Monday, June 30, 2008

Leaving Alaska

It is 10:30 p.m. on a bright, sunshiney night, and I am sitting at Starbuck's at the Anchorage airport getting ready to amble on down to the gate and get ready to go home.  Home.  Home.  Home.  I have never taken a "red-eye" flight before, and normally I would not think it is a good idea, but after being in Alaska for 10 days, I no longer know day from night.  At a little after 7:00 a.m., I will be in my beloved Colorado.  Colorado.  Colorado.  

It is so nice to be sitting here posting on my blog.  It is so nice to be going home.  

Please remind me to never leave home for more than a few days, OK?  I know I will never go to Europe.  I have no tolerance for extended travel.  

The trip in a nutshell?  Very very very nice.  My nephew is a wonderful man.  He is married to a wonderful woman.  They have three wonderful children.  When you stay in someone's home for that long, you really know when someone is REALLY wonderful, or if they are pretending.  They are all wonderful.  I almost have my great nephews and niece trained to call me "SUPER Great Aunt Mary."  If you are already a great, why not a Super Great?  

There is so much to write.  But I am pressed for time.  I am also a little bit scrambled.  

But I have to say, I am so grateful for my life today.  When you are far from home, you really get some perspective.  Man, I have it so good, it is amazing.  I have three children and two grandchildren who I love and love me back.  I have three brothers and one sister who love me and I love them.  Their children are people I love and who love me.  And then - I have nearly 24 years of continuous sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous.  Holy Cow!  What a blessing!!!!  I have a great job that I actually like.  I am actually affiliate faculty at a prestigious university.  I just completed my 4th half marathon and am about to start training for a triathlon.  I could go on and on but it would sound like boasting.  I wish you could hear me say these things, you would get a feel for how very grateful I am for these blessings in my life.  

If I got what I deserved or earned, I would be a bitter old lonely hag - but thanks to the Grace of a Loving God, I get to be a woman who I actually like, love, and respect.  It is incredibly wonderful.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Alaska? Cold? Huh?

It is cold and rainy here. I got to see part of Mt. McKinley (Denali) yesterday. Only 30% of visitors to Denali actually see it. The cloud cover is usually pretty intense.

This is a photo taken from the deck of the Lodge.  It is quite beautiful here.  Yesterday afternoon I went to the Tour Desk to inquire about tours.  As I told the woman, I didn't really want to do anything, but felt I should.  I looked for something that didn't take too long and didn't cost too much.  I ended up taking a horse drawn wagon ride - to pan for gold and roast marshmallows over an open fire.  That was really fun and I am glad I did it.  I am having a hard time with getting my photos in the right order - sorry if this is confusing.

I am leaving today for Anchorage where I will stay until Sunday night.  I will be back home on Monday morning.   I likely won't blog again until I get home.  I wish I could at least post pictures every day, but getting access to the internet is too big of a deal from my nephew's.

I had a meltdown a couple of hours ago when no one could tell me what I was supposed to do with my luggage.  Every person told me a different story and none of them made sense.  I was getting really frustrated and angry.  It didn't help that I was terribly hungry.  Finally I ran into a nice couple I sat with on the train and asked them what to do.  I just told them I was having a meltdown.  Thank God I have learned how to do this in AA.  They just took me by the hand and took me where I needed to go. Then they asked me to join them for breakfast.  It amazes me when I can ask for help and get it.  It amazes me even more when I can sit down with a nice older couple, and be able to talk with them without shame about any aspect of my life.  There was a time when any conversation lasting over 2 minutes would always bring up some uncomfortable thing.   I am so grateful my life is not like that today.

See you in a few.  And you want to hear a secret?  I really am ready to go home now. I am tired and wish I could be in my own little house - the one with the sunshine coming through the windows....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sitting Around Denali

That's a photo from the airplane... over Alaska.  It has been cloudy since I have been here, so I don't have any good ground based photos of the gorgeous mountains here - YET.  
When I got the ticket, I really had a bit of an experience.  Imagine a woman walking through Denver International Airport - weeping.  Yep.  That was me.  I just couldn't believe that I was finally achieving the dream of getting to go to Alaska.  I was thrilled.  At Portland, on a four hour layover, I met a contingent of runners which was fun... I saw them at the race too.

