Collaborations of Abstraction

So often I would wonder if I met the “definition” of an alcoholic. Like, if I took some test and was told definitively that yes, I had a problem, then I would get help. It would’ve been great to have read this article then. Not sure if I would’ve listened, but hey! I’m sharing it on my site because maybe it will help someone else 🙂

FitFatFood- Blogging to Stay Sober

I was looking through old computer bookmarks this morning, and I came across this wonderful article by Veronica Valli. She could not have made answering the question ‘An am I an alcoholic?’ easier for me. My experience of alcoholism, which she summarises so wonderfully here, is that it’s about how I THINK and FEEL as much as how I drank. That’s why it’s been really hard to explain to my binge drinking friends I’ve confided in how I differ to them, without turning myself inside out before their eyes. 

Have a read of the article, and take a look at Veronica’s site, which I have found packed full of great insights:

Am I an alcoholic?

That’s a very good question.

Are you?

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti /

In all honesty, there is no straightforward answer to that and whichever ‘expert’ or professional you speak to will give you a totally different, if not conflicting…

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I haven’t been writing on this blog for a LONG time but have decided to start reblogging and writing some poetry, which I did last week. I thought this would be a fitting start to my reblogging: fitness, health and being lucid. Another reason to skip the booze right now (Neptune Retrograde), even if you don’t have “a problem.”

taking a new path

yum yum London! yum yum London!

this title is taken from a recent Guardian article, How does alcohol affect your athletic performance? thought others might find it as interesting as I did, not just from an athletic perspective but also from a “why the hell aren’t I losing weight now I’ve stopped drinking?” one.

the whole article is well worth reading but the two key points for me were, firstly, that the dehydration caused by consuming alcohol is an appetite suppressant. so when we stop drinking excessively our natural hunger levels return to a higher level than that to which we are accustomed. it is not just a matter of subtracting the calories we are no longer consuming as wine, because our natural, appropriate appetites are returning and we need to re-accustom ourselves to those levels. which is no easy task given that many of us have at best a fragile truce with…

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Sitting modestly in the corner,
pipes and hoses hidden from view
in the most abused nook of home.

Every morning I greet
your jaws to the promise
of less sighs, more snuggle time
my exploded workspace
no longer an excuse
no more a source for
my barely controlled contempt
bringing me back to the place where nothing was
ever done
right (?)

Water-spotted goblets for wine
or sparkling juice pitchers
I’m certainly no connoisseur
of clean.

Your low rumble sings
me to sleep as my mind dreams
of fluffy soufflés
rich chocolate tart
moist spicy crisp pork,
pulled and set on toasted love
with a side of
my newest vinegary concoction.

Not once does the nightmare surface,
the ugly hangover of
my kitchen ambition.
You sweep it all away
for me to begin again
my menu’s manifesto.

I’m wearing my skinny jeans I bought in Norway, with sky blue socks pulled over them. Padding down the sidewalk in my red ballet flats, I head down  a dark tunnel toward a dark sea and grey sky. It’s like a reverse sort of Wizard of Oz.

Sante’s with me and we hear the whales before we see them. They click like dolphins do, and I coo back to them. That’s when they start to breach. Sante runs back to grab his camera.


I walk down the tunnel, understanding now it’s a boat landing with a very deep harbor. Folks kayak around with all of their worldly possessions heaped in their little boats. The whales erupt from the water around them.

I coo again and again, walking closer and closer to the landing. The sand and cement meld together and disappear under the dark liquid of the ocean.

My stomach lurches as I hear an answer to my calls, much closer than I expected. A duck-billed whale leaps into the air and up toward the sky. I shake my head, trying to clear my eyes and run closer.

The great sea creature lunges out of the water again, this time right at the end of the landing. Too close, I think as I back up from the water. But I know it’s too late. I edge backwards, leaning into the cement, praying the sand will give underneath.

Its great body leans up out of the sea and toward me, its duck-billed face bearing down on my frightened figure. I  stop fighting, knowing that I can do nothing but wait for it to crush me.

I watch and see now the real beauty of this giant coming toward me. I smile, reach out my hands and greet it.

The bill washes over me, along will cold salt water. It caresses me, and coos at me in a much more beautiful, haunting voice than I could ever imitate. It slides down the landing and back into the dark water.

