Ohana

One of the things I remember most about the movie Lilo and Stitch is them talking about ohana…which means family. I found myself tonight at an AA meeting on the big island of Hawai’i by this name. (Yes, there is a good reason I haven’t posted much haha). Lover and I met some wonderful people at another meeting here, and they told us about the Ohana meeting. It’s an “eating meeting”, we’re told. “Come eat some Hawaiian food.” Sold. We came to the island on a private retreat, to a wellness center. There’s only one place to smoke in the area, everything else is off limits. Me, being the dirty dirty smoker goes off to find that area on the first day…only to find that the majority of those there are smoking the devil’s lettuce. Ok fine. I hang to the outer area, not really talking to anyone. Then I go back several hours later. More people are there this time, and it’s not tobacco in the pipe. They’re much friendlier, and tried to pass to me. Lover showed up right after this, and they tried to pass to him as well. There’s a part in the Big Book where it talks about only being around alcohol if you have a good reason to be there. Lover tells me he doesn’t- he doesn’t smoke so he will no longer join me at the tent. My wheels start turning. Do I have a good reason to be there? Is my nasty cigarette addiction reason enough for me to put my sobriety in jeopardy every time I need a smoke? I brought a long a bunch of nicotine patches for the plane rides, I have enough for the duration of the trip. So I did it. Three days without a single cigarette, and it’s fucking hard. Yes, I’m on the patch. Yes it’s worth it to not be around all the Mary Jane. However I feel like I’ve been in an anxiety attack for the last 24 hours. And that, brings me to the meeting. The anxiety has been building over the last day…it started surfacing about an hour or two before the meeting. We get there, grab some coffee, and sit. I sip my coffee, looking longingly towards the door where I know other sober folk are out smoking. They’d give me a smoke. Then relief hits. Something relaxed inside. I’m home. I’m with my people. AA is where I can walk into the room of strangers and everyone knows me and I know them. It didn’t really hit me until after I left tonight that the meeting name, Ohana means family. Those are my family. I’m still a basket case, I cried some on the drive back to the resort. I might smoke tomorrow. I make no promises. But today, tonight I’m sober and tobacco free. And my family was there giving me hugs and telling me they understood.

Jan 11

Today wasn’t great. 

Actually, that’s an understatement. 

I don’t want to sit in misery, so here comes some positivity at ya!

1. I was (slightly) early to work today

2. I was provided a lovely breakfast by Lover, scrambled eggs with spinach, green peppers, mushrooms and toast. I wasn’t able to finish it, but it was delicious. 

3. I got my lunchtime errands run, through a blizzard, and wasn’t late back. Freaking impressive! 

4. Celebrated J’s 2nd birthday…she scarfed down pizza, ate cake and ice cream and loves her new toy. I just want to cry….she’s so big. I’m amazed and delighted with both my kids, they’re turning into people and I love it. Miss the baby part, but love my little people.

5. Managed 1.5 hours of homework. I still need to check it. I think I’m behind but I’m being thorough so that’s good, right?

And now…bed. Another positive.

Gas

When you got it, no stopping it. Well, you could but I don’t recommend it.

As someone who has stomach issues that cause horrific gas, my thoughts today have wandered…what are the best places to pass it? And then…Where are the worst?

Best places:

  1. Outside. Especially if it’s windy, bonus for a noisy area where you can be loud and disgusting and no one hears you. Just make sure it’s going to stay noisy. And windy. Nothing worse than one of those hot lingering bombs and it won’t go away outside of all places. (Well kids, we just happen to be downwind of a farm. Yes, I know we’re in the city. Just trust me. It’s a farm. Not your mother.)
  2. Home. I make this second because it’s indoors, and there’s a possibility you can stink yourself and your loved ones out. They may not love you at this point. You may not love you if this happens.
  3. Indoor playgrounds. The possibility of offending other parents runs here, but if it’s a big enough area you can cropdust and blame it on some kid. Because you KNOW at least one kid is running with a full load.
  4. The Car. A moving vehicle with the windows down. Unless you’re in Minnesota anytime between October and April. Then I don’t recommend it.
  5. In line at the grocery store. If you can pull off the silent but deadly, you might encourage someone in front of you to leave. This also requires either an ability to act as though you’re not to blame and also offended by the smell or a complete lack of shame. Own it. 

