Fun

A is for Acceptance

Acceptance is a difficult concept to deal with, even if we’re not talking about alcoholism. None of us wants to be unacceptable, or excluded from a group, whether we’re small children, adolescents, or older adults. The synonyms for acceptance are many, among them approval and recognition.

I know a young woman who is gay. She has found a woman she loves, is very happy, and engaged to be married. Most people she knows are very happy for her happiness, but not all are as accepting. Some are even judgmental, saying she and her partner would always be welcome in their home, but they would never attend her wedding. This makes no sense to me, and seems more than a little hypocritical. If you accept the fact that someone is gay, you recognize it, you approve of the lifestyle she/he has chosen.

With my sister, it’s different, but somewhat the same. She’s been sober for a while now, and attended several family gatherings as a sober alcoholic. I don’t drink often, mostly at major holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, my mom laughs at me, because I will see a drink recipe shown on The Chew or something, get all excited about it, buy all the ingredients, bring them home, and then the liquor sits in our cupboards, because I’ve immediately lost interest. :P)

Back to my sister. I never used to drink around her. I thought it was a sign of solidarity if I joined her in not drinking. Recently, I’ve realized it was actually codependency, and I was not allowing her a sense of self-esteem, and achievement all her own. She’s very capable, and strong in her own right. But I’m sure she feels that exclusion, that non-acceptance among non-alcoholics, even though she’s accepted by her recovering alcoholic friends. I still laugh when I remember going with her to an open talk AA meeting at Sacred Heart in downtown Detroit. I was so nervous I wouldn’t even smoke, even though I badly wanted a cigarette. One of her friends finally leaned over to me and said, “So, do you have any vices?”

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 417)

Rejoining The Human Race

first day on earth castellucciAmazingly, it’s been almost five months since I last posted to this blog. And I pay for it! LOL  I’m not sure I still remember how to do it. Have I been through some struggles in that time? Of course, but you know what? So have you, so have we all! I’ve experienced some major triumphs, too. Do tell me yours.

Here’s another thing. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I’ve really missed you guys. I’ve missed the camaraderie, the comments, the back-and-forth, and just knowing someone out there is reading silly things I’ve written.

You probably don’t know this, but there is a radio station out of Detroit (near where I live) which plays all Christmas music starting November 1st. Right? A little whacked, but I love it since it’s my favorite holiday. In fact, I was thinking of going to buy lights to put up around the ceiling. And, for the life of me, I cannot understand why it’s so important to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to put up the tree, even if it’s fake. Seriously?

Well, I won’t keep blabbing on and on. I read in a blogging book that the shorter the post the better (we’re all so busy these days!).

This will be my new schedule for posting: SU-T-TH-S. From now until just about Christmas I’ll be writing about trying to get my Christmas gifts crocheted in time. Yikes!

See you Tuesday. Until then, take care of yourself, and take care of each other.

 

Organize, Order, Originate

pig in bootsAs I started to work on my wood burning project (which I won’t be able to share with you anyway, because it’s for a family member, and I can’t take any chances online), I got this panicky ache in my chest. I started to think about everything else I have to do before Christmas. I know, it seems just too weird to think about Christmas in June, but not when you’re making all your gifts.

So I decided to write down everything I’m making; to get organized, and make a list (not including the wood burning project, since that will be done before Christmas).

Here it is:

  1. two blankets (just have to sew together)
  2. spirals rug — also easy crochet rugs
  3. crochet for charity scarf
  4. shimmery afghan
  5. easy going crochet blanket
  6. inside out blanket
  7. crochet brimmed flapper hat
  8. crocheted bookmarks
  9. circles afghan
  10. reader’s wrap
  11. snowflake ornament
  12. octie throw
  13. festive garland
  14. Christmas trees (small table top)
  15. Thai garden collar
  16. tactical squares throw
  17. Judy’s warm hugs blanket
  18. crochet basket (w/twine)

The ones that are bold and in italics are projects I have decided will be fairly simple and take much less time, maybe a day to do (I’ll make more than one snowflake ornament, of course!). My mom thinks I’m crazy and am trying to kill myself. It’s funny. I was worried about her a couple of weeks ago because of her diabetes (her sugar was going up and down). I said to her, “What am I going to do if you just don’t wake up in the morning?” And she replied, “Well, do you know where my funeral clothes are?” I was shocked, but when I share that with other people they just laugh that my mother has all her funeral clothes ready and in one place (shoes and all) so that I don’t have to deal with that  when she dies.

