Posted in adventure, Blogging, Dreams, Goals, Life, Musings, People, reading, story telling, writing

My One True Love

writing

I woke up stupidly early this morning, as usual, and did what I do every morning- grabbed a cup of coffee, checked my Facebook, screwed around until the fog lifted from my brain. And then I did the thing I LOVE to do, which is this- I opened up Word, and I started to re-read the last few paragraphs of the novel I have been working on for probably a year now… I know, I know, that seems like a really long time to be working on a novel, but…you have to remember, I also work full time, I’m a single mom, and I have many, many other things that I am always trying to make time for. That leaves me about 30 minutes on a good morning to work on the thing that I love best, which is my writing. Subtract from that the many mornings when the well has run dry and the words just won’t come, and the mornings when I forgot to dry the laundry that has all of the school clothes in it, or any number of other small catastrophes, and it starts to make more sense why it is taking so long.

The important thing is that I always do come back to it. And when this one is done, whatever happens with it- whether it sits here in my computer forever, or whether I am catapulted to some insane stardom for my clever and captivating writing- I will always return to whatever I am writing next. Writing is the one constant in my life, and has been since the moment I realized that I could write. I don’t mean the moment I discovered I could write well, either- I’m still not 100% sure of that. I just mean the moment I grasped that it was within my power to pick up a pen or a pencil, or sit down in front of a typewriter (Yep, I had several of those once upon a time) and make up a story.

I love it. I love everything about it. I love making up characters, and watching as they take on a life of their own. I love trying to guide the story and finding myself rushing after it instead, trying to keep up. I love the feeling of my fingers flying over the keyboard, trying hard to transcribe the scene that is playing out in my head. I love that the story becomes a living thing, and veers off into places I didn’t think my head was capable of imagining. I love reading back over a chapter and feeling my heart pound when something is really wild, and so, so good, and wanting so badly to share it with someone else. I love the magic in words…the way the possibilities are infinite, the scope is limitless. Quite simply, it is thrilling.

There are few things in life that I love the way I love writing. My children, of course, they are always first. But my love of words, writing them, learning them, reading them…that has been around long before I ever dreamed about being a mother. And I have known for as long as I can remember that words were “my thing”. I’ve known it all my life. I think it may have been born already inside of me, to be honest. I’m one of the lucky ones who never had to search for the thing that I loved. It has always been writing.

I just wanted to talk about that for once. I always talk about my kids, my struggles with addiction, my life in recovery. I talk about mental health and working out and all my other myriad goals in life. But for some reason, I don’t talk much about my longest, strongest, most precious love affair…writing. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the reason behind that is some deep, terrible fear of not being good enough to claim that I am a WRITER. But this isn’t even about whether I am ever published, or financially successful because of my writing, or even (gasp! dare I even say it?) famous through it one day…all of those things would be wonderful, of course. But writing feeds me in a way that nothing else does. And because of that, it is already perfect. Even if nothing else ever comes from it, it is still the greatest thing, the best part of me that I know.

Still…just in case…remember my name. You never know. 🙂

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Posted in adventure, aging, Dreams, fun, Goals, Life, Musings, People

It’s Time

live

In my head, there is an alternate reality, an entire life that contains all (most) of the same people that my actual life holds, with some pointed differences. In the life unfolding in my head, we do a lot more travelling. We do things that I am afraid of ( i.e., pretend to hate) such as camping- I can see myself and my daughter smiling around a campfire, looking up at the stars. In this alternate life, there are other differences, too. We are much better at togetherness, and I don’t mean laying in bed together while one of us watches season two of The Office (me), and the other one watches other people play video games on their tablet (her). I mean actual togetherness, laughing and eating waffle cones full of fresh churned ice cream at some food festival in Maine kind of togetherness.

In my imagined life, I am more organized, I am not such a freaking hoarder, the rooms in my home are neat and sensible, and I have tracked down the source of the moldy smell in the big bathroom and eradicated it. We get homework done without crying (that could be either of us on a bad day) and Cam reads to me without stubbornly insisting that she doesn’t know how, even though we both know she can read just fine when SHE feels like it. Or better yet, instead of pretending like she hates Harry Potter, she begs me to keep reading. In my other life, I always have extra blankets, nice ones, clean and folded neatly, in the linen closet. And I have a linen closet.