It has been great to visit with my nephew.  He has a wonderful young family.  I was surprised that he doesn't have wireless internet, so my internet access from his house has been virtually non-existent.  That has also been nice.  I have missed my blog, but I think it might have been a healthy break from it.  After tomorrow I will be back to Anchorage and will probably not post until I come home next Monday.  

My nephew was able to register for the race and run it.  It was kind of cool to participate in a race with my beloved nephew.  He hadn't trained, so it was hard on his body... and mine too.  The race was my worst time ever.  It is OK.  I stopped to help a woman who fell.  I stopped to take a picture of a moose on the trail.... yes, a MOOSE.
As you can see, this was a male moose!  The amazing thing was that I was not afraid of it!  Now, if I run into a bear, I am sure I will be less "brave."

I got to go to a meeting with my nephew on Friday.  That was nice.  Really nice.  Really Really Nice.

If this post seems disjointed, it is because it probably is.  I am still sick.  I wish I felt better but I don't.  I don't feel bad enough to stay in bed, but I feel bad enough to know that I don't feel good.  In one respect, it is a perfect opportunity to do nothing.  It is a lovely resort, my room is nice and it is very relaxing here.  For one thing, the median age of a visitor is probably around 65 - and that is factoring in the couple of children here.  

Usually on a vacation I get a different perspective of my life.  Usually I come back with all kinds of resolve to change this or that.  Amazingly enough on this trip, my perspective is that my life is good.  It is probably too busy, but I like being busy.  I have a nice family, and good relationships with all of them.  I have a nice home which I really enjoy.  I have wonderful friendships with people in AA.  My professional life is difficult, but it is supposed to be.  Most people wouldn't do what I do for a living for any amount of money.   I don't make a whole lot of money, but I do enjoy what I do for the most part.  I enjoy incredibly good health.  I will celebrate 24 years of continous sobriety in one month and one day.  Who could ask for more?  I am grateful to the very core of my being.  Without trying to convince myself - I am grateful.  

I truly am spontaneously grateful.  

Thursday, June 19, 2008

North to Alaska

I am out of here! I am driving my car to a park n' ride and taking the bus to the airport. (The airport in Denver is not in Denver at all, it is in Kansas, so it is a major event just to get there.)

Right now I am wearing a bunch of really funky clothes. But I have been assured that Alaska is very casual. I could use 10 days of casual.

I am afraid I am still in hyper-drive mode trying to get out of here.

The terrible sore throat and headache are still with me. If it were a work day, I would call in sick. But since it is a day I have been looking forward to for 6 months, I will show up - gladly. Please say a prayer that this illness goes away, OK? Thanks.

I am not sure what kind of internet access I will have in Alaska. Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that I will post if at all possible. I have posted from the strangest places and likely will again! This time I am even bringing my own computer!

Blessings to you all. XXXOOO, MC

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Getting Ready for my Trip

I have my bag mostly packed.  I have my running clothes all picked out and arranged.  I also have a cold.  I feel like crap, which I think is horribly unfair.  This can't last long, right?

I have many things to wrap up at work today.  I can do that.  I am going to a meeting at 6:30 this a.m., and will meet a sponsee there.  

Tomorrow I leave for Alaska.  Fulfilling a lifelong dream to go there.  I am so excited!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Effect Letter

I sent this letter to my daughter last week. Yesterday she called and said she will carry it with her always and if she ever wants to use again, she will read this letter:

Dear Daughter,

You asked me to write an “effect” letter, so I will. I would rather not though, just so you know.

When I think of you, it is always an aggregate of your life. I never see the snapshot of who you may be at that particular moment. So, although you may have been standing in front of me, strung out and insane, I see that, but I also see the beautiful little girl with the platinum blonde hair - laughing, playing, and being incredibly funny, sensitive, intelligent, willful, and strong.

I can’t help but wonder what demons there are that force you to live the life you have. It is a life of pain. I know there have been moments of joy for you, but mostly, I think you have chosen the most painful route. The route of escape from your demons - and the route straight into the arms of more atrocities that just perpetuate the cycle. I wonder if some of this is from being the daughter of a person who was fighting her own demons, just when she should have been fully attentive to the needs of her kids. That is very painful for me. I know it has been painful for you.

