Details! Update on our gathering

I think we have a plan!

Our little New England gathering of Hearts & Voices will take place in Portsmouth, NH, at 1pm on Saturday March 13th. We’re planning lunch, and then if we’re up for it we can stroll downtown for some lattes and cupcakes.

If you’re interested please email me {at crnnoel at gmail dot com}, or leave a ¬†comment and I will get in touch with you about further details {like the name of the restaurant…} and how to find us. Although it should be fairly easy… we’ll be the group sitting with our cameras taking photos of each other and our food ūüėČ

Please spread the word! The more the merrier. I’m so looking forward to sitting down with a few women who understand why I take pictures like this:

Dec 9, 2009 031

and why I share them. Women who I know get me before we meet in the flesh.

So… ¬†if you’ll be somewhere remotely close to Portsmouth on the 13th of March, I so hope you can join us!

That’s right, you.

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Gentle nudges

Today marks two weeks of sobriety for me.

Two weeks worth of being present.

14 days of gentle nudges each morning from Him, telling me that I can do this, that I’m worth it.

I might not always talk about it, or write about it, but my sobriety is always on my mind. It is a constant choice to be made. Me, and my family, over the bottle. ¬†And with those gentle nudges, the choice is getting easier to make. I’m not second guessing myself, I’ve admitted the problem, and there is no turning back.

I still feel like I’m flailing at times, trying to keep my head above water. Yesterday Fynn broke my glasses… and I could barely handle dealing with changing my day around to head out to order new glasses… and then I found out that I had to have an eye exam because my last prescription was only good for one year and not two… and between adding up the $$ in my head, and subtracting that from a bank account that is vertically challenged… my mind just kept spinning.

And it still spins. But I feel like I always have one foot planted on the ground now, instead of dealing with the drunk spins even when I wasn’t drinking. Because I was starting to feel those spins constantly. My life was¬†teetering¬†on the edge of that slippery slope… where you stand in the liquor store for one little thing, and wonder how you could sneak a few extra bottles in without being caught. For an emergency.

That was one of my moments.

And the gift was the gentle nudge pushing me out the door, without the secrecy.

Those nudges… those are my gift that I’m unwrapping today. They sing me to sleep now, quiet¬†lullaby’s¬†of hope and grace. They stay with me through the day. Helping me chose sobriety.

I will forever be thankful, and¬†humbled, that God’s grace is present in nudges.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please visit Emily at Chatting at the Sky for more Tuesday’s Unwrapped. You’ll find simple moments and simple mysteries unwrapped in everyday life. Enjoy!

30 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Cupcakes, New England Style

Feb 7, 2010 001

I’ve had cupcakes on the brain. The kind that go with big cups of hot tea or lattes, eaten with friends who don’t mind if you talk with icing stuck on the corners of your mouth. The kind that’s as sweet as the women around you, as yummy as the conversation at hand.

The kind of cupcakes you share with fellow bloggers.

That’s right. Like at Cupcake ’10.

I’m thinking New England bloggers need some of that love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So what do you say? I know there are several New England bloggers, looking to connect with each other outside of this whole online thing. How do I know? I keep¬†getting emails asking if I know other bloggers in the area, and when I say yes, it’s almost always followed up with we should get together!

Lets!!!

It doesn’t have to be anything formal, at all. Depending on how many people are interested, we could either do a lunch, a coffee date, or find someplace where we can spread out in comfy chairs – or even the floor – and sit with yummy treats and warm drinks and talk. Get to know each other, and dive into why we do this crazy thing that we spend hours on. Why we blog.

And I’m thinking the sooner the better. Yes, I’m attending BlogHer in August {I’ll be the one double fisting Diet Coke’s as to not be tempted by all the booze NYC has to offer…} but I think we all deserve a little treat to get us through until Spring. Plus, something smaller and not so overwhelming! So before our calendars get crazy with the chaos that comes with spring and summer, let’s have our cupcakes. How about March 2oth or 27th? ** Editing to add that March 13th is also on the table…**

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s move forward with this! If you’re interested, either leave a comment or send me an email (crnnoel at gmail dot com) and let me know where you’d be coming from, and what date you’d prefer, March 20th or 27th.

Once I have numbers, I can look into finding a venu that’s fairly central. I’d love to find something similar to what the ladies did at¬†Cupcake ’10 {take a look at their site if you’re interested, looks like they had a fabulous time!}¬†I’m hopeful that if there’s enough of us we could do something very similar fairly inexpensively, though I’m thinking more of a full day than an overnight. But I’m completely open to suggestions.

Even if it ends up being just a few of us, I think it’ll be worth our time. The connections we’ve all made through blogging are so real, so much a part of {at least my} life. Let’s take some time to honor our hard work and dive into a cupcake or two!

Spread the love, and spread the word ūüôā A gathering of hearts and voices is on the horizon… {what do you all think of Hearts&Voices as a get together name? I’ve been struggling trying to come up with a title of our own… I kind of like it…}

24 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Love Letter

Feb 7, 2010 006

Dear Streets of Salem,

I love you. With all of my heart. The reasons are more than the years I’ve known you. I think you are misunderstood, and hold so much more than the wax museums and witch trials.

