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Archive for December, 2011

2011 in review from Word Press.com

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Last Meeting of 2011 …

Courtesy: jsounthone

It is a cold (-8c) And it is brisk out. A soft blanket of snow lies over the city, we had a soft snowfall earlier in the day. But they tell us that more is on the way, maybe some freezing rain along with it… Bah !!!

Things are very quiet here at home. With plenty of time on our hands, it comes down to finding things to do when there is nothing to do. Just how much politics can you take in one day’s news cycle ??? Hubby loves every minute of it but I am getting tired of hearing about it, since it doesn’t affect us here.

So the day was quiet. I spent a few hours reading “Inheritance.” I am about 300 pages into the 850 page read. Then we took our afternoon nap before having to get ready to go to the meeting.

Lizzy offered to drive me out and bring me home which is nice, not having to take the bus and train. Not that I mind rapid transit. But a car is nice when it is in the minuses outside.

We got to the church and the door was open. I made coffee and tea whilst Lizzy did set up and did chairs. I did my share of set up as well. Then we waited. It was the last Friday of the month and we had our business meeting. Everybody is happy with their Christmas gifts. IPads, Blackberry tablets, smart phones and the like.

I don’t see why I would need an IPad. I have no use for one. I am happy with my desktop setup. And I like my Android smart phone as well. Since we are an Anti-Apple household, we wouldn’t deign to buy an Apple product.

So tonight was my last meeting for the calendar year of 2011. There are plenty of meetings open tomorrow night, but I will be staying in with hubby. I got to do literature tonight and it was another round robin share meeting.

At the end of the hour I got up and shared about my “seat.” I told this story on my year end review the other night. I wanted to commit to a meeting, and you can’t do that when you travel from meeting to meeting. And picking my chair at Friday West End was the best decision I had made in sobriety this past year. Because it paid out in spades. I could not ask for more from a group of people who care about me and each other like they do at Friday West End.

We heard a lot of good things tonight. There are ways to celebrate the New Year that do not involve drinking …

Our yearly New Year’s Eve Tradition begins tonight at 1 a.m. With Coast to Coast AM on CJAD. The yearly, two night 2012 prediction extravaganza.

Hosted this year by the esteemed Ian Punnett from the Great Lakes Region of Minneapolis St. Paul. This will be his last weekend hosting his regular Saturday night gig because of tinnitus. So it will be a bittersweet weekend of radio.

We look forward to this show every year because of the rotating hosts and the show itself. They pull out the books that hold the predictions from last year to see which ones were hits and which ones were misses. While callers get to give one prediction for the year ahead.

And 2012 is going to be crazy. You know, with the end of the world on the calendar, you know the crazies are going to be calling for destruction, pestilence and calamities beyond anything the world has ever seen. It’s gonna be earthquakes, famines, floods and calamities … Mark My Words …

I can just hear it now, one crazy fucker after another trying to out piss the caller before them to see who can best the other in the predictions for 2012.

It will be crazy. Worth every minute of listening.

And the show will conclude on Saturday night into Sunday morning. We will ring in the New Year as usual. Hubby hates New Year’s Eve. So it will be a subdued affair.

This week we got screwed by Quebec City once again. They issued our bursaries over a week ago. And they posted a bank date of Wednesday. But it is the holiday’s and nothing is carved in stone. And Quebec City fucks us all over several times over each year and this year would be no different.

So when Wednesday came and went and no money in the bank, hubby called Quebec City and they told him that the monies would be deposited on Friday. Today … Well, no monies were deposited today either. Which means the money could come overnight tonight. And if it doesn’t come overnight, then it will be next week before we get paid and having no money is putting a strain on us here at home. FUCK ME !!!!

God Damned Quebec Financial Aide You Fuckers !!!

You know they all got paid for the holiday don’t you !!!

Anyways, what was I saying … Oh yes, Coast to Coast… You gotta listen if you can. It will be entertaining at least.

I don’t know if I will post before the New Year so if I don’t Happy New Year to you and yours. May it be filled with happiness, love and peace…

Goodnight from Montreal.


I Thirst … The Year that was 2011 …

“I thirst,” Jesus said on the cross when Jesus was deprived of every consolation, dying in absolute Poverty, left alone, despised and broken in body and soul. He spoke of His thirst – not for water – but for love, for sacrifice.

Jesus is God: therefore, His love, His thirst is infinite. Our aim is to quench this infinite thirst of a God made man. Just like the adoring angels in Heaven ceaselessly sing the praises of God, so the sisters, using the four vows of Absolute Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Charity towards the poor ceaselessly quench the thirsting God by their love and of the love of the souls they bring to Him.

Mother Teresa writes:

Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much is the love He has for each one of you – beyond all what you can imagine … not only He loves you, even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy…

*** *** *** ***
This will be my 2,582nd post…

We begin this tale of the last 365 days at nearly the end, because that is where I think we need to begin. I re-read my end of year 2010 report to try and get a sense of what I need to write about this year. So many things have happened this year and I haven’t written out an outline, I will then free write …

First, we need music. Barbra Streisand … A Piece of Sky …

The winter 2010-2011 school season was a success. I did very well in my courses and finished at the top of my game. Not much happened over the summer so I took off those months. There wasn’t much in classes that I really wanted to take. I went to an inordinate amount of meetings over the summer.

