The Little Things

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

This is a “thought bubble”. It is an illustration depicting thought. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There comes a point in sobriety when the pink cloud of perfection and “I got this” dissipates.  Life continues to happen as we settle into our newfound freedom.  We settle back into our old way of thinking if we are not working a good program.

There will always be little things.  Life will happen on life’s terms consistently ( we can bank on that!) and it is up to us to learn a new way of coping to deal with the enigmas of life.

Slogans like, “Live and Let Live” and “Life on Life’s Terms” are important throughout our sobriety.  When we were out there, we let everything bother us. We harbored resentments over a lot of crap.  We were angry at our family, friends, the system and God.  We felt wronged and justified in our anger.

This thought process destroyed us!  It destroyed me for sure.  Some of the things that made me angry were other people, traffic, television, my mate at the time and the weather just to name a few.  It took me years to get it in my head that I was letting people, places and things control me by thinking I could control them.

This makes for one ticked off individual.  And how ridiculous is it being upset over little things we have zero control over. It is the moments of perceived loss of control that the Serenity Prayer comes in handy:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Once we realize the only thing we have control over is the way we think and that the way we think affects the way we feel, we now have a sense of freedom.

Talk About It Tuesday – The Most Interesting Women in the World

Image: Guiness Book of Records

Welcome to another great edition of Talk About It Tuesday! Last week we discussed Spiders, Butt Cancer & Ouija Boards. Yep, I seriously cannot make that up.

This week is great because I found an article guaranteed to inspire you.  It will not only inspire you, but it will also inspire that kid inside of you from way back when that decided to settle on the mundane of the expected. What do you think you’ll be doing when you are 75 years old? I’ll wait whilst you ponder the thought.  Okay, now how about when you are 101 years old?

Mary Allen Hardison, who hails from Ogden, Utah, is officially the “Oldest Female to Paraglide Tandem.”  She took up paragliding because she did not want to be shown up by her 75-year-old son!  Like, wowzah.  Who is this chic?

Mary loves being surrounded by her family that runs four generations strong.  When she isn’t wowing the world with paragliding feats, she knits caps for sick children and premature babies.  Oh, wait, that isn’t enough for her to be in the running with Mother Teresa in the “greatest woman in the world” category…  she crochets bandages for leopards in India.  That’s got to be enough to make you say “aww!” and gush all over the place.  Somewhere in India, there are leopards darting around with crocheted bandages made by a paragliding senior citizen from Utah.

In Dale City, Va, 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison, outshined a reporter after winning the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.  Can you imagine going head to head with a six-year-old girl in a Spelling Challenge and having your butt handed to you? This little girl beat out 21 other kids (her age and older) to compete in this challenge.  Of course, the adult (the reporter) probably thought he had her beat hands down.  I mean, he is a reporter and he is a lot older than the little girl aannnnd he has way more schooling!

Hey! I'm an Okapi!

Well, Lori Anne schooled the reporter when she spelled the word “okapi” (yeah, I had to look it up.  I thought it was part zebra, part hyena, part stripper, but it’s not – and now I want one!).  The reporter was given the word “tourniquet” and failed miserably.  In the omniscient age of computers, iPads, smartphones, word games, and whatever the hell else kids use to get smarter than smart, I am not surprised.  I used to think I was a hot diggity dog when I was a wee lass because my Gram bought me a phonics book at Woolworth’s every weekend (three grades higher than the grade I was in)!  I was such. A. NERD.

I am sure a lot of my blogger friends can relate to this?  Come on, I can’t be the only word geek up in here!

And on a Dumb Ass note (cause we got to have one of those), a Denver woman got busted after bragging about how to get out of jury duty.  Susan Cole, 57 (aka dumb ass) decided it would  be a phenomenal idea to go on a radio show and discuss her fool-proof plan for beating jury duty. She obeyed the summons, and showed up in a “disheveled manner” to make others think she was a nut job and clearly was not able to handle jury duty.  And she’d have gotten away with it if she wasn’t such a dumb ass!

Thanks for joining me for another Talk About It Tuesday.  Enjoy the rest of your week!  And remember – it can be a good thing to read the dictionary.

