Friday, December 30, 2016

It was... A Year of Great Change

I have not drawn for weeks - due to first illness, and then Yule Preparation.
Finally last night I forced myself to sit with my pencil and pen and finish the Graffiti House from Kensington Market in Toronto.
Perhaps tonight I will paint it - the 2 houses are colourful.
Beauty in Dereliction. 


Today I am at work, we were supposed to be off but Husband had a job to do for one of my customers so I am working this morning, and will be off on Monday. It is quiet. I have time to prepare for January jobs. Also I am blogging today - I don't often open my lap-top at home anymore, trying to cut back on screens.

Although we did binge-watch OA on Netflix over the last two days. The ending left me 'meh' but it is leading into season 2 I am sure.

My thoughts are turning to deep winter. I am thinking of meals to prepare for the grand-baby who is expected any time now, officially on the 7th. Lasagna & turkey casserole, muffins to bake, thick pancakes to pop into the toaster. Those early weeks with a newborn, no time to eat or drink.

I remember my early days with Eldest - so busy caring for one baby and I remember birthing Youngest at home, 9 years later - barely a ripple in the family life, I didn't even miss a day of after-school babysitting, thanks to Husband who had been laid off the week before.

A wild time.

Why am I pulled to these old homes, boarded up and left to disrepair? Some buildings just leak energy. I always put a light inside, even if they are boarded up tight.

Resolutions? I will try to stay present. I will keep drawing. I will think before I speak. I will be supportive to those close to me who need support - and also be kind to myself and give myself the space, the quiet, the creative food I need.

I will finally paint my rooms and make my house my own, after living with the space for over a year. It is time to paint.

And I will take Yoga, and find that physical balance.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Post-Yule in Review - Life and death, all good.

We did have a lovely Yule Holiday, and today I am back at work, trying to stay away from the chocolate, although immediately after typing that I consumed a Lindor chocolate.

Husband gave me a little dress for Christmas that I might have worn a decade or two ago with great success, and instead of returning it I will use it as my 15 pound goal for Valentine's Day. We have committed to a walk each day after work to help... 

And I will resist the delicious and glorious Sour Dough with onions and cheese bread I've been buying from Fortinos since I stopped drinking. Gluten does not bother me anymore - go figure - but I need to curb my bread indulgence. 

Once the bread is gone, that will be it. All the weight-loss commercials have started, and I'm about to jump on the band-wagon, without joining a program. 

My first sober Christmas has passed. All the dinners - sans wine. All the visiting, the feasting, the deserts, the cooking, the drinking for no reason - all done. Sans wine, sans Grand Marnier, sans rum and eggnog. A lot of tea was consumed. Now I remember way back in time - how much Tetley tea I drank. I remember tea.

Another death in celebrity-land - and is it wrong of me not to care? Sadness of course for anyone who dies at a relatively young age, but the lives of the rich and famous have never touched me - and I find it strange to emotionally attach to people I don't know. Would they care if I died? No. They are too abstract from my life. Actors, singers, politicians - they are not real to me. Am I weird? I think so.

What touches my life? The immediacy of those close to me I think.

Soon, a birth. That is real to me. Baby is due very soon, and I am so nervous for Eldest and his Lovely Lu. It is much harder to be the one awaiting someone else giving birth than it is to be the one giving birth. I keep having dreams about having or carrying babies. 

And that is that, for today, near the end of the year.
 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Loss and Love at Christmas - Allowing Time to Heal

Many years ago, when I was 33 and a young mother of 3, I had one of those years that can only be described as A Year of Great Loss

In 1995 my father died, then 3 months later my mother died, and then 5 months later on New Year's Day - my eldest sister succumbed to colon cancer - fighting death until she could fight no longer. She filled that hospital room with wild energy - I could see her anger in the air. 

As I put away my Christmas ornaments that year, I wept, and my tears and sadness filled those boxes, to be released every Christmas when opened them again. This year I felt a lightness when those boxes were opened and I believe that my tears have finally faded away.

There is a lightness.

I was Christmas Baking last night, and I decided to listen to some old Christmas music that I had set aside for many, many years. Last night I heard this music and did not feel that familiar cascading, crushing sorrow. I used to weep at my sink, when melancholy hit - blaming the season - but it was the music, always the music.

Last night I baked quietly in my [still] new-to-me kitchen. So thankful. I listened to my old music, that I used to love so much - and I felt peace and happiness. The grief has faded. The sorrow has ebbed away.

Happy.


