Saturday, November 29, 2008


It's been a busy few days. I am psyched about so many things. This time of year is energizing to me, as it usually is. Some folks get S.A.D. when the days get shorter, but my psyche or metabolism seem to somehow compensate for that. The coolness enlivens me. Change stirs me.

The Alkathon is on the right track which is really kewl. It's great to see lots of people working together to get this done. This is truly a team effort which is a wonderful spectacle to behold. I am excited and blessed to be a part of the process. Some days it is evident that being able to give is a gift unto itself.

I met Joan and George at Walmart on Friday for the Black Friday event. It was mad, crazy crowded in there!!! We shot over to Sears afterwards where there was no crowd at all. I actually did better at Sears than Walmart. I was happy about that. I have to shop at Walmart...I just can't afford not to, but my conscience isn't at all happy about my financial survival instincts. I have many qualms with corporate Walmart and its policies.

The past couple of nights have been especially rough on my poor lungs. I have a cold or some such with allergies on top of it. Yesterday I washed everything on my bed cause the night before was absolutely horrible. Last night was a bit better, but even at that I used my rescue inhaler three or four times (I have trouble counting when I am am half awake). That is WAY TOO often to be using it. It was way more often than prescribed but I was NOT NOT NOT giong to the ER. (Yes, I am pig-headed! LOL) I did manage to sleep a couple, two, three hours at a time...something I couldn't do the night before so getting all the fur and pet dander off the bedding was good for me.

With the exception of the mold situation this summer, I've have not had to use my rescue inhaler at night. It's freakin scary!!! Waking up scared spitless, coughing, gasping for air, groping and hoping I can find the fool thing, praying to the gods that it will work, then the reprieve till next time...UGH! When this cold or whatever leaves, I should be doing much better. I have noticed that if I am out of the house or sitting at my desk or at the table I don't cough to speak of. The couch and the bed seem to trigger things. Nothing says ALLERGY like that now, does it?

I've made a very 'moving' pro and con list. The pros seriously outweigh the cons...and many of the pros are extremely compelling. I knew which way I was going, but this helped to clarify and reinforce which are always good things. A clear mind is a wonderful thing!!!

After the meeting, I grabbed a prior temporary sponsor and recruited her as my new sponsor. My sponsor and I had had a discussion this week and she felt she could no longer continue as my sponsor. I understand her reasons. I've been trying to get back into the steps again anyway which has been hard to do. I went through them once in my first year but have not done so again. I've have been trying to do another walk-through. There have been obstacles. I am feeling guardedly optimistic. This new sponsor is very much into stepwork.

Carrie and I had a chance to spend some time together over this holiday weekend. That went well. I had a lovely time. I may meet up with her, her grandmother and her girls at the Holiday Dazzle Parade. We had all gone there together last year before 'all hell broke loose.' I froze my silly butt off, but I had a good time. Kimmy and Robin were so excited about the parade and Santa and the season and mommy being there with them. They are kewl kids.

I was reminded that there is a business meeting at the sober club tomorrow too. It's from 4-5 PM. I'd like to make that too. I am sure we will be planning a Christmas party. I'd like to see if I can help out. With my commitment to the Alkathon, I won't be able to do too much, but every little bit helps and I do like to feel a part of the solution. I was a part of the problem for so long...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I just made a 3-bean soup that is out of this world. YOU WISH YOU WERE HERE. And, oddly enough, there's probably enough for all of you. LOL

Soup is not a recipe thing for me. It is more of a concept. All's fair in love, war and soup. The beans feel so much better in my tummy than meat often does. I'm not sure why (surgery?), but it does take a lot of doing to make meat digestible and palatable for me these days. All those protein laden beans do my body good.

And even better, I made so much...we will be eating this for days. What a lovely way to eat lunch..again and again and again! I really enjoy soup this time of year anyway. Summer and spring are for salads with fall and winter being for soups.

I always start out thinking I will make a small soup. NEVER HAPPENS! I add this, I add grows and grows. S'alright though! This is the kind of situation I can deal with quite easily. I used to freeze smaller portions when I had my own place and then once a week, I'd grab a soup and go merrily on my way. The soup and sandwich combo has always been one of my favorites. I certainly recommend it to one and all.

So that's it. This post is just about the scoop on the soup!
Milk of Magnesia is my friend...s'all I'm saying! Yeehaw!!!

I put on a sweater that I really liked this morning...too big. It's not the kinda style I could just overlook a thing like that in. Jeepers! It's okay. I'm adjusting to this quite nicely. Okay! Okay! I am actually enjoying this to be quite honest. LMAO

Ashley is in the hospital. Well, technically they released her but she does not want to go back to the CCP. She has her reasons. I understand them...don't agree with them necessarily but I understand them. That kid's had a rough road in her 16 years. I believe the things we survive are exactly those things which give us our greatest strength.

There's still no word on the car. I really don't like the waiting to find out. It raises my stress level. UGH! Stress is NOT my friend.

I've been 'window shopping' online trying to get ideas for Christmas. I am so out of my league on so many things. I'm learning though. It's an interesting process. I must admit that I really do love the challenge of the xmas shopping season.

It's a soft, quiet gray outside as the rain falls on the eaves of the house making it seem rather tranquil here. The clouds seem to provide a bit mood lighting for a bit of serenity. There's something about a rainy day that I really enjoy...not just the puddles to splash in, but that does qualify as a bonus in my book.

There are beads of water hanging from the roof and even the wood stacked up for burning is enjoying a change of color for the moment. The birds and squirrels and other wildlife are taking the day to rest for nary a critter is stirring about the yard. The ping-ting-ting of rain falling is soothing. It feels cleansing in so many a cool shower in a good 'letting go of things' escaping for a moment by relaxing in a warm, fragrant jumping into the cool waters of a lake on a hot, sticky summer day. YUP! It's just like that stuff!

