Monday, July 25, 2011

Sober Living


I'm 20 days into my life as a non-drinker*. It's been weird.

One of the reasons I embarked on this experiment is to see if it was possible. Can I go several days without drinking? Then, when I'm at an event where the booze is flowing freely, can I control myself? Happily, the answers to both questions are yes and yes. I'm relieved. I have an addictive personality with shades of alcoholism embedded. I knew that jonesing for a glass of wine "just to take the edge off" would be a possibility.

I have this innate ability to rationalize anything to make it seem positive. I worked out on Saturday so I can have some chicken wings. I crushed it at work today so I deserve a glass of wine. L.E. said another new word today so that deserves a beer or two. The only problem is I can't just quit after one glass of wine. I always want another and another. Next thing you know, the cork on the second bottle is broken,  I'm drunk-texting my friends from high school and starting fights with my husband. I somehow lose control of the situation and I want that to stop.

I'm someone's mom now. And when that someone began mimicking how I put my makeup on in front of the mirror, I became fully aware of the fact that like it or not I'm her role model. What kind of effective role model can I be if I'm living my life in this half-drunk fog lots of the time? I don't ever want her to go through all the things the children of alcoholics go following her mom home from a bar because she refuses to hand over the keys or even worse, bailing her mom out of jail for drunk-driving. I'm fortunate that I didn't have to do this for my mom but I've seen what others go through and it's just not good for anyone. L.E. deserves the very best of me and I can't give that to her if I'm drinking a lot.

I get funny looks from my friends when I tell them I quit drinking. It's pretty much the same look they gave me when I told them I was pregnant with L.E. It's like I told them Hell had frozen over and pigs are flying. It's like I told them I got up at 6 am to go work out. But when I explain it to them more thoroughly, they've been nothing short of understanding and supportive. I'm not out to preach to them or convert them to the sober life. I haven't even challenged T to give up his daily beer although I've noticed he's been cutting back on his own. Most people who know me know about my battle with depression or else they've read this blog. They also know I'm not pushy or preachy in the least. My motto in general is do what works for you, whether it be parenting, Photoshopping or closet-organizing.

Anti-depressants didn't work for me. Gee, ya think it's because I kept drinking? It's not like alcohol is a depressant or anything.

I was afraid I wouldn't be as funny when I'm sober. I think I'm still pretty funny. But I guess I have to let others be the judge of that.

So where does this leave me? I feel really good. Like happy-good. I don't have the crippling black cloud that I usually carry with me. Mildred has barely reared her ugly head.  I'm not sad just for the sake of being sad. I'm sleeping better. I wish I could say there are other reasons besides not drinking but really, I'm just living my life the way I normally do. Things are pretty much the same. It's weird. I actually feel...OK.

Oh. And I'm going to work out at 6 am tomorrow. For reals.


Full disclosure: I did have drinks (beer only) on the following days/events: 
1. GourMelt/Buckbean grilled cheese and beer pairing dinner (It was inevitable)
2. American Century Golf celebrity golf tournament (I had a beer because it was free)
3. Company dinner (Two beers at a Basque restaurant but I successfully avoided the wine on the tables and their famous Picon Punch)
4. Camping (One beer and one spritzer)

**I couldn't find a source for this cartoon. I hope the creators are ok with me using it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Big Purge

I would like to take this time to admit a deep dark secret: I am a clothes hoarder.
The situation has become dire as of late. I can't shut any one of my over-stuffed drawers. My sock drawer is so overwhelmingly full that it just sits open because I can't close it. It's made for quite a few stubbed toes...and it's summer which means I never even wear socks. I've been pilfering hangers from T's closet after every load of laundry. I can't even move the clothes in my closet from one side to the other. The top drawer of my dresser is so jammed full of sweatpants, hats and pajamas that I split the wood on the sides of it. It's bad.
Today, I read a blog post by my wonderful Vegas-based stylist. (Yes, I have a stylist. OK, only for photo shoots. I'm never in the shoots. OK OK, I worked with her once but she really is fabulous!)  I enjoy reading her posts; she always introduces an awesome product or website and she has giveaways. This week's post was about two SoCal girls who are preparing themselves (and their closets) by whittling their wardrobe down to 20 pieces and only wear those 20 pieces for an entire year
I am completely amazed and inspired by this...but I don't think a year of the same 20 pieces is practical for me. However, I got to thinking that my wardrobe could really use an overhaul. I've been hoarding things since the first Bush administration. I have t-shirts I wore in high school, skirts that I keep thinking will come back in style, dresses that I would need oiled to get back into, not to mention all of those clothes that I was saving for when I got back down to pre-baby weight (heh heh heh). Now that I'm inspired by the Twenty Pieces Project, it's time to let things go and move on.

Among the articles of clothing I purged:

Four black t-shirts. I know, right? How many black t-shirts does one need? At least get rid of them once they start greying. One was a French Connection shirt I kept wearing despite the seams ripping on both sleeves. I would have kept it if not for the grease spots.

17 tank tops. 

The formerly-white waffle-knit scoopneck Esprit shirt I stole from my sister when I moved out of our parents' house in 1995.

Three pairs of size 2 shorts. That rainbow shall remain out of reach.

My post-pregnancy jeans which are now too big. (woo hoo!)

Five pairs of black workout pants of varying size, style, shape and wear.

A black dress I ran out and bought the day of a friend's wedding in February.  I won't ever wear it again because I hated it.

A pink and silver blouse that I didn't know I had and have no idea why or when I bought it.

A brocade CAbI coat I earned by throwing one of those home parties where the more clothes people buy, the bigger the discounts you get. It weighs about 15 lbs.

My extra-large grey puffy winter coat I wore while pregnant.

