Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
My protagonist also helped me get through Step 4. It would make sense that my hero is a woman in recovery. It is simply what I know because I've lived with it on my sleeve for the past year and some months. I'm told that's common in the first couple of years. It is right out there in front, who you are now, as opposed to the hell you were before. Then, somewhere it becomes magically ingrained into a part of who you are always. Still the number one priority, but not living, sleeping and eating it. Anyway, I'm glad she showed up. She is a good character and a good person, and I like her. She has helped me view my character defects and learn to let go of them and of the past...there are so many things I wish had been different...but they are what they are and I can't change it. I wish I could forget it, but I can't do that either. It has pivoted me and made me look at life and men very differently. I look at a specific person and their agenda and I now have no room for anyone else in my life who has a total disregard for another human being that they say they love, but whose life is not important except to further their own selfish, blurred goals. I am all too happy to let go of that past, but still can't help wishing it had never happened. I guess that is the cross I bear.
I've gotten clear on people's motivation by watching others, and by reflecting and then by writing about it. The question was posed on the NaNo Website "what writing means to you?" It means everything to me. It is a safe place for me to go, and uncover, discover and discard any thoughts and beliefs that I may have that could be distorted. It also helps me tell the truth in ways I never can express verbally. It helps me see people for who they are, for what motivates them, for what drives them.
This has been a really good project, and I am very glad that there were many thousands of other NaNO's who suffered the grueling word count with me!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Which makes me intensely thankful. I survived the hell of my drinking, and by all indication of my history, I shouldn't be here at all. Because I am, I am completely thankful to whatever it was that saved my life. I don't often sit and wallow in my gratitude, my life is simply far too busy for that. And for that I am also thankful. I have the capacity to be able to live a life that about two years ago, I never thought was possible or even cared about trying to attain. I am not rich, but it's not all about money for me anymore. It's about living a life I love.
We spend a lot of time in meetings talking about gratitude. I find myself wandering through my day, and pausing for a split second to say "thank you" to God, the Universe, my guardian angels (who I must have completely exhausted in my drinking craze) and then going on with my day. Life runs in a Good Orderly Direction most days and I am glad to be here to be a part of it and grateful I have the ability to really appreciate every single second.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I made the pictures I've taken over the last year my screen saver on my confuser. I was noticing that it was taking some of the pictures and projecting them in black and white, so I decided to see what I could do with my photo illustrator. I took a picture I had of Ozzie, this was about a month before he died, and played with it. It's not great, but I don't have a top of the line camera. But the black and white really brings out his grey muzzle. Boy I miss that dog! I just had to post this old picture of Callie because she's sooo CUTE!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
In my reading recently, the last two fiction books I've read have protagonists who are overcoming addiction, one alcohol, the other Oxycontin. In the first book it was clear to me that the author didn't understand addiction at all. This person may have interviewed addicts for the book, but didn't pay very good attention. The second book, the author nailed it. Either they understand addiction from a first person point of view, or payed very close attention when interviewing addicts.
The book I'm reading now is Eric Clapton's Autobiography. Here is a man who understands walking through the complete hell of addiction and living to walk out and tell about it. He nails for me the definition of my addiction. I just have to quote it here:
"I just assumed I was in some way immune to it and that I wouldn't get hooked. But addiction doesn't negotiate, and it gradually crept up on me, like a fog...It was so insidious, it took over my life without my really noticing." He goes on to describe how his loved one's attempts to help him were a complete failure until he was ready. Then, even though he was ready, it wasn't that simple. I remember the first time I got sober it was not simple. It took everything I had to move forward. When I relapsed, I thought I had beaten addiction and could "manage" it. Yes, I managed myself really well...right into homelessness, bankruptcy and complete and total humiliation.
