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Archive for October, 2011

Halloween …

Courtesy: RawrDaniel

I love Daniel. He is so cute … Happy Halloween !!!

It was a good weekend. We are sitting at 8c at this hour. No snow to speak of.

Today is Monday and it was my Sociology Mid Term Exam night. And I spent the weekend cramming up my ass all night long. There were 40 multiple choice questions, 3 of seven short answers, and 1 of three essay answers, plus a bonus question on the board.

I think I rocked my multiple choices and maybe skirted by on the short answers and maybe hit the mark on the essay. And I am sure I got the bonus question ok.

It was all fast and furious. I wrote all I could remember and left it at that. Hopefully I will make a passing grade. I Know I screwed up the short answers. I hope I did alright. What’s done is done at this point.

My prof brought in Tim bits to class as a treat during the exam. Which was very sweet. I really like the class.

Over the weekend, I think late Saturday night, there was nothing on television over night and I was getting ready to go to bed, and I happened upon PBS and a Nova presentation On Otzi, the Ice Man. I was sitting here and had the thought that maybe I needed to take notes about the show.

An hour later, and 10 pages of notes later as well, I had my analytical essay topic. I had at first thought that I would write on Copernicus from the course essay book for class. But I really had nothing to work with along the lines of what was going on at the time, and Copernicus’s fellow inventors ans scientists.

We had spoken about Otzi in our Western Civ class at the beginning of term, it was just a summary article that we looked at trying to piece together the few clues it gave us into the who, what, where and how of the mummy find.

It was like, 3 a.m. and I sent off an email to my Prof to ask her if it would be ok to change my topic from her list to Otzi. She responded on Sunday that it was ok.

So I am writing an analytical essay on Otzi’s murder medical autopsy presentation. Which is due on the 10th.

Tomorrow is Tuesday, and it will be exciting.

More to come, stay tuned …

Oprah’s Life class post will go up later on tonight.

Following your gut …


Joy Rising … 42 Days …

Courtesy: Endzeit

It is Friday and today’s lesson comes by way of “Joy Rising!!!”

It is one thing to experience joy. But it is totally more joy when you can give that joy away. When you receive joy, if you can, pay it forward and give it away to those near you.

It is really important to know that at every meeting we go to, joy rises.

Sit in a room of people recovering from a disease that affects minds and bodies, and you will feel joy rise. Every meeting it may happen, but you may not get to see it for yourself. But when someone gets up there to the chair and shares, sometimes joy rising is palpable.

You hear it in their voice, you see it on their face and you hear it in their words. People who have been to hell and lived to see a brighter day is in essence joy rising.

Tonight was truly a joy rising event. The room was packed. And the speaker was a last minute pinch hitter and the recommendation of one of our members to the chair before the meeting started. He came with a group of people to honor one of our members who was taking a cake – I’ll share more on this in a moment… He wasn’t actually there to speak, but spirit moved and he was chosen. And you know, if you are asked to do something you do it gladly.

We have a great group of people at our meeting. Lots of good women, doing good work for the greater good of the community. We all try, each week to do something good for the greater community.

That’s why we have setter uppers, coffee makers, kitchen workers, chair and secretary, greeters and hand shakers. Everybody works together to welcome the masses for a Friday night meeting.

And our speaker got up there and knocked it out of the park.

Gratitude … I have Friday night’s free to be part of this good thing.

I sit and I listen to everyone who gets up to the chair. I love listening to people talk about sobriety, because it is not only a warning of what NOT to do, it is also a lesson in gratitude. Because the speaker has invested so and so many years to this program and they can get up there and tell us how they did it.

Not only did we have a winner speaker, we had two cakes.

The younger went first. She was celebrating double digits. 10 years. And the emotion was raw and I needed a tissue before all was said and done. Seeing joy rise is a gift, and to share it with my fellows is amazing. Double digits for the first time is a big event in sober living. It is a great marker. And we are all so proud of her for her achievement. Joy rose !!!

The second cake taker was “The Artist!” And if you have been a long time reader of this blog, I have, on more than one occasion, written about “The Artist.”

Tonight was his 29th anniversary. Poignant because in the depths of his disease, he did not think he would see twenty nine years of age. And his father died when he was 29, and tonight he took a 29 year cake. You can do the math …

In the kitchen one of our members had prepared food. We always prepare food for after the meeting, food always goes well with cake and the more cake there is the better. There is coffee, conversation and lots of celebrating.

Joy truly rose tonight.

And I am grateful for all that I have and the ability to give it away in my small way to the greater good of my community. It was a wonderful night.

A good night was had by all.

In 42 days, it will be my turn … One day at a time…


Am I coming or Going ???

Courtesy: Justaheartsbeatawayfromdisaster

It is late and we are sitting at -2c at midnight. It is cold out there.

When last we spoke about Friday West End, our coffee maker had resigned and emphatically stated that he was done for at least a few months, in his own words.

Last night I made some phone calls to pick up where he left off. And one of our members drove over here to my building this morning to drop me off a set of keys for the church for this evening.

It was a bright day, lots of sunshine and just the same it was dark before I left the house for the meeting. I even took the long way out, walking over to Alexis Nihon to grab the green line at Atwater. For some reason tonight I decided not to walk down the tunnel to the direct orange line.

The green line was running a few minutes on and we connected at Lionel Groulx to the orange line on to Vendome. A bus was waiting on the other end. We had just made it before it rolled from the stop.

I guess it was around 7:30 when I got to the church. I had my keys in my hand, and approached the door to the church and it was unlocked. Not only was it unlocked but the chairs were already out and the coffee was perking. And there was our man who was so emotional last week saying that he was done, farting around on his laptop.

People went to great trouble to make sure I had what I needed to get the meeting up and running and it was for nothing. I had to set up the tables and the chairman’s table and sound system, it took me all of ten minutes.

I was like, “Whatever!!!”

We had our business meeting, which was well attended. I am on set up for Nov 11th and 18th. And making coffee next week.

Our speaker came by way of the West Island. And he had a great share. I seem to remember him from my early days in sobriety when I used to hit meetings on the West Island with my then sponsor. And he mentioned Eddie’s Follies, which was a Saturday night meeting, in the same hall as Friday West End today.

