I Need a Vacation

I haven’t had a vacation since…well…last Christmas.  I’m not even sure if that was a vacation because technically I was working from home, but things are so slow that time of year that there really isn’t anything to do so it’s kind of a vacation…kind of.  Not really my definition of a real vacation but when it’s all you’ve got, you take what you can get.

My definition of vacation has changed a lot over the years.  At one time it was a resort filled with lots to do and even more to eat and drink (especially drink).  Noise and lights and dancing and falling into bed only to wake up the next morning hung over and ready to do it all again.

Then it became a condo on the beach where the day was spent feeding and dressing four boys for the ocean and the pool, or minature golf, or the arcade, or the rides.  Then getting them back to the condo and into bed so that the hubs and I could sit on the balcony and enjoy a cocktail (or four in my case), before tiptoeing to bed so not to wake up the boys.

Now when I wish, it’s for a different kind of vacation.  A real vacation.

I need some time (1 week?  2 weeks?) by the shore to recharge.  I need to walk on the beach all bundled up and let the wind wear my ass out.  I need to walk and walk and walk and then turn around and do it again.  I need coffee and tea to warm me along with the mid-day sun.  I need quiet where the only sound I hear is the gentle music of the shore returning to greet me again and again. 

Or maybe a cabin in the mountains where bird song wakes me from a good night’s sleep under a mountain of covers because the temperature dipped below 40 overnight.  I need to wear layers so that I can strip them off during a day-long hike that leaves me exhausted and famished at the end.  I need to snuggle on a ratty old sofa with my honey and watch some mindless TV or wrap up in a blanket with him and sit on a porch and talk before crawling back under all those covers and drifting off to sleep.

Whatever it is and whenever I get to take it, I hope it’s laid back and quiet and filled with the love and company of my family…so long as they leave me the hell alone.

Yeah…I need a vacation.


Enough is Enough

A coworker was telling me a story the other day about a friend of hers that, when she finally got to go to the Staples Center in LA and see the Lakers play, got so emotional about it that she cried.  Another co-worker chimed in and said that her husband got that way when he finally got to see the Steeler’s play in Pittsburgh.

So I started thinking…what do I want to do that would evoke that kind of emotional response.  Where do I want to go?  What do I want to see?  What would I like to own that would actually make me cry if I finally, after much scrimping and saving, got to buy it?

Answer:  Not a damned thing.

Seriously, I couldn’t think of one trip, one landmark, one pair of shoes that would make me get weepy.  Now that’s just when I’m thinking about myself.  If you’re talking about getting something for or taking my kids somewhere then all bets are off – I cry when they open their Christmas gifts.  But for me…not so much.

That’s not to say that I don’t want, because I do.  I want to go to Paris, London and Rome.  I’d like to see Ireland.  I want to cruise Alaska and chant in India.  I want to participate in a tea ceremony in Japan.  I want to shop in Hong Kong.  I want granite counter tops and stainless applicances.  I want a king-sized bed.  I want to be a size six.  I want a pair of black Christian Louboutin shoes.  I want to hit the lottery, pay off all of my debt and be a stay at home mom.

Yeah…so.  I don’t want any one of these things so badly that getting it would make me cry.  (Okay – maybe the lottery thing but that’s it.)  I haven’t wanted anything that badly since I went to see the Osmonds in 1975.  I cried then…but I was 14 and a girl and going through puberty.  Of course I cried.

Well…there was one thing.  When I was trying to get pregnant with my first I cried when I found out.  We’d been trying for a year and I had almost given up so that was definitely a crying moment.  But other than babies and Osmonds…I can’t think of anything else.

So I was wondering?  What is wrong with me?  Don’t I have any dreams or wishes?  Did all those years of drinking and wanting for things leave me jaded?

Nope.  I’m just content.  I want but I don’t want so deeply that I’d cry if I got.  I have everything I’ll ever need plus a whole helluva lot more.  I am BLESSED beyond belief and I thank God every morning for all of it. 

If I get to Paris one day it will be wonderful but it’s not the end all and be all of my existence.  If I get a pair of Louboutins I’ll likely spend most of my time worrying about messing them up and stressing because they cost so much and oh my god we could have spent that money on something else.  If I hit the lottery…okay…I’ll probably cry.  But only because I would be able to release the burden of debt from our lives and give my family more of what they want (okay…THEN I’ll get the Louboutins) AND maybe open a yoga studio that is way more affordable than the ones we have around here.  Who cares if it loses money, I’ll need the tax write off.