So when I showed this big list (plus practicing the piano to prepare two new George Winston pieces for her 88th birthday in October) she asked me, “Do I need to be planning for your funeral?” Ha ha ha.

Oh darn. I forgot the blankie I’m going to make for Henry, Geoffrey and Emily’s baby, who’ll be one around that time.

What do you think? Too much? Well, I’ll do what I can. When it gets down to the wire, I’m sure I’ll have to do some cutting and editing. 😦

Arrivederci!!

P.S. I will not be posting again until Wednesday. I will have family in town from this afternoon through Tuesday. Enjoy time off without me! LOL

Granny, I Think I Love You!!

wpid-20150603_182604_lls.jpgGranny square, that is. I’m in love with the granny square, as you can probably tell from this picture. What we have here are two blankets that only need the squares to be stitched together, and one partial blanket (the green and white squares on the left side). I have 54 out of 88 squares done, and then I’ll start connecting all the squares to make blankets.

What do I love so much about granny squares? Oh, just so much. I think the sameness of it is the best thing, for me. It’s a perfect square, it never changes. Sometimes it’s all one color, sometimes the colors change, but it’s always a square. It can be small or it can be as large as a blanket—-but it’s still the same granny square. The same rules apply. Always in the corners you have 3 double crochets–2 chains–3 double crochets. Always. If it doesn’t look right, you know you dropped one of those stitches, and that’s one of the things I love so much, the simplicity.

I love that it’s portable. Not all crochet is so portable, though we try to make it so. But–a square of crochet one can take just about anywhere. It’s convenient, it lends itself to your life.

Not everyone loves the granny square. Some think it’s outdated, and some just don’t like the pattern that it makes. Me, oh *sigh* I will forever be in love with the granny square and everything there is about it.

Next time I’ll show you my wood burning project. 😀

Arrivederci!hookers

 

Performance Anxiety Redux

wpid-20150526_080944.jpgAll right. This is not an apology, this is an explanation. There’s a reason I have been so flaky lately with my posts . . . well, this whole entire month, specifically.

Last year, when I tried to crochet Christmas presents, I didn’t start working until like October or even November, and of course didn’t get finished in time. I have a large family. So this year I began in January. So far I have two granny square blankets crocheted. I just have to put them together. I’m working on my third (pictured above) which looks like snowflakes! I have 30 out of 88 squares done.

Anyway, we’re here to talk about performance anxiety, and the causes and helps for it. The three main causes of PA are:

  • Mild social anxiety.
  • Inexperience in public.
  • Strong distaste for failure

As with most anxiety problems, it’s hard to know the exact cause, but performance anxiety is also self-sustaining, because it creates a mindset that focuses only on mistakes and seeing others as judging you. One small mistake, even if no one notices, or one person in the audience that looks unhappy and all of your fears are reinforced, causing more performance anxiety to happen later. No matter the effects of anxiety, there is no denying that anxiety itself can create more anxiety. The more you are worried about your performance, the more your performance suffers.

Some strategies which can help in overcoming performance anxiety are:

  • Pre- and Post- Presentation Positive Writing Exercises – Since anxiety is a problem with negative thinking, one way to combat anxiety is to force yourself to think positively. An example of this type of exercise includes writing out 10 or 20 genuinely positive thoughts about how you performed or will perform. It’s not perfect, but it will stop you from focusing only on the negative.
  • Positive Support – You also need support from others. It’s easy to think about the negatives when you mess up – or when you have the possibility of messing up. But if you can find people in your life that are always supportive, you won’t care as much about any mistakes because others in your life will make things easier. Positive support is very helpful for this type of anxiety.
  • Happy Distractions – Much of performance anxiety is not what happens at the time of the event, but what occurs before and after it. This is when the mind can wander into negative thoughts. Keeping yourself mentally active and busy prevents the mind from focusing on the negatives, especially if you can focus on more positive activities like going outdoors and spending fun time with friends.
  • Practicing Under Pressure – It is often hard to practice under pressure, because practice itself rarely has that much pressure. But if you can get used to being under pressure situations, then when you actually face some type of pressure it won’t cause as much anxiety. For example, if you are giving a speech, do it in front of smaller crowds and work your way up to the bigger ones. If you are playing sports, practice playing where people challenge you with noise and energy – just like you would experience in a big game. This will help you get used to some of the components of pressure situations, even if it doesn’t resemble it completely.

