20 Things You May Not Know About Me

My tattoo as designed by my daughter.

I am 5 ft 4 1/4 inches.  The 1/4 is very important.  My height places me smack dab between petite and average clothing.  Sometimes it’s a pain.

My grandmother came to this country from Italy through Ellis Island.  So I am 1/4 Italian (told you the 1/4 was important).  The rest of my family were mutts – mostly from the Irish side of the world.

I have excellent penmanship.  I went to Catholic school until 6th grade and the nuns put a lot of emphasis on penmanship.  The problem is that I write very slowly since I’m concerned about it looking good.  I failed shorthand in high school…I blame the nuns.

I was married to my practice husband two weeks after graduation from high school.  It lasted a little over 2 years but felt like 30.  Next April I will be married 30 years…it feels like two.

At one time I could type 90 wpm with fewer than 3 errors.  Now?  Not so much.

I can roll my r’s.

My favorite color is blue.  It used to be red and for awhile it was pink but really, when selecting colors of anything, I am always drawn to to the blue.  So Universe, I have officially given up…you win…my favorite color is blue, teal, aqua, turquoise, royal, baby, sky…whatever, so long as it’s blue.

My favorite food is pizza.

I have only worked for 6 companies in all of my life.

I was baptized and raised Catholic.  My children were baptized and raised as Catholics. I have worshiped as a Methodist and Baptist as well.  In reality, I am most likely a Christian Buddhist.  I believe God sent many Buddah’s prior to sending his Son.  For thousands of years before Christ, there were Buddah’s who taught love, acceptance, and peace as the path to enlightenment or God.  Then I think He got fed up and said, “You all have one more shot.  I’m sending my Son and if you can’t get it right this time then there will be hell to pay (literally!)”  I REALLY hope we can get it right this time.

I am a card carrying Republican but only in the fiscal sense.  Really I’m a member of the “let’s just do what makes sense” party.  I’m sick of all the stuffed shirts in Washington and I’m a huge supporter of term limitations.  The Founding Fathers did not mean for people to enter Congress and be there forever.  If you were uneducated you were expected to serve in the military.  If you were an educated man, you were expected to serve in the Congress and then get the hell out and go back to your life and make room for someone else.  I would love to give Washington a lesson in Civics and Political Science.

I have raised or given birth and am raising a total of six children.  My niece and nephew from my drug addict, crazy sister who we raised and who think of my husband and I as their parents.  My step daughter who is actually my husband’s step daughter.  But love doesn’t care about sperm and egg doners and she’s our daughter plain and simple.  Then my three boys.  I also have a grand niece and nephew, two granddaughters and one grandson…and a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeee.

I have two tattoos.  My sobriety date on my right wrist.  The OM symbol on my lower back (my root chakra) surrounded by six cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms because my hometown is Washington, DC. and one blossom for each of my kids.  My daughter designed the tattoo which makes it all the more special.  I’m getting a new one with my friend soon.  I figure that I’ll be 51 this year and if I want to be tatted up then I will be!!!!  (But only where I can see it – I’m still a banker after all. 😉 )  I’m thinking “Follow the Breath” or something like that.

I loathe board games.  There’s a reason they are called “bored” games.

I love cartoons.  I watched Saturday morning cartoons well into my twenties.  My boys love them too and so now I watch with them.

I love Lego’s as much as I love Barbie’s.  I once built a working fire truck and a space shuttle out of Lego’s. 

I have no gray hair…yet. (I’m 50 until Wednesday.)

I love TV.  All kinds of TV.  I guess it’s because I was a child when TV was still fairly new.  It is ALWAYS on in our home and we watch together most of the time.  I love reality TV, game shows, dramas, I even used to love soap operas.  Frisco and Felicia anyone?  And I LOVED Dark Shadows.  I wasn’t supposed to watch it because it was too “dark” but I did anyway. 

I have only been truly in love once in my life…and I still am.

