Wednesday, November 4, 2015


I always forget how busy this time of year is for me down here in Mexico. I'm running around like a crazy woman with the other "Elves" trying to make a lot of last minute jingle to buy toys for our kids down here. The toy drive was the first life line thrown to me when I was trying to get to shore while drowining in an ocean of booze.  It became my VACI, or Vital Absorbing Creative Interest as SMART Recovery calls it. I call it the first thing I fell in love with more than booze.  I wish I could say it happened on first sight and that the moment I was put in charge of providing a little Christmas joy to 800+ kids, I threw away the bottle, but it never happens that way. I stumbled through the first couple of years and a couple of drunk fiasco fundraisers before I finally chose the kids over the bottle. This Christmas will be my fifth sober Christmas.

An extra two hundred, or so, special needs kids landed in our laps a week ago and I've been scrambling to find funds for their toys. Luckily I had three secret Santas step forward immediately to cover the cost of their toys. It's funny down here. If someone stood up and said, "I hate kids" they'd get understanding nods even though most people don't hate kids. However, if I stood up and said, "I hate dogs!" I'd be stoned at the village square at midnight, then burned as a witch. Dogs win out over kids every time.

We spent yesterday down in the hot bowels of Centro Merida bargaining for toys in sweltering upstairs toy departments.  If you ever want proof that cold molecules are heavier than warm molecules, come to Merida and go upstairs in one of the cramped, clear a shelf every time you turn around with your wrecking ball of a purse, shop.  Then stay up there, slipping around on your own sweat, for three or four hours while the owner and his "elves" run around to the other fifty shops he owns trying to find five hundred identical toys because we've learned over the years that having a variety of toys can incite a riot among blood thirsty parents. Believe me, all the air conditioning stays downstairs.

Why do I continue to do it?  Our little village is definitely more prosperous than when I started coming here seven years ago and most parents can now buy toys for their kids because of the jobs that the growing expat community has brought. (BTW, before we get in a conversation that I've had way too often with the Grinches down here, Santa Claus had come to Mexico way before I got here, and our kids had to wonder why he was leaving them off his list.) But there are still a handful of kids that are very poor and it is that handful that I try to remember when I am so doggone sick of doing this.  I think of a little boy or girl that has waited and dreamed all year long for the night that they get a toy, just like every other kid in the village.

Oh yeah, it also keeps me sober.

So this started out as a whiny post about why I'm too friggin' drained to post lately, because we all know how strenuous lifting fingers up and down on a keyboard can be, but as usual, once I start complaining, I build momentum, like a fart with a ferocious tail-wind..

Abs Chat Tonight!

Abs Chat is focused on abstaining from alcohol—on a permanent basis,
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