Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stellar lunch & OH- Consumption Triggers

Still going strong, no alcohol... late night last night with friends of Bryan's from out of town. Here are some of my Desire for Alcoholic Consumption Triggers that occurred last night:

  • unknown people, powerful people, good-looking people (impress them!)
  • requirement for spontaneous conversation (not with folks comfy with long bouts of silence)
  • tired, hungry, or bored (describes most free time)
  • having accomplished yard work (comes straight from Dad and his 1 Busch Light after grass-mowing)
  • merry-making of any kind (thank you, college)
Nine more evenings, and then it'll be a Saturday night, first of August, and I will be sharing a growler of Raj with someone. 

Anyway, for today: 

I was very hungry around 10 o'clock, because I hadn't had breakfast. 
By 11:30 was ravenous, and had images of Arby's in my head (heavily-advertised BLT, fries, soda)
Didn't want to screw up my day though, so put this thought into my head:
No matter what I eat right now, whether it be salad or gargantuan sandwich, it's going to alleviate this desperately hungry feeling. So choose WELL.
Decided, no matter what, was going to eat something good for my body for lunch.
Headed out the door.
Driving down the road, crazy thoughts of shopping, car-wash, visiting Floyd, eating, all the possibilities...
Decided on Pita Pit. Parked. Went in: 10 people in line. 
Got back in car, going who-knows-where... 
Subway: credit card machine down. Had no cash. 
Back on road, towards McDonald's to turn around. Avoided it. Wendy's? 
Decided to head home, get Wendy's salad, eat with Floyd on my porch.
Hopped on the bridge, exited, got into Wendy's lot: 10 cars waiting. 
Headed to Other Subway. Got in line (5ish cars). Waited, strategized a tasty healthy sandwich.
(12" honey oat, ham, guac, spinach, jalapeno, black olive, cucumber, toasted, no cheese)
Wanted to eat right there in parking lot, listen to podcast. 
Instead, went home (round the block), took my water, phone, sandwich, Bose (to listen), 
and Floyd to the front porch. 
Beautiful sunny day, not too hot, my little buddy to keep company. 
Listened to Iggy Pop on Bose, shared the sandwich with Floyd.
Despite many obstacles, had a stellar lunch today. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Extra Long Attention Span

My friends tell me if I've made it this far, I'm not an alcoholic. Some days are harder than others, however. 

Some days, like Fourth of July have the voices in my head telling me that there's really no point in this exercise. I'm obviously fine, I know how to set limits, and therefore what in the world is the point of denying myself something that helps me to have fun, relax, and celebrate special occasions?

But some days, like on a particularly difficult work day followed by a busy evening of errands and chores, when my brain keeps going through the familiar loop of "stress... beer? stress... beer? stress... old fashioned?" On those days, I'm more sure of why I'm taking a month off from alchohol. 

As I approach my 16th day alcohol-free, I'm starting to understand the point of this exersie: re-discovering other ways to unwind. In the last few years, I've used drinking more and more to reduce stress, and lately it's gotten to be my go-to method, replacing exercise, reading, meditation, and alone time. In addition, though I've taken up playing very entertaining board games, even those are supplemented by the addition of copious amounts of alcohol. (and honestly, getting drunk just might be the reason I lose 90% of the games I play, and that shit has to stop). 

Last night was a Saturday night, and we were fortunate enough to have two seperate groups of friends come to hang out with us. First, the early crowd (starring Baby Elenore), then the late crowd (starring Brandon, who's about to move cross-country). We hung out at our kitchen bar, laughed, talked, chased the baby, played games... it was fun. It was not easy to refrain from drinking an adult beverage. My "fun... beer. fun... rhubarb whiskey drink" tape kept playing over and over in my head. And the "what's the point of this again?" track got old, too. 

But the friends are supportive, which helps. The baby still thinks I'm funny, one friend acts as my trainor, saying "you fuckin' have to do this; you've come this far..." Another friend makes me a delicious virgin (I roll my eyes) rhubarb drink, and everyone pretends not to notice that I'm dogging the leftover birthday cake and chips/dip (yeah, my diet isn't doing the best). 

My game play is impeccable. I stick to my strategy, expertly play banker, and  remind everyone when it's their turn. I still lose the game, but come in a strong second. I personify Mitch Hedburg's joke about accidentally taking a friend's ADHD medicine, thus having an "extra long attention span." I annoy myself with my own attentiveness, and am disgusted as I earn praise for making a play I would've never thought of if I had my brain been dulled. But I had fun, laughed just as much as everyone else, and like I said I almost won. 

