Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Still standing...

How has it been 2 weeks since I last put up a post? Sigh.

Well, we're still standing and the tree is still there and everyone is still speaking to each other, I think. I think but I'm not sure.

My husband gave me the best gift on the 23rd by taking our daughter out of the house for a few hours so I could wrap and clean. I only needed 2 hours, but he gave me 4. By the time they came home I was actually missing them and a little worried. Still, I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders and was grateful for the peace he gave me.

On the 24th we saw my mother. We picked her up, called the restaurant to be sure of a table, and went out for lunch. Then we stopped at a grocery store, and finally came up to our house. The whole process took longer than we expected, but it went fine. Everyone behaved mostly, in spite of a few rude comments from my mother. My mother gave us exactly what we had asked for regarding gifts, with only a few weird things thrown in. In the end she decided she didn't want to go to church after all, so I drove her home just before suppertime, and then found a parking lot with internet so I could check a few things online. When I got home, I ate some dinner, and put my daughter to bed. Did my Santa thing later in the evening, and actually got some sleep.  On Christmas Day we had our planned Christmas morning, which went fine. Then in the afternoon my dad and his girlfriend came over. I like her, and my daughter is very comfortable with her so that went well. It wasn't until after they left that I realized it was the girlfriend's first visit to our home.

Oddly none of our guests ended up eating in our house, so all the snacks and extra foods that we bought... we are still eating. Oh well.

Of course good times never come without some pain, and the day after Christmas we got our property tax bill and credit card statement. I hate money in January, it's always rough.

Meanwhile my mother had planned to spend Christmas day with my brother's ex-wife and her children, and possibly my brother. I'm not really sure what happened, but a series of phone messages that she left tell me that things did not go well. My mom has this annoying habit of not answering the phone when I call. She lets the answering machine "screen" all her calls. Then she calls back and says "Sorry I didn't hear the phone ring." Personally, I think it's bulls---. I have caller ID though, so when she gets particularly ugly, I ignore her calls myself. However, she makes a game out of it. One night this week she got this game going where she had called me when I was at work, and when I called her back, she didn't answer the phone. Then she called me back when I was busy with supper so I couldn't get to the phone. When I called her back, I got her machine again. Finally, she called back and my daughter decided to answer the phone. I wasn't near enough to stop her, but my husband could have. He decided not to stop her though, and I guess the conversation was somewhat comical. Evidently my daughter told my mom that I was taking a break, and that was the end of it. I called my mom back one more time, and she gave me the machine again. Stupid game in my opinion. That was a few days ago, and I haven't talked to her since.

For New Years Eve we are expecting a snow storm. My husband might go out anyway, might not. I plan to stay home with the kid and drink some sparkling apple juice or something. Nothing exciting. On Saturday we'll celebrate Christmas with friends at some point, and maybe on Sunday I'll take down the tree. Or maybe not. We'll see. I'm not in any hurry.

Happy Holidays! May your New Year be healthy and happy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas is getting closer still...

I had a little meltdown this morning. My child was having a meltdown because she was upset that she didn't own a blanket that was yellow. The kid has about a dozen blankets, but this morning for some reason she needed a yellow one for school. She screamed, I screamed, my husband screamed... it was getting us no where, and by the time we were done I was in tears.  After the ordeal was finally over, and the child had been delivered to school, with a blue blanket that belongs to my husband, we had a little heart-to-heart in the car. I did a lot of apologizing. My husband noted that every 3 or 4 days my mother cries her "crocodile tears" and NEEDS me for something, desperately and I go through hoops and loops trying to decide whether it's legit or not, and whether I want to help her or not. Each time I take the case individually and try to decide how to manage her in that moment and it's wearing me down, especially when the holidays are already a little crazy for us. We have a lot to do before the 25th, and I'm worried that it won't get done. I see my husband's needs being met (I think), and my daughter having a meltdown when we've been giving her a ton of stuff anyway, and then I just think that my own life is falling apart. So we had a little heart to heart, and he held my hand and reassured me that he was still there, and even though I was going a little crazy in these moments, he still loved me and we'd get through these next two weeks together. He's a good man.

I hope my mother decides not to renew her lease in July, and heads back to Florida as soon as she can. I'm pretty sure January weather is going to be one continuous bitch session from her.

I could post some examples of my mother's recent craziness, but I'll spare you. I'm grateful for a patient and loving husband today, and every day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just plugging along one day at a time....

I'm still at a standstill with my parents. My father isn't ready to make Christmas plans, and my mom is still calling every other day to find out what the plans will be. 2 weeks to go, and it's only a one day thing anyway. Oh well. Today I am trying to decide where to spend my time. I have a list of personal things that need doing, and I'd like to get out of work to do them. Unfortunately I haven't made a list, or written the list, which would really help me organize. I just keep putting that off. So I'm at work, doing some work, doing some of this, and some of that. We'll see how long I last.

We had our first snow day this week. Work didn't close, but preschool did. Both my husband and I decided to stay home with the child since the road wasn't plowed anyway. We played in the snow, burnt cookies, and watched too much tv. A perfect day! Well... I really wanted to clean the kitchen, make brownies, and wrap presents... but it wasn't about me. Maybe this afternoon I will take some time for me to get bills paid, shopping done, and stamps bought, and maybe just maybe pull out my netbook and put some updates or some games or something on that. We'll see.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Still here

Well I held my ground on Thanksgiving and it worked out. My mom wasn't pleased exactly, but we accomplished our mission, covered all our bases and my daughter had a good time. So yay for that. On Saturday my husband cooked another Thanksgiving meal for just the 3 of us.

Now Christmas is coming. I've just chatted with my brother. He is on the outs not only with our mother, but also his father and step-mother as well. It's not easy being him, and I respect that. I still have a bag of clothes that belong to him in my closet and they aren't going anywhere. He's unemployed, homeless, and can't really see his kids that well because he can't stand who they are living with I guess.

For Christmas I offered my mother Christmas Eve. A very generous offer. She didn't turn it down exactly, but she hung up the phone to go cry because she wanted Christmas afternoon instead. I don't want to give her Christmas afternoon. That's time for us to see my father, and I don't want to do them both at once. When I see both my parents at once I don't get to see my dad because my mom monopolizes everything. It's terrible. So we'll see if she comes around for Christmas Eve. The offer is still there. I haven't even confirmed with my dad about Christmas afternoon. I know he is worried about his mother, and we're not sure if she'll still be with us by then. Just taking things one day at a time, and hoping for the best I guess. I should probably get up to the nursing home and see her again. When I saw her in the hospital she didn't recognize me. Maybe now she will.

Oh well. Just wanted to let you all know that I'm still here. Breathing, taking it one step at a time. Trying not to have expectations, and trying to let go.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Trying to do "the right thing" but it's not working

I am trying to do the right thing with my mother, but it's not working. I set boundaries and I hold to them, but she's not living in the same reality as I am. When my grandmother died, she picked a fight with my brother. Now she's coming after me for Thanksgiving.
In the "try to do the right thing" department, I agreed we'd see her for Thanksgiving. My husband, daughter, and I cannot go to my mother's apartment though because of the cigarette smoke and the cat. I've told this to my mother many times. Likewise, I know my mom wouldn't be comfortable in our messy house, and would have difficulty with the stairs leading into the house. So I picked a neutral zone for the Thanksgiving meal. I found a restaurant and made a reservation for us. I told my mom we'd treat because I know it's out of her budget, and we'd give her a ride because she doesn't have a car. This seems like the "right thing" to do.
My mother isn't happy though. She wants to be in control, and she wants to cook us Thanksgiving at her apartment. This is not acceptable though as defined by our boundaries and she keeps pushing. On Friday night there was a message on my answering machine "The weather forecast looks bad. Are you sure you don't want me to cook? I really don't mind". I haven't called her back yet. The "weather forecast" is for a "chance of rain". It's not bad at all. If the weather forecast were for a snowstorm, we would either a)stay home or b)use our 4-wheel drive, pick her up and go. The worst miles of the trip are from our house to hers. Once we get to her house, the roads are easy, all state highways and good town roads etc. It's the 7 miles from our house to civilization that are the hazard. So there is no way to use the weather as an excuse.

I am prepared to let it go. We are doing our best, I am doing my best, to offer neutral ground. She can take it or leave it. I told my husband that if she cancels, I'd still like to go. I know we could cook Thanksgiving at our house for just the 3 of us, but I'm in the mood to go out. After our lunch, we'll stop by my father's house so my daughter can thank the chickens for all the eggs that they've been giving us lately. Sounds like a good plan to me.

I also realize that if Thanksgiving plans blow up, we might not see my mom for Christmas either. Seems strange to think that she'd be local and we wouldn't see her, but I've gotten used to it with my brother.

Deep breath. Let Go, Let God. No expectations. Live and Let Live. Only 3 more days.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sorry I've been MIA

Sorry about being MIA. I hadn't realized that it was so long ago since I last posted.
We were busy last weekend visiting my dad and his friend and then we went apple picking. I was trying to get to a lunchtime Al-Anon meeting this week, but it didn't happen. I did spend some time talking to another friend about "crazy mothers" and that helped lift the weights from my shoulders a little. A lot of us grew up with crazy mothers. My dad does a better job than I do of taking it in stride, maybe because his mother's craziness wasn't directed at him. I don't know. I did finally manage to get Thanksgiving plans worked out so that I can see both my parents on the same day so that's good. I started gearing my daughter up for it today. I'll work on it a little at a time for the next week I think. Anyway, it's a relief to have the holiday figured out. Last night I put some holiday music on for a little while, and listened to an Elvis Christmas song. That put me in a great mood too. I meant to comment on Scott's blog, and I meant to comment on Syd's blog within the last week, but somehow I never got around to it. I've been reading, I've just been quiet. A lot of times I like quiet. Quiet is good and peaceful. This morning my daughter and I turned off the tv for a little while and just talked. It was nice. So that's where I'm at today- trying to find some inner peace, hush the noise and the chaos, and just be still. Maybe if I listen long enough I'll hear something good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More sad news

My dad was on Google chat today. I asked about my paternal grandmother. He said she is going to get the Gold Cane in a few days for being the oldest resident in town, but she doesn't really want it. She's still upset about losing her sister (understandably). He also said he doesn't expect her to see green grass again, meaning she'll be gone by her next birthday in March. I'm not sure if I'll visit her tomorrow or not. My visits do little to comfort her. I am probably going to try to write her a short note though and let her know I'm thinking of her.