 

Fino a domani, I miei amici! Mwah!

 

The Reality About Anxiety

fine

Take a long look at this sort of Justine Bateman Look-alike (or maybe it really is her). Do you think she has sand in her eye, or do think maybe she’s crying? Yet the message she’s sending out “to the world” is “I’m fine.” Have you ever been there, done that? I know I have, in the middle of tears, great big sobbing-blubbering-get-that-girl-a-hanky tears . . . I’m like “It’s o-o-okay. I’m fine.”

Then we have this fellow, some sort of coach, but I don’t follow sports all that chewing lipmuch, so… But unless you’re also someone who gets anxious, you might not notice this when you look at him. He chews the inside of his mouth. It’s something I do when I get stressed, too, because it’s the least obvious of picking on my fingernails or pacing. He really looks worried, though. I say, if it helps him in this moment (until he can find something that doesn’t hurt the inside of his cheek), there are worse things he could be doing.

mailboxShe’s being funny, of course, and referring to getting enough exercise walking back and forth to pick up the mail. But I’ve mentioned how difficult it is for me to pick up the mail, right? Sometimes my mom and I have to wait a few days for me to get up the courage, like I’ll pick up three days worth of mail at the same time. Ugh. Such an idiot, not being able to do such a supposedly simple thing. Well, agoraphobia can be like that.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about pretty much everything. So the cartoon dreadof the hammer about to come down on the nail actually did make me chuckle a little because it’s how I so often feel and I was like, “Yes! That’s it!” Especially the fact he’s so self-absorbed he doesn’t think enough to look down and see what happened to the other nail. That happens, we get so caught up in our own anxiety it can affect our relationships.deep breathingI hope this ecard doesn’t offend anyone. The fact is, anxiety–all forms of it–is a serious matter that deserves care and needs to be understood. In fact, during April’s Blogging from A-Z I plan to do a whole series on anxiety, which I hope will be both educational and fun(funny?). If you’ve read this far, God bless you, Gesundheit, and thank you for not smoking.

Just Relax

RelaxThere must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. ~Chinese proverb

Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at other times move forward with it. ~Ray Bradbury

It seems like everywhere I go people are talking about relaxation these days. My therapist asks me about my stress level, like it’s something that can be quantified, measured on a daily basis. lying down

I probably mentioned already that I’m participating in an study for bipolar disordered people on a site called Optimism. I love the name, but the site is both complicated and ambiguous.

The site tracks your mood every day, how well you coped, hours slept, quality of sleep, whether or not you exercised, and took medications, if relevant (here’s where I find some ambiguity. It doesn’t ask if your meds make you feel like you’re on auto-pilot, or so thirsty you could drink a gallon of water and it wouldn’t be enough, so tired you’d just run a marathon…only you hadn’t). It then goes into three different categories: stay well strategies, triggers, and symptoms. 

Relaxation fits under the Stay well strategies, along with adequate sleep, plenty of water, and routine, just to name a few. I use a relaxation cd daily. One of the choices on the cd is A Walk on the Beach. The narrator uses the elevator technique to take me deeper down, until I’m so relaxed I’m actually somewhere way in the basement. Ha ha ha

If only it would stay. Not minutes after that, I checked my email, and there was something from an editor or promoter of a book I’ve signed up to read on Netgalley. Now, I love reading more than anything, and I just finished my third book for them. I have three more books in the queue before the book this promoter spoke of. All the relaxation I’d just had given to me went right out the window. I had no idea what to say to this person, so I took my usual route. Say nothing, and keep plodding along. My dog, Lucy, would have peed on the email and gone on her happy way. 😀 We should all be so lucky.

dog

Gambling on Goals

goalsGoals are so crazy popular, aren’t they? I mean, I went looking for one quote on goals for this post, just one, and they were all so contradictory. Some said set your goals high and don’t stop ’til you achieve them. Others said it starts with the spirit, and if that wasn’t true, forget about it. Then there’s the one who says to set small goals and build upon them. So even the meaning of the word goal is somewhat sketchy.