The Christmas Tree Farm - 2016

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fighting a Cold on a Frisky Friday - PPF too!

I've been drawing a flurry of storefronts. When you look up you see history. A store that sells condoms on the street level, and 19th century above.

Today I am definitely falling victim to a bad cold, so I will post a couple of photos.

One is the Condom Shack in Toronto, which always makes me smile.


The other is a beautiful old row of buildings in the old section of Hamilton across from Gore Park. Rumour is that they are slated to be demolished.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Paint party Friday - Hibernation, and Walking into the Future

I don't get sad in the winter.
If anything, I look forward to the time to look inwards, to do a 
mental or creative check-up of sorts.
The busy growing season of spring and summer 
take over my life.


So we have reached the time for meditation. For inner-work.
For long baths in the evening and warm fires.
Hibernation.


And my finished Cameron Street house - 
I would love to have oodles of money so I could rescue some of these old beauties.

The weekend brings [yet another] visit to Toronto. 
This time with my Eldest Son - soon to be a Father.
What a mental stretch this is for me - I was Mother and he was Son for so long.
Big, beautiful changes coming. 

This weekend will be a time for us to walk away our old ways,
to make way for the new.

Next phase of life.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Don't Poop There

We have a new manager, and he was pissy with me yesterday. He took an already stressful day, which had been piled on from the previous very stressful work-week and made it just that little bit worse. 

Pre-September Lois would have gone home and had a lovely bottle of wine, to drown my sorrows. Post-September Lois went home and binge watched Paranoid on Netflix, and had Husband serve me leftovers and peanut-butter ice-cream.

I don't understand how a person can be so rude, and ignorant to a co-worker. This person has basically shit in his own living-room, and any accommodation that we [office administration] make [above and beyond] our regular tasks - will happen no more.

Why? Because that person reacted in anger and ignorance. Period. And this person will not. This person is reacting with deadly calm, not to be confused with docility. But it didn't have to be like this. 

Makes me sad, when it has to.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thoughts I had while in the tub...

Aging is not terrible. I like how I look. I like my sparkly hair and I am strong, I am fierce. I wear what I like and I break rules.

Sometimes when I see myself on camera - like when my phone does that selfie thing - makes me jump - then I realize that I don't fully look like how I think I do.

Isn't is crazy how our minds are far more gentle than the photo? Even my bathroom mirror is more gentle than an ungraceful photo...

Last week at pottery class someone was wandering around with a camera, and that's fine, I didn't really think anything of it until the other day when on my Instagram - there I was! on the DVSA instagram  feed - glazing my pot - very intent and [sigh] not the vision I imagine I am.

The photo was not horrific. I did not drop my phone and scream. I looked at myself and I thought, ok, that is me. That is now. I am a fierce 54 year old woman.

Actually, I sighed and thought : It could have been worse.

So in the tub I was thinking about how when I was in my teens and 20s how my eyebrows were so thick and heavy - and how I fought to tame them. Plucking and thinning. And now how my brows are light coloured and sometimes don't even show up very well. It is like in your 20s how your body is intense - trying to stand out - look at me - mate with me. Now, all the hair on my body is thinning except the hair on my chin.

I like how I look.

It's better than the alternative.


Paint Party Friday - Another week flies by

Good morning, it was a fast week for sure.

 A photo of a river in Dundas. I was on the bridge walking to class yesterday and took a moment to pause, and breathe.


This lovely little row house, also in Dundas. I am going to fill it tonight.


And the weekend! 
It is nearly here.
Have a creative weekend!






Monday, November 21, 2016

An Announcement from Blogger...

Announcement

Blogger is telling me I have to tell you they use cookies on the blogs.  

So be well informed about the cookies... 

:)


Friday, November 18, 2016

Paint Party Friday - More Houses

This has been a busy week. Pottery yesterday, dealing with my anxiety about glazing. I can find a reason for anxiety about anything. It is the whole chemistry thing, and so many choices... I am aiming for absolute simplicity - there is a new [yellowish] glaze called Wheatfield, which I think I'll use for all my pots remaining.

This week I filled both pictures that I posted last week, plus I drew and filled a sad old house I wrote about on Wednesday.

