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Oromendur: Wizardry


oromendur

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This will be a challenge of wizardry. 

 

It will be wizardly. 

 

But not right now, I'm hard up against a deadline, so I'm going to be a bit late. I do promise to show my face eventually.

 

In the meantime, here, read some poetry. (This is Tolkien showing off. I mean, doesn't everyone craft note-perfect hammering Anglo-Saxon style alliterative verse in modern English referencing the backstory of obscure characters in their own vast legendarium?)

 

Wilt thou learn the lore          that was long secret

of the Five that came          from a far country?

One only returned.          Others never again

under Men's dominion          Middle-earth shall seek

until Dagor Dagorath          and the Doom cometh.

How hast thou heard it:          the hidden counsel

of the Lords of the West          in the land of Aman?

The long roads are lost          that led thither,

and to mortal Men          Manwë speaks not.

From the West-that-was          a wind bore it

to the sleeper's ear,          in the silences

under night-shadow,          when news is brought

from lands forgotten          and lost ages

over seas of years          to the searching thought.

Not all are forgotten          by the Elder King.    (J.R.R. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, p. 396)

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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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Right. OK. Here we are, past my bedtime on Thursday of Week One, and I'm finally rocking up with my challenge.

 

It's a good thing wizards are never late...

 

Anyway. I've been working with a fairly solid list of routines and requirements over the last few challenges, and I've had enough success that I don't really want to change too much up front. It's been a while since I've been able to scrape together anything resembling a theme, though. Several times recently my wonderful fellow Adventurers have made jokes about me being a wizard. I'm actually kind of digging it, so why not? Mythic instruction is mythic instruction, and I could certainly do worse. So I dove into the vast and endless pool of apocryphal Tolkien writings out there, and came up with some ideas.

 

This might be a little complicated, because of course it's all or nothing with me, and I've had a few challenges of nothing. Please bear with me as I go over my complex structure of ALL THE WIZARDRY.

 

Part One: The Spreadsheet of Doom

 

Spoiler for length:

Spoiler

 

This challenge will have three major lines of effort, which I hope will eventually reflect the admirable qualities of Tolkien's Istari.

 

Long and Secret Study

 

"Wizard is a translation of Quenya istar (Sindarin ithron): one of the members of an 'order' (as they called it), claiming to possess, and exhibiting, eminent knowledge of the history and nature of the World…. Among Men they were supposed (at first) by those that had dealings with them to be Men who had acquired lore and arts by long and secret study…. They went about in simple guise, as it were of Men already old in years but hale in body, travellers and wanderers, gaining knowledge of Middle-earth and all that dwelt therein, but revealing to none their powers and purposes." (J.R.R. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, p. 388)

 

This whole 'seeking of lore and arts' thing is pretty much what I am doing with my life right now, while I wait for the pandemic to subside (well, enough that I can't justify procrastinating the real decisions I eventually need to be making about a job). I had a pretty good routine going there for a while, but in the last few weeks my work efforts have started to slip a bit. I would like to get things back on track. Daily goals:

 

- Do some writing or editing work on my current active fiction project (an Elizabethan-ish fantasy of a man trapped in the body of a stone golem by an evil alchemist, and the adventures he and his wife, a mercenary soldier working for a Prospero-style good sorcerer, get up to as they work to free him from the curse)

- Do some planning, writing, or editing on my current active nonfiction project (there will be at least two, maybe three, I'll report on them each week)

- Do two lots of language training in French (usually a Duolingo session and a Pimsleur lesson, although I am permitted to substitute reading a news article in French for either or both of these)

 

Pains and Weariness of Earth

 

"For with the consent of Eru they [the Valar] sent members of their own high order, but clad in bodies as of Men, real and not feigned, but subject to the fears and pains and weariness of earth, able to hunger and thirst and be slain; though because of their noble spirits they did not die, and aged only by the cares and labours of many long years.... For it is said indeed that being embodied the Istari had need to learn much anew by slow experience.... Thus by enduring of free will the pangs of exile and the deceits of Sauron they might redress the evils of that time." (Unfinished Tales, p. 390)

