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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How I Quit Drinking Thirty Years Ago

She Let Go

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments. 
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, 
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a 
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back. 
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. 
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. 
She didn’t journal about it. 
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. 
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. 
She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go. 
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. 
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. 
She didn’t call the prayer line. 
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. 
There was no applause or congratulations. 
No one thanked her or praised her. 
No one noticed a thing. 
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. 
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. 
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. 
A small smile came over her face. 
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

Here’s to giving ourselves the gift of letting go… There’s only one guru ~ you.
The author of this poem is unclear.  A few sites list Ernest Holmes as the author,
another Jennifer Eckert Bernau and still another Rev. Safire Rose.

It was on a plane headed back to Key West FL, one of the drinkingest spots in the usa, that I made the decision to quit Feb 26, 1984. Just like described above. Softly, sincerely, permanently without anyone knowing or caring except my closest friend, the man with whom I would share a home during that first tenuous year. He had quit less than a year earlier so it was the perfect place for us to do the work around our shared sobriety.

My best life choice. Still working, still the right way to live.

Finding the piece above opened feelings of understanding around that day which had heretofore eluded me. I hadn't words to describe how I felt about being alone despite aboard a full jet flying cross country; being certain despite not knowing how I would do it, only sure that AA wasn't the way for me. I've never been a group-grope person; I didn't want to tell my story to a roomful of people-still don't like talking in front of groups. So my friend and I supported one another and taught ourselves that sober is always better-no matter what. 

Without alcohol I must process feelings that I shut down, pushed out, refused to feel without the cushion of drunkenness insulating all the nerves that would be rubbed raw. 

Sleep has been the healingest of all the coping skills. Whenever I need to withdraw, regroup, refuel, rest, dream, plan, coddle myself, forgive myself, forgive others, digest food or events or conversations... All require the solitude and peacefulness of my bed. It took many years for me to internalize that the bed is for sleeping and sex and that's all. Not for reading, watching tv or movies, making lists or any other of the myriad things I was finding to do before trying to fall asleep. All that now takes place while I am upright in my chair in the living room. When sleepiness overtakes me I brush my teeth and crawl into bed asleep within moments most nights.

Life changed that day in ways that I had no way of foretelling. New relationships, jobs, cities, best friends and soulmates, partners, children I raised... it all shifted. And in that shift came many opportunities and challenges that I would not have tried had I still been in the grip of active alcoholism.

Thirty years of peace, calm, wise choices, great relationships, personal growth;  I have the life I envisioned as a young girl and for a while thought I'd never see. Now it is mine-work continues but the peace of sober living has permeated all I do and say and believe and love.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Warm Banana Bread Evokes Memories

Banana bread is a taste that transports me immediately back to early childhood. It is my first and strongest taste memory; banana  bread baking also ranks as the first thing I can remember smelling. That smell meant Mom was in the kitchen for us.

The many loaves of banana bread that I have made in the ensuing decades vary with the quality of the ingredients and whether or not I can let it completely bake thru before I have to harvest its delectableness and eat it while it's still hot enough to burn my fingers and melt the butter I slather on it.

If you wants nuts, of any kind, in your bread have at it. They get added at the end with the last of the dry ingredients and I think they distribute better if you dredge them in flour first before you drop them into the mix. And don't use the mixer anymore unless chopping them smaller is ok with you.

So, in the interest of sharing so you can bake your own loaves of deliciousness, I present you with my go-to-recipe for Banana Bread.

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease or spray a loaf pan or about a dozen muffin cups. Set aside.

In a big bowl, cream 2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temp with 1 cup of sugar (brown, white or a mix), one egg, one teaspoon vanilla, and three to four sliced or mushed bananas.

In another smaller bowl mix 1-1/2 cups flour, one teaspoon baking POWDER, 1/2 tsp salt, one Tablespoon cinnamon (less if you are inclined or leave it out altogether but I like its flavor addition since I don't use nuts). Stir that together and add it to the mix a third at a time, nuts with the last third, incorporating fully each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl frequently when using a mixer.

Plop mix into loaf pan or muffin cups, filling cups about 3/4 full.
Bake until pick inserted all the way to the bottom comes back clean.

Baking Times
Muffins 15-20  mins.
Loaf pan takes nearer to an hour.

I spin everything I bake 180 degrees approx halfway thru the cooking time because even with a decent convection oven, the front and back of the appliance cook at different temps and speeds.

We may have cooked a half dozen loaves during this last cold spell but I am not admitting to anything other than loving banana bread and enjoying its evocative nature this winter.

Happy Eating, may your bananas ripen just the way you like them to.

I'm linking up with Linda at Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday. Have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A New Purse to Last Forever

For years I strapped a fanny pack to my rump and went, not caring at all how it looked, only that it was hands-free and secure. It didn't slide off my shoulder, get set down in a puddle, laid down and picked up by someone else; it was extremely easy to access the stuff inside and big enough for the needs of a mama.

My daughter is pushing thirty, my husband longs to see my butt once in a while as we walk or hike, and I need to weigh myself down with less, not more.


My last purse purchase-ever.
I met a bit over a year ago. Now, we are all familiar with Goodwill Stores where all kinds of weird stuff and necessary items can be bought relatively inexpensively. Well, what I didn't know, and you may not either, is that they sort their donations very carefully and the finer items are offered in an auction format for the public to purchase. Millions of finer items in every conceivable category. Go !~! Check out what you like the best !~!

