Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Birthday Girl Missing Mom

Woke up sad today... and a little cross... even though I had a good night's sleep and it's my birthday... even though plans for the day looked like fun. The first fun thing on the agenda was to meet Christy in town for lunch. I hadn't seen her, at least not to have much of a conversation, for quite a while, so was really looking forward to it.

Driving into town the sadness got very heavy, almost to the point of tears. And suddenly I knew what it was about... missing my Mom. For all but the last two of my 69 birthdays, she's told me she loves me in a card and/or in person and/or on the phone. Even though the last two years she wasn't able to remember or if she was she couldn't find a way to send a card, at least she was there, across the miles in Minnesota, loving me.

Being sad isn't a bad thing, or at least wasn't today. I miss my Mom, and especially I missed her today. That's just the way it is. I accept it. Christy is a mother (and a good one!) and she's warm toward me, almost like a mother. When I met her and she hugged me, I felt good again... and loved, not exactly like Mom loved me, but in a good way. We had a great catch-up talk, delicious food, and I drove home no longer feeling sad.

The rest of the day was fun too. My husband and I took my car and his little pick up truck to the car wash, the do-it-yourself type, for a double bath (it's been a while!) Then we came home and waxed them, by hand. Yikes... my arms got a super work out! I grilled NY steaks and made massaged kale salad for dinner. YUM!!!

For two days, yesterday and today, I have not eaten my way through the day. Three meals each day. No snacks, no after dinner munching. It's true also that I haven't written any new pages for the book. But I was able to work on photos in Photoshop, which is actually more time consuming than writing. It's also quite tedious, so to do it without snacks is an accomplishment.

Tomorrow is another day, I'll try for three and I'll try for at least some writing.

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Gratitude for today: Pretty good health for a 69 year old, Liz and Christy, LL, my Mom, dance, music, purring cat by my side when I go to sleep

Monday, September 19, 2011

Urge to Eat is on Me... Right NOW!

Time out from book work for Peaceful Bird to have a chat with self in Words Paint.... Been working all morning on the book. Not writing. Haven't tried that yet. But have been working with the project pictures in Photoshop. It's tedious work. Not very creative. I take a dark picture, work levels and brightness until the subject matter looks good. Then I fix blemishes, mostly with the rubber stamp. Next, I fix the dark corners that my sweet little camera always has when doing macro photography. Then comes the hard, woefully time-consuming, and boring part... I add a layer and use it to get rid of the background, so the subject (beads) are on a perfectly white background, yet have sharp edges. Sometimes the process takes 3 or more hours for one photo. Who knew I was signing up for this when I took on the book?

I hear the resentment and entitlement in my own voice. Yep. Resenting the time it takes to do this work. Resenting the boredom I feel while I'm doing it. Resentment begets feelings of entitlement and feelings of entitlement send me right to the kitchen... If I have to do this then I should get that (that being food, of course). Let's examine the wisdom of allowing resentment into this otherwise productive day...

What if I choose to look at gratitude instead? What if I make a gratitude list surrounding my work so far this morning? OK, here we go again... 10 Things for which I feel gratitude regarding my work this morning:
  1. I've been able to figure out how to use Photoshop to fix photos.
  2. My fingers, particularly right-index finger, are not aching today (arthritis in hiding).
  3. The pictures look really good when I finish them.
  4. I had a nice break and took a walk up the hill to the mail box.
  5. Robert rubbed my shoulders for a few moments.
  6. My back isn't hurting too much today.
  7. In a couple more hours, I'll get to check one series of step-out photos off my list!
  8. Good sleep last night. Feeling rested today.
  9. Coffee tastes good. Enjoyed my morning coffee.
  10. Computer is working well today.
OK, well that feels better. I don't feel quite so resentful now. Good idea to come here and write. Maybe I won't have to visit the kitchen after all. Ha!

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Gratitude for today: 10 Things Lists, my friend Liz (who started me making 10 Things Lists), sunshine, crisp fall air, all flowers, driftwood, support of readers of WP.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


My priorities are unbalanced or a little off-kilter. Right now it seems I'd rather eat than be healthy. Many self-care things have slipped away since I've been working on the book. I exercise less and I eat more. Some part of me still believes that comfort lies in food and that if I'm working hard on something, I don't need to make time to walk or do my toning exercises. What part is that?

