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Archive for October, 2013

I Spy with my little Eye …

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It is Halloween. And it rained … most of the day !

But the trick or treaters were out in force in Westmount this evening. The rain did not keep them from what they had in mind. It must have been a good haul for them. I watched them from the church steps hitting all the houses on the strip.

What a day it has been. It is Halloween, but I thought to myself this morning that it should have been Friday the 13th …

I had chores to do today. And I began with a little supermarket safari and to get some coin for laundry. So after filling my cart and going to check out, they rang up everything and when I went to pay … my Interac card would not work. There was money in the account, I just could not get the card to work.

They transferred my total to another register, and tried it again, no joy. So they tried it at a third checkout and still no joy. I tried swiping the mag strip and it would not register.

They set my groceries aside and I went home, which was just across the street, thank God. I called the bank and they said my card was working, but my account did not even show any activity that took place at the store. WTF ???

I went back to the store, and tried the card again. No business.

I then left the store and walked up the street to the bank and asked for a temporary card to do my shopping. It was there that they checked the card against their machine and said that the chip was bust.

They issued me a temporary card – but with a caveat. It would not work for 24 hours, which meant they had to give me cash from the account to pay for my shopping and get coin for laundry.

I walked back to the store and paid my bill and brought my food home.

Thank God that I live in this neighborhood. I am just a short walk from everything.

I did my laundry and cleaned up a bit and vacuumed. And then it was time for a power nap before departing for the meeting.

Half our group was a no show – some of our folks got stuck because they Green line went down just after dinner time, so nobody was going anywhere…

It was a small and intimate meeting and we shared on the Promises in Reverse. They are online, partially, but one needs a membership to the grapevine to see the entire reading, so I can’t post them for you. And I don’t feel like transcribing them into the system.

It was a nice night.

They are feverishly trying to finish the mall, they have been painting and tiling and building around the clock. I spoke to a friend tonight who said they might be revealing tomorrow, but i don’t think so, because the mall is not ready for the Big Reveal.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned…

Last Tuesday of the month

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Courtesy: Minhos21

We are sitting at (0c) right now. It is clear and cold.

I departed early for the Metro route so I could spy the mall. They have uncovered some new store frontage on the Entrance Way off Atwater into Alexis Nihon.

And they have (from what I could spy) cut out the far staircase coming out of the Metro station and they are building a store space in that area. The traffic re-route seems to be working. I went by Target the other day and look see’d into the roll wall. The store seems to be complete, I could see registers waiting and the area where they are keeping overflow shopping carts.

We must be coming close to the reveal in the next few weeks.

It seems that the ground floor footprint has been set, with the moveable kiosks moved behind the escalator bay, instead of in front of it which was taking space up in front of Target. I guess they don’t want the blockage in front of their new store.

The upper floor is still “in process” they still need to tile a great deal of space and uncover all the new store frontage next to the IGA on both sides. It won’t be long before Christmas decorations go up in the mall. They may be waiting for the reveal to decorate.

I took the Metro up to the church today. It was a 30 minute transit, walking back down the hill a bit to the church. On the way out after the meeting I chaired the business meeting, and caught the bus that was just coming down the hill.

It was my last week chairing. One of our other old timers is in the chair for next month and we have a newbie working the coffee pot.

I just picked up my A.B.S.I. on the way out and tossed it into my bag. I wasn’t really prepared to chair and wanted something simple to read. It was a small group, but the same familiar faces, if we have two guests besides the group members, it is a good night.

People are already changing their meeting routines as the season has changed. We aren’t getting the same number of newbies we used to when we were at Trinity. People are traveling in cliques, and when one changes their mind on where to go, they all follow each other. And there are two other meetings competing for bodies tonight. Oasis in NDG and Tuesday B’s in Westmount.

I chose: Key to Sobriety … pg. 257

“The unique ability of each A.A. to identify himself with, and bring recovery to, the newcomer, in no way depends on his learning, his eloquence, or any special individual skills. The only thing that matters is that he is an alcoholic who has found a key to sobriety.”

The message speaks about Dr. Bob and Dr. Silkworth, and Bobs realization that his alcoholism was news to him, bad news …

But when Bob and Bill met that first time and they conversed it was an instant attraction and identification. Bill carried the message and Bob was receptive to that message. And together they worked on and fulfilled a common goal.

To carry that message to the suffering alcoholic.

The conversation varied from person to person. Because we are a Beginners group, it was a 50/50 split between old timers and newbies.

Hindsight is 20/20.

They say that the first time you get sober is a gift, the second time you have to work for it.

The first time I got sober was a blur. I was going to meetings, I was working at the bar, and I was trying to survive a death sentence. i was not “homed” at a group in the same way I am “homed” at a home group here. And there is a distinction.

It might have been a gay room that I was getting sober at, but I would not call that a “home group” just because my fellows were betting on us newcomers like racehorses to see who would go back out and drink first. I didn’t respect them, however I stayed sober.

When I moved cities, I was going to meetings but after a while coming close to and picking up four years, I was becoming “disconnected” from the group. I went from participating to warming a chair.

I’ve studied over the past almost twelve years, what I did wrong the first time, and what I did this time to maintain sobriety. Since my health has been stable now, I did not have that mortality question hanging over my head. So I could focus solely on getting sober.

I had a great sponsor – David. Then Perry – and finally Rick. Each of them had their gifts and helped me a great deal. I connected at meetings. I rooted in a home group and stayed there for a very long time. I have sat in myriads of meetings over the years, and when I decided to leave my home group of 11 years, I did so because I felt a need to move, because I felt that my experience would benefit another group of young people.

I guess I have learned a few lessons. I know what I did wrong the first time, and I can list, if needed those red flags or markers that only pointed one way:

Out The Door …

Today it is about caring for my fellows and ladies. Carrying the message. And dropping wisdom here several times a week.

You may not like the message, but I am not wasting my time here when I speak about wisdom about life. AIDS has given me that wisdom. Twenty years have passed, you’d think I am a bit wise when it comes to health and life issues.