Meanwhile, tomorrow is Veterans Day. My dad is a Vet, and there are thousands of vets out there. I may not "celebrate" but I'll be thinking of them in my heart. My daughter has the day off from school so I'll be doing something with her, raking leaves, visiting friends, playing at the park, not sure what... but my thoughts are with all those families with a family member in the service and with all those families who have a vet at home too.

In honor of... In memory of..... my heart goes out to you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I tried to see her

Saturday marked 2 months since my grandmother had passed. I thought about that as I left the house late Saturday morning to head to the grocery store. I knew I'd be passing by my mother's apartment so when I got far enough out of the woods to get a cell signal, I pulled over and I called her. She was home. I invited her to come with me to run some errands and get some groceries. She accepted the invite and a few minutes later I was at her door. When I got there she had a bag full of stuff for me, and I protested a little. I really don't need more stuff from tag sales or whatever, but she insisted, and I could see in the pile was my grandmother's college diploma. So I dutifully put the bag in my daughter's car seat, and accepted it. My mom was talking non-stop so I really didn't need to say much. Evidently she was expecting to see a friend of her, an ex-boyfriend, but he was supposed to be at her house 2 hours ago and hadn't shown up so she figured she'd been stood up. As she chatted away, we drove down the road. Then she saw his pick-up truck. Quick! Do a U-Turn! There he is, headed to my house. So I pulled over, waited for traffic, and then brought her home. He was just about to knock on the door as we got there. I let her out, kept the bag of memoirs and tag sale stuff, and said goodbye. I'll try again another time I guess.

There is a long history between her and this ex of hers, and it's not for me to post it. They go back a long way, and there have been times when I've been angry with him. However he did show up at the burial for my grandmother, and that was nice of him. He didn't come to the funeral service, or the reception afterward. He just showed up at the cemetery, quietly, and then left. I know she regards him as a true friend. I guess it's good she has someone to reconnect with up here when she's feeling lonely. They're probably drinking together too, but I have to let that go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Here's a thought for today

"The shell must break before the bird can fly." -- Tennyson
(And this is where I found it:

I just came across this, and it is so true for many of us. I want to say especially for Al-Anon people, especially for adult children of alcoholics who have been building that shell their whole lives, but really it's true for everybody. Many are afraid of breaking that shell. They don't want to expose the world, or themselves to what is underneath. I know I have days where I feel like that, and maybe today is one of them. I can't really tell you why. My pain isn't worse than anyone else's, and right now my life is in a good place mostly. I just feel it. I'm procrastinating on things I promised to do, and I feel like I'm not where I belong, but there is nothing I can do because I don't know where I'm supposed to go. Fly? Fly where?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just a quick post today

Yesterday's post was kind of long, and I apologize for that.

I was grateful last night to get home and NOT have a message on the machine from my mother.
I am grateful that my grandmother got out of the hospital yesterday and is back to the nursing home.

I am trying to focus on "It is what it is" today because things aren't great, but I know I have to let them go. I don't have control over a lot of things at work and at home. I'm not happy with the way things are, but it's beyond my power to make the world bend to my wishes. So "it is what it is".

Monday, November 2, 2009

the Monday after Halloween

Today I'm grateful for Scott's blog. I need a reminder sometimes to remember what I'm grateful for and reading his blog helps me do that.

I'm grateful that I remembered the slogan "Take what you like and leave the rest" today. I am feeling like I'm getting information overload on Mondays sometimes. I have RSS feeds set up on at least 3 different email accounts and sometimes I get behind. Today I had over 1000 posts on libraries, writing, and books waiting for me. I ignored most of them. I don't need it today. Fortunately my RSS feeds for Al-Anon are caught up and easier to digest. I actually look forward to reading them and saved them for last.

In the "things never go as planned" department, we made some adjustments over the weekend. Friday night we went straight home since we were all tired from the day before. On Saturday my daughter said she was not interested in the Fairy Princess Garden or whatever that I thought would be so much fun. She wanted to find a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch instead. So we tried to do that. We searched for several hours, riding in the car, and couldn't find one. Maybe it was too late in the season. Oh well. She also said she did not want to see my mother, and we decided not to force her although I came pretty close.

We did have a great time trick or treating in a neighborhood that we hadn't gone to before, and my husband had a good time and none of us minded the rain. So hoorah for that! Coming home, overtired, hungry, wet.. that was another story, but overall we had fun!

Still in the "not as planned" department, Sunday didn't go as planned either. My daughter did not want to see her grandfather for dinner, and although I was very disappointed, my husband offered to stay home with her. This turned out to be a blessing. My paternal grandmother ended up in the hospital on Saturday so after having dinner with my dad and his girlfriend, the three of us went to the hospital to see her. I had not seen her since Christmas (mostly her choice). My dad was surprised that I had actually listened to him, and gotten him what he asked for for his birthday. Hmm.. kind of a back-handed compliment I guess.

My dad is a very loyal son. When we got the the hospital, he washed his hands, checked in with the nurses, looked at grandma's monitor (numbers were high), and then went in and gently woke her up and made her more comfortable. He did exactly the right things. He is a man who really knows how to LISTEN, and does it much more beautifully than I do. I wish I had his magic.

I feel sorry that he spent Halloween and his birthday at the hospital, and really didn't get to enjoy his special day. My grandmother will be fine, and will return to the nursing home today or tomorrow. I'm standing by my belief that she has a few more years in her and will live to be 100 or 101. I don't think my dad always believes me.

I am grateful that my husband was willing to let me go for so much of Sunday. Between seeing my dad and doing the grocery shopping, I wasn't home much on Sunday. I think my husband had a bigger dose of one-on-one time with our daughter than he ever has on a weekend. I was grateful for the time off, and grateful for his support.

For what it's worth, we didn't see my mom over the weekend, but I did try to see her Sunday when I was out grocery shopping. I stopped at her apartment on my way to and from the grocery store, but she wasn't home. I left her a small bag of candy in her mailbox. I hope she knows it was from me. If not, oh well. Let it go.

Friday, October 30, 2009

the day before Halloween

Today I'm grateful that work is slow because I don't really feel like being here. A lot of people are out, and that's good too. Nice and quiet. Leaving me to work slowly and listen to all the little voices in my head.

I'm grateful that I decided to listen to myself and dye my hair for the day in the spirit of Halloween. Not everyone thinks it's cute or cool or whatever, but I don't care. I'm having fun with it. Some people aren't sure if I am trying a new look or if I did it for the holiday. I enjoyed going to the small social gathering this afternoon to see the coworkers who really did get into costume for the event. Bah Humbug! to all the others who missed the party.

I'm not so grateful that the Halloween card that my mother sent to my daughter had a message that said "I hope I get to see you on Halloween".... remember we have not seen my mother since my grandmother's funeral. I do not appreciate her playing that game with my 3 year old child. If she wants to play a guilt trip on me (and she did on the phone Wednesday night), that's one thing, but leave my child out of it. That's just wrong to use her that way.

I'm worried. I'm worried that my husband is going to be a "stick in the mud" and a "spoil sport" and not "get into the fun" this weekend. I have found a few fun things to do for Halloween and I'm hoping that we can enjoy them as a family. I'm worried that my husband won't. We went out for dinner last night, and he wasn't in the mood for that, and you could have cut the air at our table with a knife he was sulking so badly. He was angry that we went to a restaurant instead of going home.

Plans are finally confirmed that we'll be having dinner with my dad on Sunday night, Chinese food, we'll celebrate his birthday.

My mother-in-law's birthday is on Monday. It was DH's job to send the card, and I don't think he did. He told me not to put it on my list though. Let Go and Let HP I guess.

That's all I've got for now. Happy Halloween everybody! Cross your fingers for me in dealing with both my parents this weekend.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I need some detachment

I called my mom back last night while my husband gave my daughter a bath. I should have been doing the dishes, but I figured the dishes could wait. My mom updated me that she has been talking to a friend of mine, who is sometimes helpful and sometimes not. She also told me that she has been babysitting my brother's son and (ex)step-children. She promised she'd be home on Saturday, Halloween, just in case any grandchildren stopped by for trick or treating. She got lots of candy.

So a combination of guilt and bribery on her part I guess. I'm not even sure if we'll be able to get my daughter to put her Halloween costume on since I think she has changed her mind about being a princess. We also have decided where we want to go trick or treating, or when etc.

I think we've settled that we'll be having dinner with my dad on Sunday night, without my mother of course, but I'm still waiting to get a time and place confirmed.

I also got some disappointing news on my job today. I really wanted to quit my job, but I held on, bit my lips, grinded my teeth, and made it through the day. Walking out and quitting would have been selfish of me, kind of like suicide. So I held on. Not an easy thing to do, and I'm still bitter.