I have always tried to remember that you are doing the best you can - however inadequate that may be. I always tried to remember that you are not doing this “to me”, you are just living your life the best way you can.

Your drug addiction has effected our entire family. We can’t help that. We all love you. For the last few years, there is always a hole in any event. Either you are there and we wish you weren’t... or you aren’t there and we wish you were. That is an awful way to feel about someone you love.

Your teenage years were hell. At first I wanted to blame the other kids you were hanging around with (like Kristy whatever her name was), but after a while, I realized that you were the common denominator in all these situations and that you were probably the bad influence on them.

I just can’t catalog all the nights waiting for you to come home. All the police reports to get you on record as a runaway. All the stuff.

I will use a couple of examples.

One night, the phone rang at midnight. It was the Denver Police. They said they had found you in a motel room with a couple of crack dealers. They asked if there was any reason to hold you. I said “start with the fact that she’s 15 years old!” I asked them to just hang on to you long enough for me to get to 11th and Broadway, 15 or 20 minutes. I hurriedly threw on clothes, but the phone rang again just as I was walking out the door. It was the police. They told me to forget it, you had just run away.

I went into your bedroom in that sweet little apartment at 35th and Wadsworth, and sat on the floor and cried. I was so full of despair. I didn’t know how we could possibly get through this. I didn’t know how you could possibly live through the dangerous situations you were constantly putting yourself in. I didn’t know how I could live if you died. I was picturing all the horrible things that could happen to you, and indeed probably did happen to you. You were my little girl. Still, no matter what, still you were my daughter, my girl. The one with the shining blonde hair and the crazy wonderful sense of humor. The person who probably understands me better than anyone else on earth. I thought, and still do, that you could accomplish anything you wanted to. You have such a will. Such a power. Such a positive impact on people... and you were throwing these things away. Even using these very assets for your own destruction.

But that night, sitting on the floor of your bedroom, I feel that God answered my prayer and I just knew that “where there is life, there is hope.” And as long as you were alive, there would be hope for you. You were not too big of a project for God. But it would have to be in God’s time, and some people have to die from their addictions, and maybe you would be one, but as long as you were alive, there was hope.

I went to Alanon for a while and read their literature. It was helpful to me. I realized that I had to live my life the best I could no matter what you were doing. It wasn’t easy, but I did try, and I think I was mostly successful.

One other example. We were living in the house in North Denver after you had gotten out of Residential Treatment. I was heart broken that you went right back to drugs and creepy people. I was also heart broken that you stayed out all night and then came home in the daytime after you knew I had left for work. You were at my house all day, and I don’t know who all was there with you. You would cook, and eat my food, and not clean up. And leave before I got home from work.

One day I got home from work and you were not there (no surprise there), but your bedroom door had a hole smashed in it. There was blood all over the door, and on the carpet and on your bed. I didn’t hear from you for a couple of days after that. I was scared to death. I had no idea what had happened. When I finally did talk to you, I told you how frightened I was, and you were so cavalier about it. I don’t know why I would have expected more, but I did.

The hopes over the years might be the most painful part. I thought when you had your first child you were going to be OK. By the time you had your second beautiful daughter, I was pretty sure you and Bob were going to be just fine. And then, my worst nightmare, you both were using again. This was like multiplying the tragedy at least 10 fold. Now you had those poor babies.

I will just say one more thing about me. I have lived my entire life in the shadow of alcoholism and drug addiction. My father and mother were alcoholics. They both got sober in 1965 and our family had some good years before my mother died. I always had the fear that my father would drink again, and he did. On July 15, 1975 my father started drinking again and never was able to stop until he died in 1993. His drunkenness was a horrible, horrible thing. I try to focus on the many wonderful things about my father because it is important for me to remember that, but I grew up in an awful home and I am clear on that.

Most of the relationships in my life have been effected by alcohol. Even after I got sober, most of the people I have associated with have been alcoholics and a large percentage of them have gone back to their drunken lives.... even my best friend (who took me to my first AA meeting). I sometimes feel like the last one standing, and it is a very unpleasant thing.

I am hard-wired to fear and hate the disease. I try not to. But so much devastation follows it. I know that when you are in your addiction, you can not see or care how you are impacting others.

