Friday 28 March 2014

Round 2, Day 81: Telling other people

Tonight my partner and I are going to dinner with his parents and some family friends. I wasn't sure how (or even whether) to broach the subject of not drinking with them. Right off, I should say, I have no plans to drink. Absolutely none. So that's not a worry. But the parents and the hosts know me as a wine drinker, and are likely to have bought some nice wine especially to share with me and my partner, so just a simple "not for me" wouldn't pass as an answer. It would be like if you got hold of some great steak and made a lovely meal around it for the steak-loving friend you never get to see, and then she showed up and said she was just having a salad. There are other people involved, and they care. That's how people are. And though I know there are lots of different views on this, it's really important for me to not make other people uncomfortable when they're drinking just because I'm not. I read a lot of "it's no one else's business what you drink" kind of posts, but I think sometimes that might be a bit disingenuous. Culturally alcohol is a shared pleasure, and refusing to share in something is a social and cultural act, not just a personal one. Of course, that's not to say I'm OK with people winding someone up because they're not drinking. That's bad form. But I can see this one from both sides. We make up each other's worlds and other people make up ours, and I'm trying to find a graceful way to participate in this part of my social world now that I'm not drinking anymore.

I have schoolwork to do for the afternoon, but my partner has headed out to spend the day with the folks, and they'll come get me later. As he was leaving, we were making arrangements, when to pick me up, whether we need to bring wine or some other gift, can I really bring two bottles of sparkling water, because one always disappears when everyone sees what a great idea it might be to have some, and that's fantastic, but then I don't want to have tap water for the rest of the night. Just because I quit drinking, doesn't mean I've quit hyper-planning some details, and actually it does help me a lot to work my way through some obvious scenarios ahead of time. Anyway. While we were sorting out our arrangements, my partner asked, "Is it OK if I tell my parents that you're not drinking?" I wasn't sure. Should he tell them it's forever? What would he say if they asked questions? They would ask why, and he's deeply honest and incapable of being glib, a great quality but not one I could rely on if I wanted him to fudge the truth a bit. In my mind I was screaming "NOOOOOO!, because in my mind, he was saying, "Should I just tell everyone you're an ALCOHOLIC?" But he said, sensibly, that it might be easier for me if at least some people at dinner already knew I wouldn't be drinking. And whether they should pick up wine for dinner might come up while they were on the way to get me, so it wouldn't be awkward. We settled on yes. Tell them I'm not drinking. If they ask, explain that I was so busy with school, and I found it easier to be clear-headed and not anxious if I didn't drink, so I'd stopped, and I do feel better. That way if they've already bought special wine, they won't be surprised and disappointed when I'm not sharing it. And they will already be onside if the hosts are pushing wine on me at the dinner, as they may well do.

My god, it takes a lot of thinking things through sometimes. But it's good. It sounds like worrying, but it's more like setting things up ahead of time so when we go, I won't have to worry. Now I can look forward to socializing at dinner, and the drink conversation will mostly have been taken care of. I'm so grateful that my partner gets what I'm doing and can step in to help. It was harder for him last time around, as he really didn't understand how important it all was for me. How could he, when I didn't understand it myself! This time, I'm more aware all around. And I really really really don't want to drink, so that helps!

The other day, I had a long phone chat with my sister, who lives on the other side of the country, (though she would say I'm the one on the other side, as she's "home" and I'm "away"). We had a big talk about the drinking, and I was able to tell her that I'd quit for good. I think she got it! It was such a relief to be open about it, and to be heard. But then she told me what she thought was a funny story about someone making a joke about someone not having beer in the fridge for once, and I was able to say that the joke might actually be painful, not funny, if the someone was trying to quietly make some changes without being the butt of anyone's well meaning humour. It simply hadn't occurred to her that anyone might discreetly try to cut down or quit and might be sensitive about it, even after all we'd talked about me having done exactly that! And she's lovely, a truly kind and thoughtful person, but she just hadn't seen the possible hurt or shame in the situation. The conversation got me thinking about how much where you are has an effect on the drinking, and the quitting. Where I'm from, everybody drinks. A lot. No one is considered to have a problem unless they're pretty hard up, and laughing it off is the norm. I see how much easier it's been for me to quit here, "away," than it would ever have been if I still lived "home".

