Lifted from: In Dodd We Trust
I recently read a book about relationships that advocated following the Five A’s:
1. Attention [to the other person, what they say and do]
2. Acceptance [of the other person, even if you do not understand]
3. Appreciation [of the positive qualities of the other person, even if there are also faults]
4. Affection [shown in an appropriate and clear manner]
5. Allowing [the other person to be who he/she is, even if you do not agree with everything]
i thought of you, while in the shower
and i thought of how nice it’d be
to have your things among my things
along the bathtub’s edge
and i imagined myself running out of soap
and using yours
and wearing you to work, and the grocery store
and i imagined that night, laying down beside you
and smelling your neck
and finding out where all my soap had gone
It is past my bedtime but there are some things I need to put down before I go to bed tonight. When I got home from the meeting, as I am wont to do, I unpack and change out and sit down at the box and see what has gone on since I had left the house. I was surprised to get a letter from Scotty. Work in Progress
Some time ago, well, a long time ago, I came across his blog and as a young person he exemplified the word faith. His moniker “Live the Word, Breathe Prayer” was a thought that I admired and at that time, wished I could Live the word more fully and to breathe prayer.
Prayer is like a garden that must be cultivated and cared for. There are many ways to pray, and there is the Ladder of the monks that talk about prayer, and that I have posted about some time ago.
I have always aspired to promote people who do good works, share their faith, minister to others and truly live the gospel in their daily lives. For a while I hosted Scotty’s photo on the blog and even created headers of the prayer thought.
After while – some found my blog and began writing and commenting about the fact that I (a sinner) would associate myself with a Good Book Following Christian. I got those nasty emails too.
It seems – over the past year the nasty commenters have tired of berating me and my blog and my journey. I wiped Scotty off the blog so as not to offend any more sensibilities and left it at that.
I still followed the blog from a silent point. Today I received Scotty’s letter and it truly filled my heart with joy. It reads:
I’m not sure if this is still your email but I thought if give it a bash.
I wanted to drop you an email that I should have sent a long time ago.
I owe you a massive apology.
Sorry for caring too much about myself and not enough about others.
I wrote to you a long time ago not quite sure what to do with a couple of comments I’d received when someone had seen my picture on your blog. I immediately sought to “save myself” and didn’t stop to consider how it would make you feel.
I’ve had a couple of years of deep growth where God has been softening my heart, stripping back my pride, and filling me with a compassion that I lacked.
I have thought about that email several times. I think of the grace in your response which I did not deserve. I think of the email I should have sent, which shouldn’t have gone to you but to the people who had made the comments telling them to get a grip. I should have laid aside my own pride and selfish ambition and stuck up for you.
Thank you for your grace, and thank you for all your encouragement. You read numerous blog entries, interacted, and consistently encouraged me. I just read back over some of your comments and feel further conviction and sorrow.
Thanks for the energy you invested in praying for me and advocating for people to support me.
Please forgive me for acting in such a self-seeking way, and in doing so, trampling all over the grace you’d been pouring out.
I pray that God blessed you richly,
Today Scotty is married with a beautiful child. He has suffered with God and he surmounted and won his fight with disease. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to know he won and is well. God is glorious. God is good.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not.
They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
Firstly, welcome to all the new followers of the blog. It seems you like what I am doing, and that is always a good sign of where to go next.
I’ve got a new follower from our magic city of light. And after reading his blog earlier I thought I’d put up something I did a while ago – but never wrote about it because it was a school assignment. Maybe he will engage this post…
I took a semester of Sociology, because my husband is an M.A. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Concordia. This was at Dawson last year.
One of our work papers consisted of performing acts of breaking the norm when it came to mass transit, elevators and escalators.
When I first moved here more than 10 years ago, I fell in love with the city, not only because it was my birth mother’s city and I have family here, I came to visit and decided to stay.
It IS my anniversary of my arrival in Montreal this Easter. And so the first week I visited places, found meetings, found a place to live, sent off my application for my birthright citizenship form, and began to get to know the city.
Coming from Miami, there was little mass transit. One train, One line, and feeder buses connecting both points. I was blown away by the Metro System here. It is a big system. But pales in comparison to other Canadian cities and some in the U.S. like Washington and New York.
Montreal has its own charm. And there were things I learned early on. Like how to line up waiting for the bus in orderly fashion. Nobody seemed to push or barge in front of someone in line. People were polite and orderly.
Escalators … Stand Right, Walk Left. Never stand on the left, and never walk on the right. Except of course you are on a BIG escalator in a station.
Then it is all fair game.
Elevators … Always be kind to your neighbors. I live in a highrise. Never play music while others are in the elevator. It is rude and antisocial. People come in the elevator and talk on their phones. (Like I want to overhear your entire conversation !!! ) Going Up, What floor?, Hello Good day/evening.
If you enter a crowded elevator – take off your backpack and hold it by your feet to save space. THIS GOES for the Metro and the Bus as well. Because sometimes buses and trains are packed in peak hours.
When you get on a bus, if you are in a queue line, you are observant of others in front of you and behind you. Never sit in the front seats of a bus – they are often reserved by handicapped folks, older members or children.
Always be mindful of your bus driver. Be polite. Say hello – good day – have a nice day/night, and goodbye. Preferably in FRENCH !!!
People wait in orderly bunches on Metro platforms. On some platforms there are clear door markers on the floor marking where the doors will open. Always allow riders debarking the train to get off before you barge your way onto the train.
Never sit in marked seats for the pregnant and disabled.
Always be mindful of what is going on ON the train while you ride. You never know when you will get to practice your chivalry or your French. Always be kind – don’t hog two seats because you only need one. Take care to pay attention to others, in case shit goes down while you are traveling.
You will notice that most folks are connected medically to their devices. Be they phones, players, I-phones, MP3 players and the like. Don’t blast your music and be aware of what is going on around you in case you need to step in and do something.
Learning how to navigate the Metro system took some time, until I learned what the directional signs meant. There are four lines. Green Line (downtown) Orange Line (Financial district line – going from one end of the city to the other) and the Blue line (which bisects the city up on the Mountain) from Snowdon to St. Michel. And finally the yellow line which operates from Berri to the South Shore and Ille Ste. Helen (where Expo 67 took place).
Your stop corresponds to the direction the train is traveling. You get on the train in the direction of your stop, the end points are identified on all metro platforms. I live downtown.
Our building sits equidistant between George Vanier on the Orange line, Atwater Metro on the Green line and Guy on the Green line up the way from here going into the East end.
Over the years the STM has perfected the way we use transit. We went from tickets we fed into turnstiles to plastic monthly passes we swiped to the all important OPUS pass that is a rechargeable credit card that holds all kinds of fares, be it daily, weekends, monthly etc …
If you are not fully fluent in French, you will learn, if you come here to live.
French is mother tongue over the transit platform. I’ve learned my French at Dawson and learning to live in this multicultural city. However I identify as a member of the anglo community. I find the only places I use French in my daily life is on transit, the grocery store and the shopping malls. For the most part I live in English Montreal. My meetings are in English and most of my friends are English – but a fair number of my friends are fully multi lingual.
The English AA and French AA share the same space at the Intergroup office. Our meeting lists are printed multi-culturally, French, English, Spanish, and Farsi. With the need of meetings crossing cultures, AA has adapted to the needs of the people in the city.
So now that we have given you the pointer of how to navigate our city, we come to the highlight of the post. The breaking social norms exercise. We had a week to complete this task. Then it became a written paper for class.