So now I need to Let Go and Let God again. Really, I am still waiting on my job stuff. The Governor announced today that he is expecting layoffs and furloughs and if I don't get either of those, then I should consider myself lucky. As far as my mom goes, that will be in the hands of my daughter I think. I can't force a preschooler to do much of anything these days so I will just have to wait and see what happens. I'm powerless and I just have to Let Go and Let God.

I had hoped to be in a better place today, I had hoped... but that gets me no where. It is what it is. Right now it's almost 5pm and time to go.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the good and the bad

Of course my mother called yesterday, while I was at work. Some drama about her surgery being canceled, and please call her when I'm calm and have time.... so last night wasn't the night to call her because I didn't have time. Personally I never put her surgery on my calendar anyway because I didn't think it would happen. Her medical appointments are drama after drama after drama. I do my best not to listen, not to get sucked in, because most of it is just bulls--- and lies. Or maybe false hopes? The toxin of an addict.

It's still hanging over my head that I need to call her back. I don't know if it will happen tonight.

I am grateful that I got to my union meeting today. It wasn't a great meeting or anything, but it felt good to be in a room with adults, talking, and having a conversation about things that matter to some people, even if I don't always agree. They are looking for volunteers to do service. When I heard this, a voice in my head said "Maybe", but I'm pretty sure our department is already over represented. I also thought "I'd rather be doing service in Al-Anon". I know there are hour long meetings on campus twice/week, but my lunch is only half-hour long. Not sure how I could make it work.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Still on pause or whatever but trying...

I'm still feeling uninspired, have a headache, not feeling great. Tonight will be busy. Going to take the kid to the library if she lets me, or go by myself is she doesn't. Husband is going to a meeting at the local town hall for some neighborhood issues so I'll have our daughter to myself for a while. She's been rejecting me lately, blaming me for not letting her go shopping or something. And yet she'll let me read her a story and snuggle with her at night.

Live and Let Live, right? I can't force her to be kind to me. I just have to accept whatever kindness I get. I'm also inwardly battling with my mother. I am still, will always be, angry with how she didn't allow my brother to come to my grandmother's funeral. I'm not sure how to get past that. A part of me wants to have a relationship with her, and a part of me says I'm better off without her. She's so toxic, and I'm just not sure if I'm strong enough to take the poison. So I'm drained, again, for another day.

Grateful that a coworker gave me free calendars with pretty pictures of animals. I can share these with my daughter, and if she doesn't want them I can gift them to her preschool teachers.

Grateful for a memory of a minister saying in a sermon once "Find something every day, no matter how small, to look forward to. It might be eating a banana or brushing your teeth, but find it, and hang on to it to get yourself through the day."  I know he was talking to me that day, it was a small congregation. I need to remember those words more often, and cling to them.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm tired

I'm tired today on so many levels. I did a 2.5 mile walk yesterday, which wouldn't have been so bad except that I was pulling a wagon the whole way. It was nice to have a beautiful fall day to be outside, especially after the rain on Friday and Saturday, but I'm tired. I'm tired of work hassles. I'm tired of being the mother of a 3 1/2 year old. I'm tired of trying to figure out how to juggle my parents- my father who is avoiding me, and my mother who I am trying to avoid. I'm just done today. My husband understands this I think. He is done too. We'd both love some retail therapy and a short vacation from being parents, but it's not going to happen.

I need to find a way to recharge, to be a better daughter, better mother, better worker, better mother, and better friend. I'm too tired to find the cure though. I'm just that done.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Prayer Answered!

I've been very worried about H1N1 since I have a daughter in preschool, and I work on a college campus. However we got a phone call from the pediatrician last night saying they have a FEW vaccines available and my daughter will get one. I'm hoping my husband will be able to get one too since he is high risk. Due to the shortage of vaccines I don't expect that there will be enough for me. However I am grateful for my daughter getting one. That is a huge weight off my mind, and that is my gratitude for the day.

No, I'm not looking forward to the administration of the shot itself this afternoon of course, but I will be glad when it's done.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What to do? What to do?

Halloween is next week, and it's only a month until Thanksgiving. I'm dreading Thanksgiving this year worse than ever. I am so conflicted about my mother. Part of me says avoid her, she's trouble, and part of me feels like I should be the Good Daughter and take her out to eat. My husband won't let her have dinner at our house. He doesn't have to be nice about it. He just said our kitchen is too small, we're not hosting anyone. So.. do I invite her out with us? Or do we stay home, just us, and not see her or my dad?

My dad usually sees his mom first and then comes to see us, but he said he might not do that this year because it's too much trouble. So I'm guessing he'll make other plans. I am hoping to see him for his birthday between now and then though since it's only about 10 days away.

So I'm stuck. I'd hate for my mom to be alone and lonely on the holiday, but I don't want to spoil the holiday for my husband either. What to do? What to do? I'm hoping an answer will come to me soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wandering today, and grateful for the memories

Scott said on his blog  (Attitude of Gratitude)  that he was grateful because "sometimes life is so different that I do not recognize it as mine."

I think about this often. Ten years ago I could never have imagined my life being what it is today. Even 8 years ago I never would have imagined my life this way, and it's good. In 2002 I made a huge change in my life. When my boyfriend and I had broken up AGAIN, I stopped, froze, and said "no more". He begged, he pleaded, I went out and wrecked my car and worse... it was the worst break-up of my life, but I stuck to it. Then I prayed, meditated, and dreamed out loud about what I wanted in life, and I gave it all up to my higher power, and maybe, just maybe someone listened.  Between April and July that year I ended a relationship, and a job, got arrested, dated a "rebound" guy, and then began the relationship that I knew would work. I changed my life with the help of my higher power.

I kick myself hard almost every day for getting arrested and for the difficulties I had in kicking that bad relationship out the door, but I also hug myself hard too for marrying the right man and getting my life on track.

"There but for the grace of God go I." I say this when I see someone who is homeless or having a hard time because I know that it could be me. I've been down before, and my life could be a lot worse if I hadn't turned things over to my higher power and gotten a lift up to where I am today.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Keep It Simple Stupid - KISS

I'm short on time today because I overcommitted to something for tonight. I need to remember to Keep It Simple Stupid or I am going to end up over my head!

So KISS is my slogan for today.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Top moments of my life

Syd posted a top 10. Good to be reminded of the highlights in life, isn't it? I'm going to do this kind of on the fly, and they probably won't be in order.

1. Marrying my husband, my true love
2. Bringing my daughter home was probably better than her birth.

3. The day I met my husband on the bus, sat with him on a bench for a few hours and told him my true feelings for him. My whole life changed that day.
4. Birth of my daughter. It was bitter-sweet since there were complications, but still happy.

Other great memories and times--
5. Seeing a play on stage, any play. I have a love for the theater that doesn't get to express itself much.
6. Live concerts. I'm trying to think of one that was better than others, but like theater, I love live music and rarely get to indulge in it. Open Mic nights can be great especially since the venues are small and intimate.
7. Swimming in a river, by myself, naked, in the warm afternoon sun.
8. Skinny-dipping at night.
9. Times spent with my grandparents as a child. I didn't realize it then, but those were special times.
10. Spending my 21st birthday with my dad.
11. Driving to Florida by myself. I was helping my mom to move, and in the process escaping from a very controlling boyfriend for a few days. I spent the trip listening to some great liberating music in the car, and really felt free for a while.

It's nice to think back on these happy times and have an attitude of gratitude on an otherwise chilly, boring, Monday at work. Thanks Syd for the motivation.


I was feeling some self-pity this weekend. It's amazing how I think I'm doing okay, and then BAM! I'm just in the clutches of that awful feeling, feeling sorry for myself, and sitting in the car crying while my husband drives down the road. It's my own fault too. I set myself up in this situation where we made choices, choices that I like, that result in us having a nice quiet house away from town and the kid gets to go to a decent preschool (not the cheapest and not the most expensive either). I have a job I like, but it doesn't pay great. In the end though, we have decided to live on only 1 car until we're done with preschool. We had hoped to spring for 2 cars this year, but when the Accord needed to be traded in, we knew we would have to keep living on 1 for a while longer. We just can't afford 2 car payments while we are paying for preschool. What this all means together is that I have no social life. Seriously, none. The only time I left the house this weekend was to go grocery shopping, and we all went together.

So why was I crying? Because I had heard that some friends were having an open house at their association thing, and I was hoping that my husband would want to go and join it. In the end, he wasn't interested in doing it. Since the association is men-only I think, it was crucial that my husband want to do this, without him, there was no point in us going. So I was hoping he'd want to go because I wanted to socialize. Stupid of me. The association membership would have required time and energy and interest from him. I just wanted to see some friends, maybe. So I was bummed when he decided he didn't want to join the association or go to the open house. That left us with a trip to the orange store, where I sat in the car with the kid, and the grocery store. Yahoo! :-(

I miss having a social life. I see my friends online, but never in-person, and I don't really have the opportunity to meet new people. I go to work 5 days/week, I pick up the kid from preschool, and I spend time with my husband. That's about it. I'm lonely. Even before marriage though I was prone to put my head in a book, or play on the computer rather than go out. I've never been very good at the social game, so it's not my husband's fault that I'm in this place in my head. I have no right or reason to feel sorry for myself. My life is the result of my choices, and I know that rationally. Still, sometimes it sucks.

Then I saw Christina's blog. I didn't even need to watch the video. I know life could be worse. Life with no limbs, no thanks. Timely reminder considering I was already planning today's post.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rough day today but grateful anyway

This morning my kid wasn't feeling well and I hated pushing her to go to school. Once she saw the snow though she was eager to get ready and go. At work things have been up and down all day. Around 3:30pm the power went out at my desk, and it probably won't come back on before I leave.

