Monday Musings

The first day of the new week finds me in a good mood. I’m still making progress on my diet, and I am very pleased by that. I faced another great test this past weekend. I had traveled to Jackson to spend the weekend with my Lady, and that put me completely out of my regular habitat. I knew spending time with Her would be great, and it was, but I was nervous about my ability to stick with the diet away from home.

I am rather proud to say that despite my concerns, or maybe because of my concerns, I did rather well over the weekend. I didn’t over eat at any meal. I didn’t snack. I drank all of my required water each day. I ate the fruit and vegetables each day. To be as blunt as possible, I didn’t fuck up. I’m really proud of that.

As I enter the third week of this project, I find that I’m thinking about more and more. This is a sampling of what I’ve been thinking about:
• I’m still waiting for the water to start to taste good.
• I’m amazed by how easy it has been to get the pasta, breads, and other stuff out my system.
• I’ve got to quit smoking.
•I’ve also got to start making myself exercise: The diet, the changing of the eating habits will do a lot, but it won’t do it all.
• It is really hard to NOT weigh myself every day.
• I am continually amazed by the amount of support I’m receiving. It truly is mind boggling. My Mom and Sister have been a tremendous source of support. My friends also have been nothing but encouraging. My Girlfriend has been tremendously supportive but what has really amazed me is the amount of support I have received from my coworkers.
• All the success in the world on the diet plan is not making me any more eloquent.

 

And in words of Porky Pig….”that’s all folks”.

The Whale Defeated Me

I admit it; the White Whale defeated me, as he has defeated many other. Indeed, as he defeated Ahab himself.

I tried, I sincerely tried to finish Moby Dick, but I just couldn’t do it. After reading a full two thirds of the book I just didn’t care any more. I didn’t care about the characters. I was actively beginning to despise the narrator, Ishmael, and I was actively cheering for the whale.

Fortunately, I already knew how the story ends, so I’m not actually losing any thing by giving it up. I can now go on to better, more enjoyable activities. If only Ahab could have given up his obsession he could have done the same.

Early Memories

So, apparently last week I didn’t make any blog posts at all. That violates just about everything I’ve read about maintaining a successful blog. Sue me.

I guess I really should spend some time deciding what I want to accomplish with this blog. I don’t particularly have any goals to monetize it. I have no thought of making it into some kind of money making enterprise.

Nor do I want it to become  a place where I just post random facts, or random rants. I do want it to have some kind of structure.

Mostly, I think, I want this blog to be a way to help me examine different aspects of my life, and to help me build some kind of personal discipline. I have felt for years that I lack personal discipline, and I’m trying to build that quality into my personality.

Monday is, according to plan, the day I make an autobiographical post. The last post in that series described my Grandmother Butterfield. In a logical world I would next describe my one of my Fletcher Grandparents, but I’m just not ready to do that. I need to think very carefully before I tackle that kind description. It would be huge understatement to say I have conflicting feelings about them.

So, I’m going to skip around a bit. It’s my autobiography, I can do what I want. Deal with it. Tonight I think I’m going to talk about my earliest memories.

The very first thing I remember is just a fragment. I couldn’t have been more than three or four, but I remember being on a paddle boat, the kind you can rent at resorts, on Lake Okaboji.  I don’t remember anything else about the trip. I just remember being on that paddle boat with Mom and Dad. I don’t remember getting on it and I don’t remember getting off of it, I just remember sitting between them as we paddled across the lake.

And now that I think about it, I realize I must have been even younger than I thought, because my next memory is of Christmas at the house in Platssmouth Nebraska. I know I was three when we lived there. And I don’t actually remember Christmas, but I remember Christmas Eve. Specifically, I remember standing at the top of the stairs, and yelling down to Mom and Dad, to see what they were doing. I know now, that what they were doing was assembling Christmas presents. Mom loves to tell that story.

My next memories are of the apartment in Bellevue Nebraska. I was four when we moved in there, and from that point on my memory is more or less continual. I remember swimming in the pool at the complex. Remember learning to ride a bicyle. I emphatically don’t remember learning how to stop the bike: According to my parents the only way I could stop the bike was by riding it into a bush. No, I don’t remember that at all. I do, however remember playing in the creek bed near the apartment.

I remember the day my sister was born. I wasn’t really sure what was going on, I just knew I got taken to my babysitter’s place, and that Dad seemed to be really excited about something. I do remember the day we brought her back to the apartment.