We were asked to do things a bit differently. With all that I have written above about etiquette and social responsibility this was our task.
1. To sit where we shouldn’t
2. To stand/walk where we shouldn’t
3. Take seats that are not usually sat in (see above)
4. Be counter the flow
And add to this watch how folks respond to breaking the social norm.
I found that I could not break social norms when it came to the bus, metro and escalators. And I surely did not sit in a front seat on a bus, I never sit in the front seats on any bus, Even if I at at the head of a line getting aboard.
I’ve learned in Living here more than a decade, there are unspoken rules that we all live by. And your lessons start the first day you set foot on our streets. We are kind people. We are forgiving. And we are polite.
However, there are those who just don’t fill any of these qualities.
NEVER be rude to an S.T.M Employee.
NEVER be rude to a bus driver.
Just Never be RUDE if you can handle that.
Smile, be kind and be aware of what is going on around you because you might, one day, have to act to help another human being on your day’s journey.
And that is a snapshot of Montreal from my perspective.
What have you learned about people, where you live???
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When we speak it is experience, strength and hope. Not what we give from our pockets.
I’ve never heard someone share from the podium reference to putting anything in the basket. Never. If someone chooses to put money in the kitty it is their prerogative. And not ours to demand, or require, whatever the amount of time someone has. There are people who come to meetings (here) that never contribute to the kitty. And some folks don’t necessarily hear the words, “now it is time for the 7th tradition which states …” you know the rest,
I’ve never heard someone make an issue about giving to the kitty. It’s not our place to do so. If people give they give, and if they don’t they don’t.
I’ve got 11 years. And I contribute to the kitty at every meeting I go to. I also give back in service and speaking on occasion. But I would never drop a word about giving to the kitty, in ANY audience. You have to let people take things in their own time. In time they might begin to give, and maybe they won’t. Nobody is a freeloader if they don’t contribute. People come because they want to get well, and maybe that might mean that they don’t contribute. But it is not our place to place guilt or judgment that they don’t give and they ought to, as you say. What we ought to do is carry the message to the newcomer. What it was like, what happened and what it is like now. In that formula, there is no mention about the kitty in my book !
The 7th tradition is optional, not a requirement.
And if you came to a meeting and said that you believe as members who have gotten the message and come to meetings, and thereby obligating us to give because we have been freely given, I might say aside that it is not our place to say anything about contributions financial or otherwise. Every group ought to be fully self supporting declining outside contributions.
The traditions are there to guide the (groups). The steps are there to guide the (human).
If you feel strongly that long standing members always give to the kitty, i challenge you to pray about what you share from the podium. Why are you focusing on the kitty? And what are you not seeing in your own actions that you should? And does this have to do with other members of the group not giving to the kitty? What are your resentments and your character defects?
Humility – Honesty …
We don’t talk about money from the podium. Bill would never have done that. Go back to the books and read it. The 7th tradition was begun to make sure that meetings become autonomous and that we have enough money to buy books, material, pay rent, 3 months prudent reserve, coffee and (in our case: Cookies). The excess money goes to inter-group or the area or NYC.
The 7th tradition is spoken at some point in the meeting guide, and leave it at that. Be grateful for what the group makes. And not put it on the shoulders of ANY member to be obligated to give at any time. That’s an outside issue. Like I said the 7th is optional not a requirement.
Time to consult your Twelve and Twelve …
Thursday rolls around, the snow is melting fast. We are sitting at (1c) at this hour. It has been a quiet day. I am waiting on a package from Canada Post that is due here tomorrow or on Monday.
It was the usual routine for the day. I had plenty of time to do all the things I needed to do, except supermarket safari, which I did on the way home, instead of earlier in the day.
I met my friend Bill outside to walk to the stop for the bus to the meeting just after 7 p.m. and we arrived shortly thereafter. It seemed many of us who sit on the left side of the room were channeling BLUE tonight, because we all had on blue shirts. It was almost eerie akin to a ole Finchley meeting with blue shirts, sans the ties.
It has been shared that the Bill W. documentary that we all saw a few weeks ago at Parc will be shown on March 28th at Victoria Hall. We all signed up for tickets since seating only allows 200. And they are selling copies of the film on dvd for a sum of $20… So I put my little group of warriors down for the screening, and two copies of the dvd.
We were surprised to hear that one of our fellows was going to speak tonight. His first time out of the chute. They say not to plan what you are going to say or that one should not try to be witty, charming, funny etc … But our man did not get up there without a plan in hand.
The theme of the night was gratitude. And here is where I tell the story about a certain gratitude list that I happened upon some time ago. Because at some point in the history, I got a hit from a writer on this blog. He blog marked my blog on his blog. He was local, but I never knew who it was, and I sent a message that didn’t get a reply. So I followed back.
And as I read, I realized that our writer was a member – and not only that – but he became a member at our home group. So he writes a gratitude list every day, and it has changed his life, and from the get go tonight, you could see and hear gratitude with every word that he spoke.
Every story is unique. And I was, and many of us were happy to learn a little bit more about our fellow. I find it amazing to hear how our friends and fellows have these amazing long term relationships. It is gratifying to know such people, because it is an honest statement of “Being.”
And he opened with this thought … That standing up in front of all those people and speaking is a sacred action, and that the room, in itself is a sacred space, which is true.
We – most of us – all drank for many reasons, for the Buzz, for the Effect, and for Bragging Rights. Being gay and lesbian as a young person, puts us in the spot to be bullied and called names. And for some, this truth is one reason that we used to drink. As a young person he was bullied and it wasn’t until just recently that this came to light for him.
To my memory, I can’t recall ever being harassed in school, because I had a group of Christian friends who would never speak a foul word to me. Better than that, it was my own father who called me names and bullied me with his belt whenever the mood hit him. Usually during a roaring bender. I didn’t have to leave the house to hear the word fag, queer or that I was a mistake.
But once our man had his first drink, he realized that “Oh, this is what it is like to be buzzed…” And I like it …
Thus went his life for a good chunk of his life. In the end when he came to the end of his drinking, doing things that he could not remember and having to be cleaned up after by his husband, and being questioned about what he had done, he decided for the second time in his life that the game was up.
Our man got two kicks at the can. The first time he was stepped into the rooms, not our rooms, but other rooms. And he went to meetings, but he wasn’t going to meetings… We respect the dually addicted, and the first time around he was able to give up the drugs because of an important relationship. But he wasn’t ready to put down the alcohol. Because like some, we are able to give up certain addiction, but nobody was going to take away our alcohol.
But things were afoot. And it was time to come clean and get sober. And in reflection, our man, in the beginning, he was reticent, and was not really keen on following directions. He had his ideas of what he should be doing, I know this because I worked with him a while, and that did not go very well. And I had to let him go and watch him find someone he WAS WILLING to listen to and to follow. And that eventually happened.
Hence the gratitude list…
I don’t write gratitude lists. But I write here. Over the past year and a half our man has grown leaps and bounds. He is fully engaged in meetings. He does what he needs to do, and a little bit more. He participates in group business, he chairs meetings, he makes sound recommendations, and he is one gratifying man of the people. And we could not be prouder of him.
In the end one of the Thursday night ladies took a 32 year cake. And we heard on a couple of occasions, just what happens when you get sober. The promises start coming true. As was mentioned by our speaker.
At his first meeting they read the promises at the beginning of the meeting, and just fresh in the door, he heard about all the things he was going to win … A.L.A The Price is Right, in winning the final showcase showdown.
