233458ed7c8a8f8d31aad0fa58a5.jpg      20200706_150242.thumb.jpg.f537da85c6bca2ef11a26cf2be1d32c7.jpg       20200706_182355.thumb.jpg.6f4725f571bd55ec9df6d706770d246a.jpg

 

Anyway, my Week Three PAI scores were AWESOME :) 7 days over 100, a perfect 100% A+ grade, plus an additional 27% extra credit (from the bits of my routine that survived the travel process and some cleanup things I did over the weekend once I got home). This success has actually given me a much-needed lift of energy, and I feel motivated to hit the ground running here in Week Four. 

 

Now that I'm back to my own hobbity life, I need to do a big grocery shop and a laundry trip, and then I should probably self-isolate for a few weeks to ensure that my sojourn out into the big wild world didn't infect me with the plague. It actually felt more than a little transgressive, living in a house with lots of people coming and going, giving hugs, going to the beach, even joining my sister's birthday dinner at an outdoor dining venue. I did NOT end up going to either of the events they attended on the 4th; it was probably a quixotic stance, given that if I brought any germs with me from the four airports and three airplanes it took me to get there, I had already shared them with everyone in the house (and if they picked up anything at the outdoor parties they'd bring it home to me anyway), but it just didn't feel right -- and it was a good excuse to avoid interactions I would have found unpleasant even under normal circumstances. I stayed home, watched hours of illegal fireworks from my sister's back deck, and followed the terrified dogs around the house picking up after their bouts of panic-vomiting :( I even joined the Zoom party my friends in California held as a replacement for our normal 4th of July barbecue. 

 

In general, throughout my adventures, I wore my mask in public, chose distancing as much as possible, and did my best to be as responsible as I could. While they're not quite ignoring all precautions, I think my sister's family might be flirting with the line between loosely concerned and careless (especially considering that my brother-in-law's mother is ACTUALLY GOING THROUGH CHEMO RIGHT NOW...grr). On the other hand, my Dad and stepmother are flirting with the opposite line between overly concerned and overreacting; given the NY restrictions on travelers from CA, he didn't even want me to come for a socially-distanced outside chat, so I didn't end up seeing him at all, which was kind of a shame. My uncle (my Dad's youngest brother) was the same.  But they're older, and that whole side of the family is rigid rule-followers from way back. As I told my Dad when he said he didn't want me to visit and was definitely not going to come out to see me, everyone's risk calculations are going to be different, and it's important to respect that. (shrug) 

 

Now Week Four stretches before me, and I'm actually off to a pretty darned good start. This morning I did my WHOLE morning routine: meditation, morning pages, Taiji, and a tiny exercise circuit I'm calling 3:2:1. That's three twisty pushups, two ab wheel rollouts, and one (heavily band-assisted) pullup. Nope, that's it. Three, two, one. Yes, it's trivial. That's kind of the point. I want something so trivial that I will be able to convince myself to do it no matter what. I already had the "this is so little as to be pointless" moment this morning, the VERY FIRST TIME, but if it's that little -- literally it takes me about ten seconds in total -- I can get myself to do it just to get the green box. I'm hoping that this tiny seed will eventually blossom into the stirrings of a belief that I am the sort of person who does strength training. We'll have to see.

 

Coming home from my adventure, it's now time for me to clean up my own Bag End. Wish me luck!

Quote

The land was green and there was much grass through which the hobbit strolled along contentedly. He mopped his face with a red silk handkerchief — no! not a single one of his own had survived, he had borrowed this one from Elrond — for now June had brought summer, and the weather was bright and hot again.

 

As all things come to an end, even this story, a day came at last when they were in sight of the country where Bilbo had been born and bred, where the shapes of the land and of the trees were as well known to him as his hands and toes. (The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and Douglas Anderson, p. 359)

 

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hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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On 7/1/2020 at 8:51 AM, Ann of Vries said:

You definitely embody the life of Adventurer ^_^

 

Awwww.... what a lovely thing to say :wub: 

Thank you! I think you do pretty well on that front yourself  :)

  • Like 1

hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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On 7/1/2020 at 2:37 PM, Mike Wazowski said:

I'm late, and horrible at keeping up with challenges, but here to cheer you on!

 

Welcome, dance friend! Always wonderful to have you.

 

On 7/1/2020 at 2:37 PM, Mike Wazowski said:

And enjoy learning way more about Tolkien than I knew there was to know.

