Morning

pathos or profundity

Tonight at the treatment center, three of us serve on the panel. We are speaking about our past experiences as active alcoholics and addicts – and how we live clean and sober today. We each talk for fifteen to twenty-five minutes.

After we’re done, it’s time for questions. A man speaks up and asks us: “So even after all this time [clean and sober], you still think you need a [recovery] meeting every day?”

I have heard this more than once. As years of sobriety pile up, people are less likely to understand why Recovery would be so important. I remember this querulous old fella C.; at eightysomething he had about thirty years’ sobriety and he was as fiercely passionate as anyone I’ve heard on the subject. He said at the end of sharing in a meeting, “You know the longer you are sober, sometimes people ask. ‘You still gotta go to those meetings? You gotta hang out with those drunks?’ Well let me tell you. I have the perfect response to that. The perfect response. Want to hear it?”

He sets knotty fists on the table and juts his head out: “Maybe I like hanging out with those assholes more than you!”

I’m thinking of C. and smiling, while my two colleagues answer. One says, Yes, she knows she needs to go even after all these years sober. The other man, says he’s not willing to risk it. To risk forgetting and going back to drinking again.

It’s my turn. I lean forward and look right at the man who asked. He’s probably mid-twenties. Native. Lots of tattoos. He’s wearing some kind of restraint ankle bracelet on his leg. I don’t know him or where he’s come from – not yet, at least. I’ve met about five thousand addicts and alcoholics alone just through my treatment center work – not even counting recovery meetings in my community. But they are not throwaway lives to me, not ever.

To this young man I say, now, “I want to be here. I have a life today. I have a husband at home cooking a wonderful dinner. I have a tailoring project I’m working on that I am loving. I have two wonderful children waiting for me. We just got two new kittens [pause for effect because – HOW AWESOME!]. I have a life today. I have a marriage, and a home, and a family. But I want to be here. I want to be here with you.” I look right at him because I see him and it’s just me and him.

I want to be there/here. I have seen the scrap of life inside every human being, the god-consciousness that makes each person unique and holy and beautiful. Seeing this, being able to touch it, it’s a gift beyond measure and one money can’t buy – but one that, for reasons mysterious to me, many fake. I asked one of my mentors tonight, why, why do I get this thing when so many don’t. He says, “I think you’ve very blessed, my dear.”

Nights like tonight I feel very alive… very somber. Laughter and gravitas at the same time. Somehow.

It is, on balance, a wonderful, truly amazing, life.

Morning

 

the untrained mind

Tonight I wrote, by hand, a letter to the men responsible for my child’s sexual assaults.

I wrote by hand until my hand cramped. I wrote as articulately as I could. Even as I wrote I knew I had a bit of spiritual wisdom; wisdom I did not used to have. Even as I wrote I knew that these men had destroyed my sleep, my peace of mind. They had taken things from my child, things that can never be fully restored. Doubtless they had taken things from other children. They had removed my security regarding the person I love most.

But they had not taken my compassion, and they had not taken my faith.

Folded-up sheets of yellow paper sit at my elbow. I will read my letter to one of my spiritual mentors, the woman who told me to write this letter. She is a Catholic and I am a Buddhist but she is the only human being who has given me lasting comfort because she is not afraid to tell me the truth. Of all those I have had the dubious honor to deal with during this time – the advocates, the professionals, the social workers, the counselors, law enforcement – many who have added to my confusion, one who has misled us intentionally, some who have caused my child more harm than good – this woman alone has been able to help me because she has been where I have been and she knows the thing, the Bravest thing, the truth about faith that so many are afraid to surrender to.

I will likely never meet the men responsible for what happened to my child. I wrote the letter anyway because my friend told me to, and I trust her.

People think a sexual assault is just the assault. But when the law gets involved, it is much worse. We have had agencies, strangers, crawling up in our family business. My child has had interviews in a police room, suffered many night terrors and panic attacks (for many months we were entirely ignorant as to why), been submitted to a rape exam, and had many freedoms curtailed. My child has endured mistakes by the adults, professional and familial, who are supposed to protect. My child has endured the inept, clumsy, and stupid mistakes Ralph and I have made – because no parent is prepared to deal with this well, no parent.