Your streets hold my love story. My history with a certain man. Your streets cradle countless beginnings in my life.

Your streets coddled us on a first date, six years ago today. Hands were nervously held for the first time. Silent smiles spread across two faces while passing your town common. Doors were held, smalls of a back touched gently, and feet stepped in unison.

Love was found on lazy Sunday morning strolls down Winter Street.

Our first apartment, together, was on one of your lesser known streets. A painted wooden porch overlooked your crumbling road, where the questionable folks in town lived, but to us it was perfect. Cheap, full of character, and perfect.

Our relationship was founded on your streets. Risks were taken. And on one November evening, my loves hand reached into his coat pocket and held out a small black, velvet covered jewelry box. On your streets he asked “should we make this official?”

On your streets I said yes.

And the rest is history.

Streets of Salem, you will forever hold a special place in my heart. Thank you.

Love,

Corinne

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m linking this post up to Mamalom’s Love Letters, a special Valentine’s treat. Head over to take a look at other love letters, and perhaps write your own…

29 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Soft landings

Today, we drove down to the airport. My mom flew in from the warm{er} south, to visit for the next week and a half. Her timing worked out to be perfect, and I’m welcoming her support and help with open arms.

As Fynn and I drove into the big city this morning, my mind was clear, my thoughts positive, I was able to stay in the moment with him. As conversation drifted from the big orange dinosaur on Route 1, to the big trucks that we passed, to airplanes in the sky, I smiled and giggled with my son. We were there, together in the car, excited for the same thing. Flurries and wind hit our faces as we left the car to venture into the airport, and we ran together, hand in hand, toward the warmth.

Feb 6, 2010 002

My mind is clear, but tired. Happy, but emotionally drained. Lifted by the comments and emails that followed Thursday’s post, but still brought down a bit by the hugeness that is being a recovering alcoholic. I can’t tell you how thankful, and completely humbled I am by all of your comments, prayers, and kindness. It’s like jumping into a bed freshly made with warm flannel sheets. Comforting, a soft landing at the end of a hard day.

Thank you.

28 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Sobering gifts

A few weeks ago I was given a gift.

It came in the form of an email. My friend Heather warned me that she was writing a post for her blog about being an alcoholic. Turns out she thought I’d understand.

And my world turned upside down and inside out when I read that email.

Because she was right. She knew. And I responded, after hesitating over the send button, with tears and empathy. I fully understood.

The next day she published her post. I hung on to every word. I felt like she was in my head, and spilled what I was thinking out on her blog.

A few days later, hanging by a thread to the coat tails of Heather’s courage, I mustered up a bit of my own. After a few drinks, I looked at my glass of tequila with a splash of juice, and said out loud it’s not you, it’s me. And that’s the truth. There’s something in me that cannot stop once I start. It’s an addiction. It might not have happened every night, but once I picked up a drink, I could not stop. The first made me edgy for my fourth. And if I wasn’t drinking, I was thinking of drinking, and trying to figure out why I hadn’t stocked my wine racks with my companions Cabernet, Shiraz, or Merlot.

On January 26th, 2010, I quit drinking.

And I think I’ve been crying on and off ever since. It’s freeing, but terrifying. I feel broken, battered by the abusive relationship I’ve had with the bottle for years. And I do mean years. It was kept at by while I was bearing children, but after Paige was born it came back with a vengeance.

Three days into my sobriety Maggie came out with her truth. And again, I cried. Another gift. These stories are what help. Our truths, showing that we are here, not alone. No matter the story, there is that one common thread. Alcoholism.

I feel the same way about AA meetings. I’ve been to several, and can feel warmth the minute I enter the chilly church basement or side room. The first meeting I attended was indescribable. I physically shook for the first half, and cried the second. But there were arms that reached out to me. Tissues were handed over, as well as phone numbers and countless hugs. Strangers, tied together by this common thread, told me I was going to be ok. To keep coming.

So that’s what I’m doing. I keep going. And it’s gotten better. There are good days, and there are terribly rotten days. But I’m still standing, and I’m still sober. And I can do this.

I woke up this morning, and for the first time I wasn’t pinned down with self loathing or self-pity.¬†Truthfully, the thing that’s really getting me through is knowing I never have to wake up hung over again. Never have to wear the shame of missed wine stained lips to a playdate. From here on out, my kids will never see me drunk. Those are powerful things. I have a beautiful life. Imagine what it will be like to live it fully aware and¬†conscious. Sober.

So here it is. I’m Corinne, and I’m an alcoholic. And I’m going to learn to fly again.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

~The Beatles, Blackbird

**And Heather & Maggie – thank you for your courage. For your honesty, your compassion. I have so much love for you both!

66 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

February, Dar, and girly crafts

This February brings with it so many different emotions, I can’t even begin to describe the way I’m feeling right now.

February often does that to me. Emotions coming down like sleet, hitting hard at first, then softening once they hit your skin and you embrace them with warmth.

It’s just… so… February.

