Author Archive: Imperfect Minimalist

“Pink Cloud”

I have been reading recovery blogs from wine drinkers like me.  Some mention the “pink cloud” so I thought I would check it out.  Here is what I found:

Pink Cloud

12 step recovery jargon referring to someone new who talks about how great life is now that they are sober.  Usually meaning the person is out of touch with reality.

“The new guy has no job, no money, no family is feeling pretty good.  Must be under a pink cloud.”

From what I read, it means that “early recovery is often referred to as a roller coaster because it involves great highs and lows.  Emotions that have been anesthetized with alcohol suddenly awaken and feelings are intense.  Over confidence can lead to relapse.  The feelings are so good they fail to do things needed to stay on track.”

I really do feel better without drinking wine.  I have had thoughts of having a glass of wine when things are going great but I stopped myself.  Was that the “pink cloud”?  Am I addicted to wine?  Probably.

I will keep the “pink cloud” in mind as I continue with my journey.

I just want good days!

I started this blog two years ago when I decided to document going minimalist in My Journey Begins. Between September and January of 2015, I managed to do quite nicely in downsizing.  Then I stopped writing when the drinking got out of hand when I wrote I will not admit I am defeated…

I thought I would just delete this blog and start a new one but I’m tired of “starting over” so I will just have to catch up on the many things that have happened in a year and a half.  Some of it was fun and I progressed quite nicely in downsizing….it also wound up to be some renovation to my home as well.  Some of it was awful (breast cancer) but I managed to get through it with help from family and friends.  I wonder sometimes why I did not document any of it.  Now I will have to rely on memory.  Since I have a few followers, I want to put it together so it is not too confusing.  I think I will work on a “catching up” post this weekend – might take a few parts.

The good news is I am still not drinking wine (or any alcohol) and my health is stable.  My drink was always Chardonnay.  I never did drink anything else except a nice red wine sometime.  Chardonnay was the drink I used when feeling good, sad, depressed, sick, lonely, tired, overwhelmed and every day no matter what I was feeling …..  I know today that if I drink one glass l be back to the bottle a night – or two.  There were times soon after I quit when I wanted to stop and pick up some cool Chardonnay…but I pushed past it.  It has not been as hard a I thought.  Of course, this time I keep thinking that “if you have breast cancer and in remission, there is a 90% chance of it returning if you drink any alcohol”.  Smack down…

These days…I just want good days.  I can’t have them when drinking wine. So I won’t drink….

I had a check up with my cardiologist on Monday.  He said the echogram showed my heart is fine.  There was only a minor change and it would never bother me….the usual “due to my age”.  My blood pressure was 96/58 so he cut one of the blood pressure meds in half (I think this good news is due to not drinking alcohol).  The feet are still swelling somewhat but he doesn’t know why and I don’t want another round of doctors to “try” and find out why.  I’m just going to do a little better with my diet and exercise.  Loosing 25 pounds would definitely make it all go away….

Watching the Olympics! I love, love the Olympics!

Time to feel “great” again!

I do not feel well….. I actually feel pretty crappy.  I do not remember the last time I felt good but I am sure it was prior to the cancer diagnosis.  Feeling “great” has left my vocabulary.  The cancer surgery was trauma to my body and the fear of all of it took its toll I am sure.  Then the 21 radiation treatments caused me to be really tired, as the doctors said it would.  I would have thought by now the tiredness would be over…but then I thought it should be over after a week.  The doctor said it could take three to six months…it has been seven months.

Then my feet and ankles started swelling and stayed that way.  I could only wear one pair of shoes.  The skin stretched which made it feel like elastic on my legs and not a nice feeling.  I have had this before but it went away at night.  This time it did not go away at all.  So another round of doctors visits.  My cardiologist did an echogram..heart is fine.  He said some of the elasticity was gone but was “age” related.  On a scale of 1-4 it was probably a 1..not much for my age.  He put me on Lasix meds for fluid and my regular doctor took me off it just as quickly because it depleted the salt in my blood to a critical level.  She also added a pill so I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom so much at night. No wonder I don’t feel good.  Then I had some kind of test to check for blood clots in my legs…again negative.  The only suggestion was to loose weight (haven’t gained) and wear support hose.  Ha!!