October 4, 2010: Thinking about Grandma B

I do plan to keep going with this autobiography, even though I realize that I am probably the only person that is even vaguely interested in the subject. I don’t expect to to be finished any time soon, and I am quite sure that the story will probably take some interesting detours, side trips , and possibly, perform some loop-de-loops from time time to time. The fact is, as I examine some different part of my life, my history, my story, I’m not sure what I’ll discover. I am just sure that it will be an interesting endeavor.

I’m also sure, that an amazing cast of characters will appear in the story. You see, I’ve been blessed, my life has been enriched beyond my current ability to describe by some fascinating people.  Family, friends, teachers, bosses, I’ve known, and still do know some wonderful people. I will try to do them justice.

Today I want to tell you about  my Mom’s mom; Grandma Butterfield, or, as we usually called her, Grandma B.  Mable Butterfield was born in 1914 in Venus Nebraska. She never lived anywhere but Knox and Holt Counties. I’m fairly sure that she knew most of the people that lived in O’Neill; if she didn’t know the specific person she almost certainly knew their family, and probably the family history going back at least 3 generations.

I never knew her husband, Elden; he died when Mom was twenty. What I do know is that Grandma was 48 or 49 when Elden died. She had been working at the O’Neil Bakery for a number of years, and when she finally quit the job in the bakery she had worked there a total of 30 years. When she quit the job at the Bakery she got a job at a combination Hobby Store/Sporting Goods Store (the kind of store you can ONLY find in small, rural towns). She worked there for another fifteen years. Grandma was NOT afraid of hard work. In fact, I’m fairly sure that she could out work anyone until her body just simply got to frail, and that would have been in her early nineties.

Grandma B was/is a hard woman to describe easily. She would never accept any kind of charity; not even help from her kids. She could be rather stubborn (kind of like the way a mountain can be kind of tall),and she could be rather judgmental. She was extremely independent; she lived on her own, in her own home, until well into her late eighties. When her physical condition and dementia got to the point where she could no longer live on her own, and she had to go into a nursing home the closest one Mom and her sisters could find was in Atkinson, which was 20 miles from O’Neill. Grandma wanted to go home, and she literally walked out the door and started walking toward O’Neil. The facility staff found her walking about two miles from the home. Determined? YEah, you could say that.

However, she was also a woman that never once forgot the birthday of any of her kids, her kid’s husbands or wives, or any of her five grandchildren. She didn’t have any use for people that were not at least willing to work, but she was a loyal friend, and generous when it came to taking care of people that couldn’t work for health reasons.

While she could be rather stern, and harsh, she also had an amazing sense of humor; she was a person that could laugh easily, and could make other’s laugh  as well. She loved to play cards, and she played to win, but more importantly, she played to have fun.

She lived the majority of her life, in Holt County, and while she never had a great deal of money, she was able to travel literally all over the country. In addition to her traveling, she was an amazing craft person. For years we would decorate our Christmas tree each year with ornaments that Granny B had made. I think CormacSis has most of those ornaments now.

Grandma died in September of 2009. She was 95 years old, and she was a truly amazing woman. The world will not see her like again. This description has not done her justice, and I’m sorry about that. I wish you all could have known her. I wish I had known her better.

Minutes to memories

So, I get home from work today, and after reading the new postings on all of the websites I check daily, I found myself looking up old song videos on Youtube.com. I was in a mood for something I hadn’t heard in a while, and before long, I found this: Minutes to Memories by John Cougar.

Damn, damn, and triple damn, that took me back a long way. Scarecrow, the album that song was on, was released in 1985. That was the year I graduated high-school. The summer I went to Costa Rica for the second time. The year I started college.  I loved that CD the day I bought it, and loved it so much that I went through about three copies of it.

“On a Greyhound thirty miles beyond Jamestown
He saw the sun set on the Tennessee line
He looked at the young man who was riding beside him
He said I’m old kind of worn out inside
I worked my whole life in the steel mills of Gary
And my father before me I helped build this land
Now I’m seventy-seven and with God as my witness
I earned every dollar that passed through my hands
My family and friends are the best thing I’ve known
Through the eye of the needle I’ll carry them home”

So, I listened to/watched the video about four times. Let my mind kind of drifted away, remembered.

I won’t give you the long list of things I remembered, mainly because it would bore you, and more importantly, me, to tears, but I did want to talk about something I noticed. Specifically I noticed that lines that didn’t mean that much to me when I was 18 mean a whole lot more to me now that I’m 42 going on 43.