So this is what I have worked on this week:

The Main St West House - Hamilton
[Great-grandfather Gallagher's House]


The Lake St House - Stoney Creek
Last night I passed by the Stoney Creek house on my way home from pottery class and on the lawn was a massive pile of beautiful cast iron - there was an old tub, sinks, all sorts of victorian heating vents. I stopped. My heart raced. My hand reached out - to grab a heating vent - I love cast iron - and then I breathed. And I walked away. At my 1950s bungalow - there is no room for Victorian Cast Iron. I'm in a modern house now. That cast iron will have to go home with someone else. I will not fathom the thought that the scrap metal man will be picking it up. Will not entertain that thought... 


The Peter St House - Toronto


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

In Queue to be Bulldozed...

On Saturday Randy and I walked a lot around the Art Gallery neighbourhood, going for lunch and the art supply shop where I picked up some more sepia markers. He showed me this house he drew recently, a heritage home that will most likely be made into condominiums in spite of  heritage status.



Here is a photo from Saturday that I took with my phone.


The house was built in 1871.  A man named Nicholas Flood Davin was the first to own it.

Found a terrible tidbit about Davin - which almost made me happy to see the house go, although he only lived there until 1882.

 "Davin produced the Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds, otherwise known as The Davin Report (1879), in which he advised John A. Macdonald’s federal government to institute residential schools for Indigenous youth; a recommendation that decimated Canadian Aboriginal families. 
[from Wikipedia]

Not until 1996, was the last residential school closed.

It isn't the fault of the house. 
For the next 120 years 3 generations of the same family owned it, until it was sold in 2009. It has been a rooming house for decades, and I can only imagine how decimated the interior is.

 

Here is my picture - uncoloured. Tonight I will paint it.

When I look at this house, I can understand why Randy was so drawn to it. 

A proud old Victorian.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Mystical Landscapes

I went with my good friend Randy to the Art Gallery in Toronto to see the exhibition : Mystical Landscapes. I did love it, although it was crowded, being a Saturday afternoon.

I liked the ideas around the different ways of expressing "Mystical" with the obvious religious paintings with Christ and cathedrals - to pagans in the forest [my preference]. There were mountains and sunsets and sunrises. Most were about light.

One small painting stood out for me, it was called The Closed Door. I can't find an image, but tomorrow  I'll search for it online - I have the artist's name at home.

After all the landscapes and skies and churches and forests and Christs and angels - it was a simple painting. A closed door. It reminded me of a garden door - from a long ago walled garden - like the secret garden.

After I find an image - I will ponder it a bit more, and might do a picture of my own mystical landscape. It will probably be a door, because I like doors. Maybe my own door.

I am curious why this picture is in the exhibit. I am a bit dense in the art-theory world. I am [I think] a very plain thinker. I would be a good Quaker.

Thinking of doors today.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Paint Party Friday - Houses

These are the pictures that I have been working on this week. 
I love old buildings, and some just ooze energy. 

Both are works in progress, the top one needs to be enhanced and both have to be coloured.



House 1: is my Great-grandfather's house here in Hamilton Ontario. In 1901 it was a rooming house.  When my mother was a child in the 20's it was still a rooming house. A distant cousin of mine and his sister live there now, in an apartment. When we first moved to the city it was badly run down. My mother would be happy to see it now, with cracked steps repaired. It looks rather proud.


House 2 : The Jones House is at the end of my street, easily the oldest house in the area circa 1836. Up until spring it was a haunted, sad house, with horrible additions and no trespassing signs all over the place. Garbage piled high in the back. 

Then the for sale sign went up, and soon it sold. The local newspaper assured the community that the new owners were aware of the heritage status, and they have worked hard to bring this lovely Georgian back to life.

Next project :

Dundas Row Houses.
Love those doors.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Falling Through Time in a Moment

The weekend was incredible. Two glorious balmy November days in a row. We worked in our garden, putting it to bed for the winter and still have more to do. I feel that we are on top of it now.

Our garden is massive compared to the small inner-city lot we had for 10 years. Storage is a challenge here though, because I used to use the space under our deck to store pots and some plants that need a bit of shelter. At this house our deck is low to the ground and the garage is full. Last winter all my pots were new and we just stored them in the basement.

I need a potting shed. I'm pondering where this small shed could live, and wonder if it could be made from pallets, and still look good.

All my geraniums have been potted and are waiting to come in to winter. Most zinnias are finished, but the ones that are still in flower will have another week until I remove them.

We went for a wonderful hike on Sunday afternoon into the Niagara Escarpment.


Less than 20 minutes from our house, we are in the forest. There are many trails to follow, depending on your mood and the time of year. The leaves had covered the ground but they were not slippery so we decided to walk to the lower Punchbowl.