There is nothing wrong with the life I already have- as a matter of fact, it’s pretty great. But could it use some fine tuning? Um, yes. For the first time in memory, however, I already have all the main ingredients needed to make the leap from the actual-life-I-am-living to the-life-in-my-head. All I need to do is figure out the right measurements. Reduce the generous helping of pure laziness to maybe a pinch or two, and double the amount of effort and elbow grease. Buy some garbage bags, make a few trips to Goodwill to drop off the 17 pairs of “goal jeans” that, let’s be honest, if they ever do fit again, they aren’t even going to be in style anymore. I have an entire drawer filled with shirts that I dig through every day, and refuse to wear any of them. Why? What am I keeping them for, then?

For some reason, a truly clean house- like, every nook and cranny clean- plays a central role in my fantasy life. I have no idea what that has to do with food festivals in Maine or camping, but I guess it would make packing easier. It would definitely make coming home from a trip away more pleasant. In true ADHD fashion, though, cleaning properly is never a straightforward event for me. It involves a lot of half finished projects that stall out when I get distracted by something else that needs to be done, over and over, until I drop from exhaustion, leaving the house looking ten times worse than it did when I started. This is not an exaggeration, this has actually happened to me before.

But here is the thing- I KNOW there is a way to make this other life happen. I KNOW it. I can feel it in my bones, that I can have the life I want. I just need to keep taking steps towards it, every day, no matter what. There have been plenty of times when I got off work and wanted to veg on the couch and binge watch whatever thing I am currently into, but instead chose to push myself a little harder to get a few more things done…and it felt great! I need to choose to do that more often, instead of occasionally. It’s amazing, the amount of energy I find myself to have, compared to what I think I do.

My 20’s and 30’s were a blur…most of it, I wasted on self loathing and addiction, and the times when I actually had my act together, I was desperately trying to catch up, or to keep my family from going under. But there was always the sense that I had ample time to figure it out. I am 43 now, and although that is not old, there is definitely a feeling of “It’s time”. Time to pull it all the way together, or as much as I can. Time to take all of the trips and clean all of the closets, and generally figure shit out. Before my knees start protesting, and my back starts being really difficult, and my hormones jump ship, or whatever hormones do when they get old.

There is absolutely nothing standing in my way for once, except for me. And I refuse to be the reason my life falters anymore. I’ve done that for as long as I can remember, and it has never served me, not once. So I am going to challenge myself to try harder, dig deeper, and really start living the juiciest, most exciting, most awesome life ever. In a super clean house, naturally. Now excuse me, I need to go order some camping gear.

Posted in Blogging, Dreams, fun, funny, humor, Life, Musings, random

Total Random Nonsense

no point
Seriously, this one goes nowhere. I apologize in advance.

I woke up this morning acutely aware of just how bad too much salt really is for me. Holy bloated frogs! I feel like I aged ten years since I jumped into bed at 8 pm last night- and yes, I went to bed at 8 last night. I was the kind of tired yesterday that is easy to confuse with depression, and I wasn’t sure what was happening, so I figured it would be best just to go to bed and see if some sleep helped the matter at all.

And I think I was on the right track, except…all the salt from the restaurant food, combined with the bizarre nightmare I had all night long sort of worked against me. This nightmare…I woke up at least two times, actually got out of bed and wandered around the house, went back to bed, and both times went right back into the same damn dream. It was a version of a recurring nightmare I’ve had since about five seconds after I gave birth to my first child over 20 years ago. The one where your kid goes missing and you can’t find her? Yeah, except this one was much more creative, involved both of my children, and my ex-stepdad (a true psychopath) who somehow morphed into Donald Trump. He had kidnapped both of my kids, was trying to marry the older one, and was keeping the younger one in a cage at a different location. Also, the younger one had turned into a cat. It sounds funny now, but trust me, it was very unsettling while it was happening.

So, here I sit. Retaining 50 gallons of water, traumatized yet again by Donald Trump, and forcing myself to try to write something entertaining because this is why I wake up at four thirty in the damn morning every single day. So that I can write captivating words such as these. Sigh…is it just me, or is it really hard to keep shit together? Like, I will do really good for a little while with some things, but inevitably then other things fall to the wayside. So, I turn my attention to those things, and the other shit falls off the map. Either I am just a terrible multi-tasker (true) or I am just trying to do too much stuff (also true). No wonder people throw their hands up and settle for less. They get to sleep a little later and accept that there will be no thigh gap again in this lifetime.

Me? I feel sleep deprived, and refuse to accept my thighs even though they haven’t done anything wrong, really, except kindly store the weight that has nowhere left to go. Like, how can you be mad at your body? It’s not my body’s fault. My body didn’t just decide to hoover down a gallon of ice cream. I did that. Poor body. If it had a voice of its own, I’m sure it would have a few choice words for me.

