The past year was slightly different for me, few changes and some milestones. For some reason, perhaps it was an attempt to come out of my shell a bit, I started a Twitter account last January. I do at times find great amusement in it, however I have yet to discover any real or practical use fo it; I’ll chalk that one up to just trying something new. In may I celebrated my first year since I was fourteen in which I did not smoke at all. The end of September marked my first full year off the booze, though the way I have felt for the past several weeks indicates I am not quite free from it entirely. October was a month full of changes as I began bicycling on a regular basis, a thing that I need to get back to as the holidays wind down and my daughter gets back to school and my schedule returns to normal; it was also the month in which I began my blog, which would be another thing that I feel my focus on slipping just a bit. I, once again, engaged in my unique habit of growing one year older on the day before Halloween, a tradition that I plan on continuing for many years to come; I am happy to report that my scheduled midlife crisis is in full swing and is going about as well as can be expected given my budget. Not an entirely bad year I’d say.
I think the only thing bad I have to say is that I have not read a single book in the past 365 days. I have read articles, blogs, and essays but I could not bring myself to read any work longer than a couple of thousand words. This has been a thing with me since I became sober. I got so in the habit of pouring over a book while I poured beer down my throat that it has become practically impossible for me to separate the two activities; sometimes it seems like my addictions last stand. This is something that I am determined to overcome, as it makes reading to my daughter more than just a little bit frustrating. I also was supposed to read a friends first novel earlier this year and I very quietly got derailed from that, I owe her an apology.
By the end of 2013 I was in a bit of a funk. A waning amount of sunlight, dreary weather, hectic scheduling in my personal life, frustrations with my job and lack of exercise have all conspired to fill me with a strong desire to remain in bed as much as possible and eat nothing but breakfast meats and sugar. The holiday season has always gotten me down and this is only my second time through it sober in many more years than I can even recall, so I guess we can count me going through a pint of ice cream and a ton of cherry soda each day for the past week or so instead of a ton of beer and a pint of bourbon as a positive.
To assuage my recent depression a bit I started the year off right. First I took everything out of my spice cabinet and threw out most of the crap I found there. All the stale dried herbs, the duplicates of spices I wound up buying because I thought we were out, the half empty tin of Old Bay, the Montreal Steak Seasoning that I have no idea how it got there, those spice rubs and season salts and herb mixtures that have been gifted to the family over the years and never opened, the mysterious shaker of meat tenderizer because in the end it’s really just salt, and someone please explain to me what the hell Mrs. Dash is doing anywhere near my kitchen. I love throwing things out, it just makes me feel good like I just shed about a few metric tons of bullshit all at once. When I was done I neatly put the survivors of my purge back in the cabinet and proceeded to cook way too much food.
Living with my mother-in-law means learning to cook with at least one extra plate on the table and on New Year’s day my nieces were at the house while their mother worked her nursing job, a convenient excuse to make a rather large meal of rosemary and Dijon rubbed roast pork, black-eyed peas, collard greens and roasted potatoes. It was nice, the meal came out well, if a little later than I planned and preparing it reminded me what I like about cooking and I liked starting the year off with the family around the dinner table. It might even be nice to make this a new tradition.