The entitlement part? The part that says: If I am burdened in any way, I deserve to eat. Does it help? NO! Does it make me feel better? NO! Does it get the work done. NO! (I didn't want to write "no" there, because eating seems so forever linked to good and productive writing for me). But, truthfully, the answer has to be no. I don't even test it.

Could I test the hypotheses? Could I for JUST ONE DAY eat according to my food plan (3 sensible meals, no seconds, no snacks) and see if I accomplish any good writing? Could I just do that much? Could I make that a priority? Yes, I certainly could. But will I? What if I say, Yes, I will do that. I will do it tomorrow. What if I say, I will write a report about how it went tomorrow night. Nothing but entitlement to stop me. One of our other OA members says, I can do anything for one day. Surely if that person can, I can too. Can vs. will. Can and will. OK, it's a deal then. I will conduct this experiment for one day. Maybe it will be a myth-buster. Maybe I don't need food to write. Maybe I do. Tomorrow is the test day.

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Today's gratitude: Leah, my fabulous Sony Cyber-shot camera (again), ripe cherry tomatoes (again), everybody who gave support and comments about the situation with my husband (which is much improved right now), pansies, drizzle as an occasion to get out the flannel shirts for fall.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Writing and Eating

Been writing and eating all day. Many calories. No binge foods. Not the foods that make me feel crazy because of my binging behaviors. Just a little too much of everything and too many snacks and high calorie foods, like pizza.

Writing goes with eating. Always has for me. The tougher the writing task, the more it "helps" to eat. Food in... words out. Seems to work. Today I got the instructions for two projects wrapped up. That's good progress on two rather difficult projects. Bad news is jeans feel really tight. I do not want to go back up a size. If I keep eating and writing, there won't be a choice.

I must keep writing... 35 projects yet to go.

Therefore, the eating needs to change. I can not seem to control it. Duh! Why can't I accept that, like I've accepted it with my binge foods? Forget the word "seem." I flat out can not control it. So, help me, I can not.

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Gratitude for today: green frog sighting in the garden, delicious vegetable dish for dinner (all from garden!), beads

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Down, Up, Down

First, I have to say how surprised and grateful I am to be receiving comments, especially such helpful and supportive ones, when I'm not even visiting other blogs right now. The comments to yesterday's post gave me lots to ponder, especially the reminder that under resentments there is usually fear.

So I've been thinking about that. What are the fears, and under them, what is my deepest fear? How can my husband's displeasure with me have such a profound affect on me? I balk at writing anything.... afraid to look at it or honestly not knowing what it is? OK, what MIGHT it be. Ten things I might be afraid of when I feel resentment and anger toward my husband:
  1. I am in prison, controlled by a somewhat benevolent jailor.
  2. I am incapable of pleasing him.
  3. If he is not pleased with me, then I am not OK as a person.
  4. I do not perceive he cares about me; therefore I am not worthy of kindness.
  5. I do not perceive he respects me; therefore I am not worthy of respect.
  6. I made a mistake when I hooked up with this man.
  7. I am not capable of maintaining a healthy marriage.
  8. I am not free; I am under his control.
  9. I don't know how to maintain boundaries.
  10. I don't know how to get what I need and want in this marriage.
That's a pretty serious list of fears. Now what? There are probably more fears involved and possibly the fear that's under the list is something to do with being abandoned. Maybe it's that if I took myself out of jail by setting and maintaining boundaries, he would abandon me. I'm confused by this thought, because it seems he's already, long ago, abandoned me emotionally, maybe never was there emotionally, never was really interested in me as a person, except in what I can do for him. That's how it feels. Maybe it's not true. I don't really know anything right now, except that I feel scared, resentful, angry, hurt and forsaken in this time of need.

The oddest thing of all is that he'd probably say the same thing about me... that I abandon him and forsake him in his time of need.

Well, no light bulbs tonight. That's the way it goes sometimes...

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Gratitude for the day: some decent book progress today, lunch with a friend, women friends in general, writing, amazing digital cameras (little things that don't cost much and take really good pictures)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Resentments and Blame

I just tried to call one of the members in my OA group about this topic. Since I got an answering machine, I'm going to try to write about it a bit, maybe have a conversation with myself about it until such time as I can talk with a friendly, sober, clean individual.

