A request

I am in the process of trying to change some things in my life. Trying to break some ingrained habits that have been part of my life for so long that I think sometimes it would be easier to break my bones than it would be to break these habits. It doesn’t really matter what the habits are, what matters is that I’m trying to change them, and I need some help.

Specifically, I need success stories. I need to hear how you, my friends, have successfully changed habits in your own lives. I’d love to hear your success stories, and what, if any lessons you learned in the process.

C

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Sunday Evening musings.

It is rather late on Sunday night, and I feel good. It will be later still before I go to bed, but that is ok because I am not working tomorrow. Well, not working at my paid job anyway, I’ve got some SCA projects to work on , and some projects around the house to work on, but the important point is I don’t have to go to my paid job. That, by definition, is a good thing.

You see, I don’t have a “career”, I have a job. I’m good at it, and I take pride in doing it well, but it most emphatically is not what defines me. It is not what I draw my sense of accomplishment from. My job is just what allows me to keep my bills paid (mostly on time, thank you very much), and what allows me to do the things that I think do define me. My job is what allows me to have the money to take part in the things that i do take a real sense of accomplishment from. Oh, and the day I win the lottery I’ll very happily join the ranks of the unemployed. I guarantee you, my readers, that you will never see me being interviewed and saying, “Even though I just one 100 million dollars, I’m not going to quit my job”. I will, however, give a two week notice, cause, well, that’s the professional thing to do.

So, instead of going to my job tomorrow, I’m going to work on some projects for the Barony. First I’m going to go over to the baronial storage unit and begin the process of photographing all the baronial property. My goal is to eventually get it all photographed and then to get the pictures uploaded to a directory on the baronial website. My thinking is that in the future an autocrat or feastocrat planning for an event could access the directory and see what property is available, and know what they have to work with. What they can take to site, or what they would need to find from “non baronial sources”. I’m not going to get it all done tomorrow, but I’ll make a start.

I’m also going to spend some time just on the just started project of thoroughly cleaning the house.  My roommate and I are not what you would call “good” housekeepers. Hell, at best we would be called “very bad” housekeepers. Don’t get me wrong, we are not …..”organic” slobs. There are no funky, slimy organisms growing in our house, but there are some dust-bunnies the size schnauzers that need to be dealt with. This project is made even more complicated by the fact that, like most SCA folks, we are both world class pack rats. So, this cleaning is going to involve a LOT of simply throwing things away. As with the baronial property project, the house cleaning project is not one I’m going to finish quickly, but as long as I make steady progress, I’ll be happy.  I think my goal for tomorrow is to go through my closet and clear out any clothes (modern clothes, not garb) that I haven’t worn in the last year.

Sorry it wasn’t a very exciting or thought provoking post this evening, but these are the things on my mind this evening.

C.

Vexa minus
Labora plurius

It is very late Friday night, and I’m on the second disc of Lost season 2, and I’m feeling good. I had a particularly good day at work, and I don’t have to go back to work until Tuesday. While I’ve been watching Lost I’ve been opening rings. Tomorrow I’ll have enough opened to start working on my next jewelry project. Life is good.

Not much to post tonight, but after the morose posts earlier this week I just felt I should post that I’m feeling good.

C.

The Flame Thrower is lit.

Ok, so I am in a better mood, tonight. I know what was causing the foul mood the other night, and I know why I reacted the way I did. More importantly I know how I’m going to respond to the people and issues that had me ready to spit nails the other night. This is a good feeling.

Before I go on, I should just mention that I have two mottoes that I turn to for inspiration, or to help me deal with things when I’m angry. The first is, “Vexa minus, labora plurius ), which is Latin (Thank you Drix, for the translation) for “Bitch Less, Do More”. The second is  a quote from “Men At Arms” by Terry Pratchet and it is, “Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness”.

I mention these mottoes because I had a bit of an epiphany Wednesday morning. I was still fuming about the things that had me so angry Tuesday night, and suddenly it dawned on me that I was bitching, but I wasn’t actually doing anything. I was acting just like the people  that had made me so angry.