I'm GRATEFUL that today of all days I brought my laptop with me so that I am able to connect to the internet at least. I called my husband and asked him how to hook up the wire since the one I was trying wasn't working. Wireless should also have been an option but for some reason it wasn't working. Anyway I'm grateful for being able to post this, although maybe I should be reading a book instead. I am grateful I have a husband who was able to help me with this too.

It has been cold this week, but there is beauty. I saw a couple of photographers taking pictures on my morning commutes, and last night I saw a fox run away on my way home. There is beauty where I live and I am grateful for that.

I am grateful that the balloon boy story was just a hoax. It's nice to be wrong sometimes, and I'm glad that it was a case of whacked, publicity seeking parents and not a real case of a dead kid.

Now the power is back on so I should wrap this up. Have a good weekend all!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Boundaries again

I managed to carve out 10 minutes to call my mom last night. I thanked her for the apple orchard idea and told her of our adventures with my father-in-law. She started in the "I haven't seen you in so long" stuff, and I told her the truth, well some of it anyway. I told her that after being long distance for 7 years she shouldn't just expect us to suddenly be close. We have lives, we have things to do, and yeah, I'm tired. I've been busy for the past week, haven't done grocery shopping yet, etc. I'm not ready to run over to her apartment. She said something about having Abby come over and make cookies or something. I pleaded to her to not push because I'd give her a negative answer in my current mood.

The thing is.. she's never going to "get it". She's never going to understand that even if she isn't smoking, there is enough smoke smell in her apartment to trigger an asthma attack for me and for my kid. I don't feel like bringing my daughter over there. It's not healthy for her. My kid is on enough meds as it is for asthma and allergy problems, I'm not going to purposely bring her into that apartment just to visit. I did it a couple of times when my mom first moved up here in July, but it was summer, we could have windows and doors open. Now it's cold out. It's not an option anymore. My mom has mobility issues so going somewhere like we did with my father-in-law really isn't an option for her either. I feel badly for my mom. She's up here, she's lonely, she's trying to be part of our lives, and I've got good reasons to reject her. Trying to find a way for her to have a relationship with us is very tricky. My husband wants nothing to do with her, and I don't blame him. I don't think I should force him to either. I'm not sure what to do about my daughter. On the one hand, she has a right to get to know her maternal grandmother, on the other hand her grandmother is sick on so many levels.

What to do? What to do? I keep giving it up in prayer and meditation to my higher power, but I'm not getting answers very quickly. Sigh.

Meanwhile there is a missing 6 year old in Colorado somewhere. Guess my life could be worse. Perspective.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Boundaries and love

I guess I'm struggling right now. I want to say some nice things to my mom but I'm also trying to maintain some boundaries. I'd like to thank her for her suggestion of visiting a certain apple orchard. We went where she recommended, and we had fun. I'd like to tell her that I saw a friend of hers while we were out too. However, if I call her on the phone I know I'm going to have to listen to more of her drama. I know that I'll get a guilt trip for not seeing her for the past month, and I'll get questioned about when I will get over there. And honestly, I'm still mad, probably will always be mad at her for the trouble she caused when my grandmother died. I pass my mother's apartment on weekends, but we do not stop. I thought about writing her a letter, but that's kind of odd, isn't it? She lives so close now. A free phone call would take 20 minutes of my time probably, but I just don't want to deal. Let's be clear... I don't want to listen. I just want to tell my side of the story and not listen to her side of things. Letters are great for that, but not phone calls. I'd like to express my gratitude to her, but it's so hard to do because I know her disease will get in the way. Another blogger mentioned that you should tell your loved ones all the time that you love them because you never know what will happen when you walk out the door. I believe that too. My husband and my daughter and I are always very good about sharing our love, but it's harder with my mom. As the holidays get closer this issue with boundaries is going to be harder and harder to deal with. So today I'm feeling stuck.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Easy Does it!

I'm not really in the mood to blog today. I'm more in the mood to listen. I would rather read, absorb, and take things in than put things out there. That's okay. Today "Easy Does it!" can be my motto.

We've had a busy 3 day weekend and we have a busy afternoon ahead of us too. My daughter is busy in school today, and we've all had a lot of catching up to do with the "real world". I'm okay with that though. Grocery shopping can wait, bills can wait (until later anyway), and things will get done.

This weekend I tried not to push too much. I set realistic schedules and when we were late, I accepted it and made my apologies. It's hard to keep a 3 year old on schedule on the weekend. I did my best to listen to the needs and desires of my family and those around us.

Easy does it!

Friday, October 9, 2009

First Things First

"First Things First" is a slogan that reminds me to take things one step at a time. Not just one day at a time, but to live in the moment, and slow down. It's easy to get ahead of ourselves.

The little voice in my head is saying "It's 4pm and after work I'm going to pick up the kid, and meet someone, and go out to dinner, and tomorrow we're going to do this and that, and the weather is going to be...." Whoooooa!

Right now I'm going to post this blog and drink some coffee. I still have an hour left of work and some work to do. Period. Right now my husband is probably resolving some last minute work crisis before our 3 day weekend begins. Right now my daughter is saying goodbye to a beloved teacher who is leaving her job after today to begin a new chapter in her life. Right now I am here.

First things First. Slow down. Take things one step at a time. It is way too easy to go too fast. A simple thing like "Get the kid ready for bed and get her to sleep" is really many steps, and I have to slow down. What if she's not ready to be done playing with her toys when the clock says she needs to brush her teeth? I can't just assume that I'm going to have my finger on the remote watching a baseball game at 9:30pm. I need to get there first.

So if I am going to enjoy the holiday weekend, I need to remember to slow down. Not everyone is listening to the same little voices in their head that I hear, and if they are, they are probably hearing different things. I need to think about what really matters, and cut out the stuff that doesn't. Do I really need to check my email on Monday morning and log into Facebook? Or is spending time with a loved one more important? Before I have dinner, I have to get to the restaurant safely first. I need to pay attention, live in the present, and enjoy the journey.

Happy weekend all. I probably won't post again until Tuesday.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Expectations and Letting Go and Letting HP and trust

I know, I've posted on this before but really I just have to keep practicing it all the time. Yesterday my husband had the day off. He promised to clean the living room. It was filled with the kid's toys and his stuff. I've heard this promise before and been disappointed by the results. I tried not to have any expectations. It was his day, and he should be allowed to do what he wanted to do. And I know how overwhelming cleaning can be, especially when it's not your stuff. Still, I had expectations. I had LOW expectations. When he called me around 3pm to say he was tired and asked me to get take-out for dinner, I gently told him that no, I wasn't getting take-out. We'll be eating out enough over the next few days as it is. Then he told me he threw out a certain toy. My first reaction to him was "Oh no! Not THAT!" but then I calmed down, and I said "this is your project, and I trust you." Really, I need to treat him with respect and as an adult. He deserves that. It's hard to let go and let someone else do it, and trust. Let go and Let HP do it. I'm at work, I don't want to micromanage the project, and I'd probably throw some toys out too if I was doing it. I should be glad it's not me doing the cleaning. Really!

When I got home 3 hours later, with our daughter, I was very surprised to walk in and smell a roast cooking in the oven. Then I went into the living room and it was clean. I mean really clean. He had vacuumed the floor, and there was space for the 3 of us to sit down, and you could actually walk around the kid's table that was in the middle of the room. It was awesome. I was so happy.

Dinner was very yummy, the living room was clean, we were all relaxed, and my daughter got to play with toys that she hadn't seen in months. It was nice to want to be home.

I had actually thought about going to my mom's apartment. I never called my mom to tell her that, but it was on my mind from 5pm-6pm. I know I'll be busy for the next week with my father-in-law coming to town and other activities so I thought I should go see her and get it off her list or something. I didn't go though. I enjoyed the evening at home. I thought of it as my reward for letting go, letting my higher power be in control, and trusting my loved one.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Fear is probably one reason why a lot of people come to Alanon and Alateen. I know it's why I came so many years ago. I was afraid that my mother was going to die with me hating her. I didn't want that to happen. Now here we are several years later, and she's not dead yet. I'm still learning from Alanon though. I was going to post something profound about Fear and what it means to me and my recovery and how it can get in the way of being a healthy person. I did a little searching on the internet though, and went in another direction. I wish I had the guts to do Alateen when I was a teen. It probably would have helped me a lot. At the time though I remember thinking that group therapy of any kind was a waste of time. MY life was unique, and no one else would understand. Alateen, group therapy, etc.. none of that was going to touch me. I tried Alanon a little when I was in college, but it wasn't until I was 28 or 29 when I finally really GOT it.

In the process of my searching, I came across a lot of websites that listed the questions that sort of help people decide if Alanon or Alateen is for them. One of them was the Northwest Indiana website.

There are a lot of questions there, and it's sad how many of them ring true for me, even today. As an adult child of an alcoholic I am still plagued by some of the same things that I was bothered by when I was younger.

On the subject of fear though. Here's one that caught my attention:
9.      Are you afraid to speak up for fear the drinking or fighting with start again?

Um.. yeah. Isn't it odd that it's been almost a month since I've seen my mother. I've been sort of dancing around this whole thing of being mad at her, but not wanting a confrontation. I don't want to be the bad guy. I don't want to be the one who says the wrong thing. I don't want to trigger something, I don't even know what, that sends her off the deep end in some way.

Alanon helps, but I'll never be cured completely. I'm still living in fear, even today. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Making choices - attitude of gratitude or comparing myself with others

Every day I have choices to make. As I posted yesterday I can be grumpy when my daughter wakes me up or I can be compassionate.

Today's choice- Focus on the positive with an Attitude of Gratitude or focus on the negative and compare myself with others. The choice is obvious what I SHOULD do, but it's not always easy. Sometimes misery loves company, and people like good gossip.

