Saturday, February 28, 2009

Silent Saturday

[The whole clown family...]

It's a quiet kind of Saturday, that feels like Sunday. Or something. Maybe because yesterday was so busy. Or maybe I have crossed that line in my head between reality and fantasy. Who knows?

I spent a delightful hour online with my youngest grandson today, IM'ing nd playing checkers and pool and sharing photos. He's 12. He's a little angel of a boy and I adore him. He IM'd me saying, Nana-I'm bored! Some things never change. I told him if he was bored he should go clean his room. lol He laughed and said dad said you would say that. It was always my standard answer when my son was young...

That of course, sent me off into a reverie about life 35 years ago. This is a common playground for old people, isn't it? Reliving the past, remembering things from 3 decades ago, when an hour ago, I couldn't remember where I put my glasses 3 minutes before. Anyway, it got me thinking about how different the world was, and yet how much things haven't really changed. Boys are still boys, and the dogs still track mud into the living room. Basic human traits, good and bad, are still prevalent.

When my son was young, he had acres and acres to roam around and play on, and he wasn't ever considered missing in action, as long as he showed up to eat. lol He had a grand imagination and was an only child, but he grew up with a plethora of pets, everything from dogs and cats to raccoons and flying squirrels. He made pets of wild bunnies he would find whose mothers had been killed. He brought home baby birds that had fallen out of nests and more than once on laundry day, I would turn out the pockets of his overalls to find dead and dried up lizards and frogs and salamanders.

He would spend hours drawing and writing stories and playing all the parts himself. He started learning to play the guitar when he was about 12, and played the trumpet in school band. By 16, he was writing music and singing his heart out. In high school, at a parent teachers night, his art teacher told me he "wished he had a whole class full of kids" with Tom's talents. It was a very proud moment for me, albeit confusing. I had no idea where he had garnered all this inborn talent. lol

Here's a classic example of the kind of kid he was:
He learned how to tie his shoes at 3 years old. That Thanksgiving, we had all the family at our house, and I was working myself into a frenzy in the kitchen, when I hear all this laughter and oooh's and awwww's coming out of the living room. I stick my head in, to se every pair of shoes in our house, all lined up across the living room floor. He is methodically untying and retying every single one of them. Each time he finishes a shoe, he holds it up proudly and beams. And all the grandparents and aunts and uncles and greats and cousins, all give him a round of applause. It was a moment of glory and an introduction to idolatry that would haunt him as he unerringly looked for his audience for the rest of his life.

To this day (he will be 38 years old this July) he is the class clown, the center of attention, and one of the funniest people I know. I adore him as well. lol

He came to visit us in North Carolina. There is a river there that's called the French Broad River. He saw the sign, his eyes lit up, and he said: " Huh. That river? It used to be called the Mademoiselle River, but none of these southerners could pronounce it, so they changed it to the French Broad." Ba da bing.
That's my boy.

Okay--got to get to bed. Tomorrow is the Area Assembly, about 2 and a half hours south of here. We'll do our duties, and then on the way home stop by my brother that lives about 30 minutes from the Assembly. I'll get to see my niece and sister-in-law and their new baby Cockapoo. Have to get up at 5 so we can leave by 6:30. WooHoo!!
ROAD TRIP !!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, February 27, 2009

Fellowship on a Friday...

It as a lovely and bittersweet meeting tonight, to memorialize the passing of our fellow and friend, Raymond W. He struggled with this stuff for a long time. He finally had a couple of years under his belt, for the first time in the 20+ years he'd been coming around AA, and then he got drunk again around Christmas time. And then he couldn't get sober and stay that way again. He passed earlier this month from a goofy accident, falling in the bathtub and breaking his neck.

Adios, Amigo....

On a lighter note, we had 4 kittens born sometime late night/early morning today. There are 4 of the tiny helpless creatures and they are little beauties. Mama is in good spirits and seems to have survived the birthing process very well with no human aide or intervention. (Imagine that...)

The meeting tonight was a nice blend of people who have been in and out, like Ray was, and strangers who knew him a little, and the regulars who had various and assorted stories to tell about him and his generous heart and loving spirit. When I heard he had died, my honest first thought was "His fight is over." I haven't cried about his loss, really, but tonight as I shared I got a little choked up and teary eyed. I'm a better person for having known this kooky guy, and he taught me more about God in the scant 5 years I've known him than I have learned in the preceedng 50.

On the way home, hubby said...I sure get tired of having to attend the funerals and memorials of people in AA....I knew just what he meant.

I am emotionally drained tonight and will be off to bed in a minute. I am so very grateful for the alcoholics, drunk and sober, who walk through my life on a daily basis. And most especially the ones who leave their footprints on my soul. I am grateful to have been Grandma Annie tonight for my little 2 year old daughter of a sponsee, whose real grandma died just after Thanksgiving. I got to hold her on my lap and play and love her all up. It was good for both of us, I'm sure. I am grateful to have been able to see someone tonight who looked at me in amazement and said LOOK--I just found this card you gave me with your phone number on it over 4 years ago ! I was going to call you tonight... I'm trying so hard to get sober again....

I'm grateful to have an unending source of love and caring in my life today. I'm grateful for music and spring and unanswered prayers.

I'm especially blessed today, to be sober. And as long as I don't forget that, I will be okay.

