Monday, May 31, 2010

Catchy Phrases Decoded

It's been awhile since "Detach" has decoded any catchy phrases, but to refresh your memory, this all started when we were discussing AA phrases awhile back. I was talking about phrases I'd seen all my life on bumper stickers and other assorted places, but never really knew exactly what they meant. Phrases like "Easy Does It" or "One Day At A Time".

Today's Catchy Phrase came to me when I recently watched the film "My Name Is Bill W". This is the story of AA founder Bill Wilson, known as Bill W. in AA circles. In the film, Bill W is played by actor James Woods. I enjoyed the film, and suggest anyone who lives with or loves an alcoholic or any other type of addict, watch it. It will help you understand the complex disease of addiction, as well as the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous.

For anyone who has been on a cruise, you know that a flyer is slipped under your door each night, outlining the next day's events aboard ship. On my first cruise, which happened to be ten days at sea, I noticed that every single morning there was an "activity" called "Friends of Bill W". At the time, I wondered what this might be. Someone later told me it was a code for an AA meeting. I remember it seemed a little odd to me that someone would go to an AA meeting while on vacation, and it really seemed odd to me that they might consider going to an AA meeting every day. In the past few years that I've learned more about AA, it doesn't seem odd at all. Many addicts find they must have that daily support. And not just for awhile, but for the rest of their lives. I have a cousin that hasn't missed more than a handful of days at AA since the 1980's. Even when he comes here to visit, he's grabbing the phone book looking for a group. Vacation can be an especially difficult time to stay sober.

So the next time you see
"Friends of Bill W."
you'll know what it means.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

To Mary With Love

I was reminiscing this week about a very important person in my life. I was thinking about Mary. When I was about 26 years old, (around 1990) I made the realization that things with my first marriage were not about to get any better. I started accepting the fact that it was falling apart. David and I had separated a couple of times and by this point I knew all about his long time mistress (to whom he is still married). Faced with the possibility of being out on my own and independent for the first time in my life, I knew I needed help, but I wasn't sure where to turn. My friend Old Beth told me there was a great young counselor at her church named Scott. I made an appointment. I've mentioned Scott before in this journal, and one day I'll write more about him, but today I want to talk about someone Scott introduced me to....Mary.

My very first session with Scott was tragic. I was barely able to hold it together to tell him about my cheating husband and my impending divorce. Scott told me his church had a support group for separated and newly divorced people and that one of his other patients attended. He said he felt like I should meet this woman. He also said the meeting was about to start and asked if he could walk me over to the activities building right then. I really, really didn't want to do it, but I did.

Mary was walking in to the meeting with her son, Chuck. Scott introduced us all and they invited me to stay for the meeting. I did. Afterward, Mary and I started talking. I immediately picked up on her accent and questioned where she came from. Turns out she was from the same area as my parents. We talked more, and quickly realized she was the same age as my mother. A little more, and we realized she had grown up in the same schools and actually knew my mother and her family.

As the weeks went on I learned a lot about Mary. We quickly realized how parrallel our lives were. She was attracted to her husband because he was wild and exciting. They married young, and things went okay for a few years. Then the lying and cheating started, and his drinking became obsessive. Mary didn't leave. She had her young son Chuck to care for. She put up with her lying, cheating, alcoholic husband for 30 years. Then one day, out of the blue, her husband hit her. This quickly became a pattern and the hitting turned into beatings. By this point, Chuck was grown and had a family of his own, so there was no reason to stay. Finally, Mary had enough. One day she got in her car and left. And when I say that, I mean it. Mary left with just the clothes on her back. She left behind every possession she had in the world. She left with absolutely nothing.

Mary had worked for the same company for many years and had a decent paying job. She was living in hiding, always aware her ex-husband could find her. Of course he knew better than to show up at her work. Mary was very loved and very protected there. Someone always walked her to her car. But every day she had to watch her rear view mirror to make sure she wasn't being followed. Mary had a cute apartment that she'd fixed up and built from scratch. No family heirlooms, no knick-knacks she'd collected over the years, no pictures of her son as a child. All that stuff had to be left behind. But guess what? Mary was happy. And she showed me that I could be happy too. Given the fact that David had recently been sitting up in bed in the dark, pointing a shot gun at me, I realized he too, could become violent (My Ex-Husband, dated February 28, 2009). I saw myself in Mary, thirty years in to the future. This would surely be my fate if I didn't get out now. Thank God, I did.

After my divorce, Mary became a second mother to me. I talked to her on the phone quite often and went by to visit her whenever I could. A couple of years later, her ex-husband died and she was able to move back in to the house she had to flee a few years before.