I lay there, heart beating in my ears and my chest, staring at the grey sky. This key from the sea, it will be my salvation. I race away to tell Sante.

beach footprints

Counting invisible calories.
The regression begins.
My hometown returns to find me acceptable.
Refuse to use the toilet until it can’t wait.
Fear of the bathroom at night.
My hands live in constant fists.
Bottles empty without any satisfaction.
Journals filled with impossible questions.
People I love may appear further away than they appear.
May November 26th just effing get here.


“What are you doing now?”

“Are you going to college?”

“Will you bring some wine for Thanksgiving?”

“Not that much.”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I miss you.”

Y’know that’s why everyone is uncomfortable around you.”

“Do you like them better than us?”

“Why don’t you want to come home?”

“I’m making turkey for the first time.”

“Mom made Aunt Sheryl answer the phone”

“He’s still not home.”

“Your boobs have gotten bigger.”

“These ni**ers coming into my shop…the way they say sausage, I just can’t stand it.”

“Have another drink. You know, you’re welcome to stay overnight.”

“Where are you going?”

“Why don’t you invite us?”


“If you want, you’re always welcome at our house.”

“How are you?”

“The bread you baked looks amazing.”

“Let’s leave the kitchen. We can do the dishes later.”

“Our neighbor is stopping in for dinner.”

“Alex, Dad’s renter is coming too.”

“Wouldn’t it be great if there was a giant planet right in the sky? Bigger than the moon?”

“Palm trees are like giant, skinny pineapples.”

“Can you teach me to crochet?”

“A friend picked these mushrooms.”

“Don’t you wish that our planet had, like three moons?”

“Yeah, but then the ocean would be crazy.”

“You couldn’t surf.”

“Or live here.”

“I love you.”

“I’m so proud of you.”

If you ask most people who have known me for a long time, they’ll tell you that I have an extraordinary talent for forgetting the past and letting go of people that don’t suit me at the moment.

It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s true. I’ve definitely thrown people away like they were used tissue.

Because of this, I’ve spent the last three or four years being very conscious of the choices I make, who I surround myself with and most importantly, learning lessons from my past instead of forgetting them.

rebecca watson young

Like I can NOT pull off bangs. Don't let any stylist convince you otherwise.

Of course, in my typical fashion, I’ve swung from one extreme to the other and I now am worrying how on the goddess’ green earth I’m going to let go of all this crap from the past: This residual shit.

I want to move. Life is bleak and cold; it’s lifeless out there half the year. I work to pay my bills; my work drives me to eat Dairy Queen every Tuesday. I don’t know how to accept love and give it in return. As soon as I start to feel, I reach for a bottle of something. I love music but am embarrassed to express myself. My dog ate my identity. I wish I could travel somewhere. Anywhere. I keep meeting the same people. I don’t have time or energy to cook. No one wants to eat it anyway.

There isn’t much room in the life I have for the life I had.

I live in Santa Cruz: Paradise. But more importantly, Home. Life is beautiful on the ocean. My garden grows and I’ve got so much I’m giving it away. I own my own business; my mental health is as important as its bottom line. I’m surrounded by people who have taught me how to love and how to be a good friend. I happen to be married to one of those beautiful people. I hike every Tuesday. I’m editing my novel. I love music and sing all the time. Biking as a form of transit is a big part of my identity. I’m planning my next trip to Utah, followed by a dream trip to Brazil. And I’ve got a batch of cookies baking in the oven, eagerly anticipated by my hubby and my friends.

So why? Why can’t I let go of that sad, awful, boring life? Part of me wants to hold onto it so that I never take the life I have for granted. OK, fair enough. But can’t that live in one tiny part of my brain? Why does it have to pollute every single thought I have?

Why can’t I think about going out to a good meal here without comparing it a restaurant in Minneapolis? Why do I still say, “Oh you have that here?” as if I’m a frickin’ tourist just appreciating the quaintness of this beach town? I want to smack myself for this.

Do you have this problem? Or are you able to let go? If so, HOW? I feel as if I overcorrected in my hope to be more connected with the people and things in my life. How do I strike a balance without living in the past?

Not every story has a happy ending, but when it comes to the Romans and Greeks, they seemed to be addicted to tragedy. These are the people who watched slave women get covered in orangutan piss and sent into the Colosseum filled with orangutans. Just to, y’know, see what happens.