I know of a famous, at least famous on my terms, writing website, which has a whole board (forum) dedicated to the topic of goals and the achievement (or not) thereof. I belonged to it at one time. I did find it somewhat useful, but mostly I felt bad about myself for not achieving the goals I’d set out for the week. I might or might not have been the only person who felt that way, but it’s interesting to note, don’t you think? dont-worry-about-goals

Now, I know I could be feeling this way because I’m still coming off a manic phase and it’s hard for me to focus on any one thing. At Goodreads I’m reading five books at a time still, one of which is a book I’m reviewing for Netgalley. If you haven’t checked out Netgalley, you really should. And then there is Optimism, and the six month’s study I voluntarily upped for. Don’t forget the origami cranes. 😀 My brain also recently lit on zentangle, because it’s supposed to be so good for stress. I bought books and everything. I’ve only made one so far, but my mind is studying and learning (which I think is the opposite of what it’s supposed to do). How is a brain like that supposed to do anything except make it through the day? LOL strongest

With the above thought in mind, I took myself to the gym yesterday morning at 4:00 a.m. I just did it. My goal was to get in there, to buy a pair of headphones, sit on a cycle, and ride for at least fifteen minutes. My biggest worry about achieving the goal was, of course, the stares I might get. But–surprisingly–people didn’t even look at  me; even when the gentleman behind the counter had a hard time getting the cash register to work and it took what seemed like an eternity. No one stared at me while I fumbled with the outer packaging of the headphones, or while I figured out how exactly the cycle worked. In fact no one seemed quite otherwise occupied. Such a monumental surprise for the fat girl who expected finger points and taunts.

I had planned on going later that day (6-7 was a great time, because people were eating dinner) and every day after that. Then I got sick. Really suddenly, like wham, you had enough fun, no more fun for you. I know my thinking is distorted because I’m sick, so I’ll try not to take that too seriously.

Here’s my point. In between setting goals, life happens. So we need to become as flexible as a Gumby toy. Things can change in an instant. So, what am I saying, that I’m not going to the gym anymore? Heck no! But I couldn’t go today, and my body feels like I got hit by a Mack truck (Say, did you know there’s a r/l thing as a Mack truck? I saw one when I was driving a while back!). I’m saying sometimes it may be two steps forward one step back, but there’s always that one step forward.

Don’t forget to loveyourself intensely during this process. It’s hard. You’ll want to rail against everything. But don’t. You’ll be okay. Hang in there, and trust God. Trust your friends.

Peace out. xxlifer

The Problem and The Answer

Speechless_Bubble_by_applesauce_x3 I’m not often speechless. It’s not usually hard for me to know what to say, but writing in this blog has been so hard for me lately, and that’s not like me. It’s like I feel like I’m supposed to have the “answers,” as if 1) there are certain answers one has to follow as a member of Al-Anon and 2) I know them.

Let’s get a couple things squared away. The only “answers” I really know in Al-Anon are told to me (either through the other members, the big book of Al-Anon, my sponsor, whatever) by my higher power. And what I don’t know will be revealed in time. I trust that. I trust it as easily as I trust the sun to rise every morning and to set every night. There is a God, and it’s not me.

Which brings me to the second part of what I’ve been feeling and why it’s been so hard to write lately. Not only are there certain answers, but I have them. Alcoholic boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/parent/sibling/friend? Just come to me. I’ll cure what ails you. NOT. So not. What I say on here, what I share on here, on this pithy little blog, is just my own experience, strength and hope. I don’t have the answers anymore than the next guy.

What scares me is when I write posts like “Five Ways to Tell if You’re Codependent,” because it makes it sound like I’m an expert, which – we’ve just just established – I’m really not.

So if you’re here for answers, you’re in the wrong place. If you’re here because you just want to hang with another struggling, trying-to-get-her-act-together codependent, you are so in the right place. And man, can we have some fun. Because my life is anything but boring. I’m worried about two people right now, my mom (who is not an alcoholic) and my sister (who is). More on that tomorrow.

Peace out.

Your Call Is Very Important To Us

pleaseholdcover James bumped right into Patsy’s head, who had been helping him with decorations, when the phone rang. He dropped the Happy New Year banner, so that it swung precariously from one taped edge.

“Patsy, it’s the phone.” He tripped over a blue balloon, caught his hand on the corner of his desk, and landed in the chair, which sent him spinning into the corner. The phone rang again.

“James, the phone!” Patsy rubbed her head where it had collided with James, and paced back and forth, her poodle skirt making quiet swishing noises with every move. Patsy refused to update her wardrobe to the 21st century.

James pulled his chair back toward his desk. The phone rang a third time. He sharpened his pencil and pulled a book open to a fresh, clean page, flattening it with his hand. The phone rang a fourth time. He wrote the date.

