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Fashionably late to the party…

 

[Preamble]

Welcome to Owlshire, a beautiful woodland property in the Forest of Dean, England.  I’m a 42 year old American woman living here with my British husband (Mr) and 4 y/o son (Enting). I work in gamedev and when I’m not doing that, I’m tending to my garden, doing needlework of some sort, writing, playing games (of various sorts), and exploring our local woodlands.

 

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[Challenges]

 

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Two, actually. The first one is a happy event in the Yorkshire Dales in June for a wedding, and the second is a solemn pilgrimage  to the Pacific Northwest, USA, to help carry my father's ashes* into his favorite spot in the mountains, as per his request. These both happen during the next challenge, but there's a lot of preparations!

 

*

Spoiler

He passed away in early May. I hadn't seen him since 2019 thanks to Covid, and it's all a bit gutting and I have a lot of big feels about it. I didn't want to do international travel this year, either, but I missed seeing him before he passed on (for reasons largely out of my control) and I'm determined to make his memorial. 

 

Rise Up
The hike into the mountains is steep and challenging. I know because I did that hike with Dad many times as a child and once as an adult. Most of the adults (sisters, nieces/partners…) joining us are not particularly fit for purpose, and there will be four children under the age of 5 as well. It’s going to be chaos and I don’t expect everyone will make it to the top before turning back. I’m not turning back.

 

So I want to make sure my hill game is in order, and also get Enting prepared for a longer, steeper walks since I likely won't be carrying him--I'll probably be carrying other children!

 

This means going out at least twice  a week and walking (for example) up our lane, which is a very long, steep climb. (More often is better, but I’m trying to be realistic given other life constraints.)  I also want to take Enting with me at least once a week to get him better motivated for walking distances. (He has proven he can walk for several miles, but he often doesn’t want to.)

 

The post-wedding June hike in the Yorkshire Dales will be a bit of a test run to further gauge what we will expect in the mountains and any strategy changes we should consider.

 

Organize
We haven't done a family overnight trip (let alone a trip abroad) in 2.5+ years. Setting up both of these trips is a lot of faff! I have some huge to-do lists and files and paperwork and coordination with family, and I'm making my way through them. Keep on it!

 

Reach Mordor

I’m 555 miles away! I’ve been wanting to complete this challenge since the early 00s (when it was called the Eowyn Challenge), and I’m sure I’ve been “there and back again” several times over, but I’ve never managed to track the whole thing. I want to finish my walking route to Mordor by November 2022. I’m so close!

 

A Hobbit in Attitude, not in Width
At the moment, I'm in a good place with my weight/BMI. I do want to get both a touch lower, but all things considered for this challenge I’m under a lot of emotional stress and I just want to maintain. I’ve got enough other things on. My BMI is currently 22.1, and I'll count this successful if it's the same or lower at the end of the challenge.


Admin note: I always start on Week 0, and I track from Monday-Sunday. I’m also useless at actually updating my challenges, but I’m always a better me if I post one.

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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
🇺🇸 Adventurer 🇬🇧

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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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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 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 2829 | 30 ]

[ Current: I amar prestar aen ]   ~   [ 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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13 hours ago, Ann of Owlshire said:

I work in gamedev and when I’m not doing that, I’m tending to my garden, doing needlework of some sort, writing, playing games (of various sorts), and exploring our local woodlands.

 

 

Reach Mordor

I’m 555 miles away!

Um. I don't know how I've missed these details. But that kind of sounds like an epic and aspirational goal set for me! :D  How did you get into gamedev?!

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...but I'm adorable! Ask anyone who doesn't know me...

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13 hours ago, Defining said:

Um. I don't know how I've missed these details. But that kind of sounds like an epic and aspirational goal set for me! :D  How did you get into gamedev?!