Next we have the worst places.

  1. First date/first sleepover etc. You want to maybe keep this person around. Maybe you don’t. Let’s assume that you want to keep them around. Embarrassment in front of your boo or bae or whatever the fuck stupid thing people are saying now is not cool. We want to be our best, smell amazing and not be bloated foul creatures like we are at home alone. The point is to not be alone, so let’s break out the Bean-o.
  2. Edit: adding in dance floor. A friend shared an experience where a ten foot section was cleared by a toxic wave emanating from another friend. Although, this could be a good thing too if you’re looking for space from the creepers. Not so much if you’re in the meat market though.
  3. Work. No one wants to be trapped in a small area with an offensive odor. We all know who’s responsible for it, and unless you’re working outside or completely alone it’s just not a good idea. Maybe not even if you’re alone. Once I was working in a locked office all alone, let one go, and then someone knocked on the door. I was seen so I couldn’t pretend to not be there, had to let them in and had a very uncomfortable encounter where we were both trying to pretend there was no smell. The stories go on. I go on. 
  4. A wedding. Unless you are looking for an excuse to get out, then by all means. Light it up.
  5. A funeral. Unless you need comic relief.
  6. A restaurant. Just imagine it…you’re there, you’re hungry, and then this overwhelming stench wafts by from a nearby booth. Ugh. However if you can stand your own smell, maybe it’s fine. Less competition for the wait staff’s attention. This is a positivity blog, after all.

    The year in review

    Best described by the music I lived in…

    January

    One word…Phantogram. I must have listened to Cruel World and When I’m Small 3x a day at least. I was gearing up for leaving my ex, and these were the emotional songs to do it. Electric Love from Borns just came out and I wanted a love like that so badly.

    February

    It’s done. The marriage is ended. Human, by Rag N Bone Man. Love N Hate by Michael Kiwanuka is also on the playlist a lot.

    March

    Adjusting to new realities. Making new friends and connections. Hot Thoughts, by Spoon, Paisley Park by Prince, Soothing by Laura Marling.

    April

    More Phantogram, You Don’t Get Me High, and You’re Mine. 

    May

    Ubu, by Methyl Ethel, Feel it Still by Portugal The Man, Wes Anderson by Alex Lahey. Although, I must add in that I understood what Alex Lahey was talking about months later when Lover and I became a thing. Ran, by Future Islands releases and I download and play it on repeat. For weeks.

    June

    I’m homeless, divorce papers filed and stressed to the max. I take it out by hula hooping and starting a 30 days of positivity. Hula playlist includes lots of Har Mar Superstar, Clearest Blue by Chvrches, Wake Up by Chastity Brown, and The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness by The National. I’m living like I hadn’t lived since before the ex and I’m remembering what it feels like to be me. In a good way.

    July 

    I’m letting go. Nothing is working so I just let go. And amazing things happen. Like J-Boy by Phoenix. Swish Swish by Katy Perry. Everything Now by Arcade Fire. Gimme Sympathy by Metric. Angry Johnny by Poe. Lover and I start dating. Life feels so good. 

    August 

    Linger, by The Cranberries on August 4th during the best date of my life up to that point. Eclipse month. Carnival by Natalie Merchant. Fatal Gift by Emily Haines and The Soft Skeleton. Lover and I are seeing each other weekly by the end of the month.  

    September

    Don’t Delete the Kisses by Wolf Alice makes me think of Lover every time I hear it. I move into my new apartment. A has a hard time adjusting, but we made it to the other side and things settle down. Got to see Spoon play a show and it was everything a concert should be. 

