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Archive for November, 2013

World AIDS Day 2013 … Memories of People

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I’ve survived another calendar year. As we approach my sober anniversary, we first must stop and remember all those men who went before me. Men I knew in real life. People I met, lived with, partied with, suffered with. All of them had a story, a life and love. Every story is important. Here are some of the stories. let us take a moment and remember, to offer prayers, and our thoughts.

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I knew Callie in Fort Lauderdale. I had gotten a job at a Travel Agency. Little did I know that the same desk I was now sitting at once belonged to Callie. The day his quilt was displayed I went to honor him and bring him flowers.

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Vito, a well known activist and mentor was part of Common Threads, Stories from the quilt.

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Dennis was the lover of the man who owned the physical building the STUD was located in. My greatest memory of Dennis was the night we got to see Patti Labelle in concert. It was one of the greatest experiences of our lives.

It is not enough that we take one day to remember. Memory is an every day event. We must keep talking about AIDS because the disease is not over. Yes, with proper diagnosis and treatment, people with AIDS today can live a normal life span just like any negative person.

AIDS is still a problem in many places on earth. Treatment is something that every human being deserves, no matter what the story. This is not the end of AIDS or our stories.

We live, we were here, and we will be heard.

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Gratitude Must Go Forward A.B.S.I. Friday

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Courtesy: ChrisCodyyy (Archive)

It is Black Friday. But it wasn’t so Black here.

I’d have to say it was quite RED! Target Red. Christmas Card RED.

Holiday Decorations RED.

I was up early this morning because I was itching to start my holiday ritual. But I didn’t dare go into the core to shop because that is just too many people in one place. Maybe another day.

I stayed close to home instead. I walked up to the mall. There are two Hallmark shops, one here at home and the other in the core. Both carry similar things, cards, stuff and the like.

Everything was on sale. I was very happy with that. I bought a box of Holiday Cards called “Papyrus cards.” Very environmental.

The other thought that was occupying my mind was whether or not I would send a card to my parents again this year, because I am in Imposed Silence as punishment for not towing the family gospel.

There is a story there. And it is not necessary to tell right now. Suffice to say that I did not get a response last year.

Aside from the box of cards I bought, I wanted One Special Card.

A BIG RED Monstrosity of a Christmas card.

So that it could not be hidden unless it ends up in the trash, mind you. I wanted it to stand out on purpose !!

Last night we talked about resentments and the necessity for prayer when you have a resentment.

“I pray you get all that you desire; love, compassion, health, serenity.”

Imagine finding a card that had this prayer in it. Directly from the book.

IMAGINE ! There it was …

Well, I bought that card. And I imparted a note inside. Just a simple observation. Nothing gay or catty or resentful.

“Another year of imposed silence!”

“What if you wake up one day and you are not angry anymore?”

“At least I think about you.”

And that was that. I sealed the envelope and addressed it right outside the store. I then went downstairs to Target to browse. It was not mayhem. People were not crawling around on top of each other.

No violence to report. But you should go check out Blackfriday.com.

There were several deaths and injuries reported to the site today.

I walked through the men’s section to scope out clothes. It’s not a very full department. But there were a few items I liked. And will probably go shop them on another trip.

They had a HUGE collection of Holiday Cards at rock bottom prices.

Hark, herald the angels sing … Hallelujah !!

I bought another box of cards. But it won’t be enough to card everyone I know, it is just impossible. Too many people to count. So my cards will be chosen from a small handful of folks.

I bought a red and white snowflake for my front door. And some more tape to wrap presents with. It was all very painless and joyful.

I had not noticed that they opened a Yogurt shop at the base of the escalator housing so I had to walk around in circles to see it. They had added a seating area at the bottom of the Down and I guess it was to accommodate the yogurt shop and the Starbucks.

On the way home I stopped at the Post Office to mail that One Card South, because if I sat with it here at home, it would have consumed me. So it is in the mail now.

I did a short safari and came home.

We have a set of speakers for the computer so I rigged them for my cell phone so I could listen to music while I wrote out my cards. I am still loving Katy Perry so I blasted the neighbors for a good hour or so.

It was fantastic !

I had a couple of hours to kill before I had to get ready to go this evening. And it is quite bitter out. And once the sun went down it got colder. I made my transit in good time. It was a full house. People are in good spirits.

And tonight’s reading from A.B.S.I. Gratitude Should go Forward.

“Gratitude should go forward, rather than backwards. In other words, if you carry the message to still others, you will be making the best possible repayment for the help given you.”

Last night I spoke about sobriety being about Light and not darkness.