 

 

Haha, not entirely by design, although I’ve been a (hobby) gamer all my life. I was known to people in the industry, and when they were striking out on finding someone they really liked for their new project they widened their talent net and asked if I was interested in putting in a submission. I had become discouraged trying to be a professional novelist (after 20 years of writing and submitting LOL), so I thought I’d do it for a giggle and after a long stalemate they… chose the other person. (I was told later it was because the person had industry experience already, which is 100% legit.)
 

But a few months later when that person didn’t work out, apparently my sample and interview had made an impression and they asked if I was still interested and I’ve been with them for a year and a half now so it seems to have been a good fit.

 

So, in the words of Professor McGonagall, “sheer dumb luck” (and I’d like to think a bit of storytelling skill). 😂

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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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I'm so sorry to hear about your dad.  I hope you will be able to find a little peace and closure with his memorial, it sounds lovely and I hope it's everything you need it to be. ❤️❤️ 

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i am not waiting for a hero.  i saved myself long ago.

Level 56 Bardic Time-Mage; of the Furious Heart

STR.55  DEX.43 STA.48 CON.51 WIS.53 CHA.65

"Well...in the end, it boils down to two simple choices. Either you do or you don't.

You'd think with all the problems in this world, there'd be more answers. It's not fair...
...But that's the way things are. The choice is yours."

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Week 1, for me (started Wednesday)

 

Rise Up: X X X X X 

 

I have altered this one to be “took the path of greater resistance” when it comes to a daily walk or other physical activity (planned or unplanned). For example, taking the route over the hill rather than around the hill. Walking a greater distance in a go than I normally do. Etc. It’s a bit subjective, but overall the goal is to push myself a bit a few times a week. Otherwise I’ll just keep doing the same hill walk over and over again for the checkmark and that’s just uninspiring.

 

Organize travel: Many things handled. Many more to go. International travel may sound glamorous, but have you seen the admin involved?


Walk to Mordor - Weekly mileage/Remaining: 36.23 miles (for the entire week) / 518 miles to Mordor…

 

Weekly Photo (because there hasn’t been nearly enough photospam from me lately):

 

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“Have fun storming the castle!”
(@ Chepstow Castle)

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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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Sorry about your dad.

 

Does Enting listen to stories? Sometimes when my 5yo is done with looking at the birds and the trees we will run a podcast or audiobook on my phone just so we can walk the last bit without the constant whining 😌

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Main Quest: becoming a decent kettlebell lifter and a great coach

Current challenge: KB Girl prepares to move

my instagram - my gym's instagram

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8 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

Does Enting listen to stories? Sometimes when my 5yo is done with looking at the birds and the trees we will run a podcast or audiobook on my phone just so we can walk the last bit without the constant whining 😌

 

He loves stories. Usually spoken stories (without a physical book) he asks for “from our heads” (IE, ones we’ve made up for him, there are a couple of long running epic sagas now).  I will have to try this…

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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
🇺🇸 Adventurer 🇬🇧

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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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On 5/23/2022 at 4:30 PM, Ann of Owlshire said:

 

He loves stories. Usually spoken stories (without a physical book) he asks for “from our heads” (IE, ones we’ve made up for him, there are a couple of long running epic sagas now).  I will have to try this…

Sounds familiar :) my partner made up a pair of superheroes, we could probably fill up several story books by now! 
There are a lot of stories on Spotify and podcast apps, should be something there for him.

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Main Quest: becoming a decent kettlebell lifter and a great coach

Current challenge: KB Girl prepares to move

my instagram - my gym's instagram

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I’m not officially adding it to this challenge, but something I am trying to do right now is cut caffeine. I don’t respond in a normal way to caffeine (IE, get jazzed up and feel more productive) but I love the taste of black tea and can go through several cups a day. Lately with spiking anxiety and comically poor sleep (even by my insomniac levels)*, I’ve decided just to make an experiment of switching to decaf black (for the taste) and herbal teas to see if it has any underlying effects. 