Then one day the swelling went down just as quickly as it started.  I have no idea why but I am beginning to think it is a sensitivity to some sort of food…I have not been able to figure out what exactly.  Now I am eliminating wheat to see if anything changes.  I still get swelling but usually at the end of the day and it goes down at night or when I elevate my feet.

I also played golf one time – pulled a muscle in my lower back – and then proceeded to 12 sessions of physical therapy.  Much better….but not totally!!

There were days I cried the “ugly” cry because I was just such a total wreck.  Very depressing….but damn, I am not taking meds for depression.

I have been off my vegan diet.  I did not feel like cooking so stopped somewhere and got food.  It was usually a sandwich at night but definitely meat.  Breakfast and lunch stayed pretty much vegan. Basically, I didn’t care about self-care and was only existing and not very well.

Now the good part…I have not had alcohol in 60 days.  That’s a record.  I just decided one day I had enough and have not had any since.  I still go out and no one says anything.  In fact Jean and Doug go periods without drinking as well. Nobody cares really.  I felt a lot worse when drinking so thought I would feel wonderful not drinking.  Not so much so being sober definitely is a plus.  I don’t want to drink anymore. I’ve had enough.  Reminded me of when I stopped smoking…I just stopped.  No announcements – no planning – just stopped.  For good this time!  I’m done.  Considering how much I had been drinking, I’m amazed there were so few withdrawal symptoms.  The only thing was some insomnia but got through that OK.  I’ve lost 12 pounds since – my face looks so much better – I don’t look like a “drunk” anymore with swollen face, bloodshot eyes and red nose.  Why is it we don’t know what we look like as long as we are boozers?

This morning I decided to work on my health – not just lip service this time.  I watched some videos by my favorite people, Dr. Pam Popper and Dr. Michael Greger (the “How Not To Die” guy).  Dr. Popper talked about seniors being over-medicated with hypertension meds.  I am taking two very strong one’s.  My BP yesterday was 99/64 and today it is 115/68.  She said one of the reasons seniors ha so many falls is low blood pressue from being over medicated.  She also said there was a major study in Sweden done where patients in nursing homes improved greatly when blood pressure meds reduced.  Maybe that could be a little bit of my problem.  Today, I am going to reduce one in half – from 200 mg. to 100 mg. day.  Then see what happens.   I also stopped the “bathroom” pill (that’s what I call it).  I only took it for a month and the only thing different was a dry mouth.

I am going back to my completely WFPB diet.  I won’t give up the oil just yet but will when I get the WFPB part down.  I have reduced salt but still use some.  Getting rid of that may or may not come later.  It depends on how my blood pressure acts.

Also, back to the gym tomorrow.  Maybe some Yoga at home.  One thing at a time!



It has been a long time…..

It has been over a year and a half since I posted.  I have been trying to decide whether to delete this blog and begin again or to continue and update as best as I can remember.  I have not been in a good place at times (breast cancer being one little blip in life) but am better now and feeling more at peace. .



I will not admit I am defeated…

I did not make it through the holidays without drinking wine.  I guess it is a bad time to swear off something that is such a big part of my life and has been for years.  I spent Christmas with a friend and there was much entertaining and guests and wine and fattening food.  And, I had some (a lot) of it all.  The wine was the easy part and I stopped when I began to feel the least little buzz.  It continued during the whole month of January.  The short days, cold, wet, gloomy days made it really easy to come home, plop in front of the TV, drink wine and eat late.  Not wanting to cook, I just grabbed something from the store.  I went totally off my plan for two months.  I will not admit I am defeated….

So I continue on.  Tomorrow I am headed to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to stock up on items not available here in my small town.  The refrigerator will be cleaned out and the pantry.  I really want to stay on a whole foods plant based diet with no animal products at all and this time, I am going to do it without oil and sugar.  I have never decided I could do it without oil but really like the plan otherwise.  Of course, no wine.  I am giving myself a 30 day challenge.  Food will be simple and nothing processed.  Food was not simple during the holidays.

Tonight is the Grand Opening of our new office building.  There will be about 200 people there for cocktails and dinner.  My plan is to not have any wine and just leave the meat (no vegan option).  Probably just have the salad which is what I usually do at these functions.