I am a recovering alcoholic and I thank God for pulling me out of that hell hole everyday.

People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.                ~ Erma  Bombeck

Oh…and I adored (adore?) Erma Bombeck.

Looking Forward to the Weekend

I love Friday afternoons.  Winding down the work day and gearing up for the weekend.  I was just sitting here marveling at how my “looking forward” has changed over the years.

As a child, the weekends were great because they meant no school.  They also meant a day out shopping with mom sometimes which was fun because I always got something.  A new Donny Osmond album.  Some lip gloss, a new eye shadow.  Nothing big just a little something.

Of course they also came with a drunk dad and more arguments than usual because no one had to go to work so they were stuck with each other. It also meant all day cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.  Just for my sister and I mind you.  My mother didn’t clean because she worked all week and weekends were for rest.  Really?  I mean really mom?

When I was a teenager, weekends meant working to earn some cash to support my family and my car and spending time with my boyfriend and occasionally my friends.  My mother usually laid on the guilt if I spent too much time with my friends because it took time away from her, but I managed to squeeze in some.

As an adult, we used to leave work on Friday’s and head to a local bar for happy hour…which lasted till about midnight when we’d stumble into the local greasy spoon for some breakfast.  I have to admit, it was a blast.

Saturday’s were spent cleaning and recuperating, shopping, visiting parents, yard work, and generally just taking care of responsibilities.  Then off to Saturday night which, if I didn’t have something already planned I would quickly get something together.  A Saturday night spent at home in my twenties meant that I was a loser of epic proportions and so, as to avoid the shame and embarrassment of it all, we ALWAYS had plans on Saturday night.  Just call me Julie, your friendly cruise director.

After the kids came along, things calmed down quite a bit.  The hubs had had a mild heart attack when #1 son was about a month old, so we REALLY cleaned up our act.  After he was about 3 months old, we began “date night”, once a month, so grandma could babysit and I could get my drunk on.  Of course I never actually called it that but it always happened.  I tried to stay sober (I really did at that time) but as a good, card carrying alcoholic, it never really worked out that way.  And if it did, I had to go right home and go to bed to avoid that whole restless and discontent thing.

After I started drinking at home, I looked forward to the weekends because somehow it was more acceptable to drink on weekends than during the week.  I started inviting people over and entertaining a lot more because it was yet another excuse to drink…and drink…and drink.  Eventually I didn’t need to do any entertaining in order to get shit faced but in the beginning it was a nice rationalization for my alcoholic behavior.  Later I actually preferred to drink alone…but that’s another post all together.

Its so weird now to look back at this kind of behavior.  I actually thought this was normal!  Or at least I convinced myself it was.  I used to compare my drinking to everyone else around me just to see if I was really as bad as I suspected myself to be.  There was only one other woman who could ever keep up with me and I still worry about her. 

Now I’m sitting here looking soooo forward to being the loser I once was terrified of being.  I’m going to go home tonight and put my feet up and play on my iPad or read or hang with my kids.  I may go to bed early or I may stay up a little longer than usual.  I get to choose based on how I feel, not by how much wine is left in the fridge.

Tomorrow I’ll get done whatever has to get done and I’ll do a repeat of Friday night. 

Then Sunday evening I’ll start gearing up for the work week.

And every single one of those days and nights I will continually thank God that I am one, grateful, recovering alcoholic in the universe as opposed to the non-recovering variety. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Event Planning

I’m doing a lot of event planning in my current role.  We have a number of very large events coming up this summer and I’m spending my days interviewing catering managers and looking at venues.  Of course this means I’m also planning menus – food AND drink.

It’s not really a big deal.  In fact, the fact that I was a discriminating drunk means that I am able to choose wine for these events and be somewhat sure that no one will walk away complaining about the fact that we served bad wine.  My years and years of choosing wine at dinners and functions has provided me with the tools to select very good, moderately priced wines.