When I came to visit you last week, the minute I saw you, I wanted to run away. Whatever is happening there is working. I do not want to insinuate myself into the process, I just pray that whatever is working will continue to work. I can see that something very powerful has happened to you. I want your recovery more than anything in this world.

I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. You would see a beautiful woman who is worthy of a good life. The best life. A sober and clean life. A life lived hand in hand with a loving God.

Please let it happen.

I love you,

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Morning

I am off to a 6:30 meeting.  I slept for over 9 hours last night.  I slept for 4 hours yesterday afternoon.  I am still tired.  I am glad I am going on vacation this week.  I really need one.  

Three more work days to tie up a whole lot of loose ends before I am gone for 2 and a half weeks.  
Off to my meeting now!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Morning

I have five minutes to post something before I leave for church.  I didn't get home last night until midnight.  Yesterday I drove over 200 miles to get up to see my daughter and get her ex there and back.  To say I was in pain would be an understatement.

But I did get to see my daughter "graduate" from rehab.  She will be leaving there on Wednesday.  To watch her interact with the other women and the counselors is truly a wonderful thing.  

I think today, since it is Father's Day, I will get to stay at home and just sit.  I need some down time so desperately.  I think today could be the day!

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers, and all the sponsors, and all the men who might have had some influence on another.  And Happy Father's Day to all the women who have had to be both father and mother to their children.  

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Afternoon

It has already been a full day, and I have another full day to go. Right now I would like to hide my head under my covers and pretend I am not here. Can't go. Can't drive. Can't answer the phone. I would like to lay on my bed, under the wonderful ceiling fan, and read a book. That's it.

However, that is not my reality. My reality is that I got to go to a 6:30 meeting this morning and then went and ran 6 miles. I had decided during the run that it must have somehow shot up to over 80 degrees in the hour or so that I ran. I was so uncomfortably hot. When I got back to my car, the thermometer in the car said it was 68 degrees. 68º. Thank God my race is in Alaska.

Then I went to find a few more little tidbits (2 shirts) at REI. Gotta have a new wardrobe for each out of town trip I take you see.

I got home and decided to clean my refrigerator! What on earth was I thinking?

My daughter called - we are going up for her graduation tonight. She has a placement in Florida when she leaves next week - all she needs is the airfare. I really really really really really don't want to cough up $500. for that. She said "oh, that's OK, a few hundred dollars is not a big deal to God! He'll find a way!" I can't begin to tell you how weird that is for my daughter to say.

We have to be there an hour earlier than I thought - and the boyfriend is already there, so I get to drive the ex by my self. He is taking the bus to my side of town, so that is a help. With sciatica, driving is torture. 2 weeks ago, I got her boyfriend to drive (my car), but I won't let her ex drive my car, so I am just going to have to deal with driving for 3 hours. Oh shoot.

OK. I am tired and overwhelmed at the moment. I will be better later.

Have a nice Saturday everyone.

Friday, June 13, 2008

One Thousandth Post

1,000 posts.  There might be 100 that I really like.  But I have blogged consistently because I feel like I made a commitment to do that.  I have thought about quitting several times, but have instead moderated my behavior in some way or another so that I would continue to blog and like it.  (like I don't visit everyone's blog every day, I visit the people who comment on mine.)

I love to write.  I think I am an expert in many things.  But the one thing I think I can actually write about is my recovery from alcoholism.  I can write about it because I KNOW I am NOT an expert on recovery, but I have been at it for a long time.  I do know something about the subject. I know about my very own experience, strength, and hope.  My personal view is that when we veer from sharing our very own experience, strength, and hope we get into trouble because we have set ourselves up as an authority on a subject.  Now, at work, I have to be an authority on subjects, but at recovery, I get to be just another bozo on the bus.  Gratefully so.  

I heard someone once say that we don't tell anyone anything in AA, we share our own E,S,&H.  That's it.  That is what we have.  And when someone shares this with us, and we share with them, the most miraculous thing happens.  We get to belong.  We get to feel a part of something, and we lose that awful aloneness that is part and parcel of the alcoholic experience.

Thank you for being on this tremendous journey with me, it would be no fun alone!  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday Morning

Yesterday I did a google search on the trail that most of the half-marathon is on.  I was amazed to find a website with pictures all along the trail.  The above is one of those.  
What on earth would I do if I came across one of these while running?  I really don't know.  And that is a little baby moose!

