Friday, December 31, 2010

Mulling In A Mowhawk

It's just before 9 in the morning and I've put a cheesecake in the oven (which set off the fire alarm halfway through writing this post, only to have me find the cord of dearest one's nearly new electric skillet heating itself up by being caught in the oven door!)and the makings of chicken stock in the crock pot. I'm also still in my pjs with my mowhawk morning hair waving to and fro. I can tell how much I toss and turn in the night by how big my mowhawk is in the morning. People who can get out of bed and comb their hair and be ready for the day - I envy them.

I've been awake for several hours in the night for 10 days in a row now. It's nigh impossible to wake up rested, no?

Today is youngest son's birthday. You can read about how his birth changed my life here and here. However old he turns is the forerunner of my sobriety birthday 3 months later. Sometimes I forget how long it's been since I had a drink only to think about how old he is and then I remember.

I've been mulling. That's the best way to put it. I can't seem to think of a darn thing to write about and neither do I have the urge to mull out loud here. I sent several of my blog posts to an old friend a few years ago. She told me that some of them sounded like they were written in persona and some sounded like my authentic voice. I used to spend 2 or 3 hours crafting a post. Now I dash them off and go on about my day. There is part of me that thinks not having anything to say is a good thing. But I miss the writing.

Sometime in this past week I clicked on this link which felt like playing Russian Roulette. The last time I wanted a saint for the year it hit way too close to the mark.

This year I got this guy. The original little blurb said he was the patron saint against drowning. Fitting considering the previous day I'd told my sponsor that I am scared in water over my head. The immediate thought that came to me when I read about his patronage was that I needed help not getting in over my head in the coming year. There are lots of ways to drown other than water. Such as the pile of papers on my desk.

Although if I feel myself going down hopefully it will be after a night of major tossing and turning. That way my mowhawk will be the last thing to disappear below the surface and you'll know it's me.

Photo Credit

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Big Silence

I've been watching this 12 part series over the holidays and have found it fascinating. I am hoping to do a three day silent retreat in 2011.

Best line so far:
"The God you don't believe in is the God that doesn't exist."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Belly Laughing In The Night

It's really early - I've been awake for an hour already. Maybe because today we're opening our Christmas presents? When I was a preschooler I remember getting woken up in the middle of the night by my older brother and sister to start opening presents.

I opened up a present that contained a doll before my Dad came and hustled us back to bed. Typing this I just realized only daughter is probably groaning at the thought of us opening our presents early. My reputation for not being able to wait for the actual day to give someone a present is well known. I get so excited I want them to open the present NOW!

We're travelling to see family for Christmas and decided opening presents in a hotel room just doesn't cut it so we opted to open them early. I only put the presents under the tree last night for fear that the dogs would mark them as their territory if given the chance.

If you want a belly laugh just click on this link. Some people won't find it funny, maybe even irreverent, but dearest one just had to come tell me to be quiet because some people actually like to sleep at night. I know it's going to be one of those things that makes me laugh every single time I read it.

And perhaps it's extra funny because once again I made it past the shortest daylight day of the year. Less than seven and a half hours of daylight yesterday. It is always a relief when that day is behind me.

After my last post I got in contact with my Spiritual Director. After writing some words of encouragement, he recommended that I go outside and make some snow angels in the snow. Which is another way of saying put rule 62 into effect.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I unlock the door and step inside, cool air hitting me as I kick off my snow covered boots and slip into my shoes. I haven't been here all month, Advent progressing without my presence.

Methodically I go about my duties in the silent church. I turn up the heat, pull the dust cloth off the altar. In the space of a few minutes I set up the altar, pour water into the font, place the Ciborium, the wafers, the water, the wine on the table by the entrance. I turn and dip my finger in the font and say a prayer.

I make my way to the fourth pew from the front. I kneel in the silence and solitude and tell God how ornery and resistant I feel. That I don't know why I am there, just that I am. After a while I am quiet, glad for the grace to be honest and raw before God.

