I stayed up late last night watching the Tubes for a while. Our local radio station that usually does overnight radio, is running Christmas music ad nauseum, ugh enough already !!! BAH !!!
Like I have said before, we really don’t get into that shop till you drop mentality. So Christmas is a little subdued. A couple of gifts, things we need, or maybe a surprise or two in the mix. Holidays are really about family and friends, and the table we will sit at later today.
This Christmas was all about Woks, headphones, and Max …
Hubby is Le Chef de Mission here at home. Keeping with tradition, he gets the latest and greatest cooking pans on the market. One of our staple meals is stir fry. And we needed a new Wok, so that was under the tree.
Then it was the Big Box – gifts for both of us in one swing. That was a big hit. New headphones.
Thank you Skull Candy !
Max got an upgrade with a 1 GB memory stick. That was much needed, because my library is pretty full as it is. I also got a shiny new mouse pad. My old mouse pad was really in bad shape.
That’s it for gifts. Nothing too grandiose.
The bird is in the oven, and we are on track for an early afternoon dinner with friends.
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A Christmas Reflection 2014
Today the Queen of England spoke about reconciliation, and the pause in hostilities during the Great War, where British and German troops, in dug out trenches, put down their guns, as the German soldiers sang “Silent Night,” in the night. The British followed suit.
What happened next is the story of legends. The next morning, Christmas Day 100 years ago today, the soldiers came out of their trenches meeting in no mans land for a game of footy, and to exchange presents and greetings.
Imagine, if the world today, took a collective breath, and hostilities were stopped for one day. Imagine, if the world could bring the many, into reconciliation, and END hostilities world wide !
I have a friend who eschews holidays, those consumer driven celebrations that pop up every once in a while, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Christmas … Love is an every day feeling. Family is an everyday gathering. Celebrating the lives of others, is a 365 days a year event.
We’ve learned, over the years, what is most important. When the tree goes up, it is a family event. It is a celebration of love, because we created a ritual for the tree. At Christmas our extended family goes well beyond to gift us all with something particularly special. And we return the gesture in kind.
For the past few years, our older members in the fellowship have been alone, they live alone and only go out for meetings, or shopping, or they go without. Us younger members have taken on the work of living in community with our men and women.
We break bread with them regularly. We celebrate holidays together, some share musical talent with them. All so that we do something good on a regular basis, with them, so that they are not alone. My guys are all connected to helping others when they can. Because they are able, and it is the right thing to do.
Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus. A blessed birth come to pass in a humble manger in Bethlehem. Yes, the birth of Christ is important. It is the beginning of the story. But if you think about it, the end of the story of Jesus, is the culmination of God becoming man, and having a human experience, to sacrifice himself for the good of mankind.
Christ came to speak words of truth, to heal the sick, to chastise the greedy and wealthy, to give food to the hungry and pardon the sinner. He called twelve men to follow him, they would eventually follow and begin to create simple Christianity, that has blossomed into the Christianity of today.
The end of the story, the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, is Man’s Saving Grace. Sacrifice is God’s greatest gift to mankind. He came so that we could have life, and life abundantly. Christ dying on the cross is the pinnacle of the meaning of Christianity. Coming to save man, by dying on a cross.
Sacrifice … Love … Salvation …
I remember when I was a young boy, going to my first retreat, and hearing the words, and listening to people speak about God, Jesus and Salvation. And at the end of it all, the altar call came, and one by one we stood and turned our lives over to this man we call Jesus.
It was a Mountaintop experience.
But like Moses, we too, had to come down from the mountain, and re-enter the world.
In those days, open carrying a bible in public school, was akin to having leprosy for teens.
It marked you as different. Odd. They called us Jesus Freaks, and we were. For a while at least.
I can’t say that I succeeded in my zeal for Jesus given the home I lived in and the schools I went to.
But that time is not lost on me considering my university education and the work I do every day.
Imagine what it was like to proclaim the life of Jesus as a follower to your fellow man. Imagine what it was like for those apostles and then the people. It was like that for us. I’ve learned a great deal of what it means to follow the man we call Jesus today.
That is a 365 day journey. Not just on Easter Sunday or Christmas Day, or Epiphany.
We should love one another every day. We should honor our mates every day. We should honor our children every day. The holidays have been Frankensteined into conglomerate days of greed, money and consumerism.
If it ain’t black Friday, it doesn’t matter.
Tomorrow, bar none, people will be lining up, getting dirty, and fighting tooth and nail to get that 6 a.m. door buster prize. And I guarantee you that by 6 p.m. there will be numerous reports of holiday cheer going out the window as people beat each other up, or shoot one another for that Big Screen tv, or pair of high end sneakers.
Christmas is a day. I’ve encouraged my friends to go out into their communities and serve the less fortunate. But this too is not just a Christmas job, it is an every day job. I’ve said before that if we took all that money we spend on national and international defense and war spending and putting that money to better use, we could change the lives of millions in short order.
Sadly, the world operates on the conflict of the people, whether we like to admit that or not. It is Big Business. And those who have all the money and power rely on the conflict within the people to make their millions, billions and trillions of dollars.
The Christmas message is lost on them totally.
If you miss the real meaning of Christmas, let me remind you of a few point of order:
- It’s not about the gifts under the tree, but the people around it
- It’s not about how much money you spend, but the love that you share
- It’s about family and who sits at your table for your holiday meal
- It’s about that checker girl/guy at the grocery store, be kind
- It’s about the less fortunate and random acts of kindness
- It’s about the birth and beginning of the life of a man who would change the world
- In the end it is all about the Sacrifice for the salvation of the world
- It isn’t about what religion you profess, but the God that gives you life
- It is the peace you share, and the fact that we are spiritual beings having a human existence
The Holidays are a “WE” event. It is not an “I” event. Dinner later on will be a We event.
And later tonight, WE will gather for a Christmas Night Meeting.
More to come …
Part 2 …
The weather held for the evening. But man is it windy. Where is all that wind coming from, and where did it originate? The wind was buckling the windows all evening while we napped after Christmas dinner.
Dinner was a nice meal, with friends and family.
We set out a bit early due to the fact that the buses are on Sunday Schedule for the holiday. Arriving at the church, a good number of people came out for the meeting. I half expected more to come, but we filled the room nonetheless.
Tonight we heard one of our women. One of the many women who feed my desire to be a better man, a sober man, who has done his work, and gives it away to others who want it as well.
In the beginning the story is the same. We were born, most, into dysfunctional families, feeding us mixed, and sometimes the wrong message about ourselves. And that leads into us becoming who we are in that period of time, and usually, but not in all cases, the messages we are fed, lead us into the world of drugs and alcohol to escape, to enhance, and even to blot out what we are hearing and in the end feeling.
Some, in the beginning, come, they look around, and they leave. We find this the case with our young people. How can I, (read: Being so young) have such problems that would need the intense work that we provide to them? For many young people, youth means that they have at least ten to fifteen years of good partying life ahead of them, and the mere thought of turning it all over and coming in for good is such a Tall Order …
Some come, and they stay, and they make a life out of it. But the stats are not good.
The WOMEN I speak so highly about so often, changed my life. Most of those women, by extension and by lineage, are sponsored, grand sponsored and great grand sponsored by women who live in New York City. The message came from one, to the next, and the next, and then finally to them personally. I was in the right place at the right time to hear this and see this in action.
And I wanted so badly to be part of it. And now I am. They say it is difficult to blunt a raging forest fire. Imagine for a moment, a bunch of crazy women on fire for the book and the solution. I had lunch with one of my ladies yesterday. They all warm my heart.