Is this growth?  Yeah…probably.  But it’s been my experience that growth is usually painful and this is more of a relief.  After a lifetime of wanting more, more, more, it’s nice to relax and look around and finally say…

I have enough and thank you God for providing it.


“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”
~from “I Wish You Enough” by Bob Perks

The Hardest Question of All

I was walking the dogs with my oldest (at home) last night and somehow we got on the topic of his legacy.  That of the alcoholic variety.  He was saying that he’s sure he’ll try alcohol one day but that for now, he really has no desire.  He said he had plenty of opportunity while he was away at college (for that and other things) but that it just never appealed to him.  He wondered if I thought that feeling would change and when he would know whether or not he was an alcoholic.

Oy!  Dude…could you go back to giving me the easy questions?  You know…like why is the sky blue and how does the picture get into the TV and where do babies come from?  (I still don’t know how the picture gets into the TV.) 

So I did what I always do when confronted with a question like this…I told him the truth.

I told him yes, there will come a day when alcohol appeals to you.  I myself didn’t really drink (beyond that one Sloe Gin night and a beer just to make an ex-boyfriend angry) until my mid twenties when it was the norm and was expected if you were going to do any productive business and hang with the big dogs.  At first I resisted because of my own legacy, relenting only after I fell in love with his father and a quiet, romantic dinner was only enhanced by a bottle of wine.  (Not to mention the sex later but I spared him those gory details…no need to scar the boy.)

I told him there were those times that I had a really, really good time because I was drinking.  I don’t know if I would have has just as good a time if I hadn’t been shit-faced – mainly because I usually was.  But I seriously doubt it because everyone was also hammered.  I also told him that when I was pregnant with him, I got a good look at all those hammered people and just how stupid they all were while they were drinking.  I told him how tiresome it was to be around them when I was sober and how that kept me away from the sauce for another decade and a half, as I raised him and his brothers.  But I was honest and also told him that when I did get a night, I almost always drank alcoholically and usually got drunk.  His dad was the one who always stayed sober, always drove, and always took care of me.

He asked me how and why it got out of control and although I could have given him excuses, I had no real reasons.  Once again, I told him the truth…I just don’t know.  He asked when he would know whether or not he had “the gene” and would he inevitably become an alcoholic if he began to drink.

Well…I just don’t know.

Here’s the deal kid…you aren’t going to know.  There is no way for you to know until you take that first drink and embark on your own drinking career.  (I was quick to thank him for being sober this long – I know what an accomplishment that is for a 19 year old.).  You could go many years drinking socially only to wake up one morning and think, “Hmmm…a Bloody Mary would be good right now.”   Which is not an issue in and of itself…until it starts happening every day and is followed by beers at lunch, wine with dinner and a nightcap.

Or you may feel it from the first drink.  You may experience the “rush” that is the dopamine hitting your brain and that may be so good that you’re off to the races without a glance back at your sober, tea totaling days. 

Or you may take after your dad with no addiction problems at all (not even with tobacco – bastard) and pick up a drink or a beer during a football game or while out to dinner or after work, and be able to leave it at that.  There is just no way to know…and as your mother who has brought this to your doorstep, it scares the living shit out of me.

So I told him to just do what he’s always done.  Be smart, think before you act and do what you know is right. 

Because I’ll be praying enough for both of us.


I Choose Calm

I haven’t had much to say so I’ve not been posting the last couple of days.  I have several drafts that represent some fits and starts but nothing of substance.

Do I have writer’s block?

Who knows?  What I do know is that things have calmed down in the SoberMomRocks house and I don’t mind that at all.  People are healing.  School is in full swing.  Fall is finally coming to the South.  Work has slowed to a crawl.  Time to take a breath.  Or is this the calm before the storm?  I choose to breathe.

My alcoholic brain would choose to view this as the calm before all hell breaks loose.  The problem with that is that I believe you bring about what you think about.  I spent a lifetime either creating or reacting to insanity.  I choose not to do that anymore. 

Rather, I choose to take life on life’s terms.  One day at a time. 

How’s that working for ya? 

Pretty damn good actually.


“Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time.”
~Leonard Bernstein 

Saying So Long To Jenny

Notice I said “So Long” and not “Goodbye”.  I hope that I can go back sometime in the future but the fact of the matter is…we just can’t afford it anymore.  The son’s hospital stay is a small fortune and we’re going to have to make payments (all cash savings having been depleted when I was unemployed).  Spending upwards of $600 dollars a month just isn’t an option right now.  Add to that the cost of having two seniors at one time – announcements, rings, pictures, yearbooks, prom – and the picture becomes clearer with every passing minute.

