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Archive for March, 2011

The Artist …

Courtesy: leilockheart

It is ( 0c ) outside right now. A bit frigid. It is time for Winter to go already.

I’ve been collecting stories to tell you tonight on top of meeting updates and stuff like that there.

It was a sunny day and a good day was had by all. I am ahead of the reading game this week. I am hoping I did somewhat well on my philosophy mid term last Thursday. As of last night, the grades had not been posted on LEA.

I have an oral presentation to do tomorrow night in French. I hate oral presentations. I write them out and copy them into Google translate and then print out what comes out. I did that the last time and it worked for me. I need three minutes of material, like good stand up if you get three good minutes in, then you win.

The end of the month is upon us, and you know what the end of the month means? As long as there is toilet paper in the bathroom everything will be ok.

It was a busy day today, lots of errands to run, a little banking here and there.

Last Thursday on my way to my phone shift I needed to put tickets on my Opus card for the metro. In every station are ticket kiosks. And since we are on Opus now, it is all electronic between you and the bank.

I got to Guy metro and slipped my card into the magnetic reader and went through the motions of recharging my card. I got all the way through once and my transaction was refused. (BUT – the reader took my money anyways) but didn’t spit out tickets. So I tried it a second time, I swiped my card and it took the information, and a second time, (the reader took my money and didn’t spit out any tickets). Total loss $28.50

I was pissed at this moment. So I got on the train and went to PIE IX station in the East end and when I got off the train and came up into the station I stopped at the Opus kiosk there.

I stuck my card in the reader and tried to load my card up a third time. It went through the motions and denied my transaction again. (the reader took my money again, but didn’t spit out any tickets). So this time I tried a fourth time to get the machine to work. That proved fruitless. (the reader took my money and didn’t spit out any tickets.) Total loss $57.00.

Now totally angry I went to the station kiosk and spoke to a woman behind the glass and told her that my card wouldn’t recharge and that I needed to buy tickets. She took my debit card and played with it a bit, stroking the magstrip on the back. She handed back my card and told me to try it again.

So I went back to the kiosk and swiped my card a fifth time. And voila the transaction went through. Total spend $14.25 –  Debit spend total $71.25.

When I got to the office I started my shift and logged onto the computer and went to my bank site. I pulled up my transaction record to see what the bank showed. Two of my transactions were refunded back. Gain: $28.50

Two of the transactions that failed still went through, but no refund was pushed back onto my account. The fifth transaction showed on the account as processed. I called the bank to complain about the STM. They could not help me since it wasn’t a bank problem but an STM problem. Which brings me up to this afternoon.

On the way to the church I stopped off at the bank and talked to a rep there. I took with me a copy of my account transactions. She put all the information into the computer and took the transaction number from the successful transfer of tickets/debits. She told me that the bank would contact the STM and check the machine and that it might take 10 days to process …

The STM owes me $28.50.

*** *** *** ***

I stopped by Zeller’s to get milk and cookies for the meeting on the way to the bank. People love cookies, and that is a weekly part of the meeting, sweets!!!

I got to the church really early. It was all said and done by 4:30. Which meant I had two hours to kill before the meeting. A good thing I brought classwork and textbooks with me, we are reading KANT this week. A rather tedious read, if I say so myself. I don’t think that one read is gonna do it for me. He didn’t assign questions to go along with the reading so I didn’t highlight anything in the text. Which maybe I need to do before class on Thursday night.

*** *** *** ***

Attendance was slim at the first meeting. We had less than a dozen folks show up, but the discussion went the entire hour. We talked about Higher Power and how we came to find it, what we call it and how that has aided us in sobriety. It was our last beginner’s discussion meeting.

The second meeting showing was a bit better. The lion’s share of the seventh tradition came from the second meeting tonight. We had $25.00 in expenses for the week in literature, milk and cookies. Which basically ate up the bulk of the 7th, at least there was a few bucks to throw into the kitty.

Dave, Rick and I went to a meeting on Saturday night in Verdun and that’s where I found my speaker for tonight. I call him the artist. He spoke for us a few months ago, after an invitation in Laval one night.

There are certain old timers that I never grow weary of listening to. The artist is one of those men. He is sober 28 years and just has the most compelling story that I have ever heard. It was a treat because our group is 53 years old, and many an old timer in the city began their journey’s of recovery in this same church basement, years ago. Our room has seen thousands of people pass through our doors over the last 53 years.

He knocked it out of the park once again. I was just thrilled hearing him and the crowd who came was as well. The visitors from out of town were well represented tonight. Season has begun – as winter comes to an end we will see a lot more traffic coming from out of town. Which is a nice treat.

So the end of an era has come to an end. Next week, Tuesday’s Beginners will embark on a new routine, a new schedule and a new meeting. I need to call the office tomorrow and make sure they change the meeting info in the desk manual. We have a huge notebook with all the meetings listed which is handy for callers, it is a carbon copy of the meeting list, but on a larger scale.

They made the change in the data base and in the blue sheets, so we need them to change it in the book in case people call in the next week looking for a Tuesday meeting. Since the speaker meeting is now closed and the discussion meeting is bumped back to 7 p.m.

*** *** *** ***

I sat and listened to everyone share at the early meeting. Sometimes I find it better to keep my thoughts to myself. Since there were so many thoughts running through my head at that point.

Pondering higher power.

There are many parts to my sober story. People and places. Times and events. Situations and issues. I have a connection to God that began early in my childhood thanks to my Memere. She was the one person who cared about my spiritual education early on as a young boy. (You can find that story in the pages called “Naked and Sacred.”)

I’ve known my whole life who God is. Memere made a pact with God when I was a small child. You see I survived, Many things in my life. When I should have died. This story goes back all the way to my first run at sobriety.

I was sick, facing my own mortality and death in a time that hope was in short supply and death was a daily occurrence. There was one man who took care of me when everybody else walked away. He became my higher power when I really needed it the most. I learned to rely on another human like never before. In that first 18 months, God was tangible in human form. The closest I think I have ever gotten to God came in the form of my mentor Todd. The man I credit my survival.

I always knew who god was as a young person. I was not focused on the god of my upbringing at that point in my life, that would not come until much later, the memory of who I was, in the middle of total tragedy and loss. But God was there when I needed him. And what I needed was tangible evidence that God existed because I was going to die and I didn’t want to go alone.

What gay men of the AIDS era lacked, and I have written this before, was a connection to God. None of the mainstream writers during the height of the AIDS crisis ever mentioned the word God once. Not once…

Churches were turning away the sick. Families were throwing their children into the streets. People were dying left and right, for all intents and purposes, there was no God in the trenches. And I subscribed to that thought as well myself. I called on God to save me, and to protect me, and Todd showed up and it all happened as it did.