Hey – everyone needs an edge in this market right?

Thinking of wine doesn’t even make my mouth water anymore.  This lack of mouth watering makes me very happy.  It also makes me happy that I will attend these events this summer and not embarrass myself. 

Hey, ever notice that the word embarrass ends in a form of “bare ass”.  Yeah…I don’t think that’s a mistake.   

I digress.

What it does have me thinking is of all the times I have been at business functions and showed the aforementioned ass.  Oh Lord…just thinking about it brings back all those “OMG what did I do last night” feelings.  It’s a wonder I was able to keep my job.

Well – not really.  I worked very hard understanding with whom I was drinking and exactly how much I could drink.  Here’s a primer:

  • Work function  = 1 glass of wine at the function.  Many more later with a group of close friends.  Ended in being drunk and never wanting to leave the bar.
  • Work dinner = 1-3 glasses of wine depending upon who was at the dinner.  The higher up the person was in management, the fewer glasses of wine.  If I was entertaining subordinates, only one glass of wine.  Many more later with a smaller group of close friends.  Usually did not reach the point of “drunk”…merely intoxicated.  However I would spend the entire evening wondering if I would get “enough” and trying to convince people to “just have one more” at which time I would match their one more with about three of my own.  Hey…just keeping it real.
  • Work dinner with very close friends = no limits.  Major hangover the next day.  I’m sure mine was always worse than everyone else’s but I would have never admitted it in a million years.  I was FINE.

I maintained this for my entire drinking while working career and, with the exception of a couple of times where I crossed a line, it worked very well.

Where I went wrong was when I began to drink alone.  Before I began drinking at home, I would go on business trips and after everyone else was back in their hotel room I would go down to the bar and drink them out of Chardonnay.  This is not an exaggeration.  Of course I would take work with me and pretend to actually be working while drinking but make no mistake – I was there to drink.  I don’t think I was consciously trying to get drunk…but I did.  Even sitting here now I’m not sure what my motivation was…except for the ever present fear and loathing of being alone.

There were a couple of scary times at the end when I drank so much I wasn’t sure how I got back to my hotel room.  I stayed out way too late and really could have been in trouble.  But I never did it in an unfamiliar city nor when I had anything important going on the next day.  Still…sometimes I think back and shudder.

Once I passed out as soon as I walked into the room and woke up the next morning…fully clothed, in full makeup (which is a cardinal sin in my book), and without setting an alarm.  I barely made it into the office and was REALLY sick that day but I was there.  My colleagues HAD to know but blessedly, no one ever said a word.

God really does look out for fools and drunks.

After I started drinking at home it became easier to stay sober at work events.  Why drink and make an ass out of myself in front of work associates and strangers when I could go home and drink and make an ass out of myself in front of people who love me?  I didn’t say it made any sense…it just was.

So now, with those event still fresh in my mind…as well as the presence of mind to bring them to mind so I don’t forget (if you can follow that then you either are an alcoholic or you love one), I am very much looking forward to these events.  I will sit with my diet soda and appetizers and survey the carnage.  I will sign the final checks, leave an appropriate tip, and drive home safely to my family who love me.  I will then WASH MY FACE, crawl into my comfy bed, and sleep the sleep of the sober with no waking early or sweating or wild dreams.

But before all that, I will thank God, again, for one more day sober.

Namaste my friends.

Weighing Outrage and Anonymity

I found out last evening that my son’s high school is not permitting same sex couples to attend the prom together.  Of course they can go, but they cannot go as each other’s dates.

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Before I go on let me get some things straight.  I believe that gay individuals are born that way.  I believe that God made them, as he made me, in his own image.  I believe that God does not make mistakes.  You do the math. 

I also believe that you can’t help who you fall in love with.  It’s chemistry, pheromones or whatever.  It happens.  And since I am a firm believer that life is too short not to follow your heart, I believe same sex couples should be left alone, allowed to marry, and allowed to raise a family in peace just like everyone else.