Sometime around 1994, Mary's son Chuck got cancer. He died a few months later. Chuck was the minister at a small church at the time, but before that he had been a youth minister at a decent sized church here in town and was very well loved. That was probably one of the saddest funerals I've ever attended. His two children were crying so hard, I just couldn't take it. And poor Mary. After all she'd lived through, to watch her only child die of cancer. It was a sad, sad day.

Mary was settling in to the old, familiar house where she had lived with her husband. The man who had lived next door and been friends with them for 40 years had lost his wife. He and Mary began spending a lot of time together. They eventually got married, but he never moved in! He would come over to Mary's after she got home from work and they would eat supper together. Then they would watch the news, and Jeopardy! and he would go back home. He was good to Mary and made sure her house was in order, and kept her company. The kind of man Mary deserved all along.

Mary was crazy about my kids. When my son was born in 1997, Mary started being known as Grandma Mary around here. I'll never forget the day we brought my son home from the hospital. Mary came to our house and cooked hamburgers for us. She was always buying my son nice things, and adored spending time with him. It was double joy when my daughter came along a couple of years later. Mary was very good to my children.

Mary had a lot of health problems. She had a very delicate digestive system and the doctors were always a little baffled about what was wrong. In January, 2004 Mary got very sick and died. I took my children with me to see her one last time, but the casket was closed and all I could see was her photograph sitting on top. Her new husband said that's how she had wanted it. Said she'd gotten so thin at the end that she didn't want anyone to see her like that. But I really would have liked to have seen her one more time.

I miss Mary. But I know she died happy. I also know God sent her to me for a reason. Scott saw that we were the same person, a generation apart, and I'll always be grateful to him for bringing us together.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quotes I Like

"Don't spend time beating on a wall,
hoping to transform it in to a door."

-Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Well, now that's the perfect quote for a codependent person!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Unhealthy Family Behavior, Part Three

My twelve year old son and a bunch of his friends got themselves into a bit of trouble recently. As a result, most of the boys in the neighborhood have been grounded, and haven't really been allowed to hang around with each other.

Tonight I was at my Dad's house and he was telling me that he thinks my husband and I are being too hard on my son. He thinks we should let the boys see each other, just make sure they stay outside. "Boys will be boys", he said. And then he went on to say that he blames my husband and me for what happened. Said it was our fault for letting my son spend the night with his friends. Said he tried to warn us that was a bad idea, so...he blames us.

This isn't the first time my Dad blamed something my son did on me (Unhealthy Family Behavior Part One, dated 12/7/2009) and something tells me it won't be the last.

And I wonder how I got to the point in my life where I think I'm responsible for the health, happiness, and well being of everyone around me????

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rattlesnakes and Jeanie's Weenies

It was another hectic day at work, but during the drive home my mind started to wander. A song I heard on the radio took me back to a really fun time in my life. I was remembering the period of my life when Miss Pamela and I were single, and went out to see bands every Saturday night. Sometimes we would see rock bands, sometimes blues bands. Sometimes we met guys, sometimes we didn't. Sometimes we got food late at night. We drank a little, but not too much. People always asked us if we were sisters. We always told them "yes".

I still love rock and roll, and I still love Miss Pamela, we're still great friends. And I will always cherish those Saturday nights we spent together.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Everyone Can See THAT'S Dangerous.....Right?

Kitty and her husband Bobby have been eating organic foods for a few years now. Yesterday during a phone conversation with her, I started wondering why it's taken me until recently to get on board. I think I figured it out.

When Kitty and Bobby first started talking about organic food and the hazards of commercially produced meats, I thought it was a little over the top. I remember at the time, I was thinking that the government must think drugs given to animals are important, or else they wouldn't be there.....right?

In other words, I wasn't purposely putting myself and my family in jeopardy because I didn't care; I was putting myself and my family in jeopardy because I was misinformed. It's kinda like the mom you see driving around with her baby in her lap, or an older child in the front seat with no seat belt. It's not that the mom doesn't love her child, or that she wants her to get thrown through the windshield in a crash, it's that she doesn't comprehend the danger, or the statistic that car crashes are the number one cause of death for young children. Or that she simply thinks it won't happen to her.

I know now, that most of the meat and milk in the grocery store comes from animals that are pumped full of antibiotics and steroids. Some are now cloned animals. I know now that no matter what anyone says, this is NOT good for our bodies, and it's NOT there to protect us. It's that way so the product can get to market in half the time. It's there for the sake of Cheap and Convenient, and you can bet that the less it costs, the faster it was produced. And it's going to stay that way until consumers send a message.