Insert Promises here …
Our woman has traveled around the world, she has worked with the less fortunate and gone to and ministered in areas of conflict in Africa. Just you wait, stick around and just see how the promises come to fruition when you get and stay sober for a long period of time.
I have a good few years on our man, but not as many as our woman tonight. It was a great successful meeting. Everybody left with some gratitude in the hearts and on their lips.
More to come, stay tuned…
Tomorrow is New Years Eve. And it will definitely be a cold one in the Big Apple. This year some folks I know from the Tubes will be in the crowd watching the ball fall and ring in the New Year in the middle of it all.
I went back and perused some old posts from the past year, like my prospectuses and I chose one post per month to see where my head was and whether or not it was screwed on in the right direction. But let’s start with some numbers shall we?
In the year 2011 … I posted 260 posts. Uploaded 404 photos and we ranked 28,000 page views in that calendar year.
In the year 2012 … I posted 272 posts. Uploaded 326 photos and we ranked 47,000 page views in the last calendar year.
That is a rise of 19,000 views.
The goal I had set was to best 28,000 page views and You did that.
To date there are 99 followers of the blog. Which has grown exponentially in the last year. Somebody at Word Press pushed a button for me and the last year has seen an explosion of visitors from 160 countries from all over the world. Ranked first was the United States, Second was Canada, and in Third Place is the United Kingdom.
I don’t know what turned the tide, but I was consistent with my writing, as you all came on board and the numbers began to rise, I wrote more. With the new “LIKE” feature, several weeks went by and I hit records with “liked” posts.
I can only guess that where ever you are you enjoy reading what it is that I write about. And I appreciate all that you have given me this past year.
Let’s see, what do I want to say next? I hit more than 200 meetings in 2012. Which span four nights a week at one point. But I backed down to three for the last 8 to 9 months.
I will start with my 10th sober anniversary. On December 9th 2011. A few months prior to that anniversary, I was bored with my routine, and I was looking for something exciting to happen. I was going to a certain meeting on a Friday night, a speaker meeting. There was an old timer whom I became friends with and he introduced me to many books about the Real Old Timers. One of those books was called 1000 Years of Sobriety. 20 stories from men and women who have been sober more than 50 years.
I joined that group eventually. And did service there for a few months. The culmination of my time there afforded me a Gold Dipped 10 year Medallion on my 10th anniversary. I also got my first Tattoo for the occasion.
But you know, when it comes to people, if you piss me off, I usually write you off. And I had beef with a man who turned me away from service and then I had some readers who would critique what I was writing and bash me for some of the things I was writing. If you don’t like what is here, then go away !!! I got good practice in De-Friending people on Facebook. I stopped going to that meeting and withdrew my membership. Because after a while, I came to see that I didn’t want what they were peddling.
At our Home Group of Tuesday Beginners, we grew from three members setting up and hosting two meetings a week, One a discussion and the other a Speaker meeting, we dropped the speaker and changed format to a Literature Discussion meeting at 7pm on Tuesday night. One night our most dedicated ladies came and said that she had come to join the group because she heard we needed help. And after that more than twenty women followed her.
These Women with Lots of Sobriety came. And they brought their sponsees to the meeting. And now Tuesday Beginners has 23 members. More than half of them are women. I open the room early and every week, like clockwork, they come in two’s and three’s and four’s to read for an hour. And I have grown to love these women with all my heart. They have done great things for many people.
We have become a tributary of New York City. Many of our girls are city gals who travel between Montreal and New York. And we have adopted many practices from New York at our meeting. There are so many folks that there aren’t enough jobs to go around, so we shortened the chair to two week stints, we have a gaggle of greeters, and directors for sponsorship, set up and clean up and literature folks.
The best new thing of the year is that we have a fair amount of LGBT folks at our meeting. Something that I am very proud of. For many years, LGBT folks were scattered around the city – and you would see them here and there. There is an entire city of LGBT folks in the rooms. And we have our own handful and I try to take good care of them. I share all my big events with my people. We are an open and welcoming group to all who come.
This past Winter 2011, saw me work my steps again. I started in a step group, just prior to my 10th anniversary. And I was slated to speak on my anniversary and the chair of the step group gave me a smart ass comment, which did not go over very well. Needless to say I didn’t finish my steps with them. I left the group and worked them directly with my sponsor.
I had a sponsee for a season. And that did not go very well either. And now we are no longer friends and we don’t hit the same meetings either, which is good. Words were said, egos and feelings were hurt, and nothing came of that. Sad.
I could not see sponsoring someones Face Book Statuses. That’s not how it works.
That left me free for the balance of the year to maintain my weekly routine.
I finished School at Dawson College last Spring 2012. I had used up all the credit hours that the province gave me and racked up some good grades, in the end I came away with some new knowledge having taken many different courses over two years time. And when that ended that put A LOT of time on my hands, to find something to do with.
I wrote the State of Our Union in January setting forth hubby’s time line of what was going to happen when. He was supposed to finish his M.A. last summer, and that did not happen. Thank you mental illness.
We were supposed to be riding high on the hog because with his M.A. he would be gainfully employed teaching, but he decided that teaching was not what he now wants to do. Which will parlay into some marketing job in the near future.
New income was supposed to see us into bigger digs not far from here, and we were going to furnish that space with new furniture and really great decor. And that did not happen. Hubby is still writing his thesis for his supervisor. She granted him a shit load of time to work on it. I was more “put a stick up his ass” and make him finish it already, but he is taking his sweet old time. Which keeps me in this holding pattern until he actually does finish his thesis.
We saw his best friend finish and defend her M.A. in the summertime, and now she is back here in Montreal working on her PHD. Hubby could have been there too if he hadn’t fucked off on his work for so long.
We are managing the house we live in and we are living inside of our means. We live very simple lives. This year also afforded me some of the promises. Some of the promises that have been elusive to me came to pass this year, which is a great blessing.
To date, I have lived another calendar year. Which brings us to my 18th year living with AIDS. The pills are working well. And I have been in good health for the entire year. A good year is one that nothing goes wrong with you, like flu or pneumonia or any other AIDS related sickness.
I haven’t dropped labs in some time, and I need to do that because I see the doctor in January, and they are going to have to push that back because I haven’t gone up the hill to do labs. My doctor did say at my last appointment that new meds were coming down the pike and that he would be changing up my pills in opt for some new ones that are once a day dosing and not twice. In his words, I am taking too many pills. I’ve been taking too many pills for a long time.
What have I learned this year? I’ve learned that I live simply and love deeply. Hubby and I are on the same page in many ways. We get along well and we take care of each other. I like this story that on our anniversary, hubby went to a store and bought a card, signed it and enveloped it. The next day, our anniversary I went to a second store and bought a card. Signed it and enveloped it too. And when we opened them, the cards were exactly the same card.
Every year you stay sober, in the beginning it is an outside job. You get to clean up and sort out your life. You read the books, and work your steps and things begin to change. Now that I am beyond my first decade of sobriety, it has come to pass that it has been a very inside job for me.
I have foibles and short comings. I did not do everything right this year. I made some crucial mistakes. I upset some folks, and I ended some relationships that were not working out. I don’t do well with egos and attitudes, or assholes and stupidity. Ignorant is right up there as well.
I turn back to my books that keep me on the beam. I Heard the Owl Call my Name and Nobody to Call me home. I’ve learned a lot about people in the last year. Some good, and some not so good.
I’ve read a number of books this year.
