a good day

Here’s how I know today is a good day:

  • enough sleep (woke before the alarm)
  • weather is sunny and warm
  • i literally forced myself to go for a run, like bending your fingernails backwards FORCED — and thankfully felt great afterwards
  • had a shower in the dark (i really love this!)
  • one perfect steaming cup of coffee. OK, let’s get this recorded. I am addicted to caffeine.  That day without tea/coffee was shitty-ola.  This day, by comparison, with coffee: it’s like the light is a bit brighter, the air a bit sweeter, the room a bit cozier. It’s like the imaginary hit from booze that never really happens. Yes, that buzz really is in coffee! One cup of coffee per day. Makes all the difference.
  • the discovery that it’s probably tonic water irritating my heart thing, since the timing is nearly perfect with increased tonic water consumption and rise in symptoms. and it’s much easier to give up tonic water than coffee/tea! Amen!
  • four new requests from clients for my passion job #3 thingy, and then we’re away for another long weekend.
  • i love vacations. I need more of them. I say this all the time. One long weekend a month! October’s is coming in 4 days!

And i went to the get supplies this morning, and went to a store far away that i’ve been putting off for (i don’t know) 5 weeks.  then, just like that, it’s done and i can cross it off my list.  All is well in this part of my world.

And I do adore the fact that — after my near-miss drinking feelings on Saturday — once i got through it and went to bed, it’s like it never happened and the days after are ‘normal’.   Once i’ve kicked the wolf in the face, and once i go to bed, the next day it’s like it never happened and i’m back in my sober car again just tooling along, busy, happy, productive. And now that i have my tea back, all is well.  What a stupid idea giving up caffeine.  What was i thinking…

i may kill someone. i’m just saying.

better day. i slept 12 hours last night. perhaps that is overdoing it slightly. it is nice and sunny today, thankfully. haven’t felt much like running this week so i’ve taken a break, which is unheard of for me.

i’m having heart palpitations (they’re called PATs, not serious, not even very interesting from a cardiology point of view), and they’re tiring and irritating. waking me at night. starting at about 4:30 pm everyday and continuing off and on through the evening and into the night. i wake up in the morning feeling fine. then it starts up again.  today i’m doing a day without any coffee or tea of any kind, no decaf, no green tea, nothing. to see if symptoms are any better. and frankly i’ve got a gigantic headache. no caffeine! i usually have one cup of coffee at breakfast, and then drink tea ALL DAY LONG, literally one cup after the other — herbal, smoky, green, mint, don’t care what kind.

quitting tea is unlike quitting drinking. i hate the sound of the kettle boiling. husband is trying to make his cups discretely when i’m out of range. he’s just gone out now to buy me more tonic water before i turn inside out with irritation. i’m a bit tired and headachy and eating chocolate hasn’t helped. i may be in bed tonight at 8:30 pm again if this keeps up.

oh there’s the heart thing now, starting up, 5:30 pm.  so a bit later today than usual. grr.  the last time i had a prolonged spell of this, it lasted 6 weeks…  this time it’s probably been 3 weeks already. i will stay off the tea for a week to see if it helps at all, and i may kill someone between now and then.  i’m just saying.

alcohol is a common aggravant of this condition, at least i can cross that off the list …

i’m going to bed

it’s 8:40 pm and i’m heading to bed. it’s the only way i can be sure that i won’t consume wine, so bed it is. i’ve asked my husband 3 or 4 times if we can have wine, and he’s made a joke each time. he made me tea, then tonic and cranberry juice. he made supper. he wrapped me in a blanket. he says shitty-chipper things like “i like it that we’re not drinking now.” Then i’m just silently mad at him that i can’t have wine, cuz now it’s his fault. by asking him for permission, and him saying no, i’ve made it so i can be irritated with him. instead of just announcing that i’m having wine, which he probably wouldn’t counter. what a co-dependent GIRL i am. i’m sure boys don’t do shit like this.

well, this girl is dragging her sorry ass to bed. i had a perfectly lovely busy day, yes i’m tired but not overly so. yes i was hungry but then i ate. it was a nice sunny day.  light reflecting off rooftops. and everywhere i looked, every single fucking person on the planet had a drink in their hand (this was at about 5 pm). there was booze in the grocery store, in the store windows, it was just fucking everywhere.  everyone else is having wine and having a nice lovely time. and i’m not.

and now that i’m 91 days i deserve a prize! A big Wine Prize! (I did order a 90-day present, it’s an electric griddle/frying pan thing.  hardly exciting (to you maybe) but i can’t wait for it to come so i can make homemade English Muffins cuz the ones in foreign-land SUCK rocks…

Did i say bed? i’m going to bed. tomorrow will be fine. thank god i can always go to bed.

to get away from myself.

90 days sober and an eargasm

90 days today. i’ve been planning a reward but haven’t come up with anything suitable yet.

I have a long — “time to make the donuts” — kind of day ahead of me today.

As I celebrate 90 days, i’ll share a few random things:

  • my favorite meal to have at home is roast chicken with carrots, dressing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce (homemade if possible, depends where you live, can’t get fresh cranberries here). my favorite meal to have out is breakfast. yes, it’s eggs and toast, but in a restaurant it tastes so much better.
  • my favorite dessert is Pie. I know i write a lot about cake, but a really good apple pie can change my day. or homemade cherry pie (none of that canned stuff). or lemon meringue. or coconut cream.
  • ok, something not food related: i had younger sisters growing up, but LOVED playing with my teddy bear. i used to think if i was quiet enough, that i could hear it speaking to me. one year i made my teddy bear a christmas tree out of the branches cut off the bottom of our big tree. i still have that bear, worn and bald, stored in my in-laws’ basement.
  • i can sign in tune and have perfect pitch. i can sing an A, for some reason that sound just lives in my head and i can pull it out at will. i used to tune the instruments in my junior high school band. if i’m watching a street performer and his guitar is wildly out of tune, i scrunch up my face a little.
  • that said, music is the one thing that can consistently and repeatedly give me goosebumps.  listen to this if you dare: http://gawker.com/eargasm/

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ5ZclZTeTU]

  • when i go swimming, i feel like i’m on vacation. even if it’s snowing outside and i had to take the bus to get to the pool. something about swimming is magically relaxing to me. it takes me somewhere else. sort of like a long run, but with less angst …
  • i wrote this in my journal once: If i could paint like Mark Lague, my life would be complete:

Now I live in Europe, i’m super happily married, i have a couple of great jobs,  and I’m a wine-free zone. I don’t need much else : ) Think i’ll celebrate 90 days with a nice thick English-language newspaper imported from somewhere (Guardian UK? NYT?), and then on Sunday, when i’m finally done my work week, i’m going to spend an entire afternoon just reading it …

Hugs, me

i don’t believe in colds

this is as brave as i am.

while i haven’t changed the theme for this blog, I am brave enough to change the fonts.  I really hate small fonts (i’m old! i can’t see!) and much prefer serif fonts. OK, i’m not as brave as BBB but advancing, slowly.  i’m not as patient as RoS (Christy), but i’m learning by example.

As i sit here in my desk chair, cup of coffee consumed, cereal eaten (not the best of breakfasts, but i did have a half an apple alongside) … I am facing a long work day. All three of my jobs are going to require something from me today. i didn’t sleep quite enough (husband awake with a cold, he can sleep again quickly whereas i cannot).

I don’t believe in colds, so i won’t be participating in his event.

my big new contract for my passion/job #3 thingy, i delivered the first part of the work yesterday and went by the space in the afternoon. Upon arriving, i found out that they DID hire someone else in addition to me, so there we both were, side by side, looking at each other … and i’m thinking: “oh, this isn’t an exclusive gig for ME?”

At first i was disappointed, then relieved. This means I won’t have to do all the work myself. this job will not overtake my life. i can share the load with someone else.

And when i came home there were two more requests for work from other smaller clients.  As predicted, once I announced to the rest of my clients that i’d scored this big new gig, they’re all excited now to work with me even more. So even if the big gig eventually phases me out, the side-effects are already being felt among my existing clients.

well, what am i trying to say here? (as Paul would say, i’m “rabbiting” on …)

i’m trying to say that my perceived value has increased simply by announcing the big new job … and i can continue to reap these benefits EVEN if they don’t keep me, even if they eventually phase me out, even if i share the work with someone else, even if i eventually back away from the workload … my other clients are like “oh, do you have room for me this week? can i see you? yes of course 7 pm on Friday is convenient for me”).

So, you see, it’s all good.  Even if they eventually don’t need me anymore.  It’s all good.  This is my (frustrating to some) attitude of the glass is half-full in grand display.

and today, even though i’m a bit tired, and maybe a bit sniffly, and today even though the weather has dramatically changed this week, and it’s dark and stormy… today i will work away on cleaning and puttering and preparing for my appointments.  i will listen to fascinating podcasts, and i will be patient, and in-advance. i will answer outstanding emails and clear off my voice mail.  Today i will run and shower and dry my hair (!).  Today, on not quite enough sleep, i will work hard to have a very good day. Starting with another cup of coffee in my favorite mug.  It’s all good.

people just want oreos

Who would you be if you were already ‘enough’? what would you do if money and talent were not an obstacle?

The big contract for my third job/passion thingy has begun. i worked hard yesterday to be ready and just delivered the first installment this morning. I will go by the space later this afternoon to see how it’s looking, and to be onsite for questions, instruction, and brainstorming. Yes, i did work a long day yesterday, but i also ran, read, and ate relatively healthy food including homemade vegetable soup. in fact, on my tuesday weigh-in, i am down 2.2 lbs from July 1st, so that’s not too shabby. It means that the reliance on cake is waning somewhat. I was also in bed last night by 9:30 pm, asleep by 10 pm. My life is much improved by getting enough sleep. this might be the key to all of life’s problems… at least for me, at least for today.

if i was already enough, i’d (honestly) stop (entirely) one of my three jobs … job #2.  My work there is fragmented, clients never hear from me unless i’m trying to sell them something, and i don’t know what i’m delivering half the time, it’s not a good match of my skills + their needs. it’s like i have to keep convincing them that they need me. instead of finding people who ‘do’ need my services, and selling to them instead.

this is a light bulb moment.

forgive me if i stop here. for a moment.

god, this is why i continue to blog. so that i can explain things TO MYSELF. (It’s great if someone else is aided by my ramblings, but please forgive the gigantic belly-button-gazing-self-centered nature of today’s post.)

here it is:  stop trying to convince the world that they need bandaids for their worms (they don’t, and you’ll spend such a long time trying to convince them that they DO). stop trying to convince the world that they need a new pink handbag (they don’t, and stop buying so much fucking stuff anyway).  stop trying to convince the world that they should pay you to help them get up off the couch (whey they’re ready to get off the couch, they’ll find YOU). stop trying to convince people to buy this broccoli instead of that broccoli (because really, they just want oreos; find a way to sell healthy homemade-with-love oreos and just be done with it).

i would never have figured this out if i wasn’t sober. when drinking, i was on a treadmill of job 1, job 2. i was just getting through the day. now there’s actually time and energy to THINK about things.

now that i’ve mixed metaphors so much that you can’t follow me at all, let me say this:

Dear Belle.  As of today, stop wasting energy trying to sell things to people who don’t want them. Stop trying to convince anyone of anything. If they want oreos instead of carrots, then sell them oreos. And if you find oreos personally repelling, then just look away and do something else.

Business advice often heard:  “Where should you set up a hotdog stand? In front of a bunch of hungry hotdog eaters.” i never really understood this it until today. until right now, this minute. i’ve just delivered a big job to my job #3/passion/thingy and i realize that it’s the easiest work i’ve ever done. there’s a huge market for it and i can barely keep up. {DUH! WAKE UP CHICKY BABY}

Note to self. Try again. Dear Belle. You’re getting distracted. Listen here:

Sell to people who WANT to buy your stuff.  Stop trying to convince anyone of anything.

(the parallels with *real* life, of course, are evident. stop trying to convince people that they need to change, just be you.  be you as much as you can. do your thing with love and care. oh my god i know understand the fucking 1970s touchy-feely-hippie book title: do what you love and the money will follow … oh. my. god.)

Goal #4 is better than 95%…

funny. re-reading notes from january made while reading a self-help book. i made a list of personal development goals:

  1. Thin and lean, strong, bathing suit body
  2. Long hair, well groomed, nails, eyebrows
  3. Ridiculously well read, 52+ books/year
  4. Alcohol free (to 95%),with toasts and treats but no regular consumption
  5. Even mood, good sleep
  6. Clean, tidy, organized, prepared in advance
  7. Run more consistently
  8. Be more patient, willing to go slowly and do the work as well as dream outrageously

I’m always fascinated when i reread my journals. What strikes me about this list is that now that we’re nearing the last 3 months of the year, i can say that other than reading a ton, i do have the rest of it pretty much under control. Oh, well i don’t have #1. But goal #4 is better than 95%. Goal 6 is happening. Number 7 is true. and number 8 is definitely improved.

