Category Archives: tolkien

I Was Wrong

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was a little off on my time line.  Turns out – middle of May is when the slow down starts for the self-employed one.  That means, in May, we still have large invoices going out, and healthy checks coming in.

The slowdown in income comes about a month or so after the slowdown in work.  We’ve been little worker ants storing up for the slow months, so we aren’t worried about that for our typical monthly budget. Really this just affected when and how much extra we can pay on debt.

I won’t have the final numbers until the end of the month, but it will be better than expected. Mt. Doom is not quite looming over us yet. Apparently, that will start next month.

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Come on – you knew it would happen at some point…

Can I experiencing anything in life and not draw parallels from Lord of the Rings? Probably not.

I was thinking about going with a Mt. Rainier climbing expedition as my example, but before prattling on about different base-camps, distances, and such, I would have needed to do research.  For me – no additional research needed for LOTR.

So, lets face it, the first 4 months were phenomenal.  In January, we had some 2011 carryover money that produced momentum. February through April, we had extra funds come in from big jobs, we had off the charts Craigslist sales, and we scratched out what felt like a multitude of small little orcs that were nipping at our heals. After that we had a hefty HVAC that took longer than we expected, but still – somewhat manageable on momentum and hope alone.

NOW, we get to the difficult part.  Similar to Frodo and the Fellowship which soon became just Frodo and Sam – it was a difficult journey, but doable.  With friendship and supplies, energy and hope, they managed.  But at some point, they got through the walls of Mordor and stared out at the wasteland in front of them, and up at the looming Mt. Doom.

It’s at this point in the story that I feel we find ourselves.  We are staring out at the wasteland called “My Graduate School Loan.”  It’s the biggest amount we owe.  It has the highest interest rate.  When we pay – it feels like most money goes toward interest, and just a little leftover drivel hits the principle.

Added to this we are in May, 30 days from June. From past history, this is the ‘slow time of year’ for my husband.

What will be our lembus bread and memories of the taste of strawberries?  What will keep us going? Probably the Dave Ramsey Show, seeing the eventual tipping of the scales on principle to interest, as well as encouraging words from friends.

This little hobbit is ready to be off riding on the back of an Eagle, seeing Mt. Doom fade in the distance.  But that my friends is still months off.

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Filed under debt, grad school, lord of the rings, tolkien

The Mewlips

“The shadows where the Mewlips dwell
Are dark and wet as ink,
And slow and softly rings their bell,
As in the slime you sink.

You sink into the slime, who dare
To knock upon their door,
While down the grinning gargoyles stare
And noisome waters pour.

Beside the rotting river-strand
The drooping willows weep,
And gloomily the gorcrows stand
Croaking in their sleep.

Over the Merlock Mountains a long and weary way,
In a mouldy valley where the trees are grey,
By a dark pool’s borders without wind or tide,
Moonless and sunless, the Mewlips hide.

The cellars where the Mewlips sit
Are deep and dank and cold
With single sickly candle lit;
And there they count their gold.

Their walls are wet, their ceilings drip;
Their feet upon the floor
Go softly with a squish-flap-flip,
As they sidle to the door.

They peep out slyly; through a crack
Their feeling fingers creep,
And when they’ve finished, in a sack
Your bones they take to keep.

Beyond the Merlock Mountains, a long and lonely road,
Through the spider-shadows and the marsh of Tode,
and through the wood of hanging trees and the gallows-weed,
You go to find the Mewlips–and the Mewlips feed.”

one of my favorite poems. “The Mewlips” by JRR Tolkien. Originally printed in “the Oxford Magazine” in 1937, It had a sub-title of “Lines Induced by Sensations When Waiting for an Answer at the Door of an Exalted Academic Person”.

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Tornado Warning

I got to “hide in my safe room” – well make that “safe cabinet” yesterday evening as the Tornado sirens sounded. I decided that one of my cabinets makes for the safest place in the house. It’s a big cabinet. It was only a little scary.

I don’t think there were any tornado’s that touched down in our area, though the same storm is responsible for tornadoes and a few deaths up in Oklahoma.

Other than that, life has been decent. Work is still extremely busy (It’s a quarter to 7 right now and I am about to head home. I’m taking some work with me to do while watching LOST). We had a HUGE meeting today at work as well. Check out the cool things that are happening at Pursuant!

I am also learning all sorts of new things at work. I hope to learn enough HTML to be able to put together my own blog – as far as the design and lay out go – maybe I’ll even be able to move over to www.debauslaugh.com and lose “blogspot” all together. That won’t be any time soon though.

