Monday, June 26, 2017


A family I have known all my life-I went to school and church with them, my kids went to school and church with them, my son's best friend is part of this family-was hit by tragedy last week. On an early summer Wednesday evening two of the boys, 16 and 14, cousins and best friends set out in an ATV, This family is a farm family and ATV's and horses are a routine part of their day. The sixteen year old was driving. They hit some loose dirt and the ATV rolled and the 14 year old who was not wearing a seatbelt was thrown from the vehicle and the vehicle rolled over him. After many frantic phone calls the 16 year old finally got hold of his uncle, my son's best friend, and he and the 16 year old's father rushed to the scene of the accident to find the boy cradling his 14 year old cousin who was dead.

This tragedy is multiplied so many times. Two childhoods lost, that of both the child who died and the child who survived. Great grandparents who lost a great grandchild and who have another great-grandchild severely affected, who are grieving not only for those children but for their children and grandchildren. And on down the line. Grandparents, parents, siblings.

Life is too short not to grab on and hold on to every moment we have with both hands. Too short not to wrap ourselves as tight as we can around every moment with the ones we love. No matter what we tell ourselves, we can't do this if alcohol is stealing parts of our lives from us, if alcohol is stealing parts of us from others.

We have now, who are we in this moment? Are we who we want to be right now if in another minute life forces us to become someone else? Our life will change, that goes without saying. How many moments of perfect serenity will we sacrifice if we don't grab what we can right now?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Willpower? I called and you didn't pick up.

I think I'm getting old. I'm salivating more over that little muffin with the icing on top than the stud muffin holding it! Sorry, The Rock, you're just no competition, sigh.

Well, blew the diet yesterday. I tried, I really did. I used a whole lot of "tools" before I gave in, I walked the dog, I ate some sunflower seeds, a healthy lunch of stir-fry, finished cleaning the house, scoured the tub, then I dived in. I didn't stop at the chips and dip, I went totally bacchanal. Ice cream with Heath topping, popcorn and butter!

Oh well, today is a new day and yesterday doesn't erase every stride I'd made, it may have put those few pounds I'd lost back on in one swoop, but I still remember how good I felt when I was following through on my promises to myself. So, today is a new start, every day is. I'm going to do my best and realize that my best is sometimes more than I'm willing to put forth.

Speaking of keeping promises to myself, I'm taking the next couple of weeks to keep another promise to myself. The cap'n will be gone working and I am going to revel in it because I think this might be my last time to myself for a long, long time. So I'm going to dive deep into ME TIME! I'm going to get up before the sun comes up every morning and light candles and say my rosary. I'm going to feed my critters, the birds, the squirrels and Freddy the Total Shitz-Poo. Then I'm going to write, write, write. 

Oh yeah, And I'm going to fix a big pan of tuna casserole-the cap'n hates it and Mexican cream of mushroom soup is funky so I haven't had any in at least seven months-and gorge on it for three days. I guess this is in my DNA, my dad hated tuna casserole too so my mom would always fix it when he was out of town on a job. She'd also un-ground us-Mom always said grounding was more of a punishment for the parent than the child-and take us to the Ben Franklin Five and Dime to buy paper dolls and army men. So maybe, just maybe, tuna casserole is more to me than a can of tuna, cream of mushroom soup and noodles, maybe it's an infusion of mom and childhood. I need some of dat.

How the Heck Ya'll Doin'?


Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Need A Hangover Day!

I want a hangover day! No, I don't want the hangover but I want a day that I just lay around binge watching TV and eating stuff that's really bad for me. Hangover days always served to compound the guilt I felt from getting drunk and a hangover day today would also make me feel guilty. But not as guilty. I've been eating healthy lately keeping my calories within limits, losing a few pounds and a self-indulgent day would erase a lot of that effort. 

I really want a big bowl of potato chips with a side bowl of dip right now. Don't know how this is going to end up. It's days like this that I remember how hard a time I had talking myself out of drinking, how all those good intentions and enthusiasm would just disappear at certain times and no matter how I tried to conjure them up they were no where to be found. How did I finally quit? I go back to my old mantra, "Don't you want to see what's going to happen?" It was the sense of promise, the air of reward beyond my imagination that would keep me from reaching for that bottle. I wanted a new life, I wanted to see that new life. I wanted to find me and I wasn't going to find me in that bottle of booze, that's where I'd lost me.

So how does that apply now? Am I at the bottom of that bowl of chips or am I outside walking Freddy, the wonder Shi-poodle? I guess it's time to put my shoes and socks on and go find out. The chips are safe for now, I want to find out what happens when I lose 10 or 15 pounds, I want to get to know the me that accomplishes another goal.