It would not come to pass for a few more years that the God of my upbringing would make its return to my life in the form of active religious participation in community, but it did happen. That’s when I met a holy man named Jeff. He changed my life.

I am certain today that God moved in my life in sweeping manners. My relationship to the god of my understanding has morphed over the last 43 years.

On my return to sobriety in 2001, I prayed to God certain prayers and one by one they happened. Call it miracle or not, God came to my assistance once again. I met a group of people in the rooms that second time who would carry me into sobriety once again. Some of those men and women are still part of my life today.

Coming to Montreal was an act of faith. Returning to my roots has carried me on this journey these last nine years. Getting sober this time proved educational.

In my youth, part of this journey of faith took me to a Catholic Seminary for a year where I learned to wait on god and get to know his voice. But that was not to come to fruition.

Fast forward to my move to Montreal and my introduction to family I never knew I had would bring me back to the God of my upbringing as well. I came to a new adoration for God through the eyes of my great aunt Sister Georgette.  I had three years to learn from her. She blessed me with stories of family, she knew who I was well before I knew who she was.

Returning to University here in Montreal gave me the opportunity to continue my religious education. I would not take the route through the church but climb the ladder on the outside of the building. I not only have the God of my upbringing, but also the wisdom of six years of religious and theological education to add to that.

Just recently, my life has been blessed with photographs from my youth, when times were better. The people I loved the most were still alive and having those photos once again, tangible evidence of family, has brought me an old joy.

In Christian tradition, relics and photographs are something that connect us to the holy. They remind us of the past. And they carry with them blessings and memories of saints, blesseds, and the holy. You see these venerations at places steeped in religious history: churches, holy sites and grottos.

I carry with me a small satchel of relics from Mere D’Youville, given to me when Sister Georgette died some years ago. It is something that I hold dear. Keepsakes from her are special and I carry them with me where ever I go.

Memere is amongst the holy I venerate. Seeing her again has brought me back to my roots, I see her every day now, not like a memory in my minds eye, that can fade over time, with distance and life. I have that daily tangible reminder of who she was and what she meant to me when she was alive. That memory never left me, but has been reinforced in a way that I can’t explain, you just have to be in this place to get it.

God is never far from my daily routine. Over the years I have expanded my belief in a power greater than myself. I know what I grew up with, I know what I learned in university, and I know what I have experienced throughout my life.

The artist spoke about those events in our lives that in hindsight we know happened, that cannot be explained. The ways god remains anonymous. But people and events happen in our lives by no choice of our own, but by the grace of god.

I know who God is today, and I know who God is not. At least to me.

It may not be the same for you. And that’s ok.

It was a good day.

It is getting late. I need to eat dinner and get some sleep.

More to come, stay tuned …


Memories …

Courtesy: Empireofthelostsoul

This photo kind of says it all. Sitting on the sofa, hand on the forehead, is it wonder or exhaustion?

Tonight took us to Verdun for the meeting, I needed to find a speaker for my meeting on Tuesday night, thank goodness it was a hit for the night. No more having to farm speakers any more.

I’ve been thinking a lot about memories the last couple of days, since receiving that package of photos in the mail. I have sorted through them a few times. The ones with me in them, I have been trying to find the specific memory attached to the photograph, and it doesn’t seem to be working.

I thought that if when the specific photo was taken and I had had that photo in front of me all the while, maybe the memory would have stood out in my brain. But the mind is so complicated. I know where many of the photos were taken, but the bits and bobs of the photos are missing.

But it is funny. This blog is a collection of a series of memories from the past, the ones that mean a great deal to me. The memories that have defined me as a man, I spent time writing down everything that I could remember about those times.

I have scattered memories that span the whole of my life. Like places, people, things and events, from my childhood are in tact. I can see them in my minds eye. I can recall them readily.

I can’t recall some memories that I participated in and had photographed. Hence the reason that these photos mean more than words can say, because they give proof that certain events took place in my younger life.

I think as I grew up, the more distance I put between the event and myself, the farther away that memory became. Many life changing events happened since those photographs were made. I think that catastrophic life events took precedence in my brain. Like huge sign posts on the side of the road.

I have lost a certain amount of memory, this disease I have, I think has shrunk my brain in certain ways. I have tried, in many ways to forget certain periods of my life. In sobriety, the past – as it has faded into the past – has lost its sting.

And I think that the medication I also take on a daily basis has some effect on my ability to remember huge amounts of time in the past. That is both a blessing and a curse.

There are things in my life that I remember clearly. And there are things from the past that are but shadows. But there are also entire periods of my life which have been untouched for a long time. And the more that I ponder certain periods of my life, shedding more light on those periods of time, the memories become clearer.

Growing up, over the years, has afforded me many memories. The key memories that I have been trying so hard to recall still elude me. I have specific memories of the people who mean a great deal to me. I have worked to maintain those connections in my minds eye. And receiving a bunch of new photos has begun to jog my memory. I know that I wasn’t very sober during the period of my life where some of these photos were taken, but for brief periods now and then.

I worked for Royal Caribbean for a couple of years. Time that afforded me the ability to travel with friends and family. I have brief bits and pieces of memories from that period of my life, but no specifics.

That was a troubled portion of my life, I was to some degree a functional alcoholic, and it would have been during this time that I offended a great many people with my irresponsibility. I was good, here and there.

One tends to wonder just how much damage we do to ourselves with our drinking, to the degree that which we used to drink? My sponsor says from time to time, that as he gets older, that he has suffered some brain damage because of his penchant addiction to drugs and alcohol in his past.

I don’t know what I could do today to try and find the memories I am looking for in my brain today. I don’t know where to find them, but I wonder if hypnosis would help me find them again?

What about your memories? Are they all in tact? The older I get the more distance is put between me and my memories. The people who mattered the most, are long since dead. The people left in my life, the people that I call family today, are here and there.

The more I write here, the more memories are collected here, and that’s what this is here, the repository of my memory. It has been a labor of love this blog. That’s why I keep writing, because maybe one night I will sit down and a memory might rise to the surface and I will get to write it down.

We shall see …


A Blast from the Past …

I was quite dapper in my youth. On Board Nordic Empress, RCI Cruises

Memere aboard Nordic Empress, RCI Cruises

I wish I could have bottled this one too …

Now I get to see her on  my desktop.

I got a whole bunch more photos from my aunt in the mail today. There are my favorites. I scanned them into the computer and posted them on my Facebook profile.


Budget Fail …

The Conservative Party Budget was tabled today. And all three opposition parties turned it down. It is all but over for Stephen Harper and his Conservative Government.

Now we wait to hear when we will go to the polls. As a Liberal voter, I have to say that I don’t think our Liberal Leader can win, let alone earn a majority in Parliament. And Jack Layton is nowhere nearer the Prime Minister seat as his compatriots.