 

I may allow myself a green or white tea now and again, as I, um, have a lot of it. But not more than one a day.

 

*I imagine other things mentioned in this challenge are contributing as well.

 

☕


Meanwhile, have a lovely photo “thank you” postcard our weekend guest sent us. There are rare few photos of my little family together, and this is probably the first physical one we have… the rest are digital! We’re standing on an old pedestrianized rail bridge while out on a hike along the River Wye on Saturday.


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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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A big milestone this morning: I passed my UK driving test! 

 

I failed it back in March (after already having had to postpone it from 5 months earlier due to a poorly timed  cold), which was ego crushing since I was a 20 year “safe driver” in the US. Note: the tests are muuuuuch harder here, and much harder here than they were 20 years ago, I’m told. Even the Mr says if he, for some strange reason, ever had to test again, he’d get a driving instructor to evaluate him first.

 

Although I’m very happy to finally be done with this year+ saga, I have a bit of sadness because I never thanked my dad for teaching me to drive on a manual (which is the “default” over here)*. I was going to tell him once I had my license, but obviously I didn’t get that chance.

 

2021 was what I unofficially called The Year of Life in the UK - the goal was to get my permanent residency (achieved) and my UK driving licence. The latter got stretched out into 2022, but I’m glad to be done with it now!

 

The next step in “Life in the UK” is to apply for UK citizenship! 🇬🇧 I’m eligible for that in December, so I’ll probably attack it in early 2023.

 

🚗

 

*Cannot tell you how many times people—from friends to driving instructors to the examiner—have been surprised I can drive a manual.

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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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18 minutes ago, Snarkyfishguts said:

Congratulations on passing your drivers exam!!  That’s not a small thing. I’m so excited for you!


the picture of your family is really lovely! 
 

I hope cutting back on caffeine helps! I’ve done that as well and I do sleep better and feel better. 💜

 

Thanks! Freeeeedom! 

 

Last night while I was having an insomniac attack (and only got 5 hours of sleep before my test, WHEEEE) I was thinking “this cutting caffeine thing is BS” and I’ve had a few cups of black tea today. But tomorrow my delivery of decaf tea arrives with the grocery order and then I can see if it’s really about the taste or if I’m just deluding. myself….

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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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1 hour ago, Ann of Owlshire said:

 

Thanks! Freeeeedom! 

 

Last night while I was having an insomniac attack (and only got 5 hours of sleep before my test, WHEEEE) I was thinking “this cutting caffeine thing is BS” and I’ve had a few cups of black tea today. But tomorrow my delivery of decaf tea arrives with the grocery order and then I can see if it’s really about the taste or if I’m just deluding. myself….

 

ooh lemme know what you think? I cant tell the difference but I dont have a sophisticated palate either 😂

 

Do you think its possible that hormones are keeping you awake at night and contributing to the anxious feelings?      I just realized its probably just stress. You’ve been through a lot!

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51 minutes ago, Snarkyfishguts said:

 

ooh lemme know what you think? I cant tell the difference but I dont have a sophisticated palate either 😂

 

Do you think its possible that hormones are keeping you awake at night and contributing to the anxious feelings?      I just realized its probably just stress. You’ve been through a lot!

 

Actually, I wouldn’t discount the hormones theory! I never think about that being factor when it’s happening, only after it’s gone and I’m no longer being influenced 😊 Could definitely be a factor. 

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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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Congratulations on passing your driving test, that's amazing! My husband drove us around England and Scotland when we were there two years ago and I was a wreck in the passenger seat the whole time. The roads are so much more narrow and the volume of traffic so much higher than my poor prairie self could fathom. So way to go!! 

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4 minutes ago, Sovalis said:

Congratulations on passing your driving test, that's amazing! My husband drove us around England and Scotland when we were there two years ago and I was a wreck in the passenger seat the whole time. The roads are so much more narrow and the volume of traffic so much higher than my poor prairie self could fathom. So way to go!! 