It’s Better, It’s Worse… It’s Both

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I joined Oprah’s Lifeclass a few weeks ago and I have to say… I love it.  I am about ten classes in and am learning a lot about myself by answering thought-provoking questions that only I can see the answers to.  There is also a Daily Life Question that we have the option of answering.  It is linked to the users Twitter account.

As I read some of the answers (a lot of them anonymous) I shuddered at some of the things a lot of people have been through usually in great part by their parents.  I saw remnants of abuse, both physical and sexual, mental anguish, alcoholism, abandonment… :(

It just got me thinking.. like.. what the hell do I have to bitch about?  Ok, yeah.. my childhood wasn’t the greatest.. I have always been socially awkward and put a lot of my worth on my physical beauty (but am too lazy to do any upkeep on it).  I tend to talk way too much when I get nervous and yes.. I am an alcoholic.

BUT – I am sober!  I AM beautiful!  I grew up poor.. but I have character.  I have small boobs.. but I have a great butt!  I can be very indecisive, but when I know what I want.. no one is stopping me.

It is so important for me (and you!) to look at the silver lining in the dark, looming clouds that hover over our heads from time to time.

We have all been through our own share of hell.  I remember years of self-pity, beating my head against the wall as I cursed and screamed “WHY ME?!”

Well, why not me?  Bad things have happened to me because I have the ability to help others.  If all I can do is take my experiences and share them with another, then whatever I have been through is not in vain.

Whatever doesn’t kill you – makes you stronger. 

What experiences have made you stronger?

Going With The Row (80.. that is)

I feel so much better when I achieve my goals!  My WIP progress is coming along slow but steady.  It took an unexpected turn and I liked it so I went with it. :)

I did not make it down to Philly this weekend.

Since it is Sunday, that means a lot of football!  I’ve already had a delicious lunch (home-made chicken pot pie).

I watched a lot of documentaries yesterday.  Now, my WIP progress is not documentary related.  However, I felt like watching documentaries really gave me some great ideas for characters.

I made my goals of word count, reading/commenting blogs and blog posts last week.  Since I did good, I will continue my pace the same.  The only difference is that I am working 2 extra shifts this week at the store.

How is everyone else coming along with their goals?

Happy ROWing!

The Gratitude List

I just read a tweet from a fellow tweeter.  I got the impression she was down in the dumps… she said she felt, “out of sorts.”  I have felt like that many times in my life (I’m sure most people have).   I replied to her tweet and told her to make a gratitude list.

Then I thought, “Darlene!  You’re a genius!  You should make one.”  So I am.  Right here, right now.

I am grateful for:

  • my sobriety
  • my children
  • the ability to use all five of my senses
  • music
  • the gift of writing
  • nature
  • green lights
  • coffee
  • my cats
  • my genes
  • a sunny day
  • a Sunday morning
  • making some one smile
  • a brand new notebook
  • that I was born exactly when I was born
  • Tyler State Park
  • other people’s opinions
  • tolerance….

These are just some of the things I am grateful for.  But, I want to hear from you.  What are you grateful for?  What makes you say thank you.  What helps you through your day?

I Need One Of Those Thingies – Ya Know… That Doo Dad Thingamajig

It has come to my attention (through running around like a mad woman and having twenty-nine pieces of paper in my purse) that I need one of those planner thingies.

I currently have a little notepad, blank index cards, post-it notes and pieces of ripped paper.   This method is not working!

“I know I wrote that down,” I say as I rummage through my larger than necessary purse, filled with lots of stuff I do not need.

These items include:

  • Kindle
  • wallet
  • cup of gum
  • hair band
  • hair spray (I never use it – why is it in there!)
  • notepad
  • 2 tubes of hand lotion
  • keys
  • 27 pieces of paper (I threw 2 away)
  • 3 highlighters
  • 7 multi-colored sharpies (those great pen ones)
  • my other much bigger wallet
  • the wonderful letter my daughter Sarah wrote me when she was about 17 years old
  • 2 tubes of lip gloss
  • change purse
  • bottle of fast release Tylenol
  • hand sanitizer (which I never use – and I rarely get sick)
  • dental floss
  • loose change
  • 4 lighters
  • 11 dollars in cash
  • 3 post-it notes
  • a pack of matches

Ok, I think that is it!  I need one of those little day planner thingies.. but not so much a calendar, but one to write other stuff down.  Maybe it has pockets or something for my little papers.