“Days turn to minutes
And minutes to memories
Life sweeps away the dreams
That we have planned
You are young and you are the future
So suck it up and tough it out
And be the best you can”

I had so many dreams. So many things I was going to do with my life. I was going to go to college and have all the college experiences. Afterward I was going to be part of the political world, working as a staffer in Washington. Or maybe working in an embassy somewhere overseas. Yeah, I was going to do a lot of things.

You know what happens when you make a lot of plans? Life happens, and the plans kind of go of line. Or they go away. That’s kind of what happened to me. To make a very long story, very short, in college I developed a bit of a problem with booze. To be quite honest, I was a drunk. Of course, at the time I just thought I was a normal college student. I mean, all college students drink, right? Apparently not all of them drank as much as I did.

So, my plans for my life didn’t exactly work out the way I thought they would. Nor the way my family thought it would, or the way any of my friends thought it would.

“The rain hit the old dog in the twilight’s last gleaming
He said Son it sounds like rattling old bones
This highway is long but I know some that are longer
By sunup tomorrow I guess I’ll be home
Through the hills of Kentucky ‘cross the Ohio river
The old man kept talking ’bout his life and his times
He fell asleep with his head against the window
He said an honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind
This world offers riches and riches will grow wings
I don’t take stock in those uncertain things”

Yeah, life didn’t work out the way I had planned. But here’s the thing  I noticed today: My plans, my life didn’t work out, this is true, but it’s not been a bad life. It t00k me a while, but I eventually got to the point where I can say I’m an honest man.
I’ve also truly come to understand that the world does offer riches, but those riches, for the most part are temporary, and that you shouldn’t give those things a lot of importance.

I have also come to understand that the true source of riches is in the friendship and respect of family and friends. By that measure, I am a truly wealthy man. I have more friends, true friends, than I have ever had in my life.

“The old man had a vision but it was hard for me to follow
I do things my way and I pay a high price
When I think back on the old man and the bus ride
Now that I’m older I can see he was right”

I do, in fact, do things my way. I have paid a high price, but the important thing is, the price was worth it.I wouldn’t be the person I am if I hadn’t paid that price. Now, I will admit that when I’m paying the price I don’t like it..but later, after some time to look back on things, I don’t regret paying it.

Monday Meandering.

So, in yesterday’s post I was blathering on about my desire to get back into my pre-Gulf Wars routines. I didn’t mention writing in this blog in yesterday’s post because, frankly, I had gotten out of the regular habit of doing so long before Gulf Wars. However, I really want to get back into the habit of posting here.

I think part of the reason I had fallen out of the habit of writing and posting here is due to the fact that I am not really sure what I want this Blog to be. I have an easier time stating what I don’t want it to be:

1. I don’t want it be nothing more than a collection of links to other sites.
2. I don’t want it to be mindless drivel, or, worse, ….
3. I don’t want it to be a rant Blog. I don’t want to be continually ranting about something here. Unfortunately, I can, and often do rant a lot. I am fairly good at it. I’m a cynical, sarcastic smart ass, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But I don’t want to be known for ONLY being a cynical, sarcastic smart ass.
4. Finally, I want this place to be more than a mere recounting of my day to day activities. For the most part I find my day to day activities to be quite boring, and I would guess that most people would find them to be equally boring.

Now, a lot of the blogs I read regularly are dedicated to a particular theme, or interest. So, I got to thinking about my main interests.  I read a lot of SCA  related blogs ( Or at least blogs written by a lot of people I know in the SCA). I also have begun reading a lot of jewelry related blogs as I have become more and more interested in learning to make different kinds of jewelry. I also read  a ton of blogs and websites relating to books, as I am and always have been an avid reader.

So, with all that in mind, I guess I’ll be writng about books, jewelry -or, more accurately, my attempt to learn to make jewelry, and the SCA. I’m not sure what Cormac’s Corner will end up being, but I look forward to finding out.

Don’t curse the darkness.

My friend Kat tagged me to come up with a quote for this week’s quote challenge, and since I never (well, almost never) turn down a challenge, I’ve spent the last hour or so thinking about the quote I’d use.

There are so many inspirational and thought provoking quotes to chose from that the task of picking just one is not as easy as I had thought it would be. Should I go with something philisophical? Would something from a song or movie be better? Should I delve into my library and come up with something from a book? Or, should I turn to the words of the few political leaders I have admired?

Well, it was easy to eliminate the words of politicians. There just are not that many I can honestly say I find to be inspirational. Songs and movies were somewhat harder to eliminate as sources. There are literally thousands of those to chose from ( Trust ,me, I keep a file of memorable quotes called Words of Power on my lap top and turn to it often).

In the end I chose a quote from a book; one that I find humorous and thought provoking at the same time.  I chose a quote that I find useful in several different settings. I chose one that  “speaks” to me, and sometimes I wonder what it says about me that I find this quote so powerful. With that introduction, I guess it’s time to reveal the quote;

“Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness” Terry Pratchet ( in Men at Arm )

I’ll write my thoughts on this later this week, and since I don ‘t know her, and therefore am interested in learning more about her, I tag the Original Sara to respond to this  quote

It doesn’t terrify me, I just don’t like it, usually.

You know, I’m constantly reminded that life happens even  when you are not paying attention. For example, I was not paying close attention last week when Kat put up the quote for the week’s quote challenge. I make no excuse for my tardiness in this matter. I simply resolve to pay more attention this week.

So, to the quote:

“Experience teaches us that silence terrifies people the most.” ~ Bob Dylan

Now, when I first read that, my initial thought was, “Bob, I do love your music, but after all the drugs you’ve pumped into your body, how can you remember anything you’ve been taught?”

But, that line of thought didn’t really address the quote, so I sat back, lit a cigarette, and thought about it some more.

The first thing I thought was that silence doesn’t terrify me, but I have to admit I don’t like it much. I can’t concentrate in a silent room. When I’m reading, writing, working on any kind of project at all, I need some kind of background sound. As I write this the television is running in the background. I’m not paying any attention to it, but it’s on. Later this evening when I’m assembling components for the Gleann Abhann chains I’m making, I’ll have Pandora Radio playing in the background.
When I try to work without that kind of auditory distraction I end up thinking more about the lack of sound than I do thinking about whatever I’m working on. I tend to get distracted more easily, and I actually spend less time working on the project at hand. However, if I turn on the television, or even better a radio, I can focus better. In fact, I can focus so well that often hours will fly by before I realize how much time has passed. This of course is a good thing, because during those times when I’m really focused I find that I get quite a lot progress made on whatever project I’m working on.
I don’t really know why this is. I think the background noise allows me to block out thoughts of everything but the specific project I’m working on. I know it doesn’t make any kind of logical sense, but it works, and you don’t mess with what works.

My second thought on the subject dealt with silence among people, or groups of people. Again, it doesn’t terrify me, but again, I don’t like it much. If I am in a group of people I’d much rather be talking with them than sitting in silence. I’d much rather be hearing their stories, or learning what their thoughts on a particular subject are and why they have those thoughts. I genuinely like most people (someday I’ll write about those few people I don’t like) and I like learning about people. Now, you can learn a lot about people simply by observing them, but you can learn so much more about people by talking to them.

My third thought went in a slightly different direction. There are times when it is good to be silent. When you are in a theater watching a movie, at Court during an SCA event, or a business meeting of your SCA group (or business meeting of any other organization you may belong to), or to be really broadminded, when other people are talking shut the hell up and listen to what they are saying. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to bite my tongue in the above situations to stop myself from saying something like, “Excuse me, I know you two are enjoying your private conversation, but I’m trying to listen what the King is saying ( or the Seneschal, or a character in a movie, etc) so would you kindly STFU, please?” OK, I admit it, I have done more or less exactly that on a couple of occasions, but not nearly as often as I have wanted to. This is not rocket science folks; when someone else is talking, you listen, you don’t talk at the same time.

So, those are my thoughts on Bob’s quote. I hate to disagree with the man, but my experience is that silence doesn’t terrify me, I just don’t like it much, except when it is time to be silent.

Easing back into it.

So, I’m going to try maintaining a regular blog again. As my friend Sarah states, Facebook doesn’t really lend itself to communicating anything more complicated than what you are doing right at that moment, and that just doesn’t really appeal to me

I have not been active with this blog since August, but don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you, or myself, with a recap of what I’ve been doing since my last post. Some stuff happened. Some of it was good, some was great, and some of the stuff that happened was not so great. There were some good SCA events, and, of course, the Holidays happened – and they were truly great.

Instead I’m going to focus on looking forward; thinking and writing about what is happening now, what I hope happens in the future.

That is all for the evening.  There will be more in the future.

Cormac

Just not feeling it tonight.

Sorry folks, I just don’t have anything to write about tonight. I haven’t felt up to par all day; took a sick day in fact. I’m sincerely hoping I feel better tomorrow. I can’t afford to take two days off work, and I need to be healthy by the weekend. There is no way in hell I’ll miss Kingdom A&S. I have people depending on me to be there.