We will see where my vote goes in the election.


Good Old Advice …

Courtesy: YesIwasbornthisway

The weather is a bit frightful. It is cold. And I think it got colder as the sun went down. It was rather frigid in the hall tonight, even with the heater running for more than an hour before the meeting. It is ( -1c / -7c windchill outside) at this hour.

The day went as it always does. I got all my errands run in the morning and got to the meeting with plenty of time. I actually finished prep early and had a good hour to work on my mid term paper for Thursday. I like that hour to myself. A little music, a little reading, a LOT of writing.

I’ve been obsessed with Third Eye Blind as of late. I’ve been listening to their self named album for a few weeks. I heard a song on one of my You Tube videos and I got a copy of it that same day. It is a good album, even though it was an electronic download. I still use the word album.

We are back to school this week. And I am not quite sure how to feel about that. I have some success in French, as long as my minder takes a look at my work and makes sure it is all correct. All my assignments are good. I got kudos from my prof last night, after writing an exam in class. I did my best to free flow my piece using my Bescherelle and my dictionary. I’m not sure I got everything that I was supposed to do, we shall see. We had to write a 60 word paragraph about a restaurant visit. Funny that it was the same piece we have to prepare for the 28th in class as an oral presentation. So I had all the ideas in my head, as to what I wanted to write, but I think I fell short on requirements.

As I got ready to leave class my prof handed me my homework which we had to hand in at the beginning of class. And like I said, my minder corrected my work before I handed it in, so it was perfect. I got full marks for that paper. I just hope I made some marks on my exam.  I was kind of stunned when she gave it back to me.

*** *** *** ***

We are coming to the end of our run at T.B’s. The early meeting was well attended. We talked about the struggle from today’s Daily Reflections for March 22nd.

When I came back after my slip, there was no real struggle to put down the drugs. I had geographically put distance between me and the drug scene that I was part of. The drink was a bit harder to put down the second time. Things in life were not going so well, and for many, at the time, circa 2001, alcohol was the great savior for many.

I was trying to hold on to a way of life, that I had well grown past years before. I was struggling with self image and my desire to hold on to my youth, when clearly, I was growing up and I needed to find the footing to be able to accept where I was going in life.

Hindsight is 20/20 – I had to come to, to the point that I was ready to grow up seeing I hit that conflict coming into my 30’s, wanting to remain in my 20 year old mind. Once I made that break there was no turning back.

This is all hindsight reflection …

Trying to stave off booze, in a cultural setting where everyone was young, pretty and beach buff bronze, that was not helping me. But I did what I had to do, I knew the way back. I just had to get over the remorse and my poor self image to come back to the rooms. I was too worried about what people would think when I came back with my tail between my legs. That was the big issue for me in early sobriety. And I learned that that worry was unfounded, a few weeks into this new life I was living.

Once I put down the drink for the last time, I knew I was finished. I did not have the same life consequences and situations I had the first time. And none of that baggage came up the second time around. All I needed to do was stay stopped. And I took extra measures to make sure I stayed stopped.

I did everything and anything I was told to do. Moving country at a few months sober – in sobriety – paid off for me. Because I did it the right way. Much of that first year of sobriety took me to a lot of meetings. I had good people in my life and I still do to this day.Although many people have cycled into and out of my life over the last nine years.

I did a lot of grunt work. Much more grunt work than the first time when I got sober. I didn’t have to worry about things that consumed me the first time, medically and emotionally.

Someone commented about getting sober in the winter and looking forwards to what it would be like in the summer to be sober. When I moved here it was at the tail end of winter, Ash Wednesday of 2002 to be exact. There was still snow on the ground and I had connected into the rooms.

When summer came, I was hooked in.

And I reflect on  my time in the rooms. For every chair that I set down every Tuesday, there is a person I can sit in that chair, every chair that I put down. Each of those people I think about have come and gone, long since.

And it is particular people I think about who struggled so badly with putting down the drink. The lengths people went to to control their drinking, the problems that dogged them, to the point that they decided to leave and never come back.

So on Tuesday’s when I set up, I meditate on each of the faces I saw sit in any given chair. And I have banked a lot of experience into my memory about struggling. I have seen it, experienced it, learned from it.

I haven’t had the struggle of wanting to drink in a very long time. I guess I can chalk that up to my program of action that I have been working on for the last nine years and a little while. I don’t want to drink. I don’t really think about drinking very often, even though in this section of town there are several bars and clubs surrounding this neighborhood.

But just because I have stopped drinking for a long time, doesn’t mean that I can skimp on my program. We heard tonight from our speaker what happens if we stop going to meetings. The brain starts to run amok. And all that shit comes back to haunt us. It was good tonight to hear my friend speak.

You can’t help but want to see people succeed in the rooms. Everyone struggles at one point or another. And I run within a certain group of people in this section of the city. So I asked one of my friends to speak tonight. He’s got a couple of years time, and I think it was good to hear him.

We need these touch points in sobriety, to put to practice what we are taught in the program of freely giving what we have been given. I am of the mind that sobriety works in such a way that we get to study, discuss and work our steps, and then every so often we get asked to speak. And I think it is good to hear ones self speak every so often so that we can learn where we are in the grand scheme of things. Then we see where we need to go next.

It was sobering and helped him I think to hear himself speak. My sponsor reiterated to me on the way home that meeting makers make it.

*** *** *** ***

Next week is our last 2 meeting night. On the 5th we go to one meeting, the literature discussion format. We are hoping for good numbers. Hopefully the weather will warm up by then. We had snow yesterday, it fell quite furiously for a while, but it didn’t last all night. Much of what fell is melted away. We are starting to see grass popping up through melting snow.

I think we are all over winter now.

I have a shift at the phones on Thursday afternoon. And later that night a mid term exam in philosophy, which I have been studying for the whole last week. it shouldn’t be that bad.

So what have we learned girls and boys?

Meeting Makers make it.
Stay out of our own way.
Keep coming back.

That’s about all I have for now.

More to come, stay tuned …


Friday Phunnies …

Courtesy: Josh Stewart Photographer/Creator Extraordinaire

A good day was had by all. This week I have been on break from school, and I have yet to finish homework assigned for the break. I have most of it completed, I just need to finish up my French studies and go over my Mid-Term sheet.

The weather has been cool. We are still in the minus territory and there is snow on the map for the week to come. I have enjoyed sleeping in and spending time reading some of my favorite books.

Tonight Rick and I went to Wesley United Church for A Vision for You meeting. It is a double speaker meeting, one ten minute and a 30 minute main speaker. It was a real treat because one of my friends had the ten minute time slot. Every time I hear him I feel so happy – he just brings such joy into the room. He does it by the book and all that work translates into forward action.