The day was perfect. Our friends were with us, and I did notice Heather struggling with the trail at times, with her balance, with the descents. I was wearing sturdy boots, and think from now on I'll warn people that the trail can be challenging. 


And at the end, the Devil's Punchbowl - water falling through time. The rock layers showing the passage of a millennium.   

I love it afresh each time we visit.

Heather is a 'red flag' friend, having been my wine-drinking buddy for over 10 years... She and her partner have just received a prescription for medical marijuana, and can now go to the marijuana shop and get it whenever they want. She said they got a sample pack of three different types to try.

I'm just happy to be clean and sober - totally sober - and living the days unfiltered. Sleep is still crappy, and anxiety sometimes hits, but living life without a buffer is pretty cool. 

Just being cautious with those trigger-friends for now.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Paint Party Friday

My first Paint Party Friday.
Below is page from my sketch book, 
she is a Hibernating Woman.
Sakura Micron .005 marker with [cheap] watercolour fill.

Hibernation 2


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Art of Relaxation [a course I need to take...]

Halloween was clear and crisp - we had around 50 children which was a nice number. More than last year I think, in spite of our road construction.

In years past, we would shell out on the front porch, me with my witch hat on head and wine glass in hand. I honestly missed wine last night, but in a pondering way, not an anxious way.

Eldest [at 29] is reminding me more of the 18 year old he once was - and how he was hardest on me when life became overwhelming for him. We work together and although he is my son, I have firm expectations of co-worker etiquette and he pissed me off yesterday. That was another factor in my missing wine last night. I used to use wine as a sedative when dealing with work stress. I'd chill with a glass of wine and mellow out. Last night - I sat and I had to force myself to chill. This is all wrapped up in my inability to relax - and that leads to my impatience - and that leads to me forcing the clay on the wheel, resulting in wonky pots.

I know I need to learn how to relax naturally. I think my first journal entry back in September was how suddenly I couldn't sit outside with Husband like I used to - how I was agitated with simply sitting. That is where sketching has become a saving task to keep my fingers busy.

Last night Husband was called out to work - which was unfortunate since he loves shelling out - but Middle Son and I took turns and watched The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas with a lovely fire in the fireplace.

It's all about creating new traditions.

This morning I talked to Eldest, and I think he's ok. His life is in transition. In eight weeks he will be a Dad. His life will blow up and all the pieces will come floating down in brand new order. You can't tell people how a baby will change your life. You are only a witness.

And today Youngest turned 20.

Changes - changes. Love you David Bowie.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fabulous Friday with Yummy Leftovers & Cookies

Yesterday was my day off. I usually go to my Pottery Class but my teacher was ill so class was cancelled. The weather was dark and gloomy and wet, which I love, so I stayed in and baked cookies and made soup...

I also tried a new recipe from the Clean Eating magazine : Braised Chickpeas. It was quite yummy, and I brought some for my lunch today. I made some changes, as always. It called for fennel, which I have never used before.  Recipe is below...

Tomorrow we have our community garden clean-up from 9 to 12 noon. The garden needs to be put to bed for the winter. I made the oatmeal cookies for the volunteers, but doubled the recipe for those of us at home.

The best part about a Lois-Day on a cold October day, is the oven heats up half the house and I had the fireplace going from 2pm on, and by the time Husband came home the temperature was up to 21c.

Enjoying life - clean and clear.


Braised Spiced Chickpeas with Swiss Chard & Sweet Potatoes


Serves 6
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 tbsp 
extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 
yellow onions, 
finely chopped - used 4 small
  • 2 
small fennel bulbs, cored and finely chopped - 1 bulb roughly chopped
  • ¼ tsp 
kosher salt or sea salt 
+ additional to taste
  • 7 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp 
each ground cumin 
and coriander - alas, no coriander, used some dried cilantro
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 lb 
sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes - used one sweet potato
  • 2 15-oz 
BPA-free cans unsalted chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained (TRY: Eden Organic Garbanzo Beans) - used one can, because I bought organic $2 / can!
  • 2 oz 
each dried unsweetened apricots, plums and 
figs (NOTE: Roughly 
chop apricots and 
plums; remove tough stems of figs and chop 
into quarters.) - I couldn't find organic apricots, so used regular, chopped. Also I used organic dried cranberries instead of the other dried fruit.
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth - used fresh homemade
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 lb 
rainbow chard (leaves and stems), roughly chopped - fresh from my garden!
  • Ground black pepper, 
to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, 
for garnish - sadly, I was tired at this point and didn't want to wash it.
http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/braised-spiced-chickpeas-with-swiss-chard/




Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Woodsmoke and Warm Socks

The weather has turned, and socks and sweaters have been found in the storage under my bed and tucked into drawers. Jackets and scarves are at hand, and hiking boots tied on my summer feet - now held captive.