Anyways, it was a good night. I got to see my friends.

Spend some time with them and share a meeting.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … You Gotta Move !!!

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Courtesy: James Clear Flickr

It is Sunday. And we are sitting at (5c/40f) at this hour. It has been a dreary weekend. Cold and rainy, but I’d rather have cold and snowy !!! But not today.

I had a dream about Tootsie Rolls last night, and that dream turned into a craving, and on  the way out, I stopped at the Dollar Store for a fix.

Thank God for 2 for a dollar.

I got my milk and did my transit. I arrived early, because I left early, and cranked out set up. A fellow turned up early so I had help. As it was the last Sunday of the month, we read from the Twelve and Twelve and Tradition Ten.

It was a sparse crowd. And we ended short.

I’m not focused on Traditions tonight. I want to tell a story instead.

*** *** ***

“Complaining is like sitting in a rocking chair. You are moving but you are NOT getting anywhere.”

Many years ago, when I was much younger and more sicker, the first few years and then some more were really tough. And my friends worked very hard at keeping me above water and not to focus on complaining.

Hence … Father Jeff

I’ve told this story before but tonight it bears repeating.

One Sunday evening I went to mass. Sitting in my usual seat, waiting for mass to start. I had not gone into the sacristy before service to see who was celebrating.

The music started up and the procession began. At the tail end was the priest for the evening. He wasn’t walking, he wasn’t rolling, He had crutches. And he followed the people into the church.

The altar is a lengthwise elongated half circle. With three steps up brick steps to the celebrants chair.

One, Two, Three steps up, lickety split.

That night I watched a man who was impacted with severe problems (M.S.), that just paled in comparison to my own. It is hard not having the use of your legs when you are / have to be mobile in certain settings. He just kept going.

He never spoke of his infirmity from the pulpit. And he was graceful and compassionate.

From that night on I swore to myself that after witnessing that priest do what he does best, with what he has to deal with, I would NEVER complain about myself ever again.

After mass I met him and he became my spiritual adviser. And it was a long and fruitful relationship. He taught me many things about myself, himself and about God. He was a true blessing …

Where am I going with this, you might ask …

We are all getting older. And many of us are facing sickness, infirmity, aging and we all have our crosses to bear.

And some do it better than others.

You know it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if you gripe about a problem, it only gets worse. If you give in to pain and infirmity, it will, sooner or later, render you immobile.

Just because we feel pain, it doesn’t mean that we have to let it own us. We’ve offered other options about that issue. And it has gone in one ear and out the other.

Acceptance is the key to all my problems.

But I don’t accept that my illness is going to take me down any time soon.

I get up OFF MY ASS and I move. I walk, I exercise, and I get to meetings. If you allow your body to acquiesce to the pain and soreness, that’s what you will get, and more of it.

The only way to get your body back in shape is to push the envelope and get up and do something. You can’t let pain and illness to rule your life. There are plenty of ways to alleviate pain. And we have given options.

The body is a funny bird. And the mind is a very powerful thing.


And if you keep saying “oh I’m in pain, oh, I can’t climb stairs, oh, I can’t walk like I used to …” The brain is talking and the body is listening.

This is not going to go well, in the long run.

If you give a side effect more thought than it needs or deserves, then you only exacerbate that side effect. And the same thing goes for pain and infirmity. If you begin to believe that your suffering is “your lot” because of treatment, think again.

We have air in our lungs. And we have lives to live. And we live on God’s time, so we better make the most of it to the best of our ability.

Push through the pain and stop complaining. You get up and you FIGHT for every day to the fullest, because you never know when God is gonna punch your card and it will all be over with.

Do you want to go down saying, Ah, I didn’t do enough when I could have or that your pain got the best of you??? No you get up and you FIGHT !!!

When you are in enough pain, you will either do one of two things …

1. Become a homebody and never leave the house (or)

2. You will speak up and stop complaining and get a doctor to help you with your pain. And if he won’t then find someone who will.

If Jeff can minister from the pulpit on crutches suffering from M.S. without word of complaint, then we can get out of our pity party and get on with living.

Another week begins.

43 days and counting …


Friday A.B.S.I. We Cannot Stand Still – or Can We???

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From the Special Archives Courtesy: Salmon 3

For the first time this season, “Flurries” are in the forecast. Sadly, tonight, they did not materialize. We are sitting at (1c) at this hour.

It is the end of the week. And I departed early for the transit. It went smoothly and I was at the hall about ten past seven. It seems that getting there early on a Friday night is a good thing, because someone opened the floodgates because we were packed to the rafters tonight.

It was the largest number of folks we have seen in as many weeks. On the anniversary, the format changed to a speaker meeting, and we packed the hall, but usually on a regular night we have a normal showing. It must be the weather because lots of people are out and about.

The grind towards my anniversary continues. And tonight’s topic was useful, if not for some controversial because of the language of the piece.

We Cannot Stand Still …

“In the first days of A.A., I wasn’t much bothered about the areas of my life in which I was standing still. There was always the alibi: “After all.” I said to myself, “I’m far too busy with  much more important matters.” That was my near perfect prescription for comfort and complacency.

How many of us would presume to declare, “Well, I’m sober and I’m happy. What more can I want, or do? I’m fine the way I am.” We know that the price of such self satisfaction is an inevitable backslide, punctuated at some point by a very rude awakening. We have to grow or else deteriorate. For us, the status quo can only be for today, never for tomorrow. Change we must; we cannot stand still.

I heard a friend say tonight that

“I cannot live on yesterdays spiritual experiences.”

For most folks, who are within 1 day to 9 years or so, to be able to say I’m sober and I am happy … is the ultimate state of being, seeing they survived their dalliance with alcoholism. For right now, they are sober and happy.

And more power to them. Because it is far better than being DRUNK !