Last week again I told someone that I didn't drink anymore, and we had a very interesting conversation. We had been talking about the lives of some poets she was reading and the central role that fear of death played in their lives. Many of these writers drank a lot, which was how the drink thing came up in the conversation. I said I had long been afraid of life, and I guess maybe I drank to get out of life once in a while, but I was getting better at facing life, and facing it made me realize it's actually glorious, even though it's still a bit scary. So that's where I am these days--sometimes having existential chats about booze and poetry and death, sometimes working things out with the family, sometimes just concerned that my hosts enjoy their dinner. Sometimes signing off to go write that paper!

Peace and joy to you, and lively conversations and dinners or whatever else it is you like doing with the people you love.

Monday 24 March 2014

Round 2, Day 77: Learning how to dance?

It's end of term and I'm in the middle of researching and writing a paper and deadlines and all that jazz, so I haven't posted in over a week. But I'm still here.

Eleven weeks! At the beginning of the semester, I set myself 13 weeks as a goal. I don't buy into the whole goal-directed life thing all that much. To me, it's better to have a general sense of where I'm going, and then stay open to what happens. But pointing myself toward sober meant reorienting what I was willing to be open to, and I'm glad I did set a goal. I won't start drinking at 13 weeks. Now that I'm here, I doubt I will ever drink again, though I'm not going to try and work out all the details of that plan before lunch today! I'm sticking with the foreseeable future, and there's no booze there for me!

At this point, in this second round of not drinking, I'm realizing some things about myself that surprise me. One is this: I'm actually not all that shy or anxious. How is this possible? I am plenty of awkward things, that's for sure. I am opinionated, and intense, a bit difficult. I'm not everyone's cup of tea. But I enjoy the back and forth of a good discussion, and I will neither give up my argument to appease someone nor bully someone into doing the same. Disagreement is uncomfortable, but maybe learning to sit with it will lead to better discussions. And I think that's part of what I'm learning, how to sit in the discomfort. Discomfort is a big part of what used to cause me so much anxiety, and that really is fading. It's not gone. But I'm starting to see that being anxious is not some essence of who I am, which I had long thought it to be.

Same with being shy. It's not that other people have thought of me as shy, but I have been so anxious in so many social settings, I just accepted that anxiety as some essence of myself, and I called it shyness, or being unsociable. But it isn't either of those things. I like being with people, bantering and jousting about ideas, or just being silly. And without being all tangled up in my anxiety, I can get out of my own way and enjoy being social. Now, my version of social will sometimes seem a little egghead to many people's. I'd rather talk about something I read (or something you read) than go dancing, so I'm not going to be the life of any party. But that's not being antisocial. It's just a different kind of social. I remember years ago being on a bus, talking to a friend about a George Steiner essay I'd read. She was embarrassed and shushed me. For her, taking about that sort of thing on the bus was "pretentious," and we had to stick to frothy commentary on trivial matters, or something like that. But I think that's just as pretentious, faking being interested in what's considered normal, and keeping your own interests locked up in private so no one thinks you're a geek or nerd or whatever the current term is for that sort of thing. Maybe sometimes I'm a bit egghead for my rural-born, down-to-earth family or the people at work, and I'm a bit down-to-earth for folks who can talk about ontology the way my people talk about hockey or the weather. So I'm not an easy fit into lots of the kinds of social events that crop up. But that's not the same as being shy or antisocial or anxious.

The other day I enjoyed going for drinks with some interesting people. Cran and soda for me thanks, to everyone else's beer, and I didn't care! Not even a twinge of wanting a beer (or the awful wine at the pub) for me. I was happier not drinking. I didn't have to talk all the time, and I didn't worry that I wasn't getting a word in. I wasn't monitoring myself at all. I took part in the conversation, and made the occasional witty comment when something struck me as funny. I was in it, enjoying it. I wasn't my (old) usual several steps outside, watching myself and evaluating how I was going. Man, that stuff was exhausting! I'm getting over being too caught in my small, separate self, and that leaves me more open to actually participating with other people.

I keep writing about this presence thing. I see now this is what I was writing about a few weeks ago. But I keep learning it, and it keeps surprising me. I say I'm not much of a dancer. But it occurs to me that what I'm talking about, enjoying conversation and interaction and participation, getting out of my own separate-self way so I can take part, it's all a big dance, isn't it? Getting over all that tangled mess that I thought was "me" lets me take part in the big dynamic mess of life. who knows? If I get comfortable enough with this, maybe I'll start dancing after all.