 

Here's a fun tidbit for you, in the spirit of my challenge. Tom Shippey (the grand old man of Tolkien criticism -- he's like an oracle at this point) thinks that the auction to which Bilbo returns at the end of The Hobbit is a philological in-joke based on some work Tolkien did with local dialects in the twenties:

 

Quote

In the 1928 introduction he wrote to W. E. Haigh's Glossary of the Dialect of the Huddersfield District, mentioned above in connection with 'Baggins', Tolkien had said that it was important to observe 'the changes in sense that take place when words of more "learned" origin are adopted and put to everyday use in dialect (see keęnsil, okshęn, inséns)'. But okshęn in Huddersfield dialect meant not 'auction' but 'mess'. 'Shu'z nout but ę slut; ęr eęs ęz ę feęr okshęn', quoted Mr Haigh, or for non-natives, 'She's nothing but a slut; her house is a fair auction'. When he gets home Mr Baggins finds his house a 'fair auction' in both senses. Not only are they selling his goods, they are failing to wipe their feet on the mat! The word has become a 'fusion-point' of outraged respectability. (The Road to Middle-earth by Tom Shippey (2003), p. 93 note)

 

"Outraged respectability" isn't a bad way to describe my house to be honest :) 

hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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On 7/1/2020 at 8:16 AM, Mudd said:

I do environmental attitudes research, so I'm at the intersection of psychology and ecology/conservation myself.

 

We should totally talk. My general schtick is something like "Bad stories lie at the root of our environmental crises, the only way to fix bad stories is to replace them with good ones, Tolkien is one of the good stories." I generally focus on the idea that, if the stories we tell ourselves about who we are make us who we are (and they totally do!) then the stories we tell ourselves about our relationship to the natural world define how we interact with that world.

 

On 7/1/2020 at 8:16 AM, Mudd said:

I've most recently been at a conference for what they call human dimensions of wildlife management.

 

Can you say more about this? Do you mean human beliefs/ideas/reactions about wildlife and how they affect its management, or something else?

 

On 7/1/2020 at 8:16 AM, Mudd said:

Is your dissertation available to read anywhere?

 

If you have access to the ProQuest dissertations database, it's available there. The title is Yearning for Rivendell: The Myth of Wilderness and the Wilderness of Myth in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. (If you don't have access, definitely don't pay for it -- DM me your email address and I'll be happy to send you a huge 500-page PDF; it's a monster, I'm afraid, but it's all mine.)

 

On 7/1/2020 at 8:16 AM, Mudd said:

You know, I never thought of this Rebellion as being that rebellion, but that makes NerdFitness so much cooler. Thanks for this!

 

STORIES. They are so powerful. This weird nerdy place, with its themed challenges and its conscious embrace of the transformative power of active identification with beloved fandoms, is seriously a mythologist's dream  :)

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hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Link to post
13 minutes ago, oromendur said:

Welcome, dance friend! Always wonderful to have you.

:D

 

13 minutes ago, oromendur said:

Here's a fun tidbit for you, in the spirit of my challenge. Tom Shippey (the grand old man of Tolkien criticism -- he's like an oracle at this point) thinks that the auction to which Bilbo returns at the end of The Hobbit is a philological in-joke based on some work Tolkien did with local dialects in the twenties:

Ooh, that is a fun tidbit! Tolkien absolutely would've fit in among the nerdiest of the nerdy who adore his work, that's for sure.

 

13 minutes ago, oromendur said:

"Outraged respectability" isn't a bad way to describe my house to be honest :) 

:) I like that descriptor and 100% will steal it for something.

 

Glad to hear you were able to rebound from a rough week and hope the upward trend keeps on going strong!

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 Ballroom dancer, data nerd, calisthenics dabbler

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On 7/13/2020 at 2:50 PM, oromendur said:

We should totally talk. My general schtick is something like "Bad stories lie at the root of our environmental crises, the only way to fix bad stories is to replace them with good ones, Tolkien is one of the good stories." I generally focus on the idea that, if the stories we tell ourselves about who we are make us who we are (and they totally do!) then the stories we tell ourselves about our relationship to the natural world define how we interact with that world.

I like this! That makes total sense to me. I don't think I can summarize my schtick quite as well, but these are the kinds of projects I've been working on recently:
1. The Endangered Species Act defines an endangered species as one threatened with extinction in "all or a significant portion of its range." In this context, what do people think counts as "significant"? What kinds of things influence people's attitudes (membership in certain social groups? Relevant knowledge?)? Does public opinion/interpretation align with how federal agencies are enforcing the act?
2. Despite being totally clean, people are hesitant to drink recycled wastewater. If people are educated about the need or process, do they become more comfortable with it?
3. Do any of the materials used to try to convince people to eat less meat actually work? In this context, "materials" includes everything from flyers to Youtube videos to scientific articles to college ethics courses focused on animal welfare.