I am so focused on my upcoming trip and getting ready for it.  It is fun to have such anticipation about something.  I have a LOT of shopping to do this weekend. 

And I have to go to my daughter's "graduation" from rehab.  She gets out next week.  But the ceremony is on Saturday.  I hate that they call it graduation, but I swear to you, I will not say one negative thing.  Really, I won't.  I will just smile and be happy.  And pray that she understands that you never "graduate" from recovery, it is a one-day-at-a-time process and the only way to coast is downhill.

Gots to get ready for work.  Have a great sober day everyone.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I keep using the post number as my title because there was a part of me who said I would continue to blog as long as it took to get to 1,000 posts. Now, before you accuse me of "attention seeking about the blog," as someone did the last time I mentioned stopping, I just want to say that I have decided to continue.

Anyway, I decided not to post this morning because I was meeting my sponsee at the 6:30 meeting and didn't get up until 5:30. I thought I would blog when I got to work, but there is another big deal at work today. So I am just taking a break for a second to do this.

At the meeting a young man was complaining about his young children. He was saying he doesn't like being a father. The room thought that was quite funny. I didn't. I talked to him after the meeting about being careful about what he says outloud. That if he really hates being a father, he can leave his family or give his children up for adoption. He was horrified. I continued and told him that I have heard him say these things in front of his beautiful little daughters, and that comments like that are so damaging. He said something like "Thanks for the guilt trip." Now, if he was new, maybe I wouldn't have said that. But he has been sober close to 20 years. Some things just aren't worth saying for entertainment purposes. I don't know how people can think that is funny. Or why someone would care so much to entertain a room full of alcoholics that they would say things so horrible about their own children.

OK, I will lighten up now and go back to the regulators who are here regulatin' us!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Morning

Do you realize that I am leaving for Alaska in 9 days?  I need to figure out what I am going to wear in Alaska - because that is the important thing.  I have my running clothes all figured out, but I think I am going to have to buy some long pants.  In the summer I am not big on long pants, I wear either skirts or shorts.  But I think I will freeze if I don't have some pants to wear.  I also need a pair of trail running shoes, or light hiking boots.   I am not going to bring my 10 lb. hiking boots with me.  

I am trying at work not to get into the whole frantic thing of trying to get every single thing under the sun done before I leave.  I will be gone from work for 12 working days!  I am so excited and happy about this.  I love the whole concept of vacation.  And especially when I am going somewhere I have always wanted to go.

My daughter in rehab called yesterday to ask me to write an "effect letter."  I spent about an hour on that last night.  It wasn't that much fun to write.  It is really hard for an AA member to write a letter in victim mode.  Bla bla bla, here is how you hurt me...  But I did write a 3 page letter to her.  I used two examples of her behavior that stand out in my memory.  I will cooperate with her treatment and that is the only reason I would do it.

I am going out for a quick 2 mile run this morning and then to work!  Yay.  

Monday, June 09, 2008

Monday Morning

The birds are singing outside my window, it is nice and cool and quiet. I love the morning - almost as much as I love the mid-day, the afternoon, the evening, and the night! And I love Monday, I love going back to work to find out what people did over the weekend. The person who got the job I wanted (and planned on and dreamed about) also got the office next to mine. Well, I hate to tell you this, but getting to be her neighbor and know her better over the last 6 months or so has been wonderful. It has made my job so much more enjoyable. I like my job right now better than I have in YEARS and she has a lot to do with that.

Yesterday I ran 10 miles. I did it! Which means I can run a half marathon in Anchorage on June 21. Oh, I cannot begin to tell you how much that means to me.

When I was done with my run, I got a call from the man I have been dating on and off for nearly 2 years, who wanted to see if we could have a cup of coffee. We sat outside and had a lovely cup of iced something or other at Starbucks - it probably had all the calories I had just burned off in 10 miles. I am not going to say more than this about that. Well, except it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and the sun shone brilliantly on his silver curls. (I love longer hair on men, if it is beautiful like his).

I came home and rapidly assembled another mixed berry pie. It seems Mr. Mack had seen my blog earlier and the picture of the pie, so I felt like I just HAD to make another one. Oh, it was so good.