    October

    A blog post about listening to music in a dark twisty bar triggered a lovely memory. So many fun experiences this month. Saw Battle Toys perform, went dancing for my birthday. Halloween parties. Fresh Blood by The Eels. The Silversun Pickups album.

    November

    No Roots by Alice Merton. I fell madly in love with  Deadly Valentine by Charlotte Gainsbourg. So much baking. Dance classes with Lover start, and it is so much fun.

    December 

    Eartha Kitt dominated my holiday playlist with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. The Wombats released Lemon to a Knife Fight. Beach House’s Space Song will forever hold a memory of a late night and the scent of lavendar.

    2017 has been the most eventful year in my life since I was 20 and moved 5 times in a year. So much has happened, good and not so good. I’ve felt all the feelings, and am learning from all my mistakes. I am truly happy to be right where I am in life now.

    Here’s to 2018!

    On inventory

    Fears are a big theme here…

    I’ve had two major anxiety episodes in the last week over things that were, well…nothing to get excited about. I think about the time I spent crying and thinking of all the worst case scenarios, and what was the result? God had it handled already. 

    I have a big imagination. Always have. Over the last few years, my family and friends have pointed out that I border on paranoia. In my childhood I wrote stories, in high school I wrote songs and poetry and the imagination was put to good use. Fears and selfishness led to my drinking, I got sober, did inventory and stopped writing. For a long time I didn’t put the imagination to good use. I didn’t have a creative output for a long time, and then my thoughts centered around the “what ifs”. 

    So dangerous.

    I’m working on another inventory which was themed around the divorce, boundaries, and an inability to say “no”. Talking to my sponsor about it, she tells me my inability to say no stems from fear. Huh. Never considered that I might not say no to something I don’t like or want because I’m afraid of the outcome. 

    Yesterday I started texting myself some of my most major fears at that time. It helped. I know I have far more to go, and I’m not close to being done but I’m working on it. Making progress. 

    1. Got up on time, meditated, ate and showered and was at work on time! Early even!

    2. Discussions with Lover about needs and making daily needs work in the day to day life. I’m really happy I can have open honest conversations about what we need as individuals. I feel like this is incredibly healthy and makes me feel good about where I am in life.

    3. Homemade chicken soup for lunch…

    4. Hopefully going to wrap gifts tonight! I’m pleased that my shopping is almost done and that with a small few exceptions I can be proud of what I can give to my family this year. 

    5. Knowing that the home I’ve made and life I wanted is finally here. It’s not perfect but it’s amazing and more than I expected. Life is so good today.

    Unprepared

    I constantly tell people what a disaster I am. “I can’t get out the door on time! I’ll never remember to bring snow pants for both kids every day! I’m a disaster! I burned the cookies. I’m a disaster. I spilled (insert liquid or edible here) all over myself. I’m a disaster!”

    Then, my friends tell me how awesome I am. Lover calls me Wonder Woman. And I think…why would they think that? I don’t have anything together. I forgot to scoop the litter box last night and put water in kittys dish. I realized the water was empty when kitty started drinking out of the toilet when I was getting ready for work. Filled his water dish, and promptly forgot again about the litter. There is folded laundry all over my living room that needs to be put away. 

    Do these things really make me a disaster though? When I tell people I am, or tell myself I am, does it then become a self fulfilling prophecy? If I’m late to work regularly because I’m “a disaster” am I excusing myself from the responsibility of being on time? 

    Not sure what the answer is, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t to continue saying negative things about myself, to myself and others.

    1. Medical testing done this morning shows nothing of concern. This is good! My “big fear” from my last post is not to be concerned.

    2. Delicious toast on fresh bread made with love by Lover as I was flying out the door this morning. Yum.

    3. My travels this afternoon take me by my favorite tamale joint…I am so excited!

    4. Dinner plans with an old friend. We used to use together, a lot. I ran into her after 14 plus years at an AA event, where I found she was also sober now, and I’m really excited to reconnect with her in sobriety. Its so amazing when that happens.