 

On 7/13/2020 at 2:50 PM, oromendur said:
On 7/1/2020 at 10:16 AM, Mudd said:

I've most recently been at a conference for what they call human dimensions of wildlife management.

 

Can you say more about this? Do you mean human beliefs/ideas/reactions about wildlife and how they affect its management, or something else?

You've got it exactly! That sums up the idea pretty perfectly. Sometimes the success of a conservation project has more to do with understanding/changing public opinion/behavior than anything else.

 

On 7/13/2020 at 2:50 PM, oromendur said:

If you have access to the ProQuest dissertations database, it's available there. The title is Yearning for Rivendell: The Myth of Wilderness and the Wilderness of Myth in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.

I found it! I'll definitely be checking this out.

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Challenge update? What? Is that a thing?

 

Oh. OK.

 

So, it's probably close enough to the end of Week Five that there's not much point to this, but I guess I'll do it anyway -- here's my [WEEK FOUR UPDATE]

 

The short version is that I didn't do too badly. After the excitement of my big trip I had a very hard time finding the wherewithal to get back into my work and cleaning routines (they ended up at 54% and 57% respectively for the week), but I really pushed myself to start up the morning and evening routines again, with solid success (100% and 96%). These mixed scores, combined with a last-minute Sunday afternoon pretend-jog through the canyons to rescue my PAI from the gutter, plus some good efforts getting outside and doing my weeklies, eventually allowed me to pull out a perfectly respectable B grade (87%) in the end.

 

The longer version is that I am honestly kind of struggling. The routines feel empty. There are motions. I'm going through them. Well done me, I suppose -- but I just can't seem to get any purchase; I feel much more like I'm flailing to keep my head above water than like I'm making any forward progress towards any kind of life goals. Writing projects? Yes, technically I'm working on them, but it's really all absolute dreck. Job? Nope, nothing but rejections, and the prospect of re-evaluating anything is too daunting for words. Those conferences in the UK this fall I actually got into and I was excited about attending? Just both went online-only :( Actually do the yard work necessary to get someone in to get the septic tank fixed? <falls over laughing hysterically>

 

I know there are all sorts of good reasons, from the endless uncertainty of the COVIDverse to the disaster that is US politics right now, why I'm having a hard time. Knowing isn't really all that helpful if I'm never going to bother to use said knowledge to make any significant changes in my life, though, and that seems beyond my capability right now. At my current burn rate I won't run out of money until early next year. Even then I should be able to put off any possible reckoning for at least another year without too much trouble, so -- what do I do? Keep flailing just to stay stuck? Make some sort of hasty and ill-considered choice based on the unreliable state of my emotions at the moment? I don't know, and all the lovely little hobbitish routines in the world aren't going to help if I don't figure it out.

 

It's kind of a shame -- I was all energized after my big adventure out into the peopley plaguey world over the 4th, but it took less than two weeks back in my own feęr okshęn to erode that energy down to sordid anomie. Now I feel like I'm right back where I started.

 

I do have a somewhat urgent decision to make about the plane tickets to the UK -- yeah, the tickets I JUST [BLEEP]ING BOOKED a few days ago :angry: With the conference changes, I'm not sure it makes sense to go now, and put myself through the two weeks of self-isolation required before I can leave the house (although to be fair it wouldn't be too bad at my friends' big place in Shropshire with their enormous garden, but still) if I can give my talks from my own office while not wearing pants. But it would be lovely to see people, and once I get through those two weeks a fair number of European travel options open up to me. Maybe I could go back to Finland to see if all those moody woods are still there...

 

Because, obviously, the best thing to do about the mess that is my life is to run away from it some more and go Adventuring, right? (sigh)

 

Anyway. I'm partway through Week Five, and it looks like I'll finish pretty well, I guess. And I will definitely put up another challenge, one that will likely ring changes on this this same routine theme, because a) filling in green boxes for doing things that need doing really is satisfying, b) despite the scope of the disaster that is my house I am seeing a bit of positive change when I do my little bits of cleaning each day, and c) the associated little bursts of dopamine are about the only thing keeping my brain chemistry at a minimum functioning level at this point. Is this time-of-life fluctuating hormones? Depression? Poor diet? Lack of decent exercise? I don't know -- but the stupid chattering brain weasels are really chattery right now. Challenges help.