I love New England weather, its changes and unpredictability. I like to watch it unfold. I enjoy the surprises it frequently offers. I'm grateful that I am in this place today, enjoying my life, delighting in this journey.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last night was very rough. I had some wicked dreams...nightmares. I don't have nightmares all the time like I did as a child, but when they come, boy-howdy, they are mind blowing. I kept waking up shaking. My blankets were a mess this morning so I would guess I was doing some thrashing about in my sleep. I am going to try to get to bed early tonight. I can use the rest after last night. I just hope I can sleep through and wake up with no memories of my dreams. I think I have half a chance. I kinda 'analyzed' my dreams from last night and I think that may help. I hope so. Waking up shaking and sweating and scared out of my skin is not pleasant.

Jeanne's car is at the garage. I was driving it when it started to act up. I swear, I didn't kill it! I think it is a catalytic converter issue. That is what the symptoms suggest to me. We shall see. If it is the catalytic converter it should be covered by the warranty so that would be very kewl. I am feeling a bit tense about it. Note to self: RELAX!

Got Sue all moved today. We made 3 trips with Jim's truck (which I was driving) and Claudine's wagon. The truck survived. Tom brought a bed over about the time the 4 of us had finished up. Behold the power of motivated women!!! We didn't really have any furniture to move. It was mostly boxes. I have no idea where everything is gonna go but that's not my department. I just deliver the goods. Whew! I feel like I dodged the bullet on that one. There's a lot of stuff to unpack at the apartment.

I came home and have been busy online. I have been trying to do some xmas shopping. I am definitely handicapped when it comes to some types of shopping. It's like playing in the wrong league. I exercised my option to ask for help. I'm not sure that's going to make it any easier. I may have to resort to live and in person. UGH! Talk about places I am not motivated to go. LOL

My throat, face and head are not happy with me right now. ALLERGIES! I need to crawl into my ever so comfy and delightfully cozy bed and retreat from all the things that are assaulting my poor system. Sometimes retreat is the right course of action.

Au revoir, mes amis!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

just another day...

I have just settled into my computer mode, having just finished a bowl of really delicious homemade lentil soup...I made the soup. It came out absolutely wonderful! I used the leftovers from the pork shoulder the night before last. Needless to say there is nothing traditional about my lentil soup. But, I wanna tell ya, this baby was protein packed and out of this world!

Nothing earth shattering to report on today. I got my morning meeting in, distributed some Alkathon flyers, inquired about borrowing a truck to help Sue finish her move and even arranged a ride to the truck after the morning meeting tomorrow.

I got to the Christmas bazaar at the church on the hill. I was supposed to help for a couple of hours but I looked around before my shift and then headed out after about an hour because things had quieted down. I did manage to break down some boxes, which is something I rather enjoy for some odd reason...probably those jobs at Staples and Dominoes. Breaking down boxes was all part of my routine. So, I have some unusual hobbies. Go figure!

I picked up a book on walking labyrinths at the sale. I am very excited. When I was doing centering prayer in Pomfret, our little band had walked a labyrinth that was set up inside Christ Church. What a wonderful spiritual experience! It was very intense and very personal. Labyrinths have been around since before christianity and I can certainly see why. The symbollic spititual significance was unbelievably profound. I know there are a few one of the churches on the UCONN campus and there is one at the Sanctuary in Haddem I believe. I'd like to walk that path again. I have gone online and found some neat meditative labyrinths that I can negotiate with my mouse. It is so exciting and so soothing all at the same time. I highly recommend it!!!

I got down to Danielson for a bit, visited with some folks. I managed to plan tomorrow out with Sue...well, as well as any WE can plan anyway. I've been urging her to get lots of help so we can load at the old apartment and unload at the new apartment. I only have the truck for a couple of hours and there is lots of work to get done.

I ran some errands with Carrie. She seems to be doing well, but I have to remember that she has not been doing well for too long. It's easy for me to lose track of that fact but very important that I don't. Truth be told, I'd be okay with forgetting on some level.

So I had a really good day. I got out. I mingled. I took care of business. Now it is time to kick back and see what is on SciFi. I do miss BBC Saturday nights still. Torchwood was one of my favs, but alas, we do not get that here at the house. : - (


This just in from Kent..

"OK the great news is that I have been released to go home. I am to take it easy for a couple days then see the local Cardiologist in Providence. Everything went very well took about 5 hours for the operation and they believe they burned out the area that has been causing the major issues. I feel good and am really looking forward to my own bed. FYI the VA hospital in Boston is a great. They have been one of the better hospitals I have been in to be honest. So with all the bad press given them nationwide all I can say is these guys are very sharp.

I will let people know more as I know more. For now thank you for all the thoughts and prayers. I look forward to seeing everyone and getting back to a normal (I know stop laughing, as normal as I am capable of) life. Till then in a few hours you will be able to reach me at the house. "

What is it with this "my own bed thing?" Oh yeah, hospital beds do suck! LOL...that they haven't caught onto that yet.

I thought I would post that for all of you who haven't heard yet AND, I am pretty quick to criticize the government (don't even get me started on the VA), but if something is positive, that ought to get some press time too. I'm working on these things. UGH!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stick to the basics this gift-giving season

Editorial: Stick to the basics this gift-giving season

GateHouse News Service
Posted Nov 20, 2008 @ 01:21 PM

Folks at the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. — likely buoyed by all of the attention garnered by their cardboard box pick last year — have inducted the stick as one of three toys honored this year. The other two are the baby doll and the skateboard.