- The Bishops Man
- I Heard the Owl Call my Name
- No One to call me Home
- The Alchemist
- The Way is made by Walking
- Looking for Alaska
- Harry Potter – assorted
- The Historian
- The Wounded Healer
- The Life of Pi
- We Need to Talk about Kevin
- Many Live Many Masters
- John the Baptizer
- Christ the Lord Out of Egypt
- Memory and Identity JP II
- Why He is a Saint – JP II
- The God Box
- Out on Holy Ground
- From Boys to Men
- Halfway Home
- Living on Borrowed Time
- The Betrayal
- John Paul the Great
That’s a long list.
I think I am finished writing this piece. I’ve hit all my bullet point on my outline and I covered the bases on what is going on in my life today. The goal for the next year is to best my numbers that I posted earlier tonight.
Welcome to all my new followers. And as always, if you want me to talk about something or you have a topic that you would like me to write about just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you all for the great year, let’s now turn our eyes to 2013.
I am sure there is more to come, stay tuned …
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 47,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 11 Film Festivals
Holiday Greetings from Montreal.
It was a cold night. I was warmly dressed, yet I was cold. I don’t usually carry a scarf or gloves, but they would have been welcome tonight. It has been two days sans nicotine, and it is going well.
I was out early and before I reached the stop, two buses passed by and I waited a few minutes for the next one, but still arrived at St. Matthias early, so I sat through their business meeting, instead of waiting outside in the cold for it to end.
Hubby spent the afternoon trolling The Bay for Christmas presents for the family the whole drama of finding and procuring “Christmas Spray” from Crabtree and Evelyn came up empty. Hubby noted that the spray he wanted was discontinued and also the store had been moved from the stall it used to located at.
I will be heading out to find cards and gifts myself this weekend. There are things I would like to get and things I really need for Christmas. I could use a new backpack since mine is ripped and fraying at the top. I copied a reading list from John Green, an author who makes You Tube Videos.
If you like to read, these are some of his book pics for the holidays:
The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubinstein
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Sula by Toni Morrison
Mansfield Park and Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Blood of the Lamb by Peter de Vries
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Matched by Ally Condie
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation by M. T. Anderson
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Aside from this list, I have some titles in mind that I want to add to my library. Which means a visit to Indigo. And if I go to Indigo, I will invariably spend a couple of hours looking at books. And that is not usually a good thing, because I will spend too much money on books. Hopefully I will receive a gift card for the holidays.
The meeting was short and sweet. I spent more time waiting on the meeting than sitting in the meeting. Our speaker came from the West Island. Just shy of ten years sobriety. One thing we see continually is that alcoholism affects a wide age group of people. And our man came from the older end of the spectrum, and when he went to rehab, after a family intervention, he was much older than many of the young people who were there as well.
I first imagined that our man would be full of sober exuberance. But I was mistaken. It was a very sobering story. Our man came to the drink late in his life and it turned his life upside down. Which means he came to sobriety much later in life as well.
We are here but by the grace of God. Just showing up to hear our man speak was a gift. To be able to support him in his sober journey is all that matters.
It was a sparse crowd. Many of our girls did not show, nor did our caravan driver, so I took the 24 home after the meeting. I left the hall, it was a quarter till the hour and a 24 was at the stop as I crossed Sherbrooke to the stop. Which brought me home earlier than usual.
Forecasters still don’t agree on snow or flurries. But there is snow on the ground tonight. Which green lights the tree to go up when ever hubby is ready for it.
It was a good night.
More to come, stay tuned …
Courtesy: Jshstwrt – A little ink. Very cool !!!
Attention fair readers of the Blog …
I have spent the better part of an hour tweaking the blog. I’ve rearranged some things up and down the sidebar, I’ve updated the Blog List of reads that I read on a daily basis, (Go show them some love) You will find various reads that are compelling, cute, naughty, and just downright cool !!!
I have also Juggled the PAGES and dropped some from the header, but there are new PAGES up there to read. All of them pertinent to life and LGBTQ concerns.
This blog is a product of many of the folks that I read. I have adopted many of the topic styles and formats that many of my reads employ. They have their own method and I see (in the recent past) that you all enjoy what I am putting on the blog.
If there is something that YOU would like to see or read, please do let me know.
Welcome to my new followers. It is good to hear from you.
My Friend Dan at DanNation has been working with this organization that is coming on line in a big way as we speak. The other day a request was made on Facebook for us to share with you this new venture in uniting LGBTQ kids and folks from around the world into communities of support and assistance. No matter where you are “by location” there are people just like you who have been through the things you might be experiencing.
A world where all young people and their families get to learn ways to foster a healthy, happy, and safe growing up experience”
There’s a world of support out here. We’ll let LGBT youth get to know they are not alone. No matter what.
We’ll let youth know that others just like them have grown up in the same towns, schools, and congregations, and have had to deal with the same communities. Regardless of where they are, and what they feel like, we will show them how others before them overcame those challenges in the past.
People’s experiences will get to transform and empower young people and their families.
We’ll empower youth by safely letting them explore what has worked for others like them in the past, and we’ll bring them comfort from the unique hostility they may still face in their daily lives. We’ll empower them to be active agents of change.
An international & netroots movement
Equalize Youth will let young LGBT youth—and the wholed world—tap the collective knowledge gathered by the LGBTQ community at large and their loved ones. We believe that every LGBT adult around the globe does want a better tomorrow for the youngest ones in their community: our vision is to give them an irrefusable value proposition that maximizes their impact, and keeps them safe and engaged.
We’re missing a button.
Our current platform doesn’t enable searches to our database, and our team is currently focusing on an indiegogo campain to raise funds so that we get to program this unique backend system. Please consider helping us by making a contribution to this meaningful project here. To develop the Fundamentals of this 21st century platform, we need help! You don’t have to contribute financially to the campaign to help us–check out other ways you can make it happen, and help us make this a functional and powerful resource.
Join the movement. Help us get them started. Continued support is the key. Take some time to investigate their site and see where you can become a “part of” and let kids from all over the world know that they are not alone and that things can definitely get better.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
If you are following this blog, you are familiar with a fellow writer named Gustav from Sweden. He is “The Modern Nomad” traveling the world, doing what he loves most. But pulling up stakes and living a life “in the world” takes some work and a little creative financing.
I have been following Gustav for some time now and seen him travel all over the world. He shares a passion of one of my good friends in South Africa who spent a year traveling the world trying to find a new home. He eventually settled in Cape Town South Africa. I am scheduled to visit him this year, pending financial freedom.
But I digress …
Gustav has set his year finances up on the blog this past week. And shown us just what it takes to live the Nomad Lifestyle. They say that we all need to find our passion and that when we find it – to do that passion – and money will follow.
Gustav has angels who permit him the lifestyle that he is now living. But we now know his needs and he has asked us to help him further his adventure. Which means asking you my readers to go click the link above and read what he has to say about his travels and his needs.
I know I have some adventurers that read this blog who may have some wisdom to impart if not go the extra mile to help him live the next year with some financial freedom. Gustav does some freelancing work from where ever he rests his head, but he could always use some extra work to pad the expenses he incurs.
This is a call for you all to put on your thinking caps and come up with new ways for him to make some much needed cash on the fly. Like I said he has certain benefactors who permit him to travel. But one more benefactor could make his life a little easier.
Do you work in the airline industry? Of know someone who does?
Could you use a little network help or do you know someone who could employ a freelancer on the world wide web?
Do you have ideas or would you want to join the Modern Nomad angel club yourself? Would you like to participate in the Modern Nomad journey?