How The Heck Are You?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

School's Out!

The results of Carrie Fisher's toxicology tests have just thrown me for a loop this week. See, I'm one of those people who goes around saying every failure, every stumble, every relapse is part of the plan, in each one is hidden a vital lesson we have yet to learn in order to get to where we are meant to be. Obviously, if you quit drinking or drugging and then decide to try again, you had another lesson to learn. Right? That's what I used to think. But what one more lesson did Carrie need to learn? That addiction kills? That you shouldn't waste your chances? That those chances aren't without limit? That we know everything we need to know and we are wasting our lives waiting for that final magical lesson that is going to teach us something magical that will change the path of our life forever? That lesson doesn't exist and if you're waiting for it, you are wasting precious time.

So today I'm out there re-considering some things I once considered true. Sometimes we don't need to have anymore lessons, at some point we have to STOP looking for more education and spend the rest of our lives applying the lessons we have been taught.

The above meme could just as easily say, "Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have saved our life."

Sometimes I ponder drinking again, maybe in 10 years, maybe if I take a trip to Paris or Italy... but you know what? I've learned the "I can quit drinking and be happier than I ever was drinking" lesson, I don't need to re-learn it.

How The Heck Are You?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Recovered Garden

I'm good and I really don't have much to write about this morning. House cleaning and weed pulling is all I have in my plans for today, nothing monumental but a miracle still. Every day that I am sober is like a fertile garden waiting for me to plant something and watch it grow. Yes, there are weeds, but in their own way, they're beautiful too because they keep my hands and mind busy and while I'm out there ripping the little assholes out, I work out my aggression. It's all good.

How The Heck Are You?

Monday, June 19, 2017

How The Heck Are You 6/19/2017: Let's Face It, We're Pansies!

Sleep deprived this morning, I stayed up past midnight binge watching Orange is the New Black. Netflix has become my new addiction.

Beautiful weather weekend up here. We don't plant flowers here at 10,600 ft until Father's Day because it still gets down to freezing at night before that, so I spent the weekend outside finally planting. You'd think after 10 summers here and thousands of dollars in perennials, I wouldn't have any more room to plant, but the thin air and poor soil doesn't encourage plants to show up for return performances year after year. The funny thing is, pansies, the most delicate appearing flower of all, start  popping up through the snow in April and grow like weeds among the rocks and in the poorest soil. Just like us on this journey, neither rain, or snow, or the darkness of night, or stumbles, or hostile environment can keep us from rising up, no matter what the world throws at us, and raising our face up to the sun in defiance. Fuck you, Adversity, we're pansies and we're proud of it!

How The Heck Are You?

Friday, June 16, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/16: Falling In Love

I'm in a good mood this morning. The cap'n has really been trying to keep his drinking in check and hasn't been drinking in the morning. Baby steps are good enough for me at this point, trying is good enough. I'm back on track with my goals and following Pierre's lead in writing out my hard and soft goals every day, a simple thing that really does seem to work. I love checking those goals off.

Day before yesterday an acquaintance of mine in Mexico was killed by a hit and run driver while he was returning from his morning bike ride, Every morning I would see Lynn  ride his bike by our house, it was his passion and he participated in several bike races worldwide. He was 71 and he did what he loved daily. People often ask how I quit drinking and I tell them, "I was convinced I was going to die if I didn't quit." That's what it came down to for me, quit drinking or die. But what keeps me sober is the life I've created with my sobriety. I love it. Oh yeah, I gripe sometimes and I'm not always giddy-happy like I was in the beginning, but I f'ing love my life. That's the secret. That's why I can't stop trying to make it better and better, because the minute I fall out of love? Yeah.

My mother died 28 years ago today, she was 57 and I don't think she ever got a chance to do what she loved, I'm not sure she even knew what that was or that it was even a choice. That makes me very sad. I would give anything to spend one more day with her and ask her what it was she loved. To honor both of them today, I'm going to make sure and do something I love-besides eat ice cream.

How the Heck Are You?

P.S.  I read an encouraging blog this morning by the founder of ONYB (One Year No Beer). OYNB is a support community that encourages people to change their relationship with drinking in order to pursue a healthier more active lifestyle. 