Maternity clothes that I held onto because they're comfy. 

A #77 Paul Coffey Pittsburgh Penguins jersey stolen from my high school boyfriend.

Six black cardigans. (I still have 3)

Five hooded zip-up sweatshirts.

About eight different dresses that I have worn to various weddings, Christmas parties and graduations. I have this silly Hollywood mentality where if I was photographed in a dress, I will never wear it again.

Sweaters. I lost count.

Three pairs of khakis.

27 t-shirts from various sports teams, concerts, breweries,  and events or some with funny sayings on them.

12 non-Coach purses.

Three Coach purses.

I held onto many sentimental things, including the first dress T ever bought me, the last skirt my grandma ever bought me and the dress I got married in. I also kept my Death Cab for Cutie tank top and my Modest Mouse t-shirt. And the vintage 1970s leather jacket that was my mom's is also a no-brainer for the keep-it pile.

I donated everything to Savers which is partnered with the MS Society. I didn't feel like trying to sell stuff at Plato's Closet or the like. There's a certain humiliation one feels when they're given back their huge bag of hardly-worn clothes and told that it's "not what we're looking for."

Here's a  Hipstamatic pic of my newly-cleaned closet. 
Look at all those empty hangers!

So I got to thinking what my Top 5 Essential Wardrobe Staples are not including shoes, undergarments or outerwear:
1. Black cardigan
2. Jeans 
3. Fitted t-shirt with a cool design on it
4. Knit sundress
5. Black v-neck sweater.

I'd like to know what yours are! Please leave your list in the comments section.

I think this Twenty Pieces Project is going to inspire many people just as it did me.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vacation from Mildred

$10 says you're either thinking of Forrest Gump or Bobby McFerrin right now.
I turned 35 last week. This may not seem like a big deal to most but it is to me. I'm pretty sure it's because I once had a friend tell me that 35 is closer to 50 than it is to 20. Let that sink in a bit. I've forgiven him for saying this mostly because he turns 40 in a few weeks. Ha!
Also, Princess Diana was 35 when she died and I recall thinking how old she seemed. I was only 21 at the time. Stupid, young, me. 35 is also the first age I remember my mom being. She seemed old, too. When L.E. is the same age I was when I realized how old my mom is, I'll be staring down the 40 barrel, too. (Did your head just explode?)
I've accomplished a lot in 35 years. I don't feel as if I'm wrestling with a lack of fulfillment or anything like that. But with the effects of PPD still lingering, there is some elusive happiness missing. There really is no reason why I should be depressed right now. My marriage, child, friends, family, job, etc are all better than ever. But I still have the feeling that Mildred is lurking by, ready to rear her goth-y head.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands for a change. I made a list of things I can to do eliminate Mildred in my life. Or at least make her take a vacation.

1. Quit drinking.
There. I said it. Let the judgment begin.
I haven't had a drink since my birthday. I'm not an alcoholic per se but I do love to drink. And I can't stop at just one glass of wine. OK, so maybe there are shades of alcoholism there. Mostly, I quit drinking to see if I could without missing it. And ya know, I don't miss it! I actually feel better. Happier.
We went to a concert in the park last night and several people offered to buy me a beer or a glass of wine. It was such a non-issue to say no.
I don't know how long this foray into sobriety will last. But I'm glad it's not as big of a deal as I thought it was going to be.
That being said, don't be afraid to invite me out for a drink. I'll still recommend wine for you and I'm still set on going to a beer/grilled cheese pairing dinner next week. Mostly for the grilled cheese part.
Try not to laugh as you keep reading.

2. Lose 20 lbs.
I'm serious about it this time. Because the whole diet/exercise thing doesn't seem to work for me, I ordered some crazy supplement that Dr. Oz was touting. I'm not really into the whole Cult of Oprah but Dr. Oz is ridiculously likable and looks hot in scrubs. He made a good case for sea buckthorn and I'm convinced because it promotes colon health, clears up your skin and does your taxes all in one easy-to-swallow shot of juice!
Is this handsome face capable of lying?

I work full time, I have a 16-month old, it's 90 million degrees out and I eat dinner at 8:00 every night. Not really a recipe for a healthy lifestyle. I must be one of those people who would have to work out for hours and hours a day and eat only vegetables to see any sort of results. Not. Gonna. Happen. If this sea buckthorn doesn't work, I'm going to look into that HCG diet...

3. Write more.
Lucky you.
Seriously, I love writing and it makes me happy. It especially makes me happy when I run into people I haven't seen in-person for a while* tell me they love this blog. It genuinely means so much to me!

4. Hug L.E. any chance I get.
Lucky her.

5. Be OK with the way things are instead of constantly worrying.
I'm tired of losing sleep over not returning a phone call or being convinced all of my new co-workers hate me. (Nobody says hi to me when they come in. It's not me, it's lack of caffeine. I'm sure of it!)
I can't sweat the small stuff. I have a lot going on and I can't cover all of the bases all of the time. Rather than worry and cry about the fact that I don't have time to dust or vacuum, my house is going to be a little messy for a little while longer. I'm going to be OK with this.

This is a lot to contend with all at once and truthfully, I thought I would have broken down by now. But strangely, I've laughed through more things this week than anything else. So what if my logo designs didn't get past the first round? I designed a t-shirt the client LOVED. It's a trade-off, always.

I'll post a report on my progress. I'm not aiming for Happy Sister Mary Sunshine here; I just want to be OK.

*I ran into a sweet gal from my prenatal yoga class a few weeks ago. She introduced me to her husband as, "the lady whose blog makes me laugh hysterically." It felt so good to hear that, I almost cried. 
This nice family is going through so much. Please take a minute and read their story here.