The reading tonight mentions that fact as well.

For many months now, I have been practicing “Presence.” Because that is the greatest gift you can give another person or group of people.

I open, set up, make coffee, and I occupy a chair.

Beyond that I don’t know if I carry the message or if anything I say has impact in one way or another. And really, it would be egotistical to walk up to someone and ask … It’s not about me. Really !!!

I’ve been down on myself lately and it seems that gratitude is on the lips of many folks, online, on the radio, in meetings. Every once in a while we get the reminder to be grateful.

Most old timers shrug … Oh God, not gratitude again! There is a running joke from Florida on this topic. it always ended up that if the chair could not come up with a certain topic for a meeting, the default is always gratitude. I can’t tell you how many gratitude meetings I have been to in twelve years.

I had joined the Friday group as a member tonight, and there was a business meeting, but I don’t want a job. I really enjoy the group and I don’t want any more responsibility.

And I wanted to make my bus so I left right after.

Now I am home. Tomorrow I mail my cards out, which is one less chore to do. Now I have to choose 18 people to card here. I know a handful right off the top of my head, so that kills a few cards.

Today there are ONLY 25 Shopping days until Christmas !!!

In two weeks I get my chip. And it will be grand. And the next night a good friend of mine is taking his Year at the Saturday Night Young People’s meeting. So we will all be there to support him.

More to come, absolutely !! Stay tuned …

Sunday is World AIDS Day. I will be posting something.


Pray your Resentments Away … Thursday

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Courtesy:ScottMalfoy

It is Thursday and it’s a little bitter out tonight.

We are sitting at (-8c/-15c w/c) There was a brief flurry this afternoon, like a single cloud wafted overhead while I was cleaning and flake was falling. It did not last very long …

The Big Snow totals they were forecasting never materialized. The storm kind of just fizzled out before it really got started. There is snow on the ground but not very much, and it will be colder in the coming days.

Hopefully, we will get more snow on Christmas. It is a cheerful event waking up on Christmas morning to snow falling.

Part two of the great Purge of 2013 took place today.

In the morning I went and did some safari and filled my cart with all kinds of goodies and stuff we needed. I got my coin, came back and did laundry.

One of my friends, (well my only friend) that speaks to me from the building does his laundry on the same day I do mine, so we get to chat over laundry on Thursday’s.

I started working on the closet and the bedroom. It was amazing. I did not realize how much SHIT we had amassed in the closet. It was FULL of clothes we don’t wear. I filled 4 leaf bags full of clothes to go to the Salvation Army on Monday.

I know I should stay away from them because of their stance on LGBT issues, but they are around the corner and they pick up and someone can use what I am getting rid of.

So the haul they get is 4 bags and 2 boxes full of clothes. Someone will have a Merry Christmas.

I tossed a couple more bags of trash away. My bedroom looks like a bedroom for the first time since we moved here. And all of the clothes I kept are now hanging in the closet instead of sitting in piles on chairs and the work out bench. It has been a very freeing exercise.

When we eventually move from here, (a long term goal) we won’t have all this crap to shlep along with us.

I was ready to go early, and seeing I had to make stops along the way, I left early and the mall was crawling with people. Tomorrow is Black Friday and I want to go shopping downtown – I know what I want and where to get it so it would be an “in and out” event. I am staying away from large box stores and shops.

We don’t have huge lists for each other. Christmas is a very simple affair.

We spend more on food for my holiday dinner than we do on ourselves, and we have a guest for dinner every year. The Holidays fall on Wednesday’s this year, so there are no meeting to go off to or to attend. Wednesday’s are the off day for me.

However We will have meetings on Tuesday’s at NDG which means Christmas eve and New Years Eve. Hopefully the bump in numbers continues into the holidays. It is good to have someplace sober to go after having to spend time with drinkers and family.

If an event is toxic or a particular event will be too much to handle, change your routine. There is such a thing as saying no. But there will be the one who will say yes, and go, and drink … it happens every year.

We had a good showing tonight. And our business meeting was another success. There was no blood, or anger, as someone joked. Our simple group of men are very docile.

We read from the Big Book – Page 552 … Yes, go look it up !!!

Resentments are a luxury we cannot afford.

This morning I got a text from a friend who gets quotes on his phone and he sends them to me each morning. Funny this was today’s quote:

“Resentments are like eating poison, and hoping it kills your enemies.”

Nelson Mandela.

And tonight’s topic was resentments.

I don’t have many. At least none that are fresh and recent. I stay away from situations and people that may cause them. And the people I spend the most time with (all around) are safe, sane and sober.