If you stick around, and you get the right message, that the book gives you, you too can join the fire for the book as well. They say that if you want to hide something from an alcoholic, put it in the Big Book. Because most alcoholics won’t read the book, until it is imperative they do so. You can only sit in your chair for so long, until someone sits with you and offers to take you through the book like we do it.
The Solution … I’ve learned that I can be with myself. Alone, quiet, in the center of the storm where the winds are calm. I’ve learned that I don’t have to save anyone, that all I have to do is take care of me, and with that done, I can help take care of someone else.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
Listening to sponsees, reminds me why I am here. Because I hear what happened to them, and I know that some of the same things happened to me as well. Good Healing Fire spreads quickly. We hear our friends share in discussion meetings, but it is also good to hear them share on the open stage at a speaker meeting. I’ve heard her before, and tonight I got to see and witness personal progress.
We claim spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection.
Every day we get a daily reprieve, contingent on our spiritual condition.
I understand what that means to me. Because I learned how to do it myself. You may not be one for prayer, or meditation. And in the beginning who can sit still for more than five minutes, at that? I had to practice. And that practice took months upon months, With serious time under my belt.
I had to step up my game if I wanted to reap the rewards of spiritual fitness.
Three, Seven and Eleven … daily, on your knees, humble before God. It is an act of humility to get down on ones knees to pray. Because they say, “When life gets too hard to stand, Kneel.”
Everybody has a journey to take, and no two journeys are the same.
THE WORK is the same for all of us, out of the same book, heading in the same direction.
That’s why I read the book with my guys once a week. That’s why I read the book with my sponsor.
Today, I, like many of my friends, live in the solution.
It was a good night.
My other observation for the night was of one particular homeless man, who has been homeless as long as I’ve been sober. And probably longer than that. The homeless in our city have a routine.
Whether they begin in the East and and work their way West, or from West to East, they either ride the rails, or ride the bus. From one side of the city to the other. Most of them go without food on a daily basis, but they have enough money to provide a bus pass to travel.
Where does that money come from, who provides it, when they can’t afford to eat?
Meetings run on similar lines across town, North, South, East and West. You can get to any meeting by rail and by bus. Our homeless population are well known in our circles, because they show up diligently on time for the meeting, for free coffee and cookies, and/or whatever free food is on the table. That is probably the mainstay of their meals on any given day, unless of course they visit a shelter or food station downtown.
Our city and by extension, our country hides a dark secret, out in the open, and we are powerless to affect change. The city can only do so much. Volunteers can only do so much, and the shelters and food stations can only do so much. Winters are brutal for our homeless. Because there are so many, there are spare resources for them on any given night, so they troll the city from one end to another every night.
Some collect bottles and cans. That is certain money in their pockets. Can and Bottle return is a booming business. The grocery store on the corner does really good business every day. I see the same folks come day in and day out, with tons of cans and bottles. One of them, I don’t know where he gets them all, but he probably collects a thousand cans a day add to that boxes of beer bottles as well.
There are entire populations of people who go without. Entire populations that live well, WELL below the poverty level. People at high levels of government have asked the Prime Minister what he will do for the those who need so much, and last week I heard him say on tv, that “well, they are not even on our radar, to be honest!”
How can you run a country that has so much, and gives so much away to foreign nations, that so many of your own people go without, and come off saying that they are not on your radar and that in turn, they are not important for the country, the provinces and the entire nation?
How can you stand yourself knowing that you ignore entire populations of people, because it isn’t expedient or that it is beneath you – or not politically sound to care or even act like you care for votes when the time comes?
That’s a political hot potato.
Human interest stories at the governmental level are ignored.
No government is perfect, anywhere in the world.
In a country that is so rich, a first world nation, we have entire populations of people who live in third world conditions, and that is terribly sad. I have ideas to float for all of these problems. They sound easy to me when I repeat them in my head, they sound good, they look good, but in the end, to make sweeping changes that many of us agree need to be made, that would take money. More money that most governments want to throw on people who do not matter to their bottom line.
Most of those people do not vote. Most of those people have substandard homes if they have that at all, countless numbers of them are homeless, drug addicted and alcoholic. Many of them have mental and emotional problems that are never addressed because there is no money and not enough resources to help them all. Hell, even in first world populations, in the biggest cities, across the country, many people face these same problems, and they too go without.
We are heading into election territory in 2015.
Getting these issues onto a stage where they are heard and dealt with is wishful thinking.
Another Christmas, and some of our folks went without. again …
It costs money to take a homeless person off the street. Clean them up, first, then try and find them someplace safe and economical to live, but then you need to find the money to allow them to pay rent, utilities, buy food and live a substantive life. Treat their problems accordingly, but with what resources and from where? How do we do that ?
I asked a friend on the way home about the man I am speaking about now, and I said that he has been homeless as long as I’ve been sober, how do we get him off the street ? And his answer was simply, that he doesn’t want to get off the street ! Now is that by choice, by default, or lack of concern for his own welfare?
This is all terribly troubling when we live these lives of having everything that we need. And on the fringe, just below the radar, so many have little to nothing to call their own.
What did you do for the least of these today?
And with that, my Very Mario Christmas comes to an end.
Thank you for reading, for subbing and for being a part of my life.
Another week has come and go. The weather is getting cold. This is the time of year where I enjoy sitting on my balcony watching weather come and go overhead.
The city is little by slowly getting taken over by elf magic. Decorations are going up in the stores, in the malls, on lamp posts, if it stands by itself, one can put lights on it, it seems.
From where we live, up as high as we are, weather is a huge feature of this home of ours.
Every night the sky is different. Every night, the sunset can be spectacular, and sometimes it is just meh ! This getting dark in the middle of the afternoon is definitely disconcerting.
Yesterday I was sitting outside and I watched a lone cloud, move from West to East, around the West end, and over the South Shore, (read: The south side of the St. Lawrence River), we are on the North side, the island of Montreal.
There were no other clouds nearby, not over our section of the city, that we can see. And this one cloud dropped rain over the South Shore, in one fluid movement, moving West to East.
Tonight, it was somewhere around 5:30 or 6:00, hubby had just gotten home from work, saying that he saw snow. I walked outside, and once again, there was a single cloud hanging over the South Shore, and it was snowing from that one cloud.
Our view is quite expansive. On a clear day we can see all the way to New York State, to the West, Mount Royal to the North, the South Shore to the South. The lighting in the section of the city is not white. It is more like an amber color in the streetlamps. The buildings on the west end are up lit from their roofs. And it is an optical illusion, but when it is cloudy or stormy, it seems the clouds drop out of the sky, and are lit from the ground and the buildings. Sometimes they cover the top of the mountain.
It is especially cool in the winter to watch the clouds come over. One can usually tell when the clouds are fit to burst with either rain or snow.
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This was an ordinary week, so far. Nothing exciting going on here.
Tuesday we sat a small group, and we read through Step Ten. All the usual suspects came, but we were missing some folks. Thursday we sit the same group of men, the ones holding together that meeting, one month at a time. We read from Living Sober … Getting Enough Rest.
Tonight I traveled across the city to North End English. The Friday Who’s Who meeting of the week.
Tonight’s reading … Who’s Responsibility ???
“… That is why sobriety – freedom from alcohol – through the teaching and practice of A.A. Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of the group ( read: or a group). If we don’t stick to this cardinal principle, we shall almost certainly collapse. And if we collapse we cannot help anyone.”