I work with a coworker who has a lot of issues in her life. The rest of us suspect drug addiction to prescriptions as being one of those issues. Yesterday she was allowed to sleep on the job, again. I'm still bitter about this. I have a right to be bitter I think, however I can't change anything and it doesn't help my life to obsess about it.

On the flip side, I saw two wonderful things in nature yesterday. In the morning, we saw a deer cross the road in front of our car. My daughter didn't get a great look because she was in the back seat, but she did see it. Then around 6pm we saw a rainbow. We went to Trader Joe's to get a few things, and as we got out of the car we saw this beautiful rainbow that went right over the store. Amazing. By the time we got done shopping, it was gone. We were all a little awed by its presence, and I felt that my day had begun and ended on happy notes with nature. This is what I need to focus on. These are gifts from my Higher Power, and worth living for.

This is from Pink Sherbet on Flickr

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's a 24/7 thing!

Some people go to church for an hour on Sunday, call themselves "Christian" and then act in ways that are very unChristian the rest of the week. I remember calling my father out on this once when I was a kid. Sunday morning was church and Sunday school, and Sunday afternoon he was swearing. I knew that wasn't right. Swearing is kind of minor though, right? And he probably had a reason for it.

Many, many years ago I used to date a guy who I ended up working with. We both worked in human services, and once we took our client on vacation. We were working 24/7 for a week, even if we weren't always technically getting paid, we were still on the job. Once I caught my boyfriend early in the morning in a cranky mood. I was shocked. I didn't realize that he had an "on/off switch" regarding our client. I thought his upbeat personality was natural and easy. I didn't realize he was faking it for the job. I learned that week though. It was tough on both of us to be "on" 24/7, but we made it.

But where I'm going with this is that Al-Anon isn't just for when I am at the meeting, or when I'm reading the book, or when I'm interacting with the alcoholics and addicts in my life. It's 24/7. I need to always be practicing my program, and that means at 4am or 5am or 6am, when my 3 year old wakes me up, I need to use my program.

I didn't use profanity, but I wasn't at all compassionate for the kid either. Apologies won't help. She's not going to understand that even though mommy is a light sleeper anyway, trying to be reasonable with me at that hour is nearly impossible. She's only 3. She doesn't need to understand or have compassion for me. It's my job to understand and have compassion for her. I'm the parent, she's the kid, that's the way it is. Next time I'll try to do better. Nobody's perfect, and excuses and apologies can't undo the hurt from my words. When I'm awake at those hours I do not want to be bothered, period, but she's a kid. She's not an adult, she's got a free pass to ignore those boundaries of mine. She woke up, she needed a parent, and I should have been nicer. Next time I hope I am.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

Yesterday I didn't post. I could list a few reasons why. I was too busy, I had my flu shot, I was tired. etc etc. etc... but doing the 10th step reminds me to be honest with myself. When I do a personal inventory I see the real reason why I didn't post. I was lazy. Let me change that. I AM lazy sometimes. I can be very motivated to get projects done etc, and I frequently have "a list" that drives my husband crazy, but sometimes I am just lazy. I'm behind on paying bills, not because my grandmother died, but because I'm lazy. My house is a mess, not because my husband and my daughter are slobs, but because I'm lazy. I didn't post yesterday because I'm lazy. And that's the truth.

Now I have to contact the various companies we owe money to for things like electricity and heating oil and tv service and make sure that they don't stop providing those things. I actually already called the heating oil people and I said "I'm sorry, I forgot to pay, but I'm sending you a check right now for what I missed last month and what I owe for October even though I haven't gotten the October bill yet." They were okay with that. I didn't lie, I didn't try to cover up. I just admitted that I didn't pay the bill and was trying to make amends.

I'm not perfect though. I also had some paperwork for my husband's ambulance ride. I told him that I'd take care of it, and I didn't. I found the form today and left it on his desk. I didn't know he would be on break when I got there. He called me and said "I thought you took care of this already." I admitted that I hadn't, and I didn't want to. I wanted him to do it, and he will because I'm not giving him much of a choice, but it was irresponsible of me to take on something, not do it, and then give it back to him. I'll apologize to him when I see him at 5pm.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Broken Promises, Mended Fences" by Richard Meryman

Feeling a little stuck on what to post about today, so I wandered the book stacks in the university library. I know where to find the AA books and that's where I went. I came across this book called "Broken Promises, Mended Fences" by Richard Meryman. It's a good book. Looks like no one has checked it out from the library in a long, long time. Copyright says 1984, but it covers a classic topic and seemed timeless when I read it. I am not going to check out the library copy, but I might pick up a copy on Amazon. Used copies are cheap. It's about recovery, alcoholics, an alcoholic mother, etc... living with the disease of alcoholism. And it's true, a real story, with real people.

The reviews on Amazon say this--

"By A Customer
This is not a book about Alcoholism. It is a book about Recovery. The true story of Abby Andrews is a unique and moving testament of hope ... an inspiring account of one woman's struggle for her life - and of her family's loyalty and overriding love - in her fight against alcohol dependency. Sometimes shocking, often exhilarating, it is the vivid odyssey of Aby's painful ascent from her own private hell to the small daily triumphs of recovery...
Comment Comment | Permalink | Was this review helpful to you? Yes No (Report this)

3.0 out of 5 stars Life Without Alcohol..., February 3, 2007
By Betty Burks "Betty Burks" (Knoxville, TN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Broken Promises (Paperback)
This book about recovery from alcoholism appealed to me as someone I value is such a drinker and I wish he would seek help. Life without alcohol isn't dull like your senses are if you drink even locally made beer. It is not dark and gloomy. With clear thinking and not a befuddled mind, the recovered alcoholic will see that the world can be beautiful, people are better-looking (you can learn a lot by people-watching on the buses when you're alert and interested), and you can hold your head up and actually smile back. Some people will talk to you when you do that. This person I knows pretends to listen but his senses are dulled by a hangover, and he ofttimes doesn't even remember seeing you at all. He certainly can't remember what you said and gets on the defensive.

This story about Abby, a woman with alcohol problems, is truthful (not opinions) even though it sometimes hurts to admit the truth. Thoose addicted to any kind of drug can identify and receive hope that, with help from professionals, they too can lead a normal life. Throughout life, you will be the recipient of many broken promises; the longer you life, they multiply because older people still have hopes for love and affection. They're more vunerable to con men after their money, and the majority have no savings and must depend on government aid just to have a place to live. They're not like the homeless who want everything given to them. The poor elderly desire help from their successful children who lead a good life. Sons are too busy to visit, to help with health needs, to just "be there" for you.

Mended dreams is possible for anyone who will look for them. Life takes us in different directions and anyone can learn new skills such as expression, public speaking, networking, dreaming for reality fulfillment, as you concentrate on raising your children. Everyone dreams of glory, but not through the child's successes, in life to make it worth living. All we can do at times is keep up the good fight; something will come along eventually to make us see that what we did in all of life's seasons led us to victory over Satan's efforts to fool us into isolation from the world. Mended Dreams come to you without seeking help in a doctor's office. God in His Mysterious Ways works wonders for those who believe. "

Here's a link in case you are thinking about getting a copy for yourself, and if Better World Books has it, I recommend them. Great cause to support.

If that doesn't work, try this one--

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taking Personal Responsibility- Setting Boundaries

Today's "Courage to Change" reading talks about taking personal responsibility. Al-Anon doesn't want to tell people to get out if their living conditions are violent, but at the same time, it is what needs to be done. How to say that gracefully? By stressing taking responsibility for yourself. It's not about the alcoholic being violent, it's about the Al-Anon member being safe. Usually for me this means I have to set boundaries with the alcoholics. It is my responsibility to keep a safe distance away from the alcoholic so that I don't get hurt.

My uncle had a retirement party just a few days after my mom had moved back up north. As soon as I saw my mom with an alcoholic beverage in her hand I took my cue to leave, and I made no apologies for it. We didn't need to wait for cake to be served. My kid was tired anyway. I did not want to witness any carnage from my mother's mood change when alcohol was added.

Yesterday my mother left a message on my answering machine. She is trying to get me to go back to her apartment, and she keeps coming up with reasons why I should visit her. This time it was because she wanted my brother's clothes back. The ones she threw out on her lawn over a week ago. I refuse to give them to her. I'll give them to my brother, but not her. I held my ground, and even managed to continue the conversation after that topic had been covered to find out how my cousin's funeral had gone.

At some point I will have to confront my mother, and admit that yes, I am mad at her. It's not necessary or nice though, so I'm dodging it now. If push comes to shove when the holidays are closer, then we'll deal with it when the time is right. For now though I am just keeping her at arms' length so that I can keep myself and my family safe from her, and my reactions toward her.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Something different

Just for something different, I'm posting a YouTube video here... why not?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Letting go of expectations

Letting go of expectations is another one of the gifts that I get from Al-Anon. I have gained sanity by letting go of expectations every day. I'd like to do this and that this weekend, but those plans involve other people in my life, and they may not have the same inclinations as I do. If I expect to get things done, I'm going to be disappointed. I have to work hard to let go. It's not easy. Twice within the last two days I've had that point driven home to me.

Yesterday I thought I'd lost my wallet. My expectations of returning to work, having a normal day, and a normal day today, were vanished in a heartbeat. If my wallet was lost, I'd have a lot of work to do to recover all that was lost. Getting a new driver's license, new debit and credit cards, etc. would take a lot of time, energy, and probably be frustrating. My expectation about just having a normal day vanished. Then I found my wallet. WHEW!