This has been the hardest thing I’ve gone through, no matter how carefully I’ve tried to do the right thing. Since late September my world has changed and it has been relentless. My anger, my confusion, my grief has exhausted me. It has kept me depressed and anxious so that even while I function “properly” and do the things I’m supposed to, I am never without this pressing fear, a fear few intuit or even think of. Prayer and meditation have helped; helping others has helped immensely. “Restraint of pen and tongue” has been a godsend. Doing the next thing I’m supposed to – doing the housework, returning texts and calls, helping friends – has kept me sane.

Tonight I needed there to be a point to all of it. To what has happened. Because I know there is. So even though she was dead-tired I grabbed my friend and mentor. I talked with her and she told me some things. I cried – but less than you might think. Because I am ready to understand a little more than I’ve thus been able to understand.

Before we parted she told me, “It’s like that tree across the way. The leaves will fall soon and they’ll pretend to be dead. But you and I know they’re not dead. They are fertilizer for other things to grow.

“This experience is going to be food for you, it is going to make you stronger;

“But first you have to fall.”

twice blessed

My first experience with the benzodiazepine I am currently taking, was back in 2011. A doctor – whom I trusted, and still trust – prescribed it to help me with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, anxiety, and onset insomnia. He told me this low dose would help, and was very safe. He specifically told me it was a very low dose and I could take it for years with no ill effects.

I took the medicine, with some misgivings. It was primarily this faith in the doctor that kept me willing to dose myself with a nightly sleep aid – although I couldn’t deny it was very helpful. Even so, I worried. As I got, and stayed sober, my avocational work in a treatment center taught me a fear of pills that was perhaps overblown. I was brought alongside many, many people who were addicted to pill medications (those still using, and those who had successfully stopped). I heard story after story of the various medications people took in good faith – only to became addicted to. Some quickly, some slowly. Some ended up on heroin, some smoking pills all day long, some dumping almost anything into their system in any way – through needle, ingestion, snorting, smoking. Many people afflicted with prescription addiction end up doctor-shopping, or embroiled in even more unsafe activities – buying pills off the street, stealing, or hustling. One man I know would in goodnatured fashion offer to help older women with chores or yardwork – then tell a sad story about being cut off by a doctor who didn’t understand, so he could get what he needed. In the hundreds (thousands?) of addicts’ stories I have heard, the natural fear of self-poisoning and the desire to be good citizens was inevitably overcome by their body’s need for balance – to feel good, to sleep, to work, to feel okay, to feel normal.

On the one hand these stories scared me; on the other, my medication worked as intended, and I was conscientious. I took my medication exactly as prescribed by this good doctor. I discussed my medication with trusted friends in Recovery, who had experience with such matters. I met with my doctor every few months and brought up the medication, and my concerns at taking a medicine long-term. He assured me each time that this medicine was safe to take for years, and that I could quit any time without ill effects. He told me I was trustworthy.

After about a year, I stopped taking the medicine – cold turkey. I had some trouble sleeping at first (as I read in my journal), and then life continued on.

I didn’t take medication for almost two years.

But in late April this year I visited my doctor and told him my sleep problems had kept up these last two years, and seemed to be worsening. He prescribed the same medicine, and the same dosage.

Back to sleep. Night-anxiety – solved. Instantly. No more waking up after only moments asleep, with a feeling of panic almost impossible to describe. Relief – finally.

But my newfound regimen was to be short-lived. On June 1st I read an illuminating article on the use of benzodiazepines – an article that said, to wit, that many doctors are prescribing a powerful medicine for the long term, and that this is not wise. (The article is worth reading carefully; many people you care about – perhaps even yourself – are affected!) Even though I’d only been taking the medicine for five weeks when I read the article, I was already ready to re-investigate continuing this treatment. I looked further into this particular drug, and testimonies from those who took it long-term (by this I mean, any regular use over two weeks in duration). I became curious that perhaps some of my two years’ of sleep problems might be related to my original abrupt cessation of dosage – since I hadn’t known any better than to stop abruptly.

I have been tapering the medicine, in a conservative and responsible fashion, and with my doctor’s help, since June 1st.

It took about a week for drug withdrawal symptoms to set in. They are mild (especially compared to some!); nevertheless, they are unpleasant.

But – drug dependence is easier the second time around. Or it has been, for me. I know healing is possible, and I am patient. I am very grateful for this. I am not angry my doctor prescribed a medicine, and a course of medicine, that wasn’t right for me. He was not trying to harm me. He was trying to do the right thing.