It is a glorious season.

On the weekend we picked up a load of firewood and have had a cosy fire each evening since. When we bought our house last year, Husband made mention of converting our wood-burning fireplace into gas, and I quickly flattened that idea...

There is something about a fireplace that burns wood. It is primitive. It is beautiful.

We have our community garden cleanup this Sat [or Sunday] and then the garden will be put to bed for the winter months. We are taking back our old plot for the 2017 season, even though we really don't need a plot. It will give us a reason to go, and I will grow sauce tomatoes and onions and beets.

I need to bake some hearty cookies on Friday night for our garden cleanup... Tempt people with home-baked goods. Cookies work.

Tomorrow is pottery and I am not taking the extra studio time. I might simply do some hand building tomorrow, I might use the extruder and make some tiles... I might just sit at that wheel again. Depends on how tomorrow plays out.

Agitated men here at work today, soothing music helps.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pottery Conundrum

My pottery class has been wiping me out. Hand building I find relaxing, and I love working inwards, zoning out with the clay... But when I work on the wheel - it's work. It physically exhausts me and I go home, incapable of doing anything in the evening. Two weeks in a row I have pretty much collapsed on the sofa, covered in dried muck - too pooped to cook.

I urgently desire to be skilled at the wheel. I want to make a beautiful set of mugs. My ego is fucking me up, and I have to let it go.

The reason I am taking pottery is to enrich myself. I am there to chill with the clay.  Is it supposed to be a warm, fuzzy, safe place for me to create in...  Or, am I there to be challenged? Should I force myself to get stronger, be better?

My tired self wants to sit in a corner and play with clay. My ambitious self wants to learn.

It's a conundrum.

What I have made so far, is beautiful. Even my ugly attempts at the wheel I make beautiful. I will use what I am making as well. My teacher said to use what I make, to make those pieces a part of my every day life, to learn them and to see how they work for me.

I think I'm meant to keep trying.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Restless Energy [can be] Creative Energy

Boundless, restless energy is kind of cool. Husband was working late yesterday so I stopped at my favourite thrift store on the way home and found some transitional clothes to wear as my body shrinks, and once the overly warm weather leaves I will switch out my summer for winter wardrobe.

It's a good 20 minute walk from there to home, and once there I changed and grabbed Middle Son and we walked to the nearby grocery store for barbecue food - 20 more minutes walking!

While the potatoes and chicken were cooking I worked on one of my nearly-dry pots I brought home from pottery class last week. It was one of my pottery-wheel fails that I made into a spouted vessel. I knew that if I had time I could whittle away at the ugliness and make it into a thing of interest/beauty. I am so calm when playing with clay. I love touching clay, and it grounds me. I'll do a little more on it tonight - adding some decoration.

Working on the wheel still stresses me out - but if I go into class utterly calm I am somewhat successful. If I am not calm, the wheel and I work against each other. My instructor leaves me alone now, and keeps an eye out - but it's all about me forcing the clay, me being impatient, me not breathing. Stuff I have to work out on my own.

I like using my restless energy creatively [but not at Pottery Class]. Later, after Husband came home and we watched a little television I did some sketching and that left me with so much satisfaction - it was an all-round good night.

That leaves me thinking about what I could have accomplished all these years if I hadn't wasted so much time sipping wine and chilling.

Onward.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Restless and Sober

It's annoying when your partner still imbibes once you have stopped. Husband has cut out beer - during the week - but this past Friday, Saturday & Sunday, he did drink beer. Maybe not as much as he would have in the past - although I think he did, and maybe even more than usual?

What I've noticed is we aren't on the same page when relaxing. Mostly because I can't really relax, at least not like I did before.

Summer Weekend Lois Before : Husband and I would get our errands out of the way early in the day, including a stop at the LCBO for beer & wine. Anytime after 12 noon was time for a drink, and I would sit on my garden swing with a glass of wine, and he would sit beside me and we'd gaze at our house [still new to us] and talk about how much we loved our new house. In the evening, we'd barbecue [quite late] and chill on our chairs and stare at the sky, with candles on and sit and sip until it was late and time for bed.

It was lovely.

