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Happy birthday to me

5 May

Today I am 52! I was trying to figure out how to celebrate my birthday and still sort of stay on my diet. I mean, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting just isn’t doable at the last minute. THAT would take planning and preparation that I wasn’t willing to invest after the week I’ve had. So what’s a girl to do? I made a pie! A mostly sugar-free pie.

I started with gingersnaps. I know, they aren’t on my diet but I couldn’t find any diabetic/sugar-free options at my grocery store in the time I had. So I picked up a box of some that sounded good. I pulverized them into crumbs in the blender with about 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 squeezes of my liquid stevia. Then pulsed in some melted butter. Put it all in a pie pan and baked it for 6 minutes at 350°F. Then stuck it in the freezer because I have no patience to wait until it cools.

Then into the blender, no I didn’t wash it, I added 3 cups almond milk and a package each of sugar-free Jello instant pudding, 1 vanilla and 1 cheesecake flavor. After blending, scraping the sides once, I poured half into the baked shell. Then I added half a container of lite cool whip to the remaining pudding in the container and mixed until mostly combined with my spatula. Then spread it over the pudding in the pan.

I stuck it all in the freezer again for about an hour. I then spread the remaining half of the whipped topping over the pie. Then drizzled sugar-free caramel ice cream topping in an interesting pattern.

Store in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Or until you can’t wait anymore. I’m sitting on my hands right now so I won’t go eat it. It looks amazing! And the bit and pieces that I tasted during the process of making it were delicious.

  • I’m grateful for ham and a ride to the store from one of my good friends this afternoon. I’m grateful that my headache has mostly gone away tonight. I’m grateful for another year. It’s had its ups and downs, but I’ve ended the last one and started this new one mostly happy with where I am.

Night all. LOVES

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A dream and growth

7 Apr

I had a strange dream last night and it taught me something. It taught me who I am and what I have done with my life. I won’t go into details because then you will know how crazy I really am. Let’s just say it involved a carnival and Oprah. But that’s a different story.

I lost my children to foster care the first time in 2004 when I escaped a domestic violence relationship. I had exposed my children not only to violence and terror, but also drug addiction, homelessness and a host of other things. I was resentful at first because I felt victimized all over again because I finally got brave enough to leave a really bad situation. But it helped me in the long run. It helped get my youngest get the diagnosis and help he needed. I knew he had problems but nobody would listen to me because I was just a drug addict mom. I won’t talk about everything that happened because that would take way to long. Let’s just say that through ups and downs, growth and hard work, in June of 2008 they closed my case.

But that isn’t the end of my story. I didn’t learn enough. Because by February of 2009, my kids were back in the foster care system. I was using again and in another destructive relationship.

This go around took me to an inpatient treatment facility, tons of therapy, more ups and downs, lots of crying and laughter, more extremely hard work, and a whole bunch of changing everything I had ever done in the past and learning how to live differently.

There IS a happy ending to this story though. In 2012, my child welfare case was closed. My youngest son lives with me and is growing and learning so very much. He has a whole different future than I ever expected him to have when I started this journey. I have a good relationship with my other adult sons. We still have our ups and downs, but we’re in a much healthier place than we ever were before.

And me? I have almost 9 years clean and sober. I am a great advocate for my children. And I’m able to offer good advice about my journey to others who are starting on the same path. I have become someone to follow instead of someone to avoid and hide from. I am becoming someone who I am proud of and I like. Now to enjoy a new day.

  • Today, I’m grateful for the journey that I took to get where I am now. No matter how long it took, I have continued to learn and stick with it. I’m grateful that my kids still talk to me, at least most of the time, after all the stuff I drug them through. I’m grateful to that person who showed up on my doorstep that day to ask me to take a drug test that started this latest leg of my journey. Thank you!

LOVES

 

My mom, Carroll Kay

3 Jan

Today would have been my mother’s birthday. So she’s been on my mind lots lately. It will be 4 years in March since she’s been gone and I still miss her very much.

I think about all the things she did for me that really annoyed me at the time. And all the things that I learned from her. She was always working. I don’t remember a time that I ever saw her just sit. Even watching TV she was doing something else too.

I learned to be a mom from her. She taught me that moms do things for their kids to make the kid’s lives easier. There was the time she taught me how to bake a cake in a coffee can and some juice cans so it would look like a teddy bear when we frosted it. And I remember the look on her face when my aunt came in with a professionally decorated Teddy bear cake. I would like to say that I made as big of deal about her cake as that professional one, but I didn’t. I was a very self-centered kid. But she never said a word.

There was the time that we packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into the car and went on a drive through the wilds of Idaho for Thanksgiving one year. We thought it was great. Found out later it was because she couldn’t afford a turkey dinner.

I remember the day my daughter died. My mom drove all night from San Francisco to the central Willamette valley to be at my door when morning came. She took me to buy a new dark dress and made sure everything was taken care of for the funeral. I still don’t know who paid for it or how much because she never would say other than that my dad helped. And the day we buried her. She sat there as I dressed my baby girl one last time. And then SHE kicked me out of the room so that I didn’t have to put my child in a box.

