Day 153 – something to be carefully guarded

19:32 Well, last night I managed to make that last-minute dinner dish AND be the first one at the picnic. (Still blowing on knuckles, rubbing them on shirt… ;))

“Tarte aux tomates” (tomato pie; it’s a savoury pie) saved the day. Amazingly quick to make, and actually the recipe had been given to me by the other new friend, after we went on that hike a while back, so really, she deserves the credit… here’s the recipe, roughly:

Recipe – Tarte aux Tomates

Dough: Mix together flour (about 300g, but really depends on the size of pie plate, mine is quite large and round), dried herbs and a bit of salt, then add some hot water and vegetable oil, mix till kneadable. Knead, roll out, lay in oiled pie pan. Topping: Spread a tablespoon of mustard on the bottom, (optionally add minced onions and garlic -— that’s my addition), cover with grated cheese (here it’s “gruyère” and/or “compté” but you can use whatever you like, though something a bit tart is best), then cover with thin-sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with herbs, then bake for about 30 mins at medium heat. (Et voilà! Magnifique.)

Side note: I’m becoming a massively messy and inexact cook. In my books that’s a good thing. I used to be obsessively tidy and had no clue how to “wing” anything in the kitchen. I was a bakeaholic and could make just about anything sweet, but when it came to cooking I was blocked. My mom had freaked out every time I tried to make a meal when I was a teen and that caused issues. I don’t blame her though. She wasn’t big on cooking and she was terrified of fire, I think because when she was little her childhood home was bombed during the end of WWII.

Anyway, my husband mostly ended up teaching me how to cook (he loves food, likes to cook and his mom was a really great cook), basically by my extracting instructions like pulling teeth; and he was never exact; always worked intuitively in the kitchen. It used to drive me crazy. “but how *much* oil?” “Just enough.” Arg! Now I’m much the same. Progress. But the kitchen afterward looks like a bomb went off. I do clean it though.

Due to procrastination-related time constraints I was a whirlwind last night. But it all worked out; everyone loved the pie! Even the kids.

So here is the completely bizarre thing about the picnic. THE ADULTS DRANK NO ALCOHOL.

Just letting that sink in.

I brought two raspberry Tourtel Twists (raspberry-flavoured 0% “beers”) for myself and ended up unexpectedly sharing them in cups with the other four adults (I had truly expected them to bring beer and wine, or I would have brought more AF drinks).

The kids meanwhile had been given a box of near-beers to drink (certainly not by me…). I didn’t realize at the time — thought they’d been given some kind of sodas; but they were 1.2% near-beers!!! I found this out in the van on the way home. I’d mentioned to my eldest on the drive home, “wasn’t that interesting that none of them were drinking?” And he said, “yeah, nothing except the 1.2% alcohol beers they gave us!” Oh! Well then!

To be honest, the evening was something I would have found incredibly boring if I’d encountered it in my drinking days. What, just sitting around discussing tame topics like regional food? Where was the religion? Anti-religion? Philosophy? Politics? Why were we not raging against the machine? Laughing loudly? Why were we not dancing into the lake, like we’d entered Bacchus’s garden and tomorrow was armageddon? Didn’t these people know how to live? Hee hee.

I was always one to get the party started, if no one else had stepped up to the plate, namely by cracking a bottle of wine and offering it around. I am slowly starting to realize that the whole world doesn’t always drink wine when out and about on social evenings. Shocker!

But some long-buried part of me begins to subtly enjoy this type of slow getting to know one another. It feels very… non-co-dependant. I guess that’s the best way to describe it. We meet, we share some food, talk about it, exchange local recipes, talk about the kids a bit, and next thing you know, the sun is setting and we’re… going home. No after party. No urgent need to make plans to meet again in the near future (like the next day) to feed our booze hounds.

And when the kids and I got home, instead of putting them to bed then cracking a bottle of red, like I would have in the old days, to finally feed that starved booze hound and “relax” after such restrained socializing, I let the kids stay up and we tried out the SkyView constellation app together, craning our necks backwards outside, under the stars.

So yeah… I think I liked it… certainly, I very much like these people. They are kind and friendly and it all felt very… wholesome.

I’m still tripping out about the fact that I didn’t have to say no to wine.


21:03 Notes from today: succeeded in repeating the self care I’d forced upon myself yesterday — my old morning routine: Gratitudes (just silently, to replace nasty old radio-me, which seems permanently set to verbal self-flaggellation) calisthenics, yoga sun salutation, walk/run with kids.

This routine, which takes less than 30 minutes if I execute it without procrastination (which admittedly happens rarely) is very gentle and easy-going and essential to my mental health. I keep forgetting that. But it’s so true. I can’t seem to motivate myself to do exercise for my physical health, but if I miss it, my mental health suffers so badly that I start doing it again. Makes a big difference. Some of you commented that I sounded like I was doing well, yesterday (thank you for commenting!!) — I believe that’s due to having done that morning routine.

Late this morning my new watch arrived. I’m still an occasional shopaholic and since my five months sobriety date was coming up I had ordered myself a new watch, as a gift, to mark the occasion. The idea was this: symbolic of time gained not drinking, and also a subtle reminder to better use that time! And, to better *be* on time.

