February 2.0

February is already a short month and this one truly felt short. Between the weather and work I have been kept away from doing the outside things I need to get done. The few good days of weather I did accomplish some good stuffs – trees cut down and cut up. We still need to get them hauled over to the neighbors. It has rained for like the last 2 weeks. Rivers are jumping their banks; my drive way is washing out – which adds a new project for this spring/summer – get rock/gravel/fly ash for the driveway. When it wasn’t raining it was ass biting cold…I guess I should expect that for February.

I turned 42 this month. That’s a huge accomplishment since there were times when I didn’t think I would make it this far. Tomorrow I hit the 2-year mark on the job. That’s not that big of a deal for me (I worked like 14 years at a previous job), but it is a little different here – I am 4th in plant hourly seniority. There are only 3 others who have been here longer, as hourlies. There were some the management that were here for a year before they hired any hourlies. What this really means is vacation resets! Already got one weekend planned for vacay – Nephew graduates this May.

Ok, for so goal updates. These were my stated goals for February:

  1. Create/Develop a personal mission statement
  2. Read (at least) 30 minutes every day
  3. Write in my (private) Journal everyday
  4. Finalize the garden plans
  5. 8 blog posts

Here is how I did:

  1. I did not finish my personal mission statement. This is more involved than I first thought. I have a working draft, but it is not finalized. I will be working on this until it is done.
  2. I read at least 30 minutes 20/28 days.
    1. I finished started and finish one book – “The View” by Terry Unger.
    2. I continued reading the 7Habits book
    3. I started “Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager” by Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood
    4. I read a few different professional journal types that concerned my job – mostly updates on interpretation on regulations
  3. I did write some entries in my personal journal 18/28 days – though not all were substantive the goal and purpose was to form a habit and I am getting better at that.
  4. We have finalized the garden plans, but no actions have been taken at this point other than planning
  5. I made 4 (including this one) blog posts with a goal of 8. I’m good with this. I still wrote things this month
    1. I researched and wrote an essay on Thor for consideration to become a content writer for The Asatru Community website. This would be awesome to be selected as one of the content for this organization. I will post the essay as a blog post whether or not I am selected, but it will wait until I know for sure.
    2. I wrote some tech stuff for work that involved some research and time. Thinking about starting a second blog that would be centered on work stuff..

February was a short month, but I still got much accomplished. Not necessarily what was planned but needed none the less. I will post up a March outlook post in the next couple of days.

What is right with this world

There is so much wrong with the world. We see it every day. The past few days we have seen some the worst. Another school shooting. Kids killing kids. Does it get much worse than that? Our government…I don’t even know where to start or what to say about the politics today in our country. It seems that we are living in the end of days. Are we seeing the beginning of Fimbulwinter?

Then something right happens. I am reminded that there is still right in this world, I just must open my eyes and see it.

Tonight, it was just the second born and I for supper. The wife and oldest are at work, the daughter is at a sleep over/birthday party. The boy and I went to a little diner for supper. I had only been to this diner for breakfast and the boy had not eaten there before. They have good food – its comfort food for me. Not so much the food but the atmosphere. It reminds me of the diners I grew up knowing. The places where Grandma Max owned and worked, where my mom worked…where I worked. Not fancy, just simple food made well. A friendly waitress who knows the regulars and greets them by name and with a smile. The owner’s family having their evening meal together in the back corner where they are rolling silverware and filling salt shakers while eating. Regulars enjoying the company of other regulars. Friendly exchanges like “Wow those boys have grown so fast” “How is your mom?” “I saw your aunt/uncle/cousin yesterday” … All said with a genuine frith.

She came in with her two young boys. The older one with obvious signs of Downs Syndrome and the younger one barely of walking age. The older boy came in with a huge grin on his face. People greeting him by name. He makes eye contact with me. I smile. He smiles and waves. They take the booth behind the one my son and I are sitting in. She smiles, and the room is brighter. The two boys are well mannered but also quite active. She handles the two with a patience and smile. The love of her children was so easy to see that I almost cried. Truly Frigg was dining with us in that diner tonight. She caught me making faces with her youngest and her and I made eye contact. She smiled, and her eyes sparkled, and I knew that the world is ok, we are ok.

