Post Purrday Hangover

In March 2012, I gave up alcohol drinking completely after a night of overindulgence that brought with it a full-body assault of pain, which I attribute to my having fibromyalgia. Whatever pain I had was amplified to a point where I cried and considered going to the hospital. As I was on Lyrica, which says not to drink while on it, I decided I had been stupid enough and that I would stop drinking alcohol altogether.

As my October 18th wedding anniversary approached, I decided one drink on special occasions would not hurt. What I have discovered is that it really depends on the drink. Last night, I slowly had one bourbon on the rocks with lemon and sugar. With the amount of food we had, I do not remember even feeling tipsy. Today has shown me again that, for me, not drinking alcohol is best.

I woke up, took my meds, and went back to sleep for three hours. Even though I got up, showered, and ate, my energy has been super low all day. I was ready to fall asleep on the couch at 7pm. I took all my vitamins, ran a couple of errands, and drank lots of water.

I think in the back of my head is a subconscious tape running a loop that keeps saying, One drink can’t hurt. How many times have we heard this line in a movie, in newspaper articles about people who have been caught drunk driving, and at parties we have attended as teens or in college?

But one drink can. It really can, especially if you drink heavy and fast and try to drive.

Even if we put aside the issue that I am on meds, the fact is I keep thinking it won’t when in fact it does hurt.

Time for some positive reprogramming! Here’s to not drinking. I’ll only be missing out on pain, brain fog, and exhaustion.

Sounds great to me!

Third Birthday Bites

I looked online for places to great places to eat nearby. After browsing a Google map of the area, I figured it would help me to narrow down the type of cuisine I wanted to try. If I was still living in Cambridge, MA, I would want my birthday dinner at Central Kitchen or Rendezvous  in Central Square. I searched for Central Kitchen and saw Yelp reviews that identified the cuisine as “New American” dining….  Continue reading

Second Birthday Bites

Birthday Lunch

After I got into Penn Station in NYC, I wandered over the 7th Ave & 34th Street subway station to buy a MetroCard with some added money on it. Because I less familiar with getting around NYC by subway instead of on foot, I bought a $6 folding map. I checked my list of coffee places to visit and realized that I needed to go to the 8th & 34th subway entrance instead. Continue reading

First Birthday Bites

I’m not quite sure how long it has been since I saw, let alone celebrated, any part of my birthday with my mother. I think it was in my 20’s, but I really cannot be certain. Unfortunately, it is my first birthday without my Dad around.

Because I had plans to spend the day out today, I asked my mom if she would go to breakfast for me. Breakfast is our favorite meal of the day.

I drove us in her 2004 gold Ford Escort to the Hillside Diner, which is located about about 5 minutes from our house. I ordered challah bread french toast with bacon and one scrambled egg. Mom ordered the pancakes. Only a few other people were in the diner, so we received super-fast service. We went there, had breakfast, and came back within an hour.

After we came home, I showered, got ready, and took the 11:25am Hempstead train from Floral Park heading into Penn Station, NYC.

2014-01-30 09.06.15
Here is a picture of the younger old lady (and her flat hair) with the older old lady.

More later….

Today’s Top 7 Done List

One way to adopt a positive mindset is to end each day by making a list of all the things you managed to accomplish that day. Once your brain is faced with the raw facts that you did not waste the day, you get into a right cheery old mood. Do this every night and your mind learns how to think in positive terms even during the day. My top 4 on the Done list include:

  1. Obtained 2 tickets on pre-sale to see Eddie Izzard at the Beacon Theater in NYC on May 14, 2014 for his Force Majeure tour.
  2. Completed turning my 156-page story into a lean 22-page outline.
    • Next steps: group my lists into scenes that I can shuffle and/or cut from.
  3. Read through 138-pages of an amazing 500 page HTML+CSS visual textbook. I have already learned some basic HTML+CSS, so this is for review and continued learning.
    • Next steps: Complete the HTML section.
  4. Survived 3 hours at the Starbucks After-School Program with headphones.
    • Next steps: Visit a list of NYC coffeehouses tomorrow until Mark can meet me for a birthday dinner.
  5. Participated in an interactive online webinar about how to edit a story. Ordered an editing book so I can get a 20-minute free consult from The Book Doctors. That’s gotta be dead useful.
    • Next steps: Wait for book to arrive so I can apply their advice to my story.
  6. Listened to my friend Jack’s incredible Goth Industrial radio program on WKFU for only 1/2 hr. out of 2hrs. because of webinar.
    • Next steps: Look forward until next week when I can listen to his program for 2 hours.
  7. Completed this my 26th daily post so I can keep my promise to myself to blog every day.
    • Next steps: Go to sleep. Wake up tomorrow. Blog all over again.