This morning I was pulling out of a parking lot, and passing other parked cars. One of them nearly backed into me. For a few seconds I had images of a tow truck, maybe an ambulance, and definitely policemen in my head. Then I leaned on the horn, hard. The other driver heard me, and all was saved. But in those few seconds my expectations of getting to work and having a normal day ahead of me vanished, and if the car ended up "in the shop", then other things would be messed up too. I didn't like my expectations to be taken away. I did not want that car accident to happen. WHEW again!

The last example I'll give you is at home. As the parent of a 3 year old, having expectations can be tricky. My husband and I have an expectation that we'll eat supper at a certain time, food will be eaten in a timely manner, and all will be calm. My daughter has other ideas. SHE wants to get the ketchup out of the refrigerator. She's disappointed that she has smiley faced french fries instead of alphabet fries. She wants to do more and more things herself. Then she wants to lick a knife covered in butter. Sometimes these things can drive a parent up a wall. Picking and choosing our battles becomes exhausting, and often I am ready for bed before she is. Sometimes my husband or I will put ourselves in time out because it gets overwhelming. We just want to eat supper. We don't want to have a battle about how eating a half a cup of butter is not allowed. However we are fooling ourselves if we sit down at the kitchen table and expect dinner to go smoothly. It's not going to. Eating out will have it's own challenges too. We just have to accept that mealtimes are going to be rough, and remove any expectations we have otherwise.

None of these examples have an alcoholic in them. When I was a kid I had expectations that a holiday would be fun, cozy, and friendly. I looked forward to Christmas and Thanksgiving like every other kid. My mom would start drinking though, and way too early there would be fighting and tears, and everything would be a mess. I've stopped looking forward to holidays with her. My expectations were never met. She has never been sober during the holidays to my knowledge, and I am dreading having her around this year. It's best not to have any expectations.

So if "Let Go and Let God" or "Let Go and Let Higher Power" seems too much for you at first, then practice just "Letting Go" at first. Let go of your expectations and you will be a lot calmer, a lot more willing to go with the flow of things, and adapt to whatever happens. It's not always easy. And yes, sometimes I get bummed out because I don't get what I want, but at least I'm not frustrated by not having my expectations met in the first place.

I'd like to go to some fall festivals this weekend. Do I EXPECT to be able to go? Not one bit. I'm hoping to get to at least one of them, although I'd really like to go to 2 or 3. I don't have any expectations though. We don't have much planned because I know that truly everyone will have something different they want to do, and I'm not the only member of the family who gets a voice. The oil will get changed on the car, groceries will hopefully be purchased, and birthday cake or birthday cupcakes will be consumed. Those are expectations I can live with. The rest I just have to let go. If we get in a car accident on the way home today though, all bets are off, and that's just the way it goes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Remembering to use the tools in daily life

I'm not even going to reach into the backpack today to find a quote. I had a very real experience this afternoon of NOT using the program when I should have.

I went to Target to buy a few things, on a long lunch break. I paid, returned my cart, loaded my car, hit McD's drive thru (free coffee), and headed back to work. Just as I neared my exit I realized my wallet wasn't on the front passenger seat. It's a big wallet, with ALL my ID in it. I panicked. I got off the exit, made a U-turn, and sped back to the store. I checked the trunk of my car quickly, and all around the front seats etc, but didn't find it. Then I RAN into the store. Panic was full on. I went back to the cashier where I'd checked out (Lane 8), then I went to Customer Service, and finally to the security guard who I'd handed the cart off to. No one had the wallet. I gave the guard my name and phone numbers, and left. I told myself as I walked out that if I didn't find the wallet in my car right now, then I officially had permission to cry, and I planned to really bawl because I was so upset with myself, and I knew my husband would be upset with me too. A simple little errand turned into a complete disaster. Credit cards, library cards, ID, health insurance, all my store cards, etc... missing. What a disaster! There wasn't any cash, just all that ID.

Then I got to my car, opened the trunk, and SEARCHED, and searched and FOUND the wallet in one of the shopping bags. I came back to work and called Target and let them know I'd found the wallet. Fortunately I didn't have to speak to the security guard personally.

I was so grateful that I had not called my husband and caused him to panic, or had him search the car and see his birthday gifts. However I felt like a complete idiot.

I should have used the program. Al-Anon is about US. It's about ME. It's not about the alcoholics and addicts in my life, it's about keeping ME sane, and I need to keep the focus on MYSELF. Al-Anon is not just for when I am interacting with the As in my life, it is for LIVING my life, always. It needs to be ON all the time. Losing weight isn't about dieting, it's about changing your lifestyle. Al-Anon is the same way. It's about changing your life style so you make the right choice every time, or try to anyway. And when you make a mistake, you forgive yourself.

I made two mistakes today, at least. I panicked because I thought I'd lost the wallet, and then I was really hard on myself when I realized it was a false alarm. I shouldn't have panicked in the first place. I should have stayed calm and searched the car better. Then, even if I had panicked and gone through all of that, I should have been more forgiving of myself for making the mistake. No one is perfect, not even me, that's why we have a Higher Power. Maybe, just maybe, my higher power had a reason for me to get back to work 45 minutes later than I'd planned. I'll probably never know.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From "Hope for Today"

Today's reading in "Hope for Today" talks about the Al-Anon slogan of "How important is it?" The writer talks about growing up with an alcoholic mother and striving for perfection. I can completely relate to the piece. If I were to pour orange juice into my coffee, I would not laugh it off. I would wonder if I had Alzheimers' Disease or something. I am constantly apologizing for things that are not my fault. Or I used to anyway. I've gotten a lot better about the apologizing part.

Today I wasn't sure if I was going to have time to do my blog entries, and I was kind of upset about it. Even though I'm not even sure if anyone even reads this blog, except maybe Arlene when she's not too busy, I was still mad at myself. I had made a pledge to myself to blog 5 days/week, and I didn't want to break that for no good reason. Grandma dieing was a good reason, but today would have just been because I didn't feel like it, and that wasn't good enough.

How is important is it though? Hmm....

Ads on the blog

I caved and added Ad Sense to the blog. I am not sure if anyone is reading this anyway, so I'm not sure if even matters, but I'm trying to get the blog to show up in searches and get more exposure, and I was hoping that by adding Ad Sense, Google might move it up a notch somehow. Right now the blog just seems so invisible. I feel like I'm writing to myself, and I'm starting to lose my motivation to post here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Things First

I just looked into 3 of my books for some inspiration, some great quote that would help me express what I want to say here. Of course I couldn't find anything. Putting "First Things First" is on a basic level it means putting your Higher Power above all else, but on a more constructive level it means getting organized and prioritizing my life. At 3pm I was handed a stack of work to do, and I was already in the middle of 2 other projects. I felt overwhelmed for a few minutes. Then I took a deep breath, and set it aside. It will be there tomorrow. First I need to do the things I've already started. This is not easy for me. There was a time when I would rush through everything so that my desk would be empty by 5pm. "First Things First" also means I take time for me, to write this blog for example, so that I can breathe and not feel like someone is stepping on my chest. It means that I put myself first because no one else is going to do it. Once I've done that, I can move on, and get things done more efficiently.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Random Thoughts

Yesterday's "One Day at a Time" page reminds us to separate the alcoholic's disease from the alcoholic as a person. I'm supposed to remember that my mother's disease makes her crazy, but she still has a lot of good qualities. This is true, and I've spent a lot of my life saying "Well to me she's a b****, but professionally she's a great person. Look at all the people she has helped..." Um yeah, but you know what? She's not my boss. She's not my coworker. She's my mom, and if I don't detach myself from her and set boundaries, I destroy myself. So for me, I have to remember that although she has the ability to be a great, generous, gifted person the side of her that I'm most likely to see is the one that destroys families and friends, and rips lives apart. Doesn't matter how wonderful she is, to me she's poison.

Another Al-Anon thing that I was reminded of today, probably on someone else's blog or in another AlAnon book, is that we need to keep the focus on ourselves. I shouldn't be focused on the crazy things my mother has done recently. I should be focused on myself and how I work my own program. This is very true. It doesn't matter that my mother threw my brother's stuff out onto her lawn in a cheap plastic bag. It matters that my husband and I decided to go and get my brother's things, and attempt to make contact with him. Rather than ignore the situation, which was my first impulse, we decided to take action to help the other Adult Child of an Alcoholic in my mother's life. I don't know if my brother will appreciate the gesture or not, but we tried to rescue his military uniform at least. When my mom quizzed me about it on Saturday though, I dodged. I couldn't tell her yet that we had taken the stuff. I felt like I was stealing, not rescuing, although I know it was the right thing to do. I just wasn't ready to be on her bad side yet.

For some reason I am still trying to get her approval in some weird way. I haven't seen her since the funeral, but I've spoken to her on the phone, and she's as crazy as ever. So why am I "kissing up"?

During the week my mom called repeatedly asking me to return grandma's earrings that she'd given me. On Saturday I sent my husband to drop them off since he was passing her apartment anyway. Turns out they weren't what she was looking for. She accused me of holding out, called me up and said "where is the rest of it?" I reminded her that she hadn't given me anything else. That she had in fact refused to give me any other jewelry. She backed off pretty quickly and admitted that she hadn't looked through her stuff yet, she just assumed I had it. Then she asked me how to clean a jewelry box. How would I know that? I've never owned one. So things are edgy.

Now I have a name and phone number of an acquaintance who said she'd be willing to give my mom some doctor's names etc. locally. Do I call my mom tonight with the info? Or not? We'll see. She probably won't be very grateful for it, but I tried to help her out.