Soon I can hear people stamping the snow off their boots, snow that has fallen every sinlge day this past week, as they come up the wooden steps of the church. They, too bring a blast of cold air in with them.

One hundred times out of a hundred that I come here I am the lector during the Mass. A pity party builds within me as I consider this. I rise and go to various neighbours, asking them to do the readings. I don't tell them I just want to sit in my seat, that I have no desire to contribute, that I don't want to do a thing.

We are few in number. Very few. A handful at best. It's Advent. There are four candles to light. When the priests finds out I'm not doing any readings he asks me to light one of the candles. I see several faces turned my way at his request. He's wrecking my firm intention to not participate. I tell him grumpily that I don't want to but I will. Harrumph.

So we process in and as we wait for the last strains of the entrance song to fade I consider how my orneriness is contributing negatively to the atmosphere. In my head comes a picture of Jesus and a small child. A small child having a whale of a temper tantrum with Jesus holding them by the back of their shirt, suspended in mid air kicking and hollering and carrying on, arms and legs flailing like an airplane hitting turbulence. Jesus can barely restrain himself from having an all out belly laugh. A small smile escapes my lips despite my resolve to be ornery to the end.

When my turn comes my candle won't light. I tip it and let wax drip away but still it resists the flame. The priest comes and together we get it lit. It glows faintly beside the others whose flames reach for the ceiling.

Eventually I thaw out emotionally enough to participate. I still feel the faint pressure of my heels digging in, not wanting to abandon myself to the moment. There is relief in prayer, even if its just to say that I feel empty, absolutely empty. At the end of Mass I consider Advent, the darkness I feel inside and out. Father Charlie has told me many times that beautiful flowers grow in the desert. "Fuck the desert" I think to myself. Been there done that as the saying goes. Every winter.

Soon the darkness will break.

Come O come, Emmanuel.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Little Things

It's a snowy and cold Saturday morning and I am grateful to be inside. It's snowed all week. So much so that dearest one and I stayed in town one night rather than brave the icy roads home. I am done work now until after the New Year and am grateful for some down time. I am the sports fan in this house and I said to dearest one earlier today, "I could watch sports all day." which would be a luxury to me. Normally I am in town on Saturdays as that's when my AA home group meets.

I have a pile of library books to read and some Christmas baking to do. Lots of little things to choose from to fill my day. I am grateful that it's the little things that make me the happiest. There's no big thing I'm chasing after. No, one day, when (fill in the blank) thinking going on. Today is what I have. I'm going to make the most of it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Six Years And A Freebie

Edited: Commenter Katie Rae won the draw for the hope bracelet. Katie - I'll be in touch! Thanks for all your comments and well wishes.

Six years ago today I wrote my first blog post. It was a few weeks after I'd been given a diagnosis for my health and felt quite discouraged that there was no magic pill to give me my life back.

I closed the year with this celebration. I began seeing someone for spiritual direction which quickly morphed into counselling. That trust relationship gave me the courage to eventually admit to myself and others that I struggled with this addiction. This is what one of my sessions often went like in those days.

I continued to struggle. I didn't change overnight.

If you have read me from the beginning you know I've experienced parenting nightmares,
spoonless days,
got back to meetings,
and did a radio documentary.

Eventually my chronic illness became less of a daily factor. (That sentence says so much.)

I continued to see my spiritual director.

Life went on.

I completed a life long dream. Although this much distance from that event humbles me. There's a long way to go before it's ready to submit anywhere for publication.

You journeyed with me as I faced the difficult work of healing from childhood sexual abuse.

When these two made their appearance you watched me become someone I never dreamed possible, one of those dog people.

The posts that get the most hits are for belly button birthdays and Thank You For Each Moment.

The one thing I rarely have posted about here is about this program. I post about it today in case someone comes across my blog because they are sick and tired of binge eating, white knuckling it, restricting their eating, any or all of the above. It is this program (which deals with the physical allergy to sugar/alcohol), combined with AA, that has given me a much more stable life. Sugar no longer calls my name and I am grateful.