We always wondered where all those people went when that meeting closed, because in its hey day, the meeting was usually packed. This was inside of ten years ago, when I first got sober. A lot of meetings I used to go to have closed in as many years.

At the end of the meeting we had two cakes. A ten year and a twenty nine year cake. Lots of good sobriety. It was very emotional. I can imagine what it is going to be like when I take my cake in December. I’ve invited all my close friends who were there when I first got sober.

On the way out I got my set of keys and was told that the situation would be taken are of. There is a bazaar on next week, so we are in the church. I am going to have to call some friends to figure out just how we do that and where to put the coffee pots on …

On the way home, I hit the bus stop at 10:20 p.m. and there was this poor boy standing there shivering. He asked me when the bus was coming and I had said not till 10:35. He only had a long sleeve shirt on and no coat. I felt so sorry for him. The bus was packed with party goers as was the train back to down town. And at the Forum there was a HUGE line to get into the comedy club, I had never seen a line like that there before.

Sunday is my step group. I still need to do the reading and study for my Sociology Mid term on Monday night. It is going to be a bitch of a test. I printed out the slides for the power point questions and I need to work on my essay answer. I find that if I write it out before hand, it translates well to the paper once the exam is set.

I rocked my Western Civilization exam on Thursday night. I had memorized 8 pages of notes and tried to duplicate my notes on the exam. I did well on Tiberius and Gaius and then on Jesus and early Christianity.

When it came to the longer essay on Early English kings and their descendents, I think I got it all down, but at the end the essay finishes up with a flourish on the meaning and task of the Magna Carta. I think I got the gist of the thought, but I did not get it word for word.

At least I used 2 booklets for the exam and not just one as usual. I had written much more than the first exam.

Hopefully it was my best game. My analytical essay is due on the 10th, thank God because I thought it was due on the third !!!

That’s all for tonight.

I might write later on tonight after Oprah’s Joy Rising Friday lesson.


When People show you who they are the first time, Believe them…

Courtesy: Tumblr Photo

“When somebody shows you who they are the first time, believe them.”

Maya Angelou…

You are responsible for the energy you give out, and the energy you bring in. And you are responsible for the energy you allow into yourself from outside.

When People show you who they are the first time, believe them. This is such a lesson – I should have learned it long ago. There are times in my life in hindsight that I could have used this thought to save myself a lot of heartache and pain.

I have written in the past about the Neon Sign theory. And on tonight’s episode it was confirmed by Iyanla VanZandt. “If you see crazy coming, cross the street!”

Everybody has a neon sign above their heads or directly connected to their foreheads. That show us exactly who you are at any given moment. In sobriety I’ve studied that sign, and have actually seen people change their signs over the years.

Hindsight is 20/20.

When we meet people the first time, we see them from the outside, but we don’t necessarily see them from the inside. And sometimes we get caught up in looking at someone saying, “ah, um, I can deal with that, or, I can change that.”

Love does not change.

And sometimes we engage in relationships that people show us who they are and day by day, every time they come into our space, they take a little piece of energy from our souls and at the end, we end up less a person than we started out with and less a person than we should have become.

I think I have learned the lesson about people over the last decade of my life. I have a group of friends I have grown up with on Facebook. I have the friends I have made in sobriety. And the friends I have because of school and affiliation with certain clubs and groups of people.

All of my friends bring “Something” to my life. Every single one of them, and though I’ve never said anything to them, my friends bring joy, life and friendship into my life. I don’t waste my time with people who aren’t good for me. I learned that lesson the hard way.

My slip comes to mind. Oh yes, that slip. The one that almost killed me.

I met my slip on the internet at school one night, and struck up a conversation and I was learning about him but for months I had never seen him in person. He had built for me a picture that I held onto and thought I needed in my life at the time.

And so I packed my things and sped out of my life in Miami for a trek across the country to a plot of land in the middle of farm country and got out of the cab of the moving truck after traveling 1000 miles, and there before me he showed me who he was from the very moment I said hello and stepped out of the cab.

He handed me a beer and a joint and I drank and I smoked.

I had learned everything that I needed to know right in that very moment.

I was stuck. I had no money to move on. I had no friends there. I had no way out. Even if I wanted to get out, and I thought to myself that I could change the situation and change him into a man I could live with.

I failed at that miserably, because he would not be moved.

So began an eighteen month odyssey from farm to house, drinking and drugging. The abuse started not long after that. And I was stuck in a situation of my own making. I invited that energy into my life from 1000 miles away and then I even packed myself up and brought myself into that energy.

How stupid a decision that was.

The drinking and drugging got worse. More drugs and dangerous situations arose and I found myself, just by the skin of my teeth and but for the grace of God, I escaped the police and incarceration myself. How that happened is a miracle, because if one moment’s hesitation on anyone’s part and and I could have ended up in the slammer and my parents once warned me about jail and that I had never ever find myself in a jail or arrested.

That memory saved me many times in my young life.

That would have been a nightmare ending up in a hokey jail in the middle of po-dunk middle America. Even his parents figured out that I was in a situation that wasn’t going to get better because they witnessed and saved me from many an attack after a drug and drink incited fight occurred.

In the end, beaten and bloody, I had to get out. And thank GOD that a friend I knew online, knew where I was. I had made a crucial contact to someone who I always refer to as my saving angel. He bought me a bus ticket when the cops came to collect me and told me that all I could take was what I could carry.

Everything I owned, my house, my clothes, my memories, my heirlooms and everything that meant something to me were left behind. And to this day I have never attempted to repatriate my things back to me. I never ever want to reopen that door ever again.

I learned that my memories and everything that I hold dear are inside me and I do not need those “things” around me to make me whole. It took me near a decade to get that lesson. I used to look online for names and numbers, I’ve even written letters that were never mailed, thank God.

Had someone warned me in advance, that I was walking into the den of the devil, I might have not made that decision to uproot my life and safety and move 1000 miles from home. And I imagine how different my life would have been had I not done all that. I may not even have gotten HERE where I am today.

Everything happens for a reason and certain things happened in my life that took me to Iowa after that disaster of 18 months to convalesce and then back 1000 miles back to Miami to rebuild my life again.

After a series of events in my life got me sober again, I ended up coming here to Montreal, where I met my boyfriend. I saw who he was when I met him. The first pass through the door of St. Leon’s and then that night at St. James the Apostle.

I fell in love with a man for who he was. Not what he was. And we have been together ever since that first date at Calories where we ate cake and drank sweet tea, and then we went grocery shopping together for the first time and we prepared dinner together for the first time.

He was the man I married. He showed me who he was from the start and that is the man I believed and that I later married.

Over that last decade I have met numerous people. I have met thousands of souls come through my Home Group, some came for a season and got sober and moved on, many came for a season and drank again. Some became my friends and they are my friends to this day. I am grateful and thankful.

When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them.


Holding on to the Past …

Courtesy: Flickr Evan Mischelle

Lesson 12 – Oprah’s Life Class- Holding on to the past

Tonight’s lesson could have been a topic at any given discussion meeting. Holding on to the past. What are you holding on to that you need to let go of to evolve into a better self ? What are you holding on to that is preventing your soul from moving forwards ?

We are not our bodies or what we are, we are souls on a journey to become better, to learn to love ourselves and each other. And if we are broken or hurt or upset or anything of that sort, it is time to heal those sores and become new.

For decades I medicated my feelings and insecurities and fears with alcohol and at one point drugs, because there was no other option than to participate in a way of life that I had, in the past, felt repellent.

We have learned in past episodes that we are not what we have done, or who we once were. We are who we are in today, right now, in this moment. And holding on to the past keeps us rooted in where we once were, all the while trying to move forwards in our lives. It is time to, as they say “Drop the Rock !”

There are things in my life that I would love to let go of. And for the most part I have let go of things that don’t serve me any longer. Unrequited love, relationships that never amounted to anything but heartache. I have moved on from those things in my sobriety. But I am haunted by the lives of others who have imposed silence on me for more than a decade. Family who have never seen it necessary to come to the table and talk.

On the show tonight we saw a story about family resentments and the decades of silence that family members imposed on each other because of something someone said or did at one point in their lives, and it took a son to die of AIDS to bring those family members together under one roof to reconcile.

Will it take a death to open a door?

I know better than to go rooting in other people’s lives. To bring attention to myself. But sometimes I want to scream it from the rooftops that I am not the boy you once knew. I am not the person you punished with silence. I am ten years older now. And I am moving forwards in my life. I don’t hold on to the past, but I have let it go and gave it to God. And should he seem fit to grant me reconciliation, then so be it. But if he doesn’t then so be it as well.

There is the sad old lesson about expectations … And my sponsor is apt to tell me not to expect great things or just anything of any one person, because our expectations can get us into trouble.

Which leads nicely into my continuing thought about my Tuesday night meeting and my nursing resentment. There are no justified resentments. And as I was watching Oprah tonight I was thinking about my friend. Was I holding on to the person she was, wishing that she still was that person? And have I been blinded by my sorrow and anger not to notice the woman who I know today?

If I follow the teaching, she is not what she did nor the woman she was. She is who she is today, right now, in this moment of time. And I need to come to the point of forgiveness and understanding.

My sponsor said tonight that when it must have been the darkest moment for her and she made that decision to drink, that must have been for someone with more than 20 years of sobriety the most devastating place to be. To have decided that there was no other option but to pick up a drink. And how mortified she must have been after the fact to openly admit that she did it. And we should have compassion for her and for every man and woman who battle this illness.

In my mind, I wanted to know the why and the how? I want to know why she didn’t ask for help, and in the moment, my sponsor suspects that she wasn’t even thinking about asking for help, because it was in that split second of indecision that she decided on the drink.

And now that we have come around full circle, it is time to let go of the past so that she can heal her heart and soul and help her to work forwards into the woman she will now become with that blip in sobriety as a moment of grace and teaching. We just cannot have one.

There is no resolution in one drink, or two or three for that matter, because once you cross the invisible line and drink, all the time you have banked is null and void. You pay for your choice with 23 years of sober capitol. And that is a high price to pay for a moments relief.

Now from 23 years to less than 23 days, she must rebuild. We must thank God that she had the courage to come back and pick up where she left off, well back when she should have stepped back in, but for now that is all ok. Hopefully she learns the lessons of what not to do, because she employed every single “what not to do” that led her to the drink.

I think, had I known this when I was on the way back, I might have returned earlier then I did, but then I was banking on signs and prayers. I returned when God saw fit to guide me back, because at that point I was ready and willing to walk back, I just needed the push through the door.

I know what it feels like to return after a sojourn in the land of “I think I will take a drink.” I had to get past my shame and beating myself up. I had to learn to forgive myself. All these universal lessons that we are hearing from Oprah now, I have employed for the last ten years. And all that work on my body and mind have freed my soul to move on to the next emanation.

We are gearing up for my cake. We have Dave getting his two year cake next month around the fifteenth. He’s got the game on. First his cake and supposedly by Christmas this year his second daughter will be born. A blessing for him, and his family and community. And we are all very proud of him. He is an upstanding member of his community.

I need to make a few phone calls and see some people in the next week and pass out invitations to some of my friends to come and celebrate with us in December. God knows there will be snow on the ground by then and tonight I asked my sponsor if he would drive people home from the meeting for me if I invited some particular people who take the metro. And he kindly said that anyone who needed a ride home would get one because it will be a special occasion.

Well it’s 4 am and I need to get to bed.

More to come, stay tuned …


Twisted … 45 days …

Courtesy: Wrestlingisbest

Good evening Peeps !!! Montreal is sitting at a brisk 8c tonight. The rain stayed away, it did not look like rain when I left for the church. It was quite BRRR outside when we left the church at the end of the night.

The day count is 45 days …

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

Oprah’s Life class. Week 3 … Lesson 11 Monday Night’s Reflection.

You life speaks to you in a whisper…

Are you paying attention to your life, to what is going on around you, or are the sounds of life drowning out the little whisper that is trying to speak to you during your day?

Last night’s show talked about the whisper. It is like a nudge from the spirit. It may be a feeling that “something is just not right!” Or “Maybe I should pay attention to what is coming in to me.”

I can attest to how the whisper comes and speaks. I can pinpoint certain times in my life when I knew things weren’t right and that I needed to get out of certain situations. And I did that. Then the signs began to show themselves and only because I was ready to see them. I prayed for them and I needed them. And the whisper came by way of people put into my life at certain times in my life.

Getting sober has been a practice of being present and being able to sit still enough to listen for the whisper. I get a daily reprieve based on my spiritual condition. And I try every day to be in touch with my higher power. I look for the whisper.

You know, you hear something spoken, and it goes in one ear and you might catch it the first time, or maybe the message comes a second time and on the second round you realize that the omens are speaking to you and that maybe you should pay attention.

If at first the omens speak, and you ignore them, they will come again, and you get a second chance to hear them and pay attention, and if you miss them the second time, they may happen a third time, but that chance that that happens is slim, you may have missed the opportunity.

Very recently I had that experience. I heard a message, it wasn’t really pointed at me, so I thought, but I passed the message onto a friend. I didn’t think the message was intended for me. A week passed. And again I heard the same message, this time it was spoken directly at me and to me. And of late, I have been waiting for God to give me some kind of direction and that time came to pass. So I took action with the message received.Where it leads, I don’t know at this point. I am just following…

Another episode comes to mind … Over the past year and a half I’ve been studying at Dawson. I started on one path and it only took me so far. And at one point I heard the voice speak. And it said to me, “maybe you ought not to continue this path, things are not working in your favor and to avoid wasting any more time on the effort, let’s change tack and do something else. We’ll try plan B. And so I am on plan B now. I believe that this choice was spirit spoken.

Are you paying attention to the little voice? Do you know what it sounds like? Are you conscious of your life and what is going on around you? Or are you numb, and dumb, and not paying attention to your life? Because if you are NOT paying attention, you are responsible for your life. The energy you pull in and the energy you put out and to listen for the voice of spirit that speaks to you.

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION ???

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

So it was a beautiful day. The sun Shone and the air was brisk. I got out early because it was business meeting night so I needed to complete set up earlier than usual because people were coming early.

My long time member, who I will call “Slipper” from here on out, came early. I was cranking out chairs when she came down the stairs, so I wasn’t standing there ready to welcome her with open arms. And once again she said to me that “Oh, don’t get too excited to see me…” I think she is waiting for a rousing song and dance from me because she is back.

I am not singing nor dancing …

I am nursing a resentment. My heart is broken. I am sad. And I am a bit offended. But I could not bring myself to speak these words to her tonight.

We talked about the chapter 11 in the Big Book. A Vision for You.

“… These are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make life long friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

This is a passage that speaks to me. The discussion question was – What do you do to find fun in sobriety? How did it happen and are you having fun in sobriety?

When I got sober this time around, the people in my life made sure that I wasn’t alone. That I had things to do, places to go, people to see. Every day I had a meeting to go to with friends that cared for me while I worked my way back.

The first time is a gift, the second time you have to work for it…

I had to work for it, and so does she.

When I moved to Montreal I met people that once again, never left me be by myself. My sponsor was attached to my hip. He and I did everything together for a year, until I took my first year chip. Funny, he was 10 years sober when he had his ego attack the night I took that chip and he cursed me in front of everyone saying that if I did not beg his forgiveness that I would drink within 30 days.

Well, almost ten years have passed. And in 45 days I will take my cake.

I have not had the desire to take a drink in many years…

Like I said, I am not singing nor am I dancing. The roles between my friend and I have flipped. For the most part of my sobriety, she had 20+ years of sobriety and I looked up to her. Seeking her advice and counsel. And over the last two years, she drank. Several times.

She never said a word about it. After I invested years into our relationship, I don’t think it dawned on her to ask for help. And that she did not, nor may not have trusted me with words. And I was offended by that. Maybe I could have helped her, maybe I could have stopped her from taking that drink.

You never know.

So on the way home, I was sitting in the van with my sponsor and he said something about her and I told him I was biting my tongue about said topic. That I was nursing a resentment. That I had a bone to pick with her.

So he talked and I listened.

It may come to pass, or it may not, but one day she may turn around and make mention of the investment I have made in our relationship. This isn’t about my ego, NO, it’s about love, trust and friendship.

She’s noticed that I am not jumping up and down for her and she doesn’t know where she fits in now that she has admitted her failure and now she has to fight tooth and nail to get it again. Now I am the one with time. And she is back at point A. And it breaks my heart to know that it had nothing to do with me and that in the end she took the drink.

And I have to love her like myself.

And I do.

It is just going to take me some time to reconcile what has happened. The feeling will pass in time. It is like mourning a loss. Every time an old timer goes out and drinks one mourns the loss of time. And the feeling of pity you get for said slipper. Because not so long ago I was in their shoes, coming back after a slip, so I know what’s going on in their heads. And for them and for us, we will come to know what it is we are supposed to do now. Love them back into existence. Until they can love themselves once again.

I don’t feel like singing or dancing. And maybe I should because she found her way back and maybe somewhere, she knows that, because I never gave up on her even when she could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Fuck disease, Fuck death. Fuck Cancer.

It destroys more than bodies. It destroys the mind and spirit. And in this case, cancer stole 23 years of sobriety from my friend. And I am sorry for that.

And all I can do is pray about it. I can’t change what happened or sit in what ifs. All I must do now, is love her like I have always loved her. My desire to be her friend is more important than my sorrow.

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

That’s about all I have for you tonight.

Be well and take care and be good to each other.


Pondering …

Courtesy: Growlf

“I am a believer in signs.” You know, the ones that come from God, by way of a higher power. I’ve been waiting for a sign to tell me what to do next … I have been pondering my sobriety as of late, thinking that I need some excitement, for something to happen.

Over the past few weeks a member asked me about a step series that was coming up and so I gathered up all my info for him, thinking that he would join, but he decided to stay with his sponsor and do his steps instead of a 17 week intensive.

I went to my meeting Friday night and did my thing, and as I noted on Friday night, I saw a fellow who asked me to come to the step intensive tonight.

I guess you call that a sign …

It was a nice night. I got all the way into NDG early, the church is a couple of blocks West of St. Columba’s. And since I had never been to this particular church I left early so that if I got lost that I would make it on time.

We are sitting at 7c, and the low tonight should hit 3c. Before I left to leave I hunted down my toque and my gloves because they usually reside in my coat pockets, but for some strange reason, neither were where they should have been which set in motion tearing apart the coat closet, they weren’t in the closet.

I found my gloves on the dining room table underneath a stack of newspapers and my toque in another coat. I have two toques. One that I carry in my backpack all the time and my winter toque that rides in my coat pocket.

We are twelve for the step intensive. A few people did not show which did not go over very well for our chair… They call him “timer Ted.” Because he is overtly punctual to the point of being a pain in the ass.

But for the grace of God …

We read from the Big Book. And since I have already done a series, my book is highlit page to page. As we read around the table the chair tells you what to highlight. It’s sort of a pain in the ass because while you read, he interjects here and there and breaks the momentum of the read. Something we will bring up next Sunday.

I know most of the people at the meeting. So it was familiar.

A good night was had by all.

So that was that. Tomorrow is Monday. It is midterm week this week and next so I have to read and study for an exam on Thursday Night. Next Monday is my Sociology exam.

More to come, stay tuned…


Nike Air Jordan :: Jordan 1 :: Nike Air Jordan 1 I Retro Phat Premier High 60+ Point Series (Detroit Pistons) French Blue / Varsity Red

Courtesy: Zac – let’s play the blame game

The next pair of sneakers on my radar are these. Nike Air Jordan :: Jordan 1 :: Nike Air Jordan 1 I Retro Phat Premier High 60+ Point Series (Detroit Pistons) French Blue / Varsity Red

Suggested retail price: $82.00 online purchase.

The Air Jordan 60+ Collection continues with a lineup of Air Jordan 1 Retro Phat Premier colorways. The various colorups in the collection are done up in color schemes of the teams Micheal Jordan scored 60+ points against. Colorways include those of the Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks.

Each of the AJ1 Retro Phat Premier releases in the collection consist of uppers featuring rich premium leather with accents of mesh, canvas, or felt. All four also have a felt Nike Swoosh. The French Blue / Varsity Red Detroit Pistons, followed by the Midnight Navy / Ceramic Cleveland Cavaliers colorup and the Midnight Black / Pine Green Boston Celtics. Black / Varsity Red Atlanta Hawks colorway.

Sweet shoes … Once again the hunt began on Tumblr and ended up with a Google search and onto a retail seller online. They aren’t listed on Ebay, I checked.

I have my Adidas Response Wrestling shoes Blue White Gold in the pike coming via Canada Post in the next couple of days. They shipped on the 18th.

I am getting quite savvy at finding shoes on a Google search with the side bar search parameters that Google gives you when you do a product search. I had never used it before and it was quite efficient in helping me narrow down the parameters for my shoe search.

Stay tuned to see what happens next… SUH-WEET !!!


Thankless … 49 Days …

Courtesy: Endzeit

The weekend is upon us. Friday has come and gone. And the weather seems to be holding. We are sitting at a cool 9c and the winds have been blowing the clouds right over the city and out of the area. It was blustery this evening and cold.

I dressed in layers tonight, long sleeve sweater and my Dickie’s hoodie and a toque, and on the way home I was chilled. Me thinks that I am going to have to break out the winter jacket next.

I got out of the house early which set me in NDG by 7:30. There were no others that came early to help me set up  which is fine by me. I’d rather work alone, that quiet time before the meeting is useful for mindful meditation through set up.

Something is going on and it has nothing to do with me. But people tend to talk to me about things and I heard some things tonight and I made mention of certain conversations to an old timer and made a suggestion that fell on deaf ears.

If you volunteer for a job, does it necessarily have to be acknowledged? It seems to me that a battle of egos is going on around me, yet again, it has nothing to do with me. So I will keep doing what I am doing like a good worker bee and let things be.

Once again tonight – another long time member went out, and tonight he picked up a desire chip. He called it an “act of humility.” It seems that more and more people have been taking back their wills and turning to the drink to make it all better.

And our speaker tonight, 25 years sober talked about the same message that old timers tell us… Don’t drink, go to meetings. Don’t drink, go to meetings.

I mentioned in conversation with my friend from the West Island about my friend at T.B’s coming back after drinking and pissing away 23 years of sobriety. And he told me, the longer you are sober, if you go back out, the chances of your returning are slim to none.

49 days …

I helped clean up the room and put things away, and on my way out one of my friends stopped me and asked if I would come to his step group intensive on Sunday. And I asked him if I could seeing my sponsor was not going to attend, and he said by all means that I could come anyways. So it looks like I will be working my steps on the 17 week intensive. A little something to do while I work my way to my anniversary.

The weather is turning colder day by day. The nightly lows are dropping in degrees by the night. If we are lucky, like we have been in the past, it snows before Halloween. We’ll see how cold it gets over the next week.

Dinner was nice. Hubby is a great cook.

There will be more to come, stay tuned …


Who are you ???

This post is brought to you by Cee Lo Green and his latest work “Lady Killer.”

This is a really good album. If you haven’t heard of Cee Lo Green, well you must have. I really like the sound. You should check him out. He’s great …

Get down thumpin tunes. Thanks to That M Feeling for the review and video.

I’ve been sitting here thinking about doing some writing and I needed a focus to write on. Needless to say I’ve been sitting here beating myself up over the fact that my best friend pissed away 23 years of sobriety and did not trust me enough to say something when this was all going on.

But the more I think about it, the more I understand that people are going to do what they do, friendship or not, and that my friends may not trust me fully even after years of work and trust.

I am powerless over people, places and things. She did what she did and now she has to start at the beginning again. And I think, will she ever see 23 years of sobriety again? Probably NOT !!!

Which brings me to my next topic Oprah’s Life class, and tonight’s topic of aging gracefully. I am of the mind that if it works for the women, it should translate across to the men just the same.

Let’s face it, we aren’t getting any younger. And we sure as shit aren’t teenagers any more. I have fallen outside the “target” gay demographic, that age group from 18 to 24 age group. All those pups over on Tumblr are so young. All of them fighting for their spot on the map. Worried about finding love and the right man.

I am so glad that I am well past that stage in my life. I may be getting older, things change every year and that has been the case since I hit 40, 4 years ago. I have written about what that meant to me as it happened.

I am not so worried about aging. I think I have accepted gracefully where I am in the grand scheme of things. I think the only vain thing I can be accused of is dying my hair because I am not ready to go grey at this point in my life. Even if my friends are there. Hubby refuses to have grey hair. So we have our Loreal night’s and our beauty parlor days.

Oprah says that we must accept where we are in our lives. That we must own our lives and be honest about who we are, at what ever age we are at. To begin to live authentically. Because you own the space you are in right now. Nobody but you can say that “I am 44 years old.” I lived to see this age.

And every year that we grow we become more and more authentic. I am not 21 anymore, I don’t have the ass of death I had once in  my life. I may not be the prettiest or hottest looking man on the earth, but I have me. And that has to do for me because I only have this one life to live, so I better make the best of it.

This isn’t a dress rehearsal. We have come this far, and there is air in my lungs and I should be grateful for every day that I get. Not that I am sorry or sad or ungrateful. I just wonder what I am supposed to be doing in this life.

I have asked this question of a friend of mine and the more we talk about passions in life, he says that when I talk about this space, my work with others and my online sober presence, my face lights up and there is pep in my step, so to speak.

I talked to  my friend Rhoda tonight and she is a great teacher for me. She is always interested in what I am doing at school and that I am doing well, that I haven’t taken things for granted.

I also talked to my sponsor on the way home about my upcoming anniversary because this one is BIG, double digits. I’ve been concerned as of late with my place in the grand scheme of sobriety. Should I be doing some kind of inventory or should I be doing something different? I asked him if we could get together and talk all these things through because really, we only see each other on Tuesday nights and we really haven’t done a proper review of my sober life in a long time.

But I have kept to the same routine. I build my life around my meetings. I have my home group, my schooling, and my weekly meetings on Friday and Sunday nights. I am a member at two groups now and I do service at both. I am always looking out for the next big thing, and when I joined Friday West End I felt that that was where I should be for the next phase of my sobriety. I think that there is something there for me to experience.

I’ve been studying the old writings. I am eating up stories of Old Timers. I can’t get enough of them, because if I am not diligent and vigilant, I could end up taking a drink, and I don’t want to do that again. I did it once and it did nothing for my life or my sobriety. But I did learn that I should not make big decisions alone, that I should be ok with where I am and always stay connected to my sponsor and my meetings.

The take away from my slip … Sobriety loosing it’s priority …

I thought I was missing something that I wasn’t getting where I was, so why not go look for it elsewhere. Just set me up for the biggest loss in my life. It cost me everything I owned. And almost my life in the end.

I have watched MANY old timers go out and drink after decades of sobriety, double digits worth of sobriety over stupid things. What can you do? But learn from their mistakes. Come hell or high water, I will make my ten years in 52 days.

52 days …

That’s not far off. And I haven’t hit that 30 day out mark yet. One usually hits that pre cake roller coaster at 30 days out. I hope I don’t get all crazy and shit. Always be mindful of my ego. I don’t really have an ego, well I hope not, nobody has said anything about it to me. I try to keep it real and honest.

I don’t know what else to write so I am going to say goodnight for now.

More to come, stay tuned…


First you win, Then you lose…

Courtesy: SeanKlein

This photo is so apropos.

It was an exciting day. Lots of things going on here and there. We are sitting comfortably at 11c. The rain stayed away. The winds have been blowing the clouds right past us overnight. I observed a very angry sky overnight, dark clouds were hanging about, but did not drop rain on us.

Last night class was great. I breezed through the weekly quiz without a second thought. I was talking to a friend at the meeting tonight and I thought out loud that I retained 30 pages of reading, which was a surprise to me. Usually I have to go back and reread to retain that much information.

During the break last night I called my friend to make sure she would be hitting the meeting tonight, and she was excited by the prospect.

I started my day early. Which meant I got out of the house early for set up, because she told me that she would be there early. I wanted to get finished so that I could devote the rest of my time with her before the meeting.

I had almost completed my work, I was cranking out coffee and tables and chairs, with my music thumping in my ears I was deep in the mix, so to speak. She got to the church around 5:30. I did not hear her come down the stairs. I quickly finished up my work and sat down with her. There was conversation. I was not jumping up and down with joy, which she was expecting because she asked my why I wasn’t all excited to see her, which I was, but the snake inside me was stirring.

We sat 28 folks around the table. We talked about “How it Works,” from chapter 5 in the Big Book, to that end the discussion question was “how did you find your higher power?” I sat and listened the whole meeting.

The discussion went around the circle and back to the chair. My friend was sitting on the oncoming side of discussion. And she spoke. Now, I’ve been friends with her for ten years, ever since I got sober. And she had 23 years of sobriety.

The key word here is HAD!!!

In 2009, she went to Florida for her winter sojourn. While there she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Lumps in both breasts and had to undergo test after test, then double mastectomy surgery, recuperation and then reconstructive surgery which took forever to get through. All the while I was talking to her every week, sometimes more than once a week.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

She turned away from the program in opt of no less than misery and sick depression. But I stuck to her, giving her my support and guidance. And I learned tonight something I did not know up until tonight …

When they told her she had cancer and that she may die she decided that while the iron was hot, that she might as well have wine with dinner. And several dinners later, wine in hand, she had pissed away 23 years of sobriety. Never once did she tell me that she had drank. After years of friendship and months upon months of talking she never said a word.

So she was sharing and telling the story about the whole drama and she gets to the part where “wine with dinner” came out of her mouth, and immediately I was incensed. How could she have done that, if I only knew maybe I could have stopped her from taking that first drink. Had she been honest with me, she would not have had to pick up a desire chip after 23 years of sobriety.

My sponsor told me after the meeting that she didn’t have to say anything about it. That the main fact of the matter that I was there for her always supporting her through this excruciating part of life, I had offered her a way back. A connection to what she always knew, but she needed to come back on her own terms. Which she did.

I just think that is was a waste – pissing away 23 years of sobriety for a glass of instant satisfaction and gratification. What a waste…

Now I know that I can’t just have one drink. Ever !!!

Which is why I have been so focused on the old timer stories. To keep going to meetings, even when I don’t want to. I’ve never NOT wanted to get to a meeting. To continue to do service, and to continue working with others.

My friend stopped going to meetings. In fact she was dead set against going to meetings there in Florida, even knowing I had a meeting list for her area and often told her about a meeting she could hit, yet she decided to forgo meetings.

It’s a good thing there are a great group of women at our meeting. One of our Old, Old timer women came to the meeting tonight because she knew my friend was going to make her return and came to support her. That’s what this is all about, support.

My sponsor said that I did what I could with what I had. I did my best and now she is back, for a few months at least, until she goes back to Florida for the winter. We’ll see where this all goes.

To the end of the question … I never had a problem with god. I always knew who God was for me. Having such a rich religious upbringing, going to seminary, studying religion in university and pastoral ministry as well, god was never very far away.

But I do know that over the years I have moved away from institution. God “in the building” for me still exists. But today I seek god “outside the building.” In the field, in other people, in the meeting, in my friends. I know who god is and I know who god is not. And that is good enough for me.

A good night was had by all.

Don’t drink – Go to meetings – Call your sponsor and be rigorously honest.

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path…

That’s all for now. More to come, stay tuned …


Gilad Shalit freed in Israeli-Palestinian prisoner swap

Courtesy: BBC News Middle East

Hamas has handed over Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to Egyptian mediators after five years’ captivity, as part of a prisoner swap deal with Israel, Hamas officials have told the BBC.

More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners are due to be freed. The first 477 are being released on Tuesday.

Sgt Shalit was seized in 2006 by Hamas militants who tunnelled into Israel.

On Monday the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a bid by families of victims of militant attacks to delay the swap.

The day’s events are unfolding in a carefully choreographed sequence.

Early on Tuesday Gilad Shalit, 25, was taken to the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, to be handed over to Egypt in the presence of Israeli representatives.

Israeli Defence Forces later confirmed they had identified he was alive and well.

Egyptian TV showed footage of Sgt Shalit being escorted from a vehicle in Egypt. It was the first time he had appeared in a video since 2009.

Earlier, sources told the BBC that Hamas guards were still with Sgt Shalit, and would only withdraw when all the Palestinian prisoners to be released had left Israel.

Sgt Shalit is then to be transferred to the Kerem Shalom crossing between Egypt and Israel.

After he has made a phone call to his parents and undergone a brief medical examination, he will be flown by helicopter to the Tel Nof airbase in Israel.

He will be undergoing further checks at Tel Nof, where he will meet members of his family, as well as Mr Netanyahu.

If he is fit, Sgt Shalit will then be flown with his family to northern Israel and escorted by a convoy to his home town of Mitzpe Hila, in the western Galilee.

While this is going on, the first of 477 Palestinian prisoners destined for Gaza or exile abroad are to cross into Egypt from Kerem Shalom, a 10-minute drive from Rafah.

Early on Tuesday, a large convoy of inmates left a prison in the south of Israel while a smaller group left another in the centre of the country – both under heavy security.

The remaining 550 are scheduled to be released next month.


What albums did you listen to the most while growing up?

 

The question above courtesy of Plinky. This post is dedicated to my most favorite singing duo Captain and Tennille. Being a child of the 1970’s we still had records back then. I have memories of sitting in our basement listening to the likes of Sonny and Cher and the Jackson 5, and the Mamas and the Papas.

I guess I was in elementary school living in Miami. I attended Coral Terrace Elementary school. I remember getting my first record player for my own room. Those were the days when there were those variety shows on television. I don’t know where it started and by whom, but I was a huge fan of Captain and Tennille. I bought all of their records and once I even got to see them live at the Dade Country Youth Fair one year. I think that was the night that they came to the concert but could not stay, so Dolly Parton went on alone.

From the 1970’s through the 1980’s they were one of my favorite singer/groups. Later on, well later on I would get to meet Toni Tennille on board one of the Royal Caribbean Cruise ships when I worked for the line later on in my story.

I still listen to them to this day. I had a huge collection of records that I carried around with me from home to home, even if I didn’t have a record player. With the dawn of the CD, the old archives of music from ages past were saved for the world to hear. You can’t get this kind of music just any where. I hunted high and low for a seller, I think it finally came down to Amazon where I got my copies of these cd’s.

Before the dawn of phones into our lives here, we progressed through the veritable cd player, that bulky machine you would carry around with you with an assortment of Cd’s along with them. This would be back as far of 2000,2001.

I was still using my cd player when I moved to Canada. Then dawned the day of the hand held mp3 player and the dawn of electronic music download. Transferring music from hard copy cd to the windows media format to put the mp3 on the player. My mp3 player was attached to me, it went everywhere with me. When that died, I was lost.

And last year hubby did all kinds of homework to find the best deal on cell phones that did everything that you needed it to do. I use my phone to make calls, but the big job my phone does is play music. I can’t live without music. Music is part of my life. Play any assortment of music on any given day and I can usually come up with an anecdote or story connected to any given piece of music. I have an eclectic collection of music on my phone.

Over the last few years I have collected a huge collection of Cd’s that are sitting in a cabinet here in our apartment. Most of them are sitting on my hard drive on file. I have an 8 gb card in my phone so my music collection is huge. I travel from genre to genre from gentle 70’s to hard rock Linkin Park and Breaking Benjamin. From theme park music to movie soundtracks.

I love the old music from the 70’s and 80’s. I had a huge stereo as a teen ager with an LP player and an 8 track player as well. Do you remember the 8 track tape? Did you have one? Was there one in your car? or on your home stereo.

Groups like the Mamas and the Papas, Feetwood Mac and assorted other artists of that time. I went through a country phase and a classical phase when I was in high school. I took a humanities class in high school and we used to listen to classical music, first period of the day, and study art and architecture.

I’m listening to Captain and Tennille as I am typing this out. And in my minds eye I am sitting in my bedroom with my LP playing and my headphones on laying on my water bed with my little light show going on. I used to have all these funky lamps that held water and glitter and lava lamps and lights that spun, reflecting off the ceiling. My bedroom was an escape from the trials of the day.

My favorite Music:

  • Captain and Tennille
  • Mamas and the Papas
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • U2
  • Celine Dion
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Cher
  • Information Society
  • Bette Midler
  • Lady Gaga
  • Classic M People – 1990’s
  • DJ Tiesto
  • Madonna
  • Breaking Benjamin
  • Erasure
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Duran Duran “of course”
  • Keane
  • Amber
  • Linkin Park “definitely”
  • Def Leppard
  • Van Halen
  • Lifehouse
  • Amy Grant
  • Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Yanni
  • DJ Junior Vasquez
  • DJ Chad Fox Podcasts
  • Barbra Streisand

Just a selection of the music that is on my phone. I love music. it gives us a reason to live. Much of my life is painted in musical tones. For every memory there is a song to go with it. A lifetime of music. I know it would take me ages to collect every piece of music from the past. Every once and a while I run past an old piece of music and I get to add it to my collection.

