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Oromendur: Walking in the Shire


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After much wizardly adventure last challenge, I am pleased to report that I managed to survive the journey that happened at the end of it, and I will now be spending the bulk of this challenge in the green and pleasant land of my friends’ place in the Shropshire hills. Although I think I will still make some efforts to maintain at least part of the various routines and habits I’ve been working on at home, I’ve decided I don’t want to commit to reporting on them here. The stress of the poor grades was starting to get to me, and I think I want to keep it simple this time.

 

So — as I leave the lofty heights of the Wise and return to the simple life of a hobbit — this challenge is going to be all about Walking in the Shire.

 

A Bit Into Training

 

‘I shall get myself a bit into training, too,’ he [Frodo] said, looking at himself in a dusty mirror in the half-empty hall. He had not done any strenuous walking for a long time, and the reflection looked rather flabby, he thought. (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Edition, p. 68)

 

Although it is a perennial goal in these challenges for me to keep my daily PAI score (a measurement based on heart rate tracked by a wrist-based HRM) over 100, during the last challenge I only managed to do it on one single day. (It was on the very last day of the challenge, and I had to sneak out for a quarantine-fudging walk in the hills to make it happen, and it only just squeaked in because I am a die-hard member of the ‘challenges start on Mondays dammit’ crowd.) I’d like to do better this time around.

 

Task: Keep PAI score over 100 every day

 

Favo(u)rite Walks

 

He [Bilbo] loved maps, and in the hall there was a large one of the Country Round (where he lived), with all his favourite walks marked on it in red ink. (J.R.R. Tolkien and Douglas Anderson, The Annotated Hobbit Revised and Expanded Edition, p. 24)

 

During this interlude in the Shire, I would very much like to revisit some of my favorite [sic ;)] walks. This will DEFINITELY include a wonderful ramble up and over and down to enjoy a pint and a pie at my very favoritest hobbity pub in the next town down the valley (the Green Dragon in Little Stretton — no, really!), but there are a number of other old friends I’d like to visit, from the waterfall at the top of the Carding Mill Valley to the sheel-na-gig on Church Stretton’s namesake old building (not to mention the lovely Rectory Wood behind it, which boasts any number of grand old trees whose acquaintance I’ve missed). Here in Week Zero, still in self-isolation and beginning to chafe at the restrictions, I’m dancing around impatiently for the time I’ll be permitted to get out on the hills again! 

 

Task: Do at least one long (3+ mile) adventure walk once a week, IG pics or it didn’t happen, extra credit for more

 

A Great Weight

 

‘Here, my lad, I’ll take that! I did not ask you to handle it,’ he [Gandalf] cried, turning sharply and seeing Pippin coming up the steps, slowly, as if he were bearing a great weight. (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Edition, p. 584)

 

In an excess of motivation (whether prompted by jet-lag madness, the mental sense of imprisonment that accompanies self-isolation, or the blast of clarity that can result from a radical change in living environment I really can’t say), one of the first things I did on my arrival was order a 16kg kettlebell to be delivered to my quarantine prison. It arrived yesterday. In a desperate effort to actually get something out of that £48 I really couldn’t spare, I will make myself accountable here for doing something with it regularly during this trip. I don’t know if thinking of myself as a hobbit handling a Palantir is going to help or hurt me, to be honest, but I think it might be worth a try :) 

 

Task: Do Tim Ferris’s Minimum Effective Dose workout (as described in The Four-Hour Body: 20 hip bridges, 15 bird dogs, 50 kettlebell swings) three times per week

 

The Red Book

 

Bree memories being retentive, Frodo was asked many times if he had written his book. ‘Not yet,’ he answered. ‘I am going home now to put my notes in order.’ (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Edition, p. 995)

 

This challenge will cover nearly the entire span of this year’s NaNoWriMo effort, which will begin on the last day of Week 1 (and only have one day left left at the end of Week Five). I honestly have no idea what I’m going to be writing about, and I’m kind of unsure I’ll have the personal energy to come up with something of any interest in the next two weeks, but I’ve ‘won’ this ridiculous contest every year for the past twelve and it seems a shame to break such a streak. So, as I’ve done more than once before, I’ll sit down on that Sunday morning and start typing. Something will manifest. It always does. 