    5. Finished writing inventory that I’ve put off for months. It feels good to be done with it, although I’ll feel better after I 5th step it. I’m not sure I’ll be able to meet with my sponsor anytime soon but I have a backup in place should it come down to it.

    Here are some of the delicious cookies my girlfriends and I made the other night. Feast your eyes, because the cookies have all been eaten already.

    Home

    It’s cold out. I’ve had a pretty chill day, but haven’t been very busy which meant I had time to get inside my own head.

    So dangerous.

    I took on a new sponsee, who was supposed to come to a meeting this morning with me, and didn’t show when I arrived. So instead of going to the meeting anyway, which is what I should have done, I went home. I’m not feeling great physically, and had things to do but ended up hanging out and thinking about what I wasn’t doing. 

    Never a good idea.

    However, my sponsee called, and arranged for a later meet up. Which is how I ended up at the Alano club where my home group is, going to a meeting. 
    I’ve called a lot of places home before. I’ve lived in many places (although they were all in the twin cities) but I feel like the term home has a different meaning to me now. When I go to my alano club, I feel like I’m home, in a way I haven’t felt like since I was a kid growing up. I don’t feel like that when I go to my residence, or my mom’s house, or even to the place I grew up. I get that feeling when I’m with my kids, or my lover, or with my best friend, but most intensely when I’m going through the doors of that alano club to be with other sober alcoholics.

    I think it comes down to home being where you know you are loved unconditionally by people who know who you truly are and love you anyway.

    1. Slept in, and made myself eggs on toast. Mmmm…

    2. Bought new glasses. They’re on order. I’m scared shitless of the price…I never spend that kind of money on something and I’m debating taking them back. But… I look so good. Hmmm…

    3. Made daiya mozzarella garlic toast for lunch and ate it with spaghetti sauce. 

    4. Meeting and working with my new sponsee. If you havent done it, it’s amazing. Like nothing else in the world. 

    5. Adulting is done for the day. Laundry folded and put away. Dishes done. Apartment (relatively) clean. Its beautiful.

    That time of year

    When it gets colder, thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Caillou’s holiday movie is on. Yes, I said the c-word. Parents everywhere are crying in their coffee mugs, counting the minutes until their next glass of bourbon or their AA meeting. 

    And not even thanksgiving yet. 

    I haven’t truly looked forward to a thanksgiving meal in some time. I’ve wanted to host one for years, pretty much since I’ve been diet challenged. My ex MIL made an effort, and I always appreciated it but I’d always feel like I brought half my kitchen over. This year, I was informed I was obligated to attend my sister’s meal. Ok, fine. I live in a small apartment, not conducive to ten kids and 8 adults. It makes sense to not host it. But I asked for the menu, and I’ll get to eat turkey, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, which I will have to bring my own margarine. That’s it. Probably no gravy, even. I got snark from another sister about how dairy free mashed potatoes aren’t real mashed potatoes. Lord in heaven. If I didn’t have my kids that day, it wouldn’t even be a question, I wouldn’t go.

    So I invited Lover over the night before, and will cook a wonderful dinner to my liking and needs. I’m pretty excited about that. Here is the positive in this whole thing, I get to host a small meal, for the two of us. We get leftovers. And then, I’ll go to my sister’s, and will enjoy the family time. No worries about eating. I don’t expect anyone to accommodate me, but it’s unbelievably hard to sit at a table and watch everyone eating food that looks and smells amazing while you can’t eat it.

    I know, thanksgiving is about gratitude, not the food. I am so grateful I have a family I can spend thanksgiving with. I love my sisters dearly. I have a wonderful life I only hoped for, but never thought I would actually have. I want to be the person who finds the way to make it happen, whatever “it” is. Who won’t bitch about a meal she can’t eat most of, because she’s with a family who wants her there.
    Anyway, I survived one round of Caillou. 2 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 46 seconds til my next meeting. 

    My song of the day and other things

    Its a music day. I have these days from time to time where I find really awesome songs, download them, listen to the shit out of them, then wonder why I’m not hearing anything new. It seems to only happen at random too…I can’t just go out and look for it. It has to find me. 