We say bully for them. And look at the timing. Why, in these tough economic times, parents everywhere can now feel free to relieve some major stress by simply revamping their pricey holiday lists. Parents, take your lists that are chock full of electronic gizmos and impossible-to-find one-hit wonders and replace them with some everyday items that kids through the ages have commandeered for their very own.

We've got some ideas of our own; call them the Messenger Post nominees for the Toy Hall of Fame.

For instance, squeaky dog and cat toys — these are best when chewed up — are a natural choice. As are bath towels that double as capes, sauce pans and lids, newspaper, wrapping paper and clothespins.

Really — it’s commonplace to hand a child a box containing the latest must-have, costing roughly three months’ salary, only to have the little darling spend more time mesmerized by the shiny, noisy wrapping paper than the contents of the box.

How many parents spend hours boiling and sanitizing bottles and pacifiers only to one day turn around and find junior chewing on an old pair of grandpa's slippers?

We're betting one of the most popular of these types of gifts is the one no child (or adult, for that matter) can resist.

Two words: bubble wrap. Fill a box with bubble wrap, wrap it in wrapping paper and presto — a twofer!

Forgive us if we appear to be making light of the Hall of Fame pick. In fact, we celebrate the spirit of choosing a toy that inspires the imagination. It's a truly joyous occasion when a child takes an everyday item like a stick and turns it into a light saber or a magic wand.

And kids, if you're reading this, don't worry — if you haven't found the joy in playing with a stick yet, give it a try. (Especially if you find one under the Christmas tree this year — and if you do and it’s our fault, we’re sorry.)

But take it in stride: After all, until you give it a whirl, you never know what wondrous lands you can conquer or spells you can cast with your new gift.

Just don't run with it. You'll put your eye out.

Daily Messenger

Copyright © 2008 GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yesterday was a delightfully busy day! I got a ride to Putnam so I could take the bus to Dayville for my appointments, which both went well. I am pretty healthy and reasonably sane. Life is grand!

I was gonna walk to Danielson to visit with Sue and Carrie but I decided to take the transit bus. Walking from US to my doctor's office it was seriously cold. I decided to treat myself to a ride.

I like the transit bus. It's a whole different world traveling that way. Yesterday on the way home I saw a woman give a man her coat. His jacket wasn't very warm. She said the coat was too small on her. It actually looked like it fit just fine. He graciously accepted the jacket and I exited the bus with a more profound sense of abundance. WOW!

Walking to Sue's apartment I saw that the basement apartment in her building was empty. There is this big ass window there. I guess they are revamping the place. I peeked in the window and the living room with it's abundance of light is absolutley HUGE...well, by my standards anyway. I made some inquiries. Time will tell.

The visiting went well. It was nice catching up, being back 'home.' Carrie and I had a chance to talk while we window shopped. That was nice. I keep her in my prayers...she struggles so with this disease.

I got back to Putnam in time to window shop my way up to the Grove Street meeting for the Alkathon meeting before the meeting. That went well and it went quickly! Very positive for a bunch of drunks! LOL

I got home early enough to do some writing and some relax a bit before bedtime. Jeanne is going back to work today for a friend. She is running around like crazy. It sounds like the first day of school used to sound when I was a kid. LMAO!

Well, it's meeting time.....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Handle with Prayer

I found out tongiht that Kent did not have his procedure today. He had an episode on Saturday night so they are delaying things...till Thursday I think. Jim said he is on strict orders to do NOTHING. No leaving the house, no lifting, no nothing. Here's hoping he can follow those doctor's orders. You'd think for a career military dude, he'd get the chain of command thing. Nope! He is as pig-headed, stubborn and defiant as I am. I guess that's what makes us such good friends. 100% compliance is never in the cards for us. LMAO...and still praying. My god's got a sense of humor.

I got in a second two mile walk this afternoon. It felt good but my hips are flat out killing me. I sit still for a few and I can barely move. I shall have to make pleasant inquiries when I go to my doctor's next time. Sometimes this gets pretty bad, like I am going to lose myself under the weight of me...and the weight aint what it used to be folks!

Still, I like my morning walks and my afternoon walks for different reasons. I guess its sort of a meditation kind of thing. Both are very energizing. Both are very relaxing. I think I am going to try to keep doing the two a day. I'm not anywhere near making Olympic time, so I am certainly not overexerting myself. I enjoy the time with myself, to clear my head, to regroup and to get in touch with my feelings. Walking is good for that.

Tomorrow I am going to the meeting at QV. It's so good to touch base with the gang there. I don't get to go every week so it is always a treat to be there. Danielle has agreed to pick me up (I have to remember to call to remind her). I told her about the Native American flutist playing from 12:30 to 2. She's gonna bring Trevor down for that. It will be interesting and different from the usual fair.

I am so tired. Emotionally beat...and the holidays are coming! UGH! So, I will finish my midnight snack (2 Tums and a Pepcid Complete) which for some reason I actually enjoy the taste. Incredible...lose interest in chocolate, gain interest in chewable stomach medicines. Who'da thunk? Not me!

GRATITUDE LIST (an incomplete list!)


Sophia, Abby-Girl, Oren, Max, Ruthie & the Beagles

sunrise, sunset, sunny days, rainy days, cloudy days, windy days, quiet days, hectic days...all the days


hope, faith, love, peace, serenity, struggles, the journey, the pain, the joy, the laughter, the tears, the sadness, the sorrow, the bittersweet experiences this is life/sobriety

MY consciuos contact with my creator


hard work, determination, strength, weakness, surrender, raging, acceptance

the sun, the stars, the moon, the planets, the good earth

Ethiopian coffee, butter rum decaf coffee, tea in all its many varieties

Ann, Anne, Barbara, Beth, Jeanne, Carrie, Sue(4), Jim (2), Tom (2), Lynne, Kent, Jenn, Linda, Cathie, Emily, Ashley, Matt, Danielle, Trevor, Bobby, Jahala, Grace, Joan...