On the bright side, however, I am only working half a day today. I’m taking my mom to get a pedicure and then she gets to go with me to pick Cam up from school, which, you know, that’s a big deal for a kid when some other member of the family shows up at school. I loved when my grandparents would pick me up! It didn’t hurt that they always pulled me out of school early and whisked me away to their house in the mountains. I felt like I was really getting away with something. So I am looking forward to that, and to going to the gym later on. And to drinking a gallon of water to get this salt out of me.

Also looking forward to the day when one salty meal and a bad dream doesn’t completely derail my life, but alas- I do not see that day on the horizon.

Posted in Blogging, Dreams, escape, Goals, Life, Musings, random

On a Lighter Note

After my rant yesterday, I thought I would just write about a few things that are making me happy this week. I missed my “Three Things” blog completely, so this will be sort of that, but not.

phineas and ferb

First of all, are you an adult that watches cartoons? I have never lost my love for them, and i’m not just talking about adult cartoons (which I also love, mostly) but kids cartoons, as well. Yesterday, I totally binged on Phineas and Ferb, a Disney channel cartoon that is endlessly entertaining. These two brothers, and a small group of friends, come up with wild inventions each day of summer vacation, while their tightly-wound sister, Candace, tries in vain to bust them. I identify so strongly with poor Candace- she is awkward, shrill, misguided, and a massive overthinker who wants desperately to be cool. There is also a whole different story line going on every episode with Perry, the families pet platypus, and Dr. Doofenshmirtz, an evil scientist. It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you’re ever bored, the whole mess of episodes is on Netflix. There are many kids shows I enjoy, and I think it’s just because they are happy, simple and funny, rather than emotionally draining and upsetting, and I appreciate that very much. it’s a nice escape from reality.

zillow

Speaking of escaping from reality, another thing I love to do when I am feeling less than thrilled with my current life is going on Zillow. I pick a town where I might like to live, and spend hours just viewing homes, figuring out what I can afford and how it would be to live somewhere else. Last time I went through this phase, I was dead set on moving to Maine, but with the winters we are having now (not that the winters we had before were anything to sneeze at in Maine) with global warming, I am rethinking that dream. Now, I am setting my sights on coastal Oregon, starting with Astoria (thank you, Goonies) and working my way down the coast back towards California. There are some beautiful homes, and many of them are a lot cheaper than my rent is here. Unfortunately, my job is here, so I’m definitely still in the dreaming phase. I really do want to buy a home, though, sooner rather than later. Of course, thanks to all the “Flip this House” type shows I have watched, I’ve grown super picky about things. I’ll look at a house and hear myself say things like “Oh, that’s a total tear-down” or “that whole room needs to be gutted” which is hilarious, considering I have no experience or knowledge about anything renovation related. Nor do I care for any sort of manual labor. So, I guess I should focus on move-in ready homes, or learn how to schmooze a general contractor.

no-meat

Other than that, the only thing I have to share about my current situation is that I am on day 11 of not eating meat, and while I thought it would be really hard for me, it has been 100% the easiest challenge I have ever given myself. I never, ever thought I would be someone who could give up red meat and poultry, but it hasn’t bothered me in the slightest. As a matter of fact, I may just turn this into a forever thing…or, if not forever, then I will be very selective about when and how I eat meat. The thing is, I really love animals. I don’t want to eat anything with a personality. I mean, I love bacon…but I think I might love pigs a little bit more. Not to mention that it’s just a great idea, health-wise, to steer clear of meat for the most part. If I can get everything I need elsewhere, why not do it? And for the record, I will still eat fish. I’ve never bonded with a shrimp or a salmon. I’m sure they are very nice, but I’m still going to eat them.

My life is pretty boring right now. I’m not feeling quite so down as I was, but I’m definitely not where I’d like to be. I’m trying to practice acceptance, and work with what I have rather than fretting over why I’m feeling the way that I am and being miserable that I’m not somewhere, or something, or even someone else. I have faith that things will right themselves, always. In the meantime, I’ll be watching cartoons, shopping for houses, and eating chickpeas and bananas. It could be worse, right?

 

Posted in Addiction, adventure, Blogging, Dreams, faith, Goals, Learning, Life, living, Musings, writing

Time to Jump

time to jump

 

According to some stats I found on my blog yesterday, this should be about my 210th blog on After the Party. So, there is a good chance that I will embarrass myself by repeating one story or another, or talk about a new goal I have that isn’t new at all. I am not about to go review over 200 blogs just for the sake of originality, no way. So if I am saying something that sounds awfully familiar, please cut me some slack. Chances are, an entirely different version of me wrote whatever you read, and for this version of me, my ideas are fresh and exciting. I mean, to me at least, they are.