It only takes a few minutes to go read and participate in the journey. And if you have something to share, Gustav would be very happy to hear from you.
And with that, I leave you to it. Join the movement …
It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood. It was cold last night. Our first night coming ever so close to single digits. Definitely hoodie and sweater weather. I have to get my toques out of the closet.
I spoke with my friend Sam last night, and after said conversation I took the plunge and opened up a Twitter account. (@jandrews1350). It was the last piece of technology that I had been avoiding since it’s inception. But thanks to Sam, you can follow my tweets. There is a twitter feed on the blog on the top right side of the sidebar.
This morning came early and I set off for the Metro and went to put tickets on my card and the damned machine would not accept my debit card … So I drained my wallet of all my cash to buy tickets.
My fellow community seeker met me for church at the Cathedral. It was a nice service. And I did not know that one of our mutual friends from the room is a deacon at the cathedral. He was getting on ok, without his cane until the end of the service. As usual my spiritual director was on the altar with the rector and the assistant priest (they were ordained together in June).
We stayed for coffee and conversation with a few folks. I joined up for a talk on Spirituality on the 21st of September. (this coming Friday). That should prove to be exciting. Since I have Friday night’s free.
After service we walked back to my friends home and it was beautiful out. I had never been up in that neck of the woods. McGill was hosting a football game so there were a lot of people out and about. And then we crossed Parc – right at the mountain and I spied the cross on top of the mountain. That’s someplace that I haven’t been in a long time.
She showed me her films and we farted around on the blog. You really don’t know the love and care that I put into this site. It’s a lot of grunt work, making all the bells and whistles work.
We had simple lunch of soup which was great. And then I took the bus home. The day is only halfway finished. More to come later on this evening.
The evening grew cooler as the sun went down. I was needed to meet up with one of my friends to help with set up and coffee. I just enjoy this meeting so much because of all the wonderful people that attend.
It was a packed house. And we are two stories from the end of the book that we have been reading for many months now. One more story, then the end of the month tradition meeting and then the first week of October to finish the book, then we move back into reading the Big Book from cover to cover.
We won’t get to the stories in the back for some time because of the first 164 pages are the same in all editions. We will have to make sure folks are reading from a 4th edition because we did not read those stories yet, because the text we are in now only cover editions 1,2,and 3.
Our story tonight was about a man of war located in Europe in the late 1930′s and into the 40′s and WWII. And after more than twenty years in the armed services our man found himself looking at a medical discharge because of his drinking. They let him go, even when he couldn’t see that he had the problem. He had to be hard off to get booted from WWII service.
The thread that most of us picked up on from the story was the connection between our man and his mother. She had done everything for him that she could to the point of becoming pitiless and sorrowed. It came to pass that she was going to turn him out into the world on his own, and at this point, there was nothing he could do to or know how to take care of himself because he was so thick in the drink. But he found the rooms in Ireland. And got sober. And he got his family back and he stayed sober.
I was twisting in my chair all throughout the meeting because my mind was churning. I was trying to find the words to speak what I wanted to say, and it went like this …
The first time I got sober, it was mere weeks into my AIDS diagnosis. All of my friends bailed. My parents bailed, my brother bailed. My then boyfriend bailed on me. Leaving me with nothing but the shred of self respect I had left.
There was nobody to care for me or about me, so why bother?
If Todd and Roy had not saved me from the grip of death and addiction to alcohol, I would surely have died years earlier. They loved me back into life and well into years of sobriety. From point A to point B, when I worked for them and then point B, when they decided to pull up stakes and move out West, I was safe.
Once they were gone I had to reintegrate back into a world I knew nothing about, because I lived in their world for two years never having to deal with the outside on my own. I always had them to guard and guide me.
But they moved away. And for two years I stewed. I wasn’t sponsored. But I was going to meetings. I made a few friends in Miami, where I was now living and I had a job. While that lasted. Not very long …
But the farther that time took me from the protection of Todd and Roy, I was left to my own devices. And hindsight tells me that that was not a really good place to be (left to my own devices). And I made a fateful decision that facilitated my slip back out the door.
And you would have thought that after everything that I was put through during those next few years that I would not walk, but RACE back to the rooms. I knew where they were.
The sad fact is that after 9-11, We, Me, Us, and everybody else, just could not stop drinking. It was sickening. But I thought tonight that had i stayed on the drink, and not gotten sober, nobody would have been the wiser. I had no family to get back, no friends to get back, no real life to speak of. And that’s the way it was.
Had it not been for Troy taking me back to my first meeting, after his kind and loving care over the weeks prior to him breaking his anonymity to me and inviting me for his cake that very night, I may not have gotten sober again.
And had it not been for Ed, and Fonda, and Charlie and Malaika and Christian, I probably would not have stayed. They cared for me around the clock. For months at a time. They gave me a reason to get sober again. Having other people counting their days like I was was stimulant to the journey to begin in earnest.
Family has always been a sore spot for me because we live in separate worlds. And it is ignorance, stupidity and arrogance that keeps us in separate worlds. Once an abomination always an abomination… There is no salvation there.
I have a reason to stay sober today. And I am grateful for every single person in my life today. Especially my new found friends who make time for me and want to break bread with me and who love me because I am a human being who deserves love and care. It has been a wonderful day.
Welcome to my twitter followers. If you have twitter, add me and follow along the blog on twitter, since I added the link now.
I hope you all had a good day today.
More to come, Big Brother begins shortly.
Attorney and Women’s Rights Activist
Candidate for US Senate, Massachusetts
President Bill Clinton
42nd President of the United States
Tonight’s speaker presentation from the 10 o’clock hour well into the 11 o’clock hour was immense. It was a triple hit by three phenomenal speakers. All of them in their own right gave fantastic speeches.
President Bill Clinton spoke for more than 45 minutes tearing apart the Republican Platform tonight and gave an incredible push for the re-election of Barack Obama this November.
You can join the conversation with the Democratic National Convention here.
Here is the text of President Bill Clinton’s Speech tonight at the DNC Convention.
President Bill Clinton
42nd President of the United States
Democratic National Convention
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
We’re here to nominate a President, and I’ve got one in mind.
I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.
I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.
I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.
In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don’t believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.
The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made. One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain’t so.
We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”
Who’s right? Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!
It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.
Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats. After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.
Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other.
When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes. Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.
One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation. He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation. He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. And Joe Biden did a great job with both. He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries. Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I’m so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they’ve done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m also grateful to the young men and women who serve our country in the military and to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for supporting military families when their loved ones are overseas and for helping our veterans, when they come home bearing the wounds of war, or needing help with education, housing, and jobs.
President Obama’s record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship.
He also tried to work with Congressional Republicans on Health Care, debt reduction, and jobs, but that didn’t work out so well. Probably because, as the Senate Republican leader, in a remarkable moment of candor, said two years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work, but to put President Obama out of work.
Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job!
In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.
In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn’t say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years. You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids. As another President once said – there they go again.
I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.
Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is YES.
I understand the challenge we face. I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy. Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don’t feel it.
I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.
President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.
I believe that with all my heart.
President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America must take to build a 21st century version of the American Dream in a nation of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities.
So back to the story. In 2010, as the President’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around.
The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the President’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero.
Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama – the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.
The auto industry restructuring worked. It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That’s why even auto-makers that weren’t part of the deal supported it. They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together.
Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured. Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here’s another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.
The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.
President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too – the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high. Renewable energy production has also doubled.