Memere & Pepere

Subarus, Chevettes, Vegas, pick up trucks

Bicycles, scooters, roller skates

sneakers, loafers

a Canadian nickel...

A Looney...


country music, classical music, 60's & 70's rock, pop, soft rock, xmas songs, folk, jazz

YouTube, Blogspot, aoljournal, msn, trililan, google

internet, radio, SciFi Friday night


writing, words, thoughts, ideas, "the magic"


water, waterfalls, rivers, streams, creeks, rapids, lakes, ponds, oceans, waves, shore, smell of ocean air

St. Edmund's Island, Boulder, Kansas, Grand Canyon, Diana's pool, the cement pond, Quaddic, Roseland, Wildwood, Mashamoquet, West Thompson Damn, Purgatory Chasm

sky, air, mountains, valleys, plains, deserts, clouds, rainbows, fog, mist, grass, dirt, sand, rocks, gem stones

to know my own soul

cooking, baking, cleaning up, organizing, laundry, dirty socks

food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medicine, glasses, cozy blankets, soft sheets, clean running water, indoor plumbing, my alarm clock

clarity of mind

a heavy heart, a light heart, a knowing heart, living myheart

Eucerin cream, shea butter, Gold Bond, make-up, open-mindedness enough to try new things eventually, willingness to listen eventually, holding onto ideas long enough for them to become acceptable, letting go of old ideas



"the gift of desperation"

waking up from 13 1/2 years of hell

bankruptcy, getting arrested

Northeast CT New Year's Alkathon, East Side Social Club, having been a GSR, service

QVCC...wondering where do I go from here?

questions, answers, confusion, knowledge

newspapers, magazines, the information age

the power of example



Faith, hope and dreams....

I thought I was watching Trevor this AM while Danielle went to her GED classes but that didn't happen. It worked out just fine. I got to walk a couple of miles this morning instead. Though, babysitting a four year old is always fun. I like acting like a kid again...ok, ok, I act like a kid a lot. But, it's fun to have someone to play with! I can jump in puddles with a four year old without strangers giving me odd looks. Of course the folks who know me, know that there was already a 50/50 chance I was going do it even without the kid. LMAO

Danielle's smart, young, newly wed and mother of four really kewl kids. I am really rooting for her to do this GED thing and then go on from there. I don't know if she realizes she CAN have her dreams. I had already given up on mine way before 27. It's taken me sobriety to realize I can dream again and I am still trying to get that all in focus. Life's a journey, not a destination.

Anyway, I am going to make this short. I want to do a separate gratitude entry. I was going to omit that after reviewing what I had written the other night. I wasn't sure I wanted to share everything I had written but those are my fears, doubts and insecurities popping up yet again. I keep saying at meetings that sometimes the things I have to do to keep on the right track involve just jumping right in, no wading.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dynamic Day!

Today is definitely a high engery day! I got up early enough to get in some meditation before the rest of the house got up. Peace and quiet is so essential to my meditatioon process. It was calming and energizing at the same time. It really had been a while. I've been feeling the need to be a bit more centered lately. Kent goes in for his procedure (hopefully not all out surgery...I'm a'praying) tomorrow.

I made coffee, did a few chores, had breakfast and made it to the morning meeting. Spring's plans had changed so I figured it would be just as easy for her to pick me up in Putnam to make the Open House at the club. Well, that worked out absolutely delightfully, I must say. I wasn't planning on doing the morning meeting but it was super! I'm glad I got to it. Missing it would have been a shame. The speakers were out of Chepachet and they were dynamic.

Spring mentioned to me that she had seen me in a green sweater this week and it was a good color on me. Hmm. Must be the Irish in me coming out. (oh, then there's that short story I am working on...well, procrastinating on). I never thought much of green as a color. I don't dislike it necessarily. It's funny too how I get exasperated when I thrift shop cause all I ever see in my size is GREEN stuff. Maybe it's sign?

Got to the club about 11:30 or noonish. There were bunches of folks in and out while I was there. It was great to see so many faces, so many potential new members. That filled me with an unbridled enthusiasm. Food, folks and fun...what more could a bunch of sober alcoholics and addicts ask for?

I also got a chance to touch base with the old Danielson gang. I only get down there on Tuesday nights for meetings. It's a transportation thang! It was good to chat and laugh and catch up. Not to mention, they all keep telling me how fantastic I look. That alone is worth the trip.

Of course, folks I keep seeing all the time tell me the same thing. I'm really into this positive reinforcement thing! LMAO Well, it is a great motivator. Also, I think it helps that I am dressing a bit better than I have generally in the past. Looking good, feelilng good...what's not to notice?

This afternoon I managed to get in my two mile walk. I left a bit before 4 PM. I have to make a note to myself to get out earlier. The trees and the rotation of the sun made it a bit more dark out there than I cared for by the time I headed home. Still, it was invigorating. I do have to work on the eyeglass fogging thing when I come indoors. GRRRRRRR! I will just have to break down and get some more of that Armorall stuff like I used to. Behold the wonders of toxic waste!

Danielle and I were talking this afternoon. We've decided to head out to a meeting tonight. We picked the Jewett City meeting. I haven't been to that one in ages. Last time I went, I think I was hanging with Jim and his crew. There are a lot of sober houses/treatment houses in that area. Many of the folks there come from one of those places. Talk about keeping it green! Well, that does it for me! To see someone trying desperately to regain their life is a source of inspiration. I remember (and never want to forget) the pain of being there, in that ugly, gut-wrenching existence somewhere between the of hell not wanting to live with alcohol anymore and not being able to imagine life without it either. I'm grateful for that. It got me out of a bad, bad place.

