2011: Can You Feel The Love?

What I did on the last night of 2011: romantic dinner for two at casa Best.

I’ve never been big on resolutions. But I do love me some reflection. In some ways, as I’ve written about on here before, this was a rocky year. But in many other ways it was wonderful, too. And that’s what I’m going to focus on today, the awesomeness.

7 Reasons Why 2011 Was Awesome:

1. The old 9-5: I’ve been at my company for three and a half years, with varying degrees of satisfaction and happiness there. In August, I took a new position within the company and I’m happy to report that I love it. I’m writing all kinds of creative stuff and I’m getting to use my brain on a daily basis. I am so lucky that I get paid to do what I love, especially in a time when many people are struggling to even find a job.

2. My health: As you know, I cut out alcohol. I cut out caffeine. I even cut way back on sugar, meat and dairy. If you would have asked me a year ago if I would consider doing any of the above, I would’ve answered with a resounding hell no. But having a goal in mind has given me strength and willpower that I didn’t know I had. It makes me wonder what other hidden things I have yet to discover about myself.

3. Bucket list: As I’ve mentioned before, I had the opportunity to travel to Iceland with Tim this summer. I’ve always said that it was the one place I wanted to see before I die. And yeah, I hope I don’t die anytime soon, but it was pretty cool to check that off the list.

4. Baby Tessa: My sister’s baby was born at the end of November and I got the chance to see her at Christmas. This little miracle was wished for for many years, and nothing makes me happier than to help welcome her into the world.

5. the sky and back: I know I’ve talked about this already, but this blog is definitely one of the most awesome things about 2011. It’s brought me so much—comfort, hope, support, new friends—the list is endless.

6. Friends: Speaking of new friends, I’ve made a few this year. And best of all, I’ve formed a stronger connection with many of my old friends. They say that in times of struggle you really learn who your friends are. And guess what? I learned that my friends are…my friends. Every single one of them stood by me this year through my fertility struggles, my mom’s cancer diagnosis and all of the other bumps in the road. And people that I didn’t even know cared came out of the woodwork to show their support. Damn, you guys really know how to make a girl feel loved.

7. Counting my blessings: In June of 2011, Tim’s best friend passed away. It was unexpected and awful and there was nothing good to come out of it. Except. When something like that happens, it really puts everything else into sharp focus. Because you realize that, holy crap, life is beautiful and slippery and way too short. All of a sudden, it was magically clear what was important to me and what wasn’t. This event and the re-emergence of my mom’s cancer, have made it impossible for me to take anything in my life for granted. And even though this feeling was born out of really shitty events, I am grateful for it all the same. Because I love life, so much, and I don’t ever want to forget that. No matter what happened in the past or what happens in the future, what everything boils down to for me is this: I love and am loved in return. And I honestly can’t think of anything more wonderful than that.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope the year to come is filled with more love and happiness than you can handle. Cheers.

Two Weeks Down, ?? Left To Go

One easy way to avoid alcohol: hang out with pregnant chicks.

First things first, a huge thanks to all of you who commented on my post about giving up alcohol. I felt some serious love and support from you guys. And I love you all right back.

I want to give a special shout-out to my friend Zac, who offered to abstain from alcohol until I get pregnant. For those of you who don’t already know Zac: he will actually do this. That’s just the kind of guy he is. For your sake, Zac, I hope I get pregnant soon!

It’s been two weeks and a day since I’ve had a drink. And guess what? It’s totally fine. So far. I made it through a concert. I made it through a wedding. I even made it through a visit with my brother, who might be my favorite drinking buddy on the planet.

I’ve been sitting here for the past few minutes trying to figure out why it has been fairly easy for me to drop something that was such a huge part of my life. I’m guessing it has much to do with the fact that every time I’ve had a drink for the past month or two I felt guilty about it. I felt bad about myself when I was drinking and even worse the next morning. I wasn’t listening to the voice telling me I needed to stop and I knew it. So I think finally quitting was a relief. No more guilt! No more nagging inner voice being like, “Dude, what are you doing?”

Do I feel amazing and more energetic than I have in years? Nah. I feel pretty much the same, physically. Although, not having a hangover is definitely nice. Mostly the changes I’ve noticed have been mental. I feel more at peace. Finally – after months of hemming and hawing – I had the courage to make a major, healthier change for myself. And that feels pretty darn good.

I doubt every day will be as easy as these first two weeks. Of course not. This could just be the honeymoon period, right? But seeing as I have my end goal in mind and a wealth of support from all of you, I believe I’ll be just fine.

A sober (and happy) me in Pumpkin Land.

A Wino’s Farewell to Wine

I love wine.

I love the taste, the smell, the way it makes me feel. I love wineries, wine bars and wine menus at restaurants. I love it all. I even like wine in boxes.

But I’m giving it up. For now.

Last night I made the (very difficult) decision to kick alcohol to the curb until I get pregnant.

A few factors spurred this decision. First, there are some studies linking alcohol to decreased fertility. I didn’t pay any mind to these studies when I first read about them. There are other studies out there saying alcohol while trying to conceive is No Big Deal. Indeed, many of my dearest friends were 100% tipsy when they got pregnant. Alcohol does not seem to mess with the average gal’s fertility much, so why should I worry about it?

Because when it comes down to it, I’m not the average gal trying to get pregnant. Even though I’ve had a couple periods since I’ve started upping my fat intake, they’re still not super regular and I’m ovulating way late in my cycle.

Second, I’ve been doing (and blogging about) so many things to make myself healthier these last few months, that ditching the sauce seems like the next logical step in the process. One thing has been naturally leading to the next as I’ve been slowly, but surely, building a healthier me.

And finally, I’m willing to go to great lengths to get pregnant, if necessary. I’d try Clomid, I’d inject myself with drugs and, yes, I would do IVF, the final frontier. Hopefully I won’t have to do those things, but that’s beside the point. If I’m willing to do all of those things, then why shouldn’t I be willing to try giving up alcohol first? It’s certainly more natural and less invasive than the things mentioned above. Plus, those medications, etc., are so expensive that I’d feel like I was wasting my time and money if I wasn’t as healthy as possible before I even thought about trying them.

Bottom line: it just feels like the right thing to do right now. I’ve written a lot recently about listening to the needs of my body and paying attention to my inner voice. And right now my inner voice is pretty much screaming at me about this.

But it is not going to be easy. Drinking is so much a part of my relationships and activities that I think I’m going to feel lost without it. After an emotional day, I could always uncork a bottle. When I was bored? Another bottle. Oh and let’s not forget celebrations. That’s at least two bottles.

It’s going to be totally weird for me to navigate all of that without my trusty elixir.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I need your support. Even if you just post a comment on this blog or say something supportive to me in passing, it would really help a lot.

I’m not going to give up alcohol forever. Oh hell no. But for now, I must make the following goodbyes. Because it’s not just my beloved wine that’s got to go, it’s everything:

Goodbye, beer sampler...
Goodbye, Guinness...
Goodbye, car bombs. Godspeed.