Night all....I am bone tired.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tittilating Thursday

[My beloved Blue Ridge Mountains]

What is it with some of us? (And by some of us, I mean ME). That song comes to mind, old Joni Mitchell, ..."Don't it always seem to go--that you don't know what you've got til it's gone..." I was thinking about how I couldn't wait to leave North Carolina. And now I look at pictures like this one, taken when my oldest grandson came to stay for 2 weeks one sumer, and I miss it like crazy. We did all kinds of totally cool stuff, and he had so much fun. We went gold panning, and we hiked in the mountains, we went to the Carl Sandburg house and we went bowling. lol He and I went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, up by Sliding Rock, and after a day of playing in the water and sliding down the slick rocks over and over, he took pictures and I let him come home and download everything and we made him a big picture album just before we left to bring him back home. Sigh...

The women's meeting had 3 newcomers again tonight. We read A Vision For You out of the Big Book and discussed the differences between now and then. And discussed the similarities, the jumping off place and the Four Horsemen. It was a good meeting and once again, I came away especially glad to be me and to be sober.

Tomorrow we have a memorial service to go to for our friend that died earlier in the month. We're having a lasagna dinner, a service and then a meeting. Then I have to be back up and ready to chair the Eye Openers meeting at 10 the next morning. It'll be good...

We had some hellacious thunderstorms move thgrough here tonight. Torrential rains that were so bad I drove 20 mph with my flashers on for about 2/3 of the way home from the meeting. Couldn't even see the lines on the road. And it was lightning like crazy...coming into Bunker Hill (last leg of the journey) the smell of sulphur in the air was thick.

I am making the salad for the dinner tomorrow, and will have to go to the store in the morning to get the goodies for it. I'll make a really big one with all kinds of stuff in it. I was gonna stop at the store tonight on the way home (and get gas too) but it was raining so hard I decided to wait until morning.

I am tired and stayed up watching tv longer than usual. Time to get some sleep...


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wowsa Wednesday

I experienced a wonderful moment today in a meeting at noon...there were more women there than men!! LOL...and out of 6 women there, I sponsor 4 of them. It was one of those moments that happen to you that pull you back to the earth and ground you in gratitude. These women range in sobriety from 2 months to 15 years. They teach me so much on a daily basis and help me see the world around me with new eyes every moment. I could probably point out the time that each and every one of them came into my life on that Divine schedule.
I moved here 4 years ago and knew no one in the recovery world except my son. He introduced me to his sponsor. That was it. When we actually made the move here from Asheville, NC , I remember thinking that maybe I needed a break from AA. I wasn't going to stop going to meetings completely...I was just gonna slow down and take it easy. Not get so involved. Lay low. I lived (sober) in NC for 10 years. There towards the end, I was feeling nibbled to death by ducks. I sponsored a lot of women, did a lot of stuff. I was tired. I was burned out. I just wanted a little ME time. God had different plans for me, I guess. (What's that old saying?? "Man makes plans and God laughs." )

After the first few meetings I went to here, I kept hearing women say, oh-we don't have a lot of women here with any long term sobriety! Oh, we're so glad you're here! Oh,Oh,Oh!! I ducked my head and went home. Back out to the country, where it takes me a minimum of 25 minutes to get to a meeting. Seemed safe enough. LOL
Fast forward a year, and my phone rings constantly. I am the GSR for my new home group. I am involved in the new CSO that's being organized. I am speaking all over the place. And being the total and complete EGOMANIAC that I am, I am eating this stuff up. I am having luncheons for groups of women at my house. I am having dinners and game nights and just in general running right back into what I left behind when I moved. I only say all this to give you a snapshot of just how little I understand about boundaries and slowing down. lol
Fast forward another year. I am backing up a little and life is more balanced. I still do things, just not so much. It's enough though, to keep me connected and sober and relatively happy.
Now I'm looking back over this past year, and I can see the writing on the wall. We (the local recovery community) have had our share of tragedies this past year. We have gone through growing pains. In my own life, I can see mirrored the highs and lows and the growing and most especially the love. I can understand better than ever before that I have to take care of myself. I have to keep the quality of my sobriety and my spirituality and my physical being at peak levels. If I don't, I will not be useful to God or my fellows. So...sometimes I don't answer my phone, letting it go to voice mail. Sometimes I say No to requests. Sometimes I just go out and sit in the backyard and recharge my batteries. And I pray and I meditate and I care, care, care about the people in my life.

And I care about me, too. I am a gift, a tool. This is a quantum leap from the woman who walked through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1990. That woman was broken and hopeless and useless. The love in here brought me around again, gave me a second chance at life again. These 12 simple steps changed me forever. They changed the way I see myself, they changed the way I see you. You told me I had to give back what was so freely given to me. They changed the way I see the events in my life. And that is the biggest gift of all...I do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it. I am who I am, and would not be if it weren't for all the amazing things that have come down the pike.

I am a survivor. I am a teacher. I am an artist. I am a cook. I am a sister. I am a mother. I am an aunt. I am a friend. I am a grandmother. I am a person who thinks before she speaks (mostly). I am you. And I am me.

And I am gloriously and unabashedly SOBER.

Wow. That's a lot of blessings and gratitude.

Monday, February 23, 2009

MoJo Monday

[It's been quite a journey...]

A day that felt like my Mojo was workin'... when everything happened in order and in a timely manner. Nothing was FUBAR. I saw at least 10 bluebirds in my yard today. (Bluebirds are always a good sign). The meanest rooster in the world did not beat me to the door today. The phone rang just enough today, but not too much. I experienced several little glimpses of HOPE through the eyes of others. I got to be of service to my fellows, a steward in my marriage, a caretaker of my home, and a friend. And a big sister. I got to be a mother and I got to be a wife. I got the chance to look in the mirror and want to be me instead of somebody else. I got to talk to a 2 year old who said "I wuv you, Ahnie". I got to watch a puppy who a month ago couldn't walk, race around the yards and house 3 times without stopping, in absolute ecstacy. I got to live in today, and even in the moment a few times.

