Thursday, February 23, 2012

Unobstructed View

Be a blessing to someone today

Day 165

I am carving out a niche of time to write this blog today, everything else be damned. Yes, I've conjured up another "event" come makeshift fundraiser that is taking place in my casa today. It involves a wandering Thai food chef, a whole lot of sharp knives, piles of vegetables, and 96 take-out orders. All for a measly 10% of the profits donation to the toy drive. I figure we might clear $200 US, if we're lucky, and hopefully we'll all still have ten digits attached at the ends of our limbs.

I did take some time to myself this week. I did read a book and start another (ironically James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, which I'm finding quite interesting, and true enough for me. I'm glad I didn't buy it when I picked it up a few years ago because it probably would have convinced me that I wasn't bad enough yet. Instead I skimmed a few pages and hurriedly put it back down because it scared the shit out of me.).

In the midst of my "me" time this week, I had a conversation with a close friend, we've both discussed our concern about our individual drinking patterns throughout our friendship, and I told her I was writing this blog. She wanted to read it. I had my trepidations but I finally sent her the link. I saw her a few days later and she said she had been reading the blog and it gave her a whole different perception. I should of have asked her more about that but I was kind of scared to. Did she mean a different perception of me? Of events? Of others? Of everything? Is it a good perception? Or just different?

The more I've thought of it I've realized that the one thing I would tell people, that are considering on going on their own journey into soberland about, warn them about, is that their perception of everything and everybody, especially themselves, is about to change.

For me, the first brilliant clarity of sobriety was such a welcome sight. Everything was so clear and poignantly beautiful. It was just as I remembered it, before I started dulling its sharp edges and blurring its straight lines with booze.

I experienced such a breathtaking alacrity.

I could see everything so clearly.

I couldn't dream that it could ever become bothersome. That the brightness would become glaring and along with all the beauty, all of the ugliness, the harshness, the drabness would stand out in stark relief, with nothing to soften the sharp edges of reality.

I never imagined that I would want to put my beer goggles back on.

And I don't.

That's life I'm looking at out there in all its stark naked, sometimes harsh, glory.

I can't drink away the parts I don't like. I tried. All I managed to drink away was myself.

So today I'm just out there doing my best to keep things clear and keep my fingers clear of the chop-chop-chopping knives.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Don't Wanna

Day 156
Just a quick note to let you know I am fine, I just I have a horrible case of the "I Don't Wanna's" this week.  I feel like I have been endlessly trying to fill up my days for some reason and no matter how I try, I can't devote 30 minutes to 86 different things in a day. Two days ago I went to download a book to my kindle, I have to download it to the computer first down here and then transfer it over, and I realized I hadn't  downloaded a book since I got this computer almost 3 months ago.  That is a glaring symptom that something is awry in someone that usually averages reading 2-3 books a week.  It's time to say, "Stop."  I've got to quit doing all these things I really don't want to do, just to prove something.  It's time to stop trying to perfect my imperfect world.  It's time to read a book, damnit. That's what I wanna do, and that's what I'm gonna do.  I'll give you a book report manana.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Sobriety Day 152
I loved this song.  It came out at a very difficult time in my life, and it was my anthem of hope.  I was living in my shitty drafty little house with two young boys, not enough money, and an unhappy marriage.  When the video would play on MTV, I would drop the dish I was drying or the bottom I was changing, and I'd run out to the living room to watch that video.  She was so beautiful and she made me believe that all I had to do was keep believing in myself and things would get better.

Today that song seems to mock its songstress, like so many people mocked her in the last years of her life.  And I'm sitting here hoping my Co-Writer has something up his sleeve because all I keep pulling out of the empty thin air, are questions.

What happened to that greatest love, Whitney?  Did we not love ourselves enough?

What should we tell your daughter when she asks, "Why? Didn't I love her enough? Didn't she love me enough?"  How do we let addiction convince us that the meager offerings of love it leaves us to share with others is enough?

Where does that love go? What does addiction do with it?  And why, when we manage to kick the bastard out and get some of the love back, do we then throw open the doors and say, "Come back in. Take what I have left."  When is enough, enough?

In the end, we all manage to escape, one way or another.

Yesterday you said, "Enough."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pussy Toes

To “paint the town red” means to celebrate flamboyantly and publicly, especially to go on a wild spree, usually involving multiple bars, restaurants and clubs plus copious quantities of alcohol. “Painting the town red” is, by definition, a group activity, requiring at least two people, and must be conducted in a spirit of giddy jubilation. One lonely guy on a crosstown bender is not “painting the town red.” Of course, alcohol is not strictly required. Lottery winners, for example, often “paint the town red” after their wins, sprinting from store to store and acquiring plasma TVs, cars, multiple pedigreed pets and scores of brand new distant cousins as they go.