An A.A. group follows the singleness of purpose rule, our job is to welcome the newcomer, and anyone else who needs a meeting. That is our job. The first order of business, when we stop drinking, is to stay stopped. And the way we do that, is by coming, and listening, and watching. And learning …
We cannot solve all your problems. Social, Marital, Financial, etc …
An old timer spoke tonight telling the story about his life. He had all those kinds of problems. Our One Common problem, between us all is that (a) we were powerless over our alcoholism, and (b) that our lives had become unmanageable.
It is usually a foregone conclusion that if we remove the alcohol, usually, everything falls back into place. But not every situation is like that. Sometimes by the time we quit the drink, we have wrecked our relationships, our families, our spouses, and the lives of children, if we have them, our jobs and our financial security, sometimes all at once, or they fall, like dominoes, one at a time.
The first thing I (read: me) had to do was put down the drink. Because at that point, I was sick and delusional. I could not go on drinking like I had been. And for the first five months, this time around, I went to meetings, and I listened to people talk, I went through a couple passes of the Steps, Living Sober, and the Big Book. I was pretty well set, when I moved here, to get started.
I got connected right away. I worked very hard at doing everything right, hoping that I would never “want” to drink again. One of my friends and I were talking on the way home about wants and needs.
When I came back, I had thoughts about things I wanted … Things I thought were important.
God had other plans for me.
In the beginning, I relied on meetings and the people in those meetings, like I had never depended on anyone before. I wasn’t dependent on them, but I depended on them. Never in the last thirteen years, (almost), I have never had to go outside the rooms for anything.
Our meetings follow the singleness of purpose, true. The addendum to this is this …
We always get what we need, whenever we walk into a meeting. And in this program, if you’ve ever come in, went back out, and come back a second, third or fourth or fifth time, you gotta really “want it” to be able to get it.
I heard it tonight. A friend came in crazy, worried and afraid, and she spoke it to the meeting, and at the end of the meeting, several members stepped up and said, “We will help you …” Situation averted!
If there is something on your heart or on your mind, speak it to a meeting. If the need is great, and the desire is genuine, God will provide, one way or another. It may not come right away, but I’ve seen God turn things around within an hours time.
They also say that be careful for what you pray for, because if God thinks you are ready, He will give it to you. Without even an expectation on the books.
Many people have come and gone through my life in sobriety. Not everyone is meant to be with us for the entire journey. I can tell you that there is only one woman, who is still in my life today, who was there when I got sober in the beginning. I see her at work, because she doesn’t go to meetings any more, but we are still close friends. I can always count on her for support.
God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
This reading also talks about personal responsibility.
Firstly, We are responsible for ourselves and the decision we made to stop, and to Stay Stopped.
Once we put down the drink, we may or may not be very responsible, but we get there eventually. A good sponsor steps in at the right time, to support you. Our job, to help you stay sober, and get you through your steps. But not all at once, and surely not right away.
I’d rather help you sink into your seat and get comfortable with where you are, before The Work begins. In the beginning, all I had to do was get me to a meeting. I had to learn how to do that in a four season setting. That took work. A lot of work.
They gave me jobs to do in the beginning. Chairs and tables, for a long time. Months …
Then I made coffee, for a long time. I still make coffee to this very day.
That’s almost 13 years of weeks, making coffee for a meeting at least three times a week.
An urn usually holds 30 cups of coffee per night. I go to 4 meetings a week. I make coffee, three times a week. That is three urns of coffee a week, at thirty cups a night, times thirteen.
30 cups x 3 times a week x 365 days x 13 years = that’s 427,050 cups of coffee in 13 years.
I learned how to be responsible for simple things, which prepared me for the bigger things.
I had good people in my life all along, from the very beginning. Who taught me very important lessons about life, love, responsibility, accountability, etc …
I got that all from the meetings, and the people in them.
Little by slowly, I got a life.
Little by slowly, I got the man.
Little by slowly, I got the home I wanted.
Little by slowly, I got the education.
Little by slowly, I got the marriage. Next Thursday it will be 10 years …
And little by slowly, in December, I will reach thirteen years sober on December 9th.
It did not come all at once. I learned that I go to meetings. I talk things out. I work my steps.
Then God says … ok, now you’ve done the homework, let’s see you work it out in real time.
And one by one, I get a little study time, a little think time, and a long period of work it out time.
Then the cycle repeats itself. Season after season, year after year.
I am responsible.
Whenever anyone anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. to be there,
And for that I am responsible.
God has been good, to me and my fellows. Not all times are good. Sometimes things can get very shitty and it seems that God steps out of the picture for a time, I’m not sure why that happens, maybe we need to learn something about ourselves ( read; study period) then He re-engages.
The only thing we have to change when we get sober is everything.
It isn’t always fun. Sometimes it can be downright HARD !
But they tell us, wisely, to stick around until the miracle occurs.
More to come, stay tuned …
“I get everything I need in Alcoholics Anonymous – And everything I need I get, And when I get what I need, I invariably find that it was just what I wanted all the time.”
Big Book, Freedom from Bondage, page: 552.
It is the end of the week. The temps have gotten wintry as of late. The word SNOW appears in the forecast for the coming week. I noticed in my travels tonight that the light poles and many of the trees on main travel bus routes are decorated with lights, all sparkly and holiday like.
I have also noticed that holiday programming has begun and it isn’t even December yet !
I departed on time for my transit, the theme was hurry up, trains wait for no one.
I met one of my friends at the church and we waited for a key holder.
We sat a large group and read from A.B.S.I. … Clearing a Channel
I read the reading along with the others, and the first image that came into my mind was Mark Brian.
Mark Brian is our Anglican priest sent to a native outpost on the up coast of B.C.
When he gets there the vicarage is falling down, the windows are falling apart, and the floor is sagging.
It is the holidays and it is cold, and all the sundry inanimate things in the village are seeming to be revolting all at the same time. Fires won’t burn, water heaters have busted, and pipes are frozen.
Beset with all kinds of futility and loneliness, Mark has to eek out a living in a place that is new to him.
One night, before service, the only generator in the village breaks down. Mark flings off his cassock and dons his Indian sweater, and pulls out the tools, wrenches and screwdrivers. He bleeds the line out and reconnects it all back together, and in the moment, he speaks … “Yes, my Lord, No my Lord …” repeating the phrase.
His Indian friend says to him, “Who are you talking to?” and Mark responds, “The Bishop!” the Indian replies, “but the Bishop is not here …” And Mark says …”And its a good thing …”
In reading I Heard the Owl Call my Name, when all is in doubt and answers are needed, Mark always stops and repeats the words “Yes, my Lord, No, my Lord …”
It was the Bishop who chose to send Mark there, for reasons that Mark is not made privy to. But he figures out the reasons, and they are not necessarily the same reasons the Bishop sent him there to begin with. Mark often responds in times of doubt to that simple mantra. Speaking to the Bishop, and speaking as well to God.
The reading tonight also speaks about “taking the moment,” when things seem to be getting crazy, that we stop and repeat any of the familiar mantras we learn in the program. Our often said prayers, slogans, things we hear from our sponsors or others in the rooms.
Often I forget to take that moment.
And even sometimes when the rat gets on the wheel, and it starts going, I don’t always stop, and I allow the situation to grow and fester to see where it is going, knowing that I should have stopped the thought when it came, but didn’t.
And like my story yesterday, I was busy, and I needed to get somewhere, and the train had other plans, and we got stuck on the rail to wait out a stoppage. I consider that maybe this was God saying to me that:
Here you are, and maybe you should “Take the moment…”
When I don’t necessarily choose to take it, God forces it upon me in funny ways.
I listened for the song of prayer again tonight. And was pleased with it to my soul.