How blessed am I ??

I made a big pot of vegetable soup, some for the freezer and some to eat. Almost exclusively made with items from my own garden. It is wonderful and nutritional and comforting. That's why I like soup. The old 1-2-3 punch.

I got an appointment with my tax woman for tomorrow at 3:30. That means I get to go to a nooner AND get my taxes done before March 28th.
Yea, ME. I had to get copies of 2 sets of W2s sent to me because I lost them, and the second one arrived today. So now we can see what the damage is.

My friend that had the sailing accident is bumped and bruised, but not broken. I am extrememly grateful. I will see his smiling face in June and may just kiss it to pieces.

I sit here thinking about the blessings in this life that I probably don't deserve. I look into the horizon and think about what I can possibly do each day to even the score a bit more. I love to consider the possibilities...what's the old saying..."Yesterday's history and tomorrow's a mystery..." One Day At A Time is sure a marvelous way to live on this planet.

Thanks for letting me in on the secret....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stunning Sunday

A stellar day all round....Sean Penn took home the Oscar for his portrayal of Harvey Milk. Slumdog Millionaire took away the most awards. And the gorgeous and talented Kate Winslet won Best Actress for The Reader.

Annie Kelley had a most relaxing and easy going day. lol

The neighbor dogs that we are caring for are getting very impatient fo9r their mom and dad to get home. They arrive on Tuesday, so it won't be much longer. We play with them and pet them when we're there to feed them, and even go over a little extra just to love them up a little. But you can tell they're missing them. The longest we've been away from ours is a week. And that is hard. We have cats and dogs and chickens that need feeding daily. And I miss my pets a lot when we go away.

A dear friend of mine was injured in a sailing accident this morning down in Key West. He was rescued by a passerby and the Coast Guard was called. He will be okay, but it was a scare. He had other plans for this week that he is having to cancel, which is terribly disappointing for him. I am just glad he's okay....

Life is precious and a fragile gift. Blessings flow through us and gratitude speaks volumes. I hope that I never forget these things.

It's time for some much needed rest, and I am going to bed grateful for the people I love. Grateful for the people I don't. Grateful for every life lesson that comes down the pike.

Elegant blessings, flowing through me like a fountain. Changing my life and touching the lives of those around me. A great arc of energy and love that showers all who pass close by. This is what I hope for, anyway. Like the rings emanting from the pebble skipped across the water, ever widening the circles of my life.

Sweet dreams...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Simply Saturday

[ Muffin...the mama-to-be that took up residence in our garage]

Husband and I watched a movie tonight...a documentary, I guess, called Young at Heart, which is the group's name. It's about a choir of elderly people who live in North Hampton, Massachusetts. They sing and perform all over the world now. The oldest one was 96 and the youngest was a mere 70. If you can find it, I highly recommend it. It was the most moving and heartwarming thing I have seen in a long time. They sing everything from punk to hip hop to jazz to folk. It was a hoot watching them sing Purple Haze.... they perform in halls and in jails and in nursing homes I guess. It had me laughing hysterically one minute and tears running down my cheeks the next.

Then we watched the other movie he brought home...wait for it...Mummy III--oh god--will it ever stop ????? It was actually quite fun, though the new actress is no Rachel Weiss...but she did okay.

I have 2 cats with the sniffles and sneezes. One puppy that chewed up a stick in the living room like a beaver. A bird that has started whistling for the dogs every time things quiet down. 2 dogs that are totally uninterested in anything puppy has to say, no matter how insistently and loud she has to say it. And a new stray pregnant kitty. Well, kinda new. This is a crazy house.

I woke up this morning to an outdoors covered in snow. It wasn't much, just enough to make everything look so pretty. Just enough to make the dogs paws good and wet so they could come back in and track up the hardwood floors I just mopped yesterday. sigh...Not to mention hubby's boots. I have had to sweep the floors twice today to pick up the big chunks of mud. It's no wonder my house is just clean enough to keep the health department from shutting me down. lol

I am getting revved up about the upcoming gathering of friends of BillW this summer at my house. Anyone from 'round these parts that's interested in coming, please send me your email and I'll send you the official up-to-date-information Evite. We have these every year and we always have a ball. It's so cool to meet friends from forums and blogs face to face. There has not ever been one weird thing happen, which seems to be the worry of some folks. Not ever, in 7 years. I think my email addy is somewhere on this blog, isn't it?? lol

I'm feeling all contented and happy and sober and warm (27 degrees here). This is all I ever wanted when I was out there all those years ago. Looking at the blessings in my life doesn't demand any kind of long distance stuff these days. It's all right here, right in front of me. Family, friends, and that "attitude of gratitude" that you guys give me on a daily basis. What does she say in "Freedom From Bondage" ??

" The great experience that released me from the bondage of hatred and replaced it with love is really just an affirmation of the truth I know: I get everything I need in Alcoholics Anonymous-everything I need I get- and when I get what I need I invariably find that it was just what I wanted all the time."

So, the blessings just keep on coming, as long as I stay sober.

God's got a DEAL for drunks that don't drink....