I also am excited about how church has been going. This last Sunday I finally got matched up for a small group, so that starts this week and I am looking forward to actually having friends or knowing people at my church. Well, that’s not quite right, I do know some people who I also work with, but the church is pretty large so I do not usually see them.

Oh yes, and I am busy reading. Book 8 of the “Wheel of Time” series. I also picked up “Tolkien: Author of the Century” from the library but I fear I need to renew it. Because of a show I watch (LOST) and because I have regreted never taking physics, I am on physics kick. I am reading a biography on Galileo and as well as working through “Physics for Dummies”.

All that and no internet, thus the infrequent blog posts and one Very long one. I’m Impressed, you made it to the end of this post!

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Filed under literature, lost, tolkien, tv, weather, work

Library

I’m at the library! Free internet – Books to borrow. Even DVD’s to check-out. While this is a MAJOR downgrade from the Wheaton Public Library (voted into the top ten in the entire united states in the ’90s), it is a Library and I am wondering why it took me so long to get a card.

Well, I need to go check out my books. Book 6 of the Wheels of Time and “Tales From the Perilous Realm” by J.R.R. Tolkien. After that, it’s off to the electronics store to use my government provided coupon to buy a converter for my TV so in 45 days, there “won’t be a glitch in my Digital Switch.” But first I must clear the history and cache on this computer. 🙂

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Christmas Reading

With the holiday’s that means less time at work, More time to READ!

I finally read the Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I have wanted to read this book for the last 5 years or so. I started it last January, but did not get very far before life got in the way. So I started over this weekend and read the entire thing. It’s so beautiful! And what a great backdrop to better understand the world of Middle Earth. Thanks Vicky for reminding me that I wanted/needed to read this.

(for those who have read the Silmarillion – Check out the Children of Hurin. It’s a full book in greater detail of just a portion of the Silmarillion. The story of Túrin Turambar, and his sister Nienor Níniel.)

Next up: The Odyssey.

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Good, Evil, and In between?

I was spending some time thinking about the types of stories and tales I like. If you have known me for any length of time (or don’t know me buy regularly read this blog) its pretty obvious. I like stories with epic history. Stories of fantasy. Stories of the unbelievable. Stories of mystery.

Here is a short list of the stories I have been into:

LOST
Alias
The Chronicles of Narnia
Harry Potter
Pirates of the Caribbean
Lord of the Rings

I have also been known to enjoy StarTrek (specifically TNG) and a little Stargate SG-9 (come on! It has “Macgyver”)

Anyway, I digress. Something I have been thinking about it how good and evil is portrayed in these stories. Some have very distinct Good and Evil. Characters are on one side or the other. The “moral compass” of the story is very defined and unmovable. Others lean towards clear definition, but make use of the gray. Others have characters running around making “in between” decisions based on what ever seems right in that moment. There is some type of vague moral compass, but it is extremely hard to define. And still others are almost purposely completely undefined (or perhaps upside down) with all characters moving to the center, none completely good or innocent, none completely evil.

Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia fall into the first category. Good/Evil exist and each character is on one side or the other.

I think Harry Potter falls into the second group. There is a clear defined evil, but the “clear defined good” is less evident. Good characters are allowed to make sketchy moral choices for the “greater good.”

I would put LOST and Alias in the third category. We want to believe that there is definite good and evil, but when good characters make evil choices or evil characters make choices to help others, it is hard to hold firm to the idea that there is definition. In the end, there may be good and evil in these stories, but both sides are making decisions that not in line with the side each character is “committed” to.

Finally, I would put Pirates of the Caribbean in the last category. The premise of the story (Pirates – come on PIRATES – are “good”?) wants us to believe that questionable characters are the heroes. Throughout the three movies good characters become bad, bad characters become good, and then they don’t stay there, they switch again. This is done so often, all characters have moved to the same grey moral center where there is no longer definition. Can Davy Jones even be “evil?” He is simply a heartbroken man…and the excuses roll on.

So yeah, Its interesting that the two mythic stories by Christian authors are the two in the above example where good and evil are clearly defined. And in addition to that, in myth, if there is clear good and clear evil, is it not typical that the good will prevail? Arguably, they are two opposites, but not equal in strength. Good verses Evil, but in stories Good wins. Good is stronger. Yet, as clearly seen in LotR & CoN humanity is NOT the source of Good.

Anyway, I was just thinking about the similarities and differences in the stories I like. I am greatly encouraged that of all the stories, it is the clearly defined good that defeats the clearly defined and weaker evil that I like the best.
Don’t we all?

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Filed under good vs. evil, harry potter, literature, lord of the rings, lost, movie, narnia, tv