If I titled my posts this would be called “Brushes with Drunkness”.

It began last weekend when I went to my brother’s Octoberfest party. (Oh yeah, that’s a healthy social choice for someone on the mend but I was, via the obfuscated politics of family, obligated to go. So I went.) I spent several uncomfortable hours watching the men in my family get drunk while the women in my family rolled their eyes and got slightly less drunk. Good times. Despite the copious flow of intoxicants, I wasn’t tempted. In fact, I just wanted to leave.

My second brush with drunkness happened last night. I played cards with some friends. Or rather, I played cards with a friend and his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s friend. And lucky for everyone, girlfriend decided to get wasted. At first it was amusing but she kept going. Let me add that I never wanted to be one of those self – righteous, “drinking is evil, you should be sober like me” types. I try to have a live and let live attitude. If someone wants to drown the uvula, who am I to judge. God knows I’ve done it enough. But OMG! (in the parlance of today’s youth) this women drove me up a wall. She spit out nonstop word salad. I wanted to slip her a roofie just so she’d shut the fuck up. I don’t think she even had time to breathe between her relentless snippets of drivel. To say she almost drove me to drink would be a lie. To say she almost drove me to murder would be closer to the truth. (No, I’m not homocidal I’m just trying to make a point.) Perhaps it bothered me so much because I used to be like that. Yet there I was, sober as a newborn, watching the ugliness of former me play out in dolby sound. How poetic. How sad.

For two weekends in a row I’ve been smacked in the face with drunk people. It’s been a blessing. Seriously, that wasn’t sarcastic. It’s been a blessing because it’s strengthened my resolve. At this point I’m not worried about caving in to temptation, I’m worried about complacency. I fear that at some point I’m going to say, “I can have a drink. I’ve got this thing licked.” But my latest brushes with drunkness have reminded me just how ridiculous and defeating that attitude can be. I guess I owe my drunk relatives and my buddy’s wasted girlfriend a debt of gratitude. 

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I have the day off. I work with my friend. He’s a gardener/garden designer/landscaper/etc. But today it’s raining so we’re not working.

All in all, things are good. My job is temporary but I’m making enough to keep my head above water for the time being. Unfortunately, I’m on my own once the winter rolls in. Too bad because the job is a blast and it’s keeping me in shape. I don’t weigh myself but I’ve gone down 2 belt loops. Woot! And I’ve learned a ton about plants. For instance, each plant has a cultivar in addition to its genus and species. The cultivar is to a plant what the breed is to a dog. Here are some other things I’ve learned: corn is a type of grass; there are more deer in New England now then there were when Columbus crossed the ocean; juniper bushes will give you a rash if you handle them bare handed; poison ivy flowers when it gets big enough; earthworms came from Europe and were not native to America in the time of the pilgrims; and boxwood bushes smell like pee, that’s why they fell out of favor in French and English gardens.

I haven’t verified the thing about the deer population or the earth worms but the rest is true.

On a completely different note, I’m sitting 10 feet away from a fully stocked liquor cabinet and I have no desire to drink. Life is looking up. Now if I cold only get a permanent job….

PS – I’m building a fire in my buddy’s wood stove. I love hearth fires. Makes me want to live in the woods.

Met a bunch of college buddies in a bar. Drank water all night and still had a great time. Woot!

I hope I have my days right. I keep thinking how embarrassing it would be if I got to my one year anniversary and posted it as “Day 350”.

I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I don’t have Internet access which means I have to post via my phone and I’m not a big fan of thumb typing. So here’s the readers digest version of my current situation: arrived in MA a few weeks ago; started working for an old friend; living with Pa; and I’m still drink free.

All in all, life is good. I work a lot. It’s strenuous labor but I like hanging out with my friend. He’s a good guy and the pay is reasonable for the work I do – gardening and landscaping. I’m still looking for a professional gig and, hopefully, something will happen soon. But even if it doesn’t I’m getting by. That’s good enough for now.

Still here. Still sober. Life is good. Working and hoping for a better job.

I’m in the homeland – Massachusetts. I got in last night after some marathon driving. I slept in this morning and then went for a hike with an old friend. So far, so good.

Hanging my hat in Lexington, Nebraska tonight. I always thought agriculture was the main industry in Nebraska. I was wrong. It’s highway repair. Almost all of I-80 is under construction. That’s a lot of road.