September 29, 2010: A New Plan

Just one more day in this month, and much to my surprise I have to say it has been a pretty good month. I realize in looking back over the goals I set for the year in January that I’ve not gotten anywhere near  attaining those goals. That is Ok, a plan never turns out the way you think it will, and a big part of life is accepting that. So, no, I’m not where I thought I would be, but I have made a great deal of progress, and I am really quite pleased by that.

I have been particularly pleased with the September Face Book theme; posting 3 things a day that make me happy. I won’t claim it was always easy, but so far I have managed to post something every day, and I honestly think it doing so has helped change my outlook. When you are looking for reasons to be happy, they are remarkably easy to find. I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to decide on a theme for October, and I think I’ve decided to pursue a variation of something April suggested: Roctober. Each day I’m going to post a song, and probably part of the lyrics to that song, that inspires me. Or maybe just a song I really like.

I’ve also been trying to decide on a theme for this blog, and I’ve finally decided on a three part theme:

1. Autobiography: One post each week will continue the autobiography I started earlier this week. The project interests me mainly because of all things I realize I don’t know about my family. Don’t get me wrong, I do know a lot, but as I’ve started to write what I know I come to realize what I don’t know. This will give me an excuse to ask some family members some questions.

2. Library: One post each week will be about books; books that I have found to be inspiring, or thought provoking, and in some cases books that have just made me angry. Gods know I’ll never run out of things to write about, as I’ve been in love with books of all kinds since Mrs. Kokendorfer taught me to read in the first grade.

3. SCA: Over the last 8 years the SCA has been a VERY important part of my life. Hell, it’s been my main source of social interaction. I for the last six years I have been pursuing a definite goal, and at this point I am not sure where I stand in pursuit of that goal. I do love the SCA, but sometimes I really, REALLY wonder why. So, I’m going to explore that. Things I love about the SCA an what it represents, and what I don’t like. I’m NOT going to use this as a platform to rant and rave, but I am going to use it as a way to express my thoughts, feelings, and goals. My hope is that doing so will help me gain some clarity.

So, that is the plan for Cormac’s Corner going forward.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The month is coming to an end, and I feel good. I’ve got two days to attain quota at work, and I think I can do it. If I miss it, it won’t be by much. Such is the life of a person in the collections industry.

So, not a lot to talk about tonight. I don’t particularly feel like working on my autobiography; mainly because I need to do a bit of research first. When I started that project the other day, I was amazed at how much about my family I didn’t know. For instance, I know both my maternal and paternal grandmother’s had siblings, but I’m damned if I can tell you the names of any of them. I know my parents met in high school in O’Neil, but I don’t know “how” they met. I wonder if Mom remembers? I’ll have to ask her.

I’m looking forward to the second half of this week; mostly because Coronation is next weekend, and I’m really looking forward to attending that event. I’m looking forward to seeing SCA friends, and spending time in my preferred make believe world, but mostly I’m looking forward to seeing Michele.

On another subject entirely, I’ve enjoyed my September Face Book project of posting 3 things that make me happy each day. I’m now in the process of trying to decide on a similar project for October. I’ve been thinking either listing a book daily, or making the 101 Song Play list, with associate videos. Now that I think about that more, I really like that idea.

I’m also looking for an ongoing theme for this blog. I might do the book subject here. One post each week to be used for the autobiography, one for the autobiography, and one for ….something else. Maybe thoughts on the SCA. That sounds…intriguing. Better yet, books and movies that changed my thinking. Yeah, I like that idea. A lot.

Autobiography 2: O’Neil

In my last post I described how my parents came to be in O’Neil Nebraska. I realized later that I had not described the town itself.  I never actually lived there myself, but I did spend a lot of time there. My family make the drive from Omaha two or three times a year to visit Grandma B (I’ll attempt to describe her in the next post), and while we were there we would not only visit Grandma, but also visit a lot of my parents friends and relatives from their time in O’Neil.

I’ll start with the boring facts of the town. O’Neil Nebraska, the county seat of Holt County, is a town of  of 3700 people according to the 2000 Census. Those people make up just over 970 families. This is a SMALL town. I mean there are apartment complexes here Memphis that have larger populations.

O’Neil was founded by John O’Neil in the late 1870’s, and is the official Irish Capital of Nebraska. To this day they still have a large Saint Patrick’s Day parade and celebration. The town is located near the eastern limits of what could be described as “North Central Nebraska”‘; roughly four hours drive from Omaha.

This is a town dedicated to agriculture, all the businesses in town are dependent, either directly or indirectly, on the agricultural economy.  It is a small, small town, geographically. It is possible, literally to walk from one end of it to the other in a short period of time. Most of the businesses are located on one main street. There is a public highschool and a Catholic high school .  Several small protestant churches, a large Catholic church, a  small hospital,  and the County Court House, and a couple of pubs, and that’s about it.

The most important thing to remember when describing O’Neil is that it is a small town of the High Prairie.  It is located in the Elkhorn River Basin and the town is flat. Very flat. To the west the Sandhills start, but those are long, low, rolling hills. It is possible to see a LONG way down the road. Unlike the the South East, the land is not naturally forested. The only natural tree growth you will find in that part of the country is along streams and rivers.  It is pretty country, but very hard to describe. I’ve been in the south for …..well a lot longer than I would have believed possible, and after all these years I’m still amazed by how claustrophobic I find the land to be. The heavily forested land and frequent hills  of Mississippi, Tennesee , Alabama and Arkansas bring the horizon in way to close. To close for me, anyway. I like to be able to see the sky.

Next time I’ll attempt to describe Grandma Butterfield. What an amazing woman.

Autobiography 1; September 23, 2010

One of the ideas I’ve been thinking about for a while is using this blog to write an autobiography; a way to understand who and what I am by examining where I came from and who I was.  I don’t know if it will be of interest to anyone but me, but I figure, what the hell. I have to write about something, and I am the subject I know best.

Now, this will be MY story. Other people will be described, obviously, but they will be described through my perceptions, and memories. I’ll will be as honest as possible, and I’ll try to be as accurate as possible, but please remember that everything I relate is being shaded by my own point of view.

So, with that in mind, let’s get this story started….

Many years ago, more than I care to remember, when I first started a blog on Live journal I had to enter a description when setting up the profile, and I came up with  this, “I am a Nebraskan refugee currrently living in Memphis. I’m an active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, an avid reader, and I appreciate good music, good friends, and good conversation. I do not suffer fools gladly, and do not like those that let others do their thinking for them. The most profound bit of philosophy I have ever heard is this: “If you can make another laugh, you have made the world a better place”. Seven years later, I still think that is a good description. I mention it here because of the first five words, “I am a Nebraskan refugee”.

You see, my family, my people, are not from the South. My people are the people of the Great Prairie of Western Nebraska, and the cornfields of Iowa and Illinois. That’s where the story starts. Specifically, it starts in O’Neil Nebraska, and it starts with my parents.

CormacMom was born in Holt County Nebraska on May 9, 1944.   A t the time  Grandpa and Grandma Butterfield were farmer’s and the family lived approximately 30 miles from O’Neil, which is the largest town in Holt County. When Mom was five or six, to be honest I’m not quite sure how old she was, Grandpa lost the farm and the family moved into O’Neil. Grandpa got a job as  truck driver, hauling gravel for the county, and Grandma (who to this day is one of the most impressive people I’ve ever had the honor to know) took care of the four kids.

CormacDad was born in Havana Illinois, and I quite frankly have no idea what county it’s in. Grandpa Fletcher was a farmer that raised turkeys. Grandpa Fletcher didn’t own his land; he was more a “farm manager”. He  and his family lived on the farm and ran it, made all the decisions, etc, but the farm was owned by someone else. When Dad was 16 his father took a job a similar job for Tri -State farms, and moved to O’Neil.