The 30 minute speaker was a woman whom I had not met before. She had a great share. She had more time than my sponsor at 23 years. That’s something, to hear another old timer speak at a meeting. They are far and few between.

We are winding down our speaker meeting the end of the month. On Thursday night I went to St. Matthias for their speaker meeting. I met a man, who spoke as well, he got sober the same time I did. You kind of listen for things in a share from people around the same sober time as yourself.

I don’t see many folks from my early sobriety any more. Many of them have moved away or do meetings in other parts of the city like the West Island and up North.

I posted a few photographs that my Aunt Paula posted on Facebook today. She is sending me a whole box of photographs from her collection. I am really excited for this package to get here.

One of my cousins, Carol wrote on one of the tags and she sent me a friend request. I haven’t seen most of my family in over 20 years or more. The last time we were all in the same place was my Peper’s funeral, or was it my uncle Leo’s wedding in Connecticut, maybe that was it.

It is a good thing. Family. We are all much older and have our own lives now. I don’t know how many people stalk my profile or use the links provided for the blog. Every so often I see tracks from there to the blog.

I would like to say a hello to my subscribers. All 6 of you.

I admire you for reading my wanderings here and there.

It is very late as I write this and I should get to bed soon.

More to come, stay tuned…


Pictures of me

My aunt just posted these photos of me on Facebook. It is not confirmed whether this is me in this first photo.

I’m the baby holding the candy in the red chair. My cousins Carol, Sandy and little Pete and my Uncle Michael. My father’s father is seated on the right his name is Alexander.

 

This photo of me on the left, my cousin Carol in the middle and Sandy on the right at my aunts home on Atkins Street in Connecticut.

 

 

 


Change …

Courtesy: Flickr

Things are not looking up. People are starting to worry about their lives, their lively hoods, their safety. Fear is beginning to permeate life.

It is hard to watch the news right now. I’ve been following the disaster unfolding in Japan. What the people in Japan are going through, I would not wish on anyone.

On late night radio, we are starting to hear the first tones of concern and fear. A number of people – many people – are wondering what comes next. The name Lindsey Williams in being beckoned once again. People want to hear what he has to say now, and what to expect.

This is what people are beginning to fear. Fallout reaching the shores of the U.S. and further abroad. I listened last night to men talking about what’s coming and it is becoming clear that fear is in the air.

I think the not knowing and the “they don’t need to know the severity of things” discussion has begun. Will we get the truth from the governments involved in this disaster? Many questions and concerns are being raised.

The crazies are out saying all kinds of things. The word “Armageddon” has been raised by some. And from last nights discussion, it is not what if, but when. People are reading the signs, and the question is, who do you believe? What do you believe? And what are you going to do to insure the safety of your family and friends?

*** *** *** ***

The weather is getting warmer. Hopefully the great thaw has begun. Maybe if we are lucky, the last vestiges of Winter are passing away. The snows are melting and soon, we will see grass in open spaces.

The sun shone today and it was a good day all around. I am on reading week so I have the week off. But my two profs have left us enough work to keep us busy all week in preparation for mid terms next week, and I have another oral presentation to present in two weeks time.

I got set up done early tonight and spent the better part of an hour working on my mid term at the hall. The prof gave us a page of questions, terms and theories to look up in the text and from the slides from class. I got a good portion of the questions done today.

We had good numbers at both meetings. We talked about change. That’s about the only constant in life, change…

*** *** *** ***

Things are changing, things beyond our control. People in Japan are facing what seem like insurmountable odds to find the dead and missing, to clean up the mess and try, once again, to rebuild their lives from such utter devastation.

The world weeps with them. And the world is paying attention to every update that passes over the airwaves. We hope for the best, and we hope that there is transparent information exchange.

People are afraid, there are no two ways about it. People are seeking answers to questions that, in my estimation, cannot be answered simply. Some believe that the signs are written on the wall. I don’t subscribe to this line of thinking.

We must have hope. The world is not coming to an end. Some say the rapture is coming soon, May 21st to be exact. But the bible tells us that we won’t know what the appointed day is, and when it is coming. But there are those who are set in a belief that Jesus is gonna come, and soon.

We shall see who is right.

*** *** *** ***

It is going to come down to a choice, wait for it …

Who has the real truth? Who are the true believers? Are the end of days on their way? And if there is a God, do you believe he is warning us of dire things to come? The fundies have their panties in a wad and something is gonna have to give sooner or later.

Pay attention to the signs and omens. Change is afoot. It may not come like we want it, or how we need it. But I believe that if we are steadfast and hopeful we will prevail. I am in the life and living crowd.

All we have is today. We are powerless over tomorrow.

We pray for those souls who have died, we pray for those who are left. We pray for the world in this time of calamity. And we hope that things get better, and not worse. We don’t need another disaster.

We need a miracle. A few of them at that.

I’m not giving up just yet to sit here and wait for Jesus to come get me. I’ve lived this long, and I am sure as hell not ready to die either. And I know that many of you out there don’t want to die either.

So we will see what Jesus has up his sleeve in the coming weeks.


The Earth is Angry …

I can’t help but be reminded that on Friday February 25th, John B. Wells had a guest named Lindsey Williams on Coast to Coast. And they were talking about world changes and on that show he gave us a date [ March 11th ] on air. He said that we should pay attention to that date.

I wonder if a natural disaster was what he was foretelling us, or if some earth shattering event in the middle east would take place, the 11th being a Friday and as we know Friday Prayers usually led to something bigger.

I was sitting here getting ready to go to bed on Thursday night going into Friday morning and George was on the radio and he mentioned that something big was going down in Asia.

A massive 8.9/9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean nearby Northeastern Japan at around 2:46pm on March 11 (JST) causing damage with blackouts, fire and tsunami.

So I powered up the computer and turned on the TV and sat shocked at what I was seeing.

Just a little Background on Lindsey:

Lindsey Williams, who has been an ordained Baptist minister for 28 years, went to Alaska in 1971 as a missionary. The Transalaska oil pipeline began its construction phase in 1974, and because of Mr. Williams’ love for his country and concern for the spiritual welfare of the “pipeliners,” he volunteered to serve as Chaplain on the pipeline, with the subsequent full support of the Alyeska Pipeline Company. Because of the executive status accorded to him as Chaplain, he was given access to information documented in his eye opening book, The Energy Non-Crisis.

After numerous public speaking engagements in the western states, certain government officials and concerned individuals urged Mr. Williams to put into print what he saw and heard, stating that they felt this information was vital to national security. Mr. Williams firmly believes that whoever controls energy controls the economy. Thus, The Energy Non-Crisis.

Along with the contacts that this man had over the past 35 years, he shared some information to the show that things are going to happen and that maybe we need to pay attention to what he was saying. I had written down the date that he shared on air and it was tacked to my bulletin board.