Serenity, Acceptance, Wisdom, Patience, Appreciation, Tolerance, and Strength …
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …
You never know when a little gift will appear out of nowhere and makes it all possible !
The Canadian Government has addressed the recent call to kill unbelievers by terrorists. To the extent that Citizens who have left the country to fight along side them, and there are many, their passports have been revoked. In addressing public safety, we are told that the governments eyes and ears are open, and that we are safe. Montreal has always been a safe city. But with this round of violence in the world, one never knows. Let Us Pray …
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I want to address something that took place on another blog I read from Far Far Away …
A.A. is a place for people who think they have a problem with drinking. As per the Traditions, A.A. has no opinion on outside issues. Many people suffer from depression and other assorted illnesses, that must be treated with proper medical treatment and supervision.
There is a fine line between abusing prescription drugs, and taking them properly as directed.
Members, for the most part, are NOT doctors. I’ve never met a medical doctor in the rooms in all my years. Many of us suffer from depression in and out of sobriety. And many of us take pills to treat that depression, on top of that I myself take a handful of pills for my HIV twice a day.
I’ve been in a few scrums with militant members on the topic of medical treatment and for some, their take that sobriety and clean time is contingent on the fact that we either take or choose not to take our medication as directed.
IF YOUR SPONSOR OR ANY OTHER MEMBER TELLS YOU TO STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICATION, OR TELLS YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT SOBER OR THAT YOU CANNOT MAINTAIN SOBRIETY WHILE TAKING MEDICATION, YOU CAN PROPERLY TELL THEM TO FUCK OFF.
Nobody has the right to tell you what to do with your own body when it comes to your health and well being. NOBODY ! Medicinal treatment is an OUTSIDE issue.
This discussion has been going around with many of my friends as of late. Too many people suffer in silence because of the stigma of mental illness, depression, and myriads of emotional problems. We are all humans who deserve to live good and healthy lives, and if that health is contingent on medical treatment, you take the treatment and those who would beg to differ fuck em …
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Any Harry Potter fan will know the genius of Hermione Granger. And most of you may have heard about the HE FOR SHE campaign for Gender Equality. Emma Watson, gave an impassioned speech at the United Nations recently. Her speech was lampooned and derided and some even went as far as to tear her apart online and on social media for her desire to see gender equality and her call to the men and boys of the world to take the pledge to support women, where ever they may be, around the world, to help them achieve gender equality across the board.
As for myself, I made my pledge to the cause earlier today making myself Man #79,536 …
Join the cause : He For She.Org
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This morning we got a little gift, which took me out and about to run assorted errands and some shopping here and there. The IGA has a run on coffee, needless to say, coffee has become a major food group for some, so many of us have been buying multiple cans of coffee to put in storage as we need them. We don’t usually get this chance, coffee being so cheap. Many of the meetings I open for have spent considerable cash buying tins.
I needed a new Under Armour jersey to wear with my Germany Team Jersey. I went to the Sports Experts at the mall, and was pleasantly surprised that a good number of the shirts were 50% off, regularly $60.00 a piece. File that one in the WIN column.
I did a good supermarket Safari and got coin for laundry. I figured while the getting was good, I better cover all my bases so I don’t have to go back and forth between here and the store over and over.
Hubby got home a little before I had to leave, which meant I did not have to charge my card with tickets, since he has a monthly pass. I left a little early and already, the sun is setting a little earlier, because it was coming dark by the time the meeting got started, and we used overhead lights instead of a lamp we have because our bulb blew …
We split up the read on Step Four tonight.
I haven’t actually read this step in a while, and many things jumped out at me. I don’t remember doing this step, the first time I got sober. But I do remember my first fourth Step when I got connected here when I was sober a number of months.
It was a long and drawn out process. I wrote pages and pages. In order to stay sober, say some, you need to do a fourth. Many who attempt a fourth in early sobriety, without proper support, drink again. I saw that happen on a number of occasions, in consecutive Twelve Step Intensives.
You start a group of 25 to 30 men or women for that matter.
Everybody is excited to start. By Step three, people start getting ancy and agitated. We lost at least half our men in number when we hit the fourth step. Many of them drank again because the thought of writing it all down was terribly scary.
That happened each time I sat in an intensive.
This time I worked my Fourth with my sponsor of Thirty years. He is working HIS fourth step with his sponsor as I work mine with him. This weekend he is going to Vermont to do his Fifth, and I will do mine soon after.
I think I have learned a lot about my life and how I lived it now that I have been sober for this period of time. Each time you do a fourth, it gets easier. The farther you get from your last drink, and the more you grow up, because the book talks about the man who is still drinking, never grows up until he puts down the drink, the more insight you have into your own life and the life of others.
I get it, I grew up in an alcoholic family. What happened happened. Nobody ever said the word alcoholic, and no excuses were given for what went down, the way we were treated, or the way people acted. We just chalked it up to our lot as family members of an active alcoholic.
I understand now the role I played in people’s lives. I was educated in the drink, but my transgressions were dealt with very heavily. What my parents got away with in their alcoholism, did not happen when I started drinking. They picked apart every decision, they picked apart my life, and punished me for making life – survival – decisions, in sobriety.
When I moved away, it was just me. The only connection I had to home was the car I drove and almost lost because of my drinking. That was HUGE strike one on me. Thankfully, I did not get to strikes two and three.
Oh wait … I did. Strike two – I was Gay. Strike Three – I am HIV+ …
There were a couple of extra strikes when I made life decisions and moved here. That would be strikes four and five.
From the eyes I have today, I can see why my steps went the way they did in early sobriety. And that kind of insight only comes with time. Lots of time, patience and self appraisal.
I had a really great conversation with a friend tonight prior to the meeting about family, tradition, faith and how that all works in our favor. I see some who have such wonderful family traditions. They practice faith because of tradition. They might not necessarily believe in God, or if there is a God, but they believe in a tradition, in relatives; fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers.
What is handed down traditionally, is so powerful in our lives.
You can’t force anyone to believe in God. And you can’t force the book, and its words, down any ones throats either. But if you gently speak to tradition and of family and of faith, the door is eased open just a bit. I encourage my folks in this respect, and hopefully, one day, their light will shine.
At least that is my hope. One day at a time.
More to come, stay tuned …
Courtesy: Iheefz – Chicago
WASHINGTON – A marriage made in Toronto was at the heart Wednesday of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on a historic day that also cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California, the most populous state in the union.
The ruling on the federal U.S. legislation known as DOMA gives spouses in same-sex unions a full array of tax, health and pension benefits.
The challenge to the legislation was spearheaded by 83-year-old Edith Windsor, a New Yorker, who married her longtime partner Thea Spyer six years ago in Canada, where same-sex marriage has been legal for almost a decade. The couple’s marriage was recognized by New York state, but not by the federal government.
When Spyer died in 2009, the federal government cited DOMA to force Windsor, who’s now ailing, to pay $363,000 in taxes on her late wife’s estate — taxes that wouldn’t have been levied against her if she’d been married to a man.
Windsor wasn’t at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, but watched from her lawyer’s apartment in New York, where she was reportedly jubilant upon word that DOMA had been struck down. The law had been in effect since 1996, when it was signed into law by a now-apologetic Bill Clinton.
“Children born today will grow up in a world without DOMA,” a beaming Windsor told a New York news conference.
“And those children who are gay will be free to grow up and love and be married .… If I had to survive Thea, what a glorious way to do it. And she would be so pleased.”