This is my belief and it has been for as long as I can remember.  You do not have to agree with me and you don’t have to like it.  However, I am not interested in this becoming a forum for you to try and change my mind.  You can’t.  If you don’t like it, stop reading…you won’t hurt my feelings in the least. It’s your right and I respect it.  Please respect mine.

———————————————

Okay – whew!  Glad that part is over…now on to the rest of my rant.

I hate injustice of any kind.  I am loud and vocal and sometimes obnoxious when I come across injustice that isn’t being rectified, addressed or otherwise noted.  This is one of those times. 

When #2 son shared this information with me last night I did what I always do – I began fuming and ranting and just plain going off half-cocked.  He sat silent.  We went for a walk.  He remained silent.  He let me talk and ruminate and just plain get it off my chest.  And still he remained silent except for the occasional clarification of one issue or another.  My son has learned his lessons from his father very well indeed.

By the time the walk was done I had calmed down and decided NOT to march my mommy ass up to the school to confront the administration.  I had decided against picket signs, petitions and phone campaigns.  I had decided to first do some research and find out what the actual situation was and then, calmly, decide what action I will take.

But make no mistake, I will take action.

When #3 son came home, he also sat down to discuss this with me (I’m beginning to think they actually plotted how and when to tell me for fear I would find out elsewhere and really embarrass them).  He expressed his concern that this would come back to hurt our family and, more importantly, that his gay friends might fall victim to a hate crime or just prematurely be “outed” to their parents.  (For many of them, their friends know but not their parents…very sad but certainly not my business.)

I thanked him for sharing his concerns.  I assured him that I heard him and that I wouldn’t do anything without consulting he and his brother first.  I more firmly resolved to move slowly. 

This morning I emailed a reporter friend of mine at our local paper to ask her for guidance and whether or not I’m the only one out here who thinks this is a crock of shit.  I’m waiting for her reply as I write this.

Where I started hoping to get this changed by the prom in two weeks (ha-ha) and then moved to getting it changed by their Senior Prom, I have now decided that I would just like to bring awareness and shine a light into some dark places that hide here in the south.  I’m trying to balance my Civic Mindedness with my kids’ wish to remain anonymous.  It’s not easy.

But I’m a grown up who is used to fighting my own battles – they are not.  They are teenagers still trying to figure out which battles are theirs and for which they are willing to fight.  I’m hoping by taking this slowly and doing it the right way they can see that change can happen without violence, anger and hate.  At the same time, we don’t have to sit idly by and just let an injustice pass because it’s inconvenient or may cause us some discomfort.  That we have voices and they can be heard.  And that we can choose whether or not we’re going to make them heard and how.

And that even if nothing happens, you’ll know in your heart that you DID something and that maybe next time something WILL change.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Crisis of Age

I think I’m having a crisis of age.  I don’t know where I fit in or who I am anymore.

See – I’ve always been a very hip, stylish, just a touch of bad ass kind of woman.  Think – lady on the Chico’s commercial (see picture above).  Well…I may not have been all those things but I thought I was so that’s how I carried myself and it worked for me. 

Lots of black in my wardrobe.  Very classic styling so I didn’t look too trendy or too boring.  Just a pop of color here and there.  High heels (not really stillettos but high all the same).  Cool earrings.  Short, perky hair that was always a really cool color.  Jeans and t-shirts on the weekends.  Classic.  Easy.  Hip.

But now?  Not so much.

This weekend I spent a lot of time with “younger” people.  The teenagers aren’t really a factor but their parents!  How come they look so young to me?  I was only 35 when my twins were born…they can’t have been that much younger when their kids were born can they? 

They made me feel old and worn out.  Well okay – they didn’t make me feel any way – I felt old and worn out.  I feel old and worn out.  I am old and worn out.  Good grief I’ll only be 51 this May!!!