We do need more new jobs, lots of them, but there are already more than three million jobs open and unfilled in America today, mostly because the applicants don’t have the required skills. We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology. That’s why investments in our people are more important than ever. The President has supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for open jobs in their communities. And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we’ve fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, his student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years. That means no one will have to drop-out of college for fear they can’t repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor because it doesn’t pay enough to make the debt payments. This will change the future for young Americans.
I know we’re better off because President Obama made these decisions.
That brings me to health care.
The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it’s a government takeover of health care that they’ll repeal. Are they right? Let’s look at what’s happened so far. Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion. Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement. More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies. Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems. Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions. And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years.
So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.
There were two other attacks on the President in Tampa that deserve an answer. Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. It’s now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.
When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama’s “biggest coldest power play” in raiding Medicare, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget.
At least on this one, Governor Romney’s been consistent. He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he’s elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016. If that happens, you won’t have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.
But it gets worse. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade. Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that’s not all. Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism. I don’t know how those families are going to deal with it. We can’t let it happen
Now let’s look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.
Here’s what happened. When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%. You hear that? More work. So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Now that is true. I couldn’t have said it better myself – I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.
Let’s talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us. President Obama has offered a plan with 4 trillion dollars in debt reduction over a decade, with two and a half dollars of spending reductions for every one dollar of revenue increases, and tight controls on future spending. It’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.
I think the President’s plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don’t add up.
It’s supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with five trillion dollars in tax cuts over a ten-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out. They say they’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code. When you ask “which loopholes and how much?,” they say “See me after the election on that.”
People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic. If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan – the – arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or 2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for thirty plus years now – cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.
President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation.
My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in. If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a “we’re all in it together” society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think its wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama. If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama. If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama.
I love our country – and I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union.
If that’s what you believe, if that’s what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.
God Bless You – God Bless America.
What can I say about today? I voted. And I voted for the CAQ candidate in our riding. Our riding is a heavy Liberal riding and it stayed that way. I saw lots of people out there voting all day today especially in Westmount.
I am going to repost this from a friend because he has the pulse of this issue and I don’t have the knowledge to paint this picture correctly.
CTV called a: Parti Quebecoise Minority 9:21 p.m. This may change later on tonight, I will update it as needed.
As I write this, voters in Quebec – where I was born and raised – are casting ballots in the provincial election that, in all likelihood, will spell the end of the rule of the Liberal Party and its leader, Jean Charest, after 9 years. If you don’t live there, I know what it means to you: meh. If you’re Canadian, however, it could mean the beginning of yet another chapter of game-playing with our country’s future.
I’m going to way-oversimplify this, so forgive me in advance. Here goes: Quebec is the only province in Canada where the majority of residents speak French as a first language. Long-festering feelings that the rest of primarily-English Canada treated them like second-class citizens gave rise to the separatist movement, spearheaded largely by the Parti Quebecois political party. They first came to power in 1976, under leader Rene Levesque, on a platform of separating the province from Canada, their way of preserving the French language and culture in a North American milieu.
Yes or No
The PQ has held two referendums on sovereignty since then – in 1980 and in 1995 – and in both cases voters said, no, they wanted to remain in Canada. They’ve voted the PQ and Liberals into office sequentially since 1976, and every time the PQ takes over, fears of yet another run at leaving Canada surface.
Throughout the current campaign, PQ leader Pauline Marois hasn’t exactly endeared herself to members of minority groups, and has made it fairly clear that the French majority makes the rules. To wit, here’s a fairly typical gem of hers:
“It is the responsibility of everyone that wishes to call Quebec their home to learn and assimilate the local culture, not replace it with their own.”
Lovely. And this in a province where the schools your children may attend are determined by what language the parents were educated in, and where they are from. And stores are only allowed to post signs in the official language of French (Canada’s bilingual, remember) and, if they violate the language laws, the so-called Language Police swoop down and charge them. Where a province crippled like all others with the modern vices of too much demand and too few resources spends billions on legislating language and prosecuting violators.
The exodus continues
My wife and I – both fluently bilingual, and she’s a French teacher – eventually grew tired of the cultural, language and borderline-xenophobic games, and finally left soon after the 1995 referendum. Of my high school class, the vast majority have left, as well. Montreal was once a city of boundless opportunity, a cosmopolitan city of the future. After the PQ swept to power, waves of well educated anglophones headed west, primarily to Toronto. Head offices of major corporations and the country’s top banks soon followed. If you ever wonder why Toronto became the business hub of the country, now you know. I’m not sure they ever sent a thank you card, though.
We decided we wanted to live in a place where the priority was building businesses, building communities, and raising families. The endless political, language and cultural wars became tiresome for us. And I suspect another generation of folks just like us is already getting ready to call the real estate agent, book the moving van and get the hell out of Dodge. Or whatever the Pequistes choose to call it from here on out.
Unfortunately for those who escape, Quebec’s inability to get with the program – or to willingly work with the rest of Canada to address its persistent feelings of being left out – sucks the life out of the rest of the country, too. Political uncertainty destabilizes not just the Quebec economy, but the national one. It discourages foreign investment and diverts resources away from the issues and projects that will benefit citizens the most. Many Canadians, fed up with Quebec’s generational tantrums, have stated publicly they’d like to be rid of the province entirely. Unfortunately, separation would throw the entire economy into a tailspin – as if it isn’t there, already.
Back to the brink
Anyway, apologies for the ramble. Tonight, the PQ stands poised to kick the Liberals out of office. Mind you, the Liberals, dogged by persistent corruption scandals and a grinding protest by students against tuition hikes, didn’t do themselves any favours. Like the good politicians they were and are, the pig-at-the-trough mentality eventually caught up with them. But as we once again listen to voters justify their choice by saying they didn’t vote FOR the PQ as much as they voted AGAINST the Liberals, I can’t help but think that the subtlety of democracy is completely lost on them. After all, what you’re thinking matters little once you’ve let the wolf in the door. The wolf doesn’t much care why you let him in, and will proceed to happily do whatever it is that wolves do best.
Vive le Quebec libre, indeed. What an unbelievable waste of political capital. And what a sad comment on an entire society’s inability to do what it needs to do to keep pace with the rest of the continent. While they bicker over perceived slights to their beloved language and culture, Rome – or in this case, Montreal, or Quebec City, or virtually any other city in a place that could have and should have had it all – burns.
The Modern Nomad
Do you ever get the feeling that your life as it is lived is boring, pointless or dead ended? Do you long to travel around the world in an Eco-challenging way? Do you want to know what it is like to pull up stakes, close up your home and set off on the adventure of a lifetime? Living simply while you travel, experiencing all that the world has to offer.
I’ve followed a number of bloggers that tired of living in the same place, doing the same things, and working at jobs that weren’t really fulfilling, so they pulled up stakes, traveled the world and found out what was their passions and also where they found their hearts and beings.
My One friend who writes at Travel Pash Love once called Sydney, Australia home, and he had a great job jet setting all over the world. But the routine got mundane and he longed for a change. So he shut his apartment, packed a couple of suitcases and spent a year traveling around the world looking for his next port of entry.
He found his life in South Africa, Cape Town to be exact. He met a man and fell in love and now they have a beautiful three bedroom home in Cape Town. His blog was turned into a book and he is doing what he loves doing, “Destination Australia.”
Gustav, our Swedish friend has traveled extensively around the world, going to places I could only dream about visiting myself. I have my life, and it’s happy. Gustav’s last address was in Buenos Aires. He has written extensively about his travels on his blog pictured above.