James punched the blinking line, the only blinking line on the phone, and picked up the receiver.

“You Matter Crisis Hotline. Can you hold please?” Before waiting for an answer, he put the caller on hold.

James returned to the book. He wrote the day next to the date, looked at his watch and noted the time, and also wrote that down. Then he returned to his call.

“Thank you for holding, and Happy New Year. This is the hotline where you always matter. How may I help you?”

“My girlfriend left me on New Year’s Eve. Said she was reassessing her life and I wasn’t in it. Oh, and my dog died. I don’t see any reason to go on.”

“Can I please have your name, so I know what to call you?” James adjusted his paisley tie and wrote down in his book the phrases “girlfriend left” and “dog died.”

“Fred. My name is Fred. And – And I feel so alone. Everything is meaningless. There’s no point in anything.”

“Well, Fred, things’ll look better in the morning, after a good night’s sleep. That’s what I always say.”

“I’m an insomniac.” Fred’s monotone voice did not deter James from his mission.

“It’s always darkest before the dawn, Fred.”

“What does that even mean?” came the reply over the phone, which now sounded a bit more annoyed than depressed.

“Well, I think it means things are never as bad as they seem, and we should always keep our chin up, buttercup.” James wrote in the book “insomniac, aggressive.”

“She took all my Bruce Springsteen records.” Fred sobbed.

“You were too too good for her, Fred. And there are plenty of other fish in the sea.”

“If I was so great she would have stuck with me. And I don’t want a fish, I want a girlfriend. Do you actually get crisis training?” Fred shouted.

“Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we just have to look for the reason.” James flipped through the allowed response book and desperately searched for something more to say. He wrote down “girlfriend took Springsteen records.”

“I had the best dog in the world. Snickers. A yellow lab. He used to be able to get bottles of soda for me from the fridge. Do you know how amazing that is?” Fred’s sobs were bordering on hysteria.

“Fred, Fred, you know-you know can always get another dog, just like you can always get more Springsteen records.”

“Oh, oh, dogs are so replaceable, aren’t they?”

“You know, God never gives us more than we can handle, Fred.”

“What?! What the heck does that mean?”

The phone rang.

“Fred, I’m going to have to put you on hold. Your call is very important to us.”

James punched the next line. “You Matter Crisis Line. Can you hold please?”

THE END

620 words

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (that I may or may not manage weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Peace out.

 

The Wisdom To Know The Difference

detach I went to a meeting this morning. I was so grateful there was an Al-Anon meeting on Christmas Eve morning that I could attend. The topic around the meeting was taking care of ourselves, but I heard a smattering of frustration and fear on the topic of holidays in general, my own included. I talked about how I was trying to remember the Three C’s: I didn’t cause it, can’t control it, and can’t cure it . . . and the Three M’s to avoid for myself: manipulation, martyrdom, and mothering.

It all comes down to the wisdom of knowing the difference between things I can change and things I can’t. It should be such a simple thing. All I can change is myself or things about myself. Period. Can’t change circumstances or other people.

Circumstances will be different for me this Christmas Eve with my family. I can’t control the outcome. I can’t control whether or not people have a good time, or are upset about something. I can control my own responses and reactions. That’s about it. There’s not a lot I can do otherwise.

When I think of the word detachment it helps. If I’m too enmeshed with someone or something, I can’t possibly back off enough to even BREATHE, let alone know the difference.

Have a great day today. Whatever you do, take care of yourself. Even if you just need to go to a quiet corner and meditate, do that.

Peace out.

You Are Enough!

be you Accept everything about yourself—I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end—no apologies, no regrets.
— HENRY KISSINGER

Here’s something not everyone knows about me. As much as I love the holidays, it’s still hard for me to be around other people for too long, even family. I never know what to talk about. I’m on disability, so I can’t talk about work. I do read the news, so I can talk about that to some degree, but I don’t argue well. 😉 So when it comes to arguing a point, I always lose. I don’t mean argument as in a fight or something; just differing views, I’m not good at defending my own. Never have been.

So I get a little nervous as Christmas Eve and Day approach. When I see family, what can we talk about? I’ve heard advice in the past: “news, weather, and sports.” Well, okay, that can work to a certain extent.

What I find most helpful, when I’m stuck, is to ask about the other person. What’s been happening with them? People love to talk about themselves (well, most people 😛  ). One question can lead to other questions and before you know it, you’re having a whole dialogue and it’s all okay.