 

Thanks! I’m used to driving on the country roads now (where I live it’s narrow, winding, hilly, often single track), but yeah, it was definitely nerve-wracking when we first moved here even from the passenger seat! Then again I absolutely refused to do lessons/test when we lived in London because London traffic is just terrifying from any angle, so I guess it’s all scary in its own way when you’re not used to it 😁

When we go to the States in a few weeks, I’m probably making the Mr drive. I just got comfortable with UK driving, and while I have considerably more experience on American roads than he does, he has more experience “switching” driving countries.  I imagine it’s going to be a weird cognitive dissonance in any case!

 

 

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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
🇺🇸 Adventurer 🇬🇧

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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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Congratulations on passing your driving test! I'm sure it feels great to finally have that done! :)

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Lover of all things Dragons and stuff -~-~-~ Sunrunner | LVL 3* 601|121 -185

“It was difficult to think about worshiping God when so many things were going wrong. Or maybe, she thought, this is the most important time to pray.”
Trisha White Priebe, The Glass Castle

 

Books in Progress: The Candlestone (46%)

2022 Books completed: The Silmarillion

Previous Challenges: 13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

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Week 2, for me:

Rise Up: X X X X

 

Organize travel: Pre-flight Covid testing booked, travel insurance (with Covid Cover) booked, gaps in accommodation filled, long stay parking at airport investigated (passed on to the Mr to complete because he had Too Many Opinions about it)… and other stuff… and as mentioned earlier, I got my UK driving license which is important for the Yorkshire trip and technically the US trip because my US license expired and thus I wasn’t legal to drive anywhere*.

 

Spoiler

So usually I can renew my US DL online and that’s what I’d done while abroad, but my last one was in a “special test study” (as WA wanted to go to 10 year licenses?) and only lasted for 2 years AND required me to go to a DMV to renew it. Said expiration happened in the summer of 2020. LOL. Anyway, having a US license didn’t allow me to drive in the UK after the first year, but it would have been valid (on a tourist level) in most other countries we visited.

Now I have my UK license, I can drive here, and while visiting most other countries… including the US. 

“But Ann,” you might say, “you can go to the DMV on your trip and explain your circumstances!” This is true, but as I don’t actually have a valid address in the US anymore (I was using a friend’s), this might be an awkward conversation….
 

 

Walk to Mordor -  28 miles/ 490 miles remaining

 

I feel like this week wasn’t particularly brilliant because I was sofa-bound and sleep deprived due to a very poorly and resultantly clingy Enting late in the week (he’s fine and fettle now), but on the other hand I also remember a couple of challenges ago when getting to 20 miles a week seemed impossible, that my Rise Up goal is actually only twice a week and I did 4, and critical travel things got handled (even if it was a bit of a drama).

 

Photo of the Week

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A gorgeous view from a pasture in the neighboring farm. 

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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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Week 3:

 

Rise Up: X X ? 


Organize: Formalwear for Enting for the wedding, ESTAs for entry into the US for Mr and Enting submitted and approved, other stuff. I think the main thing we need to sort out now is long term parking at Heathrow London. 

 

Walk to Mordor: 25.2 miles/465 miles to Mordor
 

I lost track of things later in the week, as on Thursday we had 6 houseguests land on us and stay until Sunday. They weren’t the most physical of people, but we had a good (although chaotic) weekend of gaming (Savage Pathfinder and Dominion) and catching up after 2 years of pandemic living. 

 

This week’s photo (collage):
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Some neighbors borrowing our horse arena to practice (they let me ride the black horse later, it was terrifying! I hadn’t been on a horse since I was 13). Making a daisy crown with a very fae Enting, and an imperfect close-up of a ladybird.
 

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Sometimes you have to wander to find your way home…
🇺🇸 Adventurer 🇬🇧

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Epic Quest: Tales of Owlshire 

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