It was prophetic – There are no two ways about it.

A 9.0 earthquake, the ensuing tsunami, the destruction of millions of homes, businesses, and lively hoods, and now the fear that nuclear reactors are melting down and that if that happens, a nuclear emergency is going to occur.

I was Tumbling earlier tonight and I saw a posted image of a radiation cloud and just how long it would take for radiation to reach the West coast of the United States. [ 3 days ]

The earth has shifted on its axis I have heard the measurement of 4 inches. The earth has shifted Japan meters from where it was to where it now sits on the earth. That is a lot of earth movement for one cataclysmic event.

Washington, March 12 (IANS) The massive earthquake that shook Japan and triggered a huge tsunami appears to have shifted the Earth on its axis and moved an island of Japan, a media report said Saturday.Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist at the US Geological Survey, told CNN: ‘At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass.’

Reports from an Italian institute estimated that Japan earthquake shifted Earth on its axis by as much as 4 inches, CNN said.

The earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale rocked Japan Friday and spawned a tsunami that slammed into the northeastern coast, leaving about 1,000 people dead.

Shengzao Chen, a geophysicist, explained that the quake occurred as the Earth’s crust ruptured along an area about 400 km long by 160 km wide, as tectonic plates slipped more than 18 metres.

The Japan quake follows the Feb 22 earthquake in New Zealand that killed 150 people.

We saw in Indonesia a few years ago, the major upswell that occurred and the movement of the earth after that massive earthquake and tsunami.

I believe the earth is angry. And I fear that this is not the end. But just the beginning.

I have studied earth sciences – earthquakes and volcano’s in University. The earth plates are constantly moving. And where one plate moves, the others in the area are going to move in kind. The ring of fire is active once again. And one can imagine that one side of the ring can be active and the other side not be affected.

I don’t know if the earth is finished moving where it wants to go.

We’ve heard that May 21 is Judgment day. People are saying that we should be paying attention to the calendar. Billboards are going up all over the U.S. George mentioned this the other night that he tried to book a guest for the 23rd of May (if) after the impending rapture doesn’t occur and the guest declined the invitation. BUT their group sent George a letter asking for money donations to their group, even though they say the world is going to come to an end on May 21st.

The earth is angry. And we are paying the price.

It seems – over the last 10 years that once again the earth has been tossed into recovery mode after a tragic natural disaster. It seems a pattern is emerging.

Indonesia/Sumatra – Haiti – Chile – Turkey – Greece – Tokyo

The earth has moved a great deal over the last 4 years. I don’t have the specific scientific calculations, but from memory, all these places have seen a great deal of calamity.

They say that the West coast is just itching for a major event. The plates on the east side of the Pacific aren’t moving like the plates in the Western Pacific. But energy that is thrust on one side of the earth has got to go somewhere. We just don’t know what is coming next.

Are you paying attention to the signs and the omens?

We pray for all those affected in Tokyo and the surrounding cites North and South. We pray for those who have died and for those who have not yet been found. And we pray for those who have lived and for those who must clean it all up.

The crazies are all out saying the end of days is nigh …

Who’s prophecies should we be listening to next?

Time to take stock. You never know what’s next. The earth is shaking, I wonder if the world is now paying attention? And how do we stop it?

or can we …


ASH WEDNESDAY: Why Bother?

Susan Russell – All Saints Church Pasadena

I can’t post the video – But I can post the writing for you to read and ponder.

ASH WEDNESDAY: Why Bother?
March 9, 2011

It is Ash Wednesday once more – the entry point for yet another 40-day Lenten journey toward Easter. And today we hear again the words as familiar as their outward-and-visible signs etched on our foreheads: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

On this Ash Wednesday, as the liturgical season shifts from Epiphany to Lent, we are called to make a shift, too. Our focus shifts, as it does every year at this time, from stories about the outward manifestations of God’s presence among us to a more interior place as we journey with Jesus on the road we know leads to Golgotha – to the cross – and ultimately, to the resurrection.

And so, on this Ash Wednesday, here is my annual advice for the journey ahead: Do not give up epiphanies for Lent!

It’s another commercial for “the Land of And” … Let us not become so inwardly focused that we forget to notice – to give thanks for – to respond to – those encounters we can and will have with the holy in the next 40 days. Let us not become so focused on our own “journey with Jesus” that we forget that as long as there are still strangers at the gate, walking humbly with our God is not enough: let us not forget that we are also called to do justice.

Called to do justice. During Lent? Really???? Yes. Really. And it’s not something Ed Bacon came up during a glory attack or an idea that’s exclusive to All Saints Church. It’s a call that was issued by Isaiah and incarnated by Jesus. It’s as old as the prophets and as urgent as this morning’s news … it’s a call to fast for justice:

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly

.

The fast Isaiah calls us to isn’t about giving up Twitter or Starbucks or Girl Scout cookies for Lent … it’s about getting ANYTHING out of the way that gets in the way of our being aligned with God’s love, justice and compassion … as we journey into these 40 days of Lent and beyond. It’s why we bother – not just with this service and these ashes this season of Lent. It’s why we bother to follow Jesus.

Let’s face it … you could all be doing something else with this hour at noontime … Eating lunch. Picking up dry cleaning. Going to the gym. Playing Farmville on Facebook. But you’re here. In this church. In this moment. Remembering that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Why bother?

It’s a bit like a question I got on my blog this week in response to Sunday’s sermon:

So if we’re all going to heaven anyway, what’s the point of going to Mass or even bothering to have a relationship with Christ and following any commandments at all? Why bother?

It’s a classic question and one I’ve had on my heart getting ready for today. What is the answer we give to those who wonder why we’re here … who wonder why we bother. Lots of people don’t. Bother. With Lent. There’ll be a lot more people here on Easter Sunday than there are today. And there are even more who have dismissed the “whole Christian thing” because it was reduced for them to “follow these rules and you’ll get into heaven” – and condemns to “the Lake of Fire” anybody who doesn’t. Follow the rules. The way you do.

Why bother? Here’s my short answer:

We bother because we gather here today not to try to earn God’s love by following rules but to give thanks for God’s love that transcends all boundaries. We bother because we follow Jesus not in HOPE that he’s our ticket into heaven but in RESPONSE to the promise he incarnates that nothing – even death – can separate us from the love of God. And freed from that fear of death we are free to live life abundantly … and to risk journeying into the wildernesses that cry out for the love, justice and compassion that God calls us to live out in the world.

We bother because there are many “wildernesses” into which we are called this Lent 201l: If we are to be a people who have bread to share with the hungry we must challenge those who would balance our budgets on the backs of the least of these.