It’s the extra weight and my inability to lose it that has really done me in and made me feel old.  I used to be a fitness fool.  I worked out everyday (at home).  Cardio (otherwise know as Aerobics and Step Aerobics).  Strength training.  I walked.  I did yoga.  I had energy to spare.  And while I have NEVER had what one would consider a hard body, it was a lot better than the one I have now.

My drinking and menopause put a stop to my workouts and as the extra weight piled on it became harder and harder to exercise.  My knees and feet just can’t take it anymore.  I can’t afford a gym or a personal trainer and really, I don’t need one.  I have the knowledge and the know how to be a personal trainer.

I just don’t have the motivation.  I have no energy.  I find excuse after excuse NOT to do it.  Just watch…

  • I’m working in the city now which is a lot different than working at home – by the time I’m home I’m too tired from fighting traffic to work out.
  • Finding time at all is a challenge. 
  • I know mornings would be the best time but I really hate mornings…no really…with a white hot burning passion I hate mornings.  #3 son has inherited this from me.  I’m so proud.
  • I have to go to AA meetings in the evenings so I can’t work out.  Okay…so I only go to one meeting a week but…well it’s an excuse not a fact.  What do you expect?

Note:  These excuses represent a mere sample.  I have many, many more. 

Add to those excuses the fact that I went through menopause early. I didn’t have a hard time…actually I hardly noticed it at all.  Of course I was heavily medicated with anti-depressants and alchohol at the time so that might explain it.  And I was actually excited when it was over!  No more periods…woo-hoo!

What I forgot about is no more energy…slowed down sex drive…slowed down metabolism…just plain slowed down.  This is the part I do not like.  Not at all.  Probably more than I do not like mornings.  You do the math.

So I’m sitting in the auditorium on Sunday, waiting for the play to start and my girlfriend starts telling me about this warrior run she’s doing in May.  My first thought was, “Oh that sounds fun!  I want to do that!”  Followed quickly by, “Shit.  I’m in no shape to do that and I really, really do not have the energy.”  Subsequently followed by, “I hate myself.”  and “I really suck at this 50 decade thing.”

I do not want to suck at this 50 thing.  I sucked ass at the 40 thing and I do not want a repeat of that decade only with a slower metabolism, 50 extra pounds and no energy.

On the other side of me is my 60 year old friend who has enough energy for 3 of me and is sporting a new pair of skinny jeans.  She’s such a trip.  And she can pull it off!  She’s also signed up for speed dating but is bummed because they won’t let her into the group with the 45 year olds.  I just love her.  I want to be like her when I get to that 60 thing.

Then there’s one of the mom’s.  She looks like I felt at 35…but with a smaller waist, bigger boobs and more self confidence.  All of a sudden I was feeling even more frumpy than usual.  Not good…not good at all.  I have never seen the woman before and we haven’t so much as exchanged a glance but I hate her.  Not as much as mornings and menopause but I still hate her.  I know…I’m going to hell when I die for being so petty but right now I don’t care.

So I need to figure out a way to get my hip back before I need one replaced.  I need to get back in shape…a shape other than round.  I also need the hell out of a new attitude.  And I definitely have to stop whining!!! 

Because I hate whiners more that menopause, mornings and the bitch at school COMBINED!

Have a nice day…

Teenage Blessings

What a weekend!  Four performances of Guys and Dolls plus a Trace Adkins concert!  I have a new album and a Broadway soundtrack on my iPhone.  And I’m exhausted today. 

My oldest told me this weekend that he doesn’t want to return to college next year.  Fortunately I was able to speak with him like the adult that he is (as opposed to losing my mind which is my usual reaction) and I think we’ve come up with a plan for him that involves community college and a lot of soul searching. 