Autumn Weekend Lois Now : There is so much to do on the weekends, and I don't have time to simply sit. When I do sit, I have my journal and or sketchbook at my side, my attention is there. I carry around a thermos of tepid herbal tea, and rarely sit for more than 2 minutes before I hop up and go do something. I annoy myself. Sitting still is very difficult, but with someone who is completely mellowed out on 4 beer, and wants to have lovely vague meandering conversations - that's annoying too.

We are walking different paths right now, and I suspect he misses his drinking partner on the weekends. Last night he was all geared up to sit outside until bed, but I needed to zone out with TV for an hour - or two. The television is a good distraction these days.

When he starts to sweat out the beer in the night - now that's also annoying.

I wonder what I used to smell like?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pondering Bits at the End of the Week

I've been reading sobriety blogs. It's good to keep me aware, to keep me alert. Day 39 today, and looking forward to Day 40. A hurdle to pass.

Yesterday I had a meeting at a bank to change some signing info for our community garden. One co-signer did not show, which was annoying. It caused my Lois-Day to get backed up - and by the time I made it way across the city to my pottery course my energy levels were already lagging. This resulted in cylinders that were more like bowls.

Next Thursday my gift to myself is not booking anything on my day off, aside from Pottery. No coffee with friends, no appointments, no tasks at all.

I was covered in clay, and exhausted when I got home. So exhausted, I took a bath and after dinner, just chilled until 8:30 when I went to bed. My system is such a baby now, it needs good food and walks, it needs so much rest. I am high maintenance.

And, I want to add something else to my schedule, but I'm not sure if that is a good idea. I need to strengthen my core - really badly. When I walk slowly, like at the art gallery or with husband, my lower back kills me. It really hurts. I know it's my weak core muscles, and I need Yoga. I need meditation too - but Yoga is step one. There is a class in my old neighbourhood, which is a 15 minute bus ride away, but I really should find one here, that I can walk to.

My weight has finally started to drop. It did initially, but once constipation set in at around week 3, it all came back on again. I am feeling less swollen around my middle.

Husband was beer-free on Tues, Wed & Thurs - his own goal. We are saving oodles of money, which I promptly spend on lovely hair cuts and purses. As of today, day 39, I have saved over $400 and with husband cutting back as well, that could easily be $600. All good.

If I go forward with Yoga, I'll have to buy a top to wear... and a mat. Daughter took my yoga mat.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rolling with Recovery

Thankful for a Sans Wine long weekend.

I am happy to note that my energy levels are up - and sleep is better as well. It did take a full 30 days for my sleep to improve, and might still get better. I used to take a 1/2 a Gravol most nights to help me sleep. Wine enabled me to get to sleep, but I would wake up around 2 and slip into anxiety about just about everything, and not get back to sleep until shortly before I needed to get up for work.

Last week I stopped taking the Gravol and have been getting to sleep quite well, and staying has improved as well. I wake up so rested. Really, really rested. And alert.

Aside from sleep, my energy has improved and euphoria has returned. Constipation appears to have left as well, and now I am waiting eagerly for all my extra pounds to drop off me in a whoosh. I really, really want to make my outside match how my inside feels.

Yesterday was a holiday and I spent it on my feet cooking all day long. This weeks lunches at work: Gluten Free muffins with broccoli and cheddar and a pot of curried squash soup. For our Harvest Thanksgiving made [with so-so success] roasted root vegetables and 2 French Canadian [with a Scottish Twist] Tortierre Meat Pies. Daughter came with her sweetie.

Daughter came and we had very little alcohol in the house. Husband had a few beers and one cider for Daughter. No flowing wine and beer for this visit and I sent her home with half a bottle of gin that she bought me during the summer.

I really do think that my ability to stop drinking stems from the intensive writing I have been doing. In 1998 I followed The Artist's Way, and it helped me unblock artistically, but also helped me prioritize my time and I saw how much time I wasted smoking. I stopped that February and have never smoked since.

This time I have not been following The Artist's Way, but have been journaling to keep my sanity in a stressful June, and forced myself to write until it became easier. And as the summer rolled on, I started to draw - and then my goal to stop drinking was the next step. And apparently the Gravol too.

Living Clean is Cool.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Euphoria Again

Yesterday my energy level soared, and it flowed into a feeling of euphoria today - I find myself thinking things like : I love my life. Crazy talk. My house is a horrific mess. My day-job is dull. There is no wine at the end of the day. But I am loving my life. I am loving sobriety.

Tonight I am getting my hair cut. I'm going quite short - shorter than I've been for a long time. I'm calling it my menopause hair because my thick hair is hot.