Keeping the focus on myself. My mom will always be crazy. How I interact with her is my program. Or how I detach myself too. It's too bad that things can't be better between us. When it comes time for her funeral some day, if I outlive her, I will manage to stay positive and say good things about her. Right now though, it's hard to separate the addict from the addiction. Now that my grandmother is gone, walls will probably go up and my mom and I will be playing some sort of game as we get near the holidays. Neither of us quite saying what we really want to say. Sad, but true.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Courage to Change

I don't have much time to post today, and my coworker is being loud on the phone so I'm doing this quickly...

Reach into my backpack where I have probably 3 Al-Anon books. Grab one at random and it is "Courage to Change" and go to today's page. The last part is a quote by James Barrie, but when I searched the internet I found 2 different versions. Here is one:

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”

Rectorial address, May 3, 1922, St. Andrew’s University, Scotland

And the one in the book is "God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December."

Either one is good. Having lost my grandmother and buried her last Friday, I am still feeling sad a bit. Relations with my mother and my brother are strained now too. My husband thinks this is the time to detach from my mother now that my grandmother and grandfather are gone. I'm reluctant to let her go completely. It saddens me that my daughter will not have a grandmother like the one I had, but no matter what I do my mother will never be as her mother was. To continue a relationship with my mother or not is a big elephant in my room right now, and ultimately I am to some degree powerless over what happens because I cannot control my mother either. I just need to turn it over to my Higher Power and see what happens next.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another tough day but grateful anyway

Work conditions today have not been wonderful. Construction noise, lack of heat, power outage, computer problems... etc. Fortunately my morning was full of meetings away from my desk area, and this afternoon I've really had very little actual work to do. I'll count this as a blessing.

My husband has to come in to work in the middle of the night to do a computer repair. This will make it impossible to get any real sleep tonight, and I know tomorrow he'll be miserable. I don' t know how he does it, but I'm grateful that he does. Without his paycheck I'm not sure where we'd be.

A cousin of mine died. I knew it was coming, and honestly I wasn't close to him. I think my mom might have been. I read some news online about what a hero he was, but I could not locate the actual obituary. New Hampshire paper said I needed to be a subscriber. I called my mom and asked her if she'd be willing to go to her local store and find a copy but she didn't seem interested. So maybe she wasn't that close after all. I'll choose to be grateful for that since it means she probably isn't mourning much. Heroes die every day, and it's sad that this one has passed, but at least he isn't suffering anymore.

So there's my motto for the day== Attitude of Gratitude!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm back, and discovered "Prayer Girl" and more

I just discovered Prayer Girl's blog, and she quoted something I had just read in one of my Al-Anon books. She said :
"I pray for the tolerance and the wisdom to
avoid reacting to what other people say and do."
(From "One Day At A Time In Al-Anon" , Sept. 15, p. 259)

This is perfect for me right now. I had to practice this last week with my family. As I said in my last post, my maternal grandmother passed away and I knew I'd be putting my Al-Anon tools to the test. I don't want to give you all an hour-by-hour rundown of my last week, but I will give you a highlight that I haven't shared with many.

My mother is still actively drinking, I'm pretty sure. My brother has his addictions too, not sure what they are, but I'm pretty sure they are there. So... the funeral was set for Friday. My brother and I were both to be pallbearers.

I worked on Tuesday, and spent all day on Wednesday with my mother. On Thursday I still hadn't purchased shoes so I told my mom I'd be over to her house as soon as I found some. I have big feet so this isn't an easy task. One saleslady told me I was a "specialty size" and she wasn't very nice about it. Anyway, it took a while, and traffic wasn't on my side. I finally got to my mom's apartment around 2pm. I left her at 4pm, to go get my daughter from preschool and my husband at work since we only have one car.

My mother told me that she wanted my brother at her house at 5pm on Thursday, not because she needed him there, but because she was afraid if he didn't show up that he would blow off the funeral on Friday morning. Sometime between 4pm and 6pm, my mother and my brother had a big fight. When I got home at 6pm, with my daughter and my husband, there was a message on my answering machine full of 4-letter words that I did not want my 3-year old to hear. I took the phone outside and called my mother back, and calmly told her that while it was okay to talk to me like that in private, it was not okay to leave that kind of message on the machine. She was already on fire, and didn't like the fact that I wasn't responding to the actual message itself. She told me that if my brother showed up at the funeral she would kill him. Then she said she just wouldn't go to the funeral herself, it would be better that way somehow. I stayed calm. I didn't call her back. I asked my husband for some guidance and he said "Let it sit. It's between the two of them." Of course he was right. So I didn't react. We made dinner, and did our stuff, and I waited for the phone to ring. It didn't. We stayed calm.

The next morning the three of us headed out for the funeral. We passed my mother's apartment on the way and knew she hadn't left yet. I wondered if she was coming, but I didn't stop to ask. We needed coffee and breakfast and I knew there would be a line at the Dunkin drive-thru when we got there. So we went on. We got to the funeral home before my mother did, but she did show up. My brother did not. People asked where he was, and I explained that my mother had fueled the fire and it was between them. Myself and 3 of my cousins carried the casket with the help of 2 men from the funeral home. I sat next to my mom during the funeral, but we didn't hold hands. We did what we needed to do. At the reception afterward, I visited with my relatives, and talked to my dad. My mother made the rounds too.

When I got home later in the afternoon I called my brother's father to see if he had heard anything, and he hadn't. I let him know that I was not mad at my brother for being absent, and I explained what I thought had happened. On Monday I sent my brother a note, and we had a few messages back and forth. I told him that I loved him always, and knew that he was just avoiding our toxic mother. I also told him that if he had shown up, he would not have been dragged away by the police or hurt one bit by our mother. I had his back, and so did everyone else. We are all familiar with my mother and her moods. He would not have had to deal with her alone.

I am sad my brother missed the funeral, and I do blame my mother for that. However, it's done and I have to let it go. I am proud of myself for defending him, and letting it be known that it wasn't him being irresponsible that caused his absence, but rather my mother's desire to try to control her 29 year old son who did not want to be controlled. I hope I used my tools well, and did the right thing. If not, I just have to let it go. It's done.

Rest in Peace Grandma. May Faith always be with me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rest in peace Grandma

My maternal grandmother passed away yesterday afternoon. My mother was the last family member to see her alive, and I was the first relative to get the news of the passing. My mom had left the nursing home just a couple of hours before my grandmother passed, and I arrived just a few minutes too late. It's going to be a difficult week.

My mother is really hard to be around for my husband and I, and of course she will be in the center of attention this week. It's going to be very hard for me dealing with her. The funeral isn't until Friday. I've made it through today (Tuesday) at work, but I've decided to take the rest of the week off to spend with my mother, and some time for myself. Friday will be long I'm sure.

My husband has been really great both in supporting me, and in keeping me grounded. This morning I was letting our daughter get away with too much, and he waited until she was at preschool before he reminded me of my parenting duties. I was cutting the kid way too much slack, and undermining his attempts at reigning her in. He was right, and I know it. He has also been there to listen, to hug, and to take the kid away from me so I could cry in peace. He's a good man, and I know that I have been blessed to have him in my life. He is proof to me that God listens, and grants miracles.

Don't expect any more posts this week as I grieve, but know that I will be putting all my Al-Anon resources to the test. I loved my grandmother a great deal, and was very close to her. Amen.

They say that death comes in threes. I've been informed that one of my mother's first-cousins is very ill, and not expected to last the week. I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall now, and wondering who the third one will be. Sad, but true.

Friday, September 4, 2009

First Things First

A long weekend is ahead of us, but before I can get there, I still have an hour left at work. I have a "to do" list at work and at home, and it is nagging me. I have to keep reminding myself to just take things one step at a time, and do "first things first". It's going to be a challenge. Usually writing lists helps me with this, but so far I haven't had time to put things down on paper so most of it is still in my head. Phone calls to be made, bills to be paid, friends and relatives to visit... in the meantime, I have a pile of books to sort and process before the day is over.

The weekend does involve visits with both my parents, separately, a trend I am going to be faced with over the holidays as well. Scheduling things in a way that does not overwhelm my husband or my daughter is tricky since their thresholds are low. Patience from everybody will be key.

First the tape, then the lines, then take things one at a time, and with that my sanity will be restored.

Have a good weekend all! I might not post again until Tuesday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm confused about this blog

Okay this isn't a really on-topic I admit. I'm wondering why this blog isn't showing up when I do searches. I think I have my settings set correctly, but for some reason it's invisible in Google Blog Search, and I'm not sure why. I want it to show up in searches for Al-Anon, ACOA, and recovery things, but it's not. Any clues?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

between sanity and insanity

This is a rough time for me. Yesterday I saw my grandmother, and all of that. Last night after we got the kid to bed, my husband told me he wasn't feeling well and was going to the doctor (at 9:30pm he was going to Urgent Care clinic). So off he went, with our only car. A while later he called me back and said he was being sent to a real hospital in an ambulance. I was POWERLESS. I was home, with a child, and no way to get to the hospital. Our car was at the doctor's office. So I asked his permission to call a friend of his. I couldn't quite let go, not yet.

His friend showed up at my door a while later, and I had to choose between panic & insanity and sanity and detachment. I hated to do it, but I choose the later one. My husband is not an addict, and I didn't really want to detach, but my gut told me that it would be a waste of my energy to wake a sleeping child, install a car seat in the dark, and go out. So I stayed home and sent the friend instead. Hours later, more phone calls, and the verdict that the hospital could find nothing wrong. So I finally went to bed. I woke as soon as my husband came home, at 2am. He's fine. I don't think this is the last time that this scenario will play out in my house though. It's certainly not the first time he has run off to the doctor's office late at night. So I have choices to make. I want to be compassionate, and I really do care, but having lived with an alcoholic who was always "dying" from one crisis to the next, I don't want to live that way in my marriage, and I don't want to raise my daughter on that roller coaster ride either.