One quibble. The article above is a good one, and may perhaps prepare people to be wary of these particular drugs, or be in a position to support those who decide to stop taking them. However I dislike the concept, or the phrase, “accidental addict”. I dislike the term “addict” anyway, unless self-applied (people first language, please!). And anyway – what bollocks! No one ever sets their sights on becoming an addict. We all use medicine. We seek alleviation from symptoms. We have a drink to relax. We start smoking to take the edge off our stressful day. And we use our medicine – “recreational”, “alternative”, self-prescribed or prescribed by a doctor, socially-supported or illicit – because we seek relief. One day we begin to know we might be overdoing it. But by then we aren’t in great shape. And the next day, overnight it seems, we find ourselves in a predicament. Our bodies are deranged; disabled. Healing – should we embark on the journey, should we even believe it possible – takes time.

My family and friends support me. My doctor supports me, and I support myself. I write here not because I think anyone in particular is owed an explanation. I write here because I write to be honest, and to be myself – and I tell my story, as long as I don’t harm others in telling it. I also write here because I know others who have these kinds of troubles, sometimes read my blog – and find hope, and support. I have received emails, texts, comments, letters, and phone calls over the years that tell me addiction and compulsion touch many, many lives. I can’t do much to end the stigma and shame of drug addiction, drug dependence, alcoholism, eating disorders, mental disorders, or any number of “invisible illnesses” that plague so many. But I can do a little, and telling my story is a part of that.

I am looking forward to being drug-free again; this time, without the horrid and longterm symptoms of cold-turkey cessation. Life is an adventure. Let’s see what happens next!

 

The Lost Weekend

tossing the sandbags overboard: movies about drunks

The Lost Weekend

At three years’ sober today I’ve been to about a thousand meetings of recovered (or recovering, or trying-to-recover, or not-wanting-to-recover) alcoholics. If you average about fifteen people at each meeting sharing their stories that means I’ve heard roughly 15,000 personal accounts of the struggle with alcoholism.

That said I still don’t know much about alcoholism; however, I’ve had a lot of misconceptions dispelled and I’ve un-learned a bit of ignorance. And y’all know I’m a cinephile, right? So one thing I do know is the story of the recovered alcoholic isn’t often like the movies – parties, socially-embarrassing moments, increasingly crazy behavior, tears and fights and then one day – he finally pours the bottle down the sink as the family tearfully looks on and then all is Eden. Yeah, right! [ she laughs ].

Anyway here’s some stuff that’s on the Real. You ever want to talk to me about these movies or my history as a “functional” alcoholic you let me know.

And thanks for three wonderful years. May I receive many more!

***

Who can put a list like this together without The Lost Weekend (1945)? This critically-hailed film depicts an end-stage binge of writer Don Birnam (as played by the legendary and wonderful Ray Milland) and I enjoy it more and more upon each viewing. What I like best about this film is Milland’s performance itself (for which he won an Oscar and claims the shortest Oscar-acceptance speech on record), as he doesn’t play the typical caricature of a drunk. You want to know how a hopeless alcoholic looks and behaves? Cunning, charming, lovelorn and sweet – likable, intelligent, devious, hopeless. There ya go. The score (and theramin!), the costume design, everything about the film (except the oddly abrupt denouement) is wonderful.

Clean and Sober (1988) is simply perfection. It’s perfection. Stand-out performances by Michael Keaton, Kathy Bates, and M. Emmet Walsh. Whereas most films that deal in any way with alcoholism show the troubles leading up to the cessation of drinking (borrrring!), this film concerns itself roughly with the first thirty days of an individual’s sobriety. Particulars aside I can’t think of a film that better depicts that window of one’s life. I related personally to so many moments of the film – the man, for instance, who sits in his car drinking a beer so he can “trick” the treatment center into admitting him, and he can hide out for a while from legal and employment troubles. Someone very dear to me did the same. There’s also a scene where a sober alcoholic arrives on the porch of his friend and sponsor, busted down beyond measure, without the thought of a drink but without anything to offer anyone either. His sponsor says a few kind but harsh words to him. Now that moment – well I’ve lived that moment, and long after my last drink. Gives me chills. A great film.