This past Fall, I pursued my education at CeGep this year with as much zeal as I could muster. After two semesters of French, I decided that I would no longer pander to the language police here in Quebec. I would rather eat glass then study French another day in my life. So I gave it up on the first day of the third semester. I sat in the chair and the prof started in and I sat until the break and then I left. Never to return. I had had enough of that …

That night I decided to study Western Civilization instead. So the Fall Semester I studied Sociology, following in my husbands footsteps. Added to that was Western Civilization. Both courses I did fantastically well. I had great teachers and a little help from my friends in the form of free textbooks and occasional coaching from the side. That’s what you get when you go to meetings. People truly want to see you succeed and if they can, play a part in that success. So thanks to Eric and Hubby for their help.

Last year I spoke of Hubby’s doing well in University. And today I can say with a proud heart that he has more than exceeded all of our expectations. He not only was a student in the Graduate Studies program for Sociology, he taught a section of tutorials this past semester. Something he worried about – but to me, looking at it from the outside, it was effortless. He just is the most fascinating man I know. He did it all like a Master…

On the medical front, I lived another year. All my numbers have been above the 1000 mark. My good run has been extended this past year. My doctor never varies from his talk to me whenever I see him. He says the same thing like a litany that never changes. Loose weight, stop eating junk food and exercise. The theme never varies. However I can report that I did lose some weight over the last year. I changed up my diet – hubby is a very health conscious cook.

My diabetes numbers have been nominal to the degree that the last time I saw my doc for that it was for five minutes. He has dispensed with the whole triage, dietician and extensive medical history and check up for a brief looking at the number on my meter – signing off on refills and sending me on my way.

The other night at a Christmas dinner at a friends, I met a man who is diabetic and we talked about our respective situations. I seem to be doing so well and he has all but given up he says “you only get one life, so might as well live it” and not in the good way either. You see this happen with certain people who can’t be bothered to take care of themselves correctly and follow medical advice, and at that I shake my head, I keep my council and I let it go. He takes pills to control his diabetes, but he doesn’t test daily, nor does he do what he is told. Which is a shame, because in the end it may kill him one day and that would be a loss.

The same goes for people with HIV. I get them newly diagnosed and I talk them into a life plan and we find them the next step to survival. Most of the men I have worked with in the last calendar year have dispensed with my advising. It is not something they wanted to continue, so I must let them go. If they live or die is entirely up to them.

Another of my fellows on the HIV train was dumped after a long term relationship by the man who fell out of love with him and over a steak dinner divulged that he did not love him anymore. This sent my friend into a tailspin that almost killed him. I warned him not to use or drink. But what did he do? He went out in a blaze of glory.

Where everyone was pissing and moaning about lost love, I was the only one to warn him of the consequences of a major slip in recovery after being sober for so many years. My counsel fell on deaf ears and he used heavy narcotics in a haze that almost killed him. And with that I took my leave of him. He ended our friendship over this.

One of my guys got sick, ended up in the hospital and had a near death experience. That experience sent him out the door into a drunken drug filled stupor for a few months only to end up in rehab, and in a haze of forgetfulness calls me one night begging my help once again. I can proudly say that today that man is sober and clean. He has a few months sobriety and is actively working his steps with me in a 12 step intensive. One of the only success stories I can talk about on the HIV front.

Another year in the books as year 44 came around this past summer. I am soon heading for fifty. Can you believe it??? Me at 50. Who knew. But we are not there yet. One day at a time … I read the book Aging with HIV, and in the book I am at the near beginning of the scale, not so old as the men in the book, but I am getting there slowly. In reading the book, I learned what concerned men going into their 50’s. Most of the issues I read about, I have already dealt with in my sobriety.

This past year has been one of disappointments in people. As I stated above the theme is recurring several times over. When people show you who they are the first time believe them…

A long time friend who I had been counseling, listening to and confiding in for the last ten years trying to be her friend just pissed me the fuck off. After 23 years of sobriety, she admitted after the fact that she was drinking and lying to me all the time, prior to her return to Montreal this past fall. I am beginning to learn just who is my friend and who paid me in lip service over the past year.

Suffice to say that I held my tongue quite well when she picked up a desire chip after 23 years at my home group. I sat on my feelings and stuffed them until they almost choked me. And one night words were spoken. Words I can never take back. It all came out one word after another …

I am not ashamed that I caved. I mean what are we unfeeling cyborgs? Can’t I feel an emotion and put it out there? Well, that was another ending. I said my piece and she felt victimized and reported me to her sponsor as a bad man. I ended that friendship in a blaze of glory. She went back to Florida. If she is sober is up to her and God.

I am beginning to find my voice as a man who knows himself. I have spent the better part of the year taking care of me and learning all those lessons that Oprah had to offer in terms of Life Class. And I put to practice all those things that she says will help us become who we are meant to become.

Being true to ones self. Knowing and being responsible for the energy we give out and what energy we bring to ourselves. When people show us who they are the first time, believe them. Things like this …

Every day of my life is book-ended with meetings. That formula for success is what I attribute my successes. I have this year crossed a huge mile marker which I will touch on a bit later. If I have a night free, you can usually find me at a meeting somewhere. Tuesday Beginners has been a part of my life for more than ten years now. And it served me well.

Over the summer, my sponsor and my friend Dave, who is a proud daddy today used to travel to different meeting on Friday night. From the South shore to the West End to NDG. We did this for weeks on end until I had enough of traveling from here to there. I wanted to invest in somewhere certain. You can’t invest in a meeting and their people if you are not a weekly attendee. So I decided to go to Friday West End by myself.