I'm GRATEFUL that it was nothing serious. I think I handled the situation in a good way. I sent a friend, who was not burdened with a sleepy preschooler, to be by his side. The same friend who was at his side when other crisis's have occurred. I need help with coping with this in the future though. It's tough territory for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"I believe...."

There is a lot of talk in recovery programs about "believing". Believing in yourself, believing in a higher power or God, believing that you can make a difference... and if you don't believe, then some will tell you to pretend to believe until you really get it.

There is a lot of talk about "acceptance" too. It's the end of the day, and I'm still not sure where I want to go with today's post. Both of these words are weighing on me today.

I believe.... I believe that when I visited my grandmother today she was glad to see me, and she knew who I was. I believe that. I believe that she knows I really love her with all my heart, and wish I could do more for her.

I also know that when I asked her "Is this where you want to be?" and she said "No", that there were layers and layers of answers there, and I know in my heart some of the places where she would rather be.

And this is where acceptance comes in. She does not want to be in that nursing home, and she does not want to be parked in front of the nurses station for an hour before lunchtime after I leave. However, she accepts it. She would like her son and daughter to visit more often than they do, but she accepts their absence and their excuses. She does not know, and maybe does not care any more, that my mother has lied to her repeatedly and in fact, is not visiting her more often because she doesn't have a car.

This is where it gets hard for me. I suspect that my grandmother feels neglected by my mother. She did a lot for my mom over the years, and she is probably hurt and confused by the fact that even though my mom moved back up to Massachusetts 2 months ago, she's not visiting grandma every day. My mother, and my uncle too I guess, never told my grandmother about the DUI my mom got in Florida in October 2007. I think it was 2007, I might be wrong on that. Anyway, my grandmother does not know that the car she bought my mom got totaled and that my mom lost her license etc, etc. When my mom came to visit from Florida when my grandmother was ill once, she did it in between probation visits. My grandmother has no clue. They think she doesn't need to know, and it's not my job to tell her.

Still if she knew that stuff, if she knew that my mom's alcoholism had done this, and that my mom was now without a car, then she'd know why my mom doesn't visit every day.

If I was retired, and lived nearby, I'd visit my grandmother every day. I hate seeing her the way she is, and I know she is lonely. In some ways she reminds me of my daughter. People really do thrive better with some love and affection, and if grandma had some 1 on 1 love from my mom or my uncle, for more than just an hour or two here and there, I think she'd be less depressed.

I can't do it though myself, and she knows it and accepts it. I'm not retired. I have a young child, and a job, and my husband and I share a car. She and I both have to accept this. So today I tried to tell her with all my heart how much I love her, but really she'll never know. I've been mourning her declining health for years, and I can't do anything except that we all get older, and she's 91 years old now, and that's just the way it is.

"It is what it is." as some people say, and we don't have to like it, we just have to accept it.

And with that, I'll sign off until tomorrow.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Step One- Admitted we were powerless....

"Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable."

This seems like a good place to start for today. Many times when I think about this step, I stop at the comma. "I admitted I was powerless." Sometimes being powerless can be very freeing. I was wishing I was powerless yesterday. I told my husband "I wish I wasn't a grown-up. Being responsible, having opinions, and having to watch all this stuff happen is just so painful!" I am in a hard spot now with my family, I am powerless and I hate it. Seventeen years ago, I was powerless and I was good with it. The family gave me Responsibility though, and now I have Guilt.

I was 21 when my maternal grandfather died, and I was chosen to spend a week at their house, keeping an eye on my grandmother. They'd been married for 50 years. Not surprisingly, my grandmother didn't open up to me. I would wake in the middle of the night and find her playing solitaire at the kitchen table, just like always, and she was talking to my grandfather, just like always. I've always felt that I botched that week. She didn't reach out to me, no surprise, and she grieved my grandfather dearly. Now it's her turn soon. The nurse at the nursing home told me "She's fading." She's not in pain, and she's not sick, but she's slowing down. Sometime she'll fall asleep and that will be it I think.

What does this have to do with alcoholics? Because they are my maternal grandparents, that's what. I have to deal with my mom a lot right now, and she's just as toxic as ever. After a brief visit with my grandmother on Saturday, I went to my mother's house. My aunt and uncle were there (uncle is my mom's brother), and my brother was there with his youngest son. I'd never met the son before, and he just turned a year old. I was happy to meet him, but a quick look around the apartment told me very quickly that my mom and my brother have different ideas of parenting than I do. Anyway, my mom and my uncle were going through my grandmother's jewelry box, and I didn't think that was right. The box is personal, and she's still alive. Leave it alone!

I'm powerless. I'm just the grandchild. I have no say in this. It is their mother, not mine. Shut up, and be quiet and let it go.

I didn't stay long. My daughter was taking a nap in the car, and my husband was out there with her, with the engine running. I dropped some things off for the baby and left as quickly as possible, but not without feeling some pain.

The next day I talked to my mom on the phone, and told her I'd like her to keep the jewelry box as in tact as possible, and if she wanted, I'd pay her for it. I just want to keep it sacred, but I didn't tell her that. Then she switched the conversation to my brother. She asked me if I thought the baby was fat, and then she told me my brother had served time in jail. I'd never heard of him being in jail, in fact as far as I know he's in the National Guard Reserves, so I'd be quite surprised if he'd done jail time. I pressed her for details- when? what jail? for how long? how many times? She faded. I knew then she was lying. Same old, same old with her. I just can't trust her to tell me the truth. I am so powerless.

And then the last part, can't forget that...l "my life had become unmanageable". Indeed, my life feels very unmanageable when I'm around her, and I spent hours crying yesterday. Hours.

This is a hard time in my life. A week ago I was feeling up, but this week I'm down. I am turning to my HP, and even considered trying to go to church (but I don't think the stress it would bring to my marriage is worth it). I am praying though, and meditating, and focusing on the tools of Al-Anon. I am constantly reminded that whether I like it or not, my mother is still sick in so many ways, and I am still an adult child of an alcoholic.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do I really want to do this??

I went into the BIG library today, up to the 17th floor, and explored the Al-Anon books up there. Some of them are pretty old, and many have never been checked out I think. Too bad. I saw some interesting stories as I skimmed through the books and along the shelves. Then I stopped to ask myself "Do I want to do this? Do I want to identify myself, however anonymously, as an 'adult child of an alcoholic'? Do I want to let that define me?" My husband and my child love me unconditionally. Neither are interested in who I was before I came into their lives. They love me for who I am NOW, in the present, in this moment. They do not care about how I got here or why I am the way I am. They accept me for what is. They are practicing healthy relationships without even knowing it, without even thinking about it. They are just healthy to begin with. Why is it so much work for me to not be so toxic? Why can't I have their peace and sanity?

And then I remember that my 3 year old drives my husband insane sometimes too, and when that happens I am fortunate to have a program to turn to to help me keep mine. My husband doesn't have that gift, and I am fortunate. Gratitude.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Something to ponder quickly

Yesterday I went on Amazon and ordered some books. Seems my old copies, that I had before I got married, have vanished. I think I gifted them to charity in order to save space. My book collection took a huge hit before I moved in with my husband. Since we've lived in our current house, it took another hit by being stored away. I went through the few boxes that I could find, but could not find my old favorites so I ordered new ones.

My preschooler is driving me crazy. I'm losing my sanity, and feeling unhappy around my child. Not good feelings. I'm reminded that I need to practice my program in other areas of my life, not just around the addicts and alcoholics that brought me to Al-Anon in the first place, but everywhere. I need to find MY peace, and my sanity at work, with my husband, with my child, and with everyone else as well. It's a struggle and I'm feeling like I'm not where I want to be with some of these things. It's difficult especially when dealing with children who can't be expected to understand another person's perspective.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time to get kickin'!

I'm making an effort to post Monday-Friday starting next week. I haven't figured out where I'm going to find the time, or what I'm going to write about exactly, but that's the plan. Wish me luck! And if you have suggestions, I'm welcome to hear them. Thanks!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Let Go and Let HP and "Courage to change the things I can" often go hand-in-hand

I often find that having the "courage to change the things I can" and "Let Go and Let God/HP" go together. I prefer the "Let go and Let HP" motto over the serenity prayer sometimes because I really have to practice at the Letting Go part. I want to be in control, I really do!

This past week has been an example of these two things in action, and it has nothing to do with my mother. As further proof that the 12 steps are not just about the addicts and alcoholics in my life, but about living MY life for me I offer this example:

I work for the state. I was hired in 2005 to my current job. In 2006, after my maternity leave, I gradually began to take on greater responsibility and do more complex duties. Last year my supervisors finally decided to officially acknowledge this and tried to get my job reclassified to a higher level. Unfortunately they failed. There were others that the supervisors were lobbying to upgrade as well, and none got approved.

So now the ball is in my court. I decided that I had the "Courage to change the things I can" and I filled out the forms to try to get reclassified myself. With my supervisors support, I gathered evidence to support my case, and I scheduled an interview with the powers to be to state my case. That's the "Courage..." part.

Today I had my interview, and did my best to succeed. Yesterday I even got my hair cut and bought some new clothes and shoes to bolster my confidence. I did everything I could think of to prepare beforehand, and really studied, and then I did everything I could during the interview to do well.

Now it's time to "Let Go and Let HP". I've done my part. The administrators will gather more information from my supervisors' director, and other sources. They will prepare a report and give me a chance to review it. Right now I have to wait. Right now there is nothing I can do. Right now I have to Let Go, and I don't know how long it will take. It might be a month before the next step of action is required on my part. Letting Go is hard work, but it's what I have to do. "Grant me serenity" while I'm letting go.

and peace too.