Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A new Callie Picture

Here is a picture of Callie on our hike today. Callie the snow dog. The sissy frup who sleeps under the covers by night and romps in the deepest snow and biggest mud puddles she can find by day! I have so much fun with her!

A new favorite meal

I just made the best meal.  I am a glorified foodie, and love flavor combined with nutrition.  I can't get myself to jump on the vegetarian bandwagon, sometimes I wish I could, but I am trying to eat better.  I just made Tilapia with asparagus.  It has chili powder and garlic powder, and gets fried up Cajun style.  The asparagus is steamed al dente and then finished in the pan the fish is cooked in with some lemon juice.  Just fabulous! And fast.  Ten minutes from start to finish!  I like that part too.  This will be added to my regular meal rotation.

Little Park Road

Callie and I went hiking this morning for the first time in a long time. I have several pictures, but can't figure out how to get them uploaded. This is a picture taken with my new Canon Powershot 12.1 MP camera. It really is a great camera. I'm thrilled. And we had a great hike to boot. It has been so miserably cold and snowy this winter that a break like today has been rare, so we made the most of it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Good point

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't!! Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Moments of Clarity

"...the hope that this thing can change.  No matter how long it has gone on, no matter how bad it is...Lives that are transformed inexplicably are interesting.  They are interesting for us to read about, they're interesting to ponder, they're interesting to meditate on.

"But more than anything else, they show us that what's right in front of us is not all there is.  There's something else going on out there...And that is grace."

I am a grateful recovering alcoholic who loves reading other alcoholics and addicts stories of recovery and success.  Christopher Kennedy Lawford wrote a fantastic book about his destruction and redemption in "Symptoms of Withdrawl".  I related to his story though his drug of choice was heroin and mine was tequila.  I have his other book, published last year, "Moments of Clarity" and I am enraptured.  Reading the stories of other addicts always gives me hope and reinforces in me my commitment and desire to stay sober and help other addicts achieve sobriety.  In reading the stories I was taken back to my own despair and hopelessness.  My feelings of having no way out, not wanting out, yet wanting out so desparately.  Not being able to find my way, feeling like there was no help, but it was all around me.  Destroying everything and everyone that came into my path.  Those are incredibly painful memories.  My drinking career was relatively short by some standards, but infinite in others, and it was destructive, unbelievably destructive.  Even when I wasn't a drinker, full or part-time, my life never made sense to me.  I clung to everything to try and make myself safe.  I tried to control everyone and everything around me.  Then I began drinking, and I began drinking more, and more, until I was drinking full time.  And the consequences were severe and I learned my lesson.  I got sober, and I got sober for the right reasons, and I am grateful.  And now my life makes sense to me and I am at peace.

I talk on a daily basis with other recovering addicts in formal and informal settings.  We seem to have a common theme:  to be accepted.  I don't know how that got twisted in our heads that alcohol or drugs could make us acceptable, but it seems to be a recurring topic.  I have a co-worker who is struggling with the painful emotions of her sons addiction.  I finally said to her one day, "once he figures out he is valuable, he will get sober because he will know he is worth it."  And then she told me the story of why he thinks he's not valuable and it breaks her heart.  I know that feeling and it was suffocating.  "I'm not worth it, I'm not important, I'm not valuable."  And then the other side I had unbelievable grandiose thoughts about who and what I was and wanted to be.  None of it made any sense and is the classic addict thought pattern.  What a relief to walk into the rooms of AA and be accepted.  Finally.  No matter what, I am accepted, and I know I am valuable.  No matter my twisted thoughts about anything, I am accepted.  I learned that I am valuable, even if in a small sense of the word and world.  I belong right where I am and everything happens for a reason.  In this book, the purpose is to bring addiction into the open.  There is a stigma and I understand that stigma.  No one wants to be around an addict who is active.  I know this alcoholic was explosive.  But we need to understand it at a deeper level and reach out to those who are still suffering because they are suffering in ways normal people can never imagine and they need our compassion.  I am grateful Lawford wrote this book and others were willing to share their stories and I hope it creates a dialogue of openness.  So does he.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Feeling Better

I'm feeling better today. I started planning my summer vacation. I'd like to take Callie and do a road trip to the southwest. It is actually a simple circuit when I looked at it. I just picked the places I wanted to go and it's a quick circle we can do in a week. I want to go to Moab for a night, then to Sedona for a couple of days and then I'd really like to visit Dogtown. Visit their website to learn more. It is a huge animal sanctuary in southern Utah that came to my attention when researching Callie. They took 22 of Michael Vick's dogs and have been working to rehabilitate them. They were instrumental in animal rescues after Katrina and have been on the ground in Haiti. This is an organization I can truly get behind: I'm a firm believer in shelter adoptions. They do the right things for the right reasons and I for one can support that wholeheartedly. The places I've picked to visit have pet friendly accommodations and no breed specific legislation. I have two weeks this year and I thought I'd take one week and hit the road with my favorite girl. She's pretty excited, except she doesn't know why :-).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Don't Quit

