Saturday, October 31, 2009


Then end of another month finds me nursing a sickish husband who has a congestion/sinus-y sore throaty kind of bug. Everyone around these parts seems to have it...not me. Yet. lol I'm faithfully taking the Vitamins B&C&D and Echinacea and Goldenseal and a little zinc thrown in for good measure. And washing my hands A LOT. And staying away from sickies wherever I can.
Got a call from my youngest sister this morning. She's pretty upset about her daughter who was calling her crazy drunk at 5:30 AM begging her to come get her. She was at home, and was in the floor so drunk she couldn't get up. This is the second major episode of sister (naturally) is terrified and doesn't know what to do, so I said I'd call and see if she will talk to me. I've called twice now and she isn't returning my calls. The kid is only 23 years old...was sobbing that she has no friends, she hates her life, she drinks every day before work. Please keep C- in some prayers if you have extras. Maybe this will be a bottom for her, but I'm skeptical. One of my sponslings has relapsed again as well. Has been lying about smoking pot and went on another good bender a few nights ago. I wish I could spoon feed this sobriety thing to people, but I can't. If only they could believe that this is the easier, softer way! But they cannot and will not. So, I sit on the sidelines and I wait. Maybe they will have a flash of clarity before it is too late for them. Maybe they won't. I'm so grateful to be sober today, and to have that excruciating first year behind me. I'm grateful that I was 37 when I got here...and not so young that all I could think was "I need to have fun..." By 37, I had drank all the fun out of life. By 37, I was an empty shell of a human being. I read a really lovely meditation on Thursday that I wanted to share here. It is titled : I am a radiating center of peace. Heat emanates from the core of the sun, where particles bump and collide, radiating energy and warmth. When I turn my face to the sun, I feel the power that is released from deep within it, benefitting me and all of the planet Earth. Deep within me, Divine Light radiates love and energy throughouot my mind, body and spirit. Loving expressions emanate from the core of me, from my Divine nature. I have within me all I need to radiate love and peace into the world. Outward expressions of peace begin with inner peace. I focus and center myself on the Divine Light within, and every thought I hold and every word I speak are bathed in peace. I am blessed beyond my understanding today by the life I get to live. To be a grain of sand on the most beautiful beach in the Universe, to be a droplet of water in a gorgeously wild river. To be in a position to put out a helping hand every now and again and make a difference in someone's life. To look through the pain of this life sometimes and know...that behind every opportunity lies a lesson to help me on the path to Dharma, to understanding, to love. Namaste.

Friday, October 30, 2009

All Hallow's Eve, October 30, 2009

Monsoon weather here...relatively warm and pouring rain. The front yard looks like a rice paddy, creeks are overflowing their banks, and all everybody wants to do is sleep. I keep losing my satellite signal and am having a hard time downloading sites or pictures. It's very annoying.

Tonight we will go to the home of a friend and have chili and dogs and I'm taking all the stuff to make Mexican Hot Chocolate. It's a wonderful concoction of chocolate, almonds and vanilla...piping hot and finished off in a blender to make it all frothy and good. I have some wonderful memories of early sobriety all mixed up in Mexican hot chocolate...

Husbandman is feeling a little under the weather...bit of a scratchy throat. Think I'll make some french onion soup for lunch. We had a late breakfast as we slept in, so I still have time, even though it's almost noon already. There are some horrendous bugs making the rounds in this part of the country. I keep faithfully taking my echinaca and goldenseal and Vitamin C and D. So far (knock wood) it has missed me. I know personally at least 6 people that are sick though. yikes! A couple have landed in hospital emergency rooms. There seems to be a lot of pneumonia and bronchitis attached to this bug. Neither of us get the flu vaccines, so...we'll see.

It sounds like maybe the rain has stopped for a minute. last night when I was driving to the meeting it was coming down so fast and furious that I had the wipers on full tilt and slowed the car down to about 15 miles per hour. It was yucky out there. I have a few more chores to do when I get off here, and need to get that soup started. I wanted to stop in early becasue I suspect we'll be out a little late tonight...