Also on Wednesday, the high court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by ruling that defenders of Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage, had no constitutional standing. That means a lower court ruling in California that legalized same-sex marriage is again the law of the land.
The two historic rulings will likely transform the United States on same-sex marriage, an issue now widely considered a civil rights battle — and one that is dramatically winning the support of Americans.
U.S. President Barack Obama, the first commander-in-chief in American history to back same-sex marriage, praised the Supreme Court in a statement on Tuesday released after he personally called the plaintiffs involved in the two cases to congratulate them.
“This was discrimination enshrined in law,” he said.
“It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
As many legal experts predicted, it was Justice Anthony Kennedy, a libertarian conservative on the panel, who broke partisan ranks on the nine-member panel and voted in favour of striking down DOMA. Kennedy had already written two judgments for the court that upheld the rights of gays.
“DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others,” Kennedy wrote in his decision.
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”
The latest polls suggest the majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage, compared with just 13 per cent 25 years ago.
It’s not just a generation gap that explains the profound shift, pollsters are discovering — even some older Americans are changing their minds about gay marriage, as are citizens in rural areas, from religious backgrounds and in traditionally conservative jurisdictions.
Amid that backdrop, the Supreme Court heard arguments in March against both laws. The arguments, made before the panel of five Republican appointees and four Democrats, were heard even as some high-profile Republicans, long consumed with winning over the social conservatives of their base, expressed support for same-sex marriage.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman reversed his stance after his college-age son revealed he was gay. Jon Huntsman, a Mormon and a Republican presidential candidate in 2012, has also backed same-sex marriage and urged his fellow Republicans to do the same.
Even Karl Rove, the powerful Republican strategist who famously brought millions of Christian evangelicals into the party fold a decade ago, says he wouldn’t be surprised if the 2016 Republican presidential candidate — whoever that may be — backs same-sex marriage.
Obama has helped embolden fellow politicians on same-sex matrimony after he reversed his own stance on the issue last year. The White House had urged the high court to rule in favour of same-sex rights.
Hillary Clinton, eyeing a run for president in 2016, has also expressed her support.
Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, said he was “disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling and suggested states may rule differently in the future. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 13 U.S. states.
“While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances,” Boehner said in a statement. “A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”
The religious right vowed a battle.
In a series of Tweets, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer wrote: “Sodomy-based marriage is an egregious violation of the ‘Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.’ May God have mercy on us.”
He added: “In our battle to defend marriage as God has defined it, we will never give in. We will never, never, never, never give in.”
Mike Huckabee, a onetime Republican presidential candidate, also took to Twitter to express his dismay.
“My thoughts on the SCOTUS ruling that determined that same sex marriage is okay: ‘Jesus wept.'”
Courtesy: Heath (Iheefz) Chicago Photography
It rained … all . day . long …
Enough rain to warrant carrying an umbrella. And Lawd knows how I hate carrying my huge umbrella anywhere. But this morning it was necessary because we had to travel in . the . rain.
A few days ago, hubby mentioned his graduation ceremony was coming up but he wasn’t expecting me to attend because it was, in his words, “long and boring!” The topic came back up the other night and he once again intoned that he wasn’t expecting me to go … and I replied “Why Wouldn’t I??? ”
Two years work. Watching him toil night and day pounding out his thesis and defense for his M.A. I went to his defense. We were all so proud of him. And so today was the culmination of all that work, a 15 second walk across a stage in front of his peers to get his M.A. Diploma.
The program opened with bagpipes, piping in the graduates, then the faculty.
And One very special man – LtGen. The Honorable Romeo A. Dallaire (Ret’d), O.C. ,CMM,GOQ, MSC,CD, B.ES., LLD , Senator.
He was presented with an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters.
And he gave a short speech for the graduates and encouraged them to step up and be change in Canada. Because in politics and government, he spoke, they have not risen to their ultimate abilities.
2017, is a special date and there are a confluence of dates and events, anniversaries and commemorations that will come during 2017, and Canada does not have a plan to mark the occasions.
Offering questions in the Senate and to the M.P’s in Parliament, what is the plan and what are we going to do ? the answer was – We Don’t Know !!!
This is our time to rise. To become active in the affairs of the nation be it in your community, your home, your job or your country, He encouraged us all to become change.
He spoke a bit about the children in Rwanda and the deaths and situations he witnessed. He spoke of a young boy, sitting in the road there in Rwanda distended, poor and in need (in a bad way), looked in those boys eyes, and the vision of his sons eyes came to mind.
He encouraged us to go abroad and work in developing countries. To see, witness, feel and participate in the lives of those who need more than they have today. They have very little, compared to the have’s and the have not’s in the developed world.
It was a tall request. But not out of reach. If you know where to look.
I know of people in Europe and the U.K. who actually go to Africa and other trouble spots in the developing world to work for charities helping those who need it most.
It is part of Gap Year work, Charity work, and just a great character building exercise to spend time in a place that will change the person you are, just by your presence.
We don’t often think about traveling so far away – it isn’t a North America thought, just because it is “over there” out of sight, out of mind.
But numbers of Canadians do great work in Africa and areas beyond.
If I could do it, I would. But the time needs to be right.
*** *** *** ***
Once hubby did his walk across the stage, he was in the first two rows of graduates, he texted me. I was sitting about ten rows behind him on the aisle so we could make a quick getaway. The ceremony started at 3 p.m. and I needed to be at the church at 5, so we made our way out shortly after the B.A.’s started their march to the stage.
We took some photos with his cape and gown and degree for his parents, turned in his robes, and we came home. We got back around 4:30. And I was back out the door at quarter to Five.
And . It . Rained …
I arrived at the church, a little damp and the hall was a bit damp and cold. I cranked out chairs and tables. My sponsor showed up a few minutes after I arrived to make coffee and help with set up.
Little gift …
At the roundup a couple of weeks ago, all the shares were taped for mass consumption and sold on site. For quite a chunk of money. So a few folks bought a master copy of all the shares. And now they have been duplicated and are being shared amongst us.
I had mentioned that I wanted a copy of them, and one of our sober women did the duplicates and brought them to the meeting tonight. But there were a few women who have not heard them, like we got to hear them live, so I told her to give them to someone who hasn’t heard them yet before I get them.
I was sitting in my chair waiting for folks to show up and one of my friends came up and handed me a cd, with all the shares and more on it. Just because !
Then I was standing near our literature table talking to some folks, and my sponsor walked up and had a gift for me. He was given a cache of Big Books and other texts we use regularly. And from a private collection, he has already given me a copy of the original manuscript of the Big Book. Tonight he had another book for me … A Second Edition of the Big Book.
Which has an extra large collection of stories in the back of the book.
There are four editions of the Big Book in circulation. First editions are rare and cost a pretty penny. Seconds and Thirds are in circulation. But for the most part, unless you need a 2 or 3, Inter-group sells Fourth Editions, solely.
The Book, Experience, Strength and Hope is a collection of stories from Editions 1 , 2 and 3. We read that book on Sunday Nights some time ago.
But now I get to read all the stories from the book in the Second Edition.
The meeting was packed. Which was good. Lots of newcomers. And great opportunities for our girls to get out there and pound the pavement.
We read from Living Sober, page 10 – Live and Let Live …
A good topic. Lots of good shares. Many people all over the place on the slogans.
Live and Let Live
Easy Does It
But for the Grace of God
Think, Think, Think
First things First
You see them posted at every meeting we go to in the city. Keeping our side of the street clean. Not getting into other folks drama. What people think of me is none of my business. I am powerless over people, places and things.
I can’t change you – I can only change me.
And people are struggling with this slogan. On a daily basis.