We bother because we serve the God whose fast is “to let the oppressed go free” – and so we continue to speak out about protecting family values that value ALL families.

We bother because in order to choose the fast Isaiah offers us this Lent we must continue to undo the thongs of the yokes of racism AND sexism that continue to keep this country and this church from being all that God would have them be.

We bother because living up to our baptismal covenant calls us to advocate for just immigration policies that will truly respect the dignity of every human being.

We bother because today we choose again to follow the one who calls us to journey with Him into those wildernesses — bearing the Good News of a God who loved us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to love one another.

It is Ash Wednesday once more – the entry point for yet another 40-day Lenten journey toward Easter. And now IS the acceptable time. May we be given the grace to choose the fast our God calls us to choose … trusting that the One who calls us into this wilderness will be with us and bless us on the journey.


40 days and 40 nights

I was gonna wait to post this, but the spirit is moving me today, So here is one of my favorite pieces of writing. I wrote in a few years ago, and I repost it every year at the beginning of Lent. And since I don’t have anything fresh to offer you – you can read this and prepare for your journey … Enjoy..

And so it begins, the walk through the desert. God is moving tonight, I can feel it in my bones deep within my soul. I am in Preacher mode and the message is loud and clear…Write and share the journey.  Here is my Lenten exercise of the journey, it is called “Will you walk with me a step or two.”

One day the Lord spoke to them and they started walking through the desert. Men, women, children the elderly and the herds and flocks. Where they were going was not known, but it was apparent that they were going to get somewhere. If only they walked a step or two.

A young man spoke up and said “I will walk ahead of the tribes, I will lead them as the Lord leads me.” And the Lord asked the young boy, “are you ready to walk for the glory of God,” why “Yes,” the boy answered. So be it the Lord said, “now lead them, but take only that which you need and nothing more.” I will walk with You Lord, he said without a second thought.

The Lord said that the way will not be smooth and there are things you will see on the way that will test your faith, yet I the Lord will make the way straight and the path smooth, if you have faith in Me and the Glory of God the father. Yes, I have faith, the boy replied, so walk my son.

A few days into the journey the boy came across a woman with ragged hair and little clothing. She was elderly and needed some water. The boy was only carrying what he had, and he gave drink to the woman and quenched her thirst. She said to him, that she was lonely and afraid of the road, and the boy replied, woman, have no fear, for I will walk with you until nightfall and we will camp under the canopy of heaven. That day they walked together and the woman was grateful for the company and the water.

That night, they made camp, the tribes of the Lord.

The Angel of the Lord came down and struck the rock and water flowed. They all drew water from a spring that appeared and everyone’s thirst was satiated. And the animals were watered as well. Food was passed from group to group until every last one was fed. That night they sang the song of the Lord until everyone was sent to a sleep protected by the Lord himself.

The very next morning, rested and fed, the tribes packed up their wares and started the journey as they did the day prior. The sun hung low in the sky, and by high noon, sweat was pouring off the brows of the people. The young boy made his way in front of the pack, leading them as he was guided by the spirit of the lord. Soon after noon the boy came across an elderly man who was being carried by two men, visibly shaken and tired.

The boy looked up to the sky and said, what can I do Lord?

The answer came and the boy took the arm of the litter and helped carry the man for the rest of the day, until darkness fell and camp was set up for the night. Once again, the Angel of the Lord came down and struck the rock and from the rock a spring came up from the earth once again, the people and the animals were watered. The tables were set and the people were fed to their fill. Once again, they praised the God of Abraham and in the coolness of the night they slept under the canopy of the heavens.

On the third day they awoke to a cloudy day, grateful for the relief from the sun, they gathered up their wares and began to walk once again. Today the young man was tired. He had been leading this lot for days now, and yet the lord said, Keep walking. So he did.

On this day he came upon a young person drawn from travel, covered in dust from the desert. Visibly the boy had not eaten in days and was close to death.

The young man stopped and knelt down next to him and shared his water and some bread from his pack. He lifted the boy into his arms and carried him for the rest of the day. Hours passed and the boy was filled with faith and strength as he carried his charge on his back. That night at camp, the young boy gathered some bedding and laid his friend in a cool soft place.

That night the Angel of the Lord appeared and once again, struck the rock and water flowed. He bathed the young man whom he had carried all day, then they broke bread and shared living water from the earth. Miracle, you ask, quite possibly so.

That night all were fed and after the plates were cleared and all had been fed, they gathered before the fires and praised the God of Abraham. They rested beneath the canopy of heaven.

For 38 days and 38 nights, the boy walked with his people, helping each soul he encountered to the best of his ability as God had commanded him to do.

On the 39th day they awoke. The angel of the Lord was there at first light and he told them, the journey was almost over, walk on as the Lord commands.

That day was no different. On that day the young boy would meet his final “person.” She was laden with child, and was walking alone carrying everything that she needed. No man walked by her side, no assistance came to her. She was visibly close to giving birth, and the Boy took her hand

As night fell, the boy gathered the women together and they prepared the woman for birth. A call went out to the men and they gathered together some wood for someplace to keep the child. As was foretold, the Angel of the Lord appeared to them once again, and struck the rock and as happened each night before, water flowed.

That night the stars shone brightly, the heavens were alight with song. Something was about to happen. For after the meal, the woman called for the boy and he appeared by her side. The time had come and she wanted to share the birth of the child with him, for he walked with her a step or two. That night under the canopy of heaven a child was born and she asked the boy his name.

He answered, “My name is David.” She smiled at her son, and spoke to the heavens, May God in heaven be blessed and may he bless my son David, born this night. The heavens replied with a thousand shooting stars… What a glorious vision the host of angels come down from heaven to sing to David, the newest member of the tribes of Abraham. That night they rested and slept in peace.

On the 40th day the young boy awoke, there standing before him were 40 men, women and children. All of those whom David had walked with through the desert. At that moment an Elder man spoke to David and said follow me, there is someone who would like to see you David, HE has asked for you by name.

The people before him parted and through them David walked until he reached a hill that was green with foliage and there a spring bubbled up. “Take off your sandals David” a voice spoke to him. David did not skip a beat. As David looked up from undoing his shoes, There the Master sat on the rock before him.

David’s eye welled up with tears, he had done exactly as he was instructed, as the Lord had told him. He had led his people through the desert helping each soul he met on his path. The Master knew what was in his heart and soul. David was without words. The Master got up from where He sat and approached David and wrapped his arms around him, and said……..

“Well done good and faithful servant. In YOU I am well pleased.”

What for? David said, all I did was what you asked of me while I walked. And the Master replied, “you know David, each time you helped one of these souls on your journey, you helped ME.” “What the least of these you have done for my brothers and sisters you have done for me.”