 

Task: Write at least 50,000 words on a new long-form fiction project before December 1

 

So, there. Those are the goals for this particular hobbit walking party. There are a number of additional things I’d like to accomplish in the next few weeks, from re-starting my Duolingo habit to figuring out a way to do short-form journaling within the very different patterns of this place of home, but although I’ll probably mention them occasionally in my updates (and DAGNABIT THERE WILL BE UPDATES) I won’t formalize anything here. After feeling kind of like a failure for the past few challenges, I’m going out of my way to give myself a better chance of success this time :) 

 

Here’s wishing the best of luck to everyone else on their challenges. Let’s get walking!

 

‘It’s going to be a fine night,’ he [Frodo] said aloud. ‘That’s good for a beginning. I feel like walking. I can’t bear any more hanging about.’ (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Edition, p. 69)

  • Like 8

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 | 24 ]

[ Current: The Red Book ]   ~   [ 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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23 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

Hurray for walking in the Shire!

 

And maybe even Into the Woods, if the gods are kind :) 

 

20 hours ago, Teros said:

WOOHOO

 

WOOHOO indeed. It’s quite a nice hunk of iron actually. I was waffling over the (MUCH) cheaper 12kg one, but after swinging it yesterday I think this one is about right — I needed three sets to get to 50 swings ;) I also think my very fit British paratrooper host would find 12kg pretty pointless, should he ever want to try it out (since I’m clearly going to have to leave it here for safekeeping). 

 

20 hours ago, Teros said:

Best of luck on the writing as well.

 

Thanks! It’ll be madness, but I’m hoping a little insanity might actually remind me of what’s important in this insane world (shrug)

 

 

 

 

  • 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 | 24 ]

[ Current: The Red Book ]   ~   [ 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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Oh, yes, I forgot — I meant to mention in my challenge write-up that my birthday happens during this challenge (in Week One actually). Add me to the list of October babies in the guild!

 

I’m going to be 48. It’s a perfectly serviceable number, without any milestone unpleasantness to deal with. 

 

(This is a good thing, I think, as this year has been more than bad enough already.)

 

(Okay, fine, it does make me feel a little like I’m careening down an icy slope to 50, but whatever.)

 

I don’t plan to make a big deal out of it or anything, but I do have an ulterior motive in my recent nagging of my friends to put together a family outing with some of their horse friends during the upcoming half-term holiday. Their daughter is enjoying her regular riding lessons, but apparently the idea of going out as a family has never crossed their minds. The protests I received went something like “even if we could find someone to trust us with their horses, I’m certainly not confident I could hack out on my own.” (This made me blink in confusion a bit, because even though I’m hardly a skilled rider, if someone offered me an already-saddled horse I’d be perfectly fine heading out with friends as long as we were riding in a place I knew well enough not to get lost.) When I suggested it was possible to pay people for guided trail rides, I got a lot of blinks and confused looks in return. I’m guessing maybe that is less of a thing in England? I don’t know. But I planted the idea anyway. Hopefully it will eventually blossom into an outing that I intend to serve as my own private birthday celebration — and I’m even planning to gift myself with a lesson beforehand to make sure I’m not severely overestimating my ability to adjust to English tack :) 

  • Like 6

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 | 24 ]

[ Current: The Red Book ]   ~   [ 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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I did one of those rent some horses for a day and go riding thigs once many years ago.  It didn't work out really well because the trail they go on is always the same, so the poor beasts would just dragging and plodding as we headed out, but the moment we turned around they knew it time to go home and they practically bolted all the way back.  I suspect the horses may not have really wanted to be out in the hot Arizona desert...