While this recent article does seem to slant toward abstaining permanently: there is some great info on the alcohol industry's increasing efforts to offer more NA and low alcohol drinks and to reverse society's belief that you have to drink in order to be happy.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/15: Future Me

There were lots of different reactions on the MM Listserv to my post on Change yesterday, some people also have changes they want to make, some are happy where they are and some feel learning to accept who we are and where we are is more important than wanting to change.  They are all wonderful outlooks and I have enjoyed each of those prospects at different times in my life. I have changed internally greatly since I quit drinking, I now live a more honest life, I am no longer afraid all the time, I am definitely more peaceful but there are still other changes I would like to see. I'd like to become less judgmental, more compassionate, less greedy. I want to be more independent financially, I want to realize my life-long dream of making writing my vocation. I want to live a simpler life-one place I call home, lots of flowers growing outside my door, lots of warmth inside. A big vegetable garden and lots of room to roam. Home-made candles and soaps. Canned goods filling the shelves of the kitchen. Simple life. Simple needs.

So here's the mind picture:

A woman with a long white braid leans against the frame of the door of an old stone house. The door is either bright red, purple or a sun faded blue-I can't decide but I have few years to. She is tanned, her face is lined, but her eyes are clear and bright. Lavender bushes lines the walk up to the house, the porch is a clutter of pots full of herbs and flowers. There's a watering can by the door. The woman is wearing faded jeans with holes in at least one knee and probably one in the ass of jeans, an ever present rosary has worn a pattern in the left hip pocket. A blue chambray shirt tied at the waist. completes her daily uniform. She is in no hurry, whatever is waiting can wait a little longer. The sun is just coming up, waking up the lavender so it can exhale the scent it has been holding through the night.

Oh yeah, she's still sober. Because the dream would never be possible if she wasn't.

It's a dream but, for me, dreams are necessary to lift me out of my current self, to help me identify the roots of my discontent and to discover where my happiness is waiting for me. I may not get everything in that dream above, I may find out I hate canning because I don't have real fond memories of canning day when I was growing up-too much work. But, for me, that mind picture, gives me something to strive for, it makes me want to keep growing and exploring this life of mine.

Now, I'm going to go find some Home-made candle recipes-my Yankee Candle addiction is not going to be supportable in my future less materialistic, less income driven life.  Of course, I'm probably going to find out that it's more expensive to make my own. lol

How the Heck Are You This Morning?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How The Heck Are You Roster 6/14/2017: Change

Last night I had an epiphany, it wasn't anything I didn't already know, it was just something I haven't remembered for a while. I keep praying for certain things to change, doing things to try and make them change, and getting frustrated and disheartened because they are not changing. 

Last night I realized, once again, the only thing I can work on changing and rely on changing is myself. I haven't worked really hard on changing anything about myself since I quit drinking. Oh, I play at it. I make plans and I stick to them for a day or three or four, but then I fall right back into the ruts in this old wagon-worn trail called life. I haven't really committed to any real change. I haven't stopped to envision who I want to be five years from now. Oh, I've wished for her, I've dreamed of her, but I haven't sat down and drawn "her" out and mapped out the creation of "her." I haven't committed to "her."

I used this "tool" when I first did battle with the drink. I drew a mind picture of who I wanted to be and wrote it out in my blog so I'd remember it. I can still picture that woman I wanted to become, even though she never became a reality, but that was okay, because for a brief time I wanted bad enough to be her that she started me on the path to change. Change happened and while I didn't become that woman, I became a changed woman and that was the ultimate goal. And when I became that changed woman, other things in my life began to change for the better.

So today I am setting out resolutely on the path of change. I'm going to spend today constructing "her" in my mind . It's going to be fun. I'll introduce "her" to ya'll tomorrow. Then, down the line, we can all look back and see how close I got to my mark.

I'm excited.

How The Heck Are You?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Today would have been my mother's 85th birthday. Happy Birthday Ruth! If you read my book or if you've read my blog from the beginning, you know what effect my mother's death had on my drinking. (sly book promotion in case you didn't notice.) Mom was the steward of my guilt  and my moral compass, and while she was alive, I still drank too much but fear of my mother finding out kept it somewhat in check. When she died it was like someone left the barn door open and I was free to gallivant in the open pastures of drunkenness as wildly as I wanted. However, since I'm a big believer in the after life I knew Mom was still watching and guilt was still astraddle, no matter how hard I tried to throw it off. Gotta tell you, guilt is one fucking-oops! sorry, mom- expert horseman/horsewoman.
Today, I know my mother is proud of me and guilt is no longer hitching a ride. I can't begin to describe how light that feels.
How the Heck Are You?

Friday, June 9, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/9/2017: I'm Gonna Want This Back

Yesterday I drove the granddaugher back home and spent the evening with my son and daughter-in-law.  Before we left my cabin yesterday, the granddaughter and I did a tour of our favorite spots and said good-bye. Once more, I found myself rushing her through and I don't know why. It was a glorious morning, a perfect morning to take our time and there was no rush to get her home.