Friday, February 20, 2009

Fascinating Fridays

It's a good day when you haven't had to use booze as your core solution to all your problems. I am one of those people who, in the past, would do anything to change the way I felt, because I was never okay. I would pour copious amounts of booze into this hole in my face, take any and every drug imaginable, move, sleep my way across the country, shave my name it and I have done it. And mostly it would work for a little while. But in the end I always wound up back at ground zero...wondering how I was going to make it through my life.

And then the earth opened up and I was swallowed whole by my disease. The bottom fell out. I hit the wall. I was face down in the dirt, and I was in that horrible place where nothing worked anymore and nothing made me feel better. I couldn't stop using drugs and alcohol and I couldn't keep on using them either.

And that was when my Creator sent a guy into my life that helped me shift the paradigm. If it wasn't for him, heaven only knows where I would be today, or IF I would be today. (My mother died of this disease when she was 1 year younger than I am today). Anyway, I have a shrine in my heart for this guy that saved me. And he knows he saved me, or helped save me, because when I was 2 years sober, I wrote him a letter thanking him for the part he played. His name was Officer Reynolds, and he worked for the California Highway Patrol. He's the guy that arrested me and then broke a bunch of rules, like not handcuffing me and letting me ride in the front seat with him down to the police station. He sat with me in the holding cell while I waited for them to come and fingerprint me. He talked to me about this organization called AA and that they helped a lot of people like me. He told me that since this was my first offense, the judge would probably make me go to some meetings and pay a big fine. He told me that I could be okay, and that I could find a way to live without having to be drunk all the time.

I don't know what got me to thinking about Officer Reynolds today. I don't know why I got one of the nicer cops that night. I was a sloppy , stupid, obnoxious drunk. There's more to this story, but it's enough to know that I have never forgotten him or his face or his name in over 20 years.

I was thinking about how blessed I am to be sober today. To have a relationship with my Higher Power. To have friends that I can call when I am experiencing that dark night of the soul. To have a place to go where people know me and help me in ways I would never have imagined.

The Elegant Blessings of a sober productive life...full to the brim with love and self respect and compassion. It doesn't get any better than this....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday...Thor's day?

Oh lordy. I am getting silly with this day thing. Or am I ? *giggle

I had the nicest day today. I am especially grateful for days like this, you know, that fit the bill of the little mantra on the front of my computer:

Nowhere to go

No one to be

Nothing to do.

I made a lovely chicken and rice casserole for supper with some of my home canned green beans on the side, all luscious with onions and garlic and fresh ground black pepper. And I swept some floors. And did a little dishes. Other than that, I just read and was on the computer and took a short walk with Miss Lucy the lab mix. It was nirvana.

Thursday is the women's meeting I attend as well. Tonight it was great as we had 4 newcomers, 3 of whom have had some AA here and there and one was sober almost 8 months before going out to test the waters once again. It was heaven! So for the topic we talked about the first step and read from More about Alcoholism. One had a sponsor before she left and the other wo said they'll be back and where were good meetings the rest of the week? We armed them with Where and When's with all our phone numbers on them, and sent them on their way.

I love fresh meat. :0

I am blessed to watch the hand of AA reaching out over and over again.

I am grateful that it's not always me at the end of that hand. lol

I have to find a speaker for the our monthly potluck in March and I'm having a hard time thinking of who to ask. I'm grateful there's really a large pool of possible suspects.

I blessed to have so many friends, that AA has taught me how to be a friend and a good wife and mother. I'm especially grateful to know that what that little weirdo who grabbed me on my way into my first meeting told me is true: I never have to drink again, if I don't want to.

I'm going to bed...the Sandman is beckoning....


A Wed-nes-day in Feb-ru-ary

[Beautiful brown ex-large eggs from my Rhode Island Reds]

What a bunch of weird words we have in this fractured and bastardized version of the Queen's English!! lol I do know that Wednesday is a form of Woden's Day from the olde calendar. Still...

It was a busy and productive day today. Had an impromptu meeting with the scorned young (ish) man who started out by screaming at me. I looked at him and said "Excuse me, but I wouldn't scream at ME if I were YOU. It won't get you anywhere." He looked at me shocked. And then yelled, "I'M NOT SCREAMING AT YOU!!!" A guy walked by and said, uh-yea, dude--you are. lol

I saw my poor bone cruncher who is making slow but sure progress on my twisted frame. He just shakes his head sadly and says "I'll see you next week, my little challenge."

I got 2 new tires for my car, and will get the other 2 in a couple of weeks. They are too pricey for me to lay out the money all at once right now. I went to my Indian guy, and he was only able to save me about 40 bucks over what the dealership said. (It occurs to me that I ignorantly said he was Pakistani, which he is not, and which is also a bone of contention with Indians.) At any rate, I cannot believe how much better the car rides with 2 new tires on the front and the better 2 of the 4 old ones on the back. 2/3 of the shaking and shimmying is gone.

It is colder than heck here tonight with a single digit wind chill. Hope it warms up some tomorrow.