There are plenty of sources for pure meats and produce if you look for them. Find a farmer's market. Get to know a local farm family. Trust me, they are eager to get to know you! And if you think I'm fantatical, crazy or don't know what I'm talking about, have a conversation with a local farmer, or better yet, do a little research about where your current food supply is coming from. You may be unpleasantly surprised.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It All Connected

If you've been around me at all, you've probably heard me use the term "It all connected". Well, when it comes to Healthy Mind, Healthy Body vs. UNHealthy Mind, UNHealthy Body, that's never been more true. Take for instance, my issues with clutter. Not organizing the clutter is connected to feeling overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed is connected to feeling tired and depressed. Feeling tired and depressed is connected to lack of exercise, which is connected to gaining weight which is connected to a host of physical problems.

On Tuesday, June 1 a new show will air on NBC called "Losing It With Jillian". Jillian Michaels from my favorite show "The Biggest Loser" will go into people's homes for a week and try to figure out just HOW "it all connected". Read more:

Many families across the country are stuck in an unhealthy rut that they would love to get out of. In today's society, with the pressures of work, school, family and juggling everyday life, a person's health becomes last on their "checklist" leading them down a path of unhealthy living. In this new life-changing alternative series, Losing It with Jillian will provide a "wake-up call" for eight families across America and help them transform their lives from the inside out.

Each week on Losing It with Jillian, Jillian Michaels, one of the leading health and wellness experts in the country, will use her characteristic brand of tough love and move in with one family for a week, giving them the necessary tools to make positive changes in their lives, bringing them back to a healthier lifestyle. Michaels will get to the bottom of the issues each family member faces that affect their health and happiness. Over the course of one week, the family will be pushed outside of their comfort zones and introduced to new exercise and eating habits as they are tested through difficult challenges and dramatic confrontations. At the end of the week, Michaels will leave them with her customized plan and a set of goals to work towards leaving the family on their own, having to put to practice what they have learned.

One final challenge remains, which will be a testament to their determination and cement their commitment to live happier, healthier lives. In an emotional and exciting reunion, Jillian returns a few months later to see how far they've come and the families will reveal their new looks and share their accomplishments in front of their family and friends.

Try to catch the first episode on Tuesday, June 1. I know I will! I'll be honest; I'd be TERRIFIED if I saw Jillian Michaels standing in my doorway. Why? Because as far as I've come, I know I'm still not doing a lot of things right. I feel Healthy Mind, Healthy Body slipping out of my grasp and I need a jumpstart!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thought For The Day

There's a really good chance it's time for me to go back to counseling for awhile.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Serenity Prayer: Learn It, Repeat It, Tattoo It On Your Arm If That's What It Takes

In this journal I talk about a lot of things, but tonight I need to send it back to it's roots. A dear friend of mine is struggling with an alcoholic family member who is tearing everyone's world apart, as alcoholics often do.

If you've never loved an alcoholic, you simply can't understand. You can't understand what it's like to sit back and watch the person sink deeper and deeper into the grasp of the disease and watch them slowly deteriorate before your eyes. It's the most helpless, frustrating feeling in the entire world, because no matter how much you cry, or how much you scream, no matter what you do or say, you simply cannot fix the problem.

In the years I've dealt with this problem, I've been told a hundred times, "If you want him to quit drinking, you just need to put your foot down!". People who say this do not understand the disease of alcoholism. You can and should draw a line in the sand that tells the alcoholic what you will and will not tolerate, but trust me when I say you can put your foot down til it reaches China and the alcoholic will not stay sober until they are ready. Because it's not about you! That's what we codependents have to understand. The alcoholic's drinking isn't about anyone else but them.

The best advice I can give is this. Educate yourself about the disease of alcoholism. The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book is the best place to start. Then, decide how far you are willing to let the alcoholic push you. Decide how far you are willing to go. No matter how painful it may be, when they cross that line, walk away. Don't frustrate yourself by trying to rescue them, it won't work. Stay strong and take care of yourself and your family. Don't fall into that codependent trap. It's a dark and scary road back out, and you often get sucked back to the start.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

She Was Tired

I feel like I fell overboard from a ship and I'm watching it move further and further away in to the distance. Right now it's all I can do to swim enough to keep my head above water. I'm talking about Healthy Mind, Healthy Body. My mind is far from healthy and it's preventing my body from being there too. I haven't walked on my treadmill more than a handful of times in the last month and I have no energy.

I'm very frustrated with finding an appropriate middle school for my daughter next school year. It seems like everywhere I turn I hit a wall. It's almost as if we just need to "know our place" in society and send her to the gigantic, rowdy school my son attends.