There's a country song  with the line, "You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back," and I knew that yesterday when once more I urged, "Hurry up, Attie" while she nonchalantly took her time. 

I learned a lesson from my granddaughter this week, most the time there is no reason to rush, I am missing precious moments in my hurry through life. I don't know how much of it I have left, isn't it time to slow down and enjoy each one? It doesn't take a whole lot of soulful contemplation, all it takes is stopping to notice something good or beautiful and saying, "Thank you" to God, or the Universe.

This morning I'm thankful for two healthy grandchildren watching cartoons and their healthy parents who are out running. I looked around the toy strewn bedroom in my cabin yesterday and thought, "It won't be long until there won't be anyone who want's to play with these toys, I'm gonna miss this, I'm gonna want this back.

How the Heck Are You?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Future Ballerina/Conductor/Cowgirl

She explained how she's going to be all of these things. When she gets done with ballerina school, she'll go home and take care of her horses and cows, then she'll go conduct the symphony.

Today I salute all mothers of young children, and, thank you for very much, Micro, for the offer of the loan of your children this summer, I think I'll pass. The granddaugher goes home today, however, I'm going with her for another four days to watch 13 y/o grandson (that should be another eye opening experience as he sees how much more he can get away with around grandma than he can his parents) and two rambunctious springer spaniels that they keep inside.

I have to admit my patience is waning and I found myself getting extremely aggravated with her dawdling yesterday on our walk. I have forgotten how children will find a million things to distract them. How they'll stop to pick every flower even the ugly ones, how they can't resist the urge to run up and down every hill a dozen times or to climb up on every large rock, especially when they know you're in a hurry to get somewhere. I don't know why I was in such a hurry to get home. To watch the news? Or get on the computer? Or start dinner?

But when we finally got home, for the first time in a long time, I wanted a drink. I remembered that a drink would soothe my aggravation and give me that boost of flagging enthusiasm I needed. It would transform me back into "fun" grandma for just a little while longer. I've often noticed that many of the women in this recovery world are of a like age as me. Women whose children are gone and who are facing the second half of their life and maybe no longer need that escape and temporary transformation that alcohol provides. I know I've often urged young mothers to do as I say and not as I did when I implore that they give up drinking for their children's sake. I still implore you to do that, but today, I remember, I really do.

I'm ready for a big dose of solitude. I wish I was jumping on a plane all by myself to head to Prince Edward Island, like SkiCrazy. How the heck are you? Where do you wish you were right now?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Yesterday was a cloudy rainy day and the granddaughter decided we'd have a pajama day. She spent the whole day in her flannel footie pj's. We colored, we did puzzles and we played video games-I am now hopelessly addicted to Shopikins and couldn't wait for her to fall asleep last night so I could swipe my kindle from her and play, found myself cussing at the little demonic smiling fruit characters.

I ordered the Anne of Green Gables books to read to her before she got here but decided they were a little too advanced for her-so now I'm reading them! I never read them and I find myself enchanted with the simpler life of Prince Edward Island early 1900's.

I'm not sure I'm going to be ready to re-join the grown-up world in a few days. Why, oh why, were we so eager to leave childhood behind? I remember how in the first few months/years after I quit drinking, I felt like a child again. The world was a wonder I couldn't wait to wake up to each morning. I want to get that back and hold on to it. It's ironic that the most difficult time of recovery, is also the most enchanting, miraculous, amazing time if you make it so. It's not about deprivation and punishment, it's about exploration and discovery, like you're a kid on the first day of summer vacation.

How the Heck Are You? 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/6/2017: Trying is Success

To put it bluntly, I'm exhausted. The last five days have proven how out of shape I am, embarrassingly. Maybe I need to rent a 5 year old for the rest of the summer. One more imperfection. 

When do we finally accept that we're never going to be perfect? Is there a point where we finally relax and give ourselves a wink when we don't toe the line.  Am I ever going to not think that eating a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast sounds more inviting than a banana? Is procrastinating ever going to be a thing of the past? Not likely.

But then again, if we totally accept ourselves as we are, do we then quit trying, quit striving?  What does life become then? A chocolate chip breakfast wait until tomorrow existence? I don't want that either.

So I guess what I need to learn to accept is that I'm always going to be enticed by perfection, even though I probably won't strive hard enough to reach it. At least I'll strive. I can't let my acknowledgment of my imperfections keep me from trying.

So I guess I've effectively talked myself out of that chocolate chip cookie this morning. Maybe tomorrow.

"I try therefore I succeed."

How the Heck Are You?

Monday, June 5, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/5/2107: Life Expectancy

“Strange, how death had a way of turning a table upside down in an instant. It swept away all the dust that covered treasures, blew the fog from one’s view, knocked
away facades.” 
― Julianne MacLeanLove According to Lily

“Death is not a tragedy to the one who dies; to have wasted the life before that death, that is the tragedy.” 
― Orson Scott CardShadow of the Hegemon

(Sorry, couldn't choose this morning.)

The sun is shining in my eyes through the window this morning. It was an unseasonable warm weekend up here at 10,600 ft and we spent all day outside yesterday.  The granddaughter and I started out the day with a trip to a rummage sale in Breckenridge where she scored a box full of my little ponies, 2 unicorns, Anna and Elsa dolls, and a princess gown all for $8.00. Then we ate crepes sitting outside in the sunshine. Headed back home where she made a new friend down the road from us-a friend with horses! The mother is a riding instructor and Attie (my granddaughter) got her first riding lesson. We finished out the day with a fire in the fire pit and hot dogs and s'mores and then a  much needed bubble bath.

Perfect, huh? You would think I'd be satisfied but, no, at the end of the day, I still found fault in it, things that could have been better. Reasons to be unhappy.

Last Friday I found out that a cousin of mine just found out she has mesothelioma. Mesothelioma has a life expectancy of 12-21 months until you die. Only 9% of its victims survive longer than 5 years. My cousin is 52 years old. She is one of those people that I always looked at as having the perfect life. Perfect husband. Perfect kids. None of that matters now. I know she would trade places with me in my imperfect world in a minute given the chance. Neither of her children are married so the chances of my cousin enjoying a day like I was gifted with yesterday are pretty slim.

I've often wondered if I were to get a fatal diagnosis, would I use that as permission to drink the rest of my life away, or would I decide to live my days as fully and appreciatively as possible? I'd like to think my choice would be the latter. And then again-you knew this was coming-my cousin's life expectancy could be greater than mine. Today could be my last day on this earth, and I have a choice of whether I drink it away or live it fully,  or whether I diminish it by expecting perfection in every  moment rather than seeing the loveliness in spite of the its imperfections.

Today, I am going to try real hard to be grateful for nearly perfect, almost perfect, and far from perfect but still pretty damn good.

How The Heck Are You?

Friday, June 2, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/2/2017: Unconflicted

“It is therefore senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are.” 
― Jean-Paul SartreBeing and Nothingness

I'm good this morning, already a little overwhelmed by the thought that I'm not going to have a minute to myself for a week with the granddaughter here, but it will be worth it. I've worked really hard to make this place, our cabin, a place of special memories for the grandkids-both of my grandmothers died before I was 4 but I was lucky to have an aunt who didn't have any children who filled that role. My granddaughter has already tried to cram every one of our "routines" into her first day here. We've hiked, thrown rocks in the creek, gone to our secret place, cut out paper dolls, dragged out every toy even the ones she doesn't play with, made a tent, visited the statue of Mary on the other bank several times to touch her and get our power shot, zing-zing, had a tea party...Yes, I'm exhausted and I've created a monster. 

 Yesterday, as I drove back here, I passed several ranchers along the way, some of them were yanking hay out of the back of their trucks, but a few of them were just leaning on their fences looking out on their fields, as though they still couldn't believe "this" was all theirs. I had a sleeping granddaugher in the backseat, there is still snow on the peaks of the mountains, a storm was brewing over one range, the valley is just starting to show the arrival of spring with a hint of green in its fields, and I wasn't hungover, or thinking about drinking, or worrying about my drinking, or planning when I was going to drink. These are the moments that are perfection for me, simple moments, perfectly normal moments. These are when I realize most clearly how grateful I am to finally feel normal, un-conflicted by alcohol.  I'm just "being."

How the heck are you?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

How The Heck Are You? 6/1/2017: Reasons

Got my granddaughter curled up next to me with her thumb in her mouth watching cartoons. (Man, are her parents going to regret letting her suck her thumb this long, I see big orthodontic bills in their future-but my oldest sucked his until he started going to slumber parties, peer pressure is good for somethings.) I'd say I'm doing pretty good this morning.
One big impetus for me quitting drinking was my grandson, her big brother, I was getting scared to be alone with him and my drinking! It still bewilders me that I didn't quit drinking for my own children but I quit for my grandchildren. I think it was because I was becoming more incapacitated by drinking the older I got.

Whatever. The important thing is, I fixed it., and now I am enjoying the rewards of my hard work. Let me tell you, in case you're wondering, it's soooo worth it.  No regrets, not one, not one minute.

How the Heck Are You?