I was thinking about how blessed we are in so many ways. I am being constantly updated by friends from Australia on the horrific wildfires and heat wave down there. I have said prayers 'round and 'round for the east side of the continent. It is tragic. I shouldn't complain about some cold...I'm thinking these are opportunities to embrace the fact that I have plenty of long johns and heat in my house. I was thinking, as I watched a young couple in the tire place, begging him to find them at least one used tire, becasue the steel belt was showing on their little car and they could not afford more than 45 dollars for that tire. The girl was biting her lip about to cry, as she jiggled a baby on her hip. The baby was fussy, and they were all thin. I'm blessed to have the money to buy at least 2 tires when I need them and know that I can get the other 2 next month. I'm blessed to have enough food in my pantry that I can share with a friend who is going through a hard time. I told her to come with a bag and we'll stock her little pantry a ways. I have food in my freezer and I have canned goods (both home canned and store bought) and I have rice and beans and oatmeal and more than enough to keep from starving. I keep thinking that I need to start canning some meats, like chicken and pork, just to have some jars of canned stuff on the shelf that doesn't need refrigerating. The next time I find a great sale on chicken, I think I'll start with that. The local stores often have the 10 # bags of leg and thigh quarters for as lowq as 49 cents a pound. It's all dark meat, but that's okay with me--it's the most flavorful anyway! And that canned chicken could be used for pot pies, for soups, for chicken and dumplings, chicken name it. Same with the cooked pork. I find pork roasts for very reasonable prices and use it for Carnitas, burritos, and any number of Jamaican stews. It would be very convenient to have some already cooked on the shelf. And both of those, because they are pressure canned, would be very tender and flavorful. I should get on that. *wink

Well, I am blessed. And I am grateful. And grattiude is a gift I choose every day. Try it. You might be amazed before you are halfway through....


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Twoderful Tuesday

[ Home sweet Home....]

Oh, what a day it's been. Got lots of house keeping stuff done and laundry and all sorts of minor and meaningful chores. And a couple of (ahem) interesting phone calls.

There's a guy here locally who is a chronic relapser, just moved to the area. He has a cousin here. Anyway, this guy's been hitting on and using up all kinds of newcomers. He charms 'em and manipulates his way into their homes and their cars and their drawers. He's been here about 4 months, I think and he's relapsed twice. (I know, it's shocking). Anyway, I had just told one of my sponsees who was getting drawn into his web to "Be Careful" when she confided one day that she was driving him places, and he calls her cell or texts her constantly. I explained to her that my observation of his behavior was the same as that of his cousin, who is long time sober and has a nasty habit of hanging out with all these young girl newcomers in the program. It's disturbing to me and when I first moved here it made me crazy. I said, he's developing his "harem" and it will take you down. (He had already been in the home of one of my sponsees who was sober long enough to know better...she couldn't hardly get him out once the bloom was off the rose.) I have been working with her since she firat got sober. I really do not want to see her drunk.

To make a long story short, the roomie of my sponsee was one of the other girls he called several times a day. He called her to say goodnight, and actually said the words "You're the last one of my harem I'm calling for the night..." Well, you can imagine the rest. My sponsee calls me, all hysterical and saying oh, my god--you were so right , blah blah blah...and her roomie calls her sponsor (who is one of my sponsees) and the gist of it is, SHE goes to a meeting and confronts him about his behavior and now ther sparks are flying. I'm LMAO...nobody seems to think it's as funny as I do. Anyway, tonight after she got off work, mine calls and says he's been texting her all night, he called her at work and was screaming at her...he hates me and he hates the other and he hates another (all sponsors of these girls)...and how he talked to his sponsor , who (he says) told him, "don't worry, you did nothing wrong, you're just paying for THEIR problems"...and oh-my-gawd. The confronter says all she said to him was very casually "So..I understand you think you have a harem?" This boy has his panties all in a wad...and is screaming at anyone who'll listen apparently. Amazingly enough...he has not called ME. LOL

OH...dear. The fun just keeps on coming...

I'm grateful tonight for oldtimers who were very clear about a few inportant things when I first got sober.

I'm grateful to not be 25 or 30 years old anymore.

I'm grateful to have babies who sometimes listen.

I'm so very grateful that my self esteem isn't contingent on anyone else today.

I'm blessed that I got to survive my own early sobriety long enough to actually get this way.

I'm really blessed to have a sense of humour. I'm meeting my sponsee (the confronter) at a noon meeting tomorrow where this guy will probably be. I can't wait...

I'm grateful to have this blog where I can put things out there and have a look at them from a bit of a different perspective.

Nighty night.


Manic Monday

(Dueling rocking chairs-a must for every homestead!) Click to enlarge

It was a day full. And I mean FULL. lol This is part of the problem...when you live where I do and you try to only go to town a couple of times a week, you have to jam a lot of stuff into that one day. Sometimes it's a little...well... frenetic. And Monday was one of those days.

But, it's done and I'm home and ensconced in my little world once again. We are feeding the neighbor dogs, and they get fed morning and evening, usually around 8 and's not a chore, really, they are sweet dogs and I have the best neighbors in the Universe. But I had to finish up the crazy- packed day and then pick up husband from his 10 hour shift and then come home, feed the dogs, make dinner (actually it was only leftovers tonight, so I got lucky, lol, though I did still make a salad.) and then clean up after dinner and then hit the computer after a little tv with himself.

I love my life. It's full and it's contented and it has it's share of satisfaction-on a lot of levels. I am blessed to be me, and to be happy with that today. 'Twasn't always the case.

I am especially blessed today. In addition to all the things and blessings and people that bless my life, I have the awareness to know that I can go back to that misery any time if I'm not vigilant. Today was a memorial service for another one of us. The verdict is in and his blood alcohol was through the roof. I just hope he died quickly. A broken neck can't be a good way to go, although I'm sure it beats a few other alternatives I can think of offhand.

Time for sleep. I can barely see. I was up at 5 AM and it's been a looooooooong haul today.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


These are the long stemmed roses and Asiaztic lilies my hubby gave me for VD....) (And the Dove chocolate and beautiful card.)


