Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sorry I haven't been on here much. Sometimes life just gets in the way of things. I've been working on a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), taking photographs of my beautiful neighborhood in Western Massachusetts, and just generally trying to keep up with my daily life in so many places. I actually write four blogs, and it's not uncommon for me to fall behind on one or more of them. Since my mother moved to Florida, and I am not often in "crisis mode" with my Al-Anon, it is easier to let this one slide. That's not to say I'm not practicing the gifts that Al-Anon has given me though.

Yesterday I had an hour to myself unexpectedly. There wasn't time to work on the novel, but there was time to call my mother or take some photos at the state beach. I chose the photos. I chose serenity. During the holidays it is important to me to Keep It Simple Stupid, to remember to THINK (thoughtful, helpful, informative, Nice/Necessary, Kind), and to practice the serenity prayer.

Really that serenity prayer is harder than it looks. Take it apart line by line, and sometimes it's really hard to know it. "God grant me the wisdom to know the difference." Sometimes I don't feel I have that wisdom, but I keep trying.

I have friends, neighbors, family, and possibly coworkers with cancer right now. It seems like it is all around me. I can't cure it. I didn't cause it. I know this. I can't control it either. I've learned those 3 C's well. However, I can help maybe. I can organize a card drive, I can make a donation, I can spread awareness through my Facebook page. I am doing what I can.

I am grateful for my family, my job, and my serenity. I am grateful for Al-Anon in keeping me alive when I did not think I would make it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

rare political post

If you are going to vote on the "Live and Let Live" theme of 12-step programs, then your only choice is to vote Libertarian. Vote Gary Johnson for President. He might not win, but you will be sending a message that you really value this in your life.

That is all.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What is the lesson of our dead fish?

We got a small five-gallon fish tank a bit over a year ago. One of my daughter's friends got one for a birthday present at a birthday party that we attended, and she decided she wanted one too. Since allergies were preventing us from owning a cat or a dog, we agreed. The fish tank seemed the best way to go in terms of pet ownership, and pets are supposed to be good for your health and good for teaching kids life's lessons.

After a while we decided that one fish wasn't really enough. After checking with the some friends and the people at the pet shop we decided to get 2 more of the same variety. One of these turned out to be slightly larger than the other ones. Well we quickly nicknamed him "Bully". After moving into his new home he began biting the other fish. Soon the other new one died from it's injuries. However our little Pinky, who we had started with did not die. Eventually Pinky bit Bully back. Soon Bully died. We buried both fish in a corner of our yard with small graveside services. Life continued on in our home and we decided to just stick with the one fish. Obviously the tank was too small for sharing. When we lost power because of bad weather we worried about our little Pinky. When the power went out for a whole week my husband rigged up a complicated battery/inverter thing that let us run the water pump  and heater for a few hours a day. We poured hot water into the tank to keep our little Pinky from freezing (which we had to heat on a camping stove). We sheltered out the power outage in a hotel but we came home every day to make sure Pinky was safe. Pinky survived. What a tough little fish!

Time passed, months and months went by. Eventually we were feeling sorry for our little fish again. With no friends to play with, surely this social creature must be lonely. When the pet store put the bigger tanks on sale we decided it was finally time to upgrade. We got a much larger tank and very carefully prepared it. We tested the water, let the tank run for a few days, and made sure everything was just about right. Finally we moved Pinky in.

Pinky was in shock. He/she had never been in such a big home before. From a 5 gallon tank to a 29 gallon tank. He barely moved. I could feed him and he would react, but he seemed stunned. We tested the water again and it still seemed fine. We thought about moving him back to the smaller home but we were afraid that would just shock him more. We hadn't even gotten the new friends yet, we were just trying to get Pinky to adjust to his new surroundings. On the second day I brought my daughter home from school and he was not doing well at all. We all sensed it was urgent. Of course a vet couldn't really help us. I did the only thing I knew to do. I collected a water sample and we went to the pet store. They said our water was pretty good. We could add a little banking soda and some gravel from the old tank but really Pinky was just scared. Should we move Pinky back to the smaller tank (which was still on standby sitting empty)? No, probably not. He'll just be even more confused. He's just a little fish after all.  [If anyone is really wondering, he was a glo fish, a relative of the zebrafish.]