It was a good night. Fun was had. I walked home.
A good day over all Me thinks.
More to come, stay tuned…
It was not a good day today. And they say that “The best laid plans are just that, best laid plans…” They also talk about “Us making plans and God laughs…”
In the grand scheme of things, is university a pointless endeavor? I mean spending years, almost a decade in school moving from a bachelors, to an M.A. and beyond for some… Is it all a waste of time and money, if at the end, nothing comes of earning letters to add to your CV?
We wonder, at what point is the sky going to open up and opportunity present itself in a way that money will follow? Living on the “Find your passion, DO IT, Money will follow, doesn’t seem to be working.
We are on the verge of welfare, because hubby has not found gainful employment in his chosen field because of the greediness of his fellows, and not one hopeful job has presented itself to us so that we can survive.
Hubby filed for government assistance and after filing piles and piles of paper into a dossier covering his and my life, the call came today that our claim has been refused.
WHY you ask … because we were honest.
What good is the government when they fuck you over for a nickel???
Maybe it is time to consider moving out of Quebec.
It is a long and tedious story – but because of AIDS I bring in a modicum of monthly stipend that pays the rent and keeps a roof over our heads. And they asked us to disclose all of our assets and we did honestly, and we got fucked in the ass because of honesty.
And had we lied, or not disclosed, it would of ended up as fraud. And that is not what we wanted to do. It was a NO … The government does not calculate rent payments into the numbers when assessing financial need and so we are fucked royally.
Hubby sat here, earlier tonight and sobbed and there was not a single thing I could do for him, because I am powerless over people, places and things.
Sometimes honesty is a bitter pill.
But tonight I heard two good things.
One … Trust God, clean house, and serve others.
Two … There is a solution, but it just up around the bend, however we are not yet “up around the bend to see it” it will come.
AIDS is a tedious business. And what I had to do to survive when it had to be done were done. And because of that action, I am locked into a no win scenario. If I break from what I have and loose what I have, I will never get it back. Not now. Not ever. I lived. I should have died, long ago…
I took myself to a meeting. I set up tables and chairs, and I talked to another alchy. I sat in a meeting and listened. Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path …
I am not God, I am not in control. And all I can do is turn it over and trust God.
I don’t know if a soft landing will happen at this point. Hubby will follow through with his next decision and hopefully they won’t turn off the lights and we end up homeless.
God help us …
Pray for us.
Tomorrow I have a cardiac Stress test at noon. I need 11 minutes on a treadmill… Let us pray.
More to come, stay tuned …
Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Tue May 22, 2012 at 06:40 PM PDT.
Also republished by Canadian Kossacks.
Massive crowds engulfed downtown Montreal this afternoon, marking the 100th day of student strikes and protests sparked (in part) by Quebec’s plan to raise tuition by 82 percent on May 22.
While estimates ranged wildly – from 100,000 to 500,000 in the streets – the number is less significant than the civil disobediencethat has thrust Montreal into the global revolution spotlight.
Authorities in Quebec, trying to counter the protests that have raged for over two months, passed “emergency” legislation last Friday that suspended the winter semester and effectively made protesting illegal. (The legislation, or Bill 78, stipulates that groups of 50 or more gathering must submit itineraries to the authorities in advance or be deemed illegal.)
Students and citizens in Montreal responded to the draconian legislation by streaming into the streets and defying Bill 78 in record numbers today. While the protests have been led by the significant student population in Montreal, the protests today contained cross-sections of the population.
Noting one of the more visible and noisy marches of the day, which was gatherings of both the young and old banging on pots and pans, Steve Faguy of The Gazette Tweeted the following:
I’ve covered quite a few protests. Never have I seen one that so resembled an actual popular uprising.
And writer Kris Holt had this to say regarding the emergent popular uprising:
Those on my street banging pots and pans are middle-aged or older. Much more than students now.
It seems that the legislature’s attempts to quell protesting in Montreal has had the opposite effect, as many today streamed into the streets specifically to defy the anti-protesting emergency legislation.
As one of the student leaders, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, stated today:
“We want to make the point that there are tens of thousands of citizens who are against this law who think that protesting without asking for a permit is a fundamental right,” he said, walking side-by-side with other protesters behind a large purple banner.“If the government wants to apply its law, it will have a lot of work to do. That is part of the objective of the protest today, to underline the fact that this law is absurd and inapplicable.”
Absurd indeed – and that absurdity seems to have awakened popular support for the students’ plight, support that has increased dramatically in recent weeks.
The global revolution has officially arrived in Canada. And with student strikes and protests set for the summer, and with more of Montreal’s citizenry falling behind the students, it’s a revolution that may not be ending anytime soon.
Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece, Israel, New York City, Montreal…
…we are witnessing an historic global uprising, as peoples across the globe continue to rise up in numbers and demand their political rights, demand social justice, demand economic fairness.
It’s a struggle that is not just essential, but fundamentally human.
Courtesy: Flickr 21lau_z
What a bru-ha-ha it has been today.
Are you married or are you not? Does Canada acknowledge your marriage as legal and binding if you live elsewhere other than in Canada? Did the government nullify more than 15,000 gay marriages that have been performed in Canada since the law went into effect in 2004? The Government says it isn’t opening the marriage debate again, but what is it going to do with you all who want divorces???
This story is still evolving. From CTV News:
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Date: Thu. Jan. 12 2012 11:30 PM ET
The federal government is considering changes to the law that will make it easier for foreign same-sex couples who married in Canada to obtain divorces, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Thursday.
Nicholson also stressed the government has no intention of reopening the same-sex marriage debate after a day of confusion over the validity of marriage licences issued in Canada to same-sex couples from abroad.
Ottawa was pressed to clarify its position on gay marriage after an apparent about-face on the issue surfaced in a Toronto divorce case.
A lesbian couple who married in Canada seven years ago and recently filed for divorce was told by a Department of Justice lawyer that their marriage was not legal.
The stated reason was that because the partners live in Florida and England, where same-sex marriage remains illegal, their Canadian union was invalid too.
The case threw into question thousands of marriages non-residents entered into since 2004, when same-sex marriage became legal in Canada under a Liberal government.
In a statement, Nicholson said the issue centres on dissolution of marriages performed in Canada.
Non-resident couples who marry here must live in Canada for one year before they can legally divorce. The lesbian couple at the centre of the controversy has launched a constitutional challenge of that provision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Nicholson said he will be “looking at options to clarify the law so that marriages performed in Canada can be undone in Canada.”
In an interview with CTV’s Power Play, Nicholson’s parliamentary secretary Kerry-Lynne Findlay said the Canadian marriages of non-resident same-sex couples are legal in Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper had little to say Thursday other than relate his government’s reluctance to wade back into a same-sex marriage debate.
“We have no intention further of opening or reopening this issue,” Harper told reporters gathered for a shipbuilding agreement announcement in Halifax.
“This, I gather, is a case before the courts where Canadian lawyers have taken particular positions based on the law. But I will be asking officials to provide me more details with this particular case.”
Opposition parties and critics quickly weighed in on the issue, accusing the prime minister of trying to rewrite Canada’s same-sex marriage laws “in stealth.”
In a statement, Egale Canada, a human rights organization advocating equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, called the apparent flip-flop “a direct insult to gays and lesbians both in Canada and abroad.”
If the federal lawyer’s arguments in the Toronto divorce case are a misunderstanding, Harper should make that clear, NDP MP Olivia Chow said.