Well, the weekend is finished and so am I. lol I am so tired tonight after a day of service and meetings and just good old sober fun stuff.

Have so much catching to do reading that I cannot even begin to start it until tomorrow or the next day. My internet connection has been iffy and spotty all weekend. It kept freezing up and I'd finally either get so frustrated I'd just turn off the computer, or it would throw everything I had written out into the netherworlds.

But it seems better tonight.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all. Hope everyone's was as good as ((Pammie's))).. * snork!

I'm off to bed. I promise to catch this stuff up soon!!!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

12th, Thursday. February


It's said that You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. My BFF Dorothy Parker said "You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think." I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I opened the women's meeting tonight and only one woman came. It was apparently exactly the right woman. We sat and talked and laughed for an hour. Then we closed up and went home. We both have double digit sobriety and back problems. lol All you need for a meeting is 2 drunks and a coffeepot.

I have a Maxine cartoon on the wall by my computer. It says "Now that I'm older, I thought it was great that I seemed to have more patience. Turns out I just don't give a shit." Somedays, that sums it up.

I don't get all panicky and excited about stuff anymore. The tides of life ebb and flow and my reactions just wear me out. I am reminded of "What goes up must come down." If I just hang on and wait, things generally right themselves. And it's not my doing.

I'm sure grateful to be sober. And content. And planning my gardens for this spring.

I'm sure blessed to have so much stuff in my pantries that I need to inventory them and straighten things up so I know what I have.

I'm grateful, today, to be a woman who's "out there" enough to be able to do some good in the world, even if it's only a tiny bit.

I'm grateful to be who I am. That's a big jump for me.

I'm glad to be going to bed early tonight. Like right now.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday's Tuesday

[Need a ride? Seamus the wonder dog...] click to enlarge


Watched Stump the Sussex Spaniel win Best of Show at the 133rd Westminster Dog Show tonight. It was pretty cool, he is 10 years old and the oldest dog to ever win. Pretty neat...

I am heading for the bedroom, have to get up early (5) and take hubby to work so I can keep the car for the chiro appt. I'm getting acupuncture tomorrow too. It's almost midnight already...sigh...time seems to fly when I am sitting in front of this computer. Why is that ??

Had a great day with my critters and am ever blessed by their unconditional love. I used to know a guy who always said "Everything I know about LOVE I learned from my dog." I get it, now. lol

Memorial service for my friend Ray has been set up for next Monday. I hate these things, they stir up all kinds of emotions in me and feelings of loss. I have had a lot of loss in my life. Maybe this is the Universe's way of giving me a chance to work it all out. One more of those life on life's terms things that I'd just as soon do without.

I have a gratitude list a mile long tonight. Suffice it to say that I am grateful to be sober and to be happy, joyous and free most of the time.

I'm meeting the Sandman....


Tuesday's Monday...

[The long road home....]

Just could not manage to post last night, even though (as you can imagine) I had a lot to say. LOL

It was a day of mixed emotions, as one of our members was found dead in his apartment. Fully clothed, in the bathtub. Neck broken, from a fall apparently. This guy was one of the beloved "characters" around here. Came around the rooms for years and could never get this thing. Finally got dry and stayed that way for almost 3 years, when he relapsed once again at Christmas time. That was his one chance, I guess. He could never get sober again. He had just come out of a VA rehab and was drunk again within hours. I hope he didn't suffer...he lived alone and I don't know how long it was before someone found him. On the other hand, the fight is over for him. RIP.

I am blessed that I knew this guy, in his better moments he was a shining example of how anyone can get sober if they just don't quit trying. He was also a shining example of what happens when we think we can try it one more time.

I am blessed that I had my last drink in June of 1990 and have not found it necessary to do any more research into the deadly game of alcoholism so far.

I am blessed to be a part of something bigger than me, that gives me hope.

We had a wet drunk in the meeting yesterday, and I got one more bird's eye view of ME when I first darkened the doors of AA.

Full of gratitude from a preview of life in the drunk lane...and the knowledge that I don't ever have to drink again if I don't want to. So, I have to keep doing the simple things that keep making me not wa nt to.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Simply Sunday again

{Miss Lucy...the day she ate a bumblebee and her head swelled up like a big melon.} There's never a dull moment at the Kelley Zoo...


I am tired tonight and need to be in bed, so I am stopping in for just a sec and reiterating how grateful I am to be sober and loved and contented.

I had a brush with R.I.D. yesterday, asnd I didn't like it at all. lol I used to LIVE there.

I have to be up at 5 AM to see the inlaws off and then to take hubby to work. I didn't get but 4 hours sleep last night and have been tired all day.

Life is good in this slow lane....and I am blessed.

Sweetest of dreams, all....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Swamp

[A young Leonardo de Catrio-LOOK at those eyes!! No wonder he's a star!]

It's been a long day of getting ready for company and they arrived safely and everyone is now firmly ensconced in their beds. I'm the only one awake. We had a nice dinner of pot roast with carrots and onions and potatoes and gravy. I even got the peach cobbler made, but we didn't eat any. Everyone was too full. lol

I feeling really grateful for the blogging recovery community tonight. This is always a bright spot in the day for me, settling back in my chair to read the blogs that I read and seeing what's up with youse guys at the end of the day. I always get a laugh and sometimes a tear, but always a sense that I have had ever since I first darkened the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous, that sense that I never have to be alone again. That I can reach out a hand, or a word in a blog, and immediately be in touch with someone who I have let get to know me, even just a little. It's the most comforting place to be, if you ask me, because at the end of my drinking I was isolated and alone and carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Not so today.