Shame (2011) is a rough go, one of those tear-your-guts-out films you want to recommend to your friends – with a cautionary measure. The film depicts a few weeks in the life of a sex addict and drug addict named Brandon (Michael Fassbender) as his routines are interrupted by the sudden re-appearance of a family member. This film is quite explicit sexually, but it’s the explicitness of addiction behaviors that make it a stand-out. The film delivers breathtaking realism on two accounts: how incredibly sad active addiction is, and how those who are addicted often appear to be living a “normal” or even successful life (Brandon occupies a world of financial privilege that won’t last long if he keeps practicing his behaviors). The film depicts addiction in full-bloom in an incredibly well-rendered way and for that, I adore it.

Come Early Morning (2006), the directorial and writing debut of Joey Lauren Adams, is in my opinion a film with beautiful nuance, and I recommend it often – especially for any family touched by alcohol and drug use. We first meet central character Lucy (Ashley Judd) after a night of drinking, but I’m not sure if she’s an alcoholic; at any rate, she certainly isn’t the only one. Another character in the film most certainly is, and that other person and his relationship with Lucy – well it really tore at my heartstrings. Judd is on point in this film (when is she not?), but so is the supporting cast. The DVD cover of this movie looks like a softball romantic drama; it’s not. It’s a rock-solid story of the journey to Recovery and that means loss, and change – heartbreaking losses and scary changes.

Protagonist (2007). This documentary isn’t about alcoholism. This film is about… well as a Buddhist I’d say this film is about Illusion and where that Illusion leads you – and how that Illusion, given enough credence and investment, will kill you. As a Buddhist I’d say this film applies to every human being out there. As a drunk I’d say this film is about trying to manage your life (or your addiction) – and failing, utterly so. This film is about striving, and certainty, and knowing you’re right, and knowing you know what the problem is. But then… something happens. Ah hell, I can’t explain the movie. It is almost a heartsong for me and perhaps it represents my own experiences with alcoholism more than almost anything else. This film is about Waking Up, I suppose.

So there ya have it! Get to watching. And thank you, my dear friends, for helping me get along a little longer on this lovely little planet Earth.

May 27, 2014

“if you desire healing / let yourself fall ill / let yourself fall ill”

¿COMO ESTAN BEETCHES? to quote Anchorman.

So yeah. I gots a little tradition. I make y’all a mixtape on my sobriety birthday. This year, the playlist is a little blue. A little navalgaze-ish. That’s just how the last year went down I guess.

Thank you, everyone. It’s pointless for me to write how much gratitude I feel because even though I’m fairly articulate, the words just don’t flow right, and powerfully-enough.

May 27, 2014

Download for the mp3s and the CD case.*

Or, email me your address and I’ll mail you one! kelly AT hogaboom DOT org.

*early adopters – I usually have trouble with stuff like this so please let me know if the d/l doesn’t work!

unfriendly skies

I am almost four hundred dollars short on rent.

I am physically exhausted.

I am having a wee bit of emotional turmoil.

Yesterday I heard one of the women I came to know through the Treatment Center very recently, died of an overdose. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this one but in my small town it is impossible to share without the possibility of causing more pain to those living. It is very hard for me to wrap my mind around the reality this young woman was here just yesterday, and is gone today – although God Knows I have no cerebral reason to experience surprise.

That’s not all. I had a really difficult conversation that I had hoped wouldn’t have to happen. I had to stand up for myself to someone who I know to be retaliatory. My husband pointed out to me I shouldn’t be afraid because I learned to stand up to HIM back in the day and that I had a lot more to fear, then.

Well. He’s probably right. But fear keeps me company sometimes.

Life has been a creaky, uphill climb; a brief bit of comfort here and there. Then suddenly: stunning experiences of love. Today I looked out a door and saw an addict I know, sucking on one of those fake cigarettes, and I felt this surge of love. He probably doesn’t know I feel anything for him and he probably doesn’t give a shit about me. I felt this weird comfort about this. A gladness to be alive.

Tonight in another setting I waited my turn to speak and I felt an irritation and anger that rattled my chest and soured my guts. I prayed for Love and Tolerance. A few minutes later and I had it, and I could speak with love and laughter.

Today my husband put his arms around me and I felt his human presence with gratitude. In June we will celebrate sixteen years together.

In one month exactly I will celebrate three years’ sober. I am not an inarticulate woman, but the gratitude I feel is nearly impossible to express. I am aghast.

Tonight I try to give myself the gift of compassion. Sometimes it seems the only true treasure one can grasp.

developmentally on cue

“I’m so thirsty,” my son says. “I could kill a cow for its BLOOD.”