But here’s something I need to remember this year, and maybe you do, too. I’m enough, just the way I am. In fact, I’m wonderful. There are unique qualities about me: my sense of humor, compassion, ability to empathize, that make me a good listener and a fine companion for the holidays.

What about you? What are your unique qualities that make you wonderful and fun to be around? I’m sure you can think of just one. Here’s a trick. Do like I just did. Write it out. Then say it out loud. Even if you don’t believe it yet. Because it’s true.

And hey, it’s all you. 😀

Peace out.

Volunteering As A Way Of Belonging

Ever hear of the 80/20 rule? I used to be a member of a Southern Baptist church, and this rule definitely applied there. 80% of the work is done by the same 20% of the people. So, when a new project or something would come up, and volunteers were asked for, a few minutes of strained silence would ensue before the same people would inevitably volunteer; which, of course can lead to burnout and disillusionment.

It’s no different with any other organization, whether it be a 12-step meeting or a community choir. Someone has to volunteer. Someone has to step up, take a risk, do something outside of his/her comfort zone (difficult for codependents because they tend to counter-balance, thinking they shouldn’t volunteer for anything, to take care of themselves).

This happened to me recently in my Choralaires group. One of the tenors, a gentleman, had been making the coffee for our break for . . . I think at least a year. It involves bringing the coffee supplies home with you every week, including the large coffee pot thingy.

The first week I was there he wanted to pass this mantle of responsibility and everyone was very quiet. I thought about it but didn’t say anything. Then at break I mentioned I might try and the next week it became my responsibility. I don’t know how long I will do it, but it gives me a stronger feeling of belonging, like I’m doing something to contribute.

Lots of people – often the newbies – make coffee at AA and Al-Anon meetings. It’s easy enough and gives one a reason to show up and help out. At least you know you have to be there because without you there’s gonna be coffee-less angry people. 😉 Not a pleasant thought.

Other people help put the chairs back the way they were before, or throw away paper cups, or meet and greet people at the doors. The possibilities are endless.

What will YOU do this week as a way to push out of your comfort zone?

What Happens When We Try To Change Too Quickly?

Good morning! It’s good to be back after such a long time away. I’ve been really busy with an extended birthday celebration, and then my Senior Choral production of The Bright Lights of Broadway.

Which brings me to our topic. What happens when we try to change things in our lives too quickly? In The Bright Lights of Broadway, we have cast members who are as young as me and as old as 96. Seven of the cast members this year are from an independent living facility. They are usually in the audience, but love it so much, this year they wanted to participate.

Like any other Broadway performance, we have a lot of costume changes in “Bright Lights.” For me specifically, there are three I have to pay attention to, and I miss some of the “all choir” songs because of it, which sort of bums me out, especially Ascotte Gavotte, which is from the musical My Fair Lady.

Anyway, the costume changes can get a little hairy even on good days. Joanne (from Independence Village), who is one of the plates in Be Our Guest, like me, and also one of the dancers in Wash That Man, also like me, got a little confused during our third performance and came out all dressed for Wash That Man when it was time for Be our Guest. So, she had on capri pants and a t-shirt, keds… And Gladys and I were wearing our black pants, white long-sleeved dress shirts, red vests, red bow ties, and hefting our plates on our backs. Not that the plates are heavy, just bulky and cumbersome. 😉

That performance we went out with two plates instead of three, and it was just fine.

I think it can safely be said in life it happens often enough, when we try to rush change, we inevitably end up with something far different from what we expected, or we end up in a confused muddle.

Fortunately, we are usually more in control of our change than costume changes in between scene set-ups. We have time to plan, to think, to take a breath. We have time to pray, to tuck into our Higher Power for some much needed help.

I pray you are all well. Change just happens gradually sometimes, and we can move it along with help from God.

Peace out.

 

Self-worth

 I think this says it all. I will be gone for three days but I will be back

on Tuesday.

Going to my cousin’s cottage in Saugatuck to celebrate my 50th

birthday which is on the 5th of September!

I hope to have a lot of fun. See you when I get back!

Have a lovely, lovely weekend.

Peace out.

Change Through Spontaneity!

I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m a planner. I don’t like surprises. And it was a huge step for me when I invited my ubersponsor over yesterday morning for tea (or coffee, whatever she wanted).