My inlaws and I were talking and I was telling them how I start many days a the computer chatting with a friend of mine from Australia. I'm getting going and she's winding down. I was telling them about the plans for the upcoming 3rdAnnual Gathering on the Prairie, and how people have rsvp'd already from about 10 different states. And how I can't wait. They were not too surprised about it, as my sister-in-law came last year for the first time and met lots of these friends of mine, and she couldn't stop talking about how much fun she had. And to think that I have found all these people inside this little black and silver box that sits on my desk! LOL And that I am finding more all the time. It's a miracle, that's all.

I'm feeling really grateful because today a friend of mne was in an accident on his motorcycle on the way to a meeting, and although his bike was trashed, he only hurt his leg, and is going to make a full recovery.
I'm feeling really grateful because some friends of mine that appeared to be heading toward divorce have reconciled, and it looks like their home is not going to be torn apart. Which is especially good for their 8 year old.
I'm feeling especially blessed that (so far) we have had a very nice visit with hubby's parents, and there was only one time I had to turn my back and pretend to be obsessed with pie crust, and it passed quickly. lol
Thank you, all of you, for sharing your lives with me and allowing me to visit this act of writing and all the wonderment that goes with it.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday's follywoggles

[The Mother Jones Memorial and miner cemetary at Mt Olive, IL: She was a union organizer and hell raiser. And my role model]

Okay, so I'm making up words. Follywoggle. (I like the way it rolls off my tongue.) So sue me. LOL Kurt Vonnegut did it all the time. What's he got that I don't??--Besides a 3 pack a day habit? lol I remember when I "discovered" Kurt Vonnegut in high school, and thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. Well, I mean, he WAS. I loved his books and his crazy ideas and the fact that he was shocked that the book companies kept wanting to publish him in science fiction genres. And right up until the end of his life he was an activist and outspoken on politics and war. I miss him.
There are lots of people who have gone before me and taught me much. There are those who have taught what I should do and there are those who have taught me what I shouldn't do. Either way, it's always about the lesson and the learning curve. I had a fortune cookie once that said "There ar eno failures, only lessons." I like that. When you take away the emotions, the attachments, the biased concepts of good and bad...what's left? Somewhere I heard that "Evil is just God's love seen through a filter of fear." I think the point was that God's love is all around us and if God is everything then what's left? I am reading a book right now called "The Shack" . My neighbor loaned it to me to read, it's a book for her church book club. So far it has put forth some interesting concepts, and I can't wait to finish it. The protagonist has just encountered God, and it's a big black woman who spends (so far) most of her time cooking. My neighbor attends a United Church of Christ and the pastor is a woman. I don't know what that has to do with anything, but it popped into my head. lol
I am off to bed early(sort of) and have a big day ahead tomorrow. So, I shall take my leave and salute the Light within you!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thoughtful Thursdays

[Molly McGee, the Jack Russell Terrorist extraordinaire!]

Well, home from the speaker meeting and it was a good one. The speaker had about 26 years and was delightful. We had a medium sized group, and they devoured the desserts. I did manage to bring home some of the old fashioned oatmeal cake I made..everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. It's one of those poor people cakes. lol On a brown recipe card with fading ink that I've been carrying around with me since I was 18. (HOLY CRAP!!!! Do THAT math....)

For some reason tonight, I'm thinking about the blessings that are a result of NOT getting what we want. About the way sometimes things come to us in such a roundabout fashion that we could easily miss them if we're not careful. It pays to practice mindfulness...

I taking part in a thing called 365 days of grace in small things...every day you post at least 5 things that you are grateful for in your life. Lots of folks are doing it, and it's really a good exercise in paying attention to the small stuff. It's easy to be grateful for the big ion-your-face stuff...but we forget about the grace of the smell of our baby's scalp, or the feel of the sun on our face, or any number of tiny seemingly inconsequential things. For wasn't until after I experienced my Ubiquitous Event and couldn't sit on hard surfaces anymore, that I really appreciated being able to sit in the grass. Or in the beginning when I could barely walk, did I have a new appreciation for walks in the woods that I used to take with my husband. Or riding in the car on long trips. Or feeling at ease anywhere I was. Or not worrying about where I would be or what I could or could not do, whether I could keep up. Whether I would fall. Things that never crossed my mind before.

Today, things are more precious to me. Because I have found the sacred in almost everything, I am a better steward. Because I have glimpsed the fragility of life, I am more caring and care-full. I wouldn't be who I am today, if things hadn't been set in motion that changed my life. It gives me a new perception in life.

A Course in Miracles says that a miracle is a "shift in perception". Undoubtably, I have experienced a miracle in my own life.

And so it is...


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wicked Good Wednesday

Wicked the French Quarter in old New Orleans !!

I love days of blue skies and cold crisp air. Especially when I can mostly watch it from inside my house. Even the snow out there is a dazzling white hot white. It's now frozen hard and crunchy and the pup doesn't even leave a mark as she skates across it.

I cooked and I cleaned and I entertained an old acquaintance today. I did not get the baking done for the potluck tomorrow, but I was debating about whether to wait and do the deed on the day anyway. That decision was made for me by the sudden appearance of an old high school friend.

