It’s been over a month since the dry year has ended and it’s time to say so long to this writing project and move on to the next. It is only right that I put into words what the last month has been like as it relates to alcohol. There have been some good times and one not-so-good time.

First the good…

I have enjoyed socializing at the holidays indulging in a vodka martini or some wine. I finally started to consume and experience the wine that I have purchased from Club W (my wine club) including a couple of nice wines from André Mack. My brother and his wife also brought me a bottle of my favorite potato vodka from Maine, Cold River. Honestly, martinis have never tasted so good.

I have also observed that the special novelty that I felt the first week of drinking faded quickly, and the act of having a drink at the end of the day is once again “normal.” By this, I mean the excitement wore off soon after commencing the drink ritual again. This is not really a bad thing. I am able to feel less attached to having drinks, especially when it looks like a long night at a party. In fact, my brother and I had a pact this year at the family Christmas party that we wouldn’t drink just in case anyone needed a designated driver. It did not feel like a sacrifice to make this decision. It felt good to realize that it isn’t a big deal to abstain at a party—I’ve had lots of experience with that sort of thing now.

Now the bad….

On December 1st, when I announced that I was going to have my first drink, many people warned me to “be careful” as my tolerance would be shot and I could “get really drunk.” I had experienced a small change in the amount that I could consume but I thought it was nothing too extreme. So, I began to have a false sense of confidence in my ability to throw a few back. Then we invited friends over for dinner and a round of the board game, Masterpiece. Oh Lord.

photo(1)I had a glass of wine while cooking alone in my kitchen (one glass over the course of an hour or two). I had the stereo turned up, and I was having a good time roasting chicken and vegetables and laying out snacks. Then our friends arrived and thinking I should drink some of that good vodka, I had a martini with dinner. Game time began and bottles of wine were opened. OK, maybe I opened them. I really don’t know how much wine I drank. We were having a lot of fun, refilling our glasses and I was at home, no need to drive. Then I got up to see our guests to the door and it was NOT pretty. Whooosh! The room was tippy and I was slurry. That did not feel good. I felt like I was back in college not having any idea when to stop.

Once everyone left, my head got spinning and my stomach was churning. Needing to get off my feet immediately, I fell asleep on my son’s empty bed not wanting to move my body far from the lavatory, and Philip went upstairs to sleep. Around 3:00AM, my stomach had calmed down and I joined my husband with the worst headache I have ever experienced. Staying in bed until noon the next day, I forfeited a precious day of my vacation feeling downright rotten. There was no recouping that loss.

Did I really need this lesson? I should have known better. I should have listen to my friends. I was embarrassed at how intoxicated I had gotten. Why did I do this? I guess, I can only chalk it up to this… sometimes we get over confident and have to learn the hard way, no matter how old we are. In the end, I am grateful for this drunken experience for one reason only. It made me appreciate being sober after all of those months of wanting to have a drink. The table was turned (in fact, the whole room was spinning) and the last few days I have embraced my ol’ friend abstinence and looked back at being sober in a new light.



I am a thistle killer. Believe it or not this is one of my favorite activities at 9 Miles East Farm. Pulling these bad, bad plants is not easy. It is thorny business. However, the internal rewards are great, and I experience a feeling of supreme satisfaction with this task. At first I thought it appealed to the drop of OCD within. (I sure like neatness.) But upon further consideration, I realized that the task of weeding out thistles has something that a lot of other jobs in my life have lacked–purposefulness.

The simple act of ridding the soil of a harsh and invasive grower-of-thorns is an investment in the future. When extricating the weed from the soil, it is impossible to get the entire root. However, we weaken the structure and the next time he pops his stubborn head through the ground it is with less vigor. The farm-owner assures us that eventually, “we win.” The soil is better. The foot print of the gardens can expand, and we  will grow more food.


The idea of purposefulness ties nicely into an other idea to which I have been exploring. Purposefulness in the consumption of alcohol, specifically wine. A wonderful co-worker, Jillian, and I share a passion for food, farms and service. We often converse about Thomas Keller and different recipes that we have tried from his cookbooks or something we would like to attempt. Last week, Jillian brought me Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch. This book explores the world of Per Se and the author’s relationship with Head Sommelier, André Mack. As warned by my co-worker, I became very anti-social for a few days, staying up late and devouring the book.

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