 

Hope everyone else is finishing strong!

 

Quote

“I am like a burglar that can’t get away, but must go on miserably burgling the same house day after day,” he thought. “This is the dreariest and dullest part of all this wretched, tiresome, uncomfortable adventure! I wish I was back in my hobbit-hole by my own warm fireside with the lamp shining!” He often wished, too, that he could get a message for help sent to the wizard, but that of course was quite impossible; and he soon realized that if anything was to be done, it would have to be done by Mr. Baggins, alone and unaided. (The Annotated Hobbit p. 226)

 

  • Like 2

hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Link to post
On 7/21/2020 at 6:20 PM, Mudd said:

1. The Endangered Species Act defines an endangered species as one threatened with extinction in "all or a significant portion of its range." In this context, what do people think counts as "significant"? What kinds of things influence people's attitudes (membership in certain social groups? Relevant knowledge?)? Does public opinion/interpretation align with how federal agencies are enforcing the act?
2. Despite being totally clean, people are hesitant to drink recycled wastewater. If people are educated about the need or process, do they become more comfortable with it?
3. Do any of the materials used to try to convince people to eat less meat actually work? In this context, "materials" includes everything from flyers to Youtube videos to scientific articles to college ethics courses focused on animal welfare.

 

Ooh, fascinating! The mythologist in me can see how all of these are related to bad stories, stories like "there are lots of <insert endangered species> around here, they're obviously doing fine" or "drinking other people's pee is icky" or "stupid PETA bullshit propaganda, no way anybody is taking away my bacon cheeseburgers." If people believe in those stories, the only way to change the actions related to the stories is to replace the stories with better ones: "this is the last place <insert endangered species> is really thriving, we need to protect it" or "all the water in the world is recycled in nature anyway and our technology just speeds up the process" or "CAFO meat is bad for us and horribly cruel and if we eat less meat of higher quality then it's better both for us and the world." Just destroying a story doesn't actually help, because humans NEED stories, and without them we fall bang into that pesky existential void (I'll take "How the Scientific Revolution turned Western religion into a zombie" for 800, Alex).

 

On 7/21/2020 at 6:20 PM, Mudd said:

Sometimes the success of a conservation project has more to do with understanding/changing public opinion/behavior than anything else.

 

Oh my goodness, yes. I would actually argue that any conservation efforts which aren't linked to a change in public opinion/behavior are doomed. The best science in the world can't fix bad stories, because they're mental constructs rather than physical things.

 

On 7/21/2020 at 6:20 PM, Mudd said:

 

On 7/13/2020 at 12:50 PM, oromendur said:

If you have access to the ProQuest dissertations database, it's available there. The title is Yearning for Rivendell: The Myth of Wilderness and the Wilderness of Myth in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.

 

I found it! I'll definitely be checking this out.

 

Oh, hey, look! Somebody besides my committee and my Dad might read my dissertation! (It is admittedly pretty heavy going -- my mother and sister both gave up :rolleyes:) Fair warning: the three chapters of Part I are really only for the nerdiest of intellectual history/lit crit nerds -- if you aren't interested in the minutiae of wilderness as presented in some carefully selected items from Tolkien's vast panoply of sources, it's safe to skip to Part II where I actually start talking about Tolkien's own work. (That said, if you want to understand the basics of my framework you should at least skim Chapter 2, but you really don't need to wade through all the in-depth discussions of every single source-critical and ecocritical reference covering more than two thousand years of Western literary history that make up the rest of those introductory chapters. I do tend to go on sometimes. Have you noticed? No? That's nice of you to say. Really.) Considering the projects you mentioned above, you will likely be quite interested in Chapters 8 and 9, so if at any point you lose the will to live, don't force yourself to persevere -- just skip ahead to the good parts :)

  • Like 2

hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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On 7/13/2020 at 1:44 PM, Mike Wazowski said:

Glad to hear you were able to rebound from a rough week and hope the upward trend keeps on going strong!

 

Thanks! The trend continued upward for a while, but now it feels like it's turned downward again. (shrug) I guess it's important to remember that sometimes just surviving is winning.

  • Like 2

hröa Periano, sanar Eldaro, fëa Núnatano

(body of a Hobbit, mind of an Elf, soul of a Dúnadan)

Memories of a former Age [ 1 |  2 ]  ~  Return from Mandos [ respawn ]

Recent sojourns in Middle-earth [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 ]

[ Current: The Last Homely House ]   ~   [ Tracking spreadsheet ]   ~   [ Instagram ]

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.  ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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