I love the fact that people around these parts just assume they can call and say--hey, I'm by your house. Okay if I drop in? I have lived in lots of places where folks do not do that sort of thing. It's rather endearing. Much like when the old farmers always give you that 2 finger wave as they pass you in their tractors. I love that. It's's so...Midwestern. I guess.

I feel blessed to come from this hardy stock. I always have, even when I didn't want to live here. I am blessed to have a good work ethic and a sense of right and wrong and the common sense that has [mostly] served me so well in this life.

I feel blessed to be able to read and appreciate great literature.
I feel blessed to love and appreciate music. Of all kinds. Mostly.
I am blessed to know that gratitude is a gift I get to open every day.
I am blessed to know that I am blessed. To not just wander around in that state of oblivious bewilderment. To not ever have to be a victim again.

I wish the world peace.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tickled Tuesday

[The famous Gatehouse , where Bill and Bob met]


Ah, the end of a long day in sight. A long, albeit good day.

I had a wonderful massage today and a pedicure and got my nails done. I feel like such a girl !! lol

It's down to about 13 degrees and tomorrow will be not quite as cold as today was and hopefully that damned wind chill factor will go's was freaking COLD out three today! Then we have some high 50's headed our way, I guess.

I was IM'ing with one of my sponsees tonight when she said she had a girl on the line who was drunk and crying. It's a friend of hers who keeps going back out over and again. I know her to see her...but not much beyond that. She was talking out of her head and I told her to give her my number and I'd talk with her. I didn't really think she'd call me, but --surprise!! So I got to do a 12 step call tonight. Just when I get to feeling too useful or normal or something, I get to revisit ME as a drunk. It right-sizes me every time. It ended with her promising me she'd go to bed and sleep it off. And not do anything else. I told her she could call me anytime, that I would always have time to talk to her.

Fast as lightning, the gratitude for my own life just slipped up behind me and grabbed on.

I am enjoying a nice cup of rooiboos tea and yawning like crazy, so I guess I am off to bed soon. I have plans tomorrow to stay home and make a couple of desserts and a chicken pot pie. The desserts will be for the women's meeting dessert potluck and speaker meeting. I
have hubby's breakfast and lunch made, so I can sleep in tomorrow.

Blessings abound if you take a minute to look for them.

Thinbk I'll go lookin'...


Monday, February 2, 2009

Mundane Monday

[One thirsty cat]


A very low key day around these parts. Just the way I like it.

It was warmer, so more snow and ice melted. That's always a good thing. It's much easier getting in and out of the driveay and up the hill now. I have a massage scheduled tomorrow at of my sponsees gave me a gift certificate for Xmas. Yeah, baby--my favorite kind of sponsee...the ones bearing GIFTS!

I had to run out to the Dollar General tonight after supper. I cleaned my big walk in shower today and put the shower curtains in the wash. I had a feeling the liner might not make it. lol I have probably washed it (with bleach, of course) 10 times. Vinyl doesn't have a very long shelf life when you treat it like that. lol It was pretty much shredded. Anyway, I ran there and got a new one. When I got back, I hooked up the babydawg to the leash to take her outside to potty. We pretty much just danced around the front yard and she pawed at the snow and had a ball, and just when she finally settled down to pee, a pack of coyotes set up an ungodly bunch of racket. It scared the living bejeezus outta her (and me) and Patrick even heard it from in the house where he was watching tv. He came to the door and said --Crikey! We called the dogs back in and beat feet back into the house. They sounded really close. And all the dogs in the neighborhood were up in arms.

This afternoon I saw 2 red tailed hawks fighting in the air over the back yard. All the critters seemed to be off kilter today...the chickens wouldn't come out of the coop either for the longest time this morning. (That could have been because of the hawks, now that I think about it).The cats have been acting funny. My neck is stiff and sore and I'm wondering if there might have been or we are getting ready for some earthquake activity. I have serious physical reactions up to and during earthquakes. I'm very sensitive to the changes in the magnetic field or something. I'll talk about all that some day...not tonight.

But for now, we're all settled in comfy and cozy. The kitchen is cleaned up, all the critters (fish, bird, cats and dogs) are fed and watered and cleaned up. Hubby's lunch is made and since I'm getting up at zero dark thirty I'll make breakfast in the morning.

Am I grateful today?? You bet I am.

Am I feeling especially blessed today? Oh, yeah.

I'm grateful for all the little things in life that make me pause and consider life. Things like hawks and coyotes and knowing that I am part of the circle of life. Having a buoyant sense that I am an integral part of God's plan, even if I haven't figured out the details yet.

Today is the Feast of Brigid (is that right, 'weezy?) And in honor of that, I shall leave you with a poem that I wrote years ago.

I feel like putty

In the hands of some great Potter.

Make me what you will...but HURRY.

The suspense is killing me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowel Sunday

This is mama Lily, with the little yellow Frank and his brother Sam.
(Are you catching my drift here....)

[This is Frank. Frankie. Frankie Figs., about 2 years after the first photo]
I have been AWOL for the weekend. I'm not talking.
We did go to the neighbors today for a lasagna dinner and to watch the Super Bowl. We had a grand time. They were worried that their wine and the other neighbor's beer would be a problem for us since they knew we didn't drink. (They don't know any particulars...just that we don't drink). We told them of course not. It was a good time and good friends and we even met a new couple who have been friends of our neighbors for 25 years.
I am so tired and don't have much to say, though I do have MUCH to be grateul for.
Maybe tomorrow I'll be back on track. never know...
And to go with my pictures..
"The trouble with a kitten is THAT,
Eventually, it becomes a CAT."
~~Ogden Nash