 

I also recently had a fairly good run of completing my morning and evening routines, designed to help shore up my bodily incarnation against the pains of earth, and like the work quadrant these have begun to slip rather alarmingly. Inspired by the heroic angelic servants of Tolkien's demiurgic Powers who chose the slings and arrows of incarnation (the five Istari are the most famous, but Melian and even Sauron did this, and I have some headcanon that puts Gwaihir's ancestor Thorondor into the same category -- he was canonically a servant of Manwë, and all the other such servants mentioned were Maiar, and I don't see why angelic incarnation in the body of an intelligent eagle is any different than in the body of a simian biped -- but I digress) I will renew my commitment to these routines. Daily goals:

 

Morning routine:

- At least 6 minutes of sitting meditation

- Two handwritten Julia Cameron-style morning pages

- A 28-pose White Crane tàijí form created by my old teacher

- An utterly trivial (so trivial I will actually do it) bodyweight routine consisting of 4 twisty pushups, 3 ab wheel rollouts, and 2 (heavily band-assisted) pullups

 

Evening routine:

- Floss and brush my teeth and wash my face

- Tidy the bathroom (wipe down sink, swish toilet)

- Complete a low-back-pain-focused easy stretching session

- Be in my bed by 11 pm

 

Many Powers of Mind and Hand

 

"In the likeness of Men they appeared, old but vigorous, and they changed little with the years, and aged but slowly, though great cares lay on them; great wisdom they had, and many powers of mind and hand. Long they journeyed far and wide among Elves and Men, and held converse also with beasts and with birds; and the peoples of Middle-earth gave to them many names, for their true names they did not reveal." (The Silmarillion, p. 309)

 

OK, this one's probably a bit of a stretch, but I'm not above stretching or cramming or deforming things in a little to shoehorn them into an overly-complex theme. (Very Tolkienian, come to think of it :)) The remaining quadrant of my daily routines involves handling the basic maintenance of my home environment. Unlike the others, I SUCK at this and haven't really had much in the way of success to point to, recent or otherwise. Still, hope springs eternal, and I'm going to keep trying, and maybe a tiny bit of the great wisdom and great powers of mind and hand of the Istari can help me find some purchase here. Daily goals:

 

- Make my bed

- Spend 15 minutes cleaning or decluttering in the weekly focus zone (as defined by Marla Cilley, the FlyLady, in her book Sink Reflections)

- Spend 5 minutes working on something outside (this is a tweak to my older routines, and will hopefully result in some forward progress on a huge ugly cluster of open loops that has been dragging me down forever)

- Clean out and wipe down the kitchen sink before I go to bed (this is another FlyLady thing, and when I don't do it I really do regret it the next day)

 

There are also some weekly chores associated with this line of effort, of which I will complete at least three each week (with extra credit if I do more: cleaning out the coffee machines, taking out the trash, emptying the countertop compost crock into the indoor bokashi bin, watering and turning the outdoor compost bin, vacuuming at least one of the bedroom/dining room/living room/upstairs, cleaning the kitchen floor. In the unlikely event I get myself to do any significant one-off project-type cleaning I am permitted to substitute that for one of these chores.).

 

 

So, that covers the basics of the spreadsheet. That's not all though. (I said it was going to be complicated.)

 

Part Two: The Tale of Weeks

 

"The first to come was one of noble mien and bearing, with raven hair, and a fair voice, and he was clad in white; great skill he had in works of hand, and he was regarded by well-nigh all, even by the Eldar, as the head of the Order. Others there were also: two clad in sea-blue, and one in earthen brown; and last came one who seemed the least, less tall than the others, and in looks more aged, grey-haired and grey-clad, and leaning on a staff." (Unfinished Tales, p. 389)

 

Five weeks in a challenge? Five Wizards? Coincidence?

