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I don’t know about the rest of you, but I always have an image of myself. About who I am, how I describe myself, and my story. I spend... perhaps too much time thinking about these things. This photo is such a perfect, iconic photo of me, how I want to appear, who I want to be. There’s me in one of my favorite cardigans and great tights and boots and my hair is glorious and I’m holding the Enting’s hand and we’re strolling through the pastures of Owlshire and it’s all wonderful and...

 

... I can’t stop myself from thinking: WOW. Have my hips really gotten that HUGE?

 

I could go into self-love and all that, but actually the truth is—I’ve gotten a bit heavier than I want to be and I want to change that.  I have been 10lbs lighter than I currently am in the last couple of years and felt great about it, and I know I can realistically get there again. I’m a short woman—5 foot. 10lbs is a big difference.

 

The last few months have been one of rapid redefinition: from becoming urban folk to forest folk, a couple of months later making another radical shift from a stay at home mother to a full time working mother... it’s all been a bit of whiplash. But it’s settling down into a new normal and now I’m ready to do more than tread water.

 

Also, I’ve been trying to write my own stories (instead of stories for work), and that started in revisiting some older novel ideas, but I ultimately came to realize that what I wanted was a little more of Owlshire. A little more me. I don’t know what to do with that yet. Fantastical memoir? Experimental poetry? Both?

 

And then I started reading Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt and I realized that now that I spend 8+ hours a day indoors in my dark little office, I’d forgotten a part of myself.  That I’ve forgotten how to listen to the voices of nature—and how funny that is since we moved to the woods...

 

There are also a couple of really important, not sexy things that have crept up and now have urgent deadlines—my need to get my UK driving licence and to sort out my settled status in the UK.

 

So that, my friends, makes for a challenge...

 

How It Works:

 

Lighten Up

Last challenge I changed my meal times so I only eat between 8 and 8. This basically cuts the late evening snack I was habitually having. In the few weeks since doing that, I’ve dropped a couple of pounds and most importantly it’s not going up. So I’m sticking with that.

  • Continue 8x8
  • Walk
  • Consider cardio?
  • Less starches, more focus on lean proteins and vegetables.
  • Less snacking at other times of the day.

 

The goal is slow, sustainable weight loss and maintenance. If the number on the scale is less than it was when the challenge started (and continuing to go that way), I’m happy with the results and I’ll keep adjusting for continued results.

 

Ann of Owlshire

This is about self expression, and it comes in three ways:

  • How I present myself physically—IE, what I wear. Clothing is a big part of my self-expression, and I go through evolutions of style over time. A style that suited me a few years ago will change, and sometimes a style returns again... and sometimes circumstances change... some of my wardrobe was totally impractical while I was tending to a baby, and some of it is impractical while traipsing through the woods—but is good for my image as “funky creative games writer. “ I recently tried on some clothes that was my “uniform” 10 years ago, and I just didn’t like that person I saw in the mirror anymore—that clothing will be retired permanently and donated.  I don’t follow the “trends” but I love “dressing up” to look a role. 
  •  Journaling. I’m often a keen diarist, but I go through fallow periods. I want to get back to diarizing and experiment a bit with it. I may post snippets here, I might not.
  • Crafting. Being a person who makes things with string is as much part of my self-image as writing is. So I need to have time for that.

 

Wood Witch

The writing job is still wonderful, and my initial 6 month contract has been extended and is expected to carry on for another year or two, but it means that I spend a lot of time in my dark little office.  I want to change that and get more time outside, even in context of my workdays:

  • Daily walks into the forest (at least 1; 2 is better)
  • Daily gardening (even if it’s just pulling weeds)
  • Learning and doing more foraging (when it suits)
  • Cooking from my garden and foraged plants (when it suits)
  • Sitting outside and working when the weather allows—and not just on the patio. Consider sitting in one of the pastures, or finding a comfortable place in the woodland when I’m not doing something that needs wifi.

 

I’ve moved away from homecooked everything in recent months because I just don’t have that kind of time anymore, and to be honest I was feeling a little burnt out by it. I always fantasize about being the magical homemaker, but in reality I enjoy it for a while and then get bored. Still, even if we’re often eating (the healthiest we can find) ready meals, I want to supplement with food grown here at Owlshire.