Now in New York, his next stop is California and the Burning Man festival. If you ever get the chance to go to Burning Man, you shouldn’t miss it. From what I have learned about it from Dan and others, it is quite the adventure.
Let’s show Gustav some love. Go read his blog and join the adventure.
If you’ve ever considered packing it all in and getting out of dodge, this is the way to do it.
I made my life change some 10 plus years ago leaving the U.S. for greener pastures here in Canada. And my piece of advice to you arm chair or sofa surfers is to put down your beers and chips and pack your bags and leave your comfort zone for a calendar year, it will change your life and the way you see the world.
Everyone should get the opportunity to travel some and see the world.
Join the adventure blog system.
The women in my sober circle all participate in an online gratitude list and a few men I know are engaged in the same practice, to write something every day to remain mindful of what is important about sobriety.
I spoke earlier about one of my friends asking me if I felt different today, as if I was sickening for something. My 40′s have been a time of recognizing certain truths about my life.
The first lesson that came to me was that there is wisdom in my years, and that my life does have meaning. That now I have banked more than 40 years of life experience in this old head of mine. And in more than ten years of sobriety, I have polished those memories and feelings with a grinding stone.
There are people in my life that I cannot live without. There are friends in my life who mean the world to me because they show up for better or worse. We may have spats in sobriety and we may not always agree, but in the end, we always come back around and admit that forgiveness is our code. And I have seen grace come in the last few months.
The / My Home Group is a non-negotiable night. Nothing should stand in the way of attending and serving at my home group. I always have a job to do and I do that job with increasing joy, because the men and women of my home group are my friends and my family. There aren’t any other people I would rather spend time with than my groupies.
Sobriety is a reciprocal action. When you need to be somewhere special or you need to support someone in a hard spot or just because they are your friend, you show up. You suit up and you show up. And once you pay out that action, later on, when it is your turn at bat, people show up for you.
As was the case last night.
Madame Bijoux has been my friend for more than ten years. She watched me get sober at T.B.’s. And I served her dutifully when she was diagnosed with cancer from the first day until her final surgery was completed. At a low and vulnerable point, she took a drink, after 23 years. And I took that pretty badly.
We had words … And then there was silence for months on end, while she nursed her way back, and I nursed my resentment. And one day grace came upon us and at the Wood anniversary, we made up and that was grace.
Nine months later … just a couple of weeks ago, Madame Bijoux took her nine month chip at her new home group, Wood. And I was asked to be there for her to support her and to be a friend and stand by her to let her know that she was not alone.
Grasshopper decided that he was going to bake the mother of all cakes for my birthday and he invited Madame Bijoux to come for the celebration. I set up early and I waited to see if she would show. I was jamming my tunes sitting at the table and she came down those 12 steps… (Yes, there are 12 steps down to our meeting hall at St. Leon’s). coinkidink ???
She was the first guest to come for the party. Soon after Grasshopper showed up with the cake all wrapped up in plastic, and everybody was amazed at just how beautiful the cake was. None more than Madame Bijoux.
Grasshopper went outside to mingle and greet and she and I had a long but important talk about growing up. I told her what I had learned so far, and she shared some of her wisdom with me. (in the regular world – the old are not wanted) but in sober terms, the elders are a wealth of wisdom.
We shared about our respective relationships and what they taught us each. I know I am where I am meant to be, with the one I am with, because I worked damned hard to get to this point, and I cemented my relationship by sticking and staying when the hard times came. I did not run. I committed and I worked my ass off personally and soberly. And today, everything I have is proof of the sacrifices we both made to keep a roof over our heads and love in our hearts.
At my age, it isn’t about flashy gifts or money or riches. Whatever I get is what I wanted. And here, birthdays and Christmases are simple affairs.
I got a simple gift from Madame Bijoux and that made my night that One, she showed up for the party and Two, after all we have been through, she bought me a gift. That is grace.
After our talk she took leave of the meeting and went home. *with a piece of cake under wraps. Because she wasn’t going to leave without a piece of that cake.
And she said to me that she was glad that we are talking. Which meant a great deal to me.
Grasshopper, for all that he does, is an unsung hero. He goes out of his way, when he sets his mind to something, not to let whoever it is he is doing work for to be let down. Once he commits, he is 150% percent in and at full steam.
It has been a long nine months for him in sobriety and like he said tonight, I took him under my wing. I gave him some advice and lead by example. He does what I do. He found a home group, Wood. He serves that group dutifully, and without fail, even when his peers piss him off, he works to maintain an even keel.
I have watched him throw some of the best sober holiday parties and anniversary parties that we have seen in many years, and for the most part he plans, shops, serves and puts on some of the best gatherings.
He needs the work, because that keeps him sober. And yesterday he made good on a birthday promise. He spent all day baking me a cake. Maybe out of gratitude for all good things in his life? Or maybe just because he cares about me. Either way, what he did yesterday was the most beautiful gesture to me.
Madame amongst her fellows gave me an Angel in my Pocket Medallion. Just a simple gesture, but it speaks to her character and sobriety. Sober people believe in angels. That is a common trait among my friends. We all have angel stories to tell. (Maybe one day I will tell you some of mine).
The group members came for the business meeting, and another member brought Mexican cheese and meat tortillas to share for the party. Food is always a hit amongst the group.
Once again this week, I learned a little bit more about the men and women I call my friends. And it is grace that I get to come week in and week out to witness these folks get sober. They are all committed to the group. They participate in the democratic, God consciousness way about the meeting. They all have opinions and they shape the way our group runs and that is really meaningful to me.
I love the men and women of my home group and I love my friends. And it was truly a gift to be able to share my birthday with them, we mark all kinds of occasions, good and bad, sad and happy, solemn and gregarious.
We do not spend great amounts of money on gift for one another here at home, but gifts are thought through with love and kindness. And tonight I got a simple plaque with the Serenity Prayer on it – that I hung on the wall next to the computer so that when we sit here we can look at that prayer as a marker of another year of life. And I am grateful for simplicity.
I am truly grateful for every presence in my life however they appear. I survived another year and the next big goal is the BIG 50 …
One day at a time …
Courtesy: The Ministry of Pleasure
I ran across this post on a blog that I read from London. It is an important post on many levels. That bullying comes on all sides and that no one is immune, even an Olympic Athlete. Tom is a great young man who is deserving of respect and hopefully those kids who wanted to do him harm will stand up and recognize that greatness was within their midst.
The Olympics have begun now going on day three on Monday. We wish Tom well and all the Olympians that are competing. So enjoy …
*** *** *** ***
So the final countdown has started, just under 24 hours left before the XXX Olympiad, let me present you Thomas Robert “Tom” Daley, the boy wonder of British diving.
As you can see, I’ve done a bit of remodeling for the Olympics in London 2012. It is time to cheer for the home team and await that first gold medal where we will hear our National Anthem played for the Gold Medal Winner.
It always makes me cry when I hear it played at an Olympic Competition.
We will be going to full time Live Blogging as much Olympic coverage as I can keep up with over the span of the games. So if you aren’t sporty – you will learn to love sport as I love sport. And there is no greater pride than for ones country.
Since I hold dual citizenship, I cheer on both the Americans and the Canadians. But my heart is firmly ensconced in Canada and always will be. But in any case we will cheer on ALL the athletes just the same for the sheer fact that they worked so hard to get here and they deserve all of our pride and love.
The Opening Ceremonies begin here in Canada at 4 p.m. EST in Montreal. We will have full pictorial coverage of the ceremony courtesy of CTV the national network bringing the games home to Canada.