You know. Not its milk or anything.

“A gallon would be fine,” he continues.

“Of blood?”

“Of water,” a suddenly docile young man amends.

Today is rough. Several responsibilities, and I’m feeling off, and tired, and anxious. You know a few years ago, for about fourteen months, I had this prescription for Klonopin and took it nightly. A small era in my life but sometimes I miss it. It’s hard to relax. Sometimes.

But I don’t get bored of “chores” (housework, errands, cooking, appointments) on days like this because these so-called menial tasks are bookended by some brief but really unsavory ones. Since I get to do shit I don’t want to do, and deal with shit I occasionally wish wasn’t happening, anything short of physical agony or emotional bankruptcy is still pretty cool.

My daughter burns some homework; symbolic of her Spring Break:

Later she emails me: “Google up ‘bigfin squid nope’. You won’t be disappointed. Or maybe ye will.”

Yeah, so. Days like today I cling to kindness: the kindness of friends, who support me in so many wonderful ways. I cling to humor: my kids have got it right, a lot of times when I simply don’t. I cling to the knowledge I tried to help others. Today I helped facilitate a meeting with about fifteen young addicts and alcoholics. Statistically, something like three of them will get and stay clean and sober. Today I tell them, “You’re the lucky ones. No one’s life is over yet! You know why you’re all young, right?”

And I wait to see if they get where I’m going with this.

changing pace

I often think I somehow had more energy when I was drinking. It seemed I could get up in the morning, take quantities of coffee, and put to use intense reserves of power – cleaning, cooking (a great deal of cooking, wonderful dishes), writing, sewing, active parenting, and constantly hatching up those plans and dreams – taking future trips into all the great things I’d do or become.

I haven’t had a drink in almost three years and in that time I’ve stepped on a path of spiritual practice.  I’m sober which is a rare way of life, at least in the country I’ve been raised in. For me, it’s a life more vibrant, more unexpected, and altogether more wonderful than I could have dreamed Life to be.

Still – now it seems I get less done, I have less to show for myself, my parenting is no longer “supermom” and is instead much more the role of a mentor, much more about unconditional love and steadfast faith. Admittedly the house is still relatively tidy and the meals are delicious but a great deal of that is courtesy of my partner – who has more strength and joyous energy than any person I know. You ever watch our big dog Hutch running, bounding with his big muscles and exuberant body language? That’s Ralph. He can run and run and run – figuratively, and literally.

I have changed, though. It is said alcohol numbs us somehow. I think that is true, and I’ve spent years now studying, and I try to observe rather than analyze. I see the end results of the drinking lifestyle in those who’ve come to see they have a problem, and want to recover – those like me. I see the desire for “numb” in the social media posts and the casual conversations of those who still drink – they drink to relax, to feel better, to “reward” themselves after a hard day, to believe they are enjoying themselves. I don’t know who’s really enjoying themselves and who has that deep pit of awful in their belly, and a head full of angry scribbles. It’s not my job to know, it’s their job. Here’s what I know: many never figure it out in this lifetime. All I can do is be here for those who want help, and love all people unconditionally. That job keeps me busy enough.

Leaving drinking behind changed my life – second only to having children. I would have told you the quantity and frequency of my alcohol consumption didn’t have a significant effect on me – but I would have been wrong. This is the great mystery of living in denial. We believe we are okay. We believe other people have the problems. We are blind to our own selfishness.

Now that I’m not taking alcohol or mind-altering substances, I sure get to experience more reality! This reality keeps unfolding before me and it’s amazing, exhilarating – and often, exhausting. My feelings are stronger than I knew; my body aches here and there and I seek to “fix” it but my doctor says it’s because I’m getting older. Even my kidney disorder, one I was born with – this mysteriously had a near-complete “remission” from symptoms from about age 17 to age 34 – which corresponds to when I was actively drinking.

This morning I put together a cake for friends; I cuddle my at-home child when he wakes, briefly, from a distressing dream. I’m folding up tattered towels and washing dishes in soapy hot water. I am writing emails to a few dear friends who are struggling. In a few moments we are going for a swim, and then taking lunch. I am traveling out to Wishkah to cook alphabet soup with a classroom of sixth grade children. I’m letting my dog in the car although my daughter groans and rolls her eyes when she has to share a seat with him. I am meeting up with a friend in the evening; I am holding space for her. Tonight I hope to put my arms around my husband, and pet the cat who jumps on my lap the moment I sit down.