So today is the very first day of 2018, and I don’t know about you, but I am EXCITED about the fresh start of a brand new year! It’s kind of a new thing for me to be starting from an already really good spot, and not having any massive hurdles (i.e.: drugs, cigarettes, horrible relationships, etc.) to get over before I can get to the good stuff. I am already ass deep in the good stuff, and just ready to take it to the next level. This is all new territory for me, and boy do I feel good about it. I am so grateful.

I woke up at five this morning, like always, and I sat down and wrote out, by hand, my goals for the coming year. I broke them down into different areas of my life, and then made little lists under each area. Then I busted out my brand spanking new planner (This year it was recommended to me by a dear friend to purchase the Desire Map Planner from Danielle Laporte, so I did.) and wrote in what I knew I would be doing this coming month. Let me tell you, this is not something I have done before, and it feels great. You know what else feels pretty great? I believe I can actually pull all of it off. I feel it in my bones.

On the cover of this planner it says “What I will do to feel the way I want to feel” and, through this planner, as well as a coaching session with my friend Stacey Sarenity , I got to learn about what my “Core Desired Feelings” or CDF’s, are. I don’t know too much about all of it, other than it’s a great way to suss out what it is you are truly after by understanding what it is you want to feel like and what your life would look like based on those feelings.  Stacey knows all about it, so check out her website if you want to learn more. I, on the other hand, really like the way this planner is set up just based on how much I was able to pull from myself out onto the page this morning. I feel equipped to master the coming year in a way I have not before. I don’t have any of that weird fear I generally associate with change or going after something I want, maybe because I am not afraid of failing. I can’t FAIL- my goals aren’t like that this year, and I am not like I have been any other year. There are good things ahead.

For those of you who don’t know, I am, and have always been, since the moment I knew how to spell my name, a writer. This may seem like a forgone conclusion, given that you are reading a blog I have written right this very moment, but…not all bloggers want to be writers, right? They are writing for various reasons, and don’t have aspirations beyond that. I do. I know I am not in the minority, here, but I just want to announce myself and state my intentions- this year is going to be ALL about writing for me. I am in the middle of a novel I have been working on for months and months- honestly, way too long- and I have given myself a firm time frame for finishing both the writing and the editing. I have short story goals and contest goals and lots and lots of writing goals this year, and you know what? I am going after my dream with gusto this year. I was thinking seriously about going back to school for something totally unrelated to writing- another thing I would probably be really good at, but- and it suddenly hit me; Why in the world would I pursue something OTHER than my dream? How does that even make sense? I LOVE to write, I have since I was seven years old…so why would I consider pushing that aside, yet again, to do something else?

The answer was pretty clear. It was because I didn’t believe in myself enough, I didn’t believe I could make it as far as I wanted to, I didn’t think I was good enough. If I went ahead and went after something else, the odds of me finding the time to devote to any writing at all were pretty slim. I’m not okay with ANY of that. Listen, I AM a writer, and whether or not it becomes what I dream that it will be, I have to honor the thing I love, the thing that brings me joy and elation. It would be stupid to continue to turn my back on this thing, right? So I am jumping in, both feet. I am not afraid at all, because I know it is what I am supposed to do right now.

Holy cow, this blog just got long. Well, I have a few other things- I am going to be writing here more consistently, and I will have a rotating format of things I write about. Expect to see more from me on Thursday and Sunday (maybe Saturday, I’m going to see how it feels) and expect to see blogs about recovery, of course, writing, health and/or lifestyle, and probably some personal stuff. I can’t wait to follow more blogs and connect with more of you, and hopefully grow a little in the blogging world.

Sorry this was so long, God! Too much coffee, I guess! Have a wonderful New Year’s day!

Posted in adventure, aging, Dreams, fun, Goals, Life, love, Mental Health, People, random, travel

The Other 20!

Life-is-pure-adventure

Good morning! I am back with the other twenty things I feel compelled to accomplish while the age of 40. It occurs to me that this would have been an easier task had I started at 20 rather than 40, but then I may not have as many things to put on my list, right? As it stands, the ideas are coming at me so fast now that twenty more seems rather paltry. However, I have to keep in mind that most of the things on my list are going to take time and planning- marking them all off my list is going to take a lot of (fun) work!

I’m just going to jump right in! Here goes:

21) go on a camping trip that doesn’t totally suck. We’ll see if this is even possible.

22) learn how to make a quilt

23) leave the state of California at least twice, preferably in a different direction each time.

24) ride a ferry to an island

25) attend a live sporting event.

26) really fine tune my meditation practice

27) treat my body as kindly as it has treated me all these years.