And what was even better was seeing my old friend. And other old friends. And meeting his sister, who I have never met before. And meeting his niece and other relatives. And being able to talk to his niece about her dad and step-mother who I knew a long time ago in our beautiful fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was also nice to be with quite a few people who have been sober a lot longer than I have. Oh, what a wonderful feeling that is! And to get to share with folks who are sober not so long - oh, yeah, newcomers - 8 or 9 years...

I came home from there and was so emotional, I just cried. With gratitude. With love. With happiness. With a profound feeling of belonging.

These are the fruits of being part of this beautiful fellowship for years. It is incredible.

When I think back on the first time I ever remember Tim - I was playing pinball (younger folks, ask your parents what that is) at the AA club, I had just won a game and as I left the little room full of machines, a grumpy man said to me "you won THAT game???" I didn't particularly like this guy. I don't think he particularly liked me. But over the years we became very close. He is one person I have no doubt saved my life. I don't say that about other people. I credit Alcoholics Anonymous collectively with saving my life, but not a sponsor, or a person. But in this case, I know that Tim saved my life. I was sober about 5 years and more insane than I had ever been - drunk or sober - and he gently took me by the hand and took me through the 12 steps the way his sponsor had taken him. I had "worked" the steps before, but I had never had the experience of letting the steps work me - letting God do his work. I am forever grateful to him (and Him) for this. And I have passed it on - a lot.

Taking women through the big book. Reading the black on the white. Between the capital letters and the periods. And doing what it says.

What a miracle this is!!!

Thank you!!!!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mixed Berry Pie

That was the innards of the pie I baked yesterday.  That is $17. worth of berries.  Thank goodness they were on "sale."  The pie was scrumptious and worth the money though.   I baked it for the monthly potluck of our AA group.  It was a lovely, but cool, evening.  The hostess made posole - which was to die for.  We all sat outside and talked and ate and fellowshipped.  

Do you know how much I dislike taking nouns and making them verbs?  Like journaling.  I never journal,  I write in my journal.  Just a little pet peeve.

I am heading out of here for a 6:30 a.m. meeting, followed by attempting to run 10 miles.  Then my friend Tim (AKA the Jolly Old Elf from Montana), who I have known since I got sober, is in town and has invited me to his sister's for a barbeque.  Yippeee!

Have a great sober Sunday, OK?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Post #992

This is another picture from yesterday's run.  Watching the construction above is breaking my heart.  But every time I want to resent those people for building houses on MY beautiful mountainside, I remember that someone once surely felt the same way about the construction of my house.  

I just got home from a meeting.  We are watching the demise of one of our members and I think everything we are doing to "help" is only hurting.  I'm not one to play into the alcoholic need for constant attention.  But most of the women in the group are sort of a ten headed monster.... they move together, and when they see someone who needs "help," they swoop in.  I think it is too much.  I think there is too much secondary gain in getting drunk in that group right now.  After the meeting, another fellow with long-term sobriety and I talked about it.  I have not mentioned my feelings to anyone about this, he brought it up, and what a relief to find that I am not alone.  

Yesterday my daughter called.  She sounds like a different woman.  A wonderful sober woman.  She said she had a spiritual experience.  I didn't pry, and she didn't volunteer more than that.  I am so happy about this.  

Being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for as long as I have (23 years and 11 months), I can become rather jaded and cynical about a person's chance for recovery.  I have watched probably thousands of people come in, clean up, get all shiney and happy, and then get drunk.  Some of them come back and try again and get sober.  Some get drunk again.  Some leave and never return.  Many of them die.  BUT I know that I did get sober. I know that I have truly not had a drink since that first day in July 1984.  I know many others who have done the same.  I know there is recovery in AA.  I know that people get sober and my daughter can be one of them.  

My friend who got sober in November of 1977, and I have known since I got sober, is in town.  He called me this morning. I will get to see him and his wife and family tomorrow.  Oh Praise God for the myriad blessings in my life!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Post # 991

This morning I took my camera along while I took my run.  It is a beautiful morning.  But you know what?  I would not even KNOW it is a beautiful morning sitting in my house, or even driving to work,  or even walking to my office.  I need to be OUT in it.  So, I took a bunch of pictures, amongst 'em is this picture of my shadow. I don't know WHY I find images of shadows so pleasing, but I do.  I love this one because it has so many horizontal lines, intersected by vertical shadows.  