Last night I lulled myself to a blissful ready for sleep state writing a gratitude list. It was nice. Memories, smiles, tears, hopes, dreams...all in there and then some. Perhaps if I am up to it, I will transfer the list to this blog after I get home from the meeting tonight.

It enver ceases to amaze me when I write gratitude lists (which I do not do as often as I should) how my perspectives have changed. My very first lists were elaborate rendings of the things that I had, not much on a spiritual plane to say the least. The gratitude list is one of the real signs that I can look at to see how I have grown in five short years. It's an amazing thang!

And the un-growing is going along just fine and dandy. I have another garbage bag, maybe two of clothes to donate to the Thriftique. This is very exciting news! I like being able to donate to a good cause and there is a bit of an amends in that too I guess. Interesting how I tend to overlook that.

Well, I am off to do, what I am off to do....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I had a very successful day in the kitchen. I made mini cheaters banana nut, chocolate chip, cherry muffins and cheaters chocolate fudge with nuts and sugar free mini cheesecakes. On top of that I manged to do three loads of laundry and fix stove top shepherd's pie for supper amidsts doing lots of dishes. I feel VERY productive! I made enough for the gals at home and for the club.

It was so much fun digging and doing all that cooking and baking. Gosh! I guess it has been a while since I attacked a kitchen with a vengeance. And I managed to do all that without the least desire to taste test my products. It was just a whole lotta good, clean, calorie free fun. Who'da thunk?

We played 'Fact or Crap' tonight. It was my first time ever. Was lots of fun but I bet it would be even more fun with more folks. Oh yeah, gonna hunt me up a crew sooner or later. It's on my list of things to do.

I had to look up 'wail' in the dictionary to spell it. I keep one (oh, and a thesaurus too) within arms reach whenever I am matter how casual the reason. Musta been all that Catholic schooling. That was impressed upon us. However, I do think I owe a special tribute to my delinquent youth. I wrote quite a few dictionary pages at ten years old...a consequence I really detested at the time. I remember trying to get by writing every other definition on the page. Got busted big time on that one. Thank goodness! Where would I be today if I hadn't? I have an extensive vocabulary and dictionary I am not afraid to use. LMAO

The wind has been whipping like crazy around here. It sounded like the wail of the sirens from mythology at times. What an intense experience! The sheer energy in it was just mind numbing. That's where I often see my evidence of all those powerful and subtle and magnificent parts of nature. I can't feel an overpowering wind without feeling like my higher power's hand has touched me. I understand about their god that died on a cross or who sits with a white beard, white robe and staff but even when I journey to those churches, that's not the god that I understand in my heart and soul. That's not the god that I pray to when I turn to pray. My god doesn't fit in four walls or in the pages of some special book. I guess that's a November thought. At meetings we've been discussing the 11th step a lot...Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with god as we understand him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out. I am so grateful that I have embraced this way of life. What the hell what I thinking before???

Speaking of grateful...I still have to get to that gratitude list. It's been a busy day and that will be a lovely way to wind down.

I just love this stuff!!!

Human ancestors born big brained

H erectus infants may have been born bigger than previously thought
The pelvis was reconstructed from ancient bone fragments

A new Homo erectus fossil suggests that females had large, wide pelvises in order to deliver large-brained babies.

Being born with a larger brain meant our ancestor became independent far more quickly than modern human infants.

The new finding, published in Science magazine, conflicts with earlier ideas that suggest they had a tall, thin body shape adapted for running.

Homo erectus is thought to be the first human-like creature to move out of Africa to colonise the world.

The now extinct hominid species may also have been the first to control fire.

Wide hips

The near-complete 1.4 million-year-old female pelvis was found near Gona in northern Ethiopia. As it was pieced together, the archaeologists were struck by the unusual width of the pelvis.

Scott Simpson, a palaeontologist from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, US, was one of those who made the discovery.

"Proportionally her hips are wider than those of modern humans," he says.

A comparison of modern human and earlier pelivises (S.Simpson Case Western Reserve University)
Pelvis size indicates how large the newborn's head could be.

Earlier hominids such as the three-million-year-old Australopithicus afarensis, made famous by the "Lucy" skeleton found in 1974, have a much narrower pelvic opening. In comparison, more recent hominids found in China, Israel and Spain have wider pelvises.

The researchers say the wider pelvis meant H. erectus could have given birth to babies that were 30% bigger than previously thought.

Having a larger brain size meant the young hominid was dependent on its mother for less time than a modern human baby, a useful survival adaptation in the African savannah where they lived.

Many behaviours we consider unique to humans were present in homo erectus
Dr Scott Simpson, Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio

Out of Africa

The researchers say the erectus brain probably grew quickly before birth; but after birth, growth-rate then slowed to somewhere between that of modern humans and chimpanzees.

But Dr Simpson points out that H. erectus was much more like a human than a chimp.

"Homo erectus was the first hominid species that left Africa; they were technologically sophisticated with stone tools; they hunted animals. Many behaviours we consider unique to [modern] humans were present in Homo erectus."

The brain was large at birth
The Goma pelvis has a more rounded shape than modern humans

The new finding casts doubt on the accuracy of previous theories about Homo erectus.

The most famous H. erectus find is the "Turkana Boy", a young male discovered in Kenya in 1984 . His reconstructed skeleton - with a narrow pelvis and tall, thin body - is interpreted as showing adaptation to the hot climate and the need to run long distances.

In comparison, this new find is from a shorter female with a wider chest - a feature more commonly found now in humans from colder, even Arctic climates.

The wide pelvis suggests the birth canal and brain size were co-evolving, as H. erectus adapted to the need to give birth to larger babies above the need to adapt to the pressure of external environmental factors.

AH! The music...

Beth and Jeanne are talking with Ted and Diane about music for the wedding at the dining room table.. I have escaped to my computer. I am soooo out of my element with the whole musical thang. UGH! Every time I try to carry a tune, I drop the damn radio. I have surrendered. Folks kept bugging me to do the karoake at the ESSC events. I finally did it and now the silence is deafening...but I knew that. I warned them. 'Twas their own danm fault. LOL Give me a keyboard instead of a microphone ANY OLE DAY!!!

Yesterday's jaunt to Worcester was VERY successful. I hit the Goodwill Store up there and a little "Jewish Ladies Auxiliary Store" and made out quite nicely, thank you very much. It's not that this will last any longer than my last round...and that is perfectly fine with me I'll have you know. Hell, I even managed to find two pairs of Levi's in my size. YEEHAW! (too much time in Kansas, methinks!)

I had asked Anne if I could borrow her car while she slept so I had free reign of the city. Funny how I find cities energizing. I can't decide if I really want to live in one mind you but for practical purposes it may be necessary. Without transportation, commuting for a degree is a nonissue. Cities, with their public transportation and other conveniences might be the only avenue. I was thinking about that yesterday driving around Worcester with all its colleges. The problem is that I waffle back and forth on that whole degree thing. Fortunately, I don't have to decide anything today. Perhaps I will write a pro and con list on the issue later. I have yet to do that.

AAAAAHHHHH!!! Now they are singing in the dining room. I R AFFEAREDED! It's too close for comfort. I hope I am not moved to spontaneously sing along. I like where I live. Jeepers!

Gratitude list. I am going to write a gratitude list this afternoon. I have been meaning to get to that all week. It's November, the season of thanks. It's about time. Besides, it has been a long time since I have sat down and worked dilligently on one. Gratitude lists have been so vital not only to my recovery but to my attitude. I'm not necessarily in a bad space but preventive maintence is a good idea on any vehicle.

Tomorrow the East Side Social Club is havnig an open house. Spring will be picking me up. I plan on baking this afternoon. I love playing in the kitchen! It's not about the eating. It's about the creating. And, the aromas are absolutley incredible too. What a bonus! I need to do a bit of shopping. I have mini cupcake papers but we don't have a mini muffin pan. I like structure and my cupcakes would be best served by that as well. I have some other things to pick up as well, in the grocery department. I am really excited about tearing up the kitchen. Trust me, that is an apt description of how I bake. LMAO

Some day I may just make someone a good wife. And, today, that's even a possibility. I will of course have to get over my love of the single life. ; - )

Meeting time in a few. Will keep you updated on my adventures in domesticity.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A 2-Meeting Day!

Well, any day with two meetings in it is always a successful day. This was one of those days...I think.

I threw up again today...3 times in 5 days. I don't think I like this new hobby. I am on the full diet now. It is possible I am just exposing myself to things that my body is rejecting yet. Then again, I can feel the emotional stress going on with me. Ill friends, I saw Carrie this weekend, all the Alkathon stress, being off lithium (which seems okay for now) and so on. Any gut-wrenching experiences I have ever had had been both emotional and physical. My body is very good at translating what my head has swimming around in it.

In spite of it all, I feel like I am on an even keel. Hitting more meetings has always helped so I am diving right in again. I know it works. I'm talking to people to de-stress. I am doing positive things. I am exercising. I am praying (to my higher power not to some dead guy on a cross).

Funny, the topic of higher power and prayer came up at the "never on time" meeting. I was talking about my spirituality versus religion. Religion is like the suit one puts on one's spirituality...I prefer my spirituality skyclad. There are times that I do enjoy the communal prayer/praise thing, then I go to church to get it. But its like dessert, nice if you have it perhaps, but no loss if you don't.

I've been writing more too. Not only do I enjoy that but it is a good release. It's interesting to see how some combinations of words just seem to suddenly fit together in a whole new way.

I mailed a note and a bag of peanut butter kisses to Ashley today. The kid loves peanut butter. Damn! It cost more to mail the package than it did for the contents. Oh well. I know how much even a little care package can mean. It was well worth it, even if I am still in awe of the postal prices. The times they are a changing.

That reminds me, I need to start thinking about my next visit up to Warehouse Point. Some time after Thanksgiving she is supposed to be transferred to a group home in Cromwell (?) if she is right about the location. She's visited there and is quite excited about the move which is absolutely phenomenal. Though, she does like it being back at the CCP too. It's good to see her doing well and staying "planted." Here extracurricular traveling activities were more than a bit nerve racking.

Life really is good. I look around and see so many blessings, blessings that I can't say that I "deserve" but rather have just been gifted with. Life on life's terms can certaqinly knock me for a loop now and again. Today I do better pulling myself back together though I am subject to fall apart again without notice. Just for today...I am well.

Good Morning World!

My egg whites and I are sitting here trying to eat very, very slowly. Interesting how I first thought taking 15-20 minutes to eat was an obscene and absurd amount of time. Now I rather enjoy the leisurely pace. Seems my first response is to resist change...fortunately for me that is just my starting point not my staying point. Like the Borg would say, "Resistance is futile."

Maybe it is a first line of defense thing. Change can be threatening because it sometimes seems that if I have to change something then I must be doing it wrong to begin with. My ego isn't always happy about those thoughts so I have to work through "wrong" and translate it to "different."