The Master reached down into the pool of water and blessing the water he blessed and baptized David the Boy, and then David the infant. And for a moment the heavens opened up and God’s voice was heard, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And from the sky a beam of light shone forth into the desert and the sands were parted and there in the swirl of dust a city appeared. It is there that the people made their homes. The journey had ended. And a placed blessed by God was theirs to live in.

So will you walk with me a step or two. The journey is long and the road may be rough, but as the Lord says “I will make the path straight and your burden will be light.” Take only that which you need. And if you meet someone of the road, stop and ask your questions, share your water and food, for you never know when the Master will reveal himself to you.

Are you ready to start walking !!!


Snow? What snow ???

Courtesy: RTMH1989

Sometimes photography is just sublime …

I have a friend, he lives in Australia. He bought a round the world airline ticket and is going to Rome in May to study Italian at the heart of it all. He’s just packing it all in for a world adventure. I wish I had 1/10th of his fortune and ability to just “pack it in and go somewhere different.”

Not that I want to get up and move right now, I don’t have that kind of money, but if I had it and some time to travel I would definitely go somewhere.

*** *** *** ***

Let’s see what’s happening in Montreal at this hour? Well, we got 17 cm of snow the other day, but today the sun was shining but it was still cold. The snow removal operations have begun in earnest. I watched them clear the snow off the streets in Westmount earlier tonight. But in Westmount they only collect snow during the day, not at night, like they do in the rest of the city.

There is a 10 foot snow drift out front of the building. In fact there is snow all over the place. And they say that we are going to get hit again on Wednesday with another 15 cm of snow. Winter is not over yet. dammit …

It was a good day today. We are as busy as ever now, hubby has a ton of work to do for school, he is presenting a paper on Friday that I want to go hear him present. He is working like a madman. But he works well under pressure, he is methodic about how he does school work. It is quite amazing.

We had nominal numbers for the early meeting. Our topic came from the slogans. “Live and Let Live.”

We put the slogans up at every meeting. Most people don’t pay attention to them for the first little while, but as they get sober the slogans work their way into people’s minds. So it was tonight.

This always reminds me of the story I told tonight …

I was a little over a year sober. And it was the holidays here in Montreal. The church was closed, and a member hosted a Tuesday Night discussion in his mansion of a house here in Westmount. It was all very regal and large.

We were all seated at a table that sat at least 30 people comfortably. We were about 30 in total. So here we were at this meeting and I was sitting between a couple of friends who had time. On down the table were other members. One of which loved to talk about how long he’d been sober and also mention that he imbibed just a day or two ago.

He had a sobriety date – yet he still drank. And he maintained his original sobriety date. And yet he is actively drinking. This man was a thorn in my side for a number of years, because he used to come to our meeting quite regularly, he say his sober date then sticks out his foot and talks about his recent drinking.

Ho told a good story about how he had these beautiful decanters for his liquor and that he had special lights in his apartment that romantically back lit his alcohol making it so much more appealing.

Live and Let Live …

The first time I heard him share – at this home meeting, I wanted to come out of my chair, and I did, needless to say, my friends held me back and I kept my counsel. I never said a word to him about it. But I learned to Live and Let Live.  This would be a mantra that I had to recite every time I saw him in a meeting.

I learned what is my business and what is yours. I know that I am powerless over people, places and things. I also know today that I don’t have to engage you or engage in your drama. I have learned to let go, this slogan is in keeping with the third step. Once I let go and let God, I am finished.

*** *** *** ***

The discussion was lively and lasted the entire hour. We had only a handful of people show up for the speaker meeting. It is good we are getting rid of the speaker meeting at the end of the month. The numbers are just not holding up the meeting. We get more people who show up for the early meeting. We are hoping with the format change we can maintain good numbers to be able to keep prudent reserve.

I got the script for the new meeting today. I formatted it and printed it out and brought it to the meeting tonight. Rick is worried that it reads a little long, but hopefully it won’t seem that long once we start working through it. It reads quite well, I like the way it came out. We will find out how it works in a couple of weeks time.

The notes are up at Inter-group. They will post the meeting news in the Blue sheets next month, It will do because the blue sheet will be sent out on the first of the month, giving us a 5 day grace period for people to see the update and make the appropriate changes to their schedules. We are also making the change announcement at both meetings.

We will begin April in the Big Book. Reading the chapter “The Doctors Opinion.” We’ve decided to stick to the book for the first few weeks. There aren’t many Big Book meetings in the city, unless of course you are in a 17 week intensive. And the last series just ended a few weeks ago. Hopefully people will take to the new format and discussion.

Well, that’s all for this update.

Let us pray to God that we don’t get slammed again with snow. Environment Canada does not do a good job at forecasting, sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. We’ll see how they do later in the week.

More to come, stay tuned…


New Beginnings …

Courtesy: Unconstructive Bry

Today was a most successful day. It has been a long day, and we got a lot accomplished in several areas.

The members of my home group, that would be me, my sponsor and Dave got together this morning to talk out the new pages for our new meeting that opens on the 5th of April.

It is new, fresh, slick and hip. With contributions from several key people involved in the formation of this new meeting, we wrote out new pages and I think it came out really well.

I don’t have the full text just yet, but it is all down on paper in draft form. Hopefully this weekend my sponsor will email me the copy to be finalized and printed up for the chair’s book.

We also went through the list of reading material that we want to use for the new literature discussion format. We decided to use our miss kitty fund to buy new literature, I just have to count what we have in the stand up rack at the church.

It took us about 4 hours to whittle down both chair pages into one new fresh presentation. Lots of coffee and conversation was had by all. It is all about the newcomer. And hopefully this new format will take off and be successful.

*** *** *** ***

On the way home from uptown, I stopped off at Zeller’s to get some cleaning supplies because we have company coming next weekend and the place needed a good cleaning. While I was there I hunted down some sweet new bedding and pillows for the bedroom. It was quite festive at Zeller’s today.

There were several kiosks in the housewares department with people showcasing knives, kitchen appliances and housewares. They even had their own little “light shows” going on it was quite impressive.

Needless to say that everything was on sale today, and I took full advantage of sale prices to re-pillow and sheet our bed. Thank god for HBC credit …

*** *** *** ***

I came home and started unpacking my treats and hubby had arrived from working on campus and we set about cleaning up the apartment. Now we live in a high rise and if you have to throw something away it needs to fit in a grocery sized bag to be dropped down the waste chute. There is no trash drop in the building, although we do have recycle bins in the basement.

Let’s say that I bought a box of leaf bags. When all was said and done, we had four leaf sized bags worth of trash to toss out including a television that died on us. If we have not touched it since Christmas, it went into the trash. I don’t know why we buy magazines any more. My MIL gave us a Canadian Living subscription last year and we had a stack of magazines that have been collecting dust on the living room tables.