So stay tuned. It will be exciting.
Lifted from: Jeremy (Don’tEatTrash)
As Gods amazingly loving voice called to Adam and Eve, who had decided that hiding was a good idea, he was commenting on more then just the physical coverings they had decided to don.
‘Who told you?’ Is a question that God continues to ask us.
Who told you that you are ugly, stupid, unworthy, broken?
Who told you that something is wrong with you?
And God follows that up throughout the entirety of humanities history with a firm
“BECAUSE I MADE YOU, and I THINK YOU ARE DELIGHTFUL”
Our reaction to God redeeming the truth in our heads should be ‘Oh yeah’ but usually we begin a lifelong argument.
‘But I am stupid – the teacher told me in fourth grade.’
‘But I am ugly, because i don’t have blonde hair and perfect abs’
and we rationalize it quite well. We’ve been very well trained in rationalizing our insane conclusions whilst God looks us right in the eye and asks ‘BUT WHO TOLD YOU?’
And we stammer and murmur and whinge and complain and shift the blame and compare ourselves over and over again.
And God waits.
He doesn’t take away our masks, he waits.
Because if we don’t listen to his much communicated delight of us, taking away our masks and our safety blankets will reveal the very thing we are hiding from and push us further and further into hiding.
God wants us to experience real freedom.
God wants us to be real with him and allow him to speak life and love and delight deep down into our souls.
Are you listening?
What parts are you trying to hide from God?
Lifted from: Jeremy (Don’tEatTrash)
Adam and Eve were in the garden butt naked. Fully clothed in Gods holiness. Fully secure in who God said they were. Walking with the father. Entertained by the spirit. Conversing with Jesus. No insecurities. No comparisons. No jealousy. Just good old fashioned united and beautiful love and purity.
When you step back from the story a little, it makes absolutely no sense that the two humans believed the snake. The goodness of God should’ve been apparent enough to be truth and love rolled into one. But as child-like innocents, what reason did they have to be suspicious? What reason did they have to question anything in the garden.
They had never had their hearts broken – so had no reason to wonder if this was just another sleazy guy trying to get into their pants, leaving them violated. They had never been stolen from. They had never been insulted, never encountered a sarcastic comment followed by laughter, had never been lied to. So why would it start now? Yes they didn’t check with the God they knew and loved, but at that stage they didn’t have reason to either.
Fast forward a few millennia. Standing on a hill 11km from one of Australia’s largest ports and therefore – largest importer of prostitutes and illicit drugs and paraphernalia, I exist in amidst the story of humanity rife with disappointments. I am suspicious of everything, i ask why of every person, principle, commandment. I am cynical, I am a self appointed judge of quality. And I know exactly who the devil is. I know his ways and his means to get me to believe lies. And yet – in the midst of all my questioning i still find myself often, believing death, and following after it.
In a way i am in a much more informed position then Adam and Eve. I am not naked. I am defs very insecure and fearful. BUT, I live 2000 years after Christ came to earth to complete the adoption process that was started before the beginning of earths existence. I have read the story of Jesus many times. I have lived 27 years of Jesus fueled joy and love. I have conversed with God, and in many ways i have walked with him, as i have had the privilege of sharing the good news and have seen healing in the bodies and minds of the restless. I have created with God and experienced his forgiveness time after time. And yet i still hide behind clothes of comparative thought from an un-renewed mind.
What stops me from ripping off my clothes and walking around completely naked, so that everyone can see who I really am. So that i see who I really am. So that God can get at me more through a repentant and humble heart?
We live in the garden of Eden. Christ saw to that when he crucified all of humanity on the cross and commanded us to pull heaven down to earth. And the only thing stopping us from coming out from hiding and taking off our clothes is our FAITH and TRUST in that.
If we all knew who God made us to be.
If we all trusted that God was who he says he is.
If we trusted that God made others to be them.
If we knew why we are here.
If we held to the truths of Gods power in us and through us.
We can live, fully, in the garden of Eden RIGHT NOW.
The gospel message of Jesus Christ isn’t an insurance policy of “just in case i die”.
It is not a message of an angry father that needed Christ to bleed so that God would stop hating us.
GOD NEVER HATED US. – Jesus changed US.
From being not adopted, to being adopted.
From being lost, to being found.
From being dead to being ALIVE in the family of God.
The gospel message is not one of fear, or domination, or judgement, or assimilation. For none of these things are GOOD NEWS.
The gospel message is one flooded with hospitable love and belonging.
See the garden around you.
And walk out of the bushes and into the life and light of our beautiful loving creator.
Its a nice place.
Lifted from: Jeremy (DontEatTrash)
In a whole lot of communities new members are expected to behave, then believe, then they belong. Like a rite of passage. If you can behave just like us, then you will learn how to think like us internally and then we will allow you to belong with us, we will give you the name badge.
In the youth work we do, we have taken the opposite approach. Our crew belong. They have a place with us. We love them and want them to be involved in everything we do. We then give them that belonging space to start riffing and engaging and experimenting with Jesus. The suss out, to see if Jesus is legit. Then through the belonging and the beginning to believe, behaviour starts to change because priorities and value and understanding changes. We see this all the time. That crew have no other place that just lets them belong. So they love coming because its a special place where they can actually be who they are and still get to belong.
I was sitting and listening to this being explained to new students who have started working with us in working with youth. and it dawned on me more strongly then it has in a long time. Belong believe behave is the gospel story that echoes through history from the beginning of time till this moment i sit in a dinning room listening to Mumford and sons “that’s exactly how this grace thing works” (the exact line that was just sung)
God created us to belong with him in a pretty garden. (The aesthetics of which he created, and continues to create) The garden of belonging never left. The garden of belonging was never destroyed. But as we know the story, Adam and Eve left the garden and the people of Israel decided to not belong to God as their king, they chose their own… Multiple times. The garden of Eden was forgotten about. But God never forgot. God never forgot that he had designed us to hang out with him intimately in a pretty place. He designed us to be clothed with him, unashamed, un-comparatively belonging. But more then that, before time he had already come to the conclusion with his trinity brothers that Christ was going to come to earth and adopt us into their community.
How much closer can you belong somewhere then family adoption?
So amongst a billion other things – when Christ came to earth he returned us to the garden with God. Adopted not only into a family, a nation, a people, but also we returned to the paradise that God crafted with his own hands.
We see with his eyes, smell with his nose, feel with his hands, function with his power. We are offered clothing that rids us of shame and comparison. We are offered meadows of joyfully coloured flowers to dance and prance in abandoned to Gods love and delight.
When we enter the kingdom of God, this is what we are offered. Eden. Our seed is planted in the soil of perfection and watered by the holy spirit.
When Christ died he died for ALL. He took all of us onto the cross with him. Death has no power over us because death has no power. None at all. We walk in the garden with the father, intimately.
BUT, just like the garden of Eden – Adam and Eve chose to put on leaves to hide their bits. Adam and Eve chose to hide.
We hide. We cover our bits. We run from God. But we don’t have to. We live in the garden of Eden. When Satan tells us a half truth that God didn’t mean what he says, we can go back to God and say
“OI, BIG FELLA – that weird leathery brosef told us you lied to us. Did you?”
and every time, God will gain our trust more, until the snake can’t say anything. Until we feel fine running naked around the place, until we never compare again.
God is good. He created belonging and fights for it every day. When we cower and refuse to talk to God because of his wrath God is screaming of his love. He wants – no HE NEEDS us to know his love. Other wise he loses more of us.
Enjoy the garden.