 

Forest Dweller

I love living in the Forest, but there are essential tasks that need to be done to stay here:

  • Get my driver’s licence - for this challenge, I need to study for and pass my Theory Test (or at least it scheduled if there’s a long queue), and schedule my Practical if I’ve succeeded at the former. (There is currently a looooooong queue for the Practical because of Covid, so I may not actually get to take the test until autumn/winter. Still, I want to get into the books.)
  • I’m eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (a “green card” in American) this summer, and I want to get it sorted and done. This means I need to go through all the paperwork, get my evidence sorted, study and schedule my Life in the UK test, and get the appointments booked.
  • Growing roots: Now that Lockdown is easing, we’re starting to meet more neighbours and get involved in local activities. I want to keep this a priority—but also, we have lots of friends we haven’t seen since before the pandemic who want to come by to visit so we’ll be enjoying their company, too.

 

Goodness. I think that’s more than enough on my plate!

 

  • Like 8

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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For the last few weeks, I’ve been using this chart to track my progress on things important to me:

 

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It’s been working well for me, even as someone who usually can’t keep on top of tracking my goals.

It already covers most of my trackable goals, except for snacks, so I added that row. Admin covers a lot of things, but I’ll be focused on driving and ILR tasks over the course of the challenge.  

 

You may notice some of my goals have no obvious tracking—like the one about clothing or eating Owlshire food or less starchy food. That’s okay, those are more intentions and if I find I want to track them in some way, I’ll just add it later.  I find less is more when it comes to tracking.

  • Like 6

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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I often charge right in during Week Zero, but I’m holding off this time—mostly because Enting and I both have colds and are a bit poleaxed. I want to focus on getting well because I have my Covid Jab on Monday and if I’m not well they’ll probably make me move my appointment.  Ugh. 

  • Like 5

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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I hear you on the cooking fatigue, it's a struggle. I hope the colds go away soon. 

  • Like 2

Current Challenge Original 1,2,3, R 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51

52,53

"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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20 hours ago, Ann of Owlshire said:

 

And then I started reading Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt and I realized that now that I spend 8+ hours a day indoors in my dark little office, I’d forgotten a part of myself.  That I’ve forgotten how to listen to the voices of nature—and how funny that is since we moved to the woods...

 

This book sounds really interesting!

 

20 hours ago, Ann of Owlshire said:

Ann of Owlshire

This is about self expression, and it comes in three ways:

  • How I present myself physically—IE, what I wear. Clothing is a big part of my self-expression, and I go through evolutions of style over time. A style that suited me a few years ago will change, and sometimes a style returns again... and sometimes circumstances change... some of my wardrobe was totally impractical while I was tending to a baby, and some of it is impractical while traipsing through the woods—but is good for my image as “funky creative games writer. “ I recently tried on some clothes that was my “uniform” 10 years ago, and I just didn’t like that person I saw in the mirror anymore—that clothing will be retired permanently and donated.  I don’t follow the “trends” but I love “dressing up” to look a role. 
  •  Journaling. I’m often a keen diarist, but I go through fallow periods. I want to get back to diarizing and experiment a bit with it. I may post snippets here, I might not.
  • Crafting. Being a person who makes things with string is as much part of my self-image as writing is. So I need to have time for that.

 

It's strange how important our ideas about our personal identities can be. It can feel so wrong if we look wrong. I'm not super interested in fashion or clothing, but I definitely feel "wrong" in the wrong things. I hope you have some find the right stuff that feels like you.

  • Like 2

Let cheese and bread and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination.

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8 hours ago, Harriet said:

 

This book sounds really interesting!

 

I’ve really liked Haupt’s earlier books—Crow Planet and Mozart’s Starling. But this one is really getting me in the heart. It reminds me of a pagan path an acquaintance of mine is developing called Fencraft, which was also a revelation for me because it’s always been how I approached my paganism than the more Wicca-bent and Wicca-influenced paths that just never quite felt right to me. (In short, Fencraft—or at least the parts of Fencraft that harmonize well with me are about local-practice and animism.) Rooted isn’t about religion at all, but it slides very easily into my worldview while still giving me new ideas to explore, and... yeah.

 

I love it. 

 

Quote

 

It's strange how important our ideas about our personal identities can be. It can feel so wrong if we look wrong. I'm not super interested in fashion or clothing, but I definitely feel "wrong" in the wrong things. I hope you have some find the right stuff that feels like you.

 

For me, it’s about... persona? Like, “Today I want to feel Wood Witchy, so I will dress Wood Witchy. Today, I need to be Funky Creative Writer for my big presentation (even though it’s on Zoom and they won’t see anything but my collar), so I will dress the part.” There are practical aspects, like the long skirt with the lacy bits I don’t actually wear in the woods because it’ll just get caught and torn. So I might switch to jeans for the time I’m actually out in the woods gathering nettles and wild garlic, and switch back to the skirt with an apron when I’m processing them in my kitchen XD

 

I need to get some wood-exploring skirts, clearly. (I don’t really like wearing trousers.) 