I am a nostalgic man. Who loves to nurse old pain. There are a few resentments in there as well. Things I am totally powerless over.

I am where I am today. I can’t change people or situations. I have come to accept the hand I am dealt. However certain people have hurt me in the past, I get it. I’ve prayed it away. And every year around now as I prepare to write my Christmas cards, I have to pray some more.

However terrible people treat me, I have to remember, But for the Grace of God, I could be them.

I am of the mind that “There is a redeeming quality in every person.” I don’t remember where that came from, but it is true.

And if I remember that – then it is out of my hands, and belongs to God.

I’m really thankful for my friends. And the family that still speaks to me.

In the coming week I will write my cards out and send them to people who contribute to my life, and those people I call family.

We all matter. And our lives have meaning.

Don’t let anyone tell you different.

So they say, well the book says, that two week prayer on a given resentment praying for all the wonderful things you want for yourself, should be pointed in the direction of the person who gave you that certain resentment.

“I want you to have every good thing. Love, Peace, Joy, Fullness and Serenity…”

However hard that may put a lump in your mouth, Do it. We should always try to send light instead of darkness. Because if we send darkness, darkness will consume us, inside and out.

Sobriety is about light. Not darkness.

Life is too short to be hung up on people who bring you pain and strife.

Ditch them, get rid of them, just walk in the other direction.

You know, family in my life, chose their stance. And they spoke words of pain. And my father was apt to say to me, whenever I said something rife, that “Once you Speak a Word, You Can’t take them back.”

I think they forgot that when the last conversation I had with my mother 13 years ago was “if I or your father died tomorrow, nobody would call you and no one would tell you where we are buried.”

We haven’t spoken since.

How fucking heartless.

But for the grace of God.

15 days until my anniversary. December 13th.

And there are 27 shopping days until Christmas …

Dinner is here. And Lady Gaga is on tv.

More to come, stay tuned …


The Festival of Lights 2013

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Courtesy: Sam Kittner NatGeo

Our thoughts and warm wishes go out to the community as the first night of Hanukkah begins. May you be surrounded by love, family and hope.


Tuesday … Avoiding Self Pity

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Courtesy: ConnorJon

For the last week we have been monitoring the weather very closely because of rules and regulations at the parish where the Tuesday Meeting meets. We’ve shopped for mats for wet shoes, and tonight we got a blessed BUMP in numbers. Me thinks my flyers are doing their thing well. I have to thank my elves the next time I see them for distribution.

So, it is snowing. The first big snow event of 2013 for Montreal has begun. Some say straight snow, the tv people say it will be a mixed bag, but the number 20 is being bandied about as in 20 cm of snow in total in a 48 hour snow event with rain and freezing pellets to come, so they say.

When I left it was cold, but not freezing cold, as you would expect before a snowfall. And that little temperature difference can make a difference between snow or rain. Instead of rail, I opted for the bus, since it drops me at the corner of the parish we meet in. I was carrying an armful of mats for the church, so I wanted the easiest transit.

When we came out, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground, and the kids at the Manoir Judo/karate school were tossing snowballs at each other.

Like I said, we doubled our attendance tonight. Which was the most folks we have hosted at the new location since our move.

The topic came from Living Sober: Avoiding Self Pity.

I have to say that my defects of character and my foibles are really presenting themselves to me over the past couple of weeks. I posted a rant, which I should have thought better of, but it did garner one response that kicked me in the ass…

Have I really forgotten what it was like to be a newbie???

I deleted said post, and along with that the comment, I should have kept it so I could have thanked the poster for the kick in the ass.

My pre-cake roller coaster is running swift and painfully through my life right now. I am not happy with my self review. I am not happy with where I am in my life, and as I was reminded tonight, I had the power to change it, and I sat on my hands waiting for someone or something to drop out of the sky and fulfill the desire I had for New York Style Sobriety.

There are old timers in my life. Men I can learn from. They all attend the Thursday Night Men’s meeting. They are my friends.

It is just what it is.And it’s the truth …

New York Came to Montreal, and when they left, so did their energy and power. Nobody I know reaches into the depths of study nor works as hard as some of our intrepid storytellers.

And for me it was all or nothing.

I could do New York, by skype and email and on the phone. I chose not to do that, because I did not want a long distance relationship with someone in another country.

In my head, I feel I am lacking in my program. I feel like I am going to meetings, and I drop counsel whenever possible, but does it matter? Do I make a difference? Do I matter? Doesn’t this wreak of “All about me?”

You can’t sit in all about me when you are working to serve other folks. Which is why I go to meetings and I talk, and I help with group responsibilities. This is not all about me, but my disease wants me to sit in this pity pot and say WHY ???