Resentment... mine... toward my husband who is angry with me, resentful of the book, and blaming me for his unhappiness. He's not speaking to me since last evening. But he left me a note. Here's one thing it says: "Right now it seems like my part in your life is more of a distraction than a pleasure, and for that it's too bad "the book" has to be so all consuming, especially this month, and in the time we could have had before the October show. It's wearing me out feeling that disconnect with you... " So, he's resentful of me and the book, and I'm resentful that he's resentful. What a viscous circle.

The resentment builds when I think of some of my guest artists whose husbands help them with great enthusiasm and evident pride for their part in the book. This level of support is something I've never had from my husband. My work, whatever it is, just seems to get in the way of whatever it is he wants from me. Resentment. Yep, it's at a pretty high level right now.

Now thinking about OA and the spiritual foundation of the program and about how addiction is fueled by resentments. About clearing resentments away. I've never especially thought of myself as a resentful person previously. I let go of things pretty easily and I prefer the state of peace to the state of anger or resentment.

Because that's the way I am, Peaceful bird, I wrote my husband a reply saying I was sorry and had not anticipated the book and the deadlines would be so tough on us. I asked what he would like from me this month. I told him how much I appreciate his support so far with it (and by that I actually mean that he hasn't thrown any hissy fits about it until yesterday). He's still not talking to me.

More resentment. Thoughts of divorce. Angry and resentful thoughts toward him. Not good for book progress. Not good for me. Not good for getting a good night's sleep. Not good for him and not good for me. But how to end it? That I don't really know. Beyond eating humble pie, which is what I generally do (and have already done) to end these wars, what can I do to dump my own resentments????

Gratitude, maybe a little. But I'm in no mood for gratitude. Act as if... Hmmm... Yes, that's good wisdom. Act as if his resentments don't hurt me. Act as if he's fully supportive of me working on the book. Act as if our relationship is healthy and we are connected. Act as if I felt sure of his love for me. Act as if my love for him is as full and rich as ever it was. Act as if everything is OK. Act as if I can hear his blame and sarcasm and resentment and not take it personally, as if I can understand it and accept it as who he is right now and as the only way he knows to strike out at a world that doesn't seem to need or want him. Act as if my resentments drained away, leaving compassion and understanding and respect in their place. Maybe.... there's a little glimmer here now....

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Gratitude for today: raspberries, Lunnette, blogging, my parents, early writing mentors, comfortable shoes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Need to Write the Journey

Been a month nearly since Peaceful Bird wrote anything here in the land of Words Paint. That's too long.

I've been writing lots of words... my first book submission on Sept. 1 was about 16,000 of them, plus 118 images, about the same number of 3D objects, an art log and a contact sheet for all the images. These words are fun to write and challenging in a good way. But they are words about beads, words that come from the mind mostly... a little from the heart and soul, I guess, but mostly the intellect... orderly, sane, comprehensive, in the style required by the publisher.

These are not the words of a food addict, someone who overeats and binges. That part of me goes underground while I'm writing the book. In our OA meeting last Saturday, I suggested the topic of "Relapse." Although I'm not yet eating any of my binge foods, remaining totally abstinent on them, I feel dangerously close to the edge of that old binge insanity. I have been overeating and snacking... gaining at least a few pounds by the feel of my jeans and loosing self esteem with every extra bite. I said that at the OA meeting.

A few of the members who've been around the block for many years had some good wisdom to offer. One talked about the OA tools available to us and named them. When I heard the word "write" I knew instantly that Words Paint could help me step away from the edge. So here I am, writing my little heart out. My plan is to write as often as possible, but not to participate in the blog world right now, not until my second and third (final) submissions are finished. But, write I must.

Another tool for me has been gratitude. When I feel gratitude, it takes over my being, warms me, takes away the desire to feed myself with foods. So part two of my new plan is to list my gratitude at the end of each post.

That's all for now. I'm making a commitment to writing and gratitude....

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Today's gratitude list: little green tree frogs, our garden, fresh vegetables, my husband, Lisa, Christi and Liz, Beethoven, opportunities, challenges, members of the local OA group, nippy fall mornings