With files from Kieron Lang and The Canadian Press
We shall see where this story goes. It was all over the news tonight. All those people came to Canada to get married and have that joyous moment in their lives. And now I fear that we are beginning to see just how long those marriages lasted, as this is probably not the last divorce case we will see come from abroad.
I mused earlier that you came all this way to get married, and you spent all that money on that day. And now you want a divorce. What to do??? They say in gay circles that lesbians mate for life. I guess that’s not really true any more.
I guess you all got caught up in the woo hoo about being able to get married so you came here and cashed in your relationship chips for a marriage license.
Six state governments (along with the District of Columbia, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the Suquamish tribe) have passed laws offering same-sex marriage: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire. In all six states, same-sex marriage has been legalized through legislation or court ruling. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since May 17, 2004; in Connecticut since November 12, 2008; in Iowa since April 27, 2009; in Vermont since September 1, 2009; New Hampshire since January 1, 2010; and New York since July 24, 2011.In 2009, New England became the center of an organized push to legalize same-sex marriage, with four of the six states in that region granting same-sex couples the legal right to marry.
And now couples are starting to figure out that they really don’t want to be married any more. And we could speculate on just what the reasons are that a couple would want a dissolution of marriage.
As good gays and lesbians we are supposed to show up the heterosexuals and prove to them that we can marry and stay together longer and truer than our straight counterparts.
Marriage in celebrity circles has become a mockery and a joke. What have they done to the institution of marriage for all of us ???
This whole push to legalize gay marriage nationwide in the United States is going to come up eventually in the campaign race. They just haven’t gotten around to it yet, but rest assured those Christians who want to see us damned are going to make sure their chosen candidate does all he can to stop gay marriage from being passed across the rest of the 44 states.
Why did you come here and get married then gone home with that little piece of paper, that got all dusty and forsaken. And now you want a divorce. What a waste. It is very sad to see couples separate for any reason. I just hope it was a good reason and not something stupid like, “oh well, we thought we’d get in on the excitement and really when we came to think about it, we really did not want to abide by our wedding vows, till death do us part …”
So now we want a Canadian divorce because we got a made in Canada marriage.
I Don’t think Canada prepared for this contingency in hindsight.
*** *** *** ***
Ottawa will change law so same sex marriages are valid: Nicholson.
By The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press
13 January 2012
TORONTO – The federal justice minister says the government will change the law to ensure gay couples from abroad who marry in Canada will have their unions recognized here.
Rob Nicholson says it’s the government’s view that these marriages “should be valid.”
“We will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada,” Nicholson said Friday during a speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto.
Doubts were raised about the validity of thousands of marriages conducted in Canada for same-sex couples from the United States and elsewhere following a federal twist in a Charter of Rights case launched in Ontario by two foreign women seeking a divorce.
A legal brief filed by federal lawyers denies the women are even legally married.
Critics accused Stephen Harper’s Conservative government of seeking to rewrite the rules on gay marriage to suit its right-wing agenda.
In announcing the government would change the law, Nicholson said Friday that “the confusion and pain resulting from this gap … is completely unfair to those affected.”
Liberal Leader Bob Rae, speaking to reporters at the party’s policy convention in Ottawa, responded to Nicholson by lamenting, “Oh please, give me a break.”
“These guys specialize in trying to turn the tables,” Rae said of the Harper Conservatives.
“The only gap is the gap between the heads of Conservative cabinet ministers who have failed to live up the best and finest traditions of Canada with respect to our positions of tolerance,” Rae added.
The couple seeking a divorce, identified in court records only by initials to protect their privacy, were married in Toronto in December 2005 and separated two years ago. One lives in Clearwater, Fla., the other in London, England.
Their marriage is not recognized either in Florida or the United Kingdom. As a result, they are unable to obtain a divorce in their home cities.
The couple also faced a barrier to divorce in Ontario — a requirement that at least one of them live in the province for a year or more. They have launched a constitutional challenge of that provision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Israel, Hamas announce deal to trade captured Israeli soldier for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners …
“Netanyahu said the captured soldier, Sgt. Gilad Schalit, would return home within days. Mashaal, portraying the agreement as a victory, said the Palestinian prisoners would be freed in two stages over two months.”
I have been following this story for years since Gilad Schalit was captured. Finally this young man is coming home. Well done… It is about time he was returned to his family and country. This is fantastic news.
*** *** *** ***
Today October 11 – Is National Coming out Day
A big decision in any gay person’s life is the decision to come out. It marks the day that we come to terms with who we are and where we are in our lives to come out and openly declare what we are to the world. It doesn’t happen over night and is a process that takes a lifetime. Times have changed in the past 20 years for the LGBT community.
But teens and young people have been targets of concerted bullying and demeaning behavior by family, peers, conservative media and countless numerous Christian communities and their preachers and bullies.
This behavior must not go unpunished.
There should be definite consequences for bullying.
Today we celebrate all those who have decided to make a stand and share with the world that the LGBT community is expanding. Where ever you are and who ever you are, take your time, and do it on your own timetable. We are here for you every day and any day.
*** *** *** ***
Courtesy: Flickr Jamescg
We now we return to our regularly scheduled programming …
Good evening Peeps !!!
We are sitting at a cool 14c. One more day of clear skies and rain is to follow for later in the week. The trees are turning. Our neighborhood is covered in a fine layer of yellow leaves. Some of the maples by the church have begun to turn.
It was a beautiful day today. It was an early start out to the church. Have tunes will crank out chairs and tables. I was done by 5:45, and people started arriving soon after. We gained another member tonight rounding out the member count at ten. We had visitors from the U.S. at the meeting tonight. Our women take really good care of visitors. Our visitors go home with more than they came with which is a good thing.
So I make 40 cups of coffee every week in the big industrial coffee pot. There is a cup count of how much coffee I put in the hopper each week. And people rave about how good the coffee is. I had to step up the amount of coffee I make when the numbers spiked over the last month.
Tonight, I was sitting at table and a woman who rarely comes to the meeting, who never participates when it comes around to her, goes to get a cup of coffee and she says to anyone who was listening, “You need to put water in the coffee pot to weaken the mix because I can’t drink this strong coffee!”
What do you mean, put water in the pot? Everybody in the meeting already have their cups and I haven’t heard one person complain in all the years I have been making coffee that there is anything wrong with it. I grabbed the tea kettle and poured half the kettle into the top of the pot, sending coffee grinds all over the place. Like that was going to make a difference in HER cup of coffee.
I said to her … You know nobody ever complains about coffee, they are grateful that we even make coffee. You are the first person I’ve ever heard complain! If your coffee is too strong then put some water in your cup and water it down. Sheesh !!!
When it came time for her to share, she sat there silent and passed. God grant me serenity !!!
Our topic for the night:
“The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.” Big Book, pg. 24
With some sober time under my belt, most of my own personal observations come in hindsight. When I was first sober, I got to a point that I was free falling. I did not have a sponsor and I made a fateful decision that took me out the door.
In hindsight, during my slip, I drank and drugged. First I put down the drugs and I left them by the side of the road, I walked away, and never picked up another drug again. The funny thing was that it was easy to put down the drugs. I changed geography, I moved away from those people and places. So even if I went looking for them again, I wouldn’t necessarily find them.
But it was very different with alcohol. I could have put down the drink. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I don’t know that I needed the alcohol. But it was wired into my system. I don’t know why I needed that weekly binge. And it wasn’t until I hit the wall and my bottom, that I decided that I didn’t WANT the alcohol any more.
I walked away from alcohol. The club I drank in closed its doors shortly after I got sober. And I did not go looking for another drinking establishment, oh, they were out there, how could you miss the myriad of clubs on South Beach.