28) never go to a public place in private clothes (ie, pajamas), not even once (this one is for Holly Nutt. LOL)

29) Go to Gilroy Gardens ( writing Holly’s name made me think of this one)

30) Do the Halloween tour at the Big Sur Lighthouse!

31) Visit no less than five museums

32) Write every single day for no less than 30 minutes.

33) Make a solid effort to connect more with my family, the ones who DON’T live with me.

34) Practice kindness, empathy, and non-judgement every single day.

35) Plant a garden in my huge, awesome, back yard.

36) Do my very best to make my home feel inviting and look good

37) Get rid of the clothes that do not fit me.

38) Have at least one party- this is a total phobia of mine, and it is HIGH TIME I get over it

39) Buy, and learn to use, a barbecue. You are 40, for the love of God.

40.) Say yes as often as I can- I am not getting any younger!

Oh my gosh, I am just so excited about the direction my life is going. I will definitely be keeping you all posted on where I am at with my list. Wish me luck. The clock is ticking!

Have a beautiful, wonderful, exciting, lovely day. 🙂

Posted in Addiction, Dreams, Goals, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, recovery

Flight of Fancy

daydream

I considered the shit out of this blogs title before I decided to go ahead- so much so, in fact, that it no longer makes a whole lot of sense to me. Flight of Fancy? Is that even right? I mean, what the hell does that even mean? Oh God, now I’m going to have to look it up. Hold on…

Okay, okay, apparently it has two meanings. One of them is basically “pipe dreams”, which, while ironic to MY particularly sarcastic mind, is not appropriate. The other, “a soaring of the imagination”, is on the money. See, one of the very best things about getting my life back (by which I mean, being sober, having my wits about me) is that I begin to dream again. When I am in my other state, there is no dreaming, other than the dream of being myself again. And that often seems quite far-fetched.

This morning, I am supposed to be doing other things. I promised a counselor that I would work on some other writing she wanted me to do, which just seems a million times less appealing because a) I’ve done it at least seven thousand times already, and b) it was assigned. I did, however, do some penance in the form of other horrible paperwork. I jumped through some hoops on a supplemental insurance website, and filled out the painstaking little bubbles on my disability paperwork. I experienced a brief and unkind rush of joy when I realized that the bulk of the bubbles needed to be filled in by a doctor. The rush was further flushed out when it occurred to me that I have an appointment with exactly the correct doctor at ten this morning. Neener-neener, doc.

But my head keeps wandering off to dream about the life that is still laying itself out before me. I don’t know what, really, will become of me. I do know that nothing is promised. I am trying, still, to make the very most of this day. But what is the harm in dreaming? I think it is valuable, really.

I am dreaming a lot, lately, of going to Hawaii with my oldest daughter. Now this is her dream, really, more than mine- but do you know how flattering it is to have a kid who wants her travelling partner to be you, her MOTHER? Yesterday, we had a little spat, where she basically said (while I was in the midst of doing something for her) that she hates my personality- at least, that is what I heard. After much filler (meaning I hollered about a lot of things that were more acceptable than telling her why I was really upset) I was able to see, and to tell her, that she had hurt my feelings. That I felt like she hated who I was, which sucked, because I didn’t know how, nor do I really want, to be someone else. The big miracle was that she actually heard me. She said “Mom, you are my best friend. You are the one I go to with everything. I wake up earlier in the morning just so I can have coffee with you, and talk. But that also means you get on my nerves sometimes.” Well. That is…that is a pretty hefty compliment, don’t you think? I am a very lucky woman. I guess maybe I am not quite the horrible parent I feel like sometimes.

So, I have been dreaming about going to Hawaii with her. Also, I have been dreaming about my future life. The way I would love to live on an island (not really a tropical one, although that is open for discussion) that people must Ferry out to see me on. Wouldn’t that be cool? I know that I am not a city type girl, although I would love to be familiar with at least one big city, so that I felt comfortable while wandering its streets. But when I think about my future life, it is always nature and a quite place, a slower pace, that I see for myself. My future holds lots of mornings, and, I hope, days, like this- full of writing, and peace, books, coffee, beautiful surroundings, peace in my heart.

I hope there are many long, meandering walks in my future. Lots of stargazing, lots of sunrise watching, many, many walks on familiar beaches. I hope there are good, kind, people there. Friends who know me and love me, friends who will tell me the truth when I need to hear it. I hope there is big, big love there, too, someone I can admire and adore and feel safe with, AND challenged. Definitely someone with a sharp mind, who can keep me on my toes. Someone who reads. That is a must.

The future in my mind is shaping up into a beautiful picture. This is not something I could have said a few weeks ago. I am so blessed, as I often say, and so, so grateful. But I do have to get that damn paperwork done. Have a beautiful day.