The stage was now set.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

You know, for not actually leaving the house, and for rarely leaving my computer desk, I’ve had a very productive day. I LIKE productive days. I like feeling like I’ve accomplished something.

I woke up around 6:30 and took my shower. The first load of laundry went into the machine, and I started cooking. Now that I think about my Dad often used to spend an entire day cooking. He would fire up his grill, and cook all day. I didn’t use the grill, but I did make a batch of breakfast burritos, which went into the freezer. Next up one crock pot was loaded with beef tips while another one was loaded with chicken breasts.

While the two crock pots were bubbling away I got busy doing my weekly review and planning. That went remarkably well; I had a remarkably good week last week. I did achieve the largest number of my goals for last week.

Once the chicken was done it got shredded and a batch of Non-Breakfast burritos were made and frozen. When the beef tips and potatoes were done they also got packaged into single serving containers and frozen. I won’t have to cook all week.

I spent the afternoon finishing laundry, and making jewelry.  Oh, and spending a butt load of money. Thanks to the internet one can spend a lot of cash without ever leaving the house. From I Tunes I purchased 3 different Celtic Woman CD’s, and from Amazon a couple of fountain pens, a couple of books, and couple of bottles of ink.

Yeah, it was a good day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sometimes you just can’t avoid things any longer. This afternoon appears to be one of those times. You see, one of my goals for this week is to write three blog posts. The fact that it is now late Saturday afternoon and I’ve only written one so far kind of indicates that I’m behind schedule. However, as much as I want to accomplish my goals for the week, I really didn’t feel like writing this afternoon.

I’m not real sure why I didn’t want to write today. Maybe because there are to many things I want to write about. I have this idea of writing my autobiography. I even went so far as to use Google Calendar to research what day of the week I was born on. Turns out it was a Monday.  My life began on a Monday. That explains quite a lot. Got some other ideas about the things I’d like to write about as well, just haven’t taken the time to develop them.

Bah. I’m not in the mood to do this today, but , and this is important, I’ve made this blog post, and can mark it off my list.

Wednesday – the Halfway Point

The week is half over, and by all gods great and small, I’ m all right. Hell, I’m better than “all right”, I could say without boasting that I am pretty damn good. Nothing particularly good to write about, but (and this is important) nothing bad either.

So, I was watching episode 2 of the third season of Sons of Anarchy this afternoon (I do SO love TIVO) and I was trying to decide why I like this show so much. It’s a show about an outlaw motor cycle club; the main characters are criminals.  Much like the Shield, The Wire, and The Sopranos, there are no real heroes, and I liked all those shows.

This surprises me, because in all of those shows, none of the main characters are  what would be generally described as “good” people. Society normally doesn’t label men that routinely engage in violence, sell drugs, or illegal guns, as “good” people.

But then I realized that all these shows are about very specific subcultures that exist within the larger culture of our country: the subculture of a mob family, an outlaw motorcycle gang,  a rogue police unit, or, in the case of the Wire an investigative unit and the criminal organization they are investigating.  While the larger society might view the actions of the people within that subculture in a less than positive light, the members of that subculture themselves, have a very, very different set of values.

I don’t really know where I was going with that, but it was an interesting line of thought.

Anyway, the week is half over. My bills are paid, a (very) little bit of money has been deposited in the bank, and the rest of the week is before me. I’ve not logged into my WOW account for almost two weeks, and I’ve been spending the time making jewelry.

I’ve also been consciously avoiding spending money as much as possible. I’ve not bought any snacks from the vending machines at work for five consecutive work days, though I have bought diet cokes: they don’t count as snacks. Of course, if I may brag a little I can say that I’ve limited my spending on diet cokes to one bottle a day, as opposed the four or five I had been drinking. So, thats a good thing.