Now I understand the power of addiction, and I love reading about other addicts who are recovering. Our stories are so similar. It is, however, their journey, and I am grateful that they are willing to share it so openly. And the thing that continues to amaze me is that even though we are different people, addiction is the same for all of us.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This is important because it shows a little of the story of my Grandma Lowe. During the depression the Kenner's (Grandma's maiden name, and Dad's middle name) lost their home in Boulder. They moved to Estes Park and my great-grandpa worked with the WPA building the highway between Boulder and Estes Park. Trail Ridge Road construction began before they arrived in Estes Park and was completed while they were there and Grandpa was working on the highway project. Grandma was in high school and got a job working at the visitors center at the top of Trail Ridge Road. We call it "the top of Trail Ridge". The visitors center sits at the top of Fall River Pass (11,794). She worked up there for three summers as I remember her telling. One of the attractions at the visitors center was the Indians who made incredible jewelry.Grandma has some supremely beautiful pieces that she has worn through the years. She recently gave Mom a silver bracelet that is engraved from the Indian gentleman who made it "with love". She gave Mom a bracelet to give to me that has a singular turquoise stone in the middle. The engraving is intricate and fine, the silver thick and sturdy, not like the silver I've bought in Mexico on my visits there. I am grateful that Grandma felt confident enough in me to share such a beautiful piece of jewelry and some of her history with me. I am truly touched.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Isis, a 5-year-old American Staffordshire terrier mix, can't ride in the car without being enclosed in a locked crate and is not allowed to roam her backyard without supervision.
Today, Vianzon Sasek's lawsuit challenging the city of Aurora's pit-bull ban goes to trial in U.S. District Court in Denver before Chief Judge Wiley Y. Daniel.
The case was filed on her behalf by the American Canine Foundation, a Washington state-based group focused on protecting the rights of dog owners and promoting responsible dog ownership.
Vianzon Sasek's lawsuit says that Aurora's ban on the breeds is unconstitutional, that the ordinance is vague and that the law was passed unnecessarily.
In February 2006, the Aurora ban went into effect, targeting several breeds that are considered pit bulls or dogs that have the physical characteristics of pit bulls.
Vianzon Sasek owned Isis before the ban and is allowed to keep her dog if she complies with certain rules, such as erecting a 6-foot fence around her property and paying $200 a year in licensing fees.
Aurora's restricted-breed ordinance already has been challenged in state court and was upheld, said Aurora's City Attorney Charlie Richardson.
A similar legal challenge to Denver's pit-bull ban is pending before the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Judges in Utah, New Mexico, Washington, Arkansas and most recently, Ohio, also have upheld pit-bull ordinances.
"I am very hesitant to comment on the merits of the ban on the eve of a federal trial," Richardson said. "However, we will, of course, provide evidence to the court that our restricted-breed ordinance was and is lawful."
Aurora passed the ban shortly after the city and county of Denver adopted their own ordinance after a series of attacks involving pit bulls.
The American Canine Foundation reviewed incident reports from Aurora in 2003 to 2005 that showed almost 2 percent of injuries from canines were attributed to dogs that were classified as pit bulls. The other 98 percent involved breeds ranging from Jack Russell terriers to a St. Bernard.
City statistics show that in 2006, there were eight restricted-breed attacks on humans, compared with 123 attacks by other dogs on humans.
Last year, there were 11 attacks by restricted breeds on humans and 150 attacks by other dogs.
Glen Bui, a co-founder of the foundation, believes the city should focus on behaviors of individual dogs rather than an entire breed. He also said that owners like Vianzon Sasek, who are most likely to comply with the ordinance, are not the problem.
"The law does nothing to target illegal activity like dog fighting," Bui said. "Because (some owners) are criminals, they are not going to follow a breed-specific law."
Vianzon Sasek says she didn't want to move out of Aurora because her son is attending a charter school that was tough to get into. She also didn't want to give up her beloved Isis and decided to do all she could to comply with the ordinance while she fights it.
"It's an emotional thing," Vianzon Sasek said, while petting Isis in her living room last week. "Who wants to touch a dog with a muzzle on?"
Here is the comment I posted on the Denver Post web site: I can't believe that the government has ever thought that breed specific legislation was going to work. Glen Bui is right, some owners are criminals, why would they be interested in following any law, much less one that bans their breeds that they use for despicable criminal behavior? Pits are incredible quality dogs, but they are only for good quality owners such as Vianzon Sasek. They are smart, they excel at almost any task they are given, and they have been given a seriously bad rap because they have been used for illegal activities so many years. When are people going to get that we humans are the problem with most pets, and passing more laws will not fix stupid human behavior. Sadly, we can't euthanize stupid humans who have no conscience, morals or values, therefore we often take very innocent lives that cannot defend themselves.