But for now, I'm off to write a paper. For anyone who read my last post, the thesis is more or less done and accepted. I have to defend, but the writing is done, barring some minor edits. Hooray for that! One last paper to go, and though it's a big one, I think it will be fun doing it.

Happy start of spring to you all. Peace and joy and sunny days to you. And dancing, whatever that looks like in your world!

Sunday 16 March 2014

Round 2, Day 69: A giant ball of tension!

Tomorrow it will be ten weeks since I quit drinking. Hooray for that! 

Also, tomorrow I have to submit a close-to-complete draft of my thesis. That means today I am working in a state of bristling tension without drinking wine to calm the spiralling craziness! I have alternated between writing and editing--still some left, but I am getting there, I think--and acting like a giant uncomfortable baby. Seriously. I have bounced out of my chair a hundred times, forty before I could even open the cursed document and just get started. I made a second coffee and had it with some chocolate, because everyone knows that helps calm a person, right? You know, have a little caffeine, plus some more with sugar! Feel better now? No? 

What else? I walked around the block, only to race home and write a paragraph that seemed more urgent when I was outdoors than it did when I was seated and writing again. I drank seven glasses of sparking water. I went to the loo, a necessary distraction after all that coffee and water. I tried knitting--that calmed me when I was on a plane, for god's sake--but I kept dropping stitches, so then I was shouting bitterly at a skein of silk that did not deserve such disrespect. (On the bright side, I did not yell at my silken skein last week when I was locked in an airless chamber with a few hundred strangers at 30,000 feet altitude, and for that I'm grateful.) Earlier, I was so frustrated with trying to do this project that I stood up, shook my fists in the air, and started yelling, "AAAARGH!!!" as loud as I could, but I have neighbours I like, so I quit that action pretty quick. At one point this afternoon, I went into the kitchen and started what might best be called mainlining a jar of honey. I ate a spoonful, then just poured the jar onto a spoon, bit by bit, and licked the spoon clean. After six or eight spoonfuls, I could hear Julie Andrews singing briskly, "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!" and, though I knew the cheery singing was only in my mind, I quietly backed away from the spoon and jar. 

In short, I am something of a lunatic. But I am not drinking, and I am getting closer to sending my professor a draft of the project. It won't be perfect, but it doesn't have to be. I will get comments and suggestions, and I can make changes based on those. And I will make it to seventy days without booze! 

Don't get me wrong: It's not that I want to drink here. I really really really really don't. And I won't. I'm just used to using the booze to calm myself when I get worked up, and it's really something to see how uncomfortable I can get without that. I won't drink. I won't go completely barking mad for too much longer. And I will finish the project. So there!

Peace and joy to you all. I'll get back to that later myself, I hope!

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Round 2, Day 64: Open

The past few days, I've started to notice that some things are getting easier. Thinking back to last summer when I quit drinking, I felt this around eight or nine weeks after quitting, but I wasn't sure I could attribute it to having quit. One big thing was, and is, being easier around other people. Instead of starting with an assumption that other people won't care much what I have to say (while at the same time hoping they find me fascinating!) I'm just more open. But without the background shenanigans I have to do in my mind when I'm trying to work around all that, I feel a lot more present talking with people.

That kind of talk sounds so abstract. Present and open: what the hell does it mean, right? Let's see if I can be a bit more clear. At my conference last week, I was able to walk up to people and talk with them, without being hyper-aware of myself or worrying about what the person might think of me. Most people were interesting and friendly, and we had super interesting conversation. For me, conversation is one of the great pleasures, essential to what I think of as a good life. Being able to enjoy that without isolating myself in my own insecurity was amazing. I'm grateful for it. Some people were not friendly, and it didn't matter all that much. Mostly they were just busy, or distracted, or focused on something else. I didn't take it personally. Now it's one thing to know that in principle, and it's quite another to feel it. That's the difference: I felt comfortable in my skin, and I was able to just let go of the little slights and hurts that often consume me. That left me open to what actually was happening, able to enjoy connecting with people who are interested in talking with me about things that interest us both. What a gift!