This is what is right in the world. We need to focus on the good. We can’t ignore the evil, but we must not dwell on the evil. Love, the love of a mother like Frigg has for Baldur, the love I saw in the young mother tonight, that is what we should dwell on. That is what we should, no must, seek out.

frigg

This is what is right in the world. We need to focus on the good. We can’t ignore the evil, but we must not dwell on the evil. Love, the love of a mother like Frigg has for Baldur, the love I saw in the young mother tonight, that is what we should dwell on. That is what we should, no must, seek out.

 

February

I am a little late in this post, but life happens. I hope that as this blog/public journal continues you, my readers, will see that I am a man who neither accepts excuses nor makes excuses. When I feel appropriate I will offer an explanation as to why I prioritized one task over another – noted that this may be seen as a type of excuse, which I guess is true enough.

One of the purposes I stated that my blog will serve is to be a way of being accountable for my goals. I will post my monthly goals, well, monthly. We are now seven days into February and I have not done this. It has been 7 days since my last post of any kind. I am aiming to post something twice a week, so I have stumbled on that goal already.

Currently, I work a 3rd shift job. I am a senior Refrigeration Operator at a chicken processing facility. Recently I was “promoted” to Process Safety Management (PSM) Coordinator. I was hired (2 years ago at the end of this month) for 1st shift but due to staffing issues I was needed on 3rd shift. The plant I work at is brand spanking new, we just started running in 2016. I was the first refrigeration operator hired. As one of three qualified senior operators (this just means that I am well experienced and trustworthy) I was tasked with developing shut down and start up procedures for our new plant. No one had done this here yet and it required someone with experience. Three experienced operators have taken four green rookies and built a working, though still growing and learning, refrigeration crew. I will soon be transferring my Senior position to another operator and moving into the role I was hired to fill originally. I was hired to fill the PSM role, but we knew that would be a secondary role until things were running and we were staffed with qualified operators. In the mean time we used a contractor for the PSM. However, the operator that will be the new 3rd shift senior operator is out on a medical leave. This leaves me and the other 3rd shift guy working seven days a week. I have been working my PSM job, while also performing the Senior operator duties – kind of like a shift lead. That leaves me with little time for things like blogging.

Since I have a meeting in the morning that will keep me at the plant until much later than I would leave I decided to go in an hour later and write this. I normally work 10pm to 7am, tomorrow I will be there until at least 10am.

Ok I have rambled on enough. February goals: (in no particular order)

  1. Create/Develop a personal mission statement

Habit #2 in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin with the End in Mind”. Mr. Covey recommends developing a personal mission state to help get and keep the important things in mind. The personal mission statement is a guide, a set of goals, it is the documented “Me” I want to be.

According to Mr. Covey, an effective goal focuses on the results rather than the activity. It identifies where you want to be and can show you where you are presently. It tells you how to get “there” and lets you know when you have arrived. It unifies your efforts and energy. An effective goal translates daily activity into a proactive being that enables you to fulfill your personal mission statement.

  1. Read (at least) 30 minutes every day

I have set the goal to read two books this month. One personal development (in addition to 7 Habits) or something of historical value – like a biography from one of the founding fathers. One spiritual development(ish); something about Heathenism. The more important goal here is to read everyday for at least 30 minutes.

  1. Write in my (private) Journal everyday

Here is where I do my deeper introspection, rant about things I don’t need to publish, maybe a little ego stoking or ego dampening (this is more likely) … Just a general journal to record my thoughts. I may share of this, most I won’t.

  1. Finalize the garden plans

This is our second season on our “Farmstead”. Last season we were just moving in, doing some remodeling and making this house our home. We didn’t plant anything last year. This year we will have a garden again. I need to get everything ready so that we can plant in time. This will mean building grow beds, turning the soil where we will be planting directly in the ground. It will also mean needing to finalize the decisions on what will be grown. It will also mean converting the old chicken coop into a nursery for our seedlings. The people before us had partitioned off a section of the shop and used that as a chicken coop. I will be using it as a garden shed/nursery.

We will also be building a new chicken coop and getting our chickens this year. I want to get the plans finalized for this project. The new chicken coop will also have a run/yard enclosed for the chickens. We have too many threats to let them free range, unfortunately.