Gods, that kind of self revelation, in a word, hurts. It’s a shock to one’s self esteem. Clearly, something had to change. So, time to get busy doing instead of bitching.

So, first I made a list of the projects I wanted to work on. Then I had to start figuring out how to get them accomplished. I guess you could say that’s the point I’m at now. I’ll spend the rest of this week plotting out a course of action for the other projects. Hopefully I can start actually working on them during the early part of next week.

There will be more later. The bitching is over, and the flamethrower is lit.

C.

I Should Be In a Good Mood

I really, really shouldn’t be in the foul mood I find myself in this evening. I really shouldn’t.  I should be in a great mood for several reasons.

For instance, because of how the tournament at Crown List turned out, I won’t be working entourage at Gulf Wars. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working entourage for the last two years, but Gulf Wars entourage is a LOT of work. Of course it’s a lot MORE work for the actual crowns, I know that, but I’m going to enjoy not being on entourage for Gulf Wars ’09.

Then there is the fact that I actually got a quota bonus this month. The last three months have been seriously lacking in that department at work; the economy is tanking (and I promise I won’t launch into a rant as to why I believe that to be happening. I promise, I will simply say this, “I blame Bush”), which is making things kind of lean in the world of student loan collections. Of course that is the world I work in, so it’s been tough. I’ve had enough to keep my bills paid, and to do most of the things I REALLY wanted to, or needed to do, but it’s been a while since I had any “blow money”.
However, this month the planets all aligned properly and I did get a rather nice bonus. After making some hefty payments on some …um, long term bills that I had been making minimum payments on, I had a nice chunk  of left over money. Now, I know the smart thing to have done would have been to put it in the bank and save for a rainy day. Yeah. That would be the smart thing, but it’s not what I did. I ordered a bunch of wire in different gages from The Ring Lord, and some tools from Contenti. I’m really looking forward to using that jump ring maker. It should be here a week from today.

Finally, I should not be in a foul mood because I’m at home after a late night at work. I’ve had an interesting conversation with a good friend via yahoo messenger, and “Ah Leah) by Donnie Iris is playing on ITunes. I should be in a great mood, but I’m not. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have calmed down enough to post about the reasons I’m in such a lousy mood.

C.

Crown List.

So, let’s talk about Crown List, which took place this past weekend at the Woodmen of the World Camp in Hattiesburg MS.

I traveled to the event with a different set of traveling companions.  My regular traveling crew all decided to stay home so I rode down with Sir Padruig, Lass, and Aktay. I find it surprising how different the road I’ve traveled literally dozens of times in the last six years looks when viewed from a different seat.

There is nothing like a five hour road trip for learning new things about people that you thought you knew. For instance I had no idea that Aktay was such a fan of country music from the sixties and seventies. Nor did I know that he and Padruig could do a pretty good rendition of “King of the Road By Roger Miller”.  I also learned that I am actually a fan of the group  Big and Rich. I discovered, much to my amazement, that is possible to travel to Hattiesburg without stopping at the Love’s truck stop in Canton.

We got to the site and got unloaded by about 8:30. I must have been living right last week because the bedspace had been sold out, but an email to the Reservation Steward let me find out that there had been a cancellation and the bed was mine. I dumped my gear on the bed , got changed into garb and headed out to do what I do best, talk to people, and I spent the rest of the night doing just that.