Callie very likely has some American Stafford Shire Terrier in her. She has the ears, the tail, the muscle bound build. Would I have gone out and deliberately picked a Pit Bull as my pet? No. I didn't know enough about them, and I have been leery of them as well. There is one in my neighborhood that I avoid, not because he has ever shown any aggression whatsoever; however, I have seen how his owner treats him, and don't want to be around him when his owner isn't there, or even when his owner is there. I also know that our local humane society routinely adopts out Pits, and have been told they make incredible pets by the owners who have adopted them. And I am lucky enough to now be experiencing that for myself. Spaying and neutering is critical for many reasons, not the least of which is stopping the spread of over population (we should do that with many humans as well), but owners have told me that they believe it essential to tame any kind of aggression in any dog who has hormones raging through their bodies. Sadly, Pit Bulls are a target, and it violently unfair. Thank God for the individuals who have gotten involved in rehabilitating Michael Vick's dogs. I hope it works to change some perceptions. I have forever believed it is never the dog, it is always the owner. Most others who have commented on the article have agreed with me. Sadly, if I ever wanted to move back to Denver, I can't simply because I have Callie, and their law has been upheld, and I won't leave my dog. As a responsible owner, it is my job to care for her, exercise her, manage her behavior, and always remember that above anything else, she is a dog, and as with any dog, she has the ability to attack for whatever reason, but it is extremely rare that an attack comes out of absolutely nowhere.
On a side note: I was reading about Michael Vick saying that he intends to sign with an NFL team upon release from prison. It will be a very sad day if an NFL team even considers him after what he did. Two years in prison was simply not enough. The fact that he thinks he has the possibility of playing ball again shows me how little conscience he has and that he very likely believes he did nothing wrong. That makes my skin crawl. The pictures I have seen of the dogs are very sweet, and they are lucky. The people working with them understand dogs, dog behavior and know how to meet them where they are. I am impressed.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
So far it has all been a good experience. I think a strict deadline like what we have from NaNo writing Gods is important. It at least keeps me focused on task and marching forward one pain in the ass word at a time. The really great part about it is that I'm actually coming out with a story. It's a REALLY bad story, but it's a story. I'm learning more about plot, dialogue, story arc, and method in this amazingly short time frame. I have been writing for years (well...really whining into my journal - especially when drinking), spending a fortune on writing books about method, dialogue and character development. But I have never really fleshed out a story. As I said before, I have started hundreds and my inner critic always stops me dead in my tracks. With this 30-day deadline, my inner critic has no time to chime in...actually he does, but my deadline editor smashes him over the head with a sledgehammer and we keep rolling. I know the real work comes after the first draft. That is when the critic's voice is important and the revision princess needs to put in her nickel. But the purpose of this one month and this group is to get it written. Get the draft out our heads and onto the page. I can really see why this has been an ongoing success for the past ten years. It works. Power in numbers and power in peer pressure.
Exhaustion aside, I believe that when I cross the finish line I will have one more tool in my toolbox that I can hold up and be proud of. I finished a manuscript. I think that will be as good of a feeling to me as my one year birthday in AA...maybe not! But close.
On another note, I am going to owe Callie something really seriously neat. She has been incredible so far. She has tolerated shortening walks so I can sneak some writing time before work, less fetch and my just plain ignoring her at times as I'm writing. Sometimes I look over and she has every single toy out of her toy box and is laying in the middle of them trying to figure out which one she is more interested in. She has really wanted Abbie to play with her, but Abbie, the crank, wants none of that (it may cut into her eating time). I'm glad my little girl is a good girl. We have gone to Devil's Canyon twice since I've started this, but I think something really big is in order for December. Maybe the Mesa. We'll see. She hasn't experienced snow yet, she may really decide she likes it!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
My girl has hit her teens...and I'm paying the price.
Really, she is still an absolute joy. She has gotten really good on the leash, has quit trying to jump on people walking by, comes when called (most of the time), and is my favorite little hiking buddy.
I worked for now Congressman Perlmutter when he was the Colorado co-chair for the Kerry committee in 2004. Senator Kerry's ability to make his stance on tough issues perfectly vague to the American people was mind boggling. There was no winning that election, and in the end the democrats blamed it on the inability to defeat a standing President during war time. Sure.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I always knew that he had been a prisoner of war in World War II, I don't know how, I'm sure I heard it when I was very young, but he never talked about it. For most of my life I have believed that he didn't talk about it because it was too painful. Maybe it was. But a couple of months ago, my mom told me that actually when the war was over and everyone came home, they were interrogated, debriefed and ordered not to discuss their experience during the war. I remember grandpa talking to dad a couple of times about it much later in life, and during the holidays he always said, "In December 1944, I was a guest of the Germans for Christmas and my meal was bread and tea," and then he'd chuckle. I know he saw some incredibly awful things, and may have been subjected to some while a "guest of the Germans", but he never said much other than discussing a death march they were scheduled to take, but knew the allies were coming and somehow were able to put it off and were liberated shortly after. My facts are sketchy and very possibly not entirely accurate. I do know he was captured at the Battle of the Bulge, he spent three months in a POW camp in Berlin, he came home after the war and was awarded a Purple Heart for a wound to his hand.