 

I feel a bit lost in clothes that no longer suits an active persona.  I suspect some of it is also tied into my hobbies often being about making clothing or embellishing clothing, and my general enjoyment of costuming and costumed activities.

  • Like 5

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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As I write these words, it’s now 10AM and my son is still asleep, when he usually wakes around 6:30/7. I only woke a little while ago myself, after a very, very tough night with a sick Enting. At around 5AM I had to get my partner (who was sleeping in another room specifically so one of us could offer respite in these circumstances), who sent me to the guest room and took over Enting duty. So now I am awake and groggy, and sniffly (I am also sick, just in less severity), and my SIL and BIL are due to arrive in a couple of hours.

 

They are staying at the holiday cottage of our neighbouring pub (literally less than one minutes walk from our gate). UK law says outdoor visits only, no guests to stay over, and we are not risk takers where Covid is concerned, so we had a lovely socially distanced outdoor weekend planned for them since we haven’t seen them since October 2019. (All of them except for me and Enting are one step vaccinated, at least.)

 

So, of course, Enting and I are sick as dogs, and it’s 100% rain aaaaaallll day today and much of into tomorrow. Mr has set up an outdoor space in the pole barn to hang out in. It’s not very attractive, but it’s sheltered and outdoors, and the forecasted temperatures are relatively warm. 

 

  • Like 6

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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5 hours ago, Ann of Owlshire said:

 

I’ve really liked Haupt’s earlier books—Crow Planet and Mozart’s Starling. But this one is really getting me in the heart. It reminds me of a pagan path an acquaintance of mine is developing called Fencraft, which was also a revelation for me because it’s always been how I approached my paganism than the more Wicca-bent and Wicca-influenced paths that just never quite felt right to me. (In short, Fencraft—or at least the parts of Fencraft that harmonize well with me are about local-practice and animism.) Rooted isn’t about religion at all, but it slides very easily into my worldview while still giving me new ideas to explore, and... yeah.

 

I love it. 

 

This sounds so interesting! I'm definitely going to look into fencraft further. One of the main reasons I started my practice is that I wanted to give more active expression to my awe of nature, and it seems like the practitioners of fencraft want that, too.

 

  • Like 1

Let cheese and bread and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination.

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Hope you feel better soon! Following along to love on Owlshire from afar ❤️

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Today should be off at the races as I’m back to work after a week away, but I’m still feeling like death warmed over.

 

In addition to the regular stuff, this week I want to—

  • Schedule my Theory Test
  • Read all the way through ILR process
  • Finish plying the yarn I’m spinning

My “self expression through my story” took an interesting turn this weekend into doodling, so now “novels” might also mean “drawing” and I’m happy with that.

  • Like 6

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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 So far my challenge is off to a slow start as I’m still suffering from the lingering cold and I got my first Covid vaccine jab on Monday night and holy cow Tuesday I was just destroyed. I’m a bit better today, but still far from 100%. And I can’t seem to shake this cold.

 

I was told upon my return to work after holiday that they have decided to split my role into two roles—narrative designer and story writer. I will be the story writer, and someone else (who I get to help pick, hurrah) will do the narrative design stuff. (This will also take some extra responsibilities off of one of the game designers who has been doing narrative things on the dev end.) That basically means I get to focus on coming up/writing the story, and someone else gets to make sure that the story is being implemented properly into the game. They’ll also be based in the time zone of the dev studio (a 7 hour difference to me) so there won’t be (as much) the problem of “this is blocked until we can talk to Ann, but she won’t be logging on for another 9 hours.”

 

Of course, we have to find, hire and train this person first ^_^;  I have mixed feelings because I’m a control freak and I like a lot of the narrative design work, but also I see the many benefits for me (focusing on the writing rather than being pulled in 10 directions and trying to do my main job (the writing) in the cracks) and the game at large.

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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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Delegation is super hard, but it sounds like it will be a big win for you (and the other person who gets some stuff off their plate). I feel you on the control-freak aspect, but if you think about it: when they start out they will probably have lots of questions, and you’ll get to mould them to your way (ish).

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8 hours ago, Yasha92 said:

Delegation is super hard, but it sounds like it will be a big win for you (and the other person who gets some stuff off their plate). I feel you on the control-freak aspect, but if you think about it: when they start out they will probably have lots of questions, and you’ll get to mould them to your way (ish).

 

Indeed. I think also part of it is that I’m such an overachiever. Like... “but if they’re hiring someone else then I mustn’t have been able to do two jobs 110% at the same time, and therefore I’m a FAILURE!” 😅

 

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  • Haha 2

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, Ann of Owlshire said:

I’m such an overachiever

Are you me?