Everything was set. I had just finished straightening out the family room, the kitchen was clean, the downstairs bathroom (the one I mostly use), my bedroom . . . I was as ready as I was going to get. And I was excited. My UBERSPONSOR was coming to my HOUSE!! You have to know that I never let anyone come over. Not my friends, anyway. Mom’s friends come over frequently, and family of course.

Then, my cell rang. It was Uber, herself. Plumbing problems at the house, she couldn’t get away, was it possible for me to come to her instead?

Now, I’d been to Uber’s house a zillion times. We often meet at her house. I didn’t hesitate, just said “That sounds terrific. I’ll be there in half an hour.”

A year ago, heck, six months ago, I might have said, “Are you kidding?”  I don’t care if the roof is caving in!! Do you know what I’ve been going through expecting you to come this morning? Drop everything and get your butt over here right now.”

Yeah. Not very attractive or kind, is it? Uber would not have dropped a single thing, by the way. She would have listened to me rant and rave, then very kindly have restated her problem and her position and that she was sorry she couldn’t be there today. 😀 I love her so much!!

But I’m amazed – now that I can look back – that I’ve changed that much in a year. I can be spontaneous now. It’s okay. It’s not that bigga deal. It’s not the end of the world. I can deal. I don’t have to control every single moment of my life.

Wow. 

Peace out.

Feeling Terrified But Doing It Anyway

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, folks, and that means it’s time for a gathering of my friends in the Insecure Writers Support Group. Here we share our fears, our anxieties, our hopes and dreams. If you would like to join, just click here: Insecure Writers Support Group. We”d love to have you!

I did something this past month that terrified me. I submitted my short story, “Damaged,” to Glimmer Train Press. I wrote it, rewrote, cut some, rewrote it, and cut some more, until it was about 756 words (It was an entry for the Very Short Fiction Award, which tops out at 3k, but can be any length shorter).

Then I gave it to a good friend of mine, Bonnie, who will be forever in my debt, to crit for me. She told me what would work even better, and what didn’t work as well.

By the time I was finished, it was still flash fiction, and I was a little worried about submitting flash to a literary journal, you know? But here’s why I stopped being afraid. The story is the story. To add to it falsely just to make it fit into a mold you think it needs to be, cheats the story, and – that’s not right. Not right for me, and more importantly not right for the story.

I had shared the beginning of the story here with you all last month. It’s fictionalized, based on a true story. So I thought about using a pen name. Then I got braver and decided to use my real name when I submitted.

It’s been a full week and the status of my submission is “in process,” which means it hasn’t been rejected. In past experience, if Glimmer Train flat-out rejects a story, it gets done within the first few days. They’ll notify us by Oct. 1st, unless we’re one of the 1st,2nd, or 3rd place winners, in which case we’ll get an email or phone call the week before that.

Maybe I should stop checking my status every day. 😉

This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Check some of the other writers out there, too. We’re a great group of people! And join us if you like. 🙂

Peace out.

Steps to Success; How Sweet It Is!

How sweet it is, indeed!!

Sunday afternoon I went to something called The Irregular Writing Meetup of the Mid-Michigan Prose and Writing Group. It was called Irregular because it normally meets on Tuesday nights in Ann Arbor.

A factoid about me: I have a touch of social phobia. So lots of times, I desperately want to do things, but I find myself unable. So far, there had been three times I keyed in yes I would be to the Tuesday night meetup, and hadn’t showed, out of nightmarish fear.

What changed this time?

1. I asked for help. I told my friends on FaceBook and my therapist and my super sponsor, and other friends about the meetup. I TOLD them I was scared, and what I was scared of. They wrote back encouraging words, told me things they know to be true about me and other writers, and made it seem a lot less scary.

2. I prayed. If you pray, of course, pray. I used to think it was silly to do this, because God already knows everything about me, so He would already know I’m terrified. But – it keeps me humble, and it also brings me closer to God at the same time. It helps me feel that conscious contact with something greater than myself. And I know He’ll be right there with me.

3. I saw it going well. I pictured it in my mind. I saw myself walking in the Cafe Ambrosia door, NOT tripping and falling flat on my face, sitting with the other writers, having intelligent discussion, laughing, supporting each other in the loneliness that can sometimes grip us . . . Try that the next time you want to succeed.