I had my meetings. I had new friends who went above and beyond the call of duty to help me. Over the last 10 years I have worked on that buffer zone that now exists in my field of vision, that keep me from ever having to take another “First Drink.” Because we all know that if I take one, more will follow…
We read, we go to meetings, we work with others, and we work on our spiritual condition. Because nothing guarantees me sobriety than working with another alcoholic. I do service every week. I follow the same routine every week, week in and week out. I’ve followed the same path for the last 10 years, and to date I have never had the compulsion to even contemplate a “first drink.”
And for that I am grateful.
Two more months and I hit double digits. One day at a time.
More to come, stay tuned …
Courtesy: Rachel Maddow Blog
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Today’s adventure is brought to you by the letter “M” for Money!!!
I’ve been playing a game of chicken with the Quebec government as of late and I dropped by financial aid yesterday and the room was mobbed. So I just went to the gym instead. Today, I decided on the way to the gym, to try my chances of getting in and not waiting for an hour in a queue.
I took a number, there were 15 people ahead of me. Thank god for people who take numbers and then leave before being served. The government tells me on their website that my check is going to be run tomorrow (the 3rd.) BUT since that check has to come to Montreal because I got a deferral for my Summer fees, it doesn’t go direct deposit as usual. I’ve been getting story after story about where the check will go and how long it will take to get where it needs to go.
I sat with an adviser and he did some checking with his supervisor and came back with an amenable offer. They would give me $650.00 of the $1861 that the government owes me in an advance… I maxed out as much as possible every penny I could negotiate. So now I have to pay my summer fees which are around $700.00 plus the advance when the check comes then I get the difference – when we calculated it all out, I will get another $511.00 in a couple of weeks.
WHO KNEW it would take up to ten days to send a god forsasken check from Quebec City to Montreal. Fuck you very much. I could drive there in 3 hours and get the check myself. Bastards… I know Canada Post, offers express mail to the every day joe on the street. It seems that the government cannot afford express mail envelopes… Who The Fuck Knew !!!
That took me almost an hour to take care of. Now I can pay my bills and afford food and books next week. Thank God for the kindness of the men and women who work at the University Financial Aid office… They are a godsend.
Then I went to the gym. It was frenetic… Lots of people and really I was pooped when I got on the treadmill but I toughed out a mile and a half, thanks to Madonna. Did you know that if you start the Confessions tour from the beginning – You’d have to collect all the MP3’s and put them in order – because they are all NOT on the cd, that you can walk at 3.1 for 45 minutes and not break a sweat. Our treadmills have fans on them.
I saw the boys. And lots more people that have not been around during the month of August. I dropped off the treadmill and went over to the weights and got on Atlantis and I pumped 90 kg for a hundred reps and decided that I did not feel like waiting for a bench because the weights were PACKED. I decided to come home instead of waiting. I did not want to bottom out. I needed some food. And I took a nap shortly after getting home.
Hubby is cooking dinner and Rachel is on tv.
More to come, stay tuned…
Today did not start as well as I wanted it to. I am at the mercy of the government of Quebec, who has no idea when my financial aide will be coming. I can’t get a straight answer from anyone, either in Quebec City or at school. My file tells me that the check will run on the 3rd which is Thursday, and the school tells me that the check won’t come to Montreal until the 10th… WTF !!! So tomorrow I have to go in and figure out what I am going to do.
Never Trust the Government !!!
I went to financial aide on the way to the Gym and there were 30 people waiting already so I did not stick around. I needed to clear my head of all this insanity so I headed down to the Gym. It was freakishly busy. There were lines of people buying their semester memberships which ran me $67.70 for the semester. I was glad to see that the entire boys club was in residence The 3 to 5 o’clock period was steady but there were no waits on the weights.
I got two miles in on the treadmill and the machine side was busy, a lot of people running. Then I headed over the the weight side and did my Atlantis and my lifting. I have upped my weight on all the lifting and added reps to my routine. They say you’re not supposed to weigh yourself everyday, but I did today and I am fluctuating around 3 pounds. I guess my foray into the ice cream this week has not served me well. I also ate some candy which is against the rules, I am not supposed to eat candy because it spikes my blood sugar.
My blood sugar levels are ranging from a 4.6 to a 9.4 it fluctuates throughout the day. I haven’t hit a 10 in some time. With all the pills I am popping every day now, I am hoping for a good payout at my next lab draw. There better be a huge payout with all this work I am doing to to my body. We shall see.
The weather has definitely cooled off – it has been in the teens at night and last night it was a bit brisk. We have sun, sun and more sun on tap for the rest of the week, and cooling temperatures at night which is a harbinger of things to come. The September cool off has started. If this trend continues we could see a very beautiful turning in a couple of months.
That has been my day …
More to come, stay tuned …
The United States is still the same country it was a year ago, give or take about 6 million jobs. But its international branding campaign, as led by the new President, Barack Obama, is so different that the rest of the world might be forgiven if it has to do a double take.
Most of the hallmarks of the foreign policy of George W. Bush are gone. The old conservative idea of “American exceptionalism,” which placed the U.S. on a plane above the rest of the world as a unique beacon of democracy and financial might, has been rejected. At almost every stop, Obama has made clear that the U.S. is but one actor in a global community. Talk of American economic supremacy has been replaced by a call from Obama for more growth in developing countries. Claims of American military supremacy have been replaced with heavy emphasis on cooperation and diplomatic hard labor. (Read “Obama in Europe: Facing Four Big Challenges.”)
The tone was set from Obama’s first public remarks in London on Wednesday, at a press conference with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, where the American President said he had come “to listen, not to lecture.” At a joint appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Baden-Baden on Friday, a German reporter asked Obama about his “grand designs” for NATO. “I don’t come bearing grand designs,” Obama said, scrapping the leadership role the U.S. maintained through the Cold War. “I’m here to listen, to share ideas and to jointly, as one of many NATO allies, help shape our vision for the future.”
On Thursday night, after the G-20 summit ended, Obama took so many questions from the foreign press, including British, Indian and Chinese reporters, that a group of them applauded when he left the stage. Two American reporters asked Obama for his response to the claim by Brown that the “Washington consensus is over.” Obama all but agreed with Brown, noting that the phrase had its roots in a significant set of economic policies that had shown itself to be imperfect. He went on to talk about the benefits of increasing economic competition with the U.S. “That’s not a loss for America,” he said of the economic rise of other powers. “It’s an appreciation that Europe is now rebuilt and a powerhouse. Japan is rebuilt, is a powerhouse. China, India – these are all countries on the move. And that’s good.”
At a town hall in Strasbourg, France, Obama stood before an audience of mostly French and German youth and admitted that the U.S. should have a greater respect for Europe. “In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world,” he said before offering other European critical views of his country. “There have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”
The contrast is striking. Only four years ago, George W. Bush, in his second Inaugural Address, described what he called America’s “considerable” influence, saying, “We will use it confidently in freedom’s cause.” Bush’s vision of American power was combative and aggressive. He said the U.S. would “seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.” He continued, “We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom.”
Obama, by contrast, is looking for collaboration. He is looking to build a collective vision, not to impose an American one. And the response has been notable, from the endless flashbulbs that fired off at his town hall to the cheers of spectators who lined his motorcade routes and gathered outside his events in London. At the end of Obama’s Friday press conference, French President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed the issue directly, speaking through an interpreter. “It feels really good to be able to work with a U.S. President who wants to change the world and who understands that the world does not boil down to simply American frontiers and borders,” he said. “And that is a hell of a good piece of news for 2009.”