So, it's Day 16, and it's true: I have come too far to give up now. I've been through family gatherings, Saturday nights, kid birthday planning, and I have more difficult events ahead. But I will do it. I'll use this time to remember other ways to relax, and I'll leverage this extra long attention span to finally win some games.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

My shirt is less tight!

I know this might not sound like a positive (esp to my dear husband), but my shirt is less tight across the chest today!! The buttons aren't pulling apart! Believe me, this is a good thing (let's assume it's a slight loss in back fat rather than funbags)

And I'm down two pounds from a week ago. Still going strong on the No Alcohol in July policy. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

6th Day Sober

I have been hesitant to use the word "sober." It sounds so official, like admitting there's a problem. The question of whether there's a problem is not a simple one, so I'm not worrying about answering that question right now. Right now, I'm sticking to a commitment I have made to myself: I'm not drinking any alcohol throughout the month of July. I'm just not doing it, and I'll see how it feels. I'll see how it feels dealing with stress, kids, family, friends, work, eating, sleeping, exercising, and hopefully losing weight.

Sofar, a few things I've been doing instead of having a drink:

  1. Let's be honest: watching tv. :) 
  2. Drinking amazing tea that a supportive friend gave to me.
  3. Working out - just one official workout sofar, but that in itself is a change for me.
  4. Sleeping well - for some reason, drinking usually leads to sleepless nights for me.
  5. Taking an epic Lush-inspired bath

I want to elaborate on this bath thing, without getting too personal. First of all, I'm talking a totally self-platonic bath. And I mean that exactly, because I just looked up "platonic" for clarification, and Google says:

So, my bath was intimate and affectionate, but not sexual. I took the bath because I was stressed out (from going to see the blubberingly sad Inside Out, on top of watching a thought-provoking PBS documentary on transgender kids), and slightly depressed about my kids growing older so quickly. Instead of staying in my funk or having a drink, I admitted that I needed some time to myself, and remembered that I had some wicked-awesome Lush bath bombs that had been waiting patiently for me on the top shelf in my bathroom for just such an occasion. 

Granny Takes a Dip is the one I chose, and it was lovely. It wasn't my favorite--it didn't surprise me with rose petals or encouraging messages written on linen paper, but it was PURPLE! I didn't know it would make the water purple, but in retrospect, pink + blue + green... Turns out, the Lush bath bomb experience was exactly what I needed. The smells, the color, the delightful fizz sound, the ultra-softening of the water (thank you, CaCO3). After enjoying all this for awhile, I decided to talk to all my amazing body parts that work so hard for me. I touched my foot, noticed that it was beautiful, and thanked it for carrying me around so expertly for so long. Then I touched the scratches on my calves and thanked them for helping me to have an awesome day outside with my boys this past weekend. And so on. 

All of us who have bodies that have functioned beautifully our whole lives, who have never had to sit in a wheelchair, who's arms and legs all bend exactly as they were meant to, who's nervous systems always send exactly the correct signals so that we can move and breathe exactly as needed... we should be thankful every day for that. We should treat our bodies with respect, not only by giving them what they need to grow and keep doing a kick-ass job for us, but by looking directly at them every once in awhile and just being grateful.

(I know we don't all have bodies that have always done what we expected them to be able to do, but today I'm focusing on this aspect. I have a blog post in mind for what it's like when your body lets you down. I'll try to do that one soon.)

It was a nice bath. And I felt amazing afterwards, both physically and emotionally. And now I'm on my sixth sober day.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A little darkness, a few facts

I'm trying to think of a way to say this and also be loving to myself; after all, I've been working on loving myself lately. I've practiced looking in the mirror and loving what I see. I've been sharing pictures of beautiful, healthy meal choices with my dear sisters. I've been listening to those sisters' advice--we all have great, loving feelings to share with each other. Defending your sister against herself comes naturally for us; yet, when no one's looking, I judge myself with rules fit for no one. I am without mercy when it comes to me.

I need to get out of the dark spaces of my mind and into the places that shine, warm and welcoming.