I’m actually very proud of him for thinking through all of this before he came to us.  At the same time I’m frustrated with him because he loaded up his schedule this semester with really hard courses (ignoring my advice not to do that) and then screwed around so that he’s in danger of losing his scholarship.  It’s okay though, his sister did the same thing 20 years ago when she was in college and we lived through it and she managed to graduate and turn into a wonderful woman.  We’ll get through this as well. 

While I was frustrated with #1 son, I was thrilled with numbers 2 and 3 as they showed their leadership skills during the spring play season.  #3 son (by 21 minutes), acted as stage manager and was able to keep everyone sane and working in spite of their being…well…teenagers.

#2 son was able to keep the sound going in spite of a very loud air conditioner and people challenges so that all of the players could be heard on stage and no one drown out anyone else.  And this isn’t easy considering they only have 6 mics and there were usually about 20 people on stage at one time.

And the hubs and me?  Well we just ran around all weekend, cooking, making things, shopping, cleaning and doing laundry.  Basically what we do every weekend – just turned up a notch.

Yesterday evening as we left the final show and had hugged it out with all the kids and teachers I had to sit back and just…sigh.  We are so blessed to have these three wonderful children (at home) who have chosen the most amazing young people as friends.  Kids that are aware but unaffected by 420 (which had to be explained to me…by them – I guess everyday was 420 in the 70’s).  Kids that get involved and stay involved and have personal relationships with their teachers, mentors and advisors.  Kids that care about the world and each other and actually want to make it a better place and not just exist and become a drain on society.

Of course these kids, including all six of mine, are not perfect.  They have challenges and struggles and issues but they manage them, lean on one another and reach out when they need help.  They take advantage of the network of adults they have managed to cultivate and so, for now, they haven’t fallen prey to drugs and alcohol and have kept busy with school and activities to keep those particular wolves at bay.

Am I naive?  Probably a little.  But so far my youngest children and their friends are all still okay.  I pray everyday that they stay that way.  Plus I stay so far up their behinds that I can see through their eyeballs. 

I’m naive people…not stupid.

In all four years of high school I never went to one drama production, never went to one football game, never participated in one club.  I didn’t go to prom.  I was too busy working and earning money to help support my family.  Too busy being too old and taking care of every thing and every one else. 

My parents were also too busy.  Too busy with their own self-absorbed lives to notice their own children and their needs.

My sister quit high school at 16, got married and had her first child by the time she was 17.  She is still an active alcoholic and drug addict.

I was out of the house and married two weeks after graduating high school.  I had already started smoking and drinking by this time as well.  25 years later I quit smoking.  35 years later I quit drinking and entered recovery for alcoholism. 

I used to pray, often, about the day when my own children would be in high school and would be free to do what they wanted to do.  Free to get involved.  Free to grow and stretch their minds.  Free to be kids.  And I prayed that I would be present and involved and loving and caring and so far up their behinds that I could see out their eyeballs.

Nice to know that God was listening…even when I thought He wasn’t.

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  • Parents spend 40% less time with their children today then they did a generation ago.
  • 1 out of 5 teens has not had a conversation with their parents that lasted 10 minutes in more than a month.
  • 9 out of 10 teens say it would be easier for them to avoid sexual activity if they were able to have more open conversations with their parents.
  • 98% of mothers and 90% of fathers hugged their children ages 0 to 2 years of age daily, compared to only 74% of mothers and 50% of fathers who hugged their children ages 10 to 12 years of age.
  • Every thirty minutes in America – 29 kids will attempt suicide, 2,795 teenage girls will become pregnant, and 22 girls will get abortions.
  • Dear God

    Dear God –

    There are things happening around me over which I have no control.

    You know I hate it when this stuff starts happening. 

    It leaves me anxious.  I don’t like anxious.

    It leaves me frightened.  I like frightened even less. 

    It leaves me vulnerable.  I really hate vulnerable.

    However, I promised to turn it over to You and so I’m going to do just that.

    So Lord, I want to do Your will and only Your will today.  I know You’ve got this.

