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.

Musings while in line at the car wash

In Minnesota, any day above freezing there are lines at every car wash in town, as everyone races to wash all the salt and dirt from their vehicles before it freezes again. It’s like a gas rush, but with the car wash.

I’ve got three sleeping children in my car, listening to Yours by Now Now. I love this song. It just feels so good every time I hear it.

 One car moves forward…5 more to  go  

We just got back from sledding. I decided that letting the kids sleep a bit before waking them up was a smart decision. I’m hoping they’re worn out from fresh air and exercise. We met Lover and his son at the hill, and probably got in an hour and twenty minutes before someone got bitten and I decided we were calling it a day.

 Four cars left before it’s my turn. The suspense is killing me. 

Here’s some positivity for your viewing pleasure.

1. Slept in til 7am. This is good for a weekend with the kids. J could have been up at 530. I’m totally good with 7.

2. Had coffee with sister #2 before she went to work. That was really nice.

3. Got a lovely breakfast of eggs, sausage and toast.

4. Sledding with Lover and all the kids. It’s pretty warm out for MN in the winter so this was just what I needed.

 3 cars to go 

5. So many things to choose from. I have all sorts of food in my fridge, with options all over for dinner. Two happy healthy little girls who are sleeping peacefully along with my nephew. A new vacuum cleaner to test drive at home. Today is pretty amazing. 

 2 cars 

 Oh the vacuum cleaner. Funny story about that.

So A decided to vacuum the other day. I’m so happy and proud, my kid wants to clean?! This is great! I have her pick up the floor, looks good, she starts vacuuming, I’m damn near in tears I’m so proud of her and then…

The magic smoke comes out and it’s making a noise like a strangled cat.

 1 car to go 

So I asked Lover to take a look at it, and the motor is literally starting on fire every time I turn it on. Apparently some idiot zip tied pieces of the motor, it got overloaded and started on fire. Who designs something like that? So he pulls off the melted plastic, has me plug it in to see if it’ll work (mind you, it’s all taken apart on the floor) and blue fire is leaping out of it. Yep. Game over. I bought a new one. That’ll teach me to keep the paperwork for the warranty too.

 My turn!

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.

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!

December 28th 

So it occurred to me, as I was speaking of my day on the phone a little while ago that I was being pretty negative about a day that wasn’t really so bad. I thought, I need to do some more positivity. 

So here we are! Lynn is being positive again.

1. Therapy appointment for A. She was excited for it and talked alone to the therapist for a bit. I feel really good about this, that going forward we can adjust to her working alone with him and thus us good news for everyone.

2. Went with the kids to see some old friends of ours I haven’t seen since September. It was good, I’ve missed them. 

3. Took a long nap. It wasn’t on purpose, but I needed it. J actually napped and I fell asleep during meditation and slept for 2 and a half hours. I’m hoping to go to bed early tonight too. 

4. Showered. In the evening. Wet hair in subzero temperatures are no good so I’m on top of it!

5. A wanted braids in her hair…just like mommy. She looks so pretty and it’s such a wonderful compliment that she wants to be like me. 

Not every day of parenting is going to be easy…today wasn’t but there were definitely bright spots all over and today I choose to look at those.

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.

Little fears

How many things am I afraid of? I’m sad to say…a lot. I’m afraid of being late to work, even though it happens a lot. I’m afraid of not making ends meet. I’m terrified of a math class I signed up for in spring semester. Im afraid of being hurt in my relationship. I don’t even recognize these things mostly though, I don’t want fear to take over my life.

So when a big fear comes along, all of a sudden all the little ones are both more and less at the same time. 

Odd.

Fears are just as deadly as resentments in recovery. Acting out of fear of losing something I have or fear of not getting something I want has led me to some ugly consequences.

I’ve mentioned before about living fearlessly. To me now, that means to acknowledge the fear, and talk about it. I’ve noticed that when I talk about something I’m afraid of it loses some of its power. Then, I pray about it. Letting it go to God is the hardest part for me. I had an incident a few weeks ago, I was having a minor freak out session in my parked car and a voice in my head said, “do you trust me?” 

“Yes, I trust you.”

“Then why are you worried?”

That stopped me dead in my tracks. The voice in my head might have been mine. Might not. But it made me think hard…if I trust God, then why am I so worried? Either I trust or I don’t. Either it all works or it doesn’t, and I believe firmly everything happens for a reason. So, very very slowly I unclenched my mental fingers and let go.

The results are that I’m free of worry and everything is in fact working out. 

So as the mental hamster wheel is spinning wildly today, I am letting go. Unclenching the mental fingers, and I feel at peace.

1. It snowed hard with big flakes and looked like a snowglobe outside earlier. So pretty.

2. My children were fed, clean, and teeth brushed before we left home. They didn’t fight (much) either.

3. I have left over homemade pizza for lunch…I’m SO looking forward to it!

4. A new meeting tonight that I’m test driving for a home group. I went last week, and I’m looking forward to going again tonight.

5. Seeing Lover after the meeting. I hope… 🙂

Today is good

Writers block. I have started and not finished two other posts since thanksgiving that no longer seem relevant so I’m leaving them be and just wanted to share good today.

Last night I went to a tincture making class, and really enjoyed it. I went with two of my girlfriends and learned….alcohol isn’t necessary to make one. Which is great news for your favorite recovering alcoholic. (No ego on this girl) I’m pretty excited about tinctures and herbal remedies, and feel much better today after yesterday’s cold having sampled some of the cold care remedies in class. Also, got a great line on where to purchase herbs locally.

1. Easy morning with the girls getting out the door. Happiness in the little things!

2. Graveyard Club. Their music is awesome. 

3. Pho. Mmmm

4. Warm December days. La Niña is my friend this year.

5. Plans of some sort for the evening. Not sure yet what those are but I know it’ll be awesome.

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.