Finding Treasures

Another day ends, and I’m still feeling good. I find it unusually pleasant to be able to say that on a Monday. Let’s face it, only masochists actually enjoy Monday. So, anytime I can get through the worst day of the week and still be feeling good, well, that is a good thing.

The weekend was surprisingly productive; got a lot accomplished on a couple of projects, but I’m most pleased by the work I’ve gotten done on de-cluttering my living area. I finished my bedroom and got started on the bathroom this weekend. I’ve still got a lot left to do; regaining control of this house will be a project that takes a while. What makes me proud, makes me feel good, is that I can see that I am making progress. That visible progress helps me maintain the self discipline to keep going.

For the past three weeks I’ve been focusing on cleaning my bedroom. I’ve gone through and eliminated over half of the items in my closet.  I’ve also gone though all the boxes of stuff I had stored in  my closet, the boxes and tubbies stacked along one wall. I’ve also cleaned out the two junk drawers in my dressers. Most of the stuff I tossed from the closet  were pieces of clothing I’ve been holding on to for far to long. The stuff in the boxes and tubbies, and in the junk drawers was mostly…well, it mostly crap I took each box, tubby, or drawer  and removed everything inside. Each item got examined individually, and a choice on whether to keep or toss was made. Quite frankly, most of it got tossed. If I hadn’t  used it in the last year, it got tossed.

Well, the “have I used this in the past year?” test determined the fate of most of the items in those boxes. The three cases of cassette tapes, none of which I’ve listened to in at least ten years? Tossed. The box of assorted commputer cables and other related odds and ends I’ve not needed in the last six years? Gone. The files of class notes from college?: Out of here.

I’ve compared this de-cluttering process to an archeological dig recently, and that is an apt description. The most recent items were on top, and as I dug down through the stacks of boxes, through the layers of stuff inside the boxes, I was literally digging through my past. Most of the items were no longer relevent to my life, so, as mentioned above, they got tossed. Just as most of the items found at any archeological dig are trash, literally. The trash reveals a lot about a culture, but it’s not what one would consider a treasure. Occasionaly, both in “real” archeological digs, and in my personal dig, treasures are found.

The first treasure I found was a small stuffed animal, a buffalo, that my sister gave me about ten years ago for my birthday. She was not the first person to tell me that I’m difficult to buy a gift for (a description that I heartily disagree with – how hard is it to get a gift certificate to a bookstore?), and that year she had commented a couple of times that was, “as stubborn as an ox.” So, on my birthday she handed me a wrapped box that contained this little stuffed buffalo and said, “this was the closest thing I could find to an ox. Love you, bro”. I’m not sure how long it’s been in that box; I remember displaying it in the apartment in Decautur, but I can’t really remember having it at the apartment in Nashville. It’s now sitting on top of the two reference books I keep on my desk (dictionary and thesaurus). It also led to me calling her Sunday afternoon and having a long, pleasant conversation.

The next box contained two treasures: a fake stone gargoyle statue, about six inches high and as ugly as homemade sin, and a bear figurine. The bear was a gift from my Mom, and I can’t remember how long I’ve had it. It is now guarding the top left corner of my book case. The Gargoyle? I got that from friend about  seven years ago. For reasons I never did really understand, his name is Fred. It’s ugly, as gargoyles are, and he is now guarding the second shelf in my book case.

I know that by keeping thse three little nick-nacks, I am kind of violating the concept of getting rid of things I don’t use. The whole purpose of de-cluttering is to simplify, to get rid of stuff. I know all that, but there are different ways to use things. The buffalo reminds me of of my sister, of what a great person she is, what a unique sense of humor she has. The bear does the same job, reminding me of my Mom. Fred, the gargoyle, reminds me of a friend I’ve not seen in years, and the fun we had. These three little items serve as visual reminders of the most important things in life; they remind me of friends and family. That is plenty of reason to keep anything.

That’s all for tonight.


The Wild Ride…

The Great De-cluttering goes on. I’ve spent an hour each night this week sorting through boxes and files, and throwing most of the contents away. In an odd way the process is sort of like an archeological dig – each piece of paper, each trinket is an artifact of the person I used to be.  Some of the finds have brought back fond memories while others  have triggered memories that I’d rather had been left buried. It has been an interesting way to see how much I have changed over the years.

Thursday night I found the preliminary schedule I had made in mid-September of 2004 while planning Bard Wars- Samhain 2004. That was the first weekend event I autocratted. Since then I have autocratted several events and enjoyed all of them, but I think that Samhain was my favorite.

You see, that was not only the first weekend event I autocratted; it was also the first event where I felt like I knew what I was doing. I had a lot more confidence in myself than I had while working on the previous year’s Lugh. The first event had taught me a lot – mostly it taught me that I couldn’t do everything myself, nor did anyone really expect me to. I had learned that it was ok to ask other people to help; I’d learned that people WANTED to help. No one would think less of me for asking for help.

So, I asked for a LOT of help. THL Luca handled the reservations. Mahsheed and Saachi organized the the candleight tournament on Friday night. The good folks of House Sablehand organized all the competitions and helped out in countless other ways.  Countess Linnet (now Duchess Linnet) organized all the classes. THL Gresch and THL Chiere organized the feast…oh my good the feast. What an incredible feast! My brother in law; a guy that has the metabolism of a shrew on meth, and who might way 150 pounds soaking wet, had to push his plate away during the fourth remove. His only comment was “I fought the food, and the food won”.

It is funny, I can remember a great deal of the planning of that event, but I don’t remember much of the Day of the event. Prior to court that evening, my main memory is one of walking around the site watching a lot of other people working their tails off, while I didn’t do much of anything. Well, that’s not really true –  I spent a lot of time listening to people tell me what a great time they were having, and thinking I had the most incredible event staff ever. They were the ones doing all the work, and I seemed to be getting most of the credit.

I have much more clear memories of court that night. It was, a very special court. That was the court where Gresh and Ree, got their GOA’s, and their induction to the Order of Denial. Of course that was also the court where I was inducted into the Denial, but as much as I was stunned by that I was more proud for Gresch and Ree. But the most special part of that court was the fact that when it was over I was belted to Linnet.

I will never forget the ceremony that Linnet had organized  for my belting. To this day the poster she made showing my “associate’s family tree” is still on my wall. I remember her handing the yellow belt she had woven, and I remember her turning me to face the audience and saying, “This is my protege, Cormac. Good done to him is good done to me, Evil done to him is……not recommended”. Gods, what a good feeling.

When I became her protege Linnet and I knew each other, and were friendly, but I can’t say we were really friends. In the last four years that has changed; today I consider her one of my closest friends. At the time I knew a lot about the workings of Grey Niche, or thought I did, but I was relatively clueless about the rest of the kingdom. In the last four years I’ve learned a lot more about my kingdom, about my barony, and most importantly about myself. It’s been a wild ride, and I can’t wait to see where the next four years will be like.