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15 hours ago, Ann of Owlshire said:

 

Indeed. I think also part of it is that I’m such an overachiever. Like... “but if they’re hiring someone else then I mustn’t have been able to do two jobs 110% at the same time, and therefore I’m a FAILURE!” 😅

 


I hear you there. And I laugh because I feel that. 
 

I hope you and Enting are feeling better!

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  • Haha 1

Adventurer, Half-Dwarf Chaotic-Good Paladin

Ne me dites jamais les chances!  ¡Nunca me digas las probabilidades!

Character Sheet Training Logs Challenges Prepping for Adventure PrepAdventure Prep Fall BabyWhen Are We Again, Anyway?WhirlwindThe Leaf's LocusHarnessing Hamingja New Roots More Beginnings, More Roots Cleaning Up Facing The Hailstorm Yo Ho Yo The... Keto Life For Me? Taming the Beast Another Step Towards the Future Baking, Suburban Homesteading, and Health, The Adventurers of the Lucky Vale IIIIIIIVVVI, VII VIIIIX

Spoiler

Perennial goals: Sleep 7+ hours a night, retain (and continue to learn) French and Spanish as a family, increase Spanish Proficiency for work and play,  read like a maniac on my own and with my kids, carry heavy stuff

Long term goals: Cut to 13-15% bodyfat, And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of a baaaaarge! -> Someday I'll challenge a Disney world Gaston to a push up contest and win

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20 hours ago, Ann of Owlshire said:

 

Indeed. I think also part of it is that I’m such an overachiever. Like... “but if they’re hiring someone else then I mustn’t have been able to do two jobs 110% at the same time, and therefore I’m a FAILURE!” 😅

 

 

Three, if you count the fact you're a parent.

 

Having a team, even if it's only one other person, make a huge difference for stress levels when the big deadline comes calling. And if you take Yasha's advice and train the newbie properly, the difference will be a positive one ;) 

  • Like 2

Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29

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Last week was a doozy—I was just recovering from my cold, got my jab and had side effects, and followed with what we think to be a bout of bronchitis which I’m still not quite over yet, but better than I was.

 

 

With that in mind, my summarized tracking for the week:

 

 

Things I did well on:

8x8 - Haven’t broken my streak.

No snacks - Have a few days’ streak on this one.

Journaling - Most days.

 

Did reasonably:

Crafting - finished plying some yarn on my spinning wheel, making progress on a counted cross stitch, and ordered a crewelwork embroidery kit because I’m into the idea of spinning my own wool embroidery thread and I wanted some practice in that medium. (Crewelwork was usually done with wool.)

Stories - I’ve changed the definition, slightly, and I’ve been working on my concept of telling stories in thread again, so this is mostly counted as doodles and drawings to that regard.

Quality time - With Mr or Enting

 

Things I didn’t do so well on:

Gardening

Walking

Admin

Community

 

None of these are much of a surprise since I’ve been mostly couch potato-ing, avoiding people, and fuzzy brained!

  • Like 5

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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Did you get sick again?

Current Challenge Original 1,2,3, R 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51

52,53

"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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I live.

 

I was in non or reduced functionality sick for 3 weeks, and have been functional but a bit still a bit sick until just a few days ago. My challenge (not to my mention my precariously balanced summer) is a bit of wreck at the moment.

 

My priorities have been trimmed down to:

 

Studying for/taking/passing my UK Driving Practical Test (16th June). 

Studying/taking/passing my Life in the UK Test*/getting my permanent residency application ready to submit in the first week of July, which is the first moment I’m eligible.  My current visa runs out at the end of August, so we’re in a tight window.

8x8  - continuing my 12 hour eating day.

40 min active minutes a day via my FitBit (I’m not doing well at this one, may change it)

Gardening - we had a very wet and very cold spring, even the master gardeners say they are a month or two behind a normal year.  But summer has finally come and I can finally work the beds/get things in the garden, and of course it’s all happening at once when I have other stressful things that need doing.

Embroidery practice - because I need something to keep me sane. I’m eyeing a long term embroidery course as my reward for getting PR sorted**.

 

We also have approximately 16 days worth of overnight (and daytime) visitors in June (because my socially starved Mr can’t control himself now that it’s allowed again), which I’m not thrilled about given everything else but accept that this is just part of the way things going to be. 

 

(*Contrary to popular belief, it is not a “citizenship test” and many people have to take it when going for PR. Some immigration routes don’t require it until citizenship, but it’s a huge misconception.)

(**Although the real reward, of course, is being allowed to stay in the same country as my partner and son.)

  • Like 2

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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