I don’t listen to music radio at all. Only what I have in my collection, what is put out on the open market. Our record stores here in the city are all going belly up. They don’t sell music like they used to. There were times when I would spend a good hour at HMV listening to music and spending hundreds of dollars every year on new music. But with the dawn of the Ipod and Apple Itunes and downloadable music, the days of the hard press CD will come to an end, just like LP’s, 8 tracks and Cd’s.

 

This was one of my all time favorites …

And this one as well. Come in From the Rain. Fantastic memories …

That’s all I have for tonight.
Tomorrow is Tuesday and meeting night, it’s going to be very exciting. An old friend of mine is making her return to the meeting after fighting breast cancer, so there will be much to talk about tomorrow.

Stay tuned …


The Needs of the One …

A couple of days ago I had a conversation with my friend Tina. I have known Tina since I began Junior High School in 1979 … 1979!!!
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That’s 32 years we have known each other. We have been friends for all this time. And lately my friend has found herself in dire straits after breaking up with her boyfriend who bled her dry of all her money and now she is homeless and living in her car.
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That is unacceptable. We must do something.
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State assistance is in the pike and may take longer than is necessary to get her out of her car. So we set up this chip in widget and are asking all of you who can to make a humble donation to help her. If this were you, what would you do? Winter is coming and being confined to a wheelchair and living out of your car is problematic. So please, give if you can, and if you are able give generously.
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“When you have done this for the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done it for me.”
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Click the widget to the right of the blog and follow the prompt to make a donation. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
*** *** *** ***
Tina needs our help!

Hopefully you have reached this site because you are a friend of Tina’s and/or know about her story and want to help her out of a bad situation. I can tell you I have known Tina since 9th grade and she is a self sufficient working type who has never let her disability hold her back (she has been in a wheelchair all her life). She has found herself, as a result of trusting the wrong person, (who took her for everything) now living in her car in the upstate NY area. It’s cold there and it is October. She is pursuing avenues to get help from the state, but that is slow. She has an application in for an apartment. Her family is in their own crisis and cannot help her. If you are able to give anything at all it will help, and she is grateful, as am I.

Blessings to you, together we can help Tina. Let’s get our friend off the street and into a warm home. Thank you!!

Love, Trish


You Know …

Courtesy: Wrestling is Best

Good evening Peeps !!!

It is raining in our fair city. All day it rained cats, dogs and little fishes. And they tell us there is only more on the way, a rainfall warning is in effect and storms are on tap overnight. We are sitting at a balmy 16c at this hour.

It was a busy day today. Lots of things to do. I paid all my bills early this morning and “weeps” gave hubby $500.00 for the house. It seems we are being overrun by bills, bills, and more bills. I got out this afternoon for a haircut. I don’t know if I like it, my usual stylist was off so I sat for a stranger who just chopped my hair to pieces, and she got a little carried away because she totally missed what I told her I wanted and what she thought I wanted. It will grow out eventually.

I hit the bookstore after that and had to wait half an hour through the lunch break to buy my books, which ran me almost $80.00. I’ve been photocopying the book from the library so far because we couldn’t afford the extra money paid out. But now I need the books because I have an analytical essay to write and I need the special book that comes in the set for reading.

I put tickets on my Opus card and picked up my meds at the pharmacy, that was an expensive purchase $60.00. When all was said and done, I was in the negative on my budget sheet. I was running a tally of the money I was spending all day adding totals to the list. Hubby reimbursed me the $60.00 which gave me a little wiggle room and to have some money for the week ahead.

It’s amazing how fast one can burn through money. $762.00 up in smoke in less than 24 hours. Every penny accounted for and spent accordingly.

I got home around 3:30 and took a power nap before heading out to the meeting for set up.

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

It was pouring when I left the house. Thankfully rapid transit was running right up to speed. I hit a train and a bus one after the other on the transit out. And when I got to the church, Matt and Robert were waiting for me to set up. Things get set up quickly with three people doing the work.

We had an impromptu business meeting to discuss our anniversary which falls on the 9th of December. What a fortuitous date. Linda picks up her cake, I pick up my ten year cake and the group anniversary falls on that same night. Busy Busy… But a handful of our women will be on retreat that weekend so we are going to postpone the anniversary until the 16th, the week after.

Since it rained, the count was light. But the room still felt full. A member from the group spoke. She is amid her 10th year, having just picked up her nine year cake in March. And you know, she spoke, you know, and she shared her story, you know, what it was like, what happened and what it is like now, you know…

People who don’t share often – often get stuck in the You Know… You hear it once and it is distracting, you hear it again and it becomes a pattern, then you hear it over and over for 40 minutes and by the time she got to the end you were praying for the end to come sooner than later. You Know …

When I was early in sobriety, one of our old timers used to sit and critique when we spoke or when we shared at a discussion meeting. Many people go through the “You Know” stage.

My Old Timer used to count how many times I said “You Know” during the times I spoke. He did that over and over again. Until I stopped using You Know in my speech.

This is one of those little lessons you learn if you are blessed enough to have someone point it out so that you don’t get stuck in the trap. Because nothing grates on the nerves more than listening to someone who is stuck in You Know.

At the end of the meeting we had a 24 year cake, a 45 year cake and a 19 year cake. Lots of good sobriety in the room. Lots of cake and conversation. I cleaned up the room and set off for home. I missed a bus and had to wait half an hour for another one. I got to the train station and the train was 6 minutes out. I got home after 11 – the news was on. We had a later dinner and I am still writing at the moment.

I got a very disturbing email from a good friend I grew up with for the last 30 years. We keep in touch through Facebook. I am shocked to say the least by her words and all I can do for her if offer her my prayers. If you pray, say a prayer for my friend Tina. She could use a few well placed prayers about now.

I don’t know what to expect for the weekend.

So stay tuned for more from a rainy, wet Montreal.