 

I hope your adventure goes better

  • Like 1
HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library   Shuffle Club

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

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Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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It’s Monday and therefore the official Day 1 of my challenge, but I did well enough in Week Zero that I thought it might deserve a proper [WEEK ZERO UPDATE] :D

 

Training: 7/7 WOOHOO GUYS GUYS THIS HASN’T HAPPENED IN MONTHS AND MONTHS I’M SO EXCITED <ahem> I did have to do a few dull sessions on the rickety stepper machine in the garage to make it happen this week, but hopefully those days are past now. I really want to build on this success. New long-term goal: to nudge my yearly average back up over 100 before the end of this miserable year. Despite my many MANY months of failure I have a chance — but only if I manage to keep hold of the motivation that a few weeks of strenuous walking in England should impart to me. Fingers crossed.

 

Walks: 1/1, a local 4.25 mile loop that took us up and around Helmeth Hill. It was undeniably cold and rainy and miserable but I DIDN’T CARE because I was finally allowed out and a minor wetting was totally worth it! Spoiler for IG pics (assuming they ever decide to embed, sorry, not sure why it’s not working):

 

On Saturday we did another walk while my friends’ daughter was having her riding lesson, in a beautiful but small village a good half-hour away on the VERY scary windy hedge-lined goat tracks they call roads around here (well, ‘country lanes’ I suppose, but my American sensibilities can’t help insisting that something meant to support vehicle traffic really should have a bit more width to it). That walk doesn’t count for extra credit because we didn’t quite crack the three-mile mark. It was a much nicer day though.

 

Weight: 2/3, not bad, but — considering it literally takes five minutes — I’m disappointed that I didn’t find a way to make it happen over the weekend. I’ll play with patterns this week to figure out how to make this as much of a slam-dunk as the first one.

 

Book: not applicable this week as NaNo doesn’t start until the end of Week One. Still noodling around a bit. I think I might have a setting idea (worlds count as characters in the character/plot dichotomy in my weird brain discussed in the Bellmyst thread) but I’m not sure it’s big enough to sustain a full long-form novel. We’ll have to see. I still have six days to noodle around before I have to actually dive in. 

 

I’m not doing grades this time. (If I were, Week Zero would have earned a very respectable B+ at 89%. But I’m not :) )

 

I also made some headway on my horsey adventure plans with the first real riding lesson of my life (on Sunday after that short walk). I have more to learn than I’d hoped about the very formalistic English riding style, but less than I’d feared, and the walk and the beautiful day and the spirited Irish thoroughbred assigned as my schoolmistress all reinforced my impression that rural Shropshire is FABULOUS riding country. I would very much like to go out on a nice long day trip, one of these years. I’m losing the battle to get the whole family out together, I think, which is kind of a shame. But I may be able to work something out with the riding instructor where she and my friends’ daughter and I could go out for a few hours, and that might have to be good enough. In the meantime I’m going to scrape together my extra pence and maybe take a few more lessons.

 

Now the challenge really begins! Happy Day One everybody!

  • Like 5

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 | 24 ]

[ Current: The Red Book ]   ~   [ 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 10/22/2020 at 6:43 PM, Snarkyfishguts said:

HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY OCTOBER BABY! 

 

Thanks!

 

On 10/24/2020 at 6:45 AM, WhiteGhost said:

I did one of those rent some horses for a day and go riding thigs once many years ago.  It didn't work out really well because the trail they go on is always the same, so the poor beasts would just dragging and plodding as we headed out, but the moment we turned around they knew it time to go home and they practically bolted all the way back.  I suspect the horses may not have really wanted to be out in the hot Arizona desert...

 

I hope your adventure goes better

 

To be fair, I don’t think I’d ever want to be out in the Arizona heat myself :) I’ve had many different trail riding experiences over the years, some good, some not-so-good, and some exactly as you described. I’m hoping I’ll get lucky again this time.

 

11 hours ago, Xena said:

I had a great time on a long guided trail ride a couple years back. I hope you can make it happen.

 

I went on a five-day guided horse pack trip to Yellowstone last summer that was absolutely awesome. We basically had the best of both worlds: the solitude and nature of roadless wilderness, combined with the pleasant amenities of car camping (goodness gracious those mules can carry a lot!). That trip, combined with the fact that some of my dearest friends back in CA have turned into horse people when I wasn’t looking, has kind of reignited my desire to ride more often. Some of my best childhood memories involve wandering around aimlessly on a pony owned by the landlord’s daughter — even if the only riding instruction I ever received boiled down to something like ‘try not to fall off’ :D

 

11 hours ago, Xena said:

I'm also an October baby...turned 47 earlier this month, so we're close.