I don't know what's gotten into me, but yesterday I boldly talked to my boss about getting a promotion - he said he would need to talk to his boss, and whether or not that happens is not up to me (I know his boss would support the idea - it's MY boss who is the problem).  

I am going to cancel my trash removal service based on yet another nightmarish customer service call yesterday.  I wrote them an e-mail after getting in an endless loop of recorded "choices" that never netted me a human being.  They failed to pick up my trash on Wednesday, and if you have read my blog for a while, you may remember that I have a "thing" about my trash.  (if you are interested, see this entire post about it.)

I canceled 2 services I had ordered from a local phone / internet / dish TV service - based on more ridiculous customer service calls I had with them.  I will stick with the dish service where I got a rational, English-speaking human being on the phone.  

I am normally not such an action-taker.  I would rather just accept things than go to the trouble of making all these phone calls and sending e-mails.  But I tire of crappy service, and I will work on getting more positive things in my life instead of accepting crappy ones.  

OK, so I am going to take a bath and go to work.  I am leaving early to get my hair done. I am longing to change it, but I think I shall keep it in the current style till the next time I get it done.  I love to change it up all the time with my hair.  But just before a vacation is probably not the best time to take huge risks like that.

"Moments of perception can build into a lifetime of spiritual serenity, as I have excellent reason to know.  Roots of reality, supplanting the neurotic underbrush, will hold fast despite the high winds of the forces which would destroy us, or which we would use to destroy ourselves."  -- As Bill Sees It, p. 173

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thursday Morning

Church? Been and gone. It is good. But at my new church, I will do this on Monday evening. It will not cut into my sleeping time. Which is good and not so good.

In the last few days, I have spent several hours on the phone with "customer service" people. If those calls truly were recorded for quality assurance purposes, the recordings of my calls will be used in training for years to come. Yesterday, I actually broke into tears I was so frustrated. I had just worked out a very complex deal with someone. She put me on hold. I was listening to crappy music, when suddenly, I get "This is Tiffany, how can I help you?" Tiffany? WTF? I told Tiffany I had just spent a half hour on the phone with someone else (whose name I didn't catch) and didn't want to start over. Well, Tiffany assured me that she would be happy to help me, she read me the bit about the call being recorded, etc., and we started over.

This crap makes me feel so old. I can barely hear these folks for all the background noise on their end. And they repeat the same phrases over and over, so that these phrases are no longer recognizable as the English language. I frequently have to say "I didn't understand one word you just said, will you repeat it please?" It is further complicated when they don't really SPEAK or UNDERSTAND English. I pray I don't have more interactions with these customer service lines in the immediate future, because I don't think I can take another one. And I have to say, that was one of the major selling points that got me to buy a Mac - I can go to a local store and talk to a live human being who speaks English.

I am going to go back to bed now. It is 47 degrees and pouring rain outside. I wish I could stay home all day. Unfortunately, I have requested an appointment with my boss - and I better be there. I am going to ask for a promotion. YIKES. There has never been a better time for me professionally to get what I want, so I better strike while the iron is hot... but I sure would rather he would sit around and think of this without me having to go and ask. And I could very well get turned down. But I will try anyway.

I can just put the effort forward and leave the results up to God. Thank God for that!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wednesday Morning

My daughter and granddaughter left here at 4:30 this morning - to meet up with the rest of their posse and head out for Yellowstone.  How exciting it was last night to watch my granddaughter's excitement about leaving for vacation!  When I was a child, we would always pull out of the driveway long before dawn to start our summer vacation.  I am so glad that my granddaughters get to have this excitement.

Last night I was glued to CNN - and dragged the rest of the family into the drama with me.  There is something so fascinating about watching someone be delusional in front of the entire world.   I told my granddaughter that when I was her age, I paid attention to a presidential election for the first time.  It was 1960, and I got to see the contest between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy.  That was a long time ago!

I am off to my Wednesday morning meeting and my regular meeting with a sponsee this morning.  I look forward to this meeting every week.  

Have a nice sober Wednesday everyone, OK?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Ridin' my bike to work

These are my new metal water bottles.  Water tastes so good when it is chilled inside a metal water bottle.  And I have to tell you, they remind me of those little multi-colored metal cups we used to have when I was a child.  Do you remember them?  How COLD water tastes when in a metal cup?  