The link I'm most pleased to have shared is about spoons.

The picture at the top of this post is of a bracelet made by my friend Ellie.

You can find more of her jewelry here.

I'm giving away a bracelet just like that one except it will have green stones because green is the symbolic colour of hope.

To enter the draw for the bracelet (hey lurkers, this includes you!)all you have to do is leave a comment telling me which blog post I linked to in this post you liked the best.
You might read them all, you might read just one.
You might like a different one than what's linked to here.
Just pick one.
I'll draw from all the names entered on the 15th of December.

Happy 6th anniversary to me!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

To Suit Myself

This morning I pulled the word smells from my word jar. Yesterday I pulled the word winter and decided I didn't like it (even though I promptly took a photo to go with it) so I changed the rules to suit myself.

I bet there are quite a few people in recovery (or not)out there who can identify with that tendency. Thankfully I'm changing the rules on something harmless. Before recovery, especially, I changed the rules on just about anything that didn't suit me and would like to change them for other people, too, to suit me as well. It's amazing that people cooperated but they did. The ones who didn't, didn't stay in my life too long. You know how that is, the healthier someone else is it can be like shining a flash light on your own sick state of mind and the light isn't too comfortable.

The smell that catches me off guard is when I'm doing dishes and suddenly it smells just like it does when one is camping and washing dishes in the open air. I love that smell. As soon as I notice it it seems to disappear and I am left wondering how it can appear and disappear so suddenly. The other day I recognized a smell that put me right back in the hallways of my high school. Then it vanished. And nothing beats the inky smell of a a new book. Hard to find that smell anymore.

I prefer the smells of nature to anything else. Far more than food, or perfume, or humans. How about you?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Sink Your Teeth Into Life

The word I pulled tonight is teeth.
I still have all of mine.
Save one I had pulled when I was a newlywed.
I was a teenager the first time I saw a dentist.
He was a crochety man. Grim.
No mercy.
I had 14 teeth with multiple cavities.
My dad's company had just supplied workers with benefits.
I spent that summer getting my teeth fixed.
I remember once giving the receptionist a cheque from my mom for $75.

That was a lot of money 35 years ago.
More than we spent on groceries per week for a family of seven.
I know that because sometimes my mom would send me to town
with the grocery list and a blank cheque.
I'd go to what seemed like a hole in the wall
in the grocery store and slide the cheque
through a little half moon opening,
where a woman would stamp it and slide it back to me.
Then I'd be free to go buy what we needed, give the blank cheque to the cashier, who would fill it out and give me the ticker tape to bring home to my mom.
She never had to choose between groceries and dentist bills but I bet it was close.

My own kids were much more fortunate when it came to teeth.
Our dentist told us he'd rather see our kids with their teeth fixed
than see our money.
They were just learning to read,
teeth dangling back and forth while they sat absorbed in a book.
Those teeth dangled
while their adult teeth tried to fit in their mouth, too.
He plucked them as need be,
trying to avoid the need for braces later on.
He was successful.
It took us years to pay the bill.
But we did.
He is still our dentist today.
Over 20 years later.

Tonight I am grateful for the gift of life.
A life worth sinking my teeth into.
Today brought news of two people we know
who've died this week.
That's now 6 people in the past 7 weeks.
Half of them sudden and unexpected.
It's a bit mind boggling.

Photo Credit

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not Written In Stone

When I wrote this post I copied the pages of word lists the author had supplied, cut out each word, and put all 208 of them in a jar. Today I reached in an pulled one out. I've said for nearly 30 years that give me a topic and I can write on it. That might be the only remnant of my journalism training.

Our professor would give us something to write about and it didn't matter if we knew anything about it or not, the assignment still had to be handed in. He was not above giving it back either, and telling us to do the whole thing over again, if it didn't come up to snuff. One time I did an interview which involved taking a bus to the outer skirts of the city only to find the man who I needed to interview very uncooperative. That assignment was handed back to me to redo. The man refused when I showed up the second time.