The good news?  I’ve lost 10 lbs – of course…it’s the same damn 10 pounds I’ve gained and lost about 100 times in the last three years…but let’s not go there right now…k?  All I have to do is maintain what I’ve already started and it will all be good.


I said…right?


I HATE New York

Okay…I don’t exactly HATE New York but I’m beginning to think it hates me.

The last time I was in NY was when I was still drinking.  I had too much to drink one night at a business function (imagine that) and spent the entire night throwing up in my hotel room and dehydrating myself to the point that my entire body was cramping.  Of course, I thought it was food poisoning because there was no way my brain would let me think it was the alcohol.  Later, I had to admit that I had crossed a line and probably given myself a touch of alcohol poisoning.

So I approached my visit this time without any trepidation, after all, I’m sober now right?  No way I’m going to get sick this time right?  I mean, I almost NEVER throw up…RIGHT?


Right after I posted yesterday I started feeling…um…not well.  I had been fighting a headache and a 300 pound head the entire time I had been there but I pushed through, ignored it and just thought it was allergies.  Ragweed to be specific.  Again…WRONG!!!

Before I knew it, I was in the Ladies Room losing my pumpkin spice latte and anything else I eaten since…oh I don’t know…1974?  All I could think was, “What the hell is it about this city that makes me hurl?” 

Then all I could think was, “I want to go home…now.”

I called corporate travel and they were able to get me on a 3:30 pm flight as opposed to the 7:00 pm flight on which I was originally booked.  I said my goodbyes (from a distance) and headed to the airport.

Now here’s where God sent some angels to hold my hand and get me home.

First, corporate travel had screwed up (surprise, surprise) and not only was I not on the 7:00 flight but I was not on the 3:30 flight either.  Angel #1 was the gate agent because not only did she get me on the 3:30 but she upgraded me to first class.  Yes!  I would actually be able to sleep on the way home.

Except that nothing was leaving LaGuardia, on time, yesterday.  Fog (yes…fog…can you believe it) had delayed everything at least an hour…maybe two.  I sat by my gate, unable to get comfortable and feeling miserable.  About to cry miserable.  So I decided to find the USAirways Club and buy a day pass so at least I could be comfortable until my flight left.  I didn’t even care what it was going to cost…that’s how bad I felt.

Angel #2.  USAirways and Delta are sharing the same space right now for their flight clubs as USAirways builds a new space.  The Delta agent at the door told me it would be $50 for a day pass.  I handed her my card and my boarding pass.  She punched some buttons and handed me back my things and whispered, “I didn’t charge you.  Hope you are feeling better.  We have ginger ales and tea if you’d like some.”

I was able to wait it out in relative comfort in close proximity to a very nice ladies room.  It was heaven.  I slept without fear of someone stealing my crap.  I eventually boarded my flight and made it home by 7:30 pm…and went straight to bed.  I still feel like shit today but at least I’m in my own home feeling this way.

I’m not sure if I will ever set foot on the island of Manhattan again (even though I’m supposed to go in November for work), because I am now convinced that it hates me.  But I will say this, the city may blow but the people of New York ROCK the planet.

My New York Excursion – Rained Out!

The Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Yeah, yesterday was totally rainy all day.  I would have braved it for a walk last night had it not been pouring buckets most of the afternoon and evening.  I’ll still may have braved it but I had to pack and I didn’t want to pack wet tennis shoes.  (Yes…I think of these things.)

I’ve been eating on the cheap since I’ve been here, from food carts to drugstores but no real restaurants.  So I thought I’d jump in a cab and go somewhere really nice for dinner.  At first I considered Mesa Grill which is one of Bobby Flay’s restaurant and one at which I’ve always wanted to eat.  Nope…too far.  I did make my co-workers promise to go with me when we come back in November…it will be more fun with a group.

Then I considered The National, which is Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant (he’s the newest Iron Chef and sometimes judges on Chopped on the Food Network).  It was directly behind my hotel (I was at the Waldorf Astoria.)  Nope…booked.  Unless I wanted to eat at 9:30 pm.  I’m from the South, we’re generally in our pajama’s at that time.

How about Mario Batali’s Babbo?  Nope – too far and also booked.

Arron Sanchez’ Centrico?  Too far…but he and Mario should totally hang out.

I’m such a wimp when it comes to weather.

So what did I do?  I ordered a mediocre but stupidly expensive wrap from room service, treated myself to a side of fries with plenty of ketchup and a diet coke.  Then I just vegitated and watched the limited TV selections (thank GOD they had HGTV) and read up on my hotel.  (The Waldorf is steeped in history, not the lease of which is the fact that Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra lived their at one time.)  Then I went to sleep early.  All in all, not a bad evening.