 

I think not :)

 

I have a huge plague-protocol adventure scheduled which will begin near the end of Week Four: I AM GOING TO ENGLAND, self-isolation be damned. My friends have agreed to let me do my two-week quarantine at their big place in Shropshire, and once I'm no longer radioactive I hope to get to London to visit my other friends before heading back to the US sometime in mid-November. Depending on what I decide to do for Thanksgiving, I may not actually make it home until December. Spoiler for minor and thematically unimportant political content, please ignore if you find such things distressing:

Spoiler

The pleasing fact that the timing of this trip means I won't be in Trumpistan for the election is not accidental. The unfortunate fact that I will be in the UK for the hard Brexit date is. But what can you do? There are worse places to be stuck than Shropshire, and it will be nice not to be alone for a while.

In preparation for this adventure, I am going to give each week a wizardly overseer, in the hopes that their inspiration will give me a chance of being ready when the time comes.

 

Spoiler for even more length:

Spoiler

 

Week One: Curumo

 

Saruman (the word actually means 'cunning man' or 'man of skill' in Anglo-Saxon -- there, that's a thing you know now) was the greatest of Loremasters, a Maia of Aulë and a great power indeed before his fall. I hope to use his inspiration to help me complete the scholarship requirements for the two conference presentations I have due this challenge. I'm actually a little salty about this -- I had originally signed up for these because a) they were to take place in England and I could use them as an excuse to travel and b) in-person extemporaneous speaking comes pretty easily to me so it wasn't going to be all that much work. Now with COVID driving both of them online, instead of relying on my public speaking skills to prove I deserve my academic rank, I have to actually produce recorded lectures complete with slides, voice-overs, and lists of references. I honestly can't believe I'm paying to torture myself like this, but the money's gone so there's nothing to do but suck it up (sigh). I have one presentation due in Week One and one with an as-yet-unpublished deadline but will have to be well before the end of Week Five, when the online conference is set to take place. Saruman's week will be considered a success if I submit the first (spoiler: it's done, which is why I'm so late with this challenge write-up) and I have completed a solid outline for the second.

 

Weeks Two and Three: Alatar and Pallando

 

The mysterious Blue Wizards traveled far into the East and South and did not come into the most famous tales of Middle-earth, those told in the Red Book of Westmarch. But other tales tell how they were Maiar of the Vala Oromë (fun fact -- my NF username means 'servant of Oromë' in Quenya), and some of Tolkien's late writings indicate they were successful in reducing Saruman's power in those areas enough that the West could survive. In Weeks Two and Three I will be working hard to ensure that my quirky little hobbit hole in the kindly West is going to survive my several-month absence in the far reaches of Rhûn (although hopefully not Harad, where the stars are strange). The unwell septic tank is annoying but not pressing, especially since if I'm not here using water it won't be a problem at all. But there are two significant issues that have the potential to be very bad indeed: the hole in the roof that currently dumps gallons upon gallons of water into the living room every rainfall, and the mysterious leak that is making a mess of the corner of my kitchen and my bathroom closet that could be a) the toilet (bad), b) the frosted-over freezer (less bad), or a leak in the water line where the main comes in (very bad indeed). By the end of Week Three I need to have these dealt with, or their possible effects mitigated enough, that I can hope not to come back to a mildewy disaster in December, if I end up being gone that long.

 

Week Four: Aiwendil

 

Radagast was imposed as a companion on an unwilling Saruman by the Vala Yavanna (which explains his disdain for the 'bird-tamer,' I suppose), and was a great friend to beasts and birds, the prototypical hedge-wizard who preferred animals to people. (He's not always wrong there.) He was also, like all the other Istari, a great traveler, journeying from his home at Rhosgebel near Beorn's grand Anglo-Saxon mead hall all the way to Orthanc and back, and to many other places besides. My flight to the UK actually happens during Week Four. I will go from a solitary existence sharing my house only with spiders and ants and the occasional lost cricket to a country place in the Shropshire hills with cats and dogs and chickens and a large snail (and possibly more beings, those are the ones I know about), not to mention a few other people. I'm hoping that good old Radagast can help me finish my final last-minute travel preparations and successfully survive the transition from solitary creature to pack-member with sanity intact.