Work is overwhelming right now. We are fully in to our busy summer season. We are two people short, and myself and two other people are picking up all the slack. I can barely keep my own work load afloat. As tired as we are, none of us feels comfortable asking for a day off and that seems to frustrate everyone even more.

My hip hurts, Something has been "pinched" in my lower back for weeks, and I find myself fantasizing continuously about sleeping.

I've got to snap out of it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fantasy Jobs

Mystical had a great idea when she came up with Fantasy Jobs. This one belongs to her. If you'd like to share yours, send it to me. Oh, and I'm glad Mystical has chosen me as the band photographer!!

Ok, so age is just a number and I would be perfectly satisfied if this fantasy were to come true right now but here are the changes that would be required and the details.

I can see myself about 50lbs. lighter, with a breast reduction, about 60lbs lighter. I would have a few tattoos that would show when I wear my tank top with no bra because I no longer have saggy boobies and it doesn’t look disgusting or gaudy. They would also show when I wear my black leather vest with tight black leather pants. I would be able to wear and walk successfully in spiked heels and not fall flat on my face when I do. My hair would be quite a bit longer, I’m thinking Vince Neal style, I might even be compelled to go dirty blond. No, my fantasy job isn’t to be a hooker. I want to be a drummer in a rock band...a hard rock band, Metallica style. I might even try and do a Tommy Lee (No Mary, not DO him) and play my drums while suspended in air and flipping every which way to the screams and shouts of the crowd. My band would consist of a group of young 20-something boys. I would be fit and lean and my arms would be rockin’ from all the drum playing as well as my legs. The boys would admire me and look to me as their mentor and while I would like to say a little side action would be nice...well, I am married after all so that probably wouldn’t work. To top it off, our band would be famous and we would make it on the cover of the Rolling Stone and Mary would be the photographer.

It’s fun to dream.....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who Will Defend Us When There's No One Fit To Fight?

Thanks to Scarlett for sharing this article. If you don't think unhealthy school lunches and childhood obesity are problems of serious national concern in this country, have a look at this article. It was in one of Scarlett's security newsletters. Then after you read it, sign Jamie Oliver's petition.

I couldn’t help but pick up on this Associated Press article and thought some of you might find this interesting as well. A group of retired military officers have gone to Capitol Hill to advocate for healthier school lunches, saying that the current meals offered to school-aged children has contributed to their obesity and therefore their inability to meet the military’s physical fitness standards.

A report released on April 20 states that more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military and recruitment is now in jeopardy. The officers are advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that would spend $4.5 billion more over 10 years and aims to make the nation’s school lunches healthier.

“When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr. He noted that national security in the year 2030 is “absolutely dependent” on reversing child obesity rates.

The group, Mission: Readiness, is urging Congress to eliminate junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, put more money into the school lunch program and develop new strategies that help children develop healthier habits.

The school lunch bill is currently awaiting a Senate vote.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fantastic Foods

I've probably driven past the place a hundred times. If you're not looking for it, you'd never notice it. Luckily, I was looking for it--thanks to Sally. I'm talking about the little shop about two blocks from my office that sells buffalo meat. You can buy bison in many forms and it is delicious. Don't be afraid to try it. If you like the taste of beef, you'll love bison. The meat should never be overcooked. Serving medium rare (my favorite anyway) is ideal.

But not only is it tasty, it's quite healthy. You won't believe how lean it is. The meat from this particular store comes from a farm right outside town. The animals are grass fed, and not treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.

Here's a little history, and some facts about this Fantastic Food:

Ruthlessly hunted, primarily for it's hide, by 1885 the total number of Buffalo had been reduced from tens of millions to about 1000. Fortunately, the outcries of private citizens and organized groups were heeded, and this magnificent beast was spared annihilation.

The value of this wholesome meat, which sustained native Americans for centuries, has only recently been discovered. Modern analysis has uncovered some amazing facts about the nutritional qualities of Bison. Simply stated, Bison contains less of what we do not need (fat, calories and cholesterol) and more of what we we do need (iron, protein and fatty acids). Chemical free and naturally delicious it is truly the healthy red meat everyone can enjoy. It has been found that some people who are allergic to other meats are able to eat Buffalo.

But the really good news is the taste! Many people say Bison is the most flavorful meat they have ever tasted... with a sweeter and richer flavor than beef. Try it today, and see for yourself how delicious health food can be!

Bison meat is the heart-healthy red meat. It gives all the taste of beef with all the health benefits of chicken. Many heart patients who find it hard to change their tastes can now safely enjoy red meat by substituting bison for beef. The taste is very similar to the best beef you have ever tasted, with just a hint of sweetness to the meat.