I also think I need to trade in my large (very pretty) Maize colored purse for a much smaller some other color purse.

What do you carry around with you?

Songs That Make You Happy

Music feeds our emotions.  Often, when we are sad, we put on sad music.  We wallow in our sorrow as we play songs like “The Final Cut” by Pink Floyd or “Candle in the Wind” by Sir Elton John.

If we just had a fight with our significant other we may put on something like “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins or any number of Slayer tunes (my personal fave).

But what about music that makes us happy?  This post comes via hearing a song that could interpreted as sad, but makes me very happy.

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. That opening G chord makes me forget the troubles I am  having.  I take a deep breath, turn the radio up and just know everything will be okay.  There are many others… but this is the one is at the top of my top ten.

What songs feed your emotions?

What Riding The Ninja 1000 Courtesy of Cycle World Magazine is Teaching Me

I’m not sure if you heard although I have pretty much told everyone.  I entered a contest of sorts  for an opportunity as a guest editor for Cycle World Magazine, one of the top leading motorcycle magazines in the country.  All I had to do was write a little quip about why I would be the best candidate along with my networking info (Facebook, Twitter, etc).  What I got if selected was a date with a 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 motorcycle for 90 days.  A free ride for the summer.  Sweet!

I entered and forgot about it.  Imagine my excitement when I opened my inbox a few weeks ago to discover out of all the entrants, I am one of the chosen ten.

Yes, I screamed.  Yes, I did a happy dance.  And yes, I told everyone I could find… even complete strangers at my second job.

Shiny and New!

I got the bike on Friday, May 27.  It is so beautiful!

I have had it a week.  And I am learning some things.

1)   Know What Is Ahead

It is so important to get to know something before you take it for a ride.  A car, a motorcycle, a relationship.  These types of things cannot be rushed into.  We have to get to know the situation just incase any surprises pop up.  Like say a deer in the path of my vehicle or a bit of a temper in a new mate.  There is no such thing as knowing too much.   When I first got the Ninja, I made sure I sat on it for a bit and really got to know the bike.

2)  Power Is Not Overrated

This bike has mad power.  At first I was a little intimidated by this force.  But as I am getting to know the bike (see above) I am respecting its power and realizing that power is definitely not overrated.   The bike, whose name is THOR, and I are bonding as the days pass and we dig each other.   It is packed with torque, which at first I did not like.  As Thor and I bond, I grow fond of the torque.

3)  Confidence Is The Ultimate Accessory

Weren’t expecting that one, were ya now?  I say this because I was pretty nervous when I first got this bike.   I have only ridden a Ninja 500 for the last four years or so and a Suzuki GS 750 for a wee bit before that.   I noticed that when racked with nerves, my riding sucks.  If my confidence is shot, so are my skills.  Second guessing is always a bad idea, especially on a motorcycle.

In the past week, Thor and I did not get in as much ride time as I would have liked, but we did get in a few hundred miles.  I have to get to the 600 mark so that I can take it in for a first service and then get back out on the road.

If I Could Create My Own Half Hour Show

If I could create my own half hour show; no holds barred.  It would probably be a cross between the earlier years of the tv show Roseanne (which I can identify with) and Night Rider.  I would play the lead role.  I’d be an insecure teenager living in a blue-collar home with a domineering mother and a father who drinks too much.  I’d go to school and be miserable in plain sight.

But at the end of the day, when all are fast asleep:

I’d sneak out my bedroom window with my cloaking device and silent shoes.  I would hover down to the driveway which is to the far left of my bedroom window and summon my bad ass 1970 Monte Carlo with a bored out 350 engine and 4 barrel carburetor.  I would get messages from my dog Snippet, who runs the operation from his doghouse in the back yard.    Snippet’s doghouse greatly resembles Snoopy‘s doghouse from Peanuts: small and average on the outside but kicking it bigtime on the inside. Snippet would update me on people to assist and avenge.  I would do the job for free because it gets me out of the house.  Snippet can leave his house when ever he wants, so he begs me to ask those who require our assistance for doggie treats.  Snippet does not like Beggin’ Strips

In my Emerald Green Monte Carlo I chirp second gear and rush to the aid of a young boy whose cat happens to be in a tree three blocks west.  Snippet, now in the front seat, asks me why we have to save the damn cat.  “It’s just a cat,” he howls.