    But You need to speak up.

    Sometimes I’m hard of hearing.

    All my love,
    Sherry

    Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
       bind them around your neck,
       write them on the tablet of your heart.
    Then you will win favor and a good name
       in the sight of God and man.
     Trust in the LORD with all your heart
       and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
       and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:3-6

     

    Guys and Dolls

    Last evening I went to the friends and family spring production at my boys’ high school.  They (and my husband) have been working for the last two months on the tech crew getting ready for this.  This was their final dress rehearsal before opening night (tonight).

    I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of a group of kids in my life.  They did Guys and Dolls which, you may recall, involves a lot of quick dialog and A LOT of singing and dancing.  It was so good that there were times I forgot I was watching a high school production!  I mean…I know these kids, but they totally embodied their characters and made me forget it was them!

    The boys have this one friend who is extremely talented and seems to always get the lead in these productions.  The kid is slight, a little on the skinny side, painfully shy and lacks self confidence…until he steps on stage.  Not only can the boy (young man) sing, dance and act, he has stage presence and sex appeal for DAYS.  Sex appeal!?  From a 17 year old kid!? He was certainly channeling his inner Brando.

    Anyway, I digress.

    The point of this post was two fold.  First I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the production, how proud I am of my kids and how much talent there is in that one little school here in the south of the United States.

    Secondly I wanted to say how grateful I am.  To sit in these things and not think about getting it over with so that I can go home and drink actually makes me giddy when I think about it.  I’ve seen three of the school’s productions (Inspecting Carol, Pippen and now Guys and Dolls), but at least one of my boys has been in that school for the last five years – and they put on two productions per year.  Where have I been? 

    I’ll tell you where I’ve been – home with my ass in a chair in my room watching TV and drinking Chardonnay.  What a frickin waste of time!!!  I can remember my boys asking me to go.  I remember my husband going without me.  I am so embarrassed that I missed it.  And sad…very, very sad.  I can’t even imagine what my kids were thinking when I said, “I don’t want to go to a high school play.  I mean, if you guys were IN it or were on the tech crew or something then maybe I’d go.” 

    Are you fucking kidding me?  Maybe that’s why they joined tech after all – crap. Guess I’ll be making amends later in my Step process for that one.  I keep coming up with new ones out of the blue…my list will be a mile long before I’m done.

    Anyway…NOW I am so happy and I feel so free and I’m feeling the joy of these moments.  If you’re wondering if giving up drinking and entering recovery is worth it…I’m here to tell you…hell yes!

    “One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.” ~ Sky Masterson, Guys and Dolls 

    Self Care vs. Self-ish…

    Right now I’m struggling with how much of myself I’m supposed to be giving to others and how much self-care I should be exercising.  And I’m worried about whether or not I’m being selfish by carving out that time for myself. 

    I am a caretaker, a nuturer and a people pleaser.  I think it’s because I had to be the adult in my family at a very young age and had to be the peacemaker in the chaos. But nuturing and loving on other people actually fills my soul and makes me feel good.  Sometimes I can go overboard with the people pleasing and nuturing and sometimes others can drain the life right out of me if I let them (which I have been known to do) but overall it’s a very positive experience for me and one that I enjoy very much.

    (And to my family – this post does not apply to you.  You can’t get rid of me that easily.  I will always be so far up your behinds I can see out of your eyeballs.  I love you.  Mwah!)

    But now I’ve begun to enjoy my own company.  I’ve begun to enjoy the feeling of being self-nuturing and of allowing myself to be nurtured by God.  It’s so wonderful to actually like yourself (who knew?)!  I’m not completely there yet but at least I can stand to be in a room with only me for company and not go seeking other distractions (like a bottle of wine or two).