I'm grateful to have friends who do fun stuff. I'm grateful I'm not one of those people whose life is over because they don't drink anymore. The truth of it is that when I stopped pouring booze into this hole in my face and deadening my heart, my life began. I have done more fun things sober than I ever did drinking. When I opened my soul to joy...everything shifted.

I'm going to try to post my picture again on this post, but if it won't, it won't. lol I finished the autumnal wreath I was making, but I wanted to post the Halloween wreath I had made for my daughter-in-law a few years ago,...because it seems apropos.

Weather weather everywhere...Grateful to be inside where it's warm and dry.

Happy weekend to all you spooks and goblins...


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday around town...

Little G-Rod enjoying the beauty of autumn... This is a tree I brought with me from North Carolina when I moved here. I dug that baby up and toted it right on over here. It was a gift from a friend's yard. Thanks, Kim!!

I am grateful for an especially wonderful day. I am long tired and worn out, but it was a good day, all in all. I got to pass on a message of hope, attend a meeting, have lunch with nice people and learn some important lessons. It doesn't get any better than that...

Tonight we had a blazing orange sunset that hung low beneath a horizon of cloud bank. It was spectacular. I love sunsets. I am absolutely head over heels in love with color this time of year. Look at that red's brilliant. The golds and oranges of the sugar maples are breathtaking. The brown of the dirt getting ready for a winters nap is earthy and satisfying. I was listening to the radio this morning in the car, and they were playing a song called Everybody has a hungry heart...I have a hungry heart for beauty and for nature and for love. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I pulled off the road to watch a flock of cattle egrets in a field today. They are in the process of harvesting fields around these parts and the weather is not cooperating. Our one day of rain has turned into far. The stubble of the cornfields full of crows and egrets moves me. This time of year, we get to see streaming flocks of blackbirds, sometimes in a swath a hundred feet wide and 2 miles long. Bazillions of them, gliding and swooping and doing their graceful acrobatics just for me. I pull off the road to watch them sometimes, they are so amazing. Our winter birds are slowly reappearing and I need to see how much suet I have to put out. I am going to try making homemade suet this year too...

Feeling grateful and blessed has made a world of difference in the way I look at everything from my life to the world around me. What a gift, eh?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 27,2009...Tuesday night

(I know, I've seen this before. amuses me.)


Long busy day again today and another tomorrow. I will be up at 5 (ohgod-it'safternidnightnow!!!!!!!!!!!) and am meeting with someone at 9 and then someone else at noon. I am full to the brim with newcomer sponslings suddenly. I always have one or two, but right now I have 5. And all the others. Of course the others are not high maintenance at all, as they range from 1 year to 16 years sober. Let me rephrase that. LOL. Many of them aren't high maintenance. In the past month, I have given out a 1 year and a 3 year and a 14 coin. A 6 month coin. 2- 30 day coins. And it has all been a giant blessing to me. My life in sobriety has been filled with grace and people and love and annoyances. And I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

Autumn is upon us. The colors are breathtaking this year (because of all the rain I guess). I walk/drive around with my mouth hanging open every day. Detour Road is glorious...looks like the Master Painter dipped his brush in crimson and gold and magenta and orange and then flung it about madly. I love the fact that it's cool, and you can smell the woodsmoke in the air. The fat woolly caterpillars are everywhere. A few days ago, we had a splash of warm temperatures that brought on an invasion of ladybugs and it was like a Hitchcock movie out here! Gazillions of them....swarming like hornets. It was a trip. Beautiful chrysanthemums are everywhere...burgundy, gold, dark orange and cream. The cattails are a gorgeous orange gold color...right before they turn brown. Lots of rain has brought the green back to the grass.

I think about all the years I drank myself into not seeing any of the beautiful world around me. I see now what I missed. And I have had the good fortune to live in some of the most extraordinary places in this country. I am glad I can experience and appreciate the beauty today. That I can sit out back and take a deep breath and feel the hand of God all around me. That I have ..."Nowhere to go...No one to be...Nothing to do.".... And can saturate myself with nature and all her blessings. The first year I was sober I was out walking on the beach at Humboldt bay and marvelling at all the things I'd never noticed before...and I had lived there a long time. I looked up from the sand to see a large pod of whales took my breath away. Today my life is all about moments which take my breath away. Flowers, sunsets, butterflies, love. The smell of fresh baked bread. A perfect brown egg.

I am especially blessed.....


Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 18, 2009...Sunday night

This is a plant called coral bells comes back every year if you baby it just a little, and the leaves come in every color from this light green with red veins to a dark crimson color. This is at my house in NC, from 5 years ago. This little thing would just bloom like crazy every year...the most beautiful and fragile looking white flowers. It's really quite gorgeous.

The yard and gardens have that yucky end of season look. Here in the midwest, when things are done, they are DONE. lol I suddenly have giant radishes coming up in the garden though...rather, they're leafing out again. I planted icicle radishes all scattered throughout the gardens because they are a good form of pest control in an organic garden. Lots of buggies are attracted to them. I've been pulling them up and feeding them to the chickens, who adore them. I even pulled up some volunteer peas...

All my lilies and roses and flowers look terrible, as we just had our first near miss of a frost last night. It's warmer today and tonight, but still chilly. 41 right now @ 10:30. Tomorrow is supposed to be much warmer than it has been. That's fine by me. lol

I brought home a 5 gallon bucket of coffee grounds today from the District meeting. The facilities guy said, I'm throwing these out. He's a friend of mine and I said I'd take them for my garden. He doesn't have a hard time giving them away in the summer apparently. I told him I'd throw 'em in my compost and on my garden beds, if he wanted to keep them for me.

It was a small meeting today, and our delegate was there to give a report on his participation at the 2009 GSO conference. He's a very nice man and it was interesting (to me, anyway). I chaired the meeting in the absence of our DCM...good practice for me. I think when the time comes next year, I will stand for the chair in the election. I've stayed active in service and it brings me great satisfaction...I know lots of people don't like this end of the AA game, but I do.

I'm grateful that I have something to give back. I'm blessed to have had lots of bad experiences in my life that have made me useful to God. I'm really grateful to be have a good life...and to be me today.

I'm grateful to have made friends in the rooms 19 years ago that are still my friends today. I'm grateful that I know somebody who's sober in almost every state in the union. I'm blessed to have an extended family that reaches across continents, and no matter where I go in the world, I am home.

Waiting for a young girl to call me back who's having a rough time of late. She's going to come out tomorrow and stay a bit and see if we can get through some serious issues and find some possible solutions. I thank my Creator for the opportunity, no matter how far down the scale I had gone, to be useful and helpful and compassionate. And for giving me just enough of everything I need to be able to help someone else from time to time.

Such a deal....


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday the 17th of October...

It's a cool but sunny day...afternoon now. I've spent a chunk of the morning reading a book I got yesterday by Alice Hoffman called The Ice Queen...a book that touched me in places I haven't been touched in for some time. I have laughed out loud, sobbed and read in awe of the mysteries of lightning. I just finished it.

Husbandman is gone to the frigid far north for his parents 25th anniversary. I elected to stay here and take care of animals, both ours and the neighbors. I also had a commitment to run the district meeting on Sunday as the head cheese has to work that day. So, I am enjoying my solitude. People keep calling me and asking if I'm alright, do I need them to come out and stay, do I want to come stay at their homes??? NO. I don't understand why so many people are so afraid of being along...I treasure it. Maybe it's from growing up in such a large family where you can barely breathe most of the time. Maybe it's because living with another human being has always been a trial for me. Maybe I just like the quiet...I haven't even turned on the radio...At any rate, I'm about to turn my telephone off for the rest of the day, just to have some peace.

I spent some time working out in my studio...making an autumnal wreath for my front door. It's turning out quite nicely... I will take a picture of it when it's done. I make some at Xmas time, and I even made one for Halloween for my DIL one year--that was fun...all sorts of spiders and bats and skeletons all over it. I watched The Devil Wears Prada and ate popcorn with nutritional yeast and butter on it. I ate leftovers for supper...the last of the Caribbean sew and some mashed potatoes. It's supposed to freeze tonight...I brought in some plants. Mostly I have just oozed around the place and enjoyed being alone.