Moms do the hard stuff. She put up with kids telling her they hate her. She’s the one who taught me to say, “Good! That means I’m doing my job right!” And makes sure the bills are paid when no money is coming in. She taught my son that everything is palatable if you have enough ranch. She made sure my kids had Christmas every year. She would answer the phone day or night and listen to me whine, and moan and groan about how my life sucked. And she was also the first one I called when something awesome had happened.

There are so many more memories but I don’t want my phone to rust as tears fall upon it. I really miss calling her every Monday morning. Happy Birthday! I love you!

  • I’m grateful I had her as a mom. I’m grateful I learned to be a mom from her. I’m grateful that she knew how much I loved her when it was time for her to go.

Night all. LOVES

Late night phone calls

2 Jan

I remember when I found out about my second grandson. It was a phone call in the wee hours of the morning. I wasn’t quite awake yet when I answered the phone and it took me a few moments to realize that my son was saying he now has 2 sons. We didn’t even know they were pregnant.

I think, as a mom, anytime the phone rings after midnight, your first thought is who died or what’s wrong. Most good news moments wait until morning.

I’ve also received a few recovery calls in the middle of the night from friends wanting me to help them stay sober through a rough patch. Those are always very difficult, but I learn so much about myself and my recovery by trying to talk to someone else over a phone line. It’s different if they’re sitting right next to you.

Ever since I’ve gotten out of treatment, my phone sleeps next to my bed so I can hear it ring. It also makes a really good alarm clock with lots of different sounds programmed into it.

  • I’m grateful that I am at a place in my life where I can be a help on the other end of the line during a late night phone call. I’m grateful for cellphones so I don’t have to get up and walk into the other room to answer the phone. Remember when they were attached to a wall? I’m grateful someone knows that they can call me at anytime and I’m usually there.

Night all. LOVES

Why gratitude

20 Dec

When my sponsor first told me I needed to write a gratitude list to help me stay clean, I was skeptical. How could writing a few words every day make me feel better about all that was wrong with my life? And why did I have to write it? Couldn’t I just tell someone?

She said that we write it so we can go back and see what we were grateful for yesterday when today seems so much worse than ever. Because there are some days that finding something good just seems impossible.

She also said that we make a gratitude list because if we can find just 3 little things good in our life, our life is worth living and we won’t give up.

So here I am, 8 1/2 years later. Still not giving up and still trying to find the good in life. And I’ll admit it isn’t always easy. Some days, I’ll sit here for hours thinking of what to say. Especially since I started writing publicly. It’s hard to put yourself out there and let others really see you. Sometimes, when you put your thoughts on a page, the reactions aren’t always good.

The other day, I posted a comment on a news story about a man caught doing heroin in the front seat of the car while his wife and kids were in the car with him. It hurt me to see all these hundreds of people saying that this man was worthless and a piece of crap and they should just throw away the key. And all I saw was me. The day I walked into treatment and had a complete stranger tell me that I was worth the effort and I didn’t need to be alone any more. I’m not saying that what that man did was right and he shouldn’t have consequences, but I feel everybody should have a chance at redemption.

I really wanted to delete that comment I made when I started getting negative comments back. And I was getting painted with the same brush, but I didn’t. Because I feel that someone somewhere needed to see what I wrote and KNOW that he isn’t worthless either.

As I come up on one of the hardest anniversaries I have, I sit here and think about the past, present, and future. And my part in it.

  • And I’m so grateful to that sponsor who saw something in me that needed to come out. I’m grateful that even when life seems worthless, someone somewhere decided I needed to stay here. And I’m grateful that when life seems endless and I’m tired of enduring to the end, I get little bursts of goodness to remind me of where I have been, where I am now, and where I am heading. And I’m grateful to be able to share my thoughts with others because they deserve to feel the same way.

Night all. LOVES

A year later

21 Nov

I started this blog in earnest a year ago. Over the past year I’ve learned a few things. Writing every day can be a challenge, but it’s also rewarding. I feel like my writing has changed mostly for the better. I am able to let my voice be heard. And I’ve learned that others might actually want to hear it. Thank you all for listening, reading, commenting and encouraging me on this journey.

  • I’m grateful I started this blog a year ago. I’m grateful I didn’t quit even when it got hard. I’m grateful that I know I still have more to say and I’m not done yet.

Night all. LOVES

4:44 AM

16 Nov

My daughter was born at 4:44am on September 6, 1991. She went to heaven on December 21, 1991. So she was here for 107 days. But she’s always in my heart.

The person (he was my sister-in-law’s pastor) who spoke at the funeral, told us that the number 444 was important and that we should always remember it. So I think about her every time I wake up in the middle of the night. When I was using, and I was already awake, I would have conversations with her. Now that I’m sober, I still do just because it’s a habit. And it’s comforting.

So this morning when I woke up not feeling very well, I figured it was my daughter coming to check on me. Especially because I was dreaming about her.

Because I had my tooth pulled yesterday I haven’t been eating much so I’ve been really paying attention to my sugar levels. So I checked when I woke up. They were low so I knew to get up and eat something.

  • I’m grateful for beliefs that get me through the difficulties of life. I’m grateful to that man offering a comforting thought to a grieving family so long ago. I’m grateful I have a habit of checking my sugar when I wake up in the middle of the night.

Night all. LOVES