Do you know Dar Williams? I love Dar. When Lucas and I were first dating {actually… almost exactly six years ago…} one of the {many} reasons I fell in love with him was the fact that he had one of Dar’s albums. You see, Dar and I are on a first name basis… I saw her in concert once in Portland when I was in high school. She played at a church… if I remember correctly…. and I have loved her ever since. Which puts us on a first name basis.

In any case, today I had her song February stuck in my head. Playing over and over.

And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together.
You stopped and pointed and you said, “That’s a crocus,”
And I said, “What’s a crocus?” and you said, “It’s a flower,”
I tried to remember, but I said, “What’s a flower?”
You said, “I still love you.”
~Dar Williams, February

Love it. That part of the song makes me smile every time I hear it.

You know what else makes me smile? Little girls who get practically giddy while making a Valentine for a certain Daddy! We had our weekly playdate with the kids grandparents today, and their Grandma Lou brought out all sorts of things to make Valentine’s with. Fynn lasted about five minutes… but Paige? She LOVED it! She could take or leave paint, but give the girl glitter stickers and some¬†doilies¬†and she’s ready to rock and roll. I can see craft boxes filled with glitter and sequins in our future…

Feb 3, 2010 017

Feb 3, 2010 024

Feb 3, 2010 025

Maybe February isn’t all that bad after all…

{and yes… that’s blue marker on Paige’s face… Grandma Lou – I’m sorry, but it was too cute to edit out! It’s faded a bit… hopefully it’ll come off by the time she’s twelve! :)}

12 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Cocoa shenanigans

I found him like this…

Feb 2, 2010 029

…then put the cocoa on the counter and ran to the bathroom for a moment.

I came back and found this…

Feb 2, 2010 039

…yes, two children taking turns licking hot cocoa mix {and marshmallows} off of the floor.

Notice the pizza thrown aside by Paige to partake in the fun, and the freshly bathed kids…

Feb 2, 2010 046

And yes, I keep my camera in the kitchen for just such an occasion.

When I’m laughing too hard to scold for a few minutes…

30 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Found

He sways to Ben Folds¬†in his chair at ‘Donald’s. Fynn¬†sits on his knees,¬†piercing¬†blue eyes darting from one area to the next. He watches a little girl in a sweatshirt covered in ballet shoes as she dances to the ketchup pump.

The accents are thick with Boston.

I’m trying to stay present in this moment. Focus on where we are, trying to not want for another place.

Or something more than Diet Coke from a soda fountain.

The kids meal sits between us. Chicken nuggets, fries, a prize knight atop a squirrel {don’t ask…} and a castle made out of a jug of milk.

He tells me about the knight and how he must find the castle. And then he glances outside and sees someone hurrying by on the street. Going for a walk in the subzero windchill.

Fynn starts worrying that the little boy lost his mommy.

As we leave, he falls in the parking lot. Scrapes his hands and teardrops begin to fall. In a natural mommy moment I scoop him up in my arms, fly across the parking lot to our car. Into the carseat, check hands, check knees, check noses, wipe tears.

Breathe in salty frozen tears. Focus.

He asks about the little boy again. He needs his mommy. He lost his mommy. We need to catch up, mommy! We drive a ways, and he’s satisfied in knowing the little boy must have made it home. He found his mommy.

And we drive to our castle. Princess and King waiting for us. We’re found.

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Sleepy Saturday

Today I slept in. Until 9:45.
I’m not kidding.
I’m married to the most wonderful man who not only keeps the kids entertained for a full morning, but also deep cleans the living room carpets at the same time. Seriously. Love him.

Then I left in the early afternoon to have lattes with one of my best friends. My husband even encouraged me to leave early so I could have some quiet time. By myself. Again… love him.

So I did. I drove a few towns over, parked the car and walked through the brisk air to the locally owned coffee shop. My gingerbread mocha was perfect, and the chocolate chip cookie delish. I sat and listened to the next table over talk about how Hans Solo and Princess Leia have several children… smiled to myself and then dove into an essay by Anne Lamott. It was Red Cords. I brought the book for my friend to borrow, and flipped it open to read the quote:

“I’m sorry I was awful.” I said “I don’t know what’s wrong with me sometimes. Everything gets to be too much and I can’t breathe”.

Oh Anne… you get me…

I can always pick up something that she’s written and feel like she’s in my head.

My friend came, and we sat and talked. About grown up things. We laughed about politics {what else can you do…} We cried a little about a few things. Then we laughed some more.

These moments, these grown up moments that sometimes make you feel like you’re the one who is three years old asking “what are you saying??” these moments that seem so life altering and scary… need to be owned and embraced. All of them. Even the ones that seem as wild and crazy as the frigid January air.

But they can be tamed with chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread mochas. They can be taken on after the first good nights sleep in months. And on a good day, those scary January moments fade into warm snuggles with a toddler who holds onto a book instead of a dolly as she drifts off to sleep…

Jan 30, 2010 006
{sorry for the fuzziness of this photo… a mama can only do so much while being sneaky and trying not to wake the little one…}

16 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized