Friday, October 14, 2016

dragonfly kind of day

I went for a walk with Regis and Gus this morning, just as the sun was coming over the horizon. If it had been up to them, they would have gone 30 minutes earlier but then we might have missed this great cloud formation. A dragonfly in the sky. A symbol of transformation. Perfect.

I went to yoga this morning, then to coffee at River Rock. I feel like I have been to a really good church. Good friends sharing that namaste thing, then dark coffee and oatmeal cookies. Perfect.

It's been a fabulous fall, so far. I went to the fall festival at Gustavus with Tiffany and the little boys. The whole bunch of us went to the pumpkin patch last Sunday then came back here for soup and birthday cake to celebrate Zoey's 6th birthday. I love those family things.

I can't remember what came in this box, maybe the flame genie. We gave our chimnea away because it was too much work and we are basically lazy. The flame genie lights up using wood pellets and has a nice flame going in about five minutes. Nice. We love to sit on the patio in the evenings as the sun goes down.

One day this week, the day before it turned cold, I went up to the Arboretum and walked around the paths, taking pictures. I like the kind of photography where I just snap what I find appealing. I don't care about the damn exposure or the rule of thirds. I guess I really don't care about getting better. It's how I feel about my writing, too. I am not too interested in a critique. I just like to do it. That day, I was into patterns and shadows and chairs and close-ups of colorful things.

I'll take a few hours this afternoon to do some of the tasks of daily living. Like cleaning the cat box and doing dishes. Not my favorites. I'll make short bread cookies and chai at the end. In celebration of this day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

100 days of wicked recovery

We have had a minor shift in the weather since yesterday. I was sort of inclined yesterday to do some projects in the house. You know, like the dishes and maybe some laundry. But the weather was so beautiful and I just had a feeling we were coming to the end of it so I went to the Arboretum instead.

I sat on the swing for a while, walked the paths, took some pictures, and stared at the clouds. It was warm and peaceful and perfect.

This morning, Regis went for a walk at 6am. He said he heard the wind and rain slapping the window and decided that I would probably not want to venture out. He was right.

I am going to write this post and then go to the basement to forage for a winter coat, hat, and mittens. My exercise options this morning are to go swimming or to walk, inside or outside. I am choosing outside. What better way to blow some cobwebs out of the mind that a cold and windy walk.

Tomorrow will be the anniversary of 100 days since I last let liquor touch my lips. Well. except for the accidental taste at the Hooligan's concert. Tim said that doesn't count. So, happy 100 days to me.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

bad week for rodents we know

The other day I was tidying up on the patio. I found a garbage can filled with water and when I started to dump the water out, a fluffy tail floated to the top. Uh oh. I abandoned that task and reported to the dead rodent manager in our family. He investigated further and discovered a squirrel must have dropped in there and been unable to escape. I know squirrels are rodents, but it made me sad to think of the poor thing scrambling to get out of there.

This morning on our walk, we saw these beautiful cloud formations. I think they are called mare's tail clouds but none of the pictures I found on google were quite this nice. I love the frames around them.

As we passed one of the buildings on the edge of town, Gus got interested in a rat poison thing. We hollered to get him to leave it alone but he sure was curious. As we got closer, we saw a poor rodent (maybe a gopher but I don't want to start that controversy again) was stuck in it up to his shoulders. He had probably been eating the poison pellets so to liberate him would have done no good.  Damn. A very bad week for rodents we know.

We're having a very nice Sunday. Tom and Betty are coming for dinner. I made Cuban bread, we have ribs on the grill, and new red potatoes ready to roast in the oven. Happy October!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

early saturday morning october first

I'm drinking my favorite coffee, Wake the Dead.

Gus has been out and has been fed. Woodrow has been fed and has had his treats. He reminded me by politely knocking the container off the counter and then giving me the evil eye. You dare not forget or make him wait.

I spent Friday night watching a program on television about tiny houses, then one (several) about people buying vacation homes on the ocean. Both could make you crazy. If you want to be reminded of the great diversity in human beings, this is a good place to start. 

There was a young couple with three kids under the age of six, and one on the way. They were planning to take their entire family in a house of less than 300 square feet on the road to tour the country. Everything she said, he responded with, "That would be a lot of work." That would have been enough for me to commit an act of verbal violence. They finally settled on a moldy old school bus that had been made into a camper where they would have to shower while standing in a small galvanized tub. I don't see this ending well.

The other show illustrated the other end of the spectrum. These people could not possibly live with black appliances or granite counter tops. I told Regis we would be fairly boring contestants on this show. Yup, that's fine. Yup, that's fine. No tantrums over paint color or flooring. I guess this is why HGTV doesn't come knocking.

It's October 1st. I thought it would take me the month of August to get my feet on the ground after my unfortunate incarceration. (I don't view it that way but the phrase tickles me greatly.) Turns out, it has taken me the month of September, too. I know people who have gone back to full-time work. One of my friends is leaving for Thailand next week to tutor monks and refugees, I am trying to get my dishes done every day and not take a three hour nap. Another case where I just have to lower my standards.

I have accomplished a few things but not much that shows. I have yard work to do, house projects to do, things to organize and sort and delete. Sigh. Maybe a tiny house wouldn't be such a bad idea.

It must be hunting season for some poor critters. I am awakened every morning to the sound of gun shots. A friend of ours, Marie, said to duck when we are on a walk. You never know when one of us could be mistaken for a goose. 

Bill Murray was asked what it's like to be him. I love his answer.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

More stories to come

I drove to Canby on Friday to make lefse with Mom, a sister-in-law, and two cousins. We had a great time and lots of stories were told. I took a walk Saturday, past the places I remember from my youth. Like this one. 

I'm typing this on my phone at the music festival. I am not a one-finger typist, so this will be short. 

Rock Bend Folk Festival

It's been a wonderful weekend. The weather is perfect, the mosquitoes took a vacation, the music is great, and the park is filled to the brim with happy people. 

Yesterday, we collected almost twenty stories.  Some about water, but we had no rules. I think there is one entitled The Fart Heard Round the World. And so it goes. 

We'll be here another day, soaking up sun and music and magic. 

Friday, September 09, 2016

Testing email blogging

It's going to be a busy weekend with a road trip then Rock Bend Folk Festival where our project, 600 Words, will occupy a booth to collect stories. The weather forecast is glorious so what could be better?

I'm testing my ability to post pics and text via email so I can post "from the road"! See you on the inter webs.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

update, as i promised

Update Saturday, September 3

Today is my 60th day of sobriety. 

I went to an inpatient program on July 5th and spent 30 days there learning about addiction, reflecting on my experiences before and after my addiction reared its head, sharing things about my life and sharing in the revelations of others, and developing a 30 day foundation of sobriety. It was a profound experience in many ways.

For the most part, sobriety has not been difficult for me, so far. It might get more difficult, certainly, but at this point I am grateful that I have had few urges to drink and those have been fairly easy to deal with.

Yesterday, I subbed in a special education classroom in the same school where I taught for most of my career. At the end of the day I went home feeling a little out of sorts and at loose ends. What do I do with a sober Friday afternoon? I settled on 30 minutes of hatha yoga with a DVD and then a nice dinner out with my husband. I had planned to make dinner but I thought the late afternoon being in the kitchen trigger might be just too much! After dinner we went for a walk as the sun was setting.

Exercise has been an important part of my recovery plan. I walk, swim, do yoga, and I think I might do some biking this fall.

Speaking of which, I learned that a recovery plan is often quite fluid and will not look the same at six months that it did at 60 days. Mine certainly has been fluid. It doesn't look anything like the one I developed in my last week of treatment. As I read about the ideas of massive action and overwhelming force that are required for success, I am developing my recovery plan based on what I think that means. Massive action = daily habits that support recovery.

After much reading, I have decided to use the five areas of holistic recovery to plan my recovery plan's daily habits:
1. Emotional health- Includes AA meetings, Women for Sobriety, family support, and my after-care program
2. Physical health- Includes exercise, healthy diet, regular check-ups with oncology and primary care to monitor over-all health and especially liver functions and red blood cells
3. Mental health- Includes volunteer activities, recreation and hobbies (writing, exercise, reading, cooking, education, music, and art
4. Social health- Includes contact with sober friends I have met through inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, AA, and WFS as well as any family and friends who support me in my sobriety (Third Thursday Potluck, Friday afternoon friends, coffee group after yoga)
5. Spiritual health- Includes meditation and prayer, yoga 2-3 times/week, daily walks, journal and blog, happiness practices

Some categories are very broad and some activities overlap two categories. The thing I like about this is that I can use it for flexible planning of daily activities to support recovery and I can also use it as a way to assess throughout the day if I am doing things in each category. As the day winds down, do I need work on my spiritual health or my social health? Do I go for a walk or do I call a supportive friend?

In September, I can go down to two times a week at my outpatient group. The counselor told me I could pick the days, Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday but I think what I will do is make a monthly calendar so I can be flexible. If one week, I have Digital Photography Club on a Thursday, I can attend group on Monday and Tuesday. I don't want to skip a night of group with nothing to replace it.

This week, I wrote a relapse plan. I watched the documentary Memo to Self and learned that it's good, when I am strong, to plan for when I am weak. My relapse plan has a 1-10 scale of risk of relapse with ten being active drinking. At a couple places along the continuum, there are people to call and things to do. The relapse plan is not negotiable. If I am drinking, this is what we will do immediately. It's a little bit like an insurance policy.

I made it through some difficult things this week- the death of a friend, the serious illness of a child I know, working two days with the subsequent feelings from that, news of several relapses, and some health disturbances without drinking.

I am enjoying my sober life and I am grateful for each day.

P.S. And of course, I have binders for this information. And file folders, dividers, plastic sheet liners, charts, and checklists. It's what I do.