So I checked out the facts of the Battle of the Bulge and below is what I found:
The coldest, snowiest weather “in memory” in the Ardennes Forest on the German/Belgium border.
Over a million men, 500,000 Germans, 600,000 Americans (more than fought at Gettysburg) and 55,000 British.
3 German armies, 10 corps, the equivalent of 29 divisions.
3 American armies, 6 corps, the equivalent of 31 divisions.
The equivalent of 3 British divisions as well as contingents of Belgian, Canadian and French troops.
100,000 German casualties, killed, wounded or captured.
81,000 American casualties, including 23,554 captured and 19,000 killed.
1,400 British casualties.
800 tanks lost on each side, 1,000 German aircraft.
The Malmedy Massacre, where 86 American soldiers were murdered, was the worst atrocity committed against American troops during the course of the war in Europe.
My division, the 106th Infantry Division, average age of 22 years, suffered 564 killed in action, 1,246 wounded and 7,001 missing in action at the end of the offensive. Most of these casualties occurred within the first three days of battle, when two of the division’s three regiments was forced to surrender (John Kline).
Our American Soldiers were hailed as hero's after this war, Korea and Vietnam were very different stories, as is Iraq and Afghanistan. We did not start World War II, but we finished it with the help of our world allies. We likely shouldn't have gone to Korea or Vietnam, but we did. We didn't start the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, though many think otherwise. Sadly, I don't believe the war we are in now is giving our soldiers the credit they deserve as hero's. I don't believe they are hailed with the accolades that are much deserved. It is a shame. And I think that Americans don't want to be where we are now. I know I don't, but I am also clear that the terrorists will not stop coming. They are patient, cunning and methodical, and will wait for the right opportunity. It has been reported that 9/11 was seven years in the planning and execution. The sad fact is, had we approached World War II differently, we may not have been able to stop Hitler either. World War II was a popular war because we had been attacked on our soil and we stopped it from ever happening again, or so we thought. Our enemy now has more stealth, and they won't stop just because we may decide to leave them alone with our new administration.
I thank all of the Veterans, living and dead for the freedom I enjoy to live the life I live and am grateful there are hero's everywhere around me.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
The great thing about his talking thousands of others into participating in this self-imposed torture is that there are plenty of people to commiserate with. Not only do we do this willingly, we actually love it! Case in point. There is a regional group here that meets on Thursday's at Barnes & Noble. So I went out to see how many actually showed up. There are 35 on our regions list, which means that several are in outlying areas of the Grand Valley, and work schedules (like mine) can keep them from going every Thursday. But there they were, eight of 'em around a table in the coffee shop with their various sized laptops (from colossal screens, to itty bitty, like my Alphasmart) and one lady actually doing her writing by hand (I hope she has a giganto supply of Aspercreme)...more power to her...at least she's doing it! They were working away, encouraging each other, helping each other and getting the work done. No doubt in my mind, there simply is power in numbers! I can't meet with them this Thursday as I work, but I can touch base online and that in itself keeps me going.
The more I do this, the harder it is, the more I know others are subjecting themselves to the same thing, the more encouraged I am that I can actually start a story and complete it. And that's my biggest challenge. I have started hundreds of stories, novels, epics, Pulitzer contenders :-), and never got them done. This is where I lean on the power of the group. Same as in my sobriety. The power of the group helped me up and holds me up. It is really exciting, fun and great to give myself this new challenge!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
The car backed out of the car wash bay, continued onto a highway and then looped around before coming to a stop at an automated car wash lane.
Crittenden said the vehicle was impounded because its owner was unable to provide proof of insurance.
Because the dog was registered with the city, Crittenden said the owner was allowed to walk the pooch home.
I'm thinking the dog just didn't like the car wash lane his owner picked. My aunt and uncle live in Pryor, OK. It's a cute little town northeast of Tulsa. I wonder how many other dogs have been driving around this little town much to their owners chagrin.