Why on Earth would they want to hear a story about good triumphing over evil? You couldn’t sell that crap to a five-year-old. “Where’s the blood?” he would cry.

Pandora’s story was first told by the Greeks and then retold by the Romans, who didn’t care much for historical accuracy either. Just ask them what happened to Jesus’ body.

The story goes something like this: Pandora was the first woman on the planet Earth. She was given to Man by the gods, in particular Zeus, Athena and Venus. Pandora was said to have all the gifts of the gods: intelligence, beauty, strength, overwhelming power, all in human-sized portions.

As a parting gift she arrived on Earth with a box, which she was instructed not to open. Of course, because of her curiosity and womanly nature, she opened it and all the horrors of the world as we know it came out: fear, greed, lust, hate, etc.

Pandora - ATC


Horrified, she closed the box. But it’s too late. Everything has been let loose on the unsuspecting planet. The only thing left in the box is hope.

This explains how the world can have all the awful things it has in it. Or at least in the Greek and Roman mind. Blame it on the woman, or blame it on the gods perhaps, because it certainly has nothing to do with us.

We’ve heard this argument before. It’s in a few other religious texts if you’re interested. But the flaw here isn’t the story tellers’. There were hardly printing presses in those times. The fact is that it spread. That people around the planet believed that tragedy and awfulness occurred as the norm, and that hope was something that was expendable. Is that really all Pandora left in the box?

I’m not convinced. In fact, from the second I heard this version of the story I’ve been hunting down the usual suspects, trying to get the stories straight. It’s not that easy, especially because people who write things down tend to be wealthy, in power and have no imagination. Well, at least in that time.

Luckily for me, the gods get bored and keep repeating their stories. Kind of like how script writers for TV shows use the same worn out scenarios in so many sitcoms, gods tend to have little creativity when it comes to playing dolls, especially ones they’ve decided to give free will.

The problem with free will is that so few of us dolls tend to use it. It’s not our faults, really. Most of us learn from example, and the only examples we have are our creators right? This could be parents, but if you piece it back far enough it goes right back to the gods.

The gods that created Earth did so as an experiment. A social experiment out of boredom really. Gods pretty much roamed around doing what they were assigned to do. They are just doing their jobs.

It may sound all romantic to be the Goddess of the Hunt, but what if you hate the woods and are a vegetarian? You’re not going to be very passionate about your job. Now imagine if you were stuck in that job you hated for all eternity?

Godess of the Hunt. (2)


You can imagine? No really, not thirty years here. I’m talking eons of time. So much time that it means nothing to you, kind of like how billionaires feel about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a haircut. It comes. It goes. And you still exist.

So to be sure, the gods and goddesses needed some serious entertainment. (Sorry goddesses for not including you in every mention of the term gods. I’m trying to avoid that whole his or her conundrum so many writers fall in to. No offense meant.)

In order to entertain themselves, the gods created a planet of other gods that they could watch. They created them in their likeness, but with one distinct difference. They had no set guidelines as to what they were to do. They were not told what to want. Instead of giving them the user’s manual to the planet, they figured they’d let them fumble around for a while.

Besides, even then those gods knew that very few people read the fuckin’ manual.

Every parent knows that you can’t leave a child unattended for too long. So after the gods of Earth wandered around pissing on things, eating whatever was in their path and generally being destructive, the gods of the Universe realized that something must be done. They must bring in a babysitter and send down the manual.

What would you do if you were told that all the world’s problems were your fault? I’m not talking like someone you know was exaggerating or your parents were real jerks and blamed everything on you. I mean that literally someone said that all the murder, robberies, pillaging, raping, stealing, kidnapping, genocide and every McDonalds that was ever built was your fault.

And they not only told you that, but they proceeded to tell everyone they knew. And they encouraged those people to share your story. They even used your real name. And somehow it caught on.  Went viral. Made the evening news every night for decades. Centuries. Millennia even.

I’m not sure where I’d start, but it would probably be with the source. And those fuckers would have to pay.

Collaborations of Abstraction

Two close (though, unfortunately, not in proximity) friends – a Welsh man living in Ireland and a Minnesotan woman living in Germany – come together to share musings, wit and random things of interest in this journey called life