So, after I finish eating I will go and put on a wee bit of makeup. No eye shadow though. I tried that once and turned into the funniest looking raccoon you never wanted to see. Hell, I was the funniest looking raccoon that I never wanted to see. Apparently this make up thing is some sort of art form. I am absolutely NOT artistically inclined in any aesthetic way, shape or form. I am a wordsmith not sculptor, painter or whatever. That's okay though, I like my words just fine.

Busy day today...two meetings and hopefully some shopping at one of the Sally Stores. I have exactly two decent outfits that fit and that is driving me nuts. The rest of my wardrobe is sweat pants, t-shirts, jeans and sweatshirts. Lately I feel like dressing decent more than not so it is a frustrating situation. I like dress casual not over the top. On top of all that, I am having a hard time finding stuff I like that fits. When I was big, everything was smaller and now that I am smaller, everything is big. Damn Murphy's Law! It does make shopping quite the challenge, not to mention keeping things interesting and me on my toes. LOL

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

VERY INTERESTING...Read this onlilne in the New York Times today

November 11, 2008

In a Novel Theory of Mental Disorders, Parents’ Genes Are in Competition

Two scientists, drawing on their own powers of observation and a creative reading of recent genetic findings, have published a sweeping theory of brain development that would change the way mental disorders like autism and schizophrenia are understood.

The theory emerged in part from thinking about events other than mutations that can change gene behavior. And it suggests entirely new avenues of research, which, even if they prove the theory to be flawed, are likely to provide new insights into the biology of mental disease.

At a time when the search for the genetic glitches behind brain disorders has become mired in uncertain and complex findings, the new idea provides psychiatry with perhaps its grandest working theory since Freud, and one that is grounded in work at the forefront of science. The two researchers — Bernard Crespi, a biologist at Simon Fraser University in Canada, and Christopher Badcock, a sociologist at the London School of Economics, who are both outsiders to the field of behavior genetics — have spelled out their theory in a series of recent journal articles.

“The reality, and I think both of the authors would agree, is that many of the details of their theory are going to be wrong; and it is, at this point, just a theory,” said Dr. Matthew Belmonte, a neuroscientist at Cornell University. “But the idea is plausible. And it gives researchers a great opportunity for hypothesis generation, which I think can shake up the field in good ways.”

Their idea is, in broad outline, straightforward. Dr. Crespi and Dr. Badcock propose that an evolutionary tug of war between genes from the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg can, in effect, tip brain development in one of two ways. A strong bias toward the father pushes a developing brain along the autistic spectrum, toward a fascination with objects, patterns, mechanical systems, at the expense of social development. A bias toward the mother moves the growing brain along what the researchers call the psychotic spectrum, toward hypersensitivity to mood, their own and others’. This, according to the theory, increases a child’s risk of developing schizophrenia later on, as well as mood problems like bipolar disorder and depression.

In short: autism and schizophrenia represent opposite ends of a spectrum that includes most, if not all, psychiatric and developmental brain disorders. The theory has no use for psychiatry’s many separate categories for disorders, and it would give genetic findings an entirely new dimension.

“The empirical implications are absolutely huge,” Dr. Crespi said in a phone interview. “If you get a gene linked to autism, for instance, you’d want to look at that same gene for schizophrenia; if it’s a social brain gene, then it would be expected to have opposite effects on these disorders, whether gene expression was turned up or turned down.”

The theory leans heavily on the work of David Haig of Harvard. It was Dr. Haig who argued in the 1990s that pregnancy was in part a biological struggle for resources between the mother and unborn child. On one side, natural selection should favor mothers who limit the nutritional costs of pregnancy and have more offspring; on the other, it should also favor fathers whose offspring maximize the nutrients they receive during gestation, setting up a direct conflict.

The evidence that this struggle is being waged at the level of individual genes is accumulating, if mostly circumstantial. For example, the fetus inherits from both parents a gene called IGF2, which promotes growth. But too much growth taxes the mother, and in normal development her IGF2 gene is chemically marked, or “imprinted,” and biologically silenced. If her gene is active, it causes a disorder of overgrowth, in which the fetus’s birth weight swells, on average, to 50 percent above normal.

Biologists call this gene imprinting an epigenetic, or “on-genetic,” effect, meaning that it changes the behavior of the gene without altering its chemical composition. It is not a matter of turning a gene on or off, which cells do in the course of normal development. Instead it is a matter of muffling a gene, for instance, with a chemical marker that makes it hard for the cell to read the genetic code; or altering the shape of the DNA molecule, or what happens to the proteins it produces. To illustrate how such genetic reshaping can give rise to behavioral opposites — the yin and yang that their theory proposes — Dr. Crespi and Dr. Badcock point to a remarkable group of children who are just that: opposites, as different temperamentally as Snoopy and Charlie Brown, as a lively Gaugin and a brooding Goya.

Those with the genetic disorder called Angelman, or “happy puppet,” syndrome practically dance through the day, have difficulty communicating and are demanding of caregivers. Those born with a genetic problem known as Prader-Willi syndrome are placid, compliant and as youngsters low maintenance.

Yet these two disorders, which turn up in about one of 10,000 newborns, stem from disruptions of the same genetic region on chromosome 15. If the father’s genes dominate in this location, the child develops Angelman syndrome; if the mother’s do, the result is Prader-Willi syndrome, as Dr. Haig and others have noted. The former is associated with autism, and the latter with mood problems and psychosis — just as the new theory predicts.

Emotional problems like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, seen through this lens, appear on Mom’s side of the teeter-totter, with schizophrenia, while Asperger’s syndrome and other social deficits are on Dad’s.

It was Dr. Badcock who noticed that some problems associated with autism, like a failure to meet another’s gaze, are direct contrasts to those found in people with schizophrenia, who often believe they are being watched. Where children with autism appear blind to others’ thinking and intentions, people with schizophrenia see intention and meaning everywhere, in their delusions. The idea expands on the “extreme male brain” theory of autism proposed by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge.