“There, there Snippet.  Cats never hurt you,”  I whisper.  Snippet and I get into a philosophical conversation about cats and dogs as he tells me how the movie by the same name did no justice to dogs.  I concur to appease ol’ Snippet.

Just as I turn the corner, I spot the tree.  I put the car in neutral and roll quietly into a perfect parking spot near the maple tree which looks out of place in front of the yellow sided house on a small city street.  I get out of the car.  My cloaking device and silent shoes now activated, I sneak up the tree and grab the howling cat by the neck.   I look over to the house that belongs to the tree and see a boy in my class staring out the window.  He saw me.  I hover over to his window. 

“You’re dreaming.  Go back to sleep,” I say hoping that it works.  I do not yet have the ability of mind control.  I hand the cat to the boy as he puts his arms out. 

“Thanks,” he stutters.

“No problem,” as I turn I remember, “Do you have any doggie treats, boy?” 

The kid disappears for a moment and comes back with some Whiskas cat treats.  “Will this do?”

Snippet won’t know the difference.  I tip my hat, and bid the boy ado.

I go back to my idling Monte Carlo, Snippet is glaring at me and won’t acknowledge me for the next three days.  That’s okay.  Extra treats for Snippet for behaving. 

I pull up a half block from my house, my mother is awake on the couch watching some night-time soap opera.  I tell my Monte Carlo to park until next time.  Without a rumble, the car takes off.

My father is passed out in his chair.  I order Snippet back to his abode.  He goes graciously.  I use my cloaking device and silent shoes to sneak in through the back door and up to my bedroom.

I did my good deed for this episode.

That is my first idea born from boredom for ridiculous half hour comedy/drama show.  Gotta love sitting staring at a blank screen!

Fear: A Silent Killer

There is a difference between fear and a phobia.  Fear is to be afraid of something.  Phobia is to be irrationally afraid of something.  That’s pretty simple, right?

The number one fear in America is the fear of spiders. Almost 50 percent of women and 10 percent of men have a fear of spiders.   I personally love spiders.  I am awed by them and rescue them from squashation before my co-workers have a shot.

Fear holds us back from so much.  Phobias hold us back as well, but they are irrational and so, only gross amounts of therapy can help us with that.  And most times that doesn’t even work.

Fear of the unknown kills us.   And in unknown, I don’t mean ghosts or extraterrestrials.  I mean the future.  I mean change.  Change affects the future.  We’re so busy trying to maintain the humdrum present; getting the same thing for breakfast everyday, driving the same way to our thankless job everyday and putting on the same after work clothes everyday.  We don’t even recognize that we’re afraid of change until…

One day someone says, “You want to go get sushi for lunch?”  And the mere thought of this is paralyzing.   Sushi?  But, I eat turkey on whole wheat with mustard every day. I hate mustard, but it’s fat-free. This thought is immediate and uncomfortable.

You say, “Thanks, but I brought my lunch.  You know, turkey.”  You feel like a dweeb as soon as the words start falling from your lips, but it’s too late.  You can’t take them back.

Most of us are so comfortable inside the box as we gaze upon the wonders of “what if” that we do not dare disturb the monotony of our world with sushi.

Have you ever talked to someone who incessantly complained about their life?  You offer ideas and feedback and all you get back is constant rebuttals of “why it simply will not work.”

I’m too old.  It’s too hard.  I don’t have enough money.  I’ll fail.  They’ll laugh at me.  Someone already thought of it. I can’t.

All of these statements say one thing.  I am afraid.

What are you afraid of?

Have you ever done something in spite of fear?  Maybe you stood up to your boss.  Maybe you told your spouse that your marriage wasn’t working out.  Maybe you, like me, decided to say “screw it” and submit one final article to a site that turned you down three previous times.   Doesn’t it feel good when you stand up to fear?  How many times have we said, “that wasn’t so bad.”

Fear kills our spirit.  It robs of us finding out whether or not we should truly be afraid in the first place. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”.   I never really understood what in Hades ol’ FDR meant by that until I decided to leave my husband of seven years.  And it hit me.  Fear should be the only thing I fear.  Fear held me back.  Fear kept  me isolated.  Fear does these same things to you.

Fear kills us for as long as we let it.


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