I am riding my bike to work today.  I am happy about this.

The last month or so, with this injury, has been incredibly difficult for me.  I really really need my physical exercise to feel OK.  When I am not running or biking or swimming, I am not a happy girl.  I don't like it at all.  

So I am in pain, but I swear to you, no more than I was when I was obeying  the doctor and physical therapist and not running.  So I ran yesterday and it felt great.  I bought an extra ice pack to keep at work.  It is chilling right now... and ready for my aching body to get to work...

Speaking of which, I better get out of here.  TTFN.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Goin' for a Run

You may call it the definition of insanity, but I am going for a run this morning.  Two things happened yesterday that made me want to give this thing everything I have:
  • A woman on the same fund-raising team (there are 5 of us) called me at mile 21 of the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon.  She has the same injury as I do, and she started the race thinking she would run 3 miles, but she kept going and ended up finishing.  She called me at mile 21 because her spirits were flagging - and she called me(?) and kept going.  How awesome.  My whole team finished.  (if you would care to donate, send me an e-mail and I will let you know how - I am raising funds for the Dominican Sisters Home Health Agency - they provide free in-home healthcare for the indigent elderly and get NO government money)
  • I called my Anchorage nephew yesterday.  My mind got to working on me, and I had myself convinced that it was insane to stay at someone's house, relative or not, for so many days.  I was going to extend my stay at Denali... but my nephew encouraged me not to.  He has so many plans for us.  My brother and sister-in-law (his dad and mom) will be there at the same time and they are the ultimate tourists - which is fun.  I am sure we will have fun, we are taking a fishing charter, etc.  This trip is only 17 days away!!!!! 
So, this morning, I am going to go out in the cool morning air, smelling these roses on the side of my house on the way out and on the way back, and I am going to run.  I will run 3 miles.  I will not push myself further or faster.  I will just run.  I think I can do a half-marathon in Alaska on June 21.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

And my nephew is still sober.  Some day soon I hope we will be able to have an AA group between us - between us family members.  I hope to God we do.  This disease is rampant in my family and it is just killer.  And for most of us, we think we are just fine because we live in nice houses, drive nice cars, wear nice clothes, etc.  While we drink our lives away.  

Thank God for a new way of life.  Thanks y'all.  And leave a comment, OK?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

I didn't get home until 10:30 last night, so I slept in until after 7 o'clock this morning!  Then I went to church, and got to listen to a beautiful choir and a wonderful sermon and got a taste of why people probably like to go to church on Sunday morning, but not at the crack of dawn.  I usually go on Saturday night or as early as I can on Sunday morning.  

Yesterday afternoon I went up to visit my daughter at rehab.  I drove and my daughter's ex-husband and boyfriend came with me.  One would think that would be uncomfortable, but it wasn't.  We were all three very encouraged about how Megan is doing.  But I, of course, had a strange reaction to this.  I just wanted to go home.  And cry.  I don't want to let my heart have that much hope.  But I do.  

It is a wonderful facility in the mountains.  There were elk on the grounds (there is a hard to see picture of one above, between the two front-most buildings), fish and salamander in the pond, and lots of people getting sober - at least for now.  

When we pulled onto the grounds, her ex said "oh, there she is, in the red pants, playing football!"  What?  That is just so wrong on so many levels.  Red pants?  My daughter in red pants?  Playing football?  When did she ever play with a ball of any sort?  When did she ever have a sunburn (since she was a child)?  When did she ever look so healthy?  And happy?  And to see all of her peers and the staff there, the way they interacted.  I just wanted to go home and let what is working work.  Not insinuate myself into the process.  Just go home and pray.  I will do my job and light candles and pray.  

But she wanted me there.  Bob and Ted (yeah, really - those are their names) wanted me there.  We got to eat a lovely prime rib dinner together and then attend an AA meeting.  I am so grateful that she is doing well.  I keep reminding myself that people get sober every day.  They get sober and stay sober every day.  People who have been relapsing for years one day change and they get sober and stay that way.  This happens all the time.  It can happen.  

This morning the sermon at church was about, among other things, letting go of worry and trusting in God.  I think I will try to do that today.