The list price for my Mulberry bag is in the 2000 dollar range. I paid one hundred plus shipping for it. Brand New, still in original packaging, same brand that Dennis Rodman bought the wife of the North Korean leader when he visited last year. The workmanship and quality of this purse is unbelievable. I have never seen such amazing leather work, solid brass hardware, and a serial number on a brass tag inside. The bag will last for generations with care and I plan to give it that treatment.

So, if you long for something and wish you could afford it, may I suggest you put on your bookmarks bar and check out the Immense Variety for sale. You may find, as I did, the item of your dreams at a price you can actually justify.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Weaving in Golds and Orange

February's Newest Piece

Working with various lengths of warp fringe to learn how to make it beautiful.

Picture of Our Growing Boy

Someday he will understand the significance of that poster, why I mounted it on my desk and the reasons why it is the first thing you see when you come into my home.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mobius in Blue

Mobius Cowl Shawl for my favorite middle schooler

My latest pattern and design

I'm linking up with Cat Patches February FO Linky-I have a badge in my right sidebar if you'd like to play with us. Barb's keeping it open until Mar 6th-still many days to get your link on board.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bean Hollow and the Rock Necklace

One afternoon many years ago, my husband, his good friend Len and I went for a ride down California Hwy 1. We made it to Bean Hollow before I needed to stop and stretch my legs and lower back. I had never been to this beach and its composition of pebbles and rocks of a million colors and sizes intrigued me. The long staircase led downward at a relatively sharp angle giving me pause as I considered the upward climb that awaited me at visit's end. Nonetheless the uniqueness of the beach made it worth it.
Staircase from parking area to beach of pebbles and tide pools.

So many  pebbles of every color and size.
Adjacent to the pebbles are tide pools and this incredible rockiness.

Fascinating rocks with many interesting pockets to explore.

Love climbing around on rocky ground-esp near water.

This rock came just like this-complete with hole to string chain thru.

CatCat 2.0-a Photograhic Essay

New Year's Eve brought a new kitty to LyndaLand. A near replica of the kitty we buried Dec 8, she's fitting in so well, ruling her home as we love her. She runs and jumps and chases insects and looks out the windows and talks and plays with the slow drip in the tub faucet. She colonized the bathtub so we brought in the unused boppy pillow and cover it with a couple baby blankets and she hangs out there sleeping and watching the Little One try to find her.

Lounging about-I'm good at that.

Chasing balled up paper and pipe cleaners makes fun. 
What is this thing ?~! I cannot move with it on :( No, not outside with this on. Please take it off right now. I don't need to go out.

Looking out the door is good enough for me, really, honest, mom !~!

Guarding the bathroom so no one gets in my special hideaway/water play park.

That cute little heated bed you bought for me, remember it ?~!
Yeah, I'm way too big and besides I have my own heat-we call it fur.
Thanks though, maybe some tiny critter will use it someday.

I'd love to finish my nap if your flash was going off in someone else's face.
I am cute tho, don't you think ? 

Lost my pipe cleaner toy again. Help me, someone, anyone, please....

I feel as silky as I look; and so I bet you wish your hair was this pretty, huh ?~!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Littles and What They Do Here

Let's Start with Piper

We model new dresses once in a blue moon.

Learning to walk's important & requires serious thought...

Tie-dye a much more frequent sight.

While picnics bring us smiles in the sunshine.

Playing together gives Younger Sister an opportunity to be the "Big" for a while.

Hours spent on the swing are all good-coordination, outdoor imaginative play, Vit D, cooperative games...

Everyone loves a baby, don't they ?~! Charlie rocks Big Sisterhood.

Duplo provides another medium for the rich imagination.

Amusement Park of Tinker Toys constructed completely on her own.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January's FO Linking with Cat Patches

I have begun a project making potholders and cast iron pan handle covers for a friend from Junior High; she sent me a Shoo Fly Pie last month right about the time my  mom died. It was a blessing beyond words as I ate the pieces and went back to my childhood in the Pennsylvania Dutch country and the pies my mom had served us over the years. Shoo Fly was a very inexpensive way to treat four hungry kids on a budget. I have no pic of the pie-I ate it before I thought about making a portrait of it. Trust  me it was delectable and I enjoyed it for over a week.

So I want to do something for Maureen to repay her kindness and potholders are a sure bet most of the time. Her kitchen is green--Fab, one of my favorite colors is green and I have some really pretty greens in my strip stash. The potholders are finished and the handle covers are in process. That counts as an FO, doesn't it, Barb ?~! Linking to your fantastic Cat Patches FO Party.

Like Diamonds in the Corners, I whipstitched the edges after turning them both in on each other. They are lined with one layer of Insulbrite; I have been using single-layer potholders for many years and they work well. The hanging loops are linen for long life.

I still have to make the pan handle covers. Coming to a blog near you... Soon.

Ocean Hues Cowl and a Button-Maybe :)

In January, I finally finished a cowl project that I started in Sept with the yarn that I received from Expression Fiber Arts in the summer of last year.  It languished looking for the perfect button. The yarn is a soft wool in the colors of the beach in Oregon where her honey proposed to her last summer on a road trip. I sat with the yarn for a few months until I could decide what to do with it. It finally occurred to me that the coldest part of my anatomy was frequently my neck and the various Neckwarmer items I have around needed a new colorful addition to the pile.

The start of the project. Swatching to find the stitch I want.
Stitch pattern chosen, the rows begin.
The zip-pouch came from NY when Baby Boy's family traveled.
Finished except for a button.
The button-from stash-may not be the final choice but it's ok for now.