Bison meat is non allergenic. No one, to date, has had an allergic reaction to buffalo meat. Many people who have allergies to other meats find they can eat buffalo. There are no low level antibiotics, no hormones, no drug residues, and no preservatives in buffalo. When eating bison, you are eating wholesome meat.

Bison has more iron than beef. For women, iron is a significant item. Adding bison to your diet can help meet those recommended allowances, as bison contributes about 69% more iron to your diet per serving than does beef!

The little shop is located on Main Street at Hancock. The meat comes frozen so you don't have to worry about being in a hurry to cook it. There's a super cool chick who works there that will answer questions and guide you through. So on your way to the Farmer's Market every Tuesday, stop by and pick some up!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Props To My Peeps

This time two or three years ago, two of my friends were average middle aged women, getting little or no excercise and not giving a flying flip about what they ate. That was then....this is now. Scarlett is gearing up to compete in another bike race to support diabetes, and Sara is training for her first 5k run! And when I say that I don't mean she's walking it; Sara's going to run it! Her first 5k at age 50!

I couldn't be more proud of Scarlett and Sara. You are both an inspiration to me!! Keep going!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fantasy Jobs

Awhile back I wrote an entry about Fantasy Jobs. Jobs that seem wonderful, no matter if they are practical or not. This idea was the brainchild of Mystical. If you'd like to share your Fantasy Job, send it to me. Today I have another installment of Fantasy Jobs. This one, written by our faithful reader Scarlett. I hope you will enjoy.

When people think of having a dream job, they usually think of a job where they can make a lot of money while only working few hours. Unfortunately my dream jobs don't fall in either of those categories. But they are still jobs I've wanted to have since I was a little kid. And yes, you read that right - dream jobs, as in plural. The three jobs seem different but they all three have to do with making people happy.

My first dream job is making pizzas. I wouldn't even have to own the pizza place; I just want to make the pizzas. And before you ask, yes I want to toss the dough up in the air. Everybody loves pizza, and I want to do my part.

My second dream job is being a team mascot and getting to wear a big costume. Where else could you get paid to act silly? If team mascot jobs weren't available, I would be more than willing to be a character at a theme park. As long as I got to wear the costume and make people smile, I'd be happy doing it at a ball park, arena, or amusement park.

My third dream job is to be clown. Maybe it has to do with being quasi-anonymous, like wearing a team mascot suit. But I would love to be a clown. Once again, I would get paid to be silly and make people laugh. Yep, that's a job for me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Heroes of the Week

This is a very roundabout way of getting to the point, but a little background is necessary. Stay with me here.

My husband has been friends with the Cramers since he was a kid. Mike Cramer is a very cool guy. In fact, Mike and Miss Pamela watched the opening ceremonies of the Atlanta Olympics at my house many years ago. Anyway, Mike's sister is Krista. Sometime during Derby, my husband ran in to Krista and she asked how I was doing. Well, ultimately the subject of the food revolution came up. Oddly, Krista had just watched "Food Inc" on public television a few nights before (quite by accident) so she told him she wanted to hook up with me to talk about it and to find out where I've been buying my meats.

So Krista sent me an email today telling me that she's been talking to everyone about the film and when she mentioned it to her neighbors they told her they watched it months ago. In fact, they now buy all their meats from Whole Foods. But the funny part (what you've been waiting for) is that they told Krista they bought a whole bunch of copies of "Food Inc" and gave it to everyone on their Christmas list.

So my heros of the week are Krista's Neighbors, for handing out copies of "Food Inc" this past holiday season!! Way to spread the word!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Reflections

So the Derby is over. I'm sick of feeling sorry for myself, and now I've progressed to the next (very predictable) stage, which is anger. I'm ready to start focusing on myself again, and ready to get back to business with my diet and working out, and I'm anxious to get some home improvement projects under way. It's time to move past this set back and once again, start moving forward.

I don't have a lot to say right now, because my head is filled with ten thousand thoughts and I can't focus on any one of them long enough to write about it. I plan to spend the day relaxing, and getting myself back on track. Maybe I'll come up with something to write about this week.

The only notable thing I'd like to journal today is the encounter I had this past Friday. It was a beautiful day, very sunny and warm, but I was feeling very heavy, very troubled. I walked outside my building at work to take a box to the dumpster. No one was outside but me, and it was unusually quiet. For some reason I started to think about my mother. I asked for her strength. I asked for her to watch over me. At that exact moment, a very large, very long, warm gust of wind came up and enveloped me. It went all around and all through me. I got goose bumps all over, even on my face. I just stopped walking, and stood still with my arms outstretched. I believe I received a hug from my mother, and it felt really, really good.