(I know I've read somebody who wrote something like that. I'm just paraphrasing)

So, the facts (something I'm good at):

  1. My feet hurt - I've written about this before, but for me, when I am wincing with every step, it's always a sign from my body that it can't carry this much. 
  2. I'm not yet ready to show my weight chart, but it clearly shows why my feet hurt. I'm 45 pounds above my (quite modest) goal weight, which is the weight I was when I was at the height of running 5k's regularly.
  3. I've been drinking too much - Pretty much every day, heavily a couple times per week. I use it to cope with stress, and like it does, alcohol later makes me feel physically abused.
  1. For feet: ibuprofen. There's nothing more to be done until I get some of the weight off that is killing my feet. 
  2. For weight: food & exercise. I don't have a choice (see #1). I must eat good food in reasonable amounts, and start with modest cardio and strength training (3x/week for now). 
  3. For drinking: I'm giving it up for the month of July (started 2 days ago). I need to see what it's like, see how I feel differently both in my brain and in my body. 
Thank you for reading this, and please help me in whatever way you feel you can. Like most of us, I have trouble asking--but I need help. If difficult conversations aren't your thing, no problem--ask me about facts: Are you still not drinking? What workouts are you doing? What are you eating? I'm always up for tough conversations though, and I don't mind answering hard questions. I'll do whatever I have to do, because I love my life and I am worth it. 

Thank you.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Good Luck, Last Frog

I did something strange the other day. I "released" or "let go free" my last frog. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't take him grandly to a pond where he might find friends, nor back to the ditch where he was hatched. No, I let him go in my front, urban yard, on a rainy morning. I can't really follow my thought process to logically get to the "let him go--right here" outcome. But here are a few facts, not all of which definitely influenced, but could have influenced my improbable, illogical action:

Fact 1: I was hungover. I had trouble later that morning making other seemingly normal decision, such as whether to turn left at a green light w/no arrow.
Fact 2: Tayan and Zene had been gone for a few days, and I missed them.
Fact 3: It was raining very hard, and our cloudy front lawn looked as cool and inviting and full of tiny bugs as it possibly could.
Fact 4: I had been afraid every morning for awhile that Last Frog (finally named him this just now) would be dead when I checked on him, and I had started to fear that the ants I had been feeding him weren't--enough, I guess.

Whatever the impetus, I took the lid off the cage that I had revered for the last few moths, which I had pored for hours over, watching the tadpoles develop, reading about what they might be and how I might best raise them, watching them react to their artificial, natural-like environ... I took the lid off, caught the little guy, and let him go. I pictured him sinking down the long grass to the soil, which to his perspective looked much like the backyard looked to the shrunken kids in the popular Rick Moranis movie--only, he would feel at home there, finally, and would be able to easily, perhaps adventurously, find small insects that would help him to grow and be successful.

Now as I sit here 2 days later, I realize that the grass has grown quite long from all the rain, and it needs to be cut. And there are no sweet little ponds, or brooks, or even puddles to escape to in my 10'x10' patch of grass that is surrounding by unforgiving concrete.

I'm left wondering why, and coming inexorably back to the inkling that I loved my little frog, yet feared being the one thing that could and would keep him alive. I didn't trust myself to that task, and so like many houseplants, a hamster, and a large handful of hermit crabs have experienced in the past, I let him go to his own devices, such that they may be.

Good luck, Last Frog. I'm sorry I thought of that endearing name for you too late--maybe a cute name would've saved your life from me, caretaker and master of your likely death.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cooper Family Slumber Party

Tonight we had a Cooper Family Sleepover. When we got home from school and work, Bryan and I told the kids our plan, and Tayan wanted to know what the special occasion was. I told him it wasn't anything in particular, just something me and Daddy thought would be fun to do. He barely believed me, thinking that there must be some occasion we weren't admitting to him.

We all got in our pjs, ordered pizza, and watched Into the Woods in the livingoom. We had fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, too. After the movie, we all headed up to the attic for the slumber party.

After a brief freak-out episode of Zene crying because he had already fallen asleep during the movie and was convinced he wouldn't have ANY fun and his FIRST slumber party was RUINED because he was too tired to stay awake and we tried to re-assure him and tell him to get up out of bed and/or drink another orange Fanta and/or eat some Doritos. Eventually he sat up and ate some Doritos and got a second wind.

While Bryan and Tayan played Punch-Out and Gauntlet, me and Zene built an amazing wall-coaster which almost had a loop de loop, but that ended up not working out. It did, however, have an amazing set of steps, some cool turns, and eventually a completely flat track that made the marble come to a complete stop before falling off of the end.

(Floyd was banned from the sleepover for peeing all over the floor near the front door because he was too excited to keep chewing his bone to go out and pee).

After all that excitement it was about 10:30, which is about as late as Zene has ever been up. We layed in bed and watched a funny Youtube video, then Bryan, Tayan, and Zene talked about favorite sleepover memories from the past, and other conversational fare... while I typed this.

It was an epic Cooper Evening, and reminded me how very special it is to have bright, happy, healthy kids. These years are so few, and we spend too few hours like the hours we spent tonight, enjoying each others' company, laughing, and loving life.