Another member would tell me “Why Not?”

Others would say … Get out of yourself.

Another suggests practicing Gratitude more often.

I am where I am, and as the Acceptance Statement says:

Nothing, Absolutely Nothing happens in God’s World by Mistake.”

I seem to have words for other people.

I just don’t seem to have them for myself.

I have the holy trinity … A roof, food in my fridge and a bed to sleep in.

For the first time in 12 years, “Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us,” has come to pass. It took twelve years for this promise to come to pass.

Taken to bare bones and simple thought … I haven’t had a drink in almost 12 years. Not that I even ponder a drink, but when that pity pot voice starts to talk, it is akin to taking a drink.

Poor me, Poor me, Pour me a drink …

Go to a meeting, I am sure there will be someone who is worse off than you and you can get out of yourself and help them.

I did that tonight. I rode the bus, with a friend. On the way out I met a lady friend on the bus from T.B. and that was nice.

It is snowing. My Ave Maria moment happened.

I am where I am, and I should be satisfied with that.

I could be sick. I could drink. And really, I could be dead as well.

My days are book-ended by pills. That keep me alive.

They are still working. Gratitude…

Plenty more to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries – It’s Getting Cold out there

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Courtesy: JamesClear Flickr

It is Sunday. And the wait is on to see who gets the forecast correct. Several sources of information do not agree on a singular forecast. But I’ve tried to forward think possible snow scenarios for the Tuesday Meeting. There are things that need to be prepared for in case things get wet and snowy.

At this hour it is (-10c/-20c windchill) … Brrrr ….

We were both up early today. And I find myself staring at my Christmas Tree, admiring it. It’s the same one we’ve always had, yet every year it is different. The baubles, the ornaments, the keepsakes. Every year it is different.

The keepsakes always get pride of place, at the top, in front. Pieces we’ve collected over the years marking time. Each year I buy at least one ornament to mark that particular year, from my favorite Hallmark store in the tunnel between Peel and McGill.

It is tradition that I always buy my keepsakes and special gifts at this store. I like the family who run the shop. They are always kind and gracious. I’ve come to know them over the years and they always seem happy to see me when I go into the shop.

It was a cold night. I departed early. And it was bitterly cold out, with the wind against me as I made my way to the tunnel.

It is the last Sunday, therefore it was a Tradition Meeting. And it being the eleventh month, we read the eleventh tradition.

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. We need always maintain anonymity at the level of press, radio, tv and film.”

This venue is a journal of my experiences as they happen. I share tidbits of life, family, sobriety and meetings. Yet I am not a spokesperson, per se, All I can do is share what has happened to me over the years.

If I can carry the message, that is my intent. If what you read here helps you in your journey, then I have done my job.

I was of a silent mind when the share came around to me, but I sputtered a few words, that weren’t very coherent. When it got round to our Matriarch of the group, she gave me the thought that I wanted to share, so that’s what will follow.

At the end of my slip, I had HAD my LAST drink. I had been praying for a little while. Communicating with the God of my understanding.

Three prayers came in quick succession…

1. That I have the hangover of death.

2. Bring me an alcoholic.

3. Get me to a meeting.

All three happened in quick succession. I kid you not.

I had had my last drink, and I got that hangover.

I was working in a small shop. A young man came in an inquired about a job, which I gave him. Several days into his employment, he began talking to me. And each day he came to work, he would say:

“I didn’t drink today. “

And I would nod kindly. And congratulate him. This utterance happened over and over again. Each day it was the same message. “I did not drink today.”

It took me a couple of weeks to gain the courage to say something about myself, and that happened on a delivery day. We were on a furniture trip and I told him that I was coming off a slip and that I was an alcoholic.

He then told me that in a few days he would be taking a year, and that maybe I would want to come with him to a meeting to see it. I did that.

Hence I had made my Second First Meeting. December 9th 2001.

I got my three prayers. God was listening. There are no coincidences.

Nothing, absolutely Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.

Had that interaction not occurred, I may not have come back. He didn’t break his anonymity, but he shared a message. That over time I became receptive to because it spoke to me, to my needs, and my spirit.

If you come here and you hear words that move you, then you were attracted to something I said. And followers would not subscribe if they thought I was not sharing something they wanted. And I have over 100 subscribers from all over the world.

Something I am writing is helpful to someone.

And if I can help one person a day to smile, feel good about themselves, and to laugh at themselves as well, through my folly and stupidity, then I have done my job.

A long time ago a friend gave me a T-shirt that said in Big Bright Letters:

“IT’S ALL ABOUT ME”

I only wore that shirt one time. It did not go over very well. So I retired that shirt to the darkness of my closet. I dug it out the other night during the purge of clothes. And I happily tossed it IN the trash, instead of the giving box. Because it’s not about me.

I’ve always said that you can’t keep your ego and get sober at the same time. Getting sober is an ego deflating exercise. I can’t do that alone, I need my fellows and my friends to keep me on track and humble.

I and some of my fellows have learned a very important lesson, that I related to a friend in a letter last night.

I have a friend in need, who is in a bad place. He gets caught in the “FUCK IT” mode far more often than he would like. And a handful of us stepped in to try and help him, in life, in school, in sobriety.

The thing is, when another fellow gives, it is usually a 100% effort. We give what we have been freely given. But if the recipient isn’t ready for that level of giving, it becomes overwhelming.

Our man pulled back. And it was apparent that he wasn’t fully in the game, at the same level we were in giving. If you try to give someone 100% of your effort and they are only 30% in the game, there is nothing you can do to get them up to 100% speed. That is up to themselves.

I can’t magically get you sober, or osmodically transfer all that is in me into your head and heart. And if I persist in this 100% effort with someone who doesn’t want what I have, and it isn’t ego, it is honesty, then I am wasting my time.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.

I have made “presence” the center of my being for months.

I put myself in situations that I could offer an ear, and my experience.

People come into and out of my orbit of space. And I reach out, slightly. I’ve been on this journey for a while now. All I am is what I have become.

I may get the odd question or thought. That’s all I have.

The way men get sober is odd.  They are so different from the women.

It is apparent that I am visible and present, and that is all.

At twelve years, almost, very few people inquire further of what I know, beyond what I share at any given meeting. Which tells me I still have a ways to go and that I remember that I am not the center of the universe.

And I am not all that important.

It seems not many folks in my sober circle care for what I have in more depth than sharing at a meeting.

Humbling…

I am attractive only to a certain degree, and that is all.

Attraction rather than promotion.

The year end review is coming, but it is still percolating in my head right now. I’m not there yet.

That is all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree …

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Today was the day … Yes, That day …

We pulled the boxes from the hall closet, they are getting all tattered and old. We’ve used the same boxes for tree, ornaments and lights since we first bought them more than 10 years ago.

Early today I set up the tree and un-bunched the branches. Because in order to store it, the branches must be bunched.

After a short nap, or what seemed like minutes, I got up and started untangling the lights.

Hubby got up and we loaded the DVD player with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on the tube and decorated the tree.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town is on now. And the tree is sparkling.

The tree above, is the old tree that stood in Place Montreal Trust a number of years ago. They have a new tree that I haven’t photographed yet.

Something to do this year.

Bring on the Holidays.

One online source tell us that we are in store for 20 cm of snow in the coming days. That is one site. The other two and the tv don’t concur.

We’ll see who gets it right.

THERE ARE 32 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS …

More to come, stay tuned…

 


Friday … Beer Cans … It’s a Theme really !

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Courtesy: JoshuaUhl – Flickr Terminal 2

It is the end of the week. And as I predicted, The word Snow has been wiped from the forecast, hopefully Wednesday is our best bet, tonight, that is.

As for tonight? It is WET and COLD.

I was up early today, I slept a little better last night, but it isn’t 100% yet.  I talked to a friend tonight at the meeting and he says that dreams are the days problems pushing into our nights. My subconscious is giving me the willies.

I did some safari in the afternoon, because I nixed the nap for the day. And I decided to continue my purge. I spoke to our manager about all the clothes I had in my closet that need to go, so she is bringing me bins on Monday.

I came upstairs and began culling my closet. On one side is shelves stacked with shirts, pants and sweaters. When all was said and done, I had packed two huge boxes with clothes that haven’t been worn in at least a couple of years. Which gave me much more space to work with, with what we do wear on a weekly basis.

The piles of clothes that are sitting on the work bench will eventually get hung up on the hangers that I will liberate on Monday when I have a receptacle for the clothes I am shedding. Someone will make use of them, they are all good quality clothes. We don’t spend money on cheap clothing.

Once I finish the closet purge, the apartment will be complete. I’ve purged most everything that we don’t need, don’t use, or things that just have to go.

And in the end – we don’t really have that much – we’ve been good at not buying needless things. There is very little left that is in “storage mode.”

I got ready to go and departed around 6:15. A little earlier than usual, but I was traveling alone, and I needed some tune. I’m really loving me some Katy Perry … Over and Over and Over …

The transit was quick, on all the connections.

I didn’t check the weather, and I wasn’t carrying an umbrella. It wasn’t raining when I went INTO the Metro, but it was sure as shit raining when I came OUT of the metro. And it just kept raining all night.

I got to the church and the hall was bare bones, so I helped finish set up and wait for folks to show up. We had a good crowd.

The reading was titled… “Troublemakers Can be Teachers”

I’ve had my fair share of run ins with “trouble makers” in my years in the rooms here. I’ve seen fist fights, cursing, egos and attitudes. People I have learned to stay away from. But only ONE person in the city remains on my eternal shit list.

Yes, I know there’s a resentment there maybe. More for him than myself.

All it took was the placement of my hand on his head one night at a meeting. I had disturbed his personal space, and he almost slugged me. To this day, we rarely cross paths. If he comes to a meeting I am at he won’t acknowledge me and he never returns.

He hasn’t let it go.

Funny we read about troublemakers tonight. And at the beginning, I volunteered to read the passage. And as soon as I started, someones phone went off singing ,,, as I was reading … I kept reading anyway … I could hear the singing that wasn’t being turned off … and others were laughing openly.

Was that ODD or was that GOD ???

Someone read it again when the singing stopped.

It was a good night.

I started pondering what the theme of this year has been and what has changed and I have a particular idea, which will probably end up here soon.

On the way home, it was raining a bit more than I would have liked. I walked to the stop, thankfully, my toque kept my head warm and dry, and I had tunes. But I had to wait in the rain for a few minutes for the bus.

I got on that bus and was surrounded by several groups of kids carrying cases/boxes of beer to their certain destinations. In all I counted about 10 cases/boxes of beer in my vicinity on the bus and the train and in the stations.

I was like, really, REALLY !!!

I follow a certain young gay couple on twitter and You Tube. Over the years I have watched them share in open community their drinking escapades.

There is a problem, but they are always justified. any who …

I’ve shared my fears and got silence. So I let it go.

This past week was their big gay engaygement party in Los Angeles, with a party of who’s who in You Tube fame, at a private club. They sold tickets and all that stuff.

And in open twitter we all got a blow by blow of the party, and what happened during and after.

Actions happened, in a drunken stupor.

Which led to open apology to all those who the actions happened to.

Then the next tweet, the next day was …

“UGH, I am still hung over … Why is God doing this to me ???”
Nothing is sacred when you post it on the internet.

Someone has a drinking problem, that is apparent. But who am I to judge.

So I typed into twitter …

“that’s what copious amounts of alcohol will do to you. And that it was sad, you had to ask what you did the night before!”

There is an alcoholic in the making. And I hope and pray that their wedding is not a drunken affair, because that would be a real shame.

It’s L.A. there are parties. And alcohol and drugs, and we are young, so what’s the problem?

I am waiting for the crash and burn.

But for the Grace of God…

Anyways, that’s all for now.

More to come, stay tuned …


Fear of Sleeping … Thursday

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Courtesy: RThompson80

The weather is definitely getting colder. As the days pass, the weather is turning towards SNOW. The forecasting has been changing by the hour, it seems nobody knows what were are going to get and when?

I’ve been cleaning and ridding the house of all the junk that tends to pile up and getting old magazines and papers we no longer use. With very limited storage, if it can go outside it usually does, hence the purge that took place yesterday.

The space for the Christmas Tree is finally cleared, as this weekend we will put up the tree finally. It usually goes up on the first snow, or on Thanksgiving week. The city has decorated light poles, and the malls are all decked out. I still need to go check out the decorations in the core in the coming weeks. Eventually I will have to hit the downtown malls for Christmas presents.

It was an off night, due to the church needing the space tonight, so the men’s meeting was dark. We in turn took the chance to get to St. Matthias for their speaker meeting. Which is where we left to open the men’s meeting. Lots of old faces, and many new faces. I was hoping to see some friends that I don’t see very often, and they didn’t show.

We got to hear a newbie girl tell her story tonight. Just 2 1/2 years in.

Our girl was no more than 21 years old, and came in around 18, and like all the very young people who come in ask that one eternal question…

“Do I really want to quit drinking and get sober so young? What will become of my life at that …

Listening to the excessive train wreck of a life of a young girl who faced all those issues young girls face … image, food, friends, egos, attitudes …

For the brief years she drank, alcohol became the solution. And after continuous geographical cures, a sobering trip to Africa, and a total meltdown that led to her committing to treatment here in Montreal, she is newly sober.

The stories of young people differ from an old soul who gets sober later in life. But the stories are all the same. No matter the age. We drank, we got drunk, all we wanted was to escape and to have MORE.

In the end, the writing appears on the wall, and in the mirror … “We can’t go on like this anymore, and if there is a God, now would be a good time to show yourself.”

At the end of the meeting a good long time member took his 31 year medallion. He, is a Somali Muslim, and he shared a reading of a story about a meeting,  and a Jew was coming to his first meeting, and our man was handing out the desire chip, and this Jewish man walked up and here you had a Muslim embracing a Jew in a meeting.

All out of Love and support, not warring or wanting to hurt one another …

The things we learn when we stay sober long enough and to be in the right place at the right time to hear such stories. We are all blessed.

It was a good meeting.

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

Today I had a few things to do around the house. I cooked some lunch and took in a meeting on CD. My copy of the Roundup speakers is getting good use. After lunch I had time to burn, so I took a nap.

And there’s the rub …

For the last week or so, every time I nap, or go to sleep at night, both sleep periods are ending up in awful nightmares that are freakishly horrible. I’m either running from, or trying to get out of some place or away from some body, and my sleep period is terribly interrupted and I wake up more exhausted than when I went to nap or sleep.

Yesterday afternoon I took a nap and woke with a migraine headache which sent me back to bed after taking something for the pain and sleeping another hour and a half, before dinner.

I am finding that it takes longer to get to sleep, I think my brain is beginning to fear going to sleep. And that is not good.

I’ve never had this problem before, I know some HIV meds create horrid nightmares, but that has never been the case with mine.

I don’t know … I see the doc on the 4th of December. And I will talk it over with him then.

3 weeks from tomorrow I celebrate my anniversary.

THERE ARE 34 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS !!!

More to come, stay tuned …

 


9 Years Ago Today … November 20, 2004

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Wednesday – The Great Purge of 2013

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Courtesy: ScottMalfoy

It is Wednesday and it is an off day. Nowhere to go, no meeting tonight. And I’ve been mulling over tasks to do here at home, since I have all this time.

Today Environment Canada has said there is snow coming “straight SNOW” for Sunday. Well, that all might change, the day is young.

We live in a high rise apartment building. and there are three solitary green bins in the basement for recycling, that’s all. The garbage goes in bags and down the chute on each floor. There is NOWHERE to throw trash out that needs to go anywhere …

There are two closets in our apartment, the hall closet which has coats, the vacuum, sorted things of mine and all of our Christmas decorations. Up to the ceiling. With not an inch to spare.

The other closet is in the bedroom, and all the clothes we own, fill shelves, and hangers, we even have clothes stacked on a work out bench against the wall IN the bedroom itself.

We’ve been hoarding things for years. I mean, really, where do you throw out massive oodles of garbage when you live in a high rise? We just stacked it on the balcony and covered it with a tarpaulin. And there, things we have had, used, and put out there for the last 10 years wasted away …

Stacks and stacks of school folders, books, files, you get it right?

I was reading “In the Footsteps of the Camel,” by Lorna Kelly. In this book, a collection of stories from her 32 years in sobriety, she talks about the clutterer …

And that letting go of needless things, material and other is something we come to in sobriety. We learn to shed all those things we no longer need. So the saying goes, “to lighten the load.”

We had a five foot stack of folders in the bedroom against the wall for ages. And along with the boxes upon boxes of goods on the balcony, there was a lot of trash.

And today was the day. It was all going to go, somehow …

I went up and started my laundry, and then went down to the office to see if I could get one of those industrial green bins that recycling goes in, in the basement. And she said no, but she would give me some large leaf bags to put my refuse in to take it down.

I transferred the laundry and went to work. I uncovered years and years of waste and wont, boxes and old coats, old paint cans and just SHIT !!!

I started bagging. At the end of that chore, I had filled 8 Bin Bags worth of refuse. They were bulging and ripped, and I carried them to the elevator and down to the basement.

I Stopped off at the office and got another handful of bags. The next task was the bedroom. I called hubby to ask him if he really wanted to keep his folders and old books, and thankfully, he said NO …

That was the answer I was looking for.

I filled another four bags with refuse. And carried them down to the basement. My first foray into de-cluttering was a success.

I was able to fix up my library of books I have collected over the years, and all the textbooks, school calendars, folders and crap are gone. Most of it from the balcony. So you can’t really see so much, but for the bedroom, what has been done.

I “passed the vacuum.” as Memere would say. I cleaned myself up a little because I was covered in dust and dirt. And by that time the laundry was done, so I went up and folded.

I made a run to the store for things we needed and had some lunch.