I also heard old timers with 20 plus years talk about complacency and getting stuck in ruts where there was no movement. They had read the books, then go to their regular meeting and see the same old faces, and life just becomes boring.

And I heard the warning for myself.

Shake it up. DO something. Get up off your sofa and put down the Ben and Jerry’s, and DO something.

Like that first friend I referenced above, we live on Borrowed time. We have outlived our lives, and now we are living on God’s time. So you better make it count.

Miss, Jackson, my algebra teacher from Junior High used to say on Test days:
“Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can never be regained.”

For many, when we put down the drink, we are firstly filled with fear of the unknown, “what am I going to do now?” Then we find we cannot sit still, we have to keep moving. And you see this with newcomers who fidget during a meeting.

One night I was sitting in a speaker meeting and a friend was sitting next to me, and I fidgeted all the way through the meeting, and at the end he said to me, “Remind me never to sit next to you again …”

I can embrace stillness today. In fact I need to have it as part of my day. Times of prayer and meditation are times of stillness. This far down the road I keep certain practiced fresh. Prayer and Meditation are important to sober living.

Time is always moving forwards. Never backwards. And it doesn’t stop for a break along the way. So too, we move forwards with time, even if we don’t want to.

Yes, you can come to a meeting and JUST warm a SEAT. And I’ve seen people do that for a time, until, they get their feet wet and get comfortable in the space and with its people. Because unless you know where you are going, what are you going to do with yourself ?

I am not one to throw a Big Book at you and force the steps on you on the first night. God knows I’ve seen this happen at certain meetings when I first got sober. I never darkened those doors again.

Eventually you open the book and begin to read, and identify, don’t compare. And in time, you will begin moving forwards. Little by slowly.

Repetition. Over and Over and Over again.

We see the words, we read the readings, and we read the books. I heard that old timer say that if we feel unmoved – then may be it is time to start reading the book from the beginning again. He also said that we need to work with others, because if you can’t see what is wrong with you, surely those you work with will.

It is an exciting time to be sober in Montreal. Winter is coming, and with it, the snow. And we will see just who is hungry enough to make meetings, even when the weather goes North … Christmas/New Years is always a rich time for sober people.

To experience a first Holiday season sober is a GREAT achievement.

I came in, in December myself, almost 12 years ago, so I know what that feels like to share sober holidays with sober friends. It is a huge time of growth.

We cannot stand still.

45 days and counting …

it was a great night.

More to come stay tuned …

Official Christening Photos from the Palace





All photos Courtesy: Jason Bell Camera Press
Source: BBC Online/London

Page 417 … You know what to do !!!

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Courtesy: Justathoughtfulmind

We are down to 5c. at this hour. It’s getting closer !!

Environment Canada is calling for 60 percent chance of FLURRIES next week. That’s if it doesn’t happen before then, because the temps are just right and there is little rain in the forecast … a little mix, a little this, and a little that and voila SNOW !!!

Hey You – You know who you are. You read this stuff. I hear you miss the meetings, (which is code for – I’m not going to meetings)

Get thee to a meeting !!!

The week is almost over. And the end of the month approaches.

I left early for the church because I wanted to spy what they are doing at the mall, and the new floor is going in on the mezzanine white tile as on the ground floor.

There are displays and clothing out and Target is coming close to completion. There are little spy holes in the roll door that one can look through if you are adventurous. Coming down the escalator gives one a birds eye into the store.

Work on the newly enclosed spaces on the ground floor is ongoing. They are working on the space closest to the Metro tunnel where they have the staircase and doorway completely blocked off. They must be putting new store fronts in there. And I wonder if the build walls up on other areas of the ground floor are just hiding a Big Reveal, or if they are still unfinished ?

The mall isn’t finished by far. And like all reno projects, they will probably run right up to the reveal before they get it all done.

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

We were a founders group plus two tonight. Small intimate and quiet.

And the chair read the Acceptance Statement:

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

NOTHING, Absolutely NOTHING, happens in God’s world by mistake.

Until I accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.

And everything is as it should be at any given moment.

That is why we read things over and over and over. Because there will come a point that the words on the page take on new meaning as we grow up, as we get sober, and our lives begin to change.

I spoke this evening about life. And how I was forced to accept things as they happened to me. I found myself in certain situations in early – early sobriety. there was no changing the situation or the outcome, but survival was paramount in the face of certain death.

When people scattered and it was just me … I had to accept. They could not deal, but I had to deal, with the hand dealt to me.

That exercise, I believe was all about others, and not about me. I had to learn.

And over the past twenty years of life, I have faced a series of situations in life. And in many of those situations, it was acceptance that was the lesson. Even before I set eyes on my Big Book the second time I got sober, God was already throwing situations at me that I had to get right or die.

I had to accept the I was an alcoholic.

I had to accept that Growing up was necessary, however not having certain guideposts or mentors to teach me, I took the choice and walked.

At one time I was living in a No Win Situation that had to change, because I had accepted that had I stayed there, I would be sick, poor and living in H.O.P.W.A. (Housing for People with AIDS) housing somewhere in the hind end of space.

Because I have a friend still alive where I was, who lives in the hind end of space, because they wouldn’t pay for proper housing in a proper neighborhood. They force you to live at or below the poverty line.

I chose the geographic and a new life instead.

And that’s when I hooked into the vein of growing up. I had finally met some good men who took me for the ride and taught me what that meant and how it would change me.

I am powerless over people, places and things. And you know the good thing about this … this came to me earlier … Do I need to waste time thinking about someone, something or somewhere ? Do I really need to expend energy on you when really, I could care less if you were dead or alive?

All that time, I spent opining, and hurting over unrequited emotions.

UGH ! What a nightmare. Do I really need your approval or love ???

Will it make a difference in my life if I rent space in my brain to you for FREE ???

What People think of me is none of my business.

What a revelation. Even today at almost twelve years, My brain is a drama free zone. My brain is at full occupancy. I can’t offer you space, because rental space is way too expensive for you to afford, in my brain. And I am not paying the rent any more.

They say, in the rooms, that we may not like everybody we see in a meeting. And therefore, you don’t have to stay or go to a particular meeting where people make you feel inferior or bothered.

There are particular people in certain places that over the last few weeks, truly give me the opportunity to see just who they really are.

At this point in sobriety, I’ve realized that I am getting better at watching people, what they say, how they act, the faces they make, all those little things we might overlook in the beginning. I see them now. And in some cases, I don’t like what I hear, or what I see or even what I feel …

BEING GAY and HIV + has its perks.

Because we learn early on how to “read” people. To watch your faces and study your actions. I can call bullshit at 50 paces. And you just know, when someone looks down their nose at you, that they have a problem that is pointless to entertain.

I invest in a handful of people. My friends, who care about me. I don’t have time to waste on people who don’t care about themselves or don’t care about me. You are either part of the Solution or you are the problem. I don’t need any more problems. I have enough, personally !!!

Where ever you are in your journey,

You are right where you need to be at any point in the journey on any given day.

I accept I am not perfect. And never will be.

I accept that not everybody wants to be my friend or participate in my life.

And that’s ok.

I accept all the good things in my life today. Because without gratitude, I have nothing …

It was a good night.

More to come, stay tuned …

Prince George’s Christening

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royal family

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While many royal christenings take place at Buckingham Palace, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge broke tradition by having Georgie baptized in a private 45-minute ceremony at Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace.



Tuesday – It Doesn’t Happen Overnight !!!

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Courtesy: Daily Cute Boy

Another week, and the march to the end of the month proceeds. Several things have happened and they all point towards winter…

Last night I was reading a report online and it intimated that Quebec and Ontario would see snow by the end of the week. However, Environment Canada has yet to amend the weeks forecast to “snow or even flurries!”

It is currently 8c at this hour. A wee bit nippy. The TV people say we will hit the freezing mark this week for the first time in the season, but Environment Canada does not concur.

I decided to take the alternate transit to the church tonight. Instead of the bus, I took the Metro, because it is just up the street and drops me just a couple of blocks away from the Metro stop on that end. The transit took 40 minutes from end to end. About the same time it takes to make the run on the bus.

I walked through the mall on my way out and they are actively working on site, as new tiling is going in on the mezzanine entrance. I cannot figure out what they are doing behind all the new walls they put up in the last week. But the mall is changing by the day now, as we close in on the Big Reveal.

We sat a small and intimate group tonight. Most are familiar faces. And since we focus on 1,2 and 3, I went with Daily Reflections for the read.

It Doesn’t happen overnight …

“…The Big Book guided me in resolving all my problems. But it didn’t happen overnight – and certainly not automatically – with no effort on my part. I need always to recognize God’s mercy and blessings that shine through any problem I have to face.”

Our newcomers are working their steps diligently. And with the holidays coming up so soon, we are feeding them with all the knowledge and courage we can give them. Some will be traveling for the first time since they got sober to cities that are rife with alcohol, as is every place in creation.

It’s hard to send a newly sober person back home with a few months, and not worry that they might pick up. So all the work we are doing now for them may hopefully save their sobrieties.

It was a good night.

On the way home, one of my friends commented on my wedding ring, and he began talking babies … and he asked me if I was having a boy or a girl ???

And then asked about my wife … And I just said “I don’t have a wife.”

And slowly he looked at my other friends traveling with us on the bus and the light went on over his head – DOH !!!

Need I explain any more ?

I must have been giving off some kind of secret baby vibe.

See I could pull off straight if I had to. Because some of my friends seem to think I am straight. UGH !! As if !

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

Priape closes all four Canadian stores


Priape closes all four Canadian stores | Daily Xtra

Gay retailer blames filing for bankruptcy protection on ban on popper sales — but company’s financial predicament is more complicated

Priape, Canada’s leading gay store and sex shop, has closed its stores.

Denis Leblanc, general manager at Priape Inc, confirmed that Priape’s four stores across Canada — Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver — closed their doors Oct 21 at 8am Eastern Standard Time.

The company has been under bankruptcy protection since June 27. Leblanc says the closings affect 58 employees.

A fixture of gay villages, Priape says it has been struggling since Health Canada demanded retailers take poppers off the shelves.

In June, just before the Pride season, Health Canada issued a warning asking retailers to stop selling and distributing alkyl nitrites or, as they are more commonly known on the party scene, the popular drug “poppers.”

“For us that represented a huge amount of sales and profit, so that’s what triggered it all,” Leblanc says. “It’s not so much percentage of sales, but the gross profit it brought in, and proportionately it was very significant.”

Although poppers are not considered a narcotic in Canada, and possession of alkyl nitrates is not illegal, they are considered a drug, and their sale is regulated by the Food and Drug Act. Unauthorized sales of the drug can be punished with jail terms of up to three years and fines of up to $5,000.

On Oct 21, Leblanc said he will provide more information “tomorrow or before the end of the week.” He says he’s hopeful that the company can still be saved.

He says there is still a chance that the stores, or some of the stores, could remain open. “That possibility exists. I can’t say anymore about this right now.”

But it appears Priape’s financial woes and debt started long before the June ban on popper sales.

On June 27, Priape sent a “Notice of Intention To Make a Proposal” to its list of creditors owed more than $250.

Traditionally, companies make such a proposal to avoid filing for bankruptcy, hoping creditors will work out a pennies-on-the-dollar settlement for debts owed. The action sometimes provides a company with the opportunity and time to restructure.

As of the June 27 filing, Priape owed 106 companies $687,650.30 — debts that would have accrued long before Health Canada’s announcement in June cracking down on popper sales.

Among creditors listed on the June statement are many familiar brand names in gay retail: Mr S Leather, in San Francisco, owed $28,709; Nasty Pig clothing company, owed $11,985; silicone toy manufacturer Ox Balls, owed $35,347; G-Star jeans, owed $13,504; and Timoteo underwear, owed $13,588.