I felt that last summer when I quit drinking. I started the school semester at around 60 days, and I found myself able to chat easily with people, not get so caught in being uncomfortable that I close myself off. At the time, I thought maybe I had just changed. People change. But I lost that ease when I started drinking again, and eventually I was back in my old cut-off tensions. That was a big reason I quit this second time around. Now I'm starting to feel that ease and openness again, and I know it's because I'm not drinking.

A few years ago I was taking some writing classes. In one class, we had to write a scene from an early childhood memory. I don't remember a whole lot from when I was very young, though judging from photos and family lore, I wasn't a terribly happy child. I wrote about when I was not quite five years old, sitting in my kindergarden class, watching some kids sliding down a rail that I knew they were not allowed to slide on. There were a tangled little gang of them, shrieking and laughing, climbing the stairs and sliding down that rail over and over while the teacher was out of the room. I sat in my chair, completely still and silent, watching. It's not so much that I wanted to join them, though I guess I did. A better way to say it was, I wondered how they did it, how they got up out of their chairs and walked over to the group and joined in, shrieking and sliding. In my memory of this, I sat watched and watched, trying to figure out how to be like that, or even how to start.

We had to read the passage to the class, and it was only once I read it aloud that I saw how dark the story was. Before that, it was just the way I was as a child. After I read my writing, there was a long silence. I could feel that people were uncomfortable, and I thought maybe the passage had been really poorly written and no one knew how to critique it. Then the teacher said something like, "I don't know what to say about alienation in kindergarden. But I sure feel it." It was one of those moments when you realize something you think of as completely normal simply isn't the way things are for other people. My fellow students went on to read lively scenes about birthday parties and Christmases and new bikes and whatever it is people remember when they remember their childhoods. I sat and listened, wondering about what it was like to be like them.

The irony is, trying to connect with other people is probably what drinking was all about in the first place. You know how it starts, those drinks that help you relax and suddenly you can speak easily with others, be funny or charming or interesting whatever else you are. I loved that, the feeling of communion with people when we sat sharing food and drinks and stories. I wasn't used to it, but I was pretty sure I'd found that magic that lets you join in. For those of us who develop problems with drinking, that doesn't work forever. Maybe my drinking started out as something that dissolved the invisible barrier that let me join in, but in the end, it was its own barrier. I mostly preferred to drink alone, often with a book I would read but not remember much of the next day. Still, for years my vision of heaven came straight from the novel All Soul's Day by Cees Nooteboom. Everyone in the book is alone and lonely, which I think left many readers out in the cold, but it resonated with me. There's a recurring scene in which the main character drops by a restaurant where he and his friends have a regular table, and they eat and drink and talk about food and ideas, life and art, and everything in between. When I read it, I knew I wanted that more than anything, that communion with other people. That was my heaven. (In the book, there is a minor character, a Russian woman who always drinks too much vodka and the friends take care of her, and even when I read the book over a decade ago, I worried I might end up more like her than I wished.)

Sometimes I read a lot about how much we need to focus on ourselves, and I get it, but it's only a partial truth. An old friend, a psychologist, talks about how we have to get out of our own way so much of the time. I like that. I knew he was onto something when he said it, but I'm only recently starting to really get what it means. That's what I think quitting drinking is helping do for me. Me being in my own way wasn't caused by the drinking. And I've been working on this stuff for years, with therapy and reading and trying to find a way to be at home in the world. But I am getting glimmers of how it might work. For me, quitting the drink seems to be helping me clear away some of the tangled mess that keeps me isolated. And without that mess, I am more open to the world.

Writing about presence, philosopher Alva Noe says, "The world shows up for us. But it doesn't show up for free.... We achieve access to the world around us through skillful engagement; we acquire and deploy the skills needed to bring the world into focus" (from Varieties of Presence, p. 2).

I guess that's what I'm getting at here. Quitting drinking allows me to show up, too, and do my part. Showing up isn't just a magic quality some people have inside them. Engagement is a skill, and you can't learn new skills when you're drunk. The world is already there, showing up, and it's already glorious. It's a fine thing to be able to show up too, open to the world. I'm new at this, but I know this is what I was looking for. Not drinking in my fictional dream-restaurant with the other lonely people. I wanted this, to get out of own way, open and engaged, learning how to show up to the world that is always already showing up for us. I love it.

Peace and joy to you. Thanks for being open to reading my words, and keeping me company along the way.