“Think of the grandiosity in schizophrenia, how some people think that they are Jesus, or Napoleon, or omnipotent,” Dr. Crespi said, “and then contrast this with the underdeveloped sense of self in autism. Autistic kids often talk about themselves in the third person.”

Such observations and biological evidence are hardly enough to overturn current thinking about disorders as distinct as autism and schizophrenia, experts agree. “I think his work is often brilliant,” Dr. Stephen Scherer, of the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children, said by e-mail message of Dr. Crespi. At the same time, Dr. Scherer added, “For autism there will not be one unifying theory but perhaps for a proportion of families there are underlying common variants” of genes that together cause the disorder.

The theory also does not fit all of the various quirks of autism and schizophrenia on flip sides of the same behavioral coin. The father of biological psychiatry, Emil Kraepelin, in the late 1800s made a distinction between mood problems, like depression and bipolar disorder, and the thought distortions of schizophrenia — a distinction that, to most psychiatrists, still holds up Many people with schizophrenia, moreover, show little emotion; they would seem to be off the psychosis spectrum altogether, as the new theory describes it.

But experts familiar with their theory say that the two scientists have, at minimum, infused the field with a shot of needed imagination and demonstrated the power of thinking outside the gene. For just as a gene can carry a mark from its parent of origin, so it can be imprinted by that parent’s own experience..

The study of such markers should have a “significant impact on our understanding of mental health conditions,” said Dr. Bhismadev Chakrabarti, of the Autism Research Center at the University of Cambridge, “as, in some ways, they represent the first environmental influence on the expression of the genes.”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Life on Life's Terms

I went to the Big Book Meeting in Woodstock tonight. When the room said the 'Serenity Prayer' I damn near broke into tears. My heart feels so heavy and acceptance is nowhere in sight. Fear and insanity are dancing around in my little blonde head like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Thankfully, I don't want to pick up a drink, a drug, a gun or an attitude. I know acceptance is a process. Right now I am at the part where I want to change the things I cannot accept. That is SO undoable. I'm working on it.

It's so much easier to handle life on life's terms when it is throwing curve balls my way. When I was active, life didn't hit me so hard. Then again, there was no real joy, no real caring about people, no real anything just a hollow existence that left my soul feeling like a bottomless pit of nothingness. At least in the pain and fear that comes from life on life's terms I know the joy and the love and the caring from whence it comes.

Ann went "under the knife" today and has already managed to publish a blog entry. Now that gal's got spunk. Next Monday Kent goes to Boston for his "procedure" which may be big or small depending on how the ablation goes. Hopefully they won't have to crack his chest...he's already had it cracked years ago for the titanium valve. He's got a lot of spunk too. I apparently like spunk in a person.

They are two of the strongest and most courageous people that I know. I'm so thankful for that. I guess old soldiers (sorry 'bout the old thing there) get called back into war to fight different battles sometimes. It's just so hard being on the sidelines, so close and yet so far away.

Some people have a special place in my heart or perhaps I have granted some people that place. Two on the top of my list are under fire right now and I feel helpless. It's not that I want to run the universe. I just think I might like to give that 'ole supreme being a tip or two about how to do the job. (Yeah, like I could do it better, right!) Did I mention I am still working on the acceptance thang?

For now powerlessness feels like stubbing my toe in the dark at 3 AM. I have gone from half aware to wide awake and totally, completely and absolutely feeling it. While it is not really a pleasant feeling, I am acutely aware that I am feeling. That is the point of a sober life. That is life on life's terms.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What a couple of weeks!

I am feeling sooo much better this week...have been feeling better for a while. Thank goodness that's over.

I just finished up my house sitting gig. Three dogs may be just a bit much for my allergies. I AM allergic to dogs after all. My breathing will get better in a couple of days. I even had to use my inhaler a couple of times. Whew! Glad I had it.

It was good to be around the dogs. I kept them out of my room so I would have a reprieve when I slept. Besides, that waking up this summer in the middle of the night needing my inhaler cause of my mold allergies has not worn off yet. Better to be safe. It was nice to have the dogs sitting on my lap...three at a time at that...while watching TV.

I got to New Haven on Wednesday for my check up. I am doing fine. I had stuff to ask that my PCP wanted me to inquire about so I forgot to ask if I was still on the soft diet or not. I called and left a message so I can find out. I'm not sweating it. I've been cleared to start strength training, so I have to get my butt in gear and get to the gym.

I came home last night about 12:45 AM...all kinds of junk food on the counters. Company is in town. I laughed. The most appealing part of the whole deal was the orange colored carrot on the piece of carrot cake...and that was about the color. Knowing what sugar will do to me is an added incentive too. I'm willing to take others word for it, I don't need to find out for myself. I do have my moments when I want to find the worst possible food and pig out but I can get through those moments because they are just moments, just passing thoughts. Mostly I just look at that kind of garbage food, remember where I came from and remind myself of where I want to get to. Seems to be working.

I have a few odds and ends to get around to doing. I have to get minutes and an agenda typed up, then I have to redo the membership brochure for the East Side Social Club. My goal is to have it all done and printed by tomorrow morning. I already have a good start on it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008



Glean on fallen foliage,
Glistening frost kissed grasses,
Pine needles brittled,
A carpet of muted color,
Fell quietly from above.
Towering edifices of twisted limbs
Where hearty leaves remain.
Puny creatures scurry about
In their last autumn go-round.
Crisp air caresses my countenance.
One step at a time
Morning's glory, at my feet.
I feel the descent into winter,
Comfortable with the changes.
I continue my journey.