Saturday dawned clear and beautiful  The day would prove to be warm, but not oppressively hot. The tournament field was gorgeous. All the fighters had pavilions around the field and the heraldry on display was ……stirring. There were sixteen couples taking part in the tournament, including four from Grey Niche; Caedon and Lass, WIlliam of Glenn Lyon fighting for Marisa Symes of Berwyck, Ali was fighting for Naqid, and coincidently Naqid was fighting for Ali. All four couples were sharing a pavilion and the hospitality table they put on was truly impressive. Both Caedmon and Lass and WIliam and Marisa had honored me by asking that I process in with them, and I was more than happy to do so. In fact I was allowed to carry banners for both of them, which showed a great deal of trust I thought, since all four of those folks know how klutzy I can be. I thought it was particularly cool that Their Exellencies Dagan and Mahsheed were on site and doing everything they could to support and encourage the people from their Barony.
Though none of the Grey Niche fighters won the tournament they all fought honorably and well. I was proud to belong to a group that included such good people. In one round Naqid had to fight WIll, and it was clear that though they both wanted to fight, to win, they didn’t want fight each other. They are very close friends and neither wanted to be responsible for eliminating the other from the tournament. They both gave it their all, and when William called “good” to Naqid’s blow, she looked a bit confused. She said later that on one hand she wanted to celebrate because she had won, but she wanted to cry as well, because she had eliminated Will.
After the Grey Niche fighters were eliminated I really didn’t pay that close of attention to the rest of the tournament until the final fight. Sir Loric and Duke Havordh. Havordh won, but it wasn’t easy, Sir Loric fought very well. So well, in fact, that at court that night he was named Queen’s Champion.

The rest of the day passed quickly, but pleasantly. I didn’t get reserved in time to get a feast spot, but from everything I heard later it was an excellent meal. The post feast entertainment was hilarious. All to soon it was Sunday morning and time to come home. Another great weekend, and another great set of memories.

Cormac

One Day At A Time

Some days rising above the challenges life throws at you is easier than it is on other days. For instance, one of the changes I am trying to make in my life is to stop eating so many meals at restaurants. I’m also trying to stop getting snacks, etc. from the vending machines at work. There are several reasons for this; the desire to lose some weight, to live healthier, and most importantly, to save money.
Over the last week, it has been remarkably easy to avoid all of these things as I was  in a temporary negative cash flow situation. In other words, I was broke. I didn’t have the money to spend on luxuries like restaurants, or snacks, etc. Today, however, was payday. After paying immediate bills, and after making sure I have money set aside for the trip to Crown List this weekend, and to make sure I have money for gas for the next two weeks, after doing all that I managed to drive by my favorite Chinese Buffet and successfully resisted the urge to stop and eat. I made, in other words, the better choice. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I’m rather proud of that.
In fact I was so proud of that rather simple accomplishment, that when I got home I decided to overcome some other temptations. As I’ve mentioned before in this Corner, I tend to get addicted to online games. I played Warcraft for over a year. Since November I’ve been heavily invested in a game called Eve Online. WHen I get involved in these games I spend way, way to much time playing them. In fact I tend to ignore my real life, my real friends, in order to spend time in an artificial world. Now, three weeks ago both of my computers suffered some temporary problems that made it impossible to play. That was painful, but until I got them repaired, I literally couldn’t play. My time away from the game was not a choice.
I did, of course, get my machines repaired, but during the forced down time I had caught up on my reading, I spent some time making jewelry, which I hadn’t done for months, and generally found I was enjoying myself. Unfortunately, over the last two days I’ve been thinking a  lot about either firing up Eve again, or , even worse,  buying another  copy of W.O.W, and starting to play that again. I would have had to buy a new copy of W.O.W. because when I quit playing I knew I’d be tempted to start again so I not only removed the game from my computer, I actually broke the discs in half, so I couldn’t reinstall them. I knew it would be a mistake, but I was sorely tempted. WHen I had to quit playing Eve temporarily I didn’t actually remove the game from my system, nor did I close down my accounts (had two of them, pathetic, I know). Despite severe temptations to play again since getting the machine’s fixed, I have been able to avoid doing so, but it’s become more difficult to do so every day.
So, when I got home today, feeling so good after avoiding the urge to pig out the Panda Chinese Buffet, I decided to do something about the temptations of the online games. First, I removed Eve from my system and closed both accounts. Instead of then leaving the house and heading for the nearest Best Buy to buy copies of W.O.W. I logged into my instant messaging programs and spent some time talking with a good friend (thanks Charlie) and working on some paperwork I had to have ready for this weekend. Soon enough the urge to go buy the game went away. Well, it went away at least for today.
However, you can only fight temptation one day at a time and today I’ve won the fight. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

C.