This week begins the renovation of my home.  I will write more about progress later.  I guess the title of my blog is right on “Imperfect”…… I am not handling this journey right.  I’ll get it together!!  One day at a time!!

No More Lists!!

It has been about a month since I last posted.  I had great plans to make my doctor visit a good one.  I did not accomplish anything on my “list” so from here on out, no “lists”.

On November 14, my little dog “Prissy” died from congestive heart failure.  She had been experiencing some difficulties and one day things just got to a point she could not breathe.  It happened quickly.  We made daily trips to the vet and finally I knew she was in pain, so I let her go.  She had been with me for 15 years.  I knew the day would come but it’s never easy to lose such a wonderful companion.  I had a really rough couple of weeks and still have moments of sadness.  I still have my little Pepe who is about 6 months older than Prissy.  He has the beginning of the same thing so I know we are on borrowed time.  This is the first time in 40 years I have had only one dog.  It’s normally 2 or 3.  I am astounded at how quiet it is with just the one.  Pepe had panic attacks at first when I would leave him…..barking constantly, rapid breathing and just scared.  He is getting better.  He stays with me whenever I move but that’s OK.  It’s just the two of us now!! It is really going to be quiet when I do not have any animals.  I have decided not to get any more.  I may foster but that’s to be considered down the road.  I must say my dogs live and have lived a blessed life!

I then had “another” health scare.  I went into our Sunday clinic because my heart rate was really high and would not go down (looking back – probably stress).  The doctor sent me for lab work and then called later in the day and said there was a marker that I had a possible blood clot in my lung.  He wanted to put me in the hospital but I said no.  The next day I went in for a CT scan and was all normal.  That’s enough to make you panic.  I saw my regular doctor the same week and we’re going back to one of the original blood pressure medications (that is covered by my new drug plan).  I asked what I needed to do to come off the one med and she said that it would never happen….Hummmm!  I’m going to try to get off it.

I spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family in Virginia. Came home on Saturday and  Sunday morning I became really ill and was told I had the “Stomach Flu”.  I do not ever remember being so sick (except the time I had Salmonella poisoning).  I just phoned the doctor and she said drink fluids, take Imodium and it will go away in a couple of days.  It’s going around and is extremely contagious. Great!

So my “to do” list went to “hell in a hand basket” as the old saying goes.  I did stay sober!!  My next post will be more upbeat!!  They say things happen in “three’s” … well, I’ve had mine.  Moving on!!

Prissy (2000-2014)

Pepe in Bed

Pepe (1999 – present)


The original three (Pepe, Prissy, Misty (2000 – 2011)

Will two weeks make a difference?

“Your life does not get better by chance.  It gets better by change.”  Jim Rohn

I am really angry with trying to find medications for high blood pressure that do not have horrible side effects.  When I had the dissection, I was on one low dose medicine.  Because my aorta could not stand any pressure, I was given two new medications.  One has caused no problem.  The second one caused dry coughing (all the time – day and night).  My doctor changed it to another one that caused my ankles to swell so much I could only wear one pair of shows.  After the surgery, this was changed to another one which seemed to be doing OK until my prescription plan stopped covering it and was changed to another that the doctor said was an equivalent.  This too caused my ankles to swell but the doctor insisted this was not a side effect of this particular medicine and changed it yet again.  I took the new medicine for a month and started on the second month’s bottle.  Suddenly I developed terrible itching and a rash all over.  I didn’t even call the doctor.  I have my six-month appointment with her in two weeks and intend to have a major discussion about this medicine.  I went back to the last one that caused the swelling ankles and the itching has subsided and rash is better.  I am now determined to get off this second medicine altogether.  I know with the dissection I have to take one (to reduce spikes) but if I can keep the blood pressure really low with one, I should be able to cut the second one out. This will be my discussion with the doctor when I see her.  It’s hard to get any time with doctors any more…they whiz in and whiz out…I guess they have a certain number of patients to see in any given day.  My plan:

  • Go back to daily morning exercise
  • Stick with plant based, whole foods diet – concentrate on greens!!
  • Stop the salt – no processed foods
  • Stop the coffee
  • Stop the alcohol (an on-going issue)
  • Loose the weight
  • Lots of water

It’s been two days now.  I see the doctor in 15 days.  Will two weeks make a difference?  I have to be “determined” to stick to the plan and I have to keep remembering the misery of prescription drug side effects.  Are there any that don’t have them?  I doubt it!!