 

Happy belated birthday! Every once in a while it occurs to me that I’m in my ‘late forties’ but most of the time I have enough other things to be worried about — and that was before this nightmare year hit :rolleyes: But I guess that getting older is better than the alternative, as my Dad would say (he’s 75, and my stepmother can’t keep him off the roof if he thinks the gutters need cleaning).

 

Thanks everybody for stopping by!

 

  • Like 7

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 | 24 ]

[ Current: The Red Book ]   ~   [ 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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I fully understand the stressing about grades, and I support your decision to prioritize your education. We're here to support you when you need us. Let me know if I can help in any way.

  • Like 1

Who am I? -- My NF Character

Current Challenge: WolfDreamer, The Mad Poet, Becomes Superhuman

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 MoreWolfDreamer Embraces His Wild PoetThe Mad Poet Becomes Supernatural

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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Right. Updates. Updates are supposed to be a thing.

 

I said there would be updates, dagnabit, but there weren’t any updates (sigh).

 

Dammit.

 

Anyway.

 

Although I imagine everyone is already over at that huge party of a holiday challenge drinking eggnog and listening to Kenny G, I’m going to take a second here to close out this thread for my own record purposes, and take the excuse to think more carefully about the last few weeks. 

 

How did I do in meeting the intentions I set for myself on this hobbit walking party? Not too badly, really. I got full marks for daily PAI and weekly walking (as expected — there’s nothing like a rambunctious Spanish hunting dog and a glorious Area of Natural Beauty on the doorstep to get a girl out on the hills :)). I was much less successful with the kettlebells (which will come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever watched me fail at this exact task in many previous challenges); I did actually manage to hold onto it until about the start of Week Three, but after that my back was hurting too much and it was raining and nasty all the time and lots of other unpleasant things happened and...I have a bunch of excuses, honestly, and I was just out of energy to force myself to swing the kettlebell. The Red Book gets full marks too, as I managed to get NaNo Novel #13 in the bag with only a little stretching. It’s amazing how much easier it is if you actually, you know, write every day :rolleyes:

 

This trip was as successful as one could hope in these plague times. I got to ride horses several times. I got to cook Sichuan food for my Shropshire hosts (who said they ‘didn’t like Chinese food’ but scraped the bowls clean anyway). I got to have not one but TWO Thanksgiving dinners (proper ones — homemade cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie from scratch and everything!). I got to go into the woods and visit @Ann of Owlshire’s incredible new place on the river Wye (they’d just moved and I was helping them with childcare, which was permitted under the lockdown rules; the fact that it JUST HAPPENED to coincide with a midweek American holiday involving turkey was, um, TOTALLY coincidental :D).

 

Most importantly, I got to climb out of that awful pit of despair that has characterized my mental state during nearly all of 2020. After surgery and recovery and six months alone, I had fallen pretty far from the normally competent human being I’ve been able to pretend to be in the past. I’m a lot better now. I’m seriously hoping that — once I can get through the rest of December, which is unfortunately going to require yet another plague-protocol travel adventure to my sister’s for the holidays — I’ll be able to tackle some of the things that were making my house totally unlivable, and maybe make some progress on figuring out what I want to be when I grow up :)

 

So, as always, having the challenge active helped me out. I guess that means I’ll see everybody over at the holiday party soon!

  • 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 | 24 ]

[ Current: The Red Book ]   ~   [ 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 11/8/2020 at 9:23 PM, Teros said:

How goes it?

 

On 11/15/2020 at 6:39 PM, Teros said:

*poke*

 

Thanks so much for these nudges — even if I didn’t manage to respond to them in a reasonable time (my fault and not yours), it means a lot that you took the time to stop by. I’m sorry I ghosted, and I do hope that you’ll be moved to continue the whole Bellmyst adventure after the holidays. Hope all is well!

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 | 24 ]

[ Current: The Red Book ]   ~   [ 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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