Day 150 of Sobriety

I am fascinated by my toes these days, I can’t take my eyes off of them and I’m about to sprain my ankle from twisting my foot to admire them from all angles.  I got my first ever pedicure about a week ago and I’ve repainted my toenails three times since.  Yesterday I bought a new pair of shiny red strappy flip flops to go with my cherry red polish and the flirty little skirt I bought the other day at the Funky Market/Dragon Bazaar we had here in our little village. I painted up my lips in hot red lipstick and sashayed my way down the Malecon in Progreso yesterday with Greta on the way to lunch at a great new restaurant we discovered. Okay, I have to be truthful since I know Greta is going to read this blog, I didn’t really sashay, it was more of a stumble in my new shoes.  I still haven’t learned to walk while sober.

 I don’t know who this person is that has come to occupy my body these days.  I’ve never in my life been a shiny toenail, flirty skirt and “f” me sandal wearing kind of gal.  Maybe it’s like my friend cp said the other day, “The thing I despise about addiction is that it closes a person in on themselves. It narrows the world down to just plain feeding the addiction. We begin to lose interest in everything ..including ourselves.” 

For me, alcohol was a 30 year insidious invasion that kept advancing until it had almost conquered me.  Almost.  There was still a stubborn corner of my soul that refused to back down, a tiny ragged fierce contingent that hung on for dear life.

Yesterday, after Greta and I finished lunch, we went to the market to buy flowers (first we stopped to get ice cream, of course).  I haggled with the flower stall owner over the price of three flower arrangements.

“Para la iglesia,” I pleaded. “de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.”  (They adore Our Lady of Guadalupe down here)

She finally conceded to sell me three for the price of two but not without putting on a sad face worthy of Emmett Kelly to let me know she wouldn’t be making any dinero on the transaction.  I assured her she would reap the many blessings of Guadalupe.

I dropped off Greta and drove back to my village where I dropped off the flowers at the church.

This morning I was eager to get out on the beach before anyone else.  The only other person that was out that early was a fisherman who was maneuvering his boat to catch the incoming tide, I set my beach bag down up above the tide line and went to help him. I have launched many a beach stranded dinghy after the party went on long after the tide went out.  We both got behind the stern of the boat and when the next wave came in we gave it a mighty push, setting it adrift.  He ran and jumped in and turned to wave good-bye.  Not a word was spoken, just two amigos doing what needed to be done.

I continued down the beach.  I have attracted two new beaus and they follow me every morning, they are brothers and I think they are part Rottweiler and part Akita.  They are pretty loyal but their heads can still be turned by a pretty young thing.  They abandoned me the other day for some twenty-something dark-eye nymph that was frolicking in the surf (as my friend Barbara would say, “All males are such whoredogs.”), but they came running when I called.  They know which beach bag their Beggin’ Strips come from.

This is me.  This is the person that was behind the sad clown mask of alcohol for all of those years.  This is that ragged but fierce corner of my soul that didn’t give up.  I won.

So today I’m just out there doing my best to regain more of my own territory and I’m going shoppin’ for a cherry red camisole to complete my outfit. Me and the gals are going out on the town tonight.  We’re gonna paint it red!

P.S.  You’re probably wondering how I managed to go almost 50 years without a pedicure, well, ya’ll know I’m a nail biter and let’s just say I’m not as agile as I used to be. Ewwww!
P.P.S. Concerning the title of this post, I just couldn't help myself.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Day 145

Up at the ungodly hour of 5 am this morning, I wish the neighbor could convince his damn rooster to sleep in on Sundays.  Hey wait a minute, my neighbor doesn’t have a rooster.  That must have been me crowing.

The cap’n and I and our friends, Yack (That’s how our friend Gaby pronounces Jack, and it fits) and Barbara, decided to go down the Bull Pen yesterday evening for “Beer Friday On Saturday” (I’ll explain that in another post sometime).  We all promised we would only have one since we vowed to get home and cook dinner and stay at home for a change.  When we got there, a couple that rents a casa down the calle from us, Peggy and Joe, were sitting at a table up front.  We said, “Hi” and the cap’n stopped to chat with them while Yack and Babs and I took a table next to them.  I’ve never really warmed up to this couple, one reason is they don’t seem to associate with many of the expats from our village, instead they hang out with a group of fellow Canadians in Chixculub.  But the big reason is because last year, a couple weeks after New Year’s, we ran into them at the Bodega in Progreso (that is the main grocery store), we’d just walked into the store and Joe was standing at the service counter.