At any rate my word phrase today is locked doors. When I unfolded the piece of paper and saw those words an image flashed through my mind. I was six years old and had broken my arm. I was wearing a short sleeved knit red shirt. Funny what we remember. I was sent to my room to change shirts before I went to the hospital. No one helped me. My arm was broken up near my shoulder and I felt a little sick to my stomach as I tried to figure out how to get my arm out of one shirt and into another. I felt so alone and confused to be alone. I didn't know I could ask for help and no one offered. It took me 40 more years to learn it's okay to ask for help. Childhood messages are not written in stone. They can be rewritten.

At the hospital a nurse with a kind face gave me a gown and put me in a change room. She had blonde hair and a beautiful smile. She was the first one who I felt some sympathy from. Somehow I got locked in that little cubicle. Somehow she got me out. She put me in a wheel chair and took me to the x ray room. If I shut my eyes I can see myself laying on that cold steel table with just a gown on. The room seemed so big and I felt so small.

They were unable to cast my arm because of where the break was so I came home with my arm in a sling. The next day one of my classmates couldn't stop laughing when I told him I'd fallen off a three foot fence and broken my arm. I was sure my grade one teacher would excuse me from penmanship that day. No such luck.

For the last 40+ years whenever I find myself in a little cubicle I momentarily panic that I'm going to get locked in with no way out. Then I remember that I have a voice and can ask for help if I need it.

Photo Credit

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Walking Miracles

At an AA birthday celebration this morning we got to listen to a man play Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. Right there in the meeting room. Cool, eh?
We are all such walking miracles.
Every last one of us.
Amazing Grace, indeed.

Photo Credit

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Will Be Revealed

My previous post was number 1300.
I'm thinking of making a commitment to daily posting in 2011.
It was much easier to write posts when my life was full of issues.
Don't get me wrong.
I am grateful for a settled life.
And it's not as if I've arrived.
Lord knows I haven't and never will.

It just leaves me scratching my head about what to write about.

I've been reading this greatest book about being creative and writing called What It Is. AuthorLynda Barry has lots of thought provoking ideas in it.

I found it in the young adult graphic novel section of my public library after hearing the author interviewed on the radio. It looks like an innocent book. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a graphic novel. Weird term.

One little bit in it has haunted me from the first reading:
"An iceberg is a big chunk of ice that floats in the sea. Sea water is not clear. It hides most of the iceberg. In order to be safe from underwater danger, ship captains steer away from icebergs."

And then below that is the question "How is a thought like an iceberg?" She goes on to ask what thoughts are made of. Can one have thoughts without language? Is thinking voluntary or involuntary.

That kind of stuff sucks me right in. She has a new book about drawing, too.

Today I told a friend that I like reading books about writing nearly as much as I like to write. I've been frozen with fear quite a bit lately when it comes to writing. Facing how much anxiety I live with in most of my life, really. I would never have believed it had someone observed it about me out loud.

Actually someone did a few years ago and wrote it on my medical record and I was about as pissed as one can get when I read it. A few months ago I had a moment where I was facing a possible wretched outcome at work and the anxiety in my body wouldn't leave even after I had mentally worked through it. I asked myself when had I felt like that before and I knew I had lived in that state of anxiety my whole childhood. The awareness in that moment brought tears instantly to the surface. I thought I had worked through my childhood shit.

That episode prompted me to ask myself what would happen if I entertained the possibility that I live with anxiety on a regular basis. Kind of in the vein of "me thinks you do protest too much". I don't know if it's a relief to acknowledge it but at least I'm not spending energy fighting reality. At least that bit.

P.S. It was -42C with wind chill at one point today. That's -43.6F. Thankfully a chinook is on its way.


It's been bitterly cold. Weather we don't normally see until January. I am grateful to be inside today. The windows are frosted from top to bottom. I have a very vivd memory of sticking my tongue on the screen door frame whenI was about 6 years old. I had to wait for someone else to get to the house to rescue me.

I can't say I want to repeat that experience but sometimes I get tempted to see if it would still happen.

The Elk pictured above are no where to be seen this morning but they're warm somewhere.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Art Form of Sticking One's Foot In One's Mouth

"Tidiness is the art form of the non-creative." ~ wildlife artist Greg Beecham

If there is truth to that quote then judging by my desk pictured above I'm quite creative!

It's bitterly cold here today. So cold the Puglies won't go outside. Last night I took them for one last constitutional before bed and they both sat on their butts trying to get all four feet up in the air at once to keep from freezing. Needless to say I carried them both back to the house, each snuggled under an arm like a football. This morning the windows are frosted up to the tops and the sun is shining through making it seem like I have stained glass windows.

At least the weather gives me something to write about. I've had a full week with little down time. Gone for 12+ hours at a stretch. Three luxurious days lay before me with no plans to venture farther than the yard. Winter makes me feel like hibernating and my cave is rather full of stuff.

Once winter is here to stay, and judging by the snow and cold, it is, I feel closed in on, like my clothes are too tight except it's the house that feels too tight. Invariably this lead to me wanting to open the door and chuck most of my belongings out in a snow drift so I feel like I have more room to stretch. Contrast that with a sunny summer day when I feel like opening doors and windows to let the outside in! Same amount of stuff, same house, way different perspective.

I had a few places to stop yesterday to buy yet more stuff. Winter boots. Greeting cards. I am so grateful for warm boots in this weather. It was a spur of the moment buy as I have boots on order from the catalogue. But I couldn't face taking one more dainty step on snow and ice in my dress shoes. I'd already just about ended going ass over tea kettle coming out of a store the day before and this lead me to walking tentatively ever since. I'm the kind of person who would lay in the snow after a fall, declaring "You don't understand! I had to wait to buy them until they were on sale!" as they loaded me onto a stretcher. And I'd expect applause, too, for that ridiculous behaviour. Oh, come on, you frugal shoppers know exactly what I mean.

So there I was standing in line at the checkout counter, in my new furry lined knee high brown boots, buying a bunch of greeting cards when I put them on the conveyer belt at the exact moment that the clerk started that belt going into overdrive. It was like she was driving a car and her foot was stuck on the gas. I take a lot of time looking for just the right card and one of those cards had been the only one of its kind in the rack and I'd be darned if it was going to get wrecked by jamming up the conveyer belt.

I reached to save it and she just kept her foot on the gas. I grabbed that card and watched as the belt threatened to suck another card into that little space between belt and counter. I felt like I was playing Jacks and was scrambling to pick up the last Jack before the red ball stopped bouncing. At the last minute I grabbed up every last card, narrowly avoiding getting my fingers jammed in there when I said, "You're going to drive me crazy." You ever have that happen? Realize you've said out loud what should have stayed in your head and there is no going back? Not even on a conveyor belt.

The sound of my voice must have startled her because she suddenly let go of the belt drive button. She looked embarrassed to have been caught not paying attention. I was embarrassed to have spoken out loud what I thought I was only thinking. I kept my mouth shut after that for fear of sticking the other of my newly purchased furry boots in my mouth although I do think there's room for me to rest one of them up on my desk. Right beside the catalogue I ordered my boots from to be precise.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Entering The Cave

Second night this week that I am having insomnia.
It's been a good day.
Full of people.
Which has been strangely uplifting for this avowed introvert.

Winter is coming this week with cold temperatures and snow.

I do not feel brave about driving winter highways.
Not that I ever have but every year I feel less so.
But when you live in the middle of nowhere one has to drive to get anywhere.

So facing my fear of winter driving
is going to happen
whether I like it or not.
In the past few weeks I've come to see just how much
fear I have about most everything
and how it affects me on a daily basis.
Near 50 year habits are hard to break.

I'm not trying to fix that, just being aware of it.
Much better than repressing it.

Last night I woke from a nightmare with a start.
Waking past the point where one normally wakes up.
It was only when Something shouted at me in the dream
that I woke. I tried to stay awake then for a bit
because I was scared of going back into the dream if I didn't.

Tomorrow is another full day.
I hope sleep comes soon.
Sans the nightmares.

Photo Credit

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meant To Be

Today was a one foot in front of the other kind of day although I took a sick day because whatever is kicking my butt is still kicking. Didn't think my coworkers needed to be exposed to my germs.

Today another little piece of the puzzle, as my Spiritual Director calls them, was revealed to me. Snuck up on me only to smack me right in the face. An opportunity for growth. Lovely.

Ever since saying yes to God in the midst of early sobriety, I have been determined to embrace growth opportunities. Sometimes the hug is tentative and sometimes it's a bear hug. Either way it doesn't mean they don't scare the beejezus out of me sometimes. This is one of them. I'm trusting that stuff being revealed is stuff being revealed in its proper time, that it's not some random act but meant to be.

Photo Credit

Monday, November 08, 2010


Today contained one of those serendipitous moments that I credit to my HP. I had to look up the definition of serendipity before I could publish this post though. Does that ever happen to you? You hear a word used for years and understand it from the context in which it's said but if asked to define it you come up blank? That happens to me a lot.

Anyway, I've been sick since last week. I've been trying to shake it off, waiting for my immune system to do its work. Today I finally cried 'uncle' and went to the walk in clinic to get a throat swab. Let's hope this doesn't need antibiotics as I'm allergic to just about every single one of them. The person attending to me said she'd have to really think hard to come up with something I could take if the swab came back positive.

She was a medical personnel I'd known of who could be a great resource for one of my health issues. Today I asked her if she'd be interested and she said yes. She doesn't take new patients but was willing to help with this particular issue. I'm grateful for that. She is a wonderful advocate and having her in my court is a gift.

I am slowly learning how to be a self advocate, too. I've often either been worried I was inconveniencing people or I was on the defensive and came across as aggressive and demanding. There is something empowering about stating needs without apology or entitlement that I am grateful to be learning.

It's something I've learned was possible through the example of people in AA quite frankly. At first when people would simply say what they thought or set boundaries without apology and without throwing a hissy fit I wanted to duck before the war errupted. When there wasn't one (and I'm not saying this is normal or 100% happenstance in AA, cause I don't speak for AA, this is just my experience)it became a possibility for me, too.

So today I did a bit of a happy dance, sore throat and all.

Photo Credit

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Good Friends

There are three funerals I could go to this week. This morning there were two. Then I opened the paper over lunch and there were three. Remember this post? The man in that post died a few days ago. The poor people left in that family have lost a sister and both parents now. I cannot imagine.

Tonight I reconnected with a friend I rarely phone but we both knew two of the three people who died. She is one of those lifelong friends one has where you pick up where you left off and it's like it was yesterday that you last spoke. There aren't many of those kinds of friends in this life and I am grateful for her.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Me Nan

I am a bit of an X Factor addict. Every season I wait for the show highlights to be posted on youtube. Then every week after that I am waiting for my fix. The young girl below really captivated my attention even though her kind of music is not my own. I especially like the bit with her "Nan" towards the end of this clip. Just this morning I watched her vlog for this week and when asked what three things she'd want on a island with her one of them was "me Nan" because she said, "I can't live without me Nan." And I love that.

Everyone needs someone to love them so well especially while they are growing up. Some have parents who do that, or a friend, and many have grandparents. One set of my grandparents were that for me as a child. If you have time if you look on youtube for this young girl's live shows 1 through 4 you will see she really has talent. Her live show 4 mesmerized me.

Cher Lloyd - Live Show 1
Cher Lloyd - Live Show 2
Cher Lloyd - Live Show 3
Cher Lloyd - Live Show 4

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

End Of Story....Except.....

All the posts around the blog sphere today about voting in the US makes me think they take voting much more serious south of the border than we do in Canada, where there is a general apathy about it. Least that's my opinion. I admire the difference.

When I was a child my dad was approached by a provincial politician to enter the upcoming election as a candidate. I remember a big sign that was hung on the fence announcing to the community which political party we supported.

After my dad was approached we travelled to the provincial capital so he could spend the weekend hob nobbing with politicians. Money was tight so we pitched a tent in the pouring rain, in a campground 15 minutes outside the city. I remember my mom sitting in the car smoking her Peter Jackson cigarettes while three of us kids went inside a big city hotel with my dad to some kind of political gathering. There were ladies in fancy clothes serving fancy food. I don't know if it was pity or good social graces but they treated us like we were special. We were the only kids present. Soggy, bedraggled kids who had spent the weekend camping in a tent in the rain. We never went to another political function. My mom told my dad she would divorce him if he entered politics. End of story.

Except there was this big, blue, round building at the campground where one could buy candy and pay camping fees. People would gather there for a cup of coffee to shoot the breeze. I stood not much more than eye level to the candy counter and while my dad was visiting with the man behind the counter I reached up and stole a tiny Cadbury chocolate bar. It fit right in the palm of my hand. Inside it was two squares of delicious milk chocolate. I hid in the tent, water leaking from the roof and ate that chocolate so fast you would've thought I'd inhaled it. (A habit I never lost the whole time I ate chocolate!)

I doubt I wiped all traces off my face and I'm sure my mom had other things on her mind than wondering whether her kids were stealing candy. Like how it sucked to be stuck in a campground on a rainy weekend with 5 kids while her husband spent the weekend at political parties bull shitting with the candidates and possibly the former provincial premier. Looking back I doubt I would've given up a chance to meet Tommy Douglas either had I been my dad.

Fast forward 20 years. Dearest one and I are driving down the highway to our new home. And there beside the highway is that big, blue, round building where they used to have tiny chocolate bars for sale for a nickle. I could even remember exactly which camping spot was ours.

From then on we drove past that campground every time we went grocery shopping or had a doctor's appointment. One day, after I had sobered up, I stopped to make amends for stealing that chocolate bar. I have no memory of what followed. All I know is that I stopped carrying around the guilt and shame for my childhood crime. The adults around me as a child set all kinds of poor examples of morality but stealing wasn't one of them. It was a huge relief to make that amend.

Photo Credit

Sunday, October 31, 2010


"Most of us don't seek God during happy times. We seek God when we're in distress."

As the priest said this tears sprang to my eyes. Had I not been an alcoholic who's life was becoming more and more unmanageable every day would I have sought God? I'll never know the answer to that one.

Photo Credit

Friday, October 29, 2010


Once in a very long while I feel like I get a nudge from the Holy Spirit. Most of the time I doubt those nudges, unable to differentiate between it and my ego. My ego is great at masquerading as so many things.

But last night I was sitting at a friend's house and got a sudden urge to call another friend. I ignored it for about ten minutes and then excused myself to go use the phone and call. Tears on the other end of the line. There really is nothing I can say to a sorrowing person that will make anything any better. But I can listen. So I did.

Kindness is seriously under rated. When I hear people talk about so and so is destined to do Big Things For God I recognize my own ego inflation tendencies. My experience tells me it's much harder to be faithful in little things. Especially when I get hung up on thinking there's something bigger I should be doing. What rubbish.

I'm having a really hard time lately living in this day only. I constantly feel like I'm waiting for something. Right now it's for the time change next weekend. I'm not sure why I feel like an extra hour of sleep is going to change anything but in my mind it is. My whole growing up I was fixated on the next thing, never this thing right in front of me. It was the only way I could cope with my reality. I know my restlessness is temporary but it is not fun waiting for it to pass.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kisses From God

The solitude was wonderful yesterday.
Very restorative.
I puttered and cleaned and cooked.
I love cleaning in my pjs.
But yesterday I got dressed because a friend was coming over.
I looked in the mirror and decided my hair would pass muster.

My hair is poker straight and short.
Depending on how much I toss and turn during the night
it can look, as my sponsor's sister says,
"Like you stuck your finger in an electrical outlet."
It was as if I stuck half a finger in yesterday.
They don't call them rooster tails for nothing.

Today the sun shone for the first time in days,
guaranteeing the snow would melt although
more is falling as I type.

On cloudy days I try to remember that the sun is shining high up in the sky.
I imagine I'm in an airplane that breaks through the clouds to see the sun.
Today when I was on an errand
and realized the sun was shining bright,
I felt like I'd forgotten there was a sun.
Sunshine on my face feels like kisses from God.
Feeling that sunshine filled me with gratitude.

I used to think I could only be happy,
be truly grateful, if things were going my way.
If the planets were aligned as they say.
As if I have any control over planets aligning.
I sure tried.

This afternoon I had a chance encounter with someone
who it was nice to touch base with again.
So many times in my job I talk on the phone to the same
people over and over again and rarely, if ever, get to
put a face and name together.

It doesn't take many words to brighten someone's day.

Photo Credit

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Before Me

A day of solitude lies before me.
My first in 6 weeks.
Sometimes on days like this, I practice silence as well.
Well, except for the committee in my head.
They never shut up.
I've gotten much better at recognizing their voices though.
Voices of my ego, not of my soul even though they try to convince me otherwise.

The biggest difference between dearest one and I
is that he is a big picture thinker
and I tend to get bogged down in details.

I remember once a friend told me a story
of when they had company coming and her house was a mess.
Everyone flew to a task. Picking up newspapers,
clearing the table, vacuuming the living room, wiping down the bathroom.
And there was one of her daughters, expending much effort by
dusting each individual leaf on a rather large house plant.
My friend was utterly frustrated.
I understood her daughter's actions completely.

Which is why you might come to my house
and find things in disarray
but my bookshelf has every single book in alignment
like soldiers on a march.
While a pair of dirty socks (or more likely, one sock)
might be peeking out from under the bookshelf
ready to be a soft landing
for a book that will never fall.

I wrote this post while thinking of the bookshelf in my livingroom. Ha. Then I remembered the bookshelf in the spare room. This one may harbour a dirty sock. I won't be spending my day of solitude finding out though.

Which kind of bookshelf do you have?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sorting It Out

Today I sat in the parking lot before my AA meeting and just about put the car in reverse and left. I've never had such a strong resistance to going in. Thankfully a few things came to mind. One - that when you least feel like going to a meeting you should go and two - I've never regretted going to a meeting. So in I went.

I had sorted it out in the parking lot why I had such a strong resistance and I'll be hashing that out with my sponsor. I appreciate that she will tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. It's why I asked her to be my sponsor in the first place. She loves me whole heartedly and will not baby me one little bit. She has the biggest heart and a humble spirit. Her bullshit detector is keen.

I am grateful though, that AA is a place where I can go and tell my truth. Today I felt resistance to being here. I sat out there and just about didn't come in. If it wasn't for what I've heard around these tables time and time again I might have put the car in reverse and driven away.

I am grateful for a place to be fully human and still loved.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I was going to save this one until Easter but I couldn't wait. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And You Would Be.........?

I stopped by to see my sponsor on a whim tonight. As I got close to the road that leads to her house I said a little prayer and decided that dropping by to see her unexpectedly would be A-OK.

I drove up to her house and the lights were on. So far so good. One of her dogs came bounding up to greet me. That meant she was home. I rang her doorbell. I never ring her doorbell. I knock and then walk in. We have that kind of familiarity with one another. Her TV was blaring but she was no where to be found. I called. No answer. I slipped off my shoes and went looking. Her dog picked up my shoe and went to lay down and chew on it. As I called to him to give me back my shoe a voice said, "What are you doing in my house?" I looked around wondering where was my friend that she could see me but I couldn't see her.

That's when I realized the character on the TV show had asked me that.

Eventually I found my sponsor relaxing out back in her hot tub. I told her how her TV show lady was looking out for her. Lordy, we laughed and laughed.

Photo Credit