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