I finished cleaning up the kitchen...and the cat boxes. All but one of the cats is in tonight, and I keep calling her but she won't come. It's the one in the picture here. Junko Taibei... I think she must be under the house, as last night when I was here I swore I heard her, and went to the door several times and she was nowhere to be found. Little Caylee is outside too, and doesn't want to come in. So--I turned the porch light off and left her out there. The other dogs are in and I'm sure she'll get lonesome enough in short order.

I'm ready to get in bed and read a bit....I have a new book of Alice Walker's early poems...Her Blue Body Everything We Know...Earthling Poems 1965-1990 It was at the sale table at Borders...and I love her and buy everything I haven't read before. She's my hero....

And here's one of my favorites: "Good Night Willie Lee, I'll See You In The Morning"

Looking down into my fathers
dead face
for the last time
my mother said without
tears, without smiles
without regrets
but with civility
"Good night, Willie Lee, I'll see you
in the morning."
And it was then I knew that the healing
of all our wounds
is forgiveness
that permits a promise
of our return
at the end.

--Alice Walker (1974)


Monday, October 12, 2009


A chilly and early morning here...Have someone coming over at 11, so I wanted to get up early and clean house a little. My lovely doggies woke me up at 6 barking their fool heads off. I've just started my coffee and am awakening from the dream a little. lol

I've made a list of things to do, and will try to complete as many of them as possible...I need to get cream for my coffee, as I forgot it yesterday and had exactly enough for one cup. Sitting here making lists and waiting for the computer to come on, I have cleaned my desk, which was a mess. Fixed the calendars (god--is it really the middle of the month already!!! lol) . Turned the dryer on to finish drying the loveseat cover and blankets that I washed last night. The big quilt that saves the sofa from the dirty dogs s in the washer, waiting it's turn to be tumble dried. I have at least one kitten in heat, as I see spatters of blood on the dictionary pages where she sat. I shouldn't even still have these 2 female cats...they are supposed to be in their new home. Maybe by the end of the week. I'll vacuum and dust and make things a bit more presentable. Also need to mop the wood floors, they're a mess from dogs tracking in muddy footprints on Friday. That's about the size of it.

Had a good weekend, filled with meetings and fellowship. Yesterday we went up river to a little town called Kampsville, right on the banks of the Illinois River. They have a weekend festival called Old Settlers Days this time of year and we have been going a few years in a row now. It's fun and we tromped through the exhibits and ate chicken and dumplings and had homemade root beer...there was a booth making fresh potato chips...that's always good. Lots of pioneer type demonstrations going on, black powder shoots (not my favorite part), and people running around in period costumes.

Well, just got an email from my visitor asking for directions. Guess I'd better get cleaning...

One of the readings I do in the morning said this today:

.........."Wherever I go, I make myself at home by sharing the love in my heart.
I am encouraged as I look for the best in every person and situation.
I have faith that whatever I seek, I will find."

With those comforting words, I bid you adieu for now. Have a blessed and satisfying day...


Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday in the rain...

It's a been a monsoon out there. Easing up for now, but not sure for how long. 48 degrees and rain makes for a messy stay-at-home-in-the-house kind of day. A perfect day for baking bread. And catching up, as my internet connection has been very spotty, at best, for several days.

And so, my house smells like the corner bakery and I am in flannels and sweats and big socks...enjoying the quiet solitude. Thinking how good a nice stew would be for supper, with thick slices of warm buttered bread alongside. I could make a Jamaican pork stew with sweet potatoes and onions and garlic and celery in it. Not too spicy, but certainly with a little jerk seasoning in it. I have some tomatoes and okra too I could throw in there. That sounds like a good idea. I have some packages of boneless pork country ribs in the freezer that would make a nice base, if I cube them and simmer in the electric skillet for a few hours they will be melt-in-your-mouth tender. Are you hungry yet? lol.. I even have some brown rice from the sweet and sour chicken I made a few nights ago when my sister was here. Sometimes I like these stews over rice..makes a nutrious and satisfying meal.

A woman named Rashanna (who I have lost and cannot find again) taught me years ago how to cook brown rice that (when you're poor) is almost a meal in itself. You brown the raw rice in oil with chopped onion and fresh garlic and celery. You add basil and black pepper and simmer it until the rice is cooked. Browning the rice really brings out the lovely nutty taste. You can add bits of whatever you want to it...leftover cooked chicken or tofu or anything. That's how I cook it most of the time. So, thanks! Rashanna Smith...maybe someday she'll google her name and find me. We lived in Clearlake, CA at the same time back in the 70's. She had moved there from Calistoga, back when it was a little nothing town, surrounded by wineries.