Friday 7 March 2014

Round 2, Day 60: Big week, no booze!

For the past couple of days I've had some huge challenges: airplane travel, hotel stay, attending a conference, presenting at the conference. I didn't talk about it up till now, mostly because I was so worried and I didn't want to feed the worry-machine mind. But I'm through most of it and all is good. In fact, it was kick-ass marvellous all the way through!

First, I flew without wine. Seven hours flying, no wine. That's a definite first. I wasn't even nervous. (Maybe my flight nerves are really just boozy nerves? Or maybe all that knitting was like a special calming drug.)

Second: I ordered hotel room service without wine. Just a delicious bowl of gumbo some mint tea. And then I had a bath and went to bed. You hear that? Room service without booze? That's another first for me!

Third: I waltzed through two free drinks receptions drinking soda and lime all the way through. No free booze for me, thanks. (Who is this person?)

Fourth, and this is the big one: I got through--no, I aced--a big presentation of my academic work, one that I've been preparing/worrying about for months. I talked, people listened, they nodded and laughed appropriately, they asked good questions, and afterwards there was some great conversation about it. This is the most serious academic thing I have ever had to do, and I really was worried leading up to it, but I was calm and focused. I actually really enjoyed doing it! And afterwards, I took myself away and relaxed for a quiet hour. But I did not drink wine to celebrate!

OK, maybe that sounds more like a list of what I didn't do: I didn't drink. Repeat as necessary. But for me, this was all a big deal. I love (love love love) staying in hotels, but I can't remember the last time I've done that without wine. Ditto room service. Free booze reception, can you spell trigger at all? And then celebration after a big project is done? This was always going to be the biggest challenge for me. I has planned and imagined my way through most of the situations, so I was prepared.

What surprised me was how much I enjoyed not drinking! I was wonderful to actually, fully enjoy talking to people, without worrying about getting another drink, or whether I was getting loud/slurry/pink/whatever. I know everyone says this, how good it is to have that relief, but holy, it's so true!

So here I am in a strange city, one day of conference left and then a little time to visit a few places before I head back. I still have some challenges ahead--dinner out by myself tomorrow in some nice place I find, and then flying back the next day. But so far it's been great, and I will be attentive but not worried about what's left.

OK, that's all I got here. Just bath (there's a bathtub!) and bed left for me today. I'm wiped after a big couple of days. But I'm really proud of myself. Being able to not just get through but really enjoy the challenge of the presentation and the travel and talking with some seriously interesting people and all that conference stuff, and not even miss the booze while I'm doing it--that feels like a big whopping good thing to me. Hooray for that.

Thanks for reading. Wishing you some seriously lovely sober peace and joy. I've got some, too!

Monday 3 March 2014

Round 2, Day 56: Cheering me on, feeling the love!

I'm going to start off with a big whopping Hooray!!! It's been eight weeks since I drank, and that's a whole lot of days making a whole lot of small, good decisions. Hooray me! Go me! Oh yes, folks, that's me, cheering me on in real time!

I'm playing the part of being my own one-person cheering committee for a reason here, and it's not that I have a big ego. (Well I do--but who doesn't? Sometimes I want to defend our much maligned egos, poor fragile things, egos, bouncing around the rough and tumble world like eggs without safe cardboard cartons. But that's a different post.) Nope. It's this: I am starting to get an inkling of how freaking hard on myself I am. I swear, I had no idea. I do all kinds of things that look like I am taking it easy on myself. I eat when I'm hungry. I sleep when I'm tired. If I catch myself looking in the mirror with any sort of critical eye, I say something nice to myself, out loud, to counter the criticism. I have little treats all the time, so much so that the idea of a treat for being sober doesn't work for me because I refuse to link treats to any performance outcome, and anyway I have them all the time. I really thought I had this being kind to self thing nailed. Oh man, was I wrong! Is getting sober all about realizing how wrong you are about everything?

But I have been doing a slightly crazy job plus full-time school, both at a pretty hectic pace, for a few years, and I don't cut myself much slack on either front. Even when things go well, I hardly register the success because, of course, I am supposed to do well. Last summer, having received an A+ mark in a directed studies class, my partner said I didn't seem pleased with the grade (which is bewildering, right?) and I commented that the professor was probably just being kind because he knew I'd worked hard. Last semester, I minimized another A+, figuring the professor just wanted people to do well. I was not just saying these things. I really thought them. On another tack: I weigh 5 pounds more than I did last summer, and I have been fretting about those 5 pounds in a way that no one could call rational. I could list more examples, but I worry anyone reading would lose patience with me. I would. Examples are hard, because they sound petty. They sound like I'm saying, "See me! Almost perfect!" Please trust me, that's not what's going on here.