Pink Triangle Press, publisher of Xtra and dailyxtra.com, was owed $4,200.

Debt to two large financial institutions added up to just over $143,000. Priape owed $67,641 to American Express and $75,634 to Visa Desjardins.

We do not know how that debt standing may have changed since the June filing; however, on Sept 9, the company applied to Quebec’s Superior Court Commercial Division for a “Notice to Creditors for an Extension of Time.” Priape was granted a 45-day extension, making the new settlement deadline Oct 24.

Priape closed the stores three days before the Oct 24 deadline.

Priape Montreal was the first to open, in 1974. The company has since expanded to Toronto, in 1998, Calgary, in 2004, and Vancouver, in 2005, selling DVDs, books, clothing, leather, sex toys and other products that appeal to gay consumers.

In June, the founder of Priape, Bernard Rousseau, was owed $4,167. Rousseau sold the chain to the current owners about 10 years ago.

Sunday Sundries … The Death of my Big Book

Pope Francis buda mendes Getty

“Humility is a much-misunderstood quality in the contemporary world, where it is a quality in short supply. It is not, as is often assumed, some kind of synonym for shyness, reticence, bashfulness or lack of ambition; humility is not a character trait with which some are born, rather it is the orphaned virtue which our age has publicly forgotten how to embrace…”

“…[prayer] this is where dialogue, listening, and transformation occur. Looking at God, but above all sensing that we are being watched by Him. This happens, in my case, when I recite the rosary or the Psalms or when I joyfully celebrate the Eucharist. But the moment I most savour the religious experience is when I am before the tabernacle. Sometimes I allow myself to fall asleep while sitting there and just let Him look at me. I have the sense of being in someone else’s hands, as though God were taking me by hand.”

Pope Francis … Untying the Knots.

We return to regular time this Sunday night. The weather is markedly cooler as night falls. I set out early for the church and walked through the mall, and more change has occurred on the ground floor. There are walls up marking off more floor space, It all seems to coalesce around the main staircase/escalator casing.

Not sure what they are doing, but great change is happening on the store front property of space. And we are mid-way into October, so they must get whatever they are doing finished by the late fall reveal of the Target space.

Last Thursday night, while I was cleaning the coffee pot, I had set the urn on the counter next to the sink, as I took apart the innards to clean. My back pack and my hoodie were also on the counter next to it. And somehow my bag must have dropped onto the spout, pushing down the plunger and releasing hot coffee all over the counter and the floor. My back pack was soaked with coffee as well as everything that was in my bag. My toques, were all wet and stained, and my Big Book, that I have used for the last 12 years was also soaked.

I walked home with wet clothes and a sticky wet bag. I hand washed my toques in the sink and set them out to dry, as well as my bag. Most of the book pages are coffee stained. I brought the book to the meeting tonight and leafed through it and it was ruined.

We had a couple new books in the inventory, so after the meeting I decided to just buy a new Big Book and retire my poor warrior book. Some of my friends said that I should continue using the book, even though it is sunk in coffee stains. I’d rather have a new book instead.

We completed the story … “The Vicious Cycle.”

“Every time I blacked out, and that was every time I drank, there was always that gnawing fear, “What did I do this time?”

That was me at the end of my drinking. I at least had someone who could partially tell me what happened the night before, even if he was pumped up on his drugs, usually that friend knew where I was and what happened. Eventually, the not knowing the how, where and when at the end, scared me into the last drink.

We sat a small group and we ended earlier than usual. All in all it was a good night.

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

I am almost finished with the read of “Francis, Untying the Knots.”

And I am encouraged by the story of who Jorge Mario Bergoglio is. He lived a very complicated life in Argentina. He is a member of the Jesuit order. And now he is a Jesuit Pope.

Pope Francis survived a life of difficulty and the transformation that came around for him throughout his life from the man he was prior to his “spiritual awakening” from the man he grew up as – into – the man he is today as Pope, is quite remarkable.

Suffice to say that I was moved in the telling of the story and learning about him through this text is very helpful in my practice of Catholicism. The quotes above are just a blink into his thinking. There is so much more to say, but that would mean transcribing a good portion of the read here.

Pope Francis has a storied history leading up to his election in the last conclave. And if what I have read is a sign, the church has so much more to look forward to and the world will learn just what Pope Francis will do to reform the church and open it to the world and ALL her people.

People, are very important to Francis. The poor especially. He says that we must go out to the people (meaning the church), We cannot wait for them to come to us. And we must respect the traditions, and religious practices of the poor, there is so much religiosity and practice within the smaller communities of the poor and of many nations. And we must embrace these practices and the people.

The poor are the most important people on the earth. And in the coming months and years, we will see Francis teach us all how we can walk among, live among and minister to the poorest of the poor.

Where Mother Teresa ministered to the poorest of the poor in India, Jorge Mario Bergoglio tended the poorest of the poor in his native Argentina.

There is where he gets his strength and faith. Not from the Top Down mentality of the Church, but from the Bottom Up mentality of the people.

His church will go out and gather the masses. And if this simple story of what moves Pope Francis forward, the future is going to be very exciting for the worlds religious and her people.

It has been a good weekend.

More to come, stay tuned …

It’s Friday … The First Tipping Point

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Courtesy: RThompson80

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

It is getting on just after 10 p.m. on Saturday night. Last night we had technical difficulties with our ISP overnight. It began earlier in the day with email not responding and when I got home and opened this page to write, the entire internet had gone down. All due to a line cut somewhere out there that effected Ontario and Quebec.

It was good that I had books to read, because I retired early for the evening to read and listen to a little radio. It was all good.

Days have been sunny, however today it was grey and overcast. It was getting cooler than usual as the sun went down last night which precipitated me going to the closet and bringing out my winter coat. It was windy and brisk as I left for the meeting.

We have hit the first tipping point of the season. As I noticed many others on the Metro wearing coats, and a handful of folks who were in just shirtsleeves.

I arrived early, having left early. However the crowd was lacking last night, we sat a fair number but a number of faces were absent.

We read from A.B.S.I. and “Alike when the chips are down.”

The reading speaks of the early days of the fellowship, back then, the movement was mainly a man’s problem. Women came along a bit later, and for a time, they faced problems finding their way into community, because they felt different. And over the decades, others made the same statement.

We still see this problem crop up sometimes. Newbies come in and they believe they are terminally unique. But stick around long enough we find that we may all come from different lives and situations, but once we cross the threshold of the door to whatever room we are entering, we are leveled, we are all the same.

And so I tell this story again this year. It is a warning, a memory of what could have been, but didn’t…

Bitter Bernadette …

I can use her name because she is not in the rooms.

She came to T.B.’s a long time ago. From across the pond. She had her issues and she was an angry drunk.

And believed she was terminally unique.

The weather was cold, Christmas was just around the corner and people were planning and scheming how they were either going to drink or not drink over the holidays.

Bernadette was to fly to England, and she cocked up this plan to drink or not drink during the flights over and back, and not drink while she was there. She was literally, ON THE BUBBLE.

Her children are all grown adults, (at that time) and she was new to the rooms, with just a few months or maybe weeks.

She was so frazzled at the daunting task of staying sober over Christmas, that I looked at her and said…

“If it is that much of a burden, and you don’t know if you can or will stay sober, then change your plans. If you are willing to go to any length to stay sober, maybe NOT making the trip is better than drinking !!!”

Well, she became incensed. She raised her voice and said that I knew nothing about having kids and that I should hold my tongue.

I gave her one option, I did not tell her to DO THIS !! I merely suggested that maybe she reconsider her plans, in favor of sobriety.

That night she walked out of the room, and never came back.

To this day, when I enter that particular room I think of her. And it has been that way for years and years. When ever I put down chairs, I speak her name to God, and wonder where she is and if she is sober?

We all travel the same road to sobriety, but we take our own time and learn our own lessons. No two stories are the same. But we battle a common disease. And the Book is the direction to stay stopped.

On the way home we made our connections quickly. It was a good night.

It is getting cooler by the night.

Winter is on its way.

More to come, stay tuned…

Thursday Thoughts …

tumblr_mul4emlBiK1rp3zbzo1_500 thesneakerboy

Courtesy: Thesneakerboy

Well, the weather sure is a changing. The rain comes overnight, and the days have been clear and sunny. But in the coming days, the night time temps are dropping into low single digits close to the freezing mark, but not just yet.

It was a busy day here at the hood. Bills had to be paid, errands run all over town, and a little supermarket safari on the way home. I was up early so that I could run my errands, and get back here with plenty of time to snag a washer and dryer before the housewives got them.

I paid my bills online, and set out for the “Core” shortly after 10. I had to get tickets for my Opus card, and then Metro to the mall. I half expected to see scaffolding up in preparation for Xmas decorations. But that may be a little premature, as Halloween hasn’t happened yet. But I am sure the malls are getting itchy about now.

My first stop was Indigo to buy some books. A perk I don’t get to do very often so it was special nonetheless. Christopher Rice has written a new thriller and I’ve been following it on Facebook for months now. So here it is:


I haven’t cracked the cover yet, as it is sitting on my bedside just waiting to be read. We are hoping that the Rice crew makes it up to Montreal for a book signing. Although no dates have been put up yet, and I haven’t asked about it in the forum.

I also picked up a book on Pope Francis, Titled: Pope Francis, Untying the knots, written by Paul Vallely. There were a number of books in the category about him, but this one seems more biographical, instead of the question and answer format. If I want questions and answers I can read his blog on the National Catholic Reporter, of which I am a subscriber.

Pope Francis seems so genuine and honest. And the image we have of him today is directly informed by his actions and words thus far. And I like what I see and I am encouraged by what I hear.

Me thinks I will be reading two books at the same time.

Tonight at the meeting a fellow member brings me books from his home library to read, so to date I have 6 books waiting to be read. And new books take priority, especially books that I want to read for me.

One the way back I took the long route back through Atwater to pick up my pills from the pharmacy and boy was I surprised when I hit the station.

As you are approaching the station from either the mall entrance or coming FROM the platform, there are 2 passages connecting the mall to the station proper.

They have entirely broadened the footprint of store frontage on the ground floor. Many of the cell phone kiosks have been either moved/or/ removed. There was a diner in front of the Target storefront, that is now gone. So all the meal services have been removed from the ground floor, (there were two).

They have blocked off more floor space adjacent to Target, farther towards the tunnel. Which means, they have sealed off one passageway into the Metro Station. That passageway is now re-routed through an old storefront (the old Tim Horton’s space) And now ALL the traffic from BOTH passageways drain into one hallway. Which is dangerous during rush hour. Because you only get one staircase up – towards the station – and traffic coming out of the station into the mall is heavy and trying to navigate one passage is a problem. However the redirect from the closed doorway is open. It is just, both passageways feed into one passage into the mall instead of two. Instead of having two traffic lanes, you have one. Until the build is finished.

They have re-tiled areas on the ground floor. And there is studding on the floor, I don’t know what purpose it serves just yet. Up on the mezzanine floor outside of Pharmaprix and the IGA, the building walls have been extended to the back passage out of the mall, that drains in front of Dawson College across the street. There is a great deal of real estate behind build walls both on the ground floor and the mezzanine. This is going to be a BIG reveal when they finish it.

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

I had the afternoon to hang around and a power nap before setting out again for the meeting. And once again, I left early, walked the tunnel, and as I exited out onto Greene, I could hear the bells ringing at the church. Now either I am getting old, or walking slower than usual, but I usually walk cranked with tunes, so it can’t be that slow.

I got there just at the top of the hour and cranked out set up and went outside to sit, but it is getting darker earlier and earlier here. By 6:30 it was dark outside. It was quarter to 7 and folks were showing up.

We read from the Big Book and steps six and seven. And the discussion was centered on the inventory we take and the being ready for God to take away all of our character defects.

When it came to me to speak, I was the last, because I really did not know what I was going to say, so I hoped it would come last. I related the story about when I got sober the first time and the lessons I learned from Todd over that first year.

All those defects I carried and all those issues I had and all those problems I thought I had and I thought were important, were slowly and carefully excised from my life through the work that I did for the bar. I can’t express fully how that occurred (so you need to go read the pages) the stories are all there if you want to peruse the stacks.

Today, being married is a great exercise in keeping your character defects in check. Because I have a husband who will call me on my shit and remind me of who I am. I don’t have time for defects. I pray and I use my sobriety to keep on the level. I was told, the last time I worked my steps that defects and shortcomings don’t go away, they become less pronounced. Because we work every day, to rid ourselves of them, (by polishing the gem) …

I have an experience that none of my brothers an claim. I’ve been through a life journey that nobody I know in the rooms can hold a candle to. i was told i was going to die. I prepared to die, I worked my ass off, through Todd’s help to prepare my body and soul for death. It ain’t simple – it is quite cathartic.

How many people do you know who have faced mortality – into a death that was horrid and painful, and survived to tell the tale? I have friends who have battled cancer, none of whom died because of it, and are still alive. But outliving a disease that really had no treatment back then (for me) and death was imminent, the situation was totally different. At least Cancer can be treated and removed and radiated and chemo’d.

Facing ones mortality will change you forever in ways that mere mortal men and women have no idea. I don’t have the words to tell you how horrid it was, well, maybe I do, but I am not going to repeat them here at this moment.

Anyways, I’ve written enough and it’s dinner time.

More to come, stay tuned …

Old Friends … The Cars … and Me

tumblr_mgdlntw5kP1s309nko1_500 chinchinalqueraje

Courtesy: chinchinalqueraje

Don’t you just love angels …

Well, the rain they said would fall, didn’t. It sprinkled overnight Sunday, for mere minutes. Other than that the skies have been clear. Once again tonight they call for rain from tomorrow right through to next Monday. UGH !!!

At dinner on Sunday, we had music playing on Galaxy, on the tv, and I wanted to listen to 80’s music, it wasn’t a good choice because the music sucked. Over the past couple of days I downloaded “The Cars” discography and Heartbeat City.

Heartbeat City, you could say is imprinted in my brain, because listening to it regurgitates a specific memory. I am sitting in my mother’s car, at a specific intersection, outside my best friend Peter’s house, just down the road from where we went to High School. If I close my eyes, I am right there. Like it was yesterday.

However this memory is more than twenty years old.

It was late Sunday night, and I thought what the hell, and I plugged Peter’s name into Facebook, and in less than 24 hours, I had a response. He indeed lives, has three children, lives in Seattle and works for Microsoft.

I didn’t at first click the friend request, I wanted a reply, either good or bad, before I sent one. His response was positive. Having kids and working at Microsoft is time consuming. And last night I sent a second message, a kind of mini 5th step and an encouragement for him to click my request.

Sadly, he has not responded. He said in his first response that when he left Miami, he didn’t look back, and maybe my looking back, was not good.

We’ll see …

In any case, I had new music to listen to on the bus ride over to NDG. I wasn’t sure what the transit time would be, and I have a newbie on coffee so I left uber early, and I arrived about ten past 5. Newbie arrived shortly after and then our key holder.

It was a small, intimate meeting with only a handful of folks. I decided to use the same passage I wrote about on Sunday from “The Vicious Cycle” from the back of the Book. And it was good conversation.

The approach to my anniversary is in full swing.

Reminiscing, old friends, memories, the year that was, where it is I want to take my chip, and who I want to give it to me.

I had decided this year that I wanted someone to give me my chip, who is involved in my life, goes to meetings with me, is invested in me and has seen me in action for the past months.

I picked a young friend to fill that role. He is a couple of years sober. And he is one reason I keep coming back. Because he inspires me.

This year it won’t be my sponsor giving me my chip. end of story …

I asked him before the meeting started tonight and I think I made his day.

My anniversary falls on Monday December 9th. And we will celebrate my anniversary on Friday December 13th at North End English.

I was thinking about old friends as of late. And after hearing from Peter and see him write that “when I left Miami, I didn’t look back” many of my Facebook friends who are online, said the same thing, because 90 % of them live somewhere else, have families, and never went back.

“… At seventeen I entered university, really to satisfy my father, who wanted me to study medicine there as he had. That is where I had my first drink, and I still remember it, for every “first” drink afterwards did exactly the same trick – I could feel it go right through every bit of my body and down to my very toes.

But each drink after the first seemed to become less effective, and after three or four, they all seemed like water. I was never a hilarious drunk; the more I drank, the quieter I got, and the drunker I got, the harder I fought to stay sober.

So it is clear that I never had any fun out of drinking – I would be the soberest-seeming one in the crowd, and, all of a sudden, I would be the drunkest.

Even that first night I blacked out, which leads me to believe that I was an alcoholic from my very first drink.” pg. 222 B.B.

Peter was my old drinking buddy. He was a classmate, and a fellow who was on the swim team with me in Senior year. We spent lots of time together. And even then, well before I graduated High School, I was an alcoholic.

After the first drink, the rest became like water. Because it was the first drink that got me drunk, and the rest, I thought at the time as, icing on the cake.

I even told him in my reply that I had gotten sober, and in hindsight, I should have stopped drinking when I was a kid, because I was WELL on my way to alcoholism. Imagine, getting sober at 16 or 17. And what my life would have looked like had I taken that step.

When I came out of the closet, I was seeing a therapist. And what did he tell me to do first? “GO to the BAR, sit down, have a drink, HELL have TWO, and see what happens.

If that wasn’t an invitation to drink I don’t know what is?

Alcohol, for me, was directly associated with the Bar. And the Bar was going to be the location that I would find my way into the Gay Community in Miami.