  1. 8 blog posts

Keeping with the idea of 2 posts a week and 4 weeks this should be doable. I will probably utilize the daily prompt word.

Tuesday my neighbor and I brought down two trees in my yard – well we had a professional to get them. He had three or four trees on his property that were too big for us to bring down on our own and I had two that were to dangerous to bring down. One hickory was rotted on the lower part of the trunk and leaning towards my shop. If we tried to do it there was a strong chance of it landing on my shop. The other was an oak that had been struck by lightening a few years before I bought the land. That one was going to come down in three (or more) pieces and was too close to the house and power lines. So, over the next couple weeks we will be processing all 5 or 6 trees for fire wood for our other neighbor. They are in their 70s and not in great health. They have a wood furnace – pretty nifty set up. I may look into setting one up for my house. Maybe look at combining that with a radiant floor heat system… Anyway. We are going to stock them up with wood for next year. I will be keeping a little for my smoke house, but most will be going to the neighbor’s.

Daily Prompt: Dominant

via Daily Prompt: Dominan

While browsing blogs on WordPress, you know looking for ideas I could steal and make me look more clever, I found a post by The Daily Post. She does a daily prompt word and challenges (invites?) other bloggers to write a blog post on that word. This looks to be fun and interesting. The word today is “Dominant”.

The most important thing in my life, the dominant concern, is my family. My wife and three children. The dominant concern here is that I am doing it right. I’m sure most parents share my fear – am I doing it right…

This past November my wife and I celebrated 20 years of marriage, both of us still on our first. We have been together since 1995. We met in Japan (her native country) while I was stationed on the USS Independence (CV-62). Her friend was dating a friend of mine and thought I needed to find a good girl and stop being a “butterfly” that went from flower to flower. Now I would like to say it was love at first sight or some romantic bullshit like that…but it wasn’t. Another friend of mine was into her and I wasn’t going to fight my buddy over a woman (no matter how hot she was) I had just met. Long of the short – about a month later my ship was out on deployment and I got a letter. She asked me if I liked her and if I wanted to be her boyfriend…Yes, she regrets that letter now and then. She hooked me (I’m sure she was only after my money – because a junior enlisted Sailor rolls in cash).

Our children (20, 16, 11) are good kids. All do good in school, aren’t in trouble, don’t do drugs (as far as I know), basically I am proud of them. Sure, there are days that I have to sit down and remind myself of this when I am frustrated with having to tell them to do a chore…or take a shower. Seriously! The daughter (11) must be pretty much drug to the shower and forced to clean herself! This is a phase, right?

I think we are doing it right. Not perfectly, but adequately. This doesn’t mean that I will stop being afraid that I am screwing these kids up, but I don’t really need to be afraid of that.

Hospitality

Of the Nine Noble Virtues, Hospitality seems to be the one most in question right now in the US. Why would I say that? Well lets first define what Hospitality means, as related to the 9NV. Then we can discuss how it is relevant to the situation in the US.

The virtue of Hospitality is the idea that a Heathen does not tolerate nor practice self-centeredness. Hospitality means that I have the obligation to give those in my home a generous reception and to extend my hearth and frith to them. A Heathen provides our gifts and support to our ancestors, our wights and our gods. We do not accept any that would subjugate us. The Havamal tells us that once a man has enough he should not crave for more. A generous person is happier. (Havamal Verse 48)

In ancient times places of refuge from the elements were few for the traveler. There were not Inns every few miles. No Motel 6 keeping the lights on. When a traveler came upon a village or farmstead they asked for accommodation from the home owner. If that home owner extended that accommodation to the weary traveler – and most would because frith obligates one to be generous – they accepted responsibility for the safety of their guest. It was bad mojo indeed to let harm come to your guest. The guest had expectations also. The host would offer their best to the guest. The guest accepted this but did not ask for more than was offered. Often the gift of being hosted was repaid with news and good tales. The traveler brought information from outside the area to the host. The guest perhaps told stories of war and the gods and of their travels and the sights they had seen. The host offered warm, dry and clean clothes.  A warm bed was offered, food was served, and drink was drunk. The guest took his leave before he overstayed his welcome.

So how is this applicable to the US today? I bet you think I am going to make this about immigration, and I am, but not entirely. Think about what our country would look like if we all treated each other as if we are the host? If we were generous in our daily lives? Of course, each person should work and earn their way but why should we not also be generous in our abundance? I am not suggesting that we give to those who won’t do for themselves, far from that. If a person isn’t capable it is only right to help them, if we can. If they are old, we should honor them. Learn from their wisdom and make sure they are cared for, that they do not go hungry that their homes are kept up and warm. The old are an easy one to agree on taking care of. The young – the children – are also easy to agree on.

What of those of able body and minds? What if their best is not enough? They work hard and just aren’t making it happen, at least not yet? Students who will someday be the professionals, the high school graduate who is just starting a career, the young mother who was left by the male she thought was a man? I think we can agree that these are worth our investments. Let the lazy starve. Do not reward their choices. What if they have children? The children should be cared for, should be taught to break the cycle. Feed the children – give them food, buy them clothes, give them mentorship. Let them come work in your garden and learn to be industrious.

Should it matter where they are born? Should the side of some arbitrary line on a map change our obligation to be frithful, hospitable and generous? I think not. If they are industrious or incapable of caring for themselves, I say we have the same obligation. Should a child be removed from Disney World if their parents snuck them in without paying? I would not remove the child, I would seek restitution from the parents, but I would not punish that child. This is not a good business decision perhaps, but it seems to be the right thing for me. I would want to do my best to impress upon that child that this not the right way of getting what you want, that working for and earning your way is the best way, though rarely the easiest of ways.

Why?

I don’t make new year’s resolutions. Mostly because those always seem to be doomed to fail. Something in my psyche that just doesn’t mesh with this type of resolution. Probably the fact that most of the times that I made resolutions I was cramming some idea in before midnight. Some concept I thought I was supposed to have of who I should become. New year, new me! Bullshit. New year, same ole me but I wrote some list and now I have something to feel guilty about the whole year. I stopped doing this about 10 years ago. I replaced the resolutions with a list of goals…yeah, I know, semantics. Over the last 10 years I have accomplished maybe 3 of the 100(ish) goals I have set for myself for the new year.

In 2016 I began a new chapter in my life. We moved from Kansas to Arkansas. New job for me, great offer and opportunity that I couldn’t pass on. I loved my last job. I liked my co-workers and my boss was probably the best boss I have ever had. This job was worth the loss of that. In March of 2017 we closed on a piece of land – 5 acres with a nice (but small) house. I have wanted a small farmstead type of place for a while and I finally got what I wanted.

This lead me to realize that my sedentary lifestyle of procrastination would not get anything done around my little potential farmstead. Now, this was not a new realization this one just came with a little more motivation to actually take action. Along with this I began to see that I was becoming negative minded, complaining about situations at work – allowing my self to choose the victimhood mentality. This awakening prompted me to make changes. I pulled out some books I have had for a long time and began studying again.

You do not need the books to change your life. A decision and action are what you need. To decide that you will make changes and then do it. So, don’t think I am promoting a dependence on anything outside of myself for my growth and change. Charlie “tremendous” Jones’ famous quote applies here – “You will be the same person in 5 years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” I understand that I can make happen what I want without the books and spiritual growth – I don’t want to be the same person I am right now. I want to grow, intellectually and spiritually.

In December 2017 I decided to make a thought out, realistic, set of goals for 2018. I began with some tools: A custom planner, the book by Stephen R. Covey, and an attitude of getting it done. This blog is for accountability. If I publish this to the world I have to be accountable to everyone who reads this blog (hopefully someone reads it).

The list of goals for 2018 will expand – as one project is accomplished another one will be added. Projects will be added to the list whether one is done or not – that is the nature of living this lifestyle we are trying to accomplish: debt free and self-sustainable are the ultimate goals – but that is a 10-year plan. So here are the basic goals for 2018:

Create a project list when one project is accomplished replace it with another one – always have something that needs done and always be completing the projects

o   Break down the projects to schedule them each month/weekend

o   Add projects as they are presented

o   Prioritize the projects

  • Need
  • Saves money
  • Saves energy
  • Emergency use
  • Animal related (chicken coop)
  • Want
  • Anything that doesn’t meet the need criteria
  • Daily tasks

o   Read 30 minutes (or more)

  • Try for 3 non-fiction books a month
  • Something work related
  • Something spiritually related
  • Something in the self-development genre
  • Historical biography or history related
  • Philosophy oriented

o   Write in my journal

o   Work on a blog post

o   Exercise

  • Start in January
  • Push ups
  • Sit ups
  • Squats
  • Weekend (days off) tasks

o   Choose a project and complete it – or get as much done as I can in the days off.

  • Get some fishing/camping in this summer
  • By the end of the year

o   Build a chicken coop and get chickens

o   Insulate the house – seal up the drafts

o   Replace the heating system in our house

o   Get the generator set up

  • Shed for generator
  • Switch installed for switching to generator
  • Tie propane to the generator for longer use

o   Well house on solar power

o   Garden planted/set up

o   Build table for the wife

 

This list is not finished, and I will expand on it over the course of this year. I plan to combine some of the activities. For example, when we built the chicken coop I will write some blogs posts on that experience. I plan to use the blog to stay accountable to the plan and will write updates as things progress.

The Journey Begins

A wise person once told me that if I was going tell anyone else how to live to do so in a story. This person also told me that if I was going to tell a story include a lesson on life in the story. So, I guess I am going to tell you a story with a lesson on life. This does not mean that I consider myself an authority on life or that I have it all figured out. Trust that I do not know anything, really, I’m just stumbling through and occasionally pick up a bit of wisdom.

Stephen Covey, author of the best seller 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says that when you study something you should plan to teach what you learn as soon as you can. This is the what I am attempting to do. It should be known, up front, that most of my content will be stolen, borrowed, or otherwise appropriated from someone else and that very little will be original material. I just can’t reinvent the wheel. I will always give credit to the source I got the information from, when I can. It is likely my sources also stole the material.

Who am I and, more importantly, why do I feel I something worth sharing? I am just an average guy with an opinion, on just about everything. I will try to focus on just a few of those opinions but my mind tends to wonder. When left to wonder, my mind tends to get me into trouble.

My name is Mike, but I like to use the tag EliteTypeO, mostly because I think it is clever and I like to show off my cleverness. Typos are my specialty, so I say an elite typo-ist (that is more of that cleverness – making up words). Type O (negative) is the universal blood type that can be given to everyone while, yet can only accept its match and among the rarer types, (positive) is the most common blood type. This is a play on words (more cleverness) in that I see myself as both average and yet unique.

One of the themes of this blog will be centered on my religious beliefs. If you read this far a little more won’t hurt you…don’t be scared of that word; I am not going to get preachy on you. I am a polytheist. So that you don’t have to google that, it means I believe in a multitude of deities. I believe they all exist, and I have a relationship with several. Primarily, My focus is on the Northern European Traditions. There are many names used to describe this: Asatru, Odinism, Odinic, and Heathen to name a few. I tend to stay away from calling myself an Odinist or that my beliefs are Odinic. First, I am not dedicated to Odin exclusively. Second, these names have been abducted by racist groups who believe one must be of (traceable) European heritage (read white). I strive to live my life by a certain code that is based on the Nine Noble Virtues:

  1. Courage
  2. Honor
  3. Discipline
  4. Fidelity
  5. Hospitality
  6. Industriousness
  7. Perseverance
  8. Self-Reliance
  9. Truth

This is in no particular order and I am not going to define them here. There will be an offering, later, that will get into the specifics of these and my opinion of them. I would note that not all Heathens recognize these virtues, for various reasons.

A second focus I have will be based on my studies of the Stephen Covey book mentioned earlier, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I am a self-guided student of the book and in no way affiliated with Mr. Covey or his organization. If this changes – which I see no reason it would – I will be the first to tell you (hopefully).

My thought is to tie together the Nine Noble Virtues (aka 9NV) and the 7 Habits by telling a story of how I apply them (we have come back to that whole story/lesson thing). Some ways that I might demonstrate my application is through projects I do for my “Homestead”. I live on a small, rural, piece of Arkansas and I am striving to move more towards self-sufficiency. Not fully off grid, but being capable of going there if I need to.

There will be essays, there will be rants, there will probably be some pictures. There will be blood, cussing, sweating, and, occasionally, some popcorn eaten. Welcome to my life.