This past week, I have started to break through this faulty thinking. The other day, I was buckled into deep, sobbing tears over this. (Yes, I know, I cry a lot.) I realized that I still, far too often, think that if only I lose five pounds and get A+ in everything and do everything right and be smart and funny and nice to everyone all the time, then the God of my childhood will reach out and pat me on the head and say, "Good girl," and everyone will love me and then, only then, will everything finally be OK. Like all the money problems and old broken relationships and mean things I've said or other people have said, all the old problems with my mother and my family and the fact that I drank too much for too long, all the social awkwardness and not believing in myself when I was not being awkward, all that and a whole whack of things I don't even want to list here, all those would be washed away, and life would start again, perfect, bathed in the milky new light of early morning.

That may sound pathetic. It is. But even writing it here makes me go all teary-eyed. I just didn't know I still thought that. That's pretty much me as an eight-year-old, right there, still thinking the same way, almost forty years later. It's a shock to see that I'm still living that view of the world.

If anyone I knew talked like this, I would want to give them a giant hug and say it's all going to be OK. (Sober blog warning: quitting drinking really does make you want to hug everyone all the time!) So that's what I'm trying to do here. Just be really, honestly kind to myself. Take in the giant universe hug and see that it's all already OK.

None of this should surprise me. I know this stuff intellectually. You have to be kind to yourself, accept yourself, etc. But you can know it without feeling it. Now something different is going on. I'm slowly starting to feel what it is to accept myself, and that's a different way of knowing altogether.

So that's me today. I quit drinking eight weeks ago, and I'm proud of that. I'm starting to feel the big love that is part of living in the world. Even if it does feel like being lost a lot of the time, we're going in the right direction here.

Thanks for reading. Hooray you! Hooray me! Hooray world! Peace and joy and big hugs for everyone!

Saturday 1 March 2014

Cranky note to self: Sometimes this is hard.

Tonight work was a bit of a disaster. I'm going to leave out most of the details. But on three separate occasions, people blew up and yelled and swore at me and had to be escorted out by security. One person threw something at me before he went. And in between, patrons asked me why I wasn't smiling, or whether I was tired, or why I was being so serious. I don't know, I'm just not always all that cheery after being told to go #$%% myself. There are lots of reasons for the work crap--I work in a poor part of town where an extremely high proportion of the population has mental health and addiction problems. (And I'm not even talking about the staff!) On Saturday night, we are one of the few places open, and everyone is welcome as long as they are not obviously drunk or high and can keep it together enough not to swear or throw things and so on, but lots of people can only do that for a while before they blow, often because they really want to be drunk or high but they've already spent the cash, or they just have really bad stuff going on and one more irritation is more than they can cope with. Hell, I get it. But sometimes I just don't feel able to withstand the barrage of abuse that happens on a regular basis. All the advice to breathe and not take it personally and let it wash over you and so on is fine, and it helps, but I am the person who is working and being yelled at and sworn at and so on, and I don't know if there's really any way around finding it upsetting sometimes.

It wasn't all bad. I did not swear back at anyone, much as I wanted to. I didn't throw anything. I didn't even cry until after I'd biked home. And no, I did not buy wine and drink it when I got home, which was my standard go-to solution for a night like this. I know it won't help. I feel raw enough already, and I know this not drinking gig is moving things in the right direction. The kettle is just boiled, so I will pour myself a cup of herbal tea and go read the Pema Chodron book I have on the go--Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves From Old Habits and Fears. Free. That's the right direction.

Tonight I feel like the edges of my nerves are exposed. And it's hard. Not having a way out of feeling is sometimes just plain tough to deal with. I am hoping, because I'm listening to the people who have done this already, that the raw edges smooth out a bit after a while. At 54 days sober, they sure are still a bit ragged sometimes. Anyway, for now, tea will help.

Peace and joy to you, and to those troubled folk who blew up at me tonight, if they can find some. Maybe there's enough of that going around that I can have some, too.