“I heard about your New Years Eve,” he boomed to me in decibels loud enough to be heard across El Gulfo to Galveston.

“Oh really,” I asked, trying to find an escape route through the crowd maneuvering their shopping carts through the entrance.

“I heard you were plastered!!” boomed the human foghorn again.

Suffice it to say, I’ve been giving them a wide berth ever since.

We stayed true to our word yesterday and only had one drink each, as I was getting in the car to leave I realized I was carrying the glass from the bar.  When I went back in to return it, Patrick, the owner, was at Peggy and Joe’s table.  I went over and sat the still half-full glass down on their table.

“Has that got rum in it?” Joe boomed. “If it does, I’ll drink it.”

“Nope, just Coke-lite,” I replied nonchalantly.

“No rum?” the crestfallen Joe asked in bewildered disbelief.

“ ‘Fraid not.” I patted his hand and left.

My neck’s a little sore this morning from the strain of holding it up so high.

So today I’m just out there doing my best not to get too cocky and praying for low humidity (I’ve put my elf outfit back on and I’m making peanut brittle to sale at a bazaar to build up the kitty for next Christmas’s toy drive).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Overflowing Abundance

Day 143

Last Sunday, the cap’n and I caught the bus into Merida for the day.  We went to the English Mass at the Cathedral de San Ildefonso.  The cathedral was completed in 1598 and is the oldest Catholic church in Mexico and it is breathtaking.  Afterwards we went for a refresca at one of the sidewalks cafés.  There is a fiesta in the Centro Plaza every Sunday with food booths and local artisans and music and dancing. And just for a moment, on that perfect morning, with the sun shining and the music playing and children laughing, I thought, I wish I could have a glass of wine.

Yesterday evening I dropped the cap’n off for a dentist appointment in Progreso and I went to park the car and wander around downtown, popping into the various tiendas to find some items I needed.  They are never all in the same place, the papeleria on the corner has the tickets for the rifa (raffle) I need while the papelaria two doors down has the protectores (plastic sleeves) I need for my fundraiser posters.  Of course, there is a paleteria or two on every block and I was lucky to find one that sold the best and cheapest coco helado (ice cream) I’ve found yet.  It was 6:30 pm and the locals were just finishing their work day and making their way toward home or wherever.  They stopped to mingle and talk with friends on the sidewalk, several turning to look at me as I walked by.  A tall, (by their standards), blonde walking the streets in the evening gets noticed in Progreso, I even got a few catcalls in broken English.  Hell, if you put a blonde wig on a mud fence post and paraded it around Progreso at night, it would get whistles.  The lights and music and laughter were spilling out of the swinging doors of the corner bars.  And just for a moment, in the warm twilight, I thought, I wish I could stop in and have a cold beer.

This morning I walked into the village.  I met a friend along the way and we stopped to chat for a minute.  I stopped at a panaderia I hadn’t been to before and put some sugar cookies, flan, and some kind of sugared flaky pastry thing stuffed with queso and jamon (obviously the sugar cravings have not abated) on my big bread tray for the senora to ring up.  Here in Mexico, when you go to buy bread or baked goods, you get a big round metal tray and a pair of tongs from the counter and go through the bins and pick out what you want.  I threw a half of a sugar cookie to the two church dogs as I went in the church in to say, “Hey” before I stopped at the Mercado to buy a couple of litros of fresh squeezed jugo de naranja.  I had the senora there pop a popote (straw) in one of the plastic bags of juice so I could sip on it on the way home.  I hollered up “Hola” at my friends’ casa as I strolled by.

When I got home I called a few amigos and we made plans to meet down at the square tonight at Popular Pich, our favorite little taqueria, for salbutes and refrescas.  We’ll sit there, they with their cervazas and me with my Coke-lite, and watch the locals celebrate the end of the week.  The tired fishermen will come alive with their caguamas of Sol, the chicos and chicas will shyly hold hands under the watchful eyes of their madres and the ninos will chase each other around the village.  And I’m sure for just a moment I will wish I could pour a portion of the caguama that my friends are sharing for myself.

Even still,  in my overflowing abundance, there are times I find myself missing what I don’t have.  Just for a moment.