Catching Up!!

It has been over a month since I last posted.  I certainly hope my followers have not given up on me.    I may have to take two posts to catch up….it has been very, very busy!!

First, I sold all the antique hat pins on Ebay as well as a few other things that were collectibles and small.  I made over $1,000 which was very good I thought.  I put some items on that did not sell so then began the work of cleaning out closets and donating. My church had it’s annual tag sale so I donated a van full of items.  They were pleased since my stuff is “good stuff”.  They said you would not believe what some people donated that was not possible to sell for any amount.  I think this was the first pass.  Afterwards, I made another pass and donated another truck (really, my brother’s truck) full to our local Mission to use in their resale store.  I gave all the old bowls I had sitting on top of my kitchen counters as well as many other items.  I don’t miss a thing.  Looking back the majority of it I had not used since moving into this house in 2006.  Now that’s sad!!  The more I give away the better I feel!  This is really becoming a freeing experience.

I made trip to see a friend I had not seen in a while.  She lives in wine country Virginia so we went to a few for tastings.  I did have some wine but not much.  It was great seeing her and spending quality time together.  She has a dog, 5 cats (all rescue) and takes care of 2 feral cats as well.  I did not take my dogs.  My dogs have never known a cat so I didn’t want to take any chances and her cats are bigger than my dogs.  I took the rest of the week off and had some work done on the house.  Cleaned on the outside, washed windows, cleaned out gutters and fixed some areas in the garage where I had my foot slip from the brake and pushed the freezer into the wall.   Two big holes!  Probably need a big “STOP” sign.

I had my six month CT scan and visit with doctor that did the surgery for my aortic dissection.  These visits always make me nervous weeks before I go.  He said all is very good.  The stent is still in place and is not leaking.  I still have an issue with the right kidney but he can’t do anything about it.  For now, it’s the same.  I asked what would happen if the stent did start leaking and he said he would just put in another one.  Good grief.  I was nuts thinking about the first one – I certainly don’t want a repeat!!

I had contemplated retiring again next year but I am rethinking it.  I really need to have the house painted inside so can use the money.  For now, it’s on hold.  Maybe when I’m 70!!

I live in North Carolina!  Yesterday there was snow in South Carolina.  Too funny!!  South Carolina!!  Today is cold but sunny and beautiful Carolina blue sky!! Picture is from my back deck!

Pinehurst Sun

Trying Again!!

I made it 23 days without having wine.  Then I had a birthday…..and I had some wine with family.  Not much, just one glass.  One glass too many.  I then had some wine later in the week and yesterday, I polished off a full bottle!!  It took most of the day to do it so I was not drunk.  Today, I am back to none and Day 1 again.  I felt so much better not drinking and today I felt like crap again.  Why in the hell can’t I just put it away for good?  I didn’t grow up with it but along the way, learned to love it too, too much!!

It has to stop!! Enough said!!

Birthday Gratitude

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  C.S.Lewis

Yesterday was my birthday.  I am 69 years old.  After the aortic dissection two years ago, I am in “love” with birthdays.  I love the good wishes from everyone, the cards, the calls, the meals, the presents…..I just love it all!!  This is “probably” because I was close to not seeing my 67th birthday….let alone the 69th!  Happy days!  It was also a day to count my many, many blessings.  I am relatively healthy now, I have a wonderful family, great friends, a beautiful home, happy pets, nice job and nothing to complain about!!  I have really had this all along, I just did not appreciate it as I do now.  Nothing like a little “kick in the butt” to realize that life is absolutely perfect just the way we make it!!  We can make it crappy (and I have in the past) and we can make it great…it’s all up to us…every bit of it!!   Material things will make us happy for about a nano-second and then it’s forgotten only to be tossed or set aside at some point.  I am happy every time I empty a closet full of “stuff” or clean out a drawer of accumulated “stuff”.  My simple life!! I love it!!  More to come…….

My morning walk today!!

Morning Walk 1Morning Walk 2