 

Week Five: Olórin

 

I'll finish with the one who seemed the least but ended up being the greatest of the Istari: everybody's favorite fire-wielder Gandalf. A Maia of the great Manwë, he was the best and truest of them all, and the only one of the five to return to the West when his task was done. His week will be a success if I have survived the jet lag and the self-isolation and the conference and managed to find a way to do some walking in the green hills of the place that comes the closest in my experience to truly embodying the spirit of the Shire.

 

 

So, there you have it. All the wizardry. It's long. It's complex. It's overwritten.

 

I don't care.

 

It's late (late enough that I'm going to miss my daily bedtime goal because of it) and I'm going with this, because if I don't get a post out tonight I won't get one out at all, and dammit I really want to have a real challenge up for a change, even if it doesn't make any sense :) 

 

I may or may not get over my general shyness about posting on other people's threads, but I will do my very best to read all of the Adventurer ones, and you can bet I will be cheering you on from the anonymous sidelines. Let's do this!

  • Like 4

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 9/12/2020 at 3:03 PM, Snarkyfishguts said:

OWNING THE WIZARDRY!!!!!

This is partially your fault, you know.

 

On 9/13/2020 at 7:06 AM, Ann of Vries said:

Here for the wizardry ^_^

Welcome! I'll have to pull off more than a little to survive this latest UK adventure :) 

 

On 9/14/2020 at 5:42 PM, Aquarii said:

Hmmm, wizardry eh? How interesting!

I hope you still feel the same after plowing through that epic disaster of a post...

 

On 9/15/2020 at 11:02 AM, Teros said:

What kind of wizardry are we talking about?  Gandalf wizardry?  Potter wizardry? 

Demiurgic angelic wizardry, of course ;) 

 

On 9/15/2020 at 11:02 AM, Teros said:

I vote Zatanna

I had to Google her -- I was never much of a comics girl and only got into the Marvel side of things briefly in high school -- but, yes, she'll do just fine. More of a magician than a wizard, I suppose, but let's not bandy the semantics when it comes to the awesomeness that is the wizardry!

 

Thank you all for stopping by :wub:

  • 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
2 hours ago, oromendur said:

I AM GOING TO ENGLAND

 

UM GIRL I DON’T SEE THE WYE IN YOUR ITINERARY.

 

Seriously (and with less caps) if we are moved by then (and jeebus I really hope we are), you are welcome to come stay with us for a bit. Our place is big and we don’t care if we’ve just moved in. ❤️ 

 

(I would be happy to have another American around for Thanksgiving, and our usual LARP con we do around that time of year is canceled. Just saying.)

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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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2 hours ago, oromendur said:

It's long. It's complex. It's overwritten.

 

 

Based on the handful of Tolkien scholars I know, that’s... basically a requirement, isn’t it? XD

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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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17 hours ago, oromendur said:

This is partially your fault, you know.

I accept my part in your acceptance of being a wonderful person capable of many great things at the time of her choosing. 

 

Going to England sounds amazing, and I'm glad you'll be having such an adventure in beautiful places! I hope it's a wonderful time. Get your home in order so it's not washed away when you get back! Bossy bossy me. 

 

I had to do a video presentation instead of an in person one when I was in grad school, and it was like....THE WOOOOOOOOORST. I'm glad you powered through, and I'm sure there's loads of practical experience blah blah wisdom and stuff- it sucks but you did it and now you can go to England and play! 

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So to be perfectly honest I don't much want to talk about the last two weeks :wacko:

 

But whatever, here's my [WEEKS ONE AND TWO UPDATE] anyway.

 

WEEK ONE was full of fail. I had to run so hot during the beginning of the week to make that conference submission deadline I mentioned that pretty much all of my other requirements completely fell off the table, and then for the rest of the week and into the weekend I found myself completely unable to claw myself out of a veritable flat spin of failing-to-person.

     Long and Secret Study: I scored a miserable 43% here. F-. Boo.

     Pains and Weariness of Earth: Better here. 93%, a solid A. (This is better than I expected, to be honest, because I blew things off more than I usually do.)

     Many Powers of Mind and Hand: 39%. Even more F-. F--. Double boo.

     Curumo: Maybe giving Saruman power over one of my weeks was a mistake, but at least I got the first presentation in on time and started to outline the second. I didn't get as far on that as I wanted, but it's at least begun.

 

WEEK TWO was more than full of fail -- it was actually made of fail :( I didn't do a lick of work all week, either writing or cleaning, and I even blew off my normally rock-solid morning routine for no good reason. I was in a binge, I'm afraid. At least this time the binge ended up producing something because I: a) got my weather website working (check it out here), b) figured out how to set up online access to my ebook library so I don't have to cart a stupid hard drive around with me on this trip to be able to finish the research and writing I need to do,  and c) got an instance of Home Assistant sort of working with my temperature and weather sensors. Was any of this a good use of my time and energy? No. Was any of it worth the physical and emotional toll it's taken on my depressive mood and creaky back? Absolutely not. But it kind of is what it is, and that's why the grades are such shit.

 

My binges are funny -- I can't really sustain eating or drinking too much for more than a few days before my body just gives out on me, but mentally I can dive into dissolution for weeks. Sometimes I binge on fantasy novels. Sometimes I binge on computer games. This time I binged on OpenBSD. (shrug) Whatever. I've finally pulled out of it, and now I have to climb out of the ditch it dumped me into in time to catch a plane for a two-month trip in less than two weeks :blink:

 

     Long and Secret Study: 21%. Not even on the grade scale.The only reason it isn't zero was because I had to log into the conference website over the weekend and I counted the posting I did there as nonfiction work so it wouldn't be :angry:

     Pains and Weariness of Earth: 88%. So much for rock-solid. Still, I blew things off and still ended up with a B, so I guess it could be worse.

     Many Powers of Mind and Hand: 61%. Still not passing, but the reason it's close has nothing to do with my actually making good decisions, and everything to do with the fact that the small leak(s) I was noticing exploded into a veritable flood and I spent the entire weekend dealing with the mess (see below for details).

     Alatar and Pallando (part one): I guess I've sorted the leak problem. I hope. Fingers crossed. I think I'm just going to have to buy a big garbage can for the living room and hope for the best (sigh)

 

Spoiler for bitching about the flood(s):

Spoiler

 

I mentioned the leaks in my challenge write-up. I knew there was a problem, and it was definitely on my list to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, my refrigerator (freezer drawer on the bottom) finally decided it was done warning me about the frosted-up freezer and just went ahead and flooded the kitchen, and the leaking toilet that was apparently just a dribble decided to grow into a steady every-few-seconds drip-drip that soaked the bathroom. On the same night. While I was asleep. Of the three things I thought could be the problem, two of them turned out to be true (and I'm REALLY hoping the third is not, because that would be much more than I could fix myself).

 

So I bought a chest freezer, took apart my laundry room to make room for it, transferred all the frozen food, completely disassembled the freezer, melted all the ice dams with a syringe, and then took the back of the fridge off to access the wretched little plugged gasket that had caused all the fuss. Oh, and I had to replace some rubber washers in the toilet, but I actually caught the drips in a bowl for a few days before I got to that...

 

And of course since I had everything out of the laundry room anyway I decided to fix the old, sagging, mounted-only-in-drywall-when-there-is-a-stud-literally-one-inch-to-the-left-what-the-hell-were-they-thinking shelves, which ended up being more time and energy and expense (and trips to Home Depot!) than I could really spare. But that's done now too and all I have to do is clean up the mess. And we all know how good I am at cleaning :rolleyes:

 

Whatever. The flow of water has stopped, and the resulting gigantic four-room emergency-protocol disaster of a mess is now about 50% cleared.

 

 

Now it's Monday. Of Week Three. I leave in...<checks>...TEN DAYS OMG...<panics>

 

Ahem. Anyway. I'm officially shifting my focus from my spreadsheet. I will probably keep track of things out of some sense of morbid curiosity, and there's honestly no reason I shouldn't still be able to report A grades in the morning and evening routines, but it is now more important to be ready to leave for two months than to do the right things every day. Still to be done:

 

- Finish cleaning up laundry room explosion in living room

- Finish cleaning up laundry room explosion in dining room

- Finish cleaning up flood residue in kitchen

- Start (and finish!) cleaning up flood residue in bathroom

- Plague-protocol laundromat trip

- Borrow a friend's CostCo card for pre-trip shopping (I'm not going to pay to renew mine until I get back)

- Install gate latch to keep coyotes out of my yard (I don't want them tempted by the compost bin but the latch has been broken for like five years)

- Clean gutters (less water coming through the roof if it runs off unimpeded by years of leaf pile-up, right?)

- Install rain gauge for weather system (as if I really want to know, right??)

- Pack and prepare for the trip

 

Ten days, ten items. I can do this. I hope.

 

I was going to hunt up some sort of quote about Saruman and what led to his downfall, but on second thought I don't want those omens here. Instead I'll focus on the friendship and power of the Blue Wizards to get me through this week, and look forward to my upcoming Shire adventures when Radagast makes his appearance in the next one.

 

Onward!

  • Like 4

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 9/28/2020 at 7:16 PM, oromendur said:

My binges are funny

 

I def have an addictive personality and binging isn't related to just food, either.  I binged videogames (like 12+ hours and forgot to eat and had horribel headaches) when I was younger.  I binge eat of course.  I binge-read (I read for a solid 11 hours this week).  I can even binge-workout too, which can cause some injuries since I push myself too much.  My brain is like a lightswitch: it flips [ON] or [OFF].  There's no 'kinda a little bit for a while' type of function up there.

 

Damn, those flooding projects must have been a serious drain.  Good on you for getting through it.  Also, been 10 days so I'm assuming you left?

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These challenges seem to pass more and more quickly each time. (Particularly when I kind of pretend not to remember the requirement to do updates, but we’re all polite enough not to notice that, right?) After much travel craziness, I have arrived in the UK. I have no intention of doing any real work for at least the next week — but it’s probably appropriate now to dash off a [WEEKS THREE AND FOUR UPDATE].

 

Week Three was the closest I’ve come to a passing score this challenge (at 61% overall I didn’t quite make it, but that was because I haven’t done anything resembling exercise in about a month and my PAI credits were zero across the board. Again. Like they have been this whole challenge. Anyway.)

 

Long and Secret Study: 21%. I did very nearly nothing in the way of intellectual work this week. We’re just not going to talk about it.

Pains and Weariness of Earth: 86%. Considering these routines are supposed to be at maintenance level this is actually pretty pathetic, but it’s all I’ve got going for me right now so I’ll just be over here pretending a B is good...

Many Powers of Mind and Hand: Squeaked out a C- at 71%, but that’s a significant improvement over recent weeks and I’ll take it. Plus, I’ve only just realized that thus far I’ve forgotten to average the weekly task percentages into this grade; doing that this week brings my performance up to a positively respectable B grade of 85%. Maybe I should go back and fix the grades for the first two weeks. <checks> Well, I still wouldn’t have passed, so it probably doesn’t matter (sigh). 

Alatar and Pallando (part two): Well, I didn’t get it all done, I’m afraid. But it could have been worse. The leaking toilet finally got fixed early in this week. I had a long list of other things I should have done, but I generally failed to make good decisions that would support a stress-free departure, and instead I baked bread and brownies and crackers to take down to the last of our small-group barbecues (planned special for me so I could attend once more before I left). Appropriate for a week overseen by the two wizards so tied by friendship they chose incarnation in order to stay together, I guess (shrug) 

 

Week Four was every bit as insane as I thought it would be — which I suppose is fairly appropriate for the week dedicated to Radagast :) I held onto the morning routine on Monday and Tuesday, but by Tuesday evening absolutely everything had fallen apart. The overall numbers for the various lines of effort are probably close enough to zero that I’m not going to bother to calculate any of them. Let’s just put an asterisk in for this week that says “I was traveling.”

 

On Tuesday I did finally manage to drive myself outside in a desperate panic, though, and I actually did fairly well at accomplishing the highest-priority tasks on my list. I installed the rain gauge and verified it was visible on the internet. I fixed the gate latch. I gathered up various thoroughly disgusting containers of food waste in various stages of rotting (the compost crock) or fermenting (the bokashi bin) and emptied them into the outdoor compost bin, and then rinsed them out as best I could (using reclaimed water the little EV-EE air-conditioner-that-could had extracted from my living room and pumped into one of my bone-dry rainwater barrels) in order to add some (smelly) moisture to the poor parched compost. I wrestled the ladder out of its spider-nest cocoon under the deck and climbed up to clean the gutters. While I was up there I actually took the opportunity to clean off the solar panels, which turned out also to be thoroughly disgusting. Then AFTER ALL OF THAT I did a good chunk of my packing. Tuesday was quite a day.

 

Then everything kind of went to shit and I left a lot of important stuff undone, but, well, them’s the breaks. Time, tide, and formation (and planes and trains!) wait for no one, and the moldy Nespresso machine will still be there when I get back (sigh)

 

Starting Wednesday evening I moved in stages from home to Oceanside to Los Angeles to Amsterdam to Birmingham and finally rocked up in Church Stretton mid-afternoon on Friday, jet-lagged, brain dead, and in a considerable amount of back pain from the indignities of transatlantic travel. Of course, thanks to my long chain of extremely poor decisions regarding work in the weeks prior to the trip, I found myself with less than forty-eight hours to finish drafting, writing, recording, and submitting my second conference presentation :rolleyes: That was lots of fun. It took some doing, and honestly it ended up just this side of being a professional embarrassment, but it’s DONE and I got it in under the deadline wire on Sunday and I’m not even sure I’ll bother to log into the wretched conference website next weekend because I don’t ever want to see the stupid thing again.

 

So here I am on Monday of Week Five, waiting impatiently in my green and spacious quarantine prison until I’m no longer radioactive and can start the serious business of walking the dog over the Shropshire hills and remembering what it’s like to actually get some exercise :) I think rather than fighting with my now-inapplicable spreadsheet tasks during this Gandalf week, I’m just going to ask myself four simple questions each day:

 

- Was my PAI over 100?

- Did I eat a plant?

- Did I take my supplements?

- Did I floss, brush my teeth and my hair, and wash my face?

 

This should hopefully be enough to be getting on with while I sort out an appropriately Shire-focused challenge for next time. There will probably be something referencing Bilbo and Frodo and their efforts on their famous Red Book, because NaNo...it LOOMS...

 

Here’s wishing everyone good luck in finishing this last week strong!

  • 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

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On 9/18/2020 at 8:29 AM, Ann of Vries said:

UM GIRL I DON’T SEE THE WYE IN YOUR ITINERARY

 

THE WYE CAN TOTALLY BE ON MY ITINERARY and if you are successful in getting your Plan B worked out in time, let me know! Google informs me the Forest of Dean is about an hour and a half away, straight down the A49 to Hereford and then across the valley, so that’s easy striking distance. And if not, well, as of now (current COVID conditions, pre-election, pre-Brexit, all other contingencies enumerated as necessary) I plan to be in London the weekend of 19-23 Nov so we could totally meet at an atmospheric riverside pub (or pretentious French wine bar, at your preference) to commiserate on the craziness of the world. I’ve decided to do Thanksgiving with my friends in Boulder, whom I haven’t seen in a dog’s age, but thank you very much for the kind invitation. 

 

On 9/29/2020 at 8:43 AM, Ann of Vries said:

You can do this! ❤️

 

On 9/30/2020 at 2:41 PM, Snarkyfishguts said:

OMG YOU TOTALLY GOT THIS!

 

Thanks, guys. You were totally right. It was a mess there for a while though :) 

 

On 10/10/2020 at 6:55 PM, Teros said:

Damn, those flooding projects must have been a serious drain.

 

Yeah, it was the last thing I needed at that point. And I was kind of annoyed because darnit I WAS GETTING TO IT YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO FLOOD ARGH. But it’s mostly sorted now, and the rest of the mess will still be waiting when I get back.

  • 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
1 hour ago, oromendur said:

THE WYE CAN TOTALLY BE ON MY ITINERARY and if you are successful in getting your Plan B worked out in time, let me know! 

 

Will do! I’m guessing we have until the 18th of November? We should know if we get approval tomorrow, and then it’ll be 2-3 weeks to move probably so I’ll WhatsApp you when I have dates ^_^ (Please note you may be asked to help us with moving things around as we’ll still be settling in. Exercise!)

 

I think the main issue is going to be that we are leaving the extra beds in London for house-staging purposes, so you may be subjected to comfy camping mattresses or a sofa >_>; 

  • Like 3

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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AAAAAND just like that the challenge is over. 

 

What does the [WEEK FIVE UPDATE] look like, after the complete reconfiguration of tasks and Gandalf’s arrival in the Shire?

 

Broken down by day, here are the answers to my five questions:

 

PAI: no, no, no, no, no, no, yes Yes YES I’M SO EXCITED I FINALLY GOT MY PAI SCORE TO 100 FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOREVER WAHOO <ahem>

Plants: yes, yes, yes, sort of (well, honestly, probably not), yes, yes, yes

Supplements: yes every day

Hygiene: yes every day (I may have missed the hair brushing evolution once but I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt)

 

Add that all up and it comes to a rather pathetic C grade of 75%. As always the PAI is to blame, but by Sunday morning (after I had failed to motivate myself to do enough dull and painful stationary exercise around the house to make a dent in my deficit) I was willing to bend my scruples enough to sneak out for a walk in the hills before anyone who might be overly concerned about me breaking my quarantine had recovered from their Saturday night. That got me to 100 for the first time in...<checks>...five weeks (sigh) Spoiler for IG pics of my illicit walk:

Spoiler



 

 

Now I should hopefully have one or two days near the 100 level before I’ll have to try slogging away on the rickety stepper machine in the garage again. This coming Friday (and the end of my comfortable but increasingly antsy self-isolation imprisonment) can’t come soon enough; once I can count on walking a few miles every morning, this daily score goal will be easily achievable again and I CAN’T [BLEEP]ING WAIT. 

 

Overall my grading process this challenge made me feel like my efforts were made more of failure than success. Still, looking back, I am pleased with what small bits of success I did manage to scrape together. My conference contributions (such as they were) were sent in on time, I responded to that flood foolishness without completely coming apart (um, well, not far enough I couldn’t put myself back together quickly anyway), I somehow found the motivation to handle some of my awful overdue outside jobs, I got myself to England more or less in one piece (without catching the plague), and even that messy binge resulted in something positive as I have already found it useful to have that webserver I hacked together up and running while being so far away from home for so long. So overall, although I am very happy this miserable challenge is finally OVER, I have to admit it wasn’t a total failure.

 

At this point in this crazy year I suppose a girl can’t ask for anything more than that :) 

  • 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

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