Yes, I missed visiting Tiffany’s and Central Park but it’s okay because I’ve been there.  I’ve had drinks at the Oak Bar at the Plaza and dined at Tavern on the Green.  All that is really left for me to see in NY is the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the 9/11 Memorial, and Mood (the fabric store on Project Runway).  I’m sure I can hit all of them on my next trip…or the one after that.

This morning I packed up to go home, checked out, got a pumpkin spice latte from Starbuck’s and will joyfully board a plane this afternoon and by 9:30 be in my PJ’s and in my own bed.


The Big Apple – Part Deaux

It’s supposed to rain today here in the city that never sleeps but by evening it should be good for another walk.  Yesterday I spent two hours exploring Midtown Manhattan…it was…an experience.

I haven’t been to this part of New York and had any time to explore in, well, forever.  In my younger days I could feel the energy of the city and I longed to move here and become a New Yorker.  I wanted a loft in Soho or a brownstone in Harlem or an apartment overlooking Park Ave (yes…my tastes were unrealistic but so was the chance of me actually moving to NY in the first place…don’t judge).  I wanted to have a kitchen in which I never cooked because you could get anything you wanted from pretty much anywhere at pretty much any time.

Now?  Not so much.

As I was walking around yesterday, I realized (sadly) that the part of me that wanted that life has grown older, more settled, maybe even a little boring.  As I walked I pondered what that meant.  Am I truly old and past the point of fun?  Has being sober taken some of the zing out of New York for me?  Has my taste for take out Thai been replaced with a concern for my arteries.

In a word?  Yeah.  But also I’ve just grown easy.  What I mean is that the hustle and bustle of this fabulous city is just not something I want in my everyday life anymore.  It’s not a cottage by the shore.  It’s not calm or zen.  And that’s what I want in my life right now.

For example, I had never been to Times Square.

It was cool.  I got to see where Good Morning America is filmed.  However, I find no need to ever return. 

They were filming an episode of 30 Rock across the street where the Today Show shoots.  That was really cool to see.  I also got to see Bryant Park which satisfied the fashionista in me (well that and Bloomingdale’s).  Grand Central I’d seen before but it is truly Grand and I love walking around in there…it’s so iconic.  The Empire State Building…nuff said.

So tonight I head up Park Ave about 5 or 6 blocks to Tiffany’s.  I am a HUGE Audrey Hepburn fan.  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is one of my favorite books and movies and “Moon River” is the hubs and my song.  I have to pay homage, don’t you think?

I’ll probably stroll a little through Central Park and then head back.  I’ll grab another salad at City Metro (got one there last night…fabulous and only $8.99) and then go back to my room for a good night’s sleep. 

Tomorrow I bid adieu and fly south to my little town.  And I couldn’t be happier.


Live From New York…

This morning was filled with promise for a wonderful day.

Then I walked into my meeting room and discovered that, over the weekend, someone had shattered the glass door.

Not good – lots of shuffling and confusion to get everyone rescheduled and moved to a different room.  Plus I cut my finger trying to brush off what I thought was sugar and what turned out to be glass slivers.  Ouch!

You know what is also not good?  Being in a new job, working with new people, and learning whose ass I should be kissing and who I can tell to go pound sand.  Oh – and not having any credibility with people – that is also not good.  People around here don’t know me from Adam (who IS Adam anyway?) and it doesn’t feel very good.  I’m used to not only having credibility but wielding power.  Today someone had to step in and wield her power and I felt…to use a phrase from my blogger friend over at The Act of Returning to Normal…inadequate.

And I didn’t like it.  Not one little bit.

And what did I do?  I got defensive with her when she tried to explain how it’s done here.  Yeah…um…how’s THAT working for ya Sherry?  Of course it was a nanosecond AND I apologized but I hated that I felt that way.  It tells me I still have a stupid ego that doesn’t know when to shut her stupid mouth.  Sigh…

So tonight I’ll leave here and put on my walking shoes and check out New York a little bit.  Then I’ll grab something to eat, go back to the room and watch Castle.  I’ll suck on some cough drops to help my scratchy throat and take some Excedrin for this headache that is threatening to turn into a migraine.  Then I’ll get a good night’s sleep.

And tomorrow will be a better day.


Dear God –

Could you please help me to shut the hell up, to think before I speak and to not take things so personally?  Also, when I do put my foot in my mouth, would you help me to LET IT GO once I’ve made amends?

That would be really, really good.

AKA SoberMomRocks