I set a goal for myself and that goal was to go and wait for God to tell me what to do. I went, week after week until the voice gave me direction. And I knew it one night when after the meeting I felt the urge that this is where the next chapter of my sobriety was to open. So I joined the group a few months ago. I needed three months of service to become a proper member, and so I did that gladly.

I would go and set up chairs and make coffee. I sat in the same chair week in and week out. People began to notice me, not because of what I was doing, but because of my presence in the same spot week after week. People started talking to me, I learned their names, and made some friends. An old timer and his wife from Dorval. I have spoken about them before.

The next chapter of my sobriety was opening up. I did my time and got into the rotation as a full member. And then everything changed. And it was the greatest gift I have ever been given in sobriety. Firstly there was the night we were in the church for the meeting – it was the first time I was responsible for setting up and doing all the grunt work because most of the group was out of town that night, and the hall was being used the next day for a church bazaar so we were in the church proper and that night we all had a spiritual experience. It was the most beautiful night on my life, listening to a young lady play the piano. It was angel speak. The night was a HUGE success. And it did not go unnoticed.

The fall came and went. I am still doing service every week. Now I am the designated coffee maker. That along with minor set up skills I am an upstanding member of Friday West End.

Weeks before my 10th sober anniversary, I had been in a really deep conscious contact with my God. My prayer life I stepped up. I was reading holy texts and I came across Mother Teresa once again. A book I had once dismissed, I picked up again, just by happenstance. And I was convicted … The story of how she began the Missionaries of Charity with “I Thirst …” I knew that was going to become the marker for my anniversary.

On certain big anniversaries, I was taught in early sobriety, you make an offering to God for your sobriety. I did it on my first anniversary with a piercing. And now at ten, I needed to do something big. I made a few calls and visited a few tattoo parlors in the core and settled on Adrenaline. I talked it over with hubby and he gave me the green light to get the tattoo I wanted. I prayed about it for a week. And on the Friday prior to my anniversary, I got that tattoo. It was all the rage at Friday West End. Since I Face booked it everyone wanted to see it, and so it went. I was really proud of myself.

And also as it came to pass that I was approaching my 1oth sober anniversary, is when God stepped in and gifted me. The Friday before my anniversary, the chair asked me to speak, ON my anniversary. On that same night our matriarch asked me if I would take my cake on that next Friday night. (Now I was prepared to wait until the 13th at TB’s to take my cake) But she had other plans for me.

She asked me if I had my 2 year silver oval medallion. Yes, it was in my wallet. I gave it to her and she took it and sent it off to the jewelers to be Gold Plated and engraved with whatever I wanted on it … “I Thirst…” is on that medallion now.

I talked to my sponsor about sharing. And he said as long as I keep my ego in check, all should be well. That Friday came to pass. I got up there and knocked it out of the park. I don’t remember all of what I said. But whatever I did say made a difference in my life and the lives of the members of the group and others as well who came to hear me speak. It was the most exciting night of my life in recent years. Then I got my cake and my GOLD medallion. It was the most exciting moment in my sobriety so far.

The people of Friday West End gave me a gift that I could never repay. They gave me a memory that I can take to my grave as being had. And I am forever grateful to them for that. We are a great happy bunch of drunks that do good things every Friday night for every person who walks in our doors.

We had our anniversary the following week and we had over a hundred and some odd people. We had food galore and fun, fun, fun. I even got to thank that speaker because the chair thinks I am so eloquent in thanking capabilities. I don’t know if it went over as good as I wanted because of the man I was thanking. Some stories are tougher than others to thank because of content and experience. And he was rough trade… But I did my best.

On the 13th of December I took a second chip and celebrated with Cake at my original home group. To show to newcomer that it can be done. Many old friends came to help me celebrate. We had lots of cake and conversation. So I have a ten year medallion to keep forever, and one to share with someone coming along to their tenth… December has been one very exciting month.

The holidays have come and are nearly gone. The weeks are just flying past, as if to say, let’s get this year over already !!! Christmas was a big BLUR on the radar screen. And it is Tuesday late night once again as I write this. I was so busy over the holidays that I forget that the day came. Our home Christmas was sandwiched in between cooking for home, setting up for an evening meeting and attending a second Christmas dinner all on the same night.

And with great effort the world is going to welcome in the New Year in the way they know how to do… With lots of liquor and celebrations. I talked to a friend on Tumblr earlier and I said that all those young people won’t know what hit them after imbibing copious amounts of liquor and smoking the best weed out there. What a waste … But what can you do???

We will take in the New Year as we always do. With our Crystal Goblets and a little non-alcoholic bubbly. We will watch the ball fall and kiss on the moment and then we will go to bed and listen to Coast to Coast AM and the yearly predictions show for 2012. This year proves to be exciting, with Armageddon knocking on our doors on December 21st 2012.

PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR. TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE SOMEWHERE SAFE BECAUSE IT IS ALL SUPPOSED TO END. WE CAN ALL KISS OUR RESPECTIVE ASSES GOODBYE BECAUSE THEY TELL US THE WORLD WILL COME TO AN END.

At Least the Mayan’s have given the preacher world something to go on about for the last year. And needless to say it will only get worse as the date draws nearer. So we will see who the forgiven/saved are and who is going to suffer damnation, hellfire and sorrow.

And that is how we will close out the year that was 2011.

What did you do this year that is noteworthy? Share those thoughts with us.

I really want to thank all the people who have subscribed to this blog, and to all my readers out there. From all over the world. Especially, Bear Toast, Rod, Vincent and the rest of you. Thank you for a great year. It has been a joy writing for you – and you have helped me polish my voice so to speak.

I am in touch, so you be in touch.

I love your faces.

WC:  3,173 Post 2,582


Into Action …

Courtesy: Destroyingsenses

It’s Tuesday Again… It came so quickly. It seems Christmas came and went so quickly. So here we are again …

It is (2c) out. They are calling for snow. But it is just miserable out. Rain is falling over the city. Hopefully that rain will turn to snow, but the temp needs to drop a little more for that to happen. Overall, the snow fall should be 10 to 15 cm through tomorrow. We shall see about that …

It was a beautiful start of the day, what little sun there was, I noticed peaked from behind banks of clouds and then it set without any negligible showing. I got out of the house early, and got set up done with plenty of time for our early birders to show up. But none did. We were missing a whole group of members from the meeting, and quite a number were missing from the business meeting, which puts all our business on hold until we can find a nominal number of people to take care of what needs to be done before the beginning of January.

Our anniversary passed this past week. 55 years. And we missed the December deadline to get it in the blue sheets, which means we can’t hold it in January, but more towards February. We need to settle on a date and get that in before the 15th of January. People are still on holidays and Dave is out with the new baby.

We had low numbers tonight. It seems we are competing for bodies with Oasis, which meets on the other side of town. All those people who came last week were a fluke because Oasis was closed. We have been trying to get one of our rehabs to come to our meeting, one of our members has been lobbying them hard to get them to come. It doesn’t seem to be working.

We read from the Big Book. Chapter 6 Into Action. Working through Steps 4 through 8. Which is a big block of work to read through, Not everyone is at the same point in recovery. Some are at this point in the book, and most were not. Many have crossed this threshold and many others have not.

Some of us have worked through 4 and 5. And are working on 6 – 7 and 8. Making those lists and checking them twice. Trying to find out who’s naughty and nice. Before we set to the work of Step 9 and making amends.

Since I am in the chair for the next two weeks, I suppose we will finish up reading this chapter. I have to be ready to work some steps with my sponsees who are at this point now. Trying to get through step 5 is tedious. But once you cross that threshold, it is worth it to make those lists and get ready for God to do some interior work on us. As long as we don’t tarry and we remain honest and open for spiritual experience.

I got rid of my 4th step earlier in the week last week and talked through my 5 with my spiritual adviser. And I shared with you earlier what he suggested of me. And tonight I shared that information with my sponsor. And his reply was as I expected… Better wait on your higher power to see what he has in mind for you. Which means better enter into some prayer and discernment. Not something to be taken lightly, because I need to talk to certain people before I can even consider what I have been asked to do. I need to add that fifth and final pillar to my spiritual journey first. And that will take some time.

Other than that, all is well. I am on vacation until the 18th of January. I am working on reading “Inheritance” by Christopher Paolini. It is a tedious read with an 850 page book, I carry it places with me so that I can read here and there. What was good is that the book opens with a recap of the first three books in summary form and he hits all the most necessary points so that you can then begin to read this next book, having some reminders of what took place in books 1,2 and 3.

This has been a typical Tuesday. Not very exciting I know. But the New Year is just a few days away. And we’ll see just how good it will be.

Stick around. More to come, I am sure.


Boxing Day Madness !!!

We are sitting at (-2c) at this hour.

The sun is shining and the snow is melting quickly. But FEAR NOT my friends for there is MORE SNOW coming for the rest of the week, and it looks like a major snow event is going to take place for the weekend.

I decided that I would brave the hungry hoards of angry, rude and obnoxious shoppers today and venture to the mall for a little Boxing Day Retail Therapy.

The trains have been packed from one end to the other. When I got off at McGill tons of people were streaming into the mall to queue up at major electronic shops and stores. The bulk of the shops were closed, but a few had 1 p.m. opening signs on the doors and there were tons of people waiting for deals.

My goal was Indigo. It was pleasantly comfortable. Not too bad. I got a copy of Christopher Paolini’s last book in the Inheritance series. The fourth book in the series titled “Inheritance.” The Eragon Saga is coming to an end. And the book is huge … at 849 pages, it should take me quite a bit of time to read. And I am off until the 18th of January, so I have plenty of time.

I then wandered down to the religion section and thumbed through a few books and I finally settled on Henri J.M. Nouwen’s The Wounded Healer, Ministry to Contemporary Society. One must always want to keep some spiritual texts next to your bedside to read at the close of the day.

On the way home walking through the mall, there were hoards of people waiting outside Simon’s and The Source and the X Box shop. Tons and tons of people. I stopped for a bite to eat and then took the train home. Most of the big retail shops were opening around 1 o’clock.

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

I had lunch with my Spiritual director the other day. A man whom I respect a great deal. He was my first friend here when I started University many years ago. What started out as an academic adviser morphed into a best friendship over the years.

He is a tenured professor of Religious Studies at Concordia. And he is pursuing ordained ministry, and in a years time will be ordained into the Anglican faith as a priest.

I told him what I was up to and he asked about my prayer life and my personal ministry that I seem to be doing here on the blog, and in my recovery community. Ron Rolheiser says that there are five pillars to Christian Practice.

The fifth and final pillar is participation in a faith community. This one pillar is missing in my spiritual practices. I mean I go to church, however sparsely. Since I have been on this night clock, I don’t do Sunday mornings very well. Actually, I don’t do any mornings well.

But he asked what I planned to do once I finish at Dawson, because eventually the money is going to run out and so will my available credit hours. They only give you so many credit hours over 2 years to finish your school work at the CeGep level.

We talked about my prayer life and that I do have one. There are times when I have great connection with my God, and in those times, if you are learned in the practice of spirituality, you just know when God is around. And he said that I needed to get connected to a spiritual community, a Church of some sort. And then he offered this to me … Because long ago, when I was in seminary as a young man, I felt I had a calling to serve God. But that didn’t last long.

When I moved here and returned to my studies my goal was to climb the spiritual ladder from the outside of the church. And I got only so far. M.A. studies were a bitch and I failed miserably. But my friend asked me if I felt a calling to the ordained ministry. He means to say that the option to seek ordained ministry is a very available option.

It is something that I really need to put to prayer.

Hence, I am reading spiritual books and talking to spiritual people. I haven’t entered into a vocational discernment process as of yet. But it is there on the back burner. He told me that there were monies available to pursue studies further. I haven’t spoken to hubby about all of this yet. It is still in the “think” process.

I just thought I would put all this out there and see what any of you have to say on the matter.

I think a nap is on order now.

More to come, stay tuned …


Christmas Day Roundup …

Courtesy: Iheefz

It is (-7c) out.

Another Christmas is in the books. The snow began very early this morning and lasted all day long and into the night. We got quite a dusting and a little bit more. Not enough for plows or salt trucks, but enough to make ruts in the streets.

After we cleaned up after our home Christmas dinner we watched a little television and hung out. And I got out of the house around 4:30 to set up the hall for the Sunday night meeting. I had plenty of time to do what I needed to do. The Sunday setup is not as labor intensive as my Tuesday meeting set up.

I had expected at least 20 people to show up so I made 40 cups of coffee in the urn, I had the tables set and the books out with an hour to spare until the meeting started. We sat a dozen folks around the table. It was a nice night for a meeting. Since it was the last Sunday of the month it was a tradition meeting. And it being the 12th month, we read from the Twelve and Twelve and the Twelfth Tradition.

The discussion is always interesting when we talk about anonymity. You begin to understand that people across the board have varying opinions about the topic. From people with a little time, to people who have double digit time, the opinion changes over time as they got sober.

After the meeting we tucked everything away and everybody was off to their next stop on the Christmas Day sober train.

For the first time since I’ve been in Montreal, a friend of mine invited me over to his condo to share a Christmas Night meal with his partner and a friend. It was very festive. He had baked a 20 pound turkey with all the fixings, fresh bread, and a bevy of sides and a very impressive dessert selection afterwards. This would have been my second meal in as many hours …

It was great to just kick back and relax with sober friends and enjoy each others company. A good time was had by all.

So my Christmas day has been successful. We had family, I did a good deed for someone else just because, and I got to share some time with friends as well.

I hope you all had a good day as well. Tomorrow is Boxing Day and a shopping we will go for sure at some point in the day. That will be exciting.

Thanks for spending some of your time with me today.

Goodnight from Montreal.

 


Baby Daddy …

Our friend Dave and his wife Irene are the proud parents of a baby girl born this morning at 4 a.m. Baby Serena and mom are doing well and will be home in the coming days.

We have a Christmas baby and snow falling on the city. Quite miraculous if you ask me …

Dave is very happy and we are very proud of him as well. Photos will be forthcoming soon.


Everything you wanted …

Courtesy: RawrDaniel

“But didn’t get for Christmas is on sale now at Sears !!!”

Do you remember that little after Christmas jingle commercial from Sears from long ago? I only get to use it once a year so there it is …

Snow is falling on the city at this hour. It is (-11c) outside and we got the snow they promised us. Today will be a long day with food, meetings and festive Christmas party fun later on tonight.

I was up at 10. Got the turkey in the oven and we opened presents. It was a very small occasion. There weren’t loads of presents but just a few. We have everything that we need so why waste the money on needless things …

I got the final installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II. And hubby also got me a nice Christmas shirt that I can wear later today to the meeting and the party afterwards. I got hubby some new bake ware and storage containers because we needed them badly. So it was a simple Christmas…

The Wizard of Oz is on tv – who knew they played it on Christmas Day. It was always an Easter event from  my memory. “There’s no place like home, There’s no place like home …”

I will have much more for you later today.

Stay tuned …


Twas the evening before Christmas …

Courtesy: Bluepueblo

It is a cold ( -13c) at this hour. They are calling for 4 to 6 cm of snow tomorrow. Reports say that snow will begin in the morning and last until midnight, which means if conditions are right, a lot of snow can fall in more than 12 hours for a snow event. We shall see …

Today was a busy day. I went on a supermarket safari to get some needed items for dinner tomorrow and to stock up on sodas, juices and munchies for the next 2 days, since the stores will be closed on Sunday.

I attacked the fridge with a vengeance. I tossed a bag of garbage from the back of the fridge that has been sitting there for I don’t know how long. Once a leftover hits the fridge – is disappears into the void of no-return, and it doesn’t see the light of day again. It’s a bad habit, and we don’t usually cook enough to have leftovers, but they collect over time, here and there.

I cleaned the fridge and scrubbed the kitchen clean and tossed some old rusted cookie sheets that should have been tossed long ago, seeing I bought hubby a new collection of bake ware for Christmas.

I cleaned the apartment and vacuumed all around and that was the afternoon in a nutshell. I watched Memoir of a Geisha on dvd waiting for hubby to get home from the bus station, which he did around 3:30.

My in laws got us some cool coffee mugs with gourmet ground coffee, a new cook pot to add to our collection of fine cook wear. We also got a huge HBC Bay Blanket which came with its own book to tell you how it came to be the best blanket around.

Lots of good and tasty cookies, a Belgian chocolate cookie box, which I love !!! And a few odds and ends. We got some money from hubby’s parents, which is always appreciated.

Tonight we will do turkey prep and get ready for tomorrows big event.

I was thinking about going to the 11 pm service at Christ Church Cathedral, which would run us right up to the last train of the night coming through town, since they are running a regular Saturday night schedule, I don’t want to get stuck having to walk all the way home from the core to the house here.

It’s a long walk in the cold from there to here…They say any red blooded Canadian would never complain about the cold… I beg to differ !!!

I think I am going to prep my bird and get to bed early because tomorrow is going to be hectic.

All’s well that ends well.

Stay tuned for my Christmas Day post.

Make sure you set out cookies and milk for Santa and veggies for his reindeer, and that you go to bed early and make sure you read the story Twas the night before Christmas…

Toodles …


The Night Before, The Night Before Christmas …

Courtesy: Darkandchaos

It is (-20c) outside …

God heard our prayers today and it snowed over the city. Peacefully and quietly the snow began early this morning – I got up out of bed and there it was, nice, big wet snowflakes falling from the sky. Enough to paint the scene white and to bring enough Christmas spirit to a city that was quite cold and bleak. None of the models were telling us what we all wanted to hear. But in the end God granted us a small miracle …

And so the day went. Home alone I actually went to bed earlier than usual last night and woke up at my leisure. I puttered around this morning not doing anything substantial. Then I headed to the grocery store to pick up some odds and ends for the meeting on Sunday evening. Then I loaded up the dvd player with some Harry Potter before getting ready to go tonight …

I left early for the metro and got halfway across the transit and I was standing on the platform at Lionel Groulx when the “tones of death” sounded …

Those “tones of death” that are going to tell us that one of the lines are stopped somewhere and that service is about to be interrupted. Thankfully, it was the inbound orange line going into the city. I was on my way out of the city, so we were good to go…

I got to the church first. Lizzy was right behind me. We got the coffee perking and a funny thing happened … We started setting out chairs and this little man walked in and said that someone from the New York office called him, here in Montreal, and told him to come help us set up chairs … Well, that was the story he told us. We wondered who in New York would have called him really …

So he helped us put out the chairs and finish setting up. Then he took his jacket and bundled back up and left … We’d never seen him before and he was not a familiar face, but we welcomed him and had polite conversation.

Once he was gone we settled in to wait for people to show up. Our kitchen people came in a little while later and by 8:45 everyone was accounted for. The holiday meeting spree had begun.

Funny this … There wasn’t a speaker. But we opened the floor to anyone who wanted to share about their lives. What was going on, how do you get through the holidays sober, a little gratitude, a little story here or there in three minutes or less. The round robin went around the room. We got to hear from people who you don’t usually hear unless you knew them or if they had spoken recently. We got to see some old faces and reconnect with them as well.

At the end of the meeting one of our long time members took his 1 year cake. We are all very proud of him. Every milestone is important, especially when people struggle to get sober. We’ve all played a part in his sobriety. Spending time with him, going through the Big Book with him, having him do service for the group, ministering to his needs in all sense of the word.

That’s what makes Friday West End so special. The many members go to any length to make sure you are cared for, that you are not alone, and that we are part of your family. And we do that for everyone who walks through our doors.

There was cake and conversation. People have been strategizing about where they were going to spend Christmas, what meetings will be open tomorrow and Sunday. The city is covered. There are special meetings tomorrow night and many spots will be open beginning first thing Sunday morning, so depending when you get up and when you can get out of the house, there are meetings to go to over the weekend.

Oasis will be having a huge meeting and party tomorrow night. And there are breakfast meetings on Sunday morning. Sunday Nighter’s will be open because I will be opening the hall for them on Sunday afternoon at 5. Our meeting runs from 6:15 to 7:15.

I have a turkey to cook early Christmas morning and get served before I have to leave for the evening meeting. Then after that meeting my friends are picking me up and I am going to a second Christmas dinner with sober friends. It will be a full day of festivities.

Hubby returns from Ottawa tomorrow afternoon. I am missing him a whole lot this time around. I am so used to having him around that when he goes to visit his parents, I found this time around that there wasn’t enough to do.

It was a great night. Everybody had fun. And next week we will have another round robin meeting. And hopefully everybody will have fared well over the holiday.

Christmas is coming quickly. And this has been the night before, the night before Christmas edition … Thanks for tuning in …They tell us more snow is on tap for Sunday so we’ll see how right they get it …

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Thanks for subscribing and reading what I have to say. I hope all of you get your Christmas wishes.

Stay tuned. The great Everything you wanted for Christmas post will be up on Sunday morning … So stay tuned…

Goodnight from Montreal…


The Festival of Lights …


Courtesy: Sam Kittner – Nat Geo Photography

We wish all of our friends, family and colleagues a wonderful Hanukkah. May it be filled with laughter, love and life.

Happy Hanukkah …

“We light these lights for the miracles and the wonders, for the redemption and the battles that you made for our forefathers, in those days at this season, through your holy priests. During all eight days of Hanukkah these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them except for to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvations.”

Wiki.


Full House Tuesday !!!

Courtesy: FancyMonochrome

We are sitting at a chilling (-7c) at this hour. And what an exciting day it has been. Last night I sat my FINAL final exam of the semester. Woo Hoo !!! And Today started my real Christmas break. I went to bed last night and slept like a baby. I’ve been trying to get into a more normal sleeping pattern now since school is over for a few weeks.

This morning I had a noon call at Adrenaline to get my Tattoo touched up. And let me say that the touch up hurt more than getting the entire tattoo the first time. I mean she touched up all the text and she must have been in a groove because it felt like she was carving my arm apart !!! She went at it in sweeping arcs of motion and every time the needle went in she dug it a bit deeper and I was like damn, What are you doing to me ???

I love it. It looks really good.

No Pain – No Gain !!!

I left earlier than usual because I had to make stops in the mall on the way out and so I cranked out set up in very little time. Barbra was singing Christmas Carols in my ear and by the time I finished it was 5:40 p.m. And I sat down and grabbed some Grapevines to read at the table. And a miracle happened …

They say if you open a room, they will come …

Well, they came … By the car load… One after another, then in groups of two, and then ten and then twenty … On top of our regular 30 people that come to the meeting as usual, the entire rehab group from Addington House came to our humble little meeting. Which meant we sat almost fifty people around the room.

It was the first time our little meeting has seen these kinds of numbers. And it was all very exciting. Lots of new faces, and fresh sober faces as well. As we are a beginner’s meeting, it served its purpose tonight.

We read from the Big Book from ” There is a Solution…”

WOO HOO !!!  — There is a solution !!!”

And what is the solution ???  The solution is a Vital Spiritual Experience… And what is so great about this chapter is that there is a solution. And by studying the Big Book, coming to meetings and listening to others speak and share, you begin to cultivate a relationship with a power greater than yourself. And in that finding will come a vital spiritual experience.

You never know in what form it will come in, or where it will come from and when it will come, but it will come. And working with sponsees we listen to them come to and then have spiritual experiences and that is the miracle …

And sometimes that spiritual experience comes without words. Not Needing to speak any words either… That is called grace. I’ve seen God move in our little room, numerous times over the last 10 years. I will tell you a story …

We had been a discussion / speaker meeting for a number of years. And the same people used to come to both meetings. Over the last ten years you see people come in and sit. And some stay and get sober. And week in and week out they share and they grow. And over time they begin to change. And little by slowly they come to their own spiritual path. There is no one path, but many paths.

So at some point God comes down from the church above and touches someone in the meeting, and you see the light of God alight on someone sitting in the circle. I’ve actually seen this happen a number of times, when someone “get’s IT” and they understand “IT.” I can’t tell you what that “IT” is because it varies from person to person. But without a doubt, God has come into the room and the light changes. It is all quite miraculous.

There were so many people that we cranked through 12 pages of reading and a fair number of people got to share on the topic. And we had a number of beginners who took chips and one young lady who took a month.

For the first time in as many years, someone asked me for my number and asked me to sponsor them. I was like Way Cool !!! So we chatted before the meeting and I gave him my coordinates. We’ll see if he uses them. We are always available to work with others and all of us make time to work with others on a one to one basis by coming early, going to meetings and talking on the phone.

It is very rare that someone comes up and asks the big question … usually I give my number out and I wait. My track number is not very good, if people don’t call within 2 weeks, I usually give up the ghost. You know, I’ve given my number out to a handful of people and very rarely do they call.

You can’t make someone use the phone. Just like you can’t get someone sober, they have to want to get sober, they must need to get sober. Which brings me to the next piece of writing I want to share from the text: Experience, Strength and Hope. Which is a collection of the stories from all four versions of the Big Book.

This one in particular is titled “There’s nothing the matter with me !” From the Third Edition published in 1976…

And the quote I want to share goes like this:

People in the meeting taught me the most important lesson I have learned in my entire life. That is that A.A. doesn’t need me, but I need A.A. Very desperately, very sincerely, very humbly. Not all at once, because you can’t get it all at once, just a little bit at a time. They told me, “You’ve got to get out and work a little; you’ve got to give.” They told me that giving was living, and living was loving, and loving was God. And you don’t have to worry about God, because He’s sitting right in front of your eyes.

You get a little sobriety, and you get just a little humility. Not much, just a little. Not the humility of sackcloth and ashes, but the humility of a man who’s glad he’s alive and can serve. You get a little tolerance, not too much, but enough to sit and listen to the other guy.

Somewhere along the line, if you’ve forgotten how to pray, you learn a little about that too. I divorced myself from the church when I was twenty-one. I got to thinking about that, and I spoke to Father McNulty about it. “Don’t worry Bill,” he said, “you’ll develop an awareness of God.”

When I read this on Sunday night I almost jumped out of my chair. I was so excited to read this passage, because it is all there, in a nutshell why we come to A.A. It is just amazing that this little nugget of sobriety appears in the Third Edition of the Big Book. It is such a grace to read this passage and be filled with the grace of God. That comes with time in the program …

It was a good day.

More to come, stay tuned …


Monday Madness …

Courtesy: Rawrdaniel

We are sitting at 1c at this hour. Skies are clear and the chance for snow on Christmas looks bleak. One does not know who to trust for a snow forecast, there are a couple sites who provide 14 day outlooks and if this one website is correct, we may, May, get snow on Christmas day. I have my hopes up.

I spent the weekend studying my ass off for my sociology final exam which I sat at 6:30 this evening. I got there an hour early so that I could read up some more and my prof came in with boxes of doughnuts and cookies for us. A sweet treat.

The exam was a non-event. I headed for the essay questions first since that’s what I was focusing on in my studies. I figured that the exam would be a carbon copy of the mid term, which it was.

I jammed the essay questions and the theory. Then I went back and did the multiple choice questions, which I had studied very well. Most of them we had covered in class on review night and a few that came from left field.

It took me less than an hour to write the exam. And by 7:45 the holiday season officially began. I am officially on vacation.

I set off for Provigo to get some odds and ends for our Christmas Dinner on Sunday night. Hubby is off to Ottawa on Wednesday for a few days. And I have a couple of dates lined up to see friends this week.

Tomorrow I have my tattoo appointment for a touch up and a consult on my next piece of work. I am hoping they were able to do something with it. We shall see.

Tonight I can go to bed clear and free and I retired my textbooks. I need to be up by 11 to get showered and out by 11:30 to be at Adrenaline by noon.

Tomorrow is Tuesday so there will be more coming along …

Stay tuned …

Toodles …


Sunday Sundries …


Courtesy:Seanklein

It is bitterly cold out tonight. (-9c / wc – 16c ) And they tell us it might snow overnight, we shall see how lucky we get. The god’s have not been very Christmassy to us as of late. We could use a dusting of the white stuff, it would make it feel a lot more like Christmas if it did.

A brief announcement – I will be opening for Sunday Nighter’s on Christmas Night for the 6:15 meeting. As this post will cross post on my other networks my friends will see this and maybe come visit for the hour.

It is D-Day tomorrow. My last final exam in Sociology.  I’ve been studying my ass off all weekend. I am of the mind that the final will be the same format as the mid term so I studied that format specifically. 40 multiple choice questions, 10 social theory questions based on varied topics and 5 social type questions based on functionalist, Conflict Theory and symbolic interactionist essays.

Hopefully I studied the right stuff…

I went to Sunday Nighter’s tonight for the meeting. We sat a dozen folks and went the entire period. And the discussion came up about Christmas night and some of our folk said that they would come to a meeting on Christmas night, so we will be open. Since I have keys, I can open the room and make coffee.

Yesterday was very productive. I cleaned the apartment and did all my chores. Then I had to go get my tattoo looked at by my artist, and she says that I need a little touch up which will be done on Tuesday afternoon.

She asked me about what I wanted to do next. And to be honest, I don’t know what I want to do, put more script on my left arm or go whole hog and get a full on tattoo with color and meaning.

I mean you need a reason to get a tattoo. It has to have some meaning, or be of importance to you in any case. And in my case, there aren’t really any topics that I could translate into a tattoo just for shits and giggles. I thought about tattoos that friends have and I looked at their tattoo photos, and in the end nothing came to mind for myself. I’ve seen a lot of good ink.

The one tattoo that stood out for me of any consequence is the one pictured above … “First you win, then you lose !!!” It is very apropos. It is a message that rings true to me in sobriety. It has a message, and it is bright and colorful and would go nicely on my left arm. Since my first ink is on my right inner arm.

So my artist said that I could email the photo to the shop for a price and time estimate and that’s what I did. When I drop in there on Tuesday we will chat about it more. I mean, it will take some work to translate the photo into a stencil to be placed on my arm. I wonder how they would do it, the transfer and all?

I wonder if you can just free hand it – I am sure that would take a good eye and some really good artistry to just tattoo from a photo. So we shall see what happens. I would be getting this one after the 1st of January, which isn’t very far away. I will keep you posted.

Other than that, hubby is packing up presents for Ottawa and his family. He will be going to Ottawa later on in the week to do present swap and visit his family, and I have engagements to attend over the weekend. We will be cooking Christmas dinner on Sunday afternoon. Friends of mine have been coordinating dinners and visits over the holiday weekend. It will be fun all the way around.

That’s my update for tonight.

Stay tuned for more later on as things transpire.

Toodles …


Pope heads into busy Christmas season tired, weak, raising questions about future

By Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press – Sat, 17 Dec, 2011

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI seems worn out.

People who have spent time with him recently say they found him weaker than they’d ever seen him, seemingly too tired to engage with what they were saying. He no longer meets individually with visiting bishops. A few weeks ago he started using a moving platform to spare him the long walk down St. Peter’s Basilica.

Benedict turns 85 in the new year, so a slowdown is only natural. Expected. And given his age and continued rigorous work schedule, it’s remarkable he does as much as he does and is in such good health overall: Just this past week he confirmed he would travel to Mexico and Cuba next spring.

But a decline has been noted as Benedict prepares for next weekend’s grueling Christmas celebrations, which kick off two weeks of intense public appearances. And that raises questions about the future of the papacy given that Benedict himself has said popes should resign if they can’t do the job.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi has said no medical condition prompted the decision to use the moving platform in St. Peter’s, and that it’s merely designed to spare the pontiff the fatigue of the 100-meter (-yard) walk to and from the main altar.

And Benedict rallied during his three-day trip to Benin in west Africa last month, braving temperatures of 32 Celsius (90F) and high humidity to deliver a strong message about the future of the Catholic Church in Africa.

Wiping sweat from his brow, he kissed babies who were handed up to him, delivered a tough speech on the need for Africa’s political leaders to clean up their act, and visited one of the continent’s most important seminaries.

Back at home, however, it seems the daily grind of being pope — the audiences with visiting heads of state, the weekly public catechism lessons, the sessions with visiting bishops — has taken its toll. A spark is gone. He doesn’t elaborate off-the-cuff much anymore, and some days he just seems wiped out.

(more…)