The bread is about 15 minutes away from being done. And so you know that my lunch will be a cup of tea and a slice of warm buttered

I was supposed to go hear Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea) speak today at 2. My neighbor and I were going. I started feeling a little punky yesterday and hated to tell her I couldn't go--she was so excited about seeing him. Then I thought, I'll just suck it up anyway...go to the amphitheater in the pouring rain and deal with it. Then she called me early this morning with news that her mother had fallen and broke her hand and was getting 27 stitches in her head and she wouldnn't be able to go with me. So...once again...God does for me what I cannot/will not do for myself. I am fighting off whatever crud has been going around and I don't need to sit out in the rain. The older I get, the more careful I have to be about not getting pneumonia.

Just finished a delightful book by a woman named Martha Cooley. It's called Thirty Three Swoons. About the perfume business and Russian theater history and love and family. Absolutely wonderful...and I read the whole thing yesterday.

I have had a busy busy week, and needed to stay home and recuperate the past couple of days. Glad I can do that today...and not be jumping out of my skin, like it used to be. Soft sounds of jazz on the stereo, a little lunch, and kitties laying in my lap...

It doesn't get any better than this....


Monday, October 5, 2009

Middle of the road Monday

A little pig pile of contented kitties...


A fullish day...beginning with a meeting at noon and ending with our Deep Ecology class. The meeting was on Chapter 3 (a big book study) and the Deep Ecology session was on Native American Wisdom regarding ecology and living on the earth. It was a lively discussion, the most interesting question being..."Native Americans believe that praying, chanting and drumming are ways of giving energy back to the plants, water and animals. Do you believe this is possible? What would it mean and what form would it take?" Which led into a half hour discussion of positive energy, quantum physics and intention. Quite stimulating...

I spent some time this morning early in the back gardens...assessing and writing in my garden journal. Then I gave thanks to the earth for being a fertile growing place that nourishes our bodies. I often chant around my property...and dance, and I smudge our living space regularly. It's all part of my gratitude rituals. Blessing our life, blessing our home.

Today the water district guys came yet again...this time spraying a ground up straw mulch over the areas they reseeded. It made a complete mess of my front porch and rocking chairs, lol. They offered to sweep it up, but I graciously thanked them and said I'd do it myself.

It's warmer today and now tonight. Only 53 at 1 AM, while it has been in the low 40's by now.

I love autumn, but could do without all these freaking Halloween decorations. When did this start, this putting up colored lights and giant inflatable pumpkins and stuff??? The people around here are maniacs with this stuff. Giant witches stuck through trees, cartoonish Draculas and Mummies. Orange and black twinkle's crazy. I've got nothing against Halloween, but when did it become a major holiday? And where was I ??? lol

I'm ready for bed and looking back over my day, I have no complaints. I am blessed with a plethora of friends, time to do things that excite me, and the ability to enjoy it all. I am blessed to have full use of my senses...I am not blind or deaf or mute. I can reach out and touch the real world, since I live on the earth and not in a high rise apartment in the Bronx. I can grow food which nourishes my soul in the growing and my body in the harvesting. I can watch kittens play in the grass and dogs get all protective and territorial when a stranger pulls in the driveway. I can read books and dream of far away places and make pictures and love with every ounce of my being.

I am especially blessed.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sober Saturday

Loved this plant with its little star shaped flowers...cannot recall its name....from my house in NC....

Had a good day today...cleaned house and did laundry, had company, shared a good meal with my husband. I'm tired and wanted to stop by before heading off to bed.