Irony: I ordered two watches, to choose between (it’s free returns here). And I spent so much TIME trying to decide which one to keep, that the whole point was completely lost. Note to self: Stuff doesn’t make things better. Old watch still works.

Then it was time to quickly make lunch for the boys and pack up a bunch of backpacks for a hike around a far-away lake with our other new friends. Who also don’t seem to drink wine at every opportunity. (I know, weird right?)

For which I would *also* have (just barely) been on time! Except… our van broke down along the way. I’ll spare you the hours-long details but basically, the wonderful thing here is I did not freak out. Very much. Brought the kids down to the nearby river, instead, while we waited for the tow-truck (and of course texted our friends that we sadly wouldn’t make it). And I learned how to hill-start. Thank you wonderful tow-truck mechanics — and my boys, who pushed while I popped the clutch. (We are so Karate-Kid!) And my husband, who has already ordered a new starter and will install it when he gets back this weekend.

(How to push-start:  Ideally, park the car facing down a hill. Then when you want to start the vehicle later: put it in second, leave the clutch in, turn the key to contact, release the brake… then release the clutch when your car picks up speed — whoop whoop!)

(God I love men!) (And women, of course.)

So that was my five-months day. Just another day really, but I feel pretty dang all right at the moment… something good is happening. I don’t know what it is but I just feel…. good.

Healthy! Sane! And fucking gorgeous btw. Lol. I know that makes no sense. What with my no-manicure hands and my un-styled hair and my still-short lashes (I never did apply that sister-endorsed lash-gro!!). And even my little bikini inner-tube. But I do. I like myself in the mirror. I think it’s because I feel clean inside.


Final side note: Yesterday eve, while frantically tossing flour and oil all around the kitchen just after publishing that post, I was listening to latin jazz on Alexa. (It goes like this when I prepare food: “Alexa, play la-tin JAZZ, please.” And she replies promptly, “Playing latin jazz music, on Amazon music.” And for some reason Alexa always puts Marilyn Monroe’s “I Want To Be Loved By You” in with the latin jazz. And always I sing along while mixing or stirring, because I always loved Marilyn, tragic though she was, I think she was actually brilliant. But she was an addict.

“I wanna be loved by you, just you and nobody else but you…”

And I thought: Who would that be? Husband? Kids? Friends? Tribe?

I was thinking today that when we decide to do something as challenging as going alcohol-and/or-drug-free, when alcohol and/or drugs used to be such a constant in our lives, it’s sort of like learning to love ourselves — I mean the way we really are, inside. The self-acceptance that starts to grow is something wonderful.

What if we just wanted to finally, finally be loved, by ourselves? Ourselves, first and foremost. Then we could do so much good in the world — if we loved ourselves enough to let ourselves do those good things, however imperfectly.

I believe sobriety helps with this.

And it’s something to be carefully guarded, and not at all taken for granted.

xo n/stl

p.s. Karate kid clutch-popping scene!



10 thoughts on “Day 153 – something to be carefully guarded

  1. It is an ongoing revelation isn’t it that quite a lot of people don’t see buckets of wine as essential for every occasion. Life is slower and less rushed when we’re not chasing the next drinking opportunity! Well done on the self care – I did my yoga and meditation yesterday – (pats self on back) but haven’t managed to get up for my morning walk as I’m reading this instead! Back to work today for me after 10 or more days off so I need to keep up the yoga! A 5 month reward sounds a nice idea too! I might steal it along with the tomato tart recipe – thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is isn’t it, and yes I am warming back up to my original watch idea, and I think it’s really important to celebrate our little accomplishments, since they are kind of big after all. Thanks so much for making my morning with your comment, and I love love love your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 5 months is as amazing as you are! I loved the part of your blog how you feel clean inside. Feeling clean made you feel gorgeous, that is one of the best, best, best things I have heard in regards to feeling good about yourself in general!! Feeling good/happy/pretty starts from the inside and you have that my friend! Your so kind to people, animals, nature. You care and want the best for your family. Sometimes caring so deeply makes for a lot of mixed emotions, I can relate to that on the daily. I hope you have a wonderful day today and smile, because you are fucking gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I just tried to reply to your last post and now it says it’s gone, could be my lovely country internet. Hope all is well. Here’s what I wanted to say:
        I absolutely love this. The end when your son said how your watch suits you was so sweet. Thanks for all your posts. I’m sitting outside and absorbing some sun with coffee currently. The country atmosphere is very serene.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are so wonderful… thank you. I’m having spiritu-technical issues. Not sure what is up with me and this blog right now. But you are wonderful. Thanks Jackie. Love imagining you with coffee, sun and serenity. What a gift.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve just read your next blog but can’t find the comments on it – wanting to send you a big hug 💞- it’s horrible when self doubt grips us like that and takes us down that dark hole – I love your writing! Hope you’re feeling better 💞💞 more virtual hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So kind…. so very kind! thank you… I love your hugs 💞
      Feeling much better, thanks… did some knitting in the sun yesterday, and also that writing helped a lot. ☀️🌻:)))

      Liked by 1 person

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