Tonight, I have a list. Tomorrow, I have a plan. Tune in tomorrow to find out!

Editing at the Bellerose Starbucks

This afternoon, I was at the Bellerose Starbucks on Jericho Turnpike, which is the coffeehouse nearest to my home. Mark pestered me this morning to get back to editing my story Butterfly Wings. After outlining 91 pages of this story a couple of weeks ago, I put it aside and had trouble getting back to it because I judged my story to be inane and my writing skills utterly lacking.

At 2pm, I packed my worn hot pink paisley Vera Bradley computer bag with my afternoon essentials: computer, story print out, sunglasses, earplugs, house keys, wallet, a pen, my medication packet, and a full water bottle. After getting my grande chai latte and an old fashioned glazed donut, I walked towards the long table near the back of the store to join the two Indian students who were studying.

I passed a six-foot transgender woman in her 50’s sitting at the drink bar who comes into the store in the afternoons. She is dressed as if she could go out for an elegant late-afternoon lunch. If she came to my restaurant, I would serve her caviar and champagne. She wears red lipstick, a black beret, very dark sunglasses, a black blazer and scarf, black pants, and black high-heeled boots with a silver buckle on each ankle. Part of me wants to introduce myself. Maybe make friends. I feel embarrassed to try with so many people around. I pass her without saying anything. I make my way to a seat at the big table.

I have made small talk with another afternoon Starbucks jockey who often sits at the big table. He is a six-foot two, hefty, African American cop who comes in to do work on his laptop and make phone calls. When I saw him the prior two times, he was talking on his phone. He has a warmth which comes through in his voice. I decided to risk making chit chat. I expressed surprise to him after he came back from the bathroom because he left his laptop alone on the table. He shrugged his shoulders and told me that no one would take his stuff and, if they did, he would track them down. We laughed.

I sat down at the long table with my back to the window, unpacked and opened my computer, took out pages 91-156 of my story, and started to jot notes about each page into an existing Microsoft Word document. At 3:15pm, the store began filling with groups teenagers who huddle around small tables, pull out their iPhones, and start playing computer games.

I look over at a group of five teens, three girls and two boys. The girls are staring at a phone held by the girl in the middle. One of the boys looks around, bored. None of them are talking to each other. Only after the boy takes out his phone and joins the game that the girls are playing do the teens talk to each other, but only about the game. He turns the game sounds on his phone and a rhythmic series of beeps starts. The longer the beeping goes on, the more irritated I get. I fantasize asking him to kill the sounds. I worry about getting this teen angry with me and decide it is better to put my headphones on and blast Benny Benassi. I rock on with my story.

Adults swarm the counter. Orders are filled. Seats are taken. One woman asks for a short chair at the big table and takes it to the drink bar. She sits two feet lower than her friend who got a bar stool. They laugh at the absurdity of the height difference. The drink bar where the transgender woman has been sitting is suddenly crowded with adults. This is her cue to leave. She gets up and slowly starts to wrap her scarf around her neck. Two of the teens at the small table take the now available seat and the one next to it, ignoring her as they continue to play games on their smartphones. The cop, who found a seat at a small table next to me, waves good-bye to me as he leaves. I smile and wave. I return to outlining.

At 5pm, I decide three hours and 40 pages of taking notes is enough for one day. But I’ll be back tomorrow to take up my place for another fun-filled afternoon at the Bellerose Starbucks, aka the after-school program for high school teens.

Near and Dear: Courageous Cats of Valley Stream

When I lived in Boston, I volunteered every week with my friend Alicia. On Sunday mornings, we would take care of and play with cats and kittens for a couple of hours.  After moving to NY, I knew I had to continue with volunteer work helping animals.

In NY, pet stores like PetCo and PetSmart sponsor feline animal rescue organizations. I happened to drive by a new PetSmart that was opening up in New Hyde Park. After they opened, I asked for the contact information for the rescue group, Courageous Cats.

Every Monday night since December 23rd, I have been going in for a couple of hours to clean cages, wash dishes, and feed and play with the cats. I even received a year-end thank you gift from Maria who runs the rescue group. Now that’s graciousness.

Today I was feeling a bit adrift and having trouble staying focused on what needed to get done. After a couple of hours with the cats, I felt a renewed sense of happiness and focus. Getting lost in the joy of caring for animals reminds me that my purpose in life isn’t about me; it’s about what I can do for those around me, humans and animals.