I tossed all of the empty boxes we didn’t trash at Christmas, and shredded a years worth of paper into one bag. And now we had to get rid of all that trash. So we piled everything into the elevator and took it all down to the basement where the super and his guys can get rid of the trash bags and tv.

When Winter is over, we are going to do the same to the closet and get rid of half the stuff we don’t wear anymore, that hasn’t seen the light of day for months. Half the shirts in our closet don’t fit us anyways. They will go to charity. We donate to a few charities here in town that welcome good clothing and sundry supplies.

I scrubbed the walls and dusted everything, you can’t imagine the dust that collects in an apartment that has been hermetically sealed since the end of Fall. The kitchen has been scrubbed and shined. The living room is ready for company. We don’t have guest accommodations by way of a second bedroom, but we do have spartan accommodations for a guest or two here and there.

We don’t usually get visitors except once in a blue moon. But a sober friend of a good friend I grew up with, who is sober as well,  is coming into the city to pick up family from the airport and she is driving 18 hours from Southern Vermont  to get here and needed a place to crash for a night. It is really great being able to be of service outside the program to people in the program. So that’s all good.

I need to do some laundry and clean up the bathroom and we will be all set to go. I can do that in the next few days. Our laundry times usually fall on Monday or Friday morning when the building is empty.

*** *** *** ***

Tonight I got the spend time with my friend Patrick. We went out to dinner at Le Frit on St. Laurent. It is a local hangout in a cool space with great food and ambiance. This is becoming a weekly ritual because it is a short walk from there to the Friday night Gates Of Hell meeting.

Can I say that this little meeting amazes me. It has only been in existence for a few months and tonight there were more people in that meeting hall than we had ever seen before. The chairs sit in a circle around this very large hall, but tonight there was a second circle of chairs to accommodate all the folks who showed up.

My friend Chris chaired the meeting. It is a bilingual meeting in French and English. The chair opens the meeting in both languages and the readings are done the same and the sharing follows a 5 minutes meditation after the readings. I love this little meeting. I like the people, the energy is amazing and it is just a great way to spend a Friday night. I can’t imagine where we would fit any more bodies if this keeps up, we may have to find a bigger hall somewhere.

A good night was had by all.

I got home a little after 11 o’clock. The meeting runs from 9 p.m. to 10:15 p.m and we close about 10:30. It takes a bit to walk back to the metro and get home. Hubby had dinner waiting when I got home, so we ate late and now I am writing this.

It was a successful day all around.

More to come, stay tuned …


Post a Day #62 … Town …

Courtesy: Thiswillnotdefineus

Describe the town where you grew up.

Do you still live there? If not, do you ever visit?

This is a multi-location topic. I grew up in many places. I guess I should tell you the whole story.

I was born in New Britain, Connecticut, it was a small town back then. It was the late 1960’s and we lived on Kennedy Drive, it was a cul de sac street. There were a lot of families that lived in that section of town.

My grandparents lived not far from us. It was a short walk from our house to theirs, on both sides of the family. Everybody was close. I was born at the General Hospital. Grocery shopping was done at the Stop and Shop, which was near, what I guess would have been downtown.

My first memories – or my oldest memories – of that time are sparse. I remember places and people. I attended nursery school here and then progressed into kindergarten and first grade. The latter two were at the local Smith School. It has a different name these days.

I used to walk to school. All the kids in our neighborhood walked to school. This would have been in the early 1970’s. My father worked at Fafnir Bearings, my grandparents on my father’s side of the family worked at Stanley Works.

My mother worked for A.J. Rossow and Company. She was in pharmacy work. A job she would carry well into my teenage years.

My mother’s mother was a hair dresser, I can’t recall what my grandfather did.

My aunt – a woman who is pivotal in my early years lived in Wethersfield, Ct. All the women in the family played pivotal roles in my upbringing. Things were very different during these years. I had three years on my brother, who came along in 1970. Being first born had its perks.

The women raised the children, the men drank hard liquor, beat their wives and children and had day jobs. That much I know for sure… Alcoholism was rampant in all the men in the family across the board.

I have looked up all these places on Google earth recently. None of the houses exist any longer. The neighborhoods are all different now.

In 1972 we moved from Connecticut to Florida. And we spent a year in Homestead Florida, where I finished first grade into second grade. This was a short stint before we made it into the big time.

In 1973 we moved to our third house in Miami. We would stay at this location through my grade school years. I went to elementary school here from second to sixth grade. I’d have to sit and ponder these memories. It was a good period. Family often visited from the North and from Canada, the place of my mother’s birth. A lot happened here. In hindsight, all these years later, I knew who I was well before I knew what it all meant.

It was in sixth grade that we made the move to our fourth house. In the neighborhood  they now call Pinecrest. It was the biggest of the houses we had come to live in. It was called Coral Reef then.

I attended F.C. Martin Elementary school for the balance of sixth grade, we were bussed from the white section of town to a predominantly black neighborhood where that school was located. Hindsight affords me the ability to look back with certainly that Miami had invisible lines drawn throughout the city.

This is the house that all of my teen memories were made in. Elementary school, Junior high school and then High School – we were here a long time.

It would not be until 1992 that everything changed, with the devastating Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Everything was destroyed. The house had to be rebuilt. Along with millions of others.

My parents sold that rebuilt house and fled to Sarasota where they still live to this day.

I spent a great deal of time in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale then back in Miami. That is where I got sober on South Beach. I used to visit the old neighborhoods when I lived on the beach.

But like they say “You can never go back …”


Thunder Snow …

I was up with the little birdies this morning to make my appointment at the clinic. As I was getting ready to leave it started snowing. When I got out of the building, it was REALLY snowing … By the time I got to St. Matthieu it was like a BLIZZARD with blowing snow and it was coming down in buckets. And at one point I heard thunder over head … Thunder Snow …

Now you think that if this continues for a long time, there is going to be a lot of snow on the ground. By the time I got to the bus, I was covered in snow it was falling like pea sized pellets.

The bus was packed. We got up the hill, I don’t know how that bus got up the hill but it did. It was still snowing when I entered the building. Thankfully all the elevators were working today.

The clinic was packed, all the chairs were taken, I was looking through the windows while I was waiting to see the doc. They say if you don’t like the weather in Montreal, wait 30 minutes and it will change.

The skies opened up and the clouds blew away and the sun was shining. The snow had come and gone.

I got in and out in less than an hour. Doc says I am doing well, he upped my glyburide and sent me off with an appointment in six months.

I didn’t get to see my favorite nurse today. I did not see her in the office while I was there.

The downhill bus was approaching the stop when I rounded the stairs out of the building, and I made it, just barely. I stopped by pharmaprix to fill my scripts and came home.

Now it is nap time, since I have a few hours until class tonight.