What i didn’t realize in writing this list back in january, was that the keystone habit that i needed to incorporate — the one thing that i could change that would make everything else easier — was being 100% sober. Had no idea how much easier it would be to achieve everything else i wanted in my life. Also had no idea quite how hard it is would be to quit. Could never, ever have done it alone. Blogging and this community is what made it possible for me.

While I do still toy with the idea of 95% sobriety, with treats and toasts, for the most part i’m too freaked out to lose the other things i’ve gained, and so for now, since i have something that’s working, i don’t want to fuck with it.

It’d be like if you gave up wheat and refined sugar (my next goal?), and you lost 20 pounds (is that me?), and then someone says “don’t you miss cake?” and you say “sure i miss cake, but i like this better.” I feel that way about wine now. maybe i’ll feel like that about cake some day. maybe after 30 days of anything that is life-improving, you’re more likely to say “i like this much better than that old thing.”

The hard part is starting and getting some momentum in your little car.

and now that i’m nearly at 90 days, i’m certainly not the slightest bit interested in starting to count days again from day #1.  and fuck yeah, sure, i’d love some wine. and yes, I’d like a glass of champagne now and then.  But for now, i am continuing to decide that the other gains i have are worth it.  Much more worth it than a glass of wine.

who do i have to become?

i am well.  day 86.  i do feel like i have a reward coming on day 90 but haven’t figure out what it should be yet. maybe a big feed of sushi. i was previously thinking expensive jewellery.  but now that i’m here at day 90, i want my BIG reward to come later… it’s getting easier to move the big reward forward in time. when i’m sober 120 days, 6 months, 12 months …

yesterday afternoon, after another 3-day passion/job thingy, i was sooo tired. and there was an open bottle of champagne in the house from guests. it was 5 pm and i was nearly collapsed with fatigue.  i asked husband if he was going to finish the champagne, and he said no. i said well this would be a good time for me to have some. a normal time. this would be the exact time where champagne would be a normal thing to do. he asked if i wanted tea. he poured the champagne down the drain in the kitchen, with me at his side, and i was saying “maybe you’ll finish it?” he kept pouring.  i love my husband. he is adorable.  he emptied out the champagne and then made me tea.

so yes, had a very busy weekend but with my new rules, i’m doing OK. i was even in bed last night BEFORE 9 pm and then slept 10.5 hours… this week i’m going to get to bed as early as possible every single night, just to ensure a good, smooth, even, enjoyable week.  This is the week that i begin the new contract for my passion/job thingy. well i haven’t heard from them since we ‘agreed’ to the terms by email, so i assume it’s all going ahead starting on wednesday. i have planned a very slack week for the rest of my life, to ensure adequate time, energy and room for this. also, husband is out 3 evenings this week so i’ll have lots of alone time suitable for bubble baths and early-to-bed reading.  i can seriously vegetate.

Who do I have to *become* in order to achieve my life goals?

I need to be someone who gets enough sleep 6 out of 7 nights, who is ‘in-advance’, who is patient, who does today what needs to be done and doesn’t wait for tomorrow. I need to be someone who rewards myself small and big, someone who pats myself on the back for a job well done. And someone who takes enough time off and has enough mid-week mini vacations to make it all worthwhile.

ladies and gentlemen, I have shit I want to DO with this very cool life of mine, and so i need to become the right kind of person. i need to evolve. and for me, the first step in evolution is enough sleep.

I must remove exhaustion from the table. At all costs.

I’m feeling about 75% well today, so better than yesterday.  Sickness, exhaustion, and overwhelm = not my finest moments. not the best combination. Mix that with the witching hour (7 pm to 9 pm).  Last night was hard but not impossible. I’m glad I posted.  Glad I put it out there that i was struggling.  As soon as I press “publish” i know that i won’t drink.  I expose the wolf for all the world to see, and then he shuts up. Thankfully.

