The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Now I' m sharing magnets from my mother's fridge.

* Discussion *

If you have anything to discuss, go to this link. Feel free to start a new discussion on anything.


I'm a Stranger Here Myself

Bill Bryson

I enjoyed his Australia book so much, I decided to try the one about this country.


Battersea Park Road
to Enlightenment

(this is a book I picked up in London)


out for dinner tonight

That's it for today!


21 June 2001

Itís a new commercial Iíve seen a couple of times on afternoon television lately. You know--the time when housewives and college students are supposed to be watching, things like talk shows and soap operas.

The commercial shows a small group of 20-something women sitting around looking at high school photos and reminiscing. They are getting very giggily and we see that each is holding a glass of wine. The giggles get louder and the hostess puts down a second bottle of wine.

The voice over comments on the product, a fruit-flavored wine, and makes some comment about how much fun it can add to a party.

Wow. Where did that come from? And what in the world is that doing on television in this politcally correct day and age? Weíre pushing pop wine and showing how much fun it can be when you drink lots of it (there are about four or five women in this ad and they are going through two or three bottles of wine).

Iím not against drinking. Iíve been known to drink a bit in my time. But I know too many people who have struggled with alcoholism, many successfully, some not, not to take offense at the marketing of fruit-flavored wine for the purpose of turning a group of young women into giggling ninnies.

I come from a long line of drunks. Uncles, aunts, cousins, father all had problems with alcohol. Fortunately most eventually staggered into the waiting arms of Alcoholics Anonymous and got saved. Iím very proud of the fact that most of them are now recovering alcoholics, rather than practicing alcoholics.

Itís not an easy trip to make. A good friend is in his third year of sobriety and Iíve watched him hit bottom, drag himself to AA and begin the long road back. Iíve watched the ups and downs, Iíve listened to the fears, the embarrassment, the self-doubt, the anger. But Iíve also seen that through it all he has not touched liquor. And over time, as heís worked his steps, heís begun to shed a lot of the things that brought him to that bottom point. Iíve watched him begin to trust himself, and to rebuild his life. Iím so incredibly proud of him.

There was a time when I could have followed in the footsteps of my family. When I was growing up, my father would fix me a drink when we had family gatherings--now that would be classified as child abuse or something, but in those days, we didnít know better, so I donít fault him for it. I got a taste for bourbon and ginger ale.

I started out drinking more seriously in college. I guess those women in the commercial remind me of myself at the same age.

It was a way to feel grown up. A friend and I shared a fake ID and we would take turns going out drinking with all the 21+ year olds. In those days it was so simple. Our ID was someoneís temporary driverís license. Just a piece of paper, really, with her name on it. No photo ID, and nobody ever questioned it. When my friend turned 21, she ceremoniously turned it over to me for my sole use in the last 3 months before I also became 21.

Friends would also buy me liquor. I had my own stash in a cupboard in the home of some friends. I remember the day Walt came home from work and found me passed out under a tree, a bottle in my hand. Who needed a glass?

I donít know that I actually enjoyed being drunk, but after I turned 21, I quickly learned to use liquor to suppress whatever negative feelings I was having. I remember one night when my parents and grandparents came to my new apartment for dinner. The perennial tension between my father and grandmother drove me to the kitchen for the bottle of gin and by the time they left, I was sloshed. I still remember the tears in my motherís eyes as she told me goodbye.

Thank goodness, this never became a constant battle for me, though I never seemed to be able to control myself when liquor was available. Walt once told me that my problem was that I could handle 2 drinks, but if I had 2 drinks, I thought I could handle more.

We went out to a theatre party one night when the kids were babies. I was dressed in purple lamť and I got good and sloshed. A male friend was babysitting for us that night and as we came home, I had to go to the bathroom very badly. We were living in Oakland at the time and I stumbled up the stairs in a hurry trying to get to the bathroom, tripped on my long skirt, and fell flat on my face in front of this very proper British gentleman who was taking care of our kids. That was a low point for me. I am still embarrassed to think about it.

But, as I said, my drinking never really got out of control. After we moved to Davis and I started working, the pattern was to come home each night and have a glass or two of wine. And then I would fall asleep right after dinner.

I remember one time when David was probably in junior high. I had come in the door, and opened the refrigerator door before Iíd even put down my purse and was pouring myself a glass of wine when I looked at David, who was sitting on the couch looking at me.

That day I stopped having wine when I came home at night. I would still drink socially, but I realized I was giving David--and all the kids--such a bad example by making it part of my nightly routine.

I still engaged in risky behavior, though. I was working in San Francisco one day a week, and often would drive home after having a Manhattan and half a bottle of wine at dinner. I realize now how dangerous that was, and I thank God I never had an accident.

Nowadays I rarely drink at all. And if I do have a drink, or a glass of wine, I rarely finish it. I donít like feeling the effects of alcohol any more and if I have a drink for the taste or to be sociable, it just doesnít feel right any more.

So when I see an ad for something like this pop wine, which claims to help women "open up," it makes me angry. Iíve seen devastation--Iíve lost a son--due to social drinking that got out of hand. Why do we need to make it look like such a fun thing for young women to experience?

Priscilla Update: Priscilla is going into the hospital tomorrow for surgery. She's not doing well. Everybody send prayers, vibes, or good wishes for her, please.

One Year Ago:
Weighty Matters

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 6/21/01 by Bev Sykes