Lab testing confirmed a genetic match between the bacteria. Health officials suspected elk droppings as a potential source of the exposure. It's not known how the elk were infected.
Elk droppings can be found virtually everywhere around Evergreen, including near homes and schools. For that reason, health officials issued warnings to students to not eat on athletic fields and to wash their hands after being outside.
Yes, parents need to tell their kids that those piles of brown things laying in fields in and around Evergreen aren't Raisinets.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Now through sobriety I am rebuilding. Some relationships did survive, some are thriving, others are new. My life is generally in order and manageable today because every single day I make a new choice. I choose sobriety above all else. Nothing good ever came from the bottom of a bottle. That was what I shared today. I made a choice every single day to drink. The problem with my alcoholic mind was I didn't think I had another choice. "God, I have to have a drink to stop shaking." "God, I have to have a drink to be functional." I never had just a drink. It was truly sad and it is still heartbreaking for me to think about what happened, but I do think about it, every single day. And every single day it reinforces for me that only through the universe looking out for me, and the choice I made to make a different choice, I am sober. The possibilities while drinking were few. The possibilities because I'm sober are infinite. That is my choice. The world I have created for myself in sobriety is a pretty safe world. There are many things that are out of my control. It is the things that are in my control that I now choose to focus on. Is my life perfect? Far from it. This is what is certain today: Because I am sober I have a life today, and I am truly grateful for everything I now get to do and every possibility of what I can be.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Synonyms - Absurd, bizarre, crazy, fanciful, fantastic, foolish, insane, nonsensical, unreal, wild, and my favorite farcical!
I don't know why, but I was looking at this word this morning and picturing Teddy Roosevelt running around the United States, with his cigar in one hand, spectacle, pointing his finger in the air and yelling "That's preposterous!" I must have seen something somewhere that this reminds me of it.
Monday, November 3, 2008
1930s EDUCATION - The entire town was enthused about the 1936 Grand Junction High School Tigers football team. They made widespread sports news as they played an entire season without being scored upon. The toughest game was in Salida. A special train carried fans to the meet which the Tigers won, breaking Salida’s winning streak of 39 games. The 1936 season total was Tigers 506 to 0 for their opponents. Rah Rah Tigers! (1937 Grand Junction High School Annual)
This is very cool. Thank you so much Suzy for finding it! This was from my posting a few days ago that talked about Grandpa Lowe's death. This is an exciting piece of history. Grandpa is number 18 in the picture. Other than less hair and more wrinkles he didn't change much through the years. He was interred at Fort Logan Last Friday. He served in the Navy during World War II, stationed in Washington D.C. Mom and Dad told me that the Navy branch is burying 26 soldiers itself at Fort Logan each day. We are losing our hero's fast, let's be grateful we had them!
One of the things I find is I am have trouble sitting in the minutiae. You have to have a certain amount of detail, I know other writers do it really well, but I imagine it's tedious for them too. What I have to remember is that if I do the appropriate amount of detail it increases my word count!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I live such a sheltered little life...I thought Studs Terkel was a figment of Garrison Keillor's imagination. I just heard a skit on NPR yesterday with Garrison's character calling Studs Terkel. How funny.
I need to get to a big city more often and expose myself to people and culture.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
The blue laws in Colorado were lifted in July. That means that liquor stores can be open on Sunday and grocery stores are able to carry more than 3.2 beer. So far our grocery chain has not added more choices and I hope they don't. It's not that I'm worried about my drinking, my being tempted, my issues, because really I just don't focus on booze anymore for myself other than to attend my meetings and talk about alcohol related topics that help keep me sober. Frankly, I don't want us to carry it because I don't want the responsibility. There are a lot of active drunks out there and they frequently do what I did, come to the store drunk and try to buy more booze. I've had to kick people out for being publicly intoxicated on a couple of occasions (I had one guy tell me to call the cops because he thought he had a right to buy because he was walking...they gave him a ride home sans the beer), and I don't want to deal with it anymore than I have too right now. I think the store feels the same way. We are a grocery store, and yes, it would be nice to grab a bottle of wine to have with dinner without having to stop two places, but our problem is the career drunk. I'm not judging, I was one to the worst degree. I just don't want to deal with people like I was, although, I have to say, they reinforce my sobriety each and every day.