But i have to accept, also, that this new hobby/passion is kicking my ass.  and I am going to have to make some new rules starting right now.  These things are more important to me than my passions, my work, or money:

  1. No matter how busy I get, I have to get enough sleep.  For me that is a minimum of 8 hours, and best is 9.5 hours. That’s every night. If i am too busy to get enough sleep, then i’m too busy.
  2. No matter how busy i get, I have to be able to run. This is 4-5 times a week. I can only run if i’ve had enough sleep, and if there’s enough time between job 1, job 2 and passion job.
  3. This means that I’m probably going to have to scale back … I know the new passion job is taking wings, and getting ready to explode with popularity (someone featured my new gig on their blog yesterday, god help me).  The big new contract that I spoke about before starts next week (yes, in addition to all this, it’s going to get busier)… While I love this new adventure, I’m not ready for it to take over my life.

If i’m being overworked by my passion, then I need to take a step back.  if it’s not fun, and it starts to feel like work, then I’ve got to be careful. I don’t want to get burnt out on the one thing I really love doing.

I’m nearly 46 years old.  Today is the day that I learn, once and for all, that I need enough sleep. It’s virtually impossible for me to stay sane, productive, running, and sober if i’m exhausted.  I must remove exhaustion from the table.  At all costs.  Even if that means giving things up.  Sleep and running are number one, because they LEAD to the other goals being possible.

If AA rules are don’t get too hungry, angry, lonely, tired…then mine are (expressed in the positive, cuz that’s the kind of chick i am):

YOU MUST GET ENOUGH …

  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Healthy Food
  • Down-time
  • Rewards (like cake, tea, nail polish, fresh pineapple)

(i’m never lonely, and i’m usually only angry when exhausted, so i can remove those from my personal list)

I refuse to need to relearn these lessons any more.  I’m old enough, i’ve lived long enough, and I know this already.  I know that i need enough sleep.  Stop fucking talking about it, and just do it. From now on.

 

i’m ‘this’ close

was out for dinner last night, someone finally asked why i wasn’t drinking.  i got to explain the story ‘my-way’ and it wasn’t a big deal. i made myself look disciplined and happy with my decision.

As we got up from dinner (@ 11 pm) i realized that i wasn’t feeling well.  at all.

i headed off walking with the group to the train, but stopped 3/4 of the way there, said i forgot my phone at the restaurant, and went back for a bathroom stop.  Still not feeling great and knew i had to get home.  was too far to walk, a cab would be awkward, a train impossible.  stood around for a bit trying to figure out what was going to happen to me physically.  I walked to the train trying to psych myself up for it.  I got on the train, then got right off again before it left the station. found another bathroom. paid and re-entered, got on the train again, but wasn’t paying attention and went in the wrong direction. got off and changed sides and started again.  finally got home at 12:30 am, spent another while in the bathroom.  didn’t get to sleep until 1:30 am.

Today i am understandably exhausted.  I got up, did almost nothing all morning, went back to bed at noon and slept 2 hrs.  Then i forced myself to get dressed and to go out for supplies as we’re gearing up for another 3-day passion/job thing.  Worked hard late in the afternoon.

Now it’s evening (9:45 pm).  still headachey.  i have eaten today and all seems well enough.  i’m hydrated.  i have an appetite.

i just feel gigantically terrible.

i have the feeling that i used to get, when i would quit drinking for a few days and then started again.  i have a feeling that goes like this:

what’s the point, why bother, i’m not quitting forever so i might as well drink now.  what’s the point in working as hard as this, to feel as crummy as this? it’s all not worth it. i can’t even go to bed because i have so much work to do to get ready for the weekend.  i swear i’m taking some time off after this.  and fuck this, i’m going to drink again on day 90 (in 7 days). i won’t be impulsive about it, i will plan it, but i’m just over this whole thing.

Now thank god i keep a blog because i realize i got to this place before, this exact same place.  it’s when i feel sick and exhausted. i get in this weird loop of surfing the web, feeling like there’s too much information out there and i’ll never catch up, i’ll never figure it out.  whatever it is. who knows what it is.

right now, i am going to eat again, and then go to bed.  i’m going to try very hard to sleep through the night, for at least 8 hrs.  i’m going to try super hard to run tomorrow morning. i’m going to work like a dog for 3 days.  we are going to earn money. it will be worth it.  i’ll get a second wind (later).  i will socialize and love the people i meet. I will drink a lot of water and i will take a bath every day. with bubbles and candles.

i will not drink.

but i am sorely, desperately tempted.  I’m ‘this’ close.