New life - new hair - new habits. Weight loss too - I was promised after day 30 that my body would be settling down, and now I'm ready for the pounds to magically drop.

We'll work on that one.

Day 32 - and all is good. Making plans. Going to take this all the way to Christmas.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fantastic Day 30 and Craving Change

So I made it to day 30, and feel pretty fantastic, at least at the first of the day until crushing fatigue sets in around 3pm. Every day I plan on going for a walk after dinner with our without husband, and every day after work I moan at the thought of making dinner and plant myself on the sofa, watching Netflix until 10pm, when I [hope] I can sleep.

Sleep is getting easier, last night I did not take 1/2 a Gravol but I did dream of zombies. My weight went down a few pounds, then up again, although my belly looks and feels smaller.

Hot flushes have set in, I'm pretty sure it is menopause, really haven't had any since last autumn. Could be another alcohol withdrawal symptom? Late onset, if so. Probably menopause.

Tomorrow is my day off - and I'm writing today instead of tomorrow because my Lois-Day is a little stuffed. Coffee in the morning with my friend Heather - and then Pottery.

The week has been good, I feel strong and well. My hardest time of day is when we first get home from work, when I used to reach for that bottle of red wine. Now it is either Italian Soda or really spicy Ginger Beer. Then I switch to Tiger Tea for the evening. I think that Husband is still a little lost without his beer loving partner. He has been bringing home lovely pumpkin craft beers and I will take a sniff, and say how lovely. But the beer really stinks.

I've noticed that a lot of things smell. My nose apparently is on overdrive.

I am getting a hair cut Friday. I crave change and am going quite a bit shorter. Loving the changes in my life, still treading carefully.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lovely Dreary Drizzle

Energy levels still a little low, but inside I feel wonderful. I am visualizing my insides healing from the years of red wine - the stains on my guts fading. I am anxious to shrink, though, and return to the size and shape I see myself in my head.

I need to move my body more, which will happen as my energy level increases, recharges. Mornings are wonderful, because I don't suffer the fogginess of an evening bottle of wine. I don't feel the brain-thickness. My mind pops on, like a light.

Sleep is improving, although last night was restless. It was humid, I was hot then cold. Menopause has switched back on with more hot flushes, at least I think it is menopause, could be late onset alcohol withdrawal, since the exhaustion came on late as well. I suspect menopause, which isn't that bad.

Today is a lovely dreary day, some rain expected and the wind is blowing through the trees. My favourite kind of early Autumn day.

Today is my day off. Already 2 calls from the office, but things will settle now. Passport photo apt at 10am, a pile of books to return to the library and Pottery at 1pm. The day will be finished with a Community Garden meeting at 5:30, then - a quiet evening with crock pot soup, which I will assemble now...

Lois Day is always a good day.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Feelings of Selfishness

I am allowing selfishness. I am allowing myself to keep triggers at a distance.

Friend Heather called today, she has been very quiet all summer. She and her partner are not presently working, they have not worked since they came back from Costa Rica a year ago. They spent the majority of the summer at her partner's family cottage in Muskoka. The fact that they could set aside anxiety about no income for a year, and spend the summer up north drives me insane. My problem. I am owning it. Why should I care?

It annoys me because my parents drilled into me that any job is better than no job. Thank you post-Depression Era survivors, for giving me my work ethic. No work makes me crazy anyway, when I've been unemployed, I underachieve.

So Geoff is off to a conference in New Orleans [finally networking], and Heather is alone for a week - so she called me to see what I'm up to.

I'm working. Go figure.

I work a 4 day work week, and arranged to have Thursdays off to take an afternoon Pottery class. And I really don't want to make morning plans because my day off is supposed to be my day off. A day I don't have to share, but did feel guilty and made a coffee date with her for October 6.

I could tell in her voice, that she wanted me to offer myself up to her - like I did last year, when she came back from Costa Rica. When her life fell apart. I could tell, when she said " I am free for a week! " that she wanted me to drop everything - and make plans to see her.

But I can't. Not drinking has made me feel incredibly good, but I feel really tired. Brutally weary. My energy level starts to lag around 2pm and this weekend - I made no plans. If husband and I manage to take a few  walks, and make soup that will be wonderful. I don't even want to see my grown up children.

I am fresh out of support.

Pulling inwards, self-healing and all that.