    In my former life (before recovery), I couldn’t stand to be alone.  When I traveled I was always the one who wanted to have one more drink, or desert, or go to the movies, or sit in the lobby and talk, primarily because I didn’t want to be alone in my room until it was time to go to sleep.  Even at home, I’m the one who turned the TV on as soon as I walked into a room – just for the company and background noise.  I required constant company, distraction and conversation, all the time, and if it wasn’t around I’d go out and find it.

    Now I’m finding that I crave a little alone time now and then.  That I need it to recharge my batteries.  Who the hell am I?  Where did THAT come from?  Last night after my walk I had the house to myself.  I didn’t turn the TV on and didn’t even notice it wasn’t on until much later in the evening.  I was just reading blogs and thinking and just…being.  WTF? 

    So when is this selfish and when is it self-care?  It all feels selfish to me but I know, intellectually, that it really isn’t.  Will I just know?  Should I just follow my heart and my gut?

    Or is it time for a little selfishness?  This is all new territory for me…and I’m really excited about being on this journey.

    This is Why I Eat Chocolate

    up·side down

    Adverb:
    With the upper part where the lower part should be; in an inverted position. 

    Five years ago my employer moved my family to our current home.  It was the peak of the real estate market.  In order to get into the house before school started, we took 100% financing which consisted of a first mortgage that is interest only and a second mortgage on which we pay down a part of the principal each month, on a home that we paid top dollar for because it was in the best school district in the state.

    A year later they laid me off and the bottom had dropped out of the market.

    We do not wish to move.  We are not looking to or willing to sell in this market.  We would just like to live in our home and pay our mortgage every month and live happily ever after…oh…and wait for the market to turn around…which it will…I lived through this in the 90’s.  It may take 20 years but it will happen…I’m a patient woman…I can wait.

    In the meantime, we have a balloon payment due this year in either July or August (I can’t remember) which means the loan will have to be refinanced.  I would like to refinance the balance of the two loans into one, 15 year mortgage, with equal monthly payments and a lower interest rate.

    However, because of the current real estate market, when you look up upside-down in the dictionary there is a picture of my house.  I called today to see about a refinance and was informed that our house’s value is approximately $50K lower than what we currently owe on it.  They are only willing to refinance 95% of the current value which means I would have to pull approximately $60K out of my ass in order to get this done.  The kid on the phone was very serious about all of this.

    I’m still laughing. 

    “Are you currently in foreclosure ma’am?  Because if you are then I can transfer you to Specialty Lending and they may be able to help you.” 

    “Do not call me ma’am and no, we are not in foreclosure.  We are fortunate.  Unlike a lot of Americans we are working and able to pay our debts on time.  We would just like to refinance the balance and pay it off in 15 years no matter what the market says.”

    Crickets.

    “How about past due?  If you are 90 days or more past due you can be placed in non-accrual status and we can then turn your account over to collection.  They will then contact you and try to help you.  There are programs that may be able to get you refinanced.”

    “No,we are not nor have we ever been nor do we ever intend to be past due. Again, we are very blessed to be where we are right now…working…paying…living.  We just want to refinance our home and live in it.”

    Crickets…squared.

    “Well then I don’t think we can help you uh…ma’am.”

    Uh-huh.

    Am I crazy?  I think I must be crazy because I keep calling these people back expecting a different result.  I just cannot believe that they would rather I DEFAULT on my loan than to pay it back…in full…all of it.

    I’m a banker.  I get loan to value ratios and regulations but let’s get real here people – this is the same industry that lent trillions of dollars to individuals who had no business buying homes that were way too expensive for them, by lying and tricking them into signing documents that placed them in loans that would bankrupt them at some later date.  These poor people DID have to default on their loans because they had absolutely no choice.  Some (many) lost their homes to foreclosure.  Many had to sell in a short sale situation.  All of which meant the mortgage industry lost A HELL OF A LOT OF MONEY.

    I don’t want them to lose anymore.  I would just like them to refinance what I have so that I can live happily ever after.

    Somebody get me some chocolate.