    My downloaded song today is called Unbuild It, by The 2 Bears. I heard it on the local underground college radio Lover got me hooked on, and it is so good. I was a little surprised because it has kind of a pop sound to it and this station doesn’t generally seem to play pop sounding songs (but, I’ve been listening to it for only a few days…so…). In any case, love it.

    Also, Line of Fire by Junip. I had the treat of hearing some of their other songs, and I kind of love their sound. Slow and dreamy. 

    To kick it up a notch, Sports, by Fufanu. I could see myself working out to this. If I worked out, that is. Nice even tempo. Definitely getting added to the hula hooping playlist.

    Lover and I took another dance class last night, Tango and Hustle. The Tango was hard, I do not have the steps down for that, but the Hustle….ooooo. I like that one. I have that one down pretty good I think and it’s SO FUN getting spun around. I’m hoping we’ll get to do more with that. Or even just adding on our own stuff to it. Since we started dancing, half the songs I hear now I’m thinking about dance steps to. I think that’s a good thing. 

    Lots of good things going on. I’m pretty appreciative of them all.

    Day 101

    November…cold…cloudy…cold…

    I like how November brings things I love. Like Thanksgiving. (Food) Christmas cookie baking after thanksgiving. (More food) Inevitable weight gain from all the food. (An extra layer of warmth from the food? A girl has to stay warm)

    Today I did some online grocery shopping, and started buying some of the essentials I will need when I start making cookies. I freaking looove making Christmas cookies. I make all of them to my dietary standards, then give them out to my similarly restricted friends. The feeling I get when I can give delicious cookies to people who would ordinarily not get to eat them because of the ingredients is phenomenal. This year, I made a new vegan friend, and it has me thinking…how much would it change things to remove eggs from the cookies? Or at least, some of them. My goal for the next week or two is to try out a new recipe or two that is eggless, in hopes I can bring holiday cheer to the vegan in my life.

    So, apparently A was thinking the same thoughts I was, and asked if we could bake tonight after I picked her up from daycare. Well, of course kid. So I ask her what she wants to make. Cookies? Brownies? Cake? She asks for chocolate and vanilla and cherries. Huh. Ok. So then we start brainstorming. Can we make brownie layers with cherries in the middle? No, she says. Vanilla layer, then chocolate then cherry. 

    At first I thought about vanilla cake on top of a brownie layer, but then I got to thinking…what if there is such a thing as vanilla brownies? Googled. They exist. Damn! I had NO idea. So I grabbed a recipe for them, and layered it up with a brownie recipe, slapped some cherry pie filling on top.

    Omg.

    I don’t even know what to call this. I don’t know if it’s been done before. Neapolitan brownies? Maybe?

    So effing good. A thought it needed whipped cream on top. I think she’s correct, but I don’t have any right now. If there are any left tomorrow I’m going to make that happen. No question. That’s my kid. I couldn’t be more proud.

    Vanilla layer:

    2/3 c rice flour

    1/4 tsp xanthan gum

    3/4 tsp baking powder 

    1/4 tsp salt

    1/4 c earth balance

    1/3 c white sugar

    1/3 c brown sugar

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 egg

    Mixed, spread in 13×9 pan, greased.

    Chocolate layer

    2oz bakers chocolate 

    1/4 c earth balance, melted with the chocolate in the microwave (because that’s how I roll)

    1 c white sugar

    1 egg plus 1 egg white

    1tsp vanilla

    1/2 c rice flour (I use Flying Horse brand. It’s so fine it’s like powdered sugar)

    1/4 tsp xanthan gum

    Dash salt.

    I layered this on top of the vanilla layer, baked at 350f for 30 minutes. I feel like it needed an extra 5 though, because it was a tad undertone in the middle, but as you wish. Cooled, then slapped the can of cherry pie filling on top. Next time I might whip the pie filling in with some coconut whipped cream.