Heather was also my big drinking trigger last summer - when she was shattered, and I said to Husband - bring home wine! And I fell off the wagon. Completely. Not this year.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Changing Clubs

Why did I start drinking again those other times? If it feels so good to be finished with the wine, then why would I start again? Three years ago I stopped for three months. From May to August. I felt incredible. I lost weight. I was free. What triggered me to start again?

Last year same thing. Stopped in May. Lasted around a month, until my friend and I were sitting on my deck, she was having a rough time with life, and I asked Husband to bring home some wine - because somehow the wine was going to help. Didn't help me.

I must be 100% on my guard for triggers. Friends. Stress. Boredom. That feeling you get when you are overtired, when you feel as though the world is out to get you and why can't I have that glass of wine? I have to always remember the reasons I stopped. Freedom. Money. Clarity. Happiness. Health. Today is day 16 and I have saved a minimum of $160. If I include Husband who has cut back 60% - I think it's at least a family savings of $225 in 16 days. That's a lot of cash.

Imagine a year without Wine. $3,650.00 - just from me. I think I can do it.

Changing from the Wine Club to the Sober Club. I used to hate it when I found one of those members. They make you feel uncomfortable about having a glass of wine, because you yourself know you will want more than one glass.

That's me. The boring one holding the glass of water.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Breaking Familial Patterns and Living Clean

If my parents were still alive, they would be coming up on their 76th wedding anniversary... brutal to add up those years. It's sad that they both died in 1995, my father at age 75 in April and my mother age 76 the following July.

When Eldest was a baby we lived in my parents basement - for a year - it was a lovely separate apartment, and most of our year there was great, but my mother would sometimes have a drinking bender and then things could be pretty horrific.

When Eldest was 3 months old, my parents had returned from the cottage one Sunday night, and my mother came down the stairs to see the baby. She was drunk, and I didn't want her to hold him. I asked her to leave, and go back upstairs. She was very upset, but did go.

She had a mild stroke that night. My father called me to come up and help her, because she could not take out her contacts... And us being stupid, and my father being rather in denial, did not take her to emergency until the next day.

Her stroke was mild and she did recover, but dementia was triggered, with a slippery-slope of deterioration. Mom would have been 68 then.

Fast forward to now.

Next January, Eldest Son and his Lovely Lu are having their first baby. My first grandchild. I will not be a Drunken Mimi. I will not be that grandparent that cannot babysit because of inebriation.

There are so many reasons to live clean.

Living, really.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Poisoning

This is my new sobriety blog. Blogging has been a big part of my life, probably since around the year 2000.

Wine has been a big part of my life from around the same time, intensely, and before then, tucked around my 4 pregnancies, and solidly planted in my teens.

My family is a drinking family. We have a full spectrum of functioning and non-functioning drinkers. The angry, the weepy, the silly the quiet, the pensive. I have come to learn that I am a high-functioning alcoholic. Never drunk, never offensive, seldom forgetful, just El with a wine glass in hand.

For the last few years I have dabbled with stopping. First, in 2013. Unemployed and broke, I simply had to stop. Husband did as well, and we stayed clean for nearly three months, until I found work and new co-workers - who liked to drink wine.

Again, I stopped in 2015 - and was clean for six weeks or so - until we met new friends who offered wine, and rather than saying no, I had a glass, then another.

I planned this time stopping on the Tuesday after Labour Day, the weekend that finishes summer to a point and the weekend after we visited relatives a few hours away, relatives who heavily drink. I planned for weeks my stopping date - September 6th.

And so I am on day 11. Happy Day 11. Happy that days 1 - 10 are behind me, and still full of resolution. I am extremely happy to be here on Day 11.

Aside from insomnia, and some irritability I have not had too many side effects. I remember my mother after a bender - 'sick' in bed. For days. The first time I quit I was very anxious. Deep anxiety. I didn't know what to drink and found myself wondering what did people drink in the evenings, if they didn't drink wine?

I finally chose herbal tea steeped with some honey, and chilled. I'd sip it out of a wine glass. This time around I am drinking herbal tea in a mug. My favourite Bengal Spice Tiger Tea.

The poisoning? That was on day 9. For my birthday, Husband and I went out for dinner to a Thai restaurant. He had a Thai beer, I had a 'special' iced tea. Completely non-alcoholic, but dressed up with some colouring and stuff. It tasted funky. I sipped some more. I set is aside.

Food poisoning. Poisoned by iced tea. I know it was the iced tea because we shared a meal, and he is fine.

So day 11 - I am fast-tracking weight loss - and still celebrating not drinking.