I spent a great deal of money, night after night, hitting happy hour and drinking, driving home after happy hour to change my clothes after happy hour, and go BACK for more.

I did that over and over again.

It was good that no one said, “hey, you might have a problem” because nobody at the bar, or among my friends, ever said anything to that effect.

I always ask this question…

What if someone told me to stop? Would I have stopped then?

Thank God we can’t time travel, because there are several stops along the past, that I would KILL to revisit. IF ONLY I could resurrect all the people who were there, who are long since dead now.

I guess all these memories are coming back to me now, like I haven’t run through all these memories several times over, over the years, because I am ruminating over my anniversary.

It isn’t insanity, and it isn’t crazy thinking. Not sure when an old post will come up detailing the YEAR THAT WAS, in sobriety. But surely these are bits and pieces that should go there, instead of here, but here they are.

And here is where I should stop because I am starting to ramble and another post is coming soon.

It was a good night. Good people and good things.


more to come, stay tuned…

Sunday Sundries – The After Party and then Some More

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Courtesy: Spoonsdammit

What a glorious day it was. And as I have said before, all good things must come to an end. The glorious day turned into a beautiful night.

Rain is coming for the next couple of days.

I woke this morning with one thing on my mind … My Turkey !!!

Having done this before – getting the bird into the oven early was my plan, but it was way too early. So around 11 I started baking. And I slow baked the bird for a 3 p.m. setting. And I timed it just perfectly.

We entertained a friend, a neighbor, a mentor, an elder statesman. When you “have” in sobriety, you “share.”

Because that’s who we are.

It’s what we do.

Nobody should be alone on a holiday.

There was plenty of food and lots of conversation. Hubby had someone else to tell about all the work he is doing for his organization. He was very entertaining.

After dinner I did the dishes and we set off just before 5 to set up for the meeting. It is very important to have the rooms open on the holiday. Because nobody should be alone on a holiday.

We sat a fair number. And it was a very interesting meeting.

Our reading came from the founder of Philadelphia A.A. and The Vicious Cycle.

“… At seventeen I entered university, really to satisfy my father, who wanted me to study medicine there as he had. That is where I had my first drink, and I still remember it, for every “first” drink afterwards did exactly the same trick – I could feel it go right through every bit of my body and down to my very toes.

But each drink after the first seemed to become less effective, and after three or four, they all seemed like water. I was never a hilarious drunk; the more I drank, the quieter I got, and the drunker I got, the harder I fought to stay sober.

So it is clear that I never had any fun out of drinking – I would be the soberest-seeming one in the crowd, and, all of a sudden, I would be the drunkest.

Even that first night I blacked out, which leads me to believe that I was an alcoholic from my very first drink.” pg. 222 B.B.

For many newly sober folks at the meeting, very few could identify with our man here. In the end, he was a “weekend warrior” drinking only on the weekends. And identified himself as a “weekend drinker.” He suffered from “I’ll show them-ism, and a little Big Shot-ism.

A friend commented on the text that you aren’t a weekend alcoholic, you are either an alcoholic or you are not. None of this weekend shit …

This story is eerily familiar. Because in the end I was the binge weekend drinker and blacking out was my nightly ending. And it was the fear of “What the Fuck” that brought me to my last drink.

The biggest take away from tonight’s meeting was the shared fellowship. That we are a people, who would not normally mix, yet under a common disease, we are all equals once we step across the threshold into the room.

It is more important on days like this that meeting halls all over the world are open to welcome the alcoholic. I’ve seen it time after time, some people who struggle so much that they can’t see their way out of the forest that is addiction for just a few hours.

And like many, they fail – go out – and drink – and some never returned.

It was a good night.

In Baby News …

This past week, there was a birth in my family. Yes I do have family. The only family who recognize that I live. My mother’s sister’s family is all that there is.

My Cousin Sandy’s -> daughter Jaime had her second child a couple of days ago, and she did not get to term. The baby was born well Premie – coming in at just over three pounds. Haven Lilee Rayne will spend the next month in hospital over in B.C. until she is strong enough to nurse and go home.

I spoke to my aunt last night and she assured me that Haven was well and will survive, even though she is a premie.


There has been nothing but hardship for my cousin’s family. And now it has spanned two generations. When my cousin had her two children, both were born with birth defects and needed multiple surgeries to make them right.

And when Jaime (her daughter) had her first daughter, Jaidyn, On August 11th 2011, Jaidyn was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She was 3 years old then.

This past week, Jaidyn completed her last Chemo treatment. And she is in full remission. But will need surveillance for the next six months, getting a small dose of chemo each month.

Now Haven was born premature. Thankfully, she is healthy and will survive.

We pray for all of them tonight. Especially for Haven.

And now on to Holiday news … A bit brighter yes?


While getting ready for the day, and hubby was out running errands, I turned on the teevee and what was on ??? “HOME ALONE II.”

It is official, the holidays have begun. This, the first Christmas related movie on national tv. here in Canada. And just so you know …


And we end with more happy news …


If you YOU TUBE and are gay, you probably know Will and RJ. From their You Tube Channel (SHEP 689). They were Florida residents where they met in Tallahassee Florida.

(Not a very marriage worthy state we must say)

A couple of months ago, they headed to the West Coast and now reside in Los Angeles California. And this weekend was their 4th anniversary of being a couple.

Yesterday Will asked RJ to marry him on a sunset beach and RJ said YES!

So Congrats to our friends. Long life and happiness.

Go Follow them if you want.

This post was longer than I had originally thought.

It was a full day and this has been the past week in my life.

More to come, stay tuned …

Thanksgiving from Canada

thanksgiving - peanuts

It is the eve of our Thanksgiving celebration here at home.

We will serve food with guests and it will be grand.

After the meal we will head to Sunday Niters for a meeting.

Halloween will be but a blip on the radar, as the push for Christmas begins.

There are 74 shopping days until Christmas 2013.

We wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving here in Canada and a healthy Columbus Day Weekend for you all south of the border.