4. I left early enough to feel calm when I got there. Or – I tried to. It was my intention. But I left the house at 1:10 without checking my laptop for the address to input Stella, the GPS. So then I thought, “Well, I’ll just check at the 7-11 when I stop and get an iced tea for the road.” DUH. Last time I looked, 7-11 does not have Wi-Fi. So I had to hop back to my house and check it in the drive way. By the time I REALLY left, and was on the highway, it was 1:25. Stella informed me it would be 1:58 by the time I got there. It was 1:57. 😛 So there, Stella. But really, try to leave early enough so you don’t feel rushed – so that you even have time to settle in, by a coffee, set yourself up, the usual.

5. I relaxed and had fun. I really did. I don’t know how that happened, but – I thought the writing group was scheduled from 2-4 pm, but then when the group’s founder told me they all actually stay until 5:00, I ended up staying too! Usually, I’m the first one out the door.

Those are my steps to success. They worked for me, and I hope they will work for you. I truly had a blast, and I would be going tonight, but they are setting up for the Ann Arbor Art Fair tonight, and I would have to be crazy to go. The several people that ARE going maybe should be checked out. 😉

Have a great day everyone. Peace out.

 

 

Let Go and Let God in Everything

In white water rafting, if you go against the current, if you don’t paddle very hard toward where the flow of water is going, you’re likely to capsize. I know this from experience. I only did it once. 😉 It was enough.

Today at Senior Choral practice there was a lot of uncertainty. Those of us who had been there last Friday and auditioned for solo or small group singing parts had expected to hear about possible songs we were going to be singing.

James, our fearless leader, said, “Now, we’re picking songs based on what we think might sound good for you based on how you sounded to us. You might not agree or you might be disappointed. I’m asking you to go with the flow and trust us on this. If you need to, go in your car and scream and kick and yell and then come back inside and be polite and respectful of our decisions. I’ll even buy you a drink.” He smiled.

Only the soloists were assigned songs today. So I still don’t know what song I’ll be singing or who I’ll be paired off with. But this reminds me so much of Let Go and Let God. We place the issue in God’s hands and leave the outcome with Him. I trust that He has my best interests at heart.

I’m already not disappointed. How could I be? I’m taking risks left and right, making new friends, having a blast . . .

If I go against the current, if I fight God and take it out of His hands, or . . . you know try to help Him ever so kindly by telling Him what I think should happen . . . I’ll get water in my nose and down my throat and, oh man what a mess. That really sucks bad.

Life, lived in the moment, not expecting anything but enjoying the moment . . . is a little slice of heaven here on earth.

Peace out.

What I Learned About “Listen And Learn”

Let’s be real. There’s so much information we are confronted with on a daily basis, it’s a wonder we can absorb even the  infinitesimal amounts we do, without losing our minds. It’s even worse if you are a student. But think about it. From the time that we wake up, we are bombarded with thoughts, facts, questions, demands, statements, exclamations, commercials, hypotheses, fantasies . . . and all of that gets sorted through the amazing filter of our brains.

Al-Alon’s slogan, “Listen and Learn,” reminds us that if we have the self-discipline to be quiet and pay attention to others’ words, we can learn a tremendous amount about ourselves and our world. –How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics, p. 99

I don’t believe in coincidence anymore. When something happens to me that just seems to click for me, like it was supposed to happen, I call it a “God thing.”

A God thing happened for me Wednesday night when I went to a meeting and listened to the person opening the meeting as she read about detachment (Please do click on this –  I don’t normally tell my gentle readers what to do, but this is pure gold. Read it.).

As I’ve been praying for help in getting off the train (no, I’m not all the way off, for I still carry this cloak of despair), I listened intently. I listened to everyone talk around the circle before I shared. There was laughter, as there always is at these meetings, and there was plenty of wisdom.

On my way out the door, the woman who had opened the meeting stopped me. She wanted to share a personal story with me. She knew about that train, she said. Her therapist had told her it’s normal to feel some grief after you have detached and pulled away from a loved one who is bent on self-destruction. It’s like, yes there is quiet and there is peace and there is not the constant tugging on your sleeve to drive you here and drive you there . . .

But it is never easy to watch someone self-destruct. Anyone who tells you they have detached and it doesn’t bother them a lick that their loved one is dying or pickling themselves is lying. 

What lightens it is getting involved in the living around me. A couple of hours ago I got back from auditions for solos and small group ensembles for the September production of our Senior Broadway musical. I’m a Tenor Alto. I was nervous but so excited to be trying something new in my life. We won’t know what parts or songs we will be singing until Monday.

Woot! Life can be very very good.

Peace out.

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