We had dinner and went home. When I went to the tank I could not find our little Pinky, and then we saw him. It was too late. He had gone on to Fish Heaven to be with his friends I guess.

In our hearts we were trying to cheer him up. Of course he didn't know that. He had survived so much. I am still just a little surprised that he is gone.

Did we do the wrong thing by moving him to a bigger home? I don't know. I feel like there is a lesson in here somewhere.

Is it better to live alone, in a small but safe home or is it better to go out into the big world and take some chances and possibly make a friend?

What do you think?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Accepting what you're given (from your HP or elsewhere)

I want to write a post and I know I don't have time or the right words to do it at the moment, but it's coming... and before I lose the thought completely here's the gist of it...

I am accepting what I have been given by my HP. I'm not running away from it. I am taking it. Some of it is good, and some of it not so good. I made a choice to put my child first for a couple of weeks and that has made coming back to work hard. There is a lot to do (which is why I shouldn't be writing this right now). My mom has cancer. It's a common skin cancer. The old me would have freaked out. I'm staying calm. It's not in my hands. I have given it over. Worrying is not going to make it better.

I live in a town where one of my ex-boyfriends grew up. We didn't last long I'm afraid but I think of him often because I pass by where his house used to be. Indeed I drove by the day the local firefighters used it as practice (it had long been empty I suppose). Anyway, the other day he reached out to me on Facebook. At first I was nervous but so far he only wants to talk about himself and I'm good with that. I am interested in hearing what has happened in the last 21 years since our youthful time together. We all have our journey in life and I am listening with open ears I hope because I have been thinking of him during the last few years. Indeed I am grateful to hear from him and find out how things have gone (his marriage ended in divorce, his father died, etc..). This gives me some sense of closure or something. I don't know. I am accepting it as a gift.

More later I hope, but that's where I'm at the moment and I wanted you all to know I was out here meditating on this whole thing. There's more but I'm on borrowed time as it is.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Living in the moment

I am not having the day I planned. I had planned to work on a project with a very specific deadline. Unfortunately the materials I need to do the work have not been given to me so I cannot do the job. I cannot meet the deadline. I have to find something else to do and do the work later after my vacation. When I come back from my vacation I will have other projects to do. Projects that will be piling up during my absence. People will be angry that I am not making them #1 on their list.

Sound familiar? Right now I am not where I want to be. However at 3pm I will be. At 3pm I will be leaving this place and I will leave these problems on my desk until tomorrow morning. Tomorrow will be a new day. I still won't get this project done, but I will move on. I will let it go because it is out of my control.

For today I am living moment by moment, and practicing the tools from Al-Anon in all of my affairs.

Breathe and Let go.

Let go of expectations.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Acceptance... of ourselves

Acceptance. I am thinking about this word a lot lately. I'm not sure if it's big enough to describe what I'm thinking on. I think about acceptance in that I have to accept that there are addicts in my life. I have to accept the 3 Cs (didn't Cause it, can't Cure it, can't Control it). I also think about that I have to Accept that I'm not perfect. No one is. All I can do is keep trying.

I've been working on my weight loss for 700 days now, 23 months just about. I still haven't gotten down to my goal weight but I joined an online community for strength and support and I'm about halfway there. Halfway there and a year behind schedule. Sound familiar? I realized that I was using my Al-Anon skills in my weight loss program and I feel a little proud of myself for making that happen. I am applying the principles in all my affairs. Yay!

So how about this one... this is a tough one, maybe especially for Adult Children of Alcoholics, but I imagine it's tough for a lot of folks.. I can accept that I'm GOOD. I'm good at writing. I'm good at motivating other people. I'm a good co-leader of one my local weight loss groups. I'm a good role model for my daughter and for other people. I might even be a good photographer, but I think I need more practice before I go that far.

Anyway, I can accept a compliment. I'm still humble I think, but I don't have to put myself down. I don't have to say "Oh I haven't reached my goal so it doesn't matter....". I've lost 35 pounds in 2 years. That does matter. I'm doing well, and thank you for saying so.

I hope I'm a good blogger too, and I hope that you out there realize that if you stick with whatever you are doing, like Al-Anon, you can make it work. Accept that.

Friday, July 20, 2012

and we go forth into the world

I gave blood today and ran into someone who I used to know at Al-Anon meetings. He was in my "home group". I don't go there anymore as I have moved, changed jobs, and changed relationships. I used to work near his house too doing human service work in a home. I would see his wife out walking and I probably got to know her better than I knew him. She went to meetings too, sometimes more than he did. The A in their lives was his first wife, mother of his child(ren?).

So I saw him today while we were both giving blood. We were both top of the line. He was #2 and I was #4. He remembered that he knew me, but he didn't remember my name or remember why he knew me. When he asked how we knew each other I said that it wasn't from work it was from town. I led him to believe it was from his neighborhood. I didn't mention the meetings in the church basement. I didn't ask about his ex-wife. He didn't mention her. It was a long time ago anyway, and there is that word "anonymous" too. We were acquaintances once, and I really liked his current wife. I asked about her and was pleased to hear how well she's done for herself. Then when we were done and my recovery time was up I walked away. Not sure if I'll ever see him again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

not quite serenity but acceptance maybe

Funny how time passes. Has it really been 3 months sine I've written? My mother is still in Florida only by now she's changed her address. She moved across the street. She went from a 2-bedroom with no balcony to a 1-bedroom with a balcony. Naturally she had to sell some things to afford the paperwork for the move. Naturally her boyfriend and his friends helped her. She met her boyfriend through a former neighbor at her old place. Her boyfriend's mother lived there and introduced her. I think part of the reason for the move was probably to get away from the mother. Anyway my mother's health issues continue. I think at this point she may have kidney disease or something but it's hard to know for sure. She's undergoing some testing and my understanding is she's been in and out of the hospital quite a bit lately. Hasn't stopped her from an occasional motorcycle ride though, without a helmet. I just hope she's not the one doing the driving. Live and Let Live, right? It is so much easier to do that with her being in Florida than it was when she was here in Massachusetts.

Minding my own business... I think I mentioned previously that I reunited with my former foster sister. We found each other through Facebook. This past weekend my daughter and I visited her home for her daughter's birthday party. It was a pool party and my daughter had a great time. Even though we didn't know anyone but our hosts my daughter put a smile on and was determined and able to have a great time. I was very proud of her. The following day I returned to pick up what I had left behind by accident the day before. This time I went by myself and I had the opportunity to meet my foster sister's adoptive parents. I'm not sure how many people are as blessed as I am to have this happen in my life. This woman was my sister for four years, and was ripped away from my life because of my mother's abuse to her. I never got another sister and I cried through therapy for a long time and never really "got over it". I feel extremely blessed that after about 30 years we are in touch, and I am grateful that she is doing so well. She had rough start in life. I am glad that she finally got the loving family she deserved, a happy marriage, and two great kids and all of it. I didn't abuse her I don't think so I can't exactly make amends, but I can do my part to let her know that I care and that she wasn't the only one who was abused etc. We had four years together, and four years in my 41 years (and counting) may not seem like much, but I am grateful I had them.

Accept what has happened in the past. We cannot change it. All we can do is make sure that for today, for right now we do the best that we can. Every day I am trying to do that.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Carrying Al-Anon with me in all of my affairs

I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post. My daughter's birthday is coming up in less than a week, and it has definitely given me the opportunity to "practice it in all of my affairs".

Last week we had our first swimming lesson of the NEW swimming lessons. I had EXPECTATIONS. Oh boy! I had expectations that my daughter would adapt to a new teacher, a new time (by 30 minutes), and a new class. I spent a half hour of sheer insanity and frustration with her that night because she wasn't meeting MY expectations, because she wasn't doing things MY way. Sound familiar? How many times have we tried to control other people in our lives? Does it work? Do we keep trying anyway? Of course we do! LOL! After the failed lesson I talked to my spouse, and the next day I talked to a trusted friend, and then I LET GO, and I LET GOD. I reassessed my priorities, and thought about what was REALLY important, and you know what? It worked. I LET GO. We switched to a different class, back to her old teacher, and her old time slot. She's still moving upward from the class she had in March so she will be learning new skills. It is all going to work out fine. I just needed to LET GO so it could happen.

Now we are getting ready for the BIG BIRTHDAY PARTY. It's the first time we've invited so many kids, rented a space, and made a big deal out of it. It's costing us some money, time, and frustration. My biggest problem is that the parents aren't RSVPing on time. On some level I need those RSVPs so I can be ready for the party. I have to give a head-count the day before the party so setup can be done. However I also need to remember that the party is only 2 HOURS of my life! It is not worth going insane over. I need to check myself, and recheck myself. What are my expectations? What do I really need? If they get back to me tomorrow instead of today, is that okay? At what point do I draw the lines? So today, I am letting go. I am not calling anyone or nagging anyone. I have enough on my plate with other things. Tomorrow I will make phone calls if need be, but for today I am letting it go and handing it over and hoping that people have the decency to reach out to us. I wanted to know by yesterday, but I am hoping those that still need to RSVP will do it today on their own.

I am also managing my sanity by delegating. I asked my dad to be in charge of Easter lunch plans. I put my husband in charge of Easter Bunny stuff (hiding the eggs, getting the Easter basket, etc). I am devoting myself to the party, and all of the birthday business. I am letting those two take care of Easter.

I am really trying to MAINTAIN PERSPECTIVE, LET GO, and control my EXPECTATIONS. It is one weekend, and by April 15th it will all be over hopefully. :-)

Enjoy your Easter/Passover weekend friends. May your Higher Power always be with you.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

our lives go on

Sorry for not posting in a while. Predictably my urge to post here has decreased since my mother moved back to Florida. It is easier to cope with an addict when you have more distance between you.

She fell and broke her arm. She fell because she was so frail that when she stood up she just blacked out or something. At least that's what she told me. Now she has a health aide coming to her apartment twice/week to check her blood pressure to make sure it isn't too low. It is also going to take her a long time to heal her arm. She can'd drive her scooter thing of course as a result so she's rather homebound I guess. I gather that she is quite thin, probably about 100 pounds or 105 pounds. (In contrast I'm having trouble staying under the 200 pound mark.). For a woman of her height the weight is too low, and if her blood pressure is too low too then that is all just not so good.

Still things could be worse. About ten days ago we were informed that the mother of one of my daughter's classmates had cancer and was terminal. I asked if she would be gone before June and I was told much sooner than that. Still I wasn't quite prepared for it to happen as fast as it did. By the time school started on Friday morning she was already gone. She left behind a kindergartener and a preschooler, as well as a niece and nephew who shared her home.. all kids in my daughter's school. So sad for our small town to see such a loss. She had a great support network and was well known and loved. Her husband, children, sister, and so forth will not be grieving alone. Cancer is a terrible disease.

I saw the sign from the American Red Cross to give blood and get a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee. Remembering how long it had taken me the last time I went I called ahead and made an appointment to give. I did it on a Friday afternoon and felt shaky for a long, long time afterward. Still I will do it again in March I think when I am eligible again. It's a small way to help others and God only knows if/when it will be my turn to ask for help some day.
Enhanced by Zemanta