My life changed because over time I began to Want What I Have. Even now my feelings and my aches and pains, I get a little friendlier every day, a little more peace, a little more clarity.

It took a long time getting here and I hope I can stay here a bit longer.

being a Helper

Shrine

Every pay cycle I purchase flowers, for my shrine, from a local florist. I can only set aside a small amount, but as time passed the parcels quickly bloomed into larger, and lusher, arrangements. The experience has become a spiritual lesson, for me. Because: spirituality doesn’t make sense. It isn’t logical. I “can’t” afford flowers and the florist surely “can’t” afford frothing arrangements worth at least twice what I pay.

And yet. Week in, week out. A subtle, fluid heartbeat in my life, no matter the season.

***

I know the man involved in the ongoing police standoff, here, in South Aberdeen. As “police”/military presence continues to escalate, and as mounting pressure is put on this man – who just lost a loved one before the incident – I experience fear for his life.

About a year ago he and I spent a few months volunteering assistance in recovery meetings, at the Treatment Center. We went on at least one roadtrip to Seattle in this capacity; I remember that day we saw a double rainbow, and that he helped out tremendously when my car ran out of gas on the drive back. He was particularly close with another friend of mine – they became fast friends in the first months of her sobriety. My heart is with her today, too.

Last night in the first few hours of the standoff, I mentioned it to Ralph. He remembered ___ and said, “I was impressed by his intelligence”. As more and more guns and uniforms and heavy artillery surround his house, I feel less and less certain he will be allowed to live.

And if he lives, what then? Surely he will be locked up. If he lives, will I be able to see him, I wonder? If he lives, is there any way he can return to his community? If he lives, who will be helping him grieve his loved one – and heal from this scary experience?

***

The day before yesterday we took in the refugee kitty Peppy – one of the residents displaced from Emerson Manor. I knew the kitty’s owner also – again, from my volunteer work in the community. But when we picked up her kitty, I don’t think she recognized me. Many of the residents in the Manor, all low income, live with mental, physical, and emotional disabilities. Peppy’s owner was near beside herself at having to be separated from her feline companion. The rescue liaison, my friend Deb, told her I knew what I was doing. That felt a good to hear.

The wee kitty Peppy is on day two of hiding out. She’s under the bed while my son has a lie-in. Hutch sleeps only a few feet over; he is a perfect foster-brother dog as he is so wonderful and gentle and loving. Peppy’s care isn’t like that of No-No’s; Peppy is old enough to be quite frightened, and she isn’t feeling that up to cuddling. Yet.

So family life is busy, as per usual. My car is still locked up in a shop and I fear the repair cost, which I will be hearing within the hour.

It’s funny how people say nothing happens in small town life.

No. You just don’t know how to see.

like a firefly without the light

This morning: I arrive home after swim class to an empty house – Ralph and the kids heading up to Olympia. A day to myself – truly, a gift, and a rarity. I am recovering from a sore throat and head cold which just hit yesterday. With patience, rest, and raw garlic and honey I hope to be restored to full health soon.

Swimming. I only started two weeks ago and already I am respectably pulling laps. Hard to be patient and rest – swim less than I want – when I’m just becoming exhilarated with the acquisition of new skills. Yet I know if I don’t rest, I will get sick in earnest. I am determined to take care of my body – and thus avoid unnecessary stress.

Tonight. My son. Tall, and blonde, and full of Plans. “Mom? Here are the foods I want you to pack for my trip tomorrow. A couple hardboiled eggs, and some pancakes – and a food of your choice. Like maybe a sandwich.”

No one says “sandwich” better than my children. Also: no one is more grateful for the simple gift of food. Tonight: rolling meatballs and cooking them up so we can cool them down and reheat for tomorrow’s dinner. Slicing pear, ripened on the windowsill. Hot black tea with cream and sugar.

Tonight: fatigue. Braved the rainstorm to get to a Recovery commitment, “only” a few souls there to help, but it matters. The beat goes on, day in and day out, doing what I’m supposed to do, one foot in front of the other whether I feel much like it or not. Most days I like it a great deal, indeed.

A homemade Valentine; my children heap more than one card upon us. Their demonstrative nature is an immensely cheering force in what otherwise might be a drab, wet, hopeless-feeling day.