I'm not feeling well emotionally the last couple of days. Things seem to be moving at a snails pace, some things seem to not be moving at all, some huge disappointments have occurred. I read this quote I was given while in rehab, by my mother, oddly enough, and I carry it with me wherever I go and whenever I feel like this I read it; which fortunately isn't often, but it's happening in a big way this morning.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst
That you must not quit. Author Unknown

The big book talks about "trudging the road to happy destiny". Life was never promised to be easy, but I know this alcoholic often thought it should be easier than the Mount Everest path I chose. In order to avoid the hard challenges, I drank. I haven't done that for almost three years now, life has gotten easier in many respects, and more challenging in others. "The long period of reconstruction" of a life completely destroyed by alcohol is not simple, but I still have to believe, in the end, it will be worth it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fix the Income

I can't get my link to work (I seem to be having more problems with Blogger since switching search engines), so I have copied and pasted an entire blog post by Jamie Lee Curtis from the Huffington Post. It is an interesting opinion and I agree with much of it. What I found more interesting were the comments by readers about their viewpoints of the problem (to see the comments you have to go to The Huffington Post and click on the blog). I think many Americans have given up. They feel the system is too broken and it can't be fixed. It certainly won't be fixed by the people in office now (voting them out appears to do no good, more idiots seem to get voted in). The political machine has a strong selfish motivation for keeping the status quo. I know I feel pretty helpless. Mostly I just want to be left alone to live my life and feel powerless over trying to change a government that is irreparable.

How did this happen. When did it happen? Was it the crash or the Mad(off) men or the shock and awe of the (don't bet on the) banks and the bailout (rages)? What happened to the good old days? They were never that good, as each successive generation supplanted the one before. "Here Son, stand on my shoulders, reach for the stars." Higher and higher till you retired. A gold watch and a fixed income, yours for life. When did that change? What happened? A financial Mt. Everest that once was scaled has now let loose a tirade of snow and ice, slippery and treacherous, and we are all struggling for a foothold and purchase as we are pulled closer and closer to the edge. Many we have watched go over it.

Makes me think of Touching the Void, the stunning filmed re-enactment of the true story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates in the Peruvian Andes. After reaching the peak and during the descent, Simpson breaks his leg. As rescue is impossible they decide that Yates will attempt to lower Simpson down. As Yates was attempting to lower Simpson 300 feet at a time, the gradient went into a vertical drop and he was propelled over a cliff. While Yates was being pulled slowly toward the edge, his footholds slipping and no response coming from his partner hanging below, as a measure of self-preservation as there was no other option, he cut the rope. Simpson survived falling hundreds of feet into a crevice, causing more damage to his shattered body. When deep within the crevice with no way of possibly climbing up out of it Simpson makes the only choice he can. To climb down, deeper into the crevice. Dragging his broken body inches at a time, down darker and darker there was a crack of light through the ice and eventually he was able to make his way to it and out of the crevice. Now in the bitter cold and in abject pain he made his way, crawling, dragging himself miles down the mountain, over the frozen ground. In the pitch black of night in a howling storm he knew that he was near the base camp because he smelled shit. He had in fact crawled through what was their latrine area and was finally able to call out for help. His companions, who thought he was dead, and were leaving in the morning, of course saved him and they all survived.

I thought of this today as I heard another story of a broken dream of a financial life cut off. Another small business closing its doors, employees joining the growing unemployed and another dream gone. Cut off. Dropped. Fired. We are all crawling through shit. I am a lucky one. I anticipated. Probably because I am a child of show-off business and therefore know firsthand how dismissive Hollywood can be as a business, how fickle and ageist and chauvinistic and homophobic. I have seen lives destroyed, as people's careers were deemed dispensable and were disposed of. SAG sends off the sagging. I saved and lived way below my level and am fine. I will be fine.

I am thinking about the millions of workers who were cut loose by their partners, their government, their businesses, their bosses, their schools, institutions. The rope has been cut. One lost job creates another. Who is going to FIX THE INCOME? Who is going to allow people to age with dignity and safety, that there will be a cushion, a soft seat for them to grow old on, to care for them, to help them to assist the living?

Messages from the good old days? In Britain during the Blitz, the tube stations had a poster that the Government placed there, Keep Calm and Carry On. A simple message of hope and perseverance while the bombs dropped. I was given a replica for my 50th birthday. It makes sense. Carry on. Keep moving; but how can we tell that to a worker in Detroit with three kids who has to decide if he will buy his daughters medicine or food? The shuttered storefronts, the unemployment lines. The economy grew, but not in jobs. How can you fix the income? By keeping with the same team? By holding steady? By carrying on? By keeping calm? The Main Street that is often referred to in speeches needs repairs. There are potholes and cracks in the infrastructure. How about we start by fixing them? And our crumbling schools. And the crumbling infrastructure of our country. Fix the income and we will fix America.