I've just put the doggies out for the last time. They won't be long, it's down to 45 degrees tonight already. It was a very cool and overcast day, and perfect for housekeeping. I lit some lilac candles and put on some jazz and blues and sang my way through the morning. I love it when my house is clean and smells good. lol Not always the case with 3 dogs and 10 cats and a cockatiel.. But I do my best. I have never smoked, and I think that partially accounts for this ridiculous sense of smell that I have. I was walking around the kitchen this morning, saying to husbandman--Do you smell that? I smell something...a dead mouse, maybe?? And he rolls his eyes and says (always) NO, I don't smell anything...But I'm telling you, I smell something...a nominally putrid and decomposing scent of something. I'll find it'll Probably a dead mouse...behind the stove or in the wall. Living in the country one thing you can count on is mice moving indoors when the weather turns cool. They are like tourists heading for the tropics, first in line.

I love having someone visit for the first time. You get to see your home through new eyes every time. I become so inured of all the things that still aren't repaired or completed to my liking that I paint the whole place with that brush. All the projects that we never have the extra money for. All the things that fill up MY view of my world...things undone, things half-done, things that will possibly never be done. All the lawn that isn't mowed, the painting that needs doing, the walls that need washed...things that nobody really sees unless I'm stupid enough to point it out. lol
I grateful for all the little blessings in my life today.

  • Running water
  • the irises I planted that finally got rain and are looking good
  • a second batch of green beans coming on
  • kittens sunning on the rock wall in the late afternoon
  • the Canadian geese showing up on the pond
  • smells of woodsmoke in the crisp fall air
  • the return of winter birds...chicadees and cardinals and juncos
  • red and gold and orange leaves
  • empty hummingbird feeders that need to come down, because the last of the hummers have gone
  • the way the pace of life is starting to slow down
  • good weather for soups and stews
All this brings to mind my favorite song in the whole wide world, called Holy as a day is spent, by Carrie Newcomer. It goes like this:

holy is the dish and drain
the soap and sink, the cup and plate
and the warm wool socks, and the cold white tile
showerheads and good dry towels
and frying eggs sound like psalms
with bits of salt measured in my palm
it's all a part of sacrament
as holy as a day is spent

holy is the busy street
and cars that boom with passions beat
and the checkout girl, counting change
and the hands that shook my hands today
and hymns of geese fly overhead
and spread their wings like their parents did
blessed be the dog, that runs in her sleep
to chase some wild and elusive thing

holy is the familiar room
and quiet moments in the afternoon
and folding sheets like folding hands
to pray as only laundry can
i'm letting go of all my fear
like autumn leaves made of earth and air
for the summer came and the summer went
as holy as a day is spent

holy is the place i stand
to give whatever small good i can
and the empty page and the open book
redemption everywhere i look
unknowingly we slow our pace
in the shade of unexpected grace
and with grateful smiles and sad lament
as holy as a day is spent
and morning light sings "providence"
as holy as a day is spent


Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday night Musings won't be long before the eagles come back....

I started this last night, in the wee hours, after getting home from the speaker meeting, but it was stormy and the satellite signal kept going away. It was late and I was tired and finally ran out of patience and energy and went to bed. I had to get up early this morning to head to another meeting that I had agreed to chair. And now, I am home and ready to catch up...God willing. It's still very windy and brisk today...temps hovering around 60 and feeling like 40. Overcast and grey. I thought about coming home and mowing, but it looks ominous out there, so maybe I'll just focus on the house today. After I eat. lol

We had a good turnout for our little speaker meeting and chili potluck. Surprisingly enough, I only brought home about a quart of the 3 gallons or so of the white chili I made. More than half of the vegetarian black bean chili was eaten too. And there were 2 other regular chilis there as well. The speaker was a young dynamic woman who did a great job. A good time was had by all.

After everything was cleaned up and everyone gone home, I took my little sponsling who just lost her job out for coffee to the IHOP, where we talked for about 2 hours. She was heartened by the speaker as well as several other women who shared their ESH with her. She admitted she was glad I made her come. lol

I love the magic that happens in Alcoholics Anonymous. I love watching lives transformed, families reunited, and people recover from that soul sickness of addiction. I love that I get to carry a message of hope today and not live in the problems of life. One of the most enlightening things I ever learned was that I COULD change myself...even though I could not change you, or the world. That I could fit myself to be of service. That I could be a part of the world of recovery and be a productive member of the world again.

I am especially blessed to be sober today. When I think of all the things I balked at when I was new here, it makes me wonder how I ever hung around long enough to actually dry out.

God's got a deal for drunks that don't drink. It's really that simple.