And as I’ve been typing here I’m sitting in a meeting, listening to Lorna Kelly speak. A woman I met from New York City at the West Island Roundup back in May.

So all in all it has been a very productive day. I’m happy.

The tree will be going up this weekend.

THERE ARE 35 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS !!!

More to come, stay tuned …


Nap Interrupted !!!

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Courtesy: Shampoo xl Flickr

There is white flake falling from the sky right now. It is a little colder than it has been recently, And as usual, Environment Canada cannot get their act together. The tv weather is not the same as internet weather. The word “Snow” has been bandied about several times.

Yesterday they called for SNOW on the weekend. Straight SNOW. And today they tell us that there is a “chance” for flurries Friday through Sunday. But flakes are falling right now … what is with that???

I had plans today. God has different ideas about them.

I got up around 1 because I was feeling some serious pain, so I took some medication and thought I’d go back to bed, but there were chores to do and other things to do around the house, nix that idea.

I had done my surfing and turned off the box, and set my alarm clock for 3:30, so I could shower and shave and get ready to go early. I turned down my bed and crawled in.

And my phone rang !!!

It was the church calling to make arrangements for room closures for the next few weeks. Since I am key holder for several meetings, I am the go to person. We had to cancel Thursday’s meeting outright.

Then I was reminded about December 1st, and an impending concert. The bathrooms for the church folks is down in the basement, where we meet. And staging a meeting at the same time as a church function, has been less than perfect. It’s hard to keep anonymity when strangers are coming and going from the church. So we have decided, along with the church management, that we would just close a meeting instead of dealing with in and out the entire time we are there.

I called one of our Sunday members and told her of the closure, and she countered with – “Well, we can use the CCD room down the hall from the main hall instead.” Which prompted a negotiating call back to the church to clear it with them, they agreed – so no cancellation on the 1st.

The thing is that we would need to move chairs and tables down a corridor that has steps, and low ceilings. Which means carrying chairs in along with tables. (A GREAT pain in the ASS!) I have to see about plugs for a coffee urn. Hopefully we can get them moved by the church folks instead of me having to do it alone by myself on that Sunday. UGH !!!

After all that I needed to email the guys for Thursday and send a couple of texts out which then turned into text conversations that lasted 30 minutes. And by then, my nap schedule was shot to hell.

No Nap Joy …

I showered and hung out until it was time to go.

I left early because I was taking the Metro up the hill. And we were right on so I arrived well before our key holder. It is getting cold to be waiting outside in the cold – I might negotiate for the keys so I can open the room early, seeing we are going to have to be vigilant about not bringing wet and snowy shoes into the room, we have a contingency plan on the books for when the weather goes North …

It was the same small intimate group. And the topic was page: 449.

ACCEPTANCE … is the key to all my problems.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake …

When one mentions acceptance, I might add powerlessness, letting go and turning it over.

When it comes to other people, in the program and out, people come into and out of my life. And if we engage, and situations arise, that I can work with, I usually like to plant a seed, THEN pour miracle grow on it and will it to grow, RIGHT NOW, RIGHT AWAY …

And I am powerless over people, places and things. And I have to accept that people are either going to take what is given and use it, or they will do what they are going to do with it … I can’t force anyone to act in a particular way or do particular things.

Everybody has their process. And if they have to fall on their face to get there, then so be it. However hard I work to change the outcome of a situation, in the end, that is up to God, not me.

I can only do so much, say certain things and I can only do so much in a days time.

The rest is up to God, I have to work to let it go into His hands.

On the way home I mentioned a a friend that the one thing it took me a long time to square was that “if nothing happens in God’s time by mistake” then all that shit I had to go through as a child had to happen?

And all that shit I went through on my slip and the year that followed, had to happen, and it happened as God saw it ???

Well, God has a really warped sense of timing and humor.

Everything happens for a reason. And if things had NOT happened in the order that they happened, down to the littlest detail, I would not be here right now. Life was about timing. With the right people and the right situations that took place that led to one letter in the mail, and one response.

Had that letter not come and I responded, none of this would have taken place, and the last 12 years would have been totally different.

Everything is as it should be. Nothing happens by mistake.

And at any point of the journey, you are right where you need to be at any given moment along your journey.

Easier accepted/said than done.

I am praying my young friend does not drop out of university. We need to send him as much love and support that we can.

THERE ARE 36 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS !!!

More to come, stay tuned.


Sunday Sundries – Fear and Giving Up

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Courtesy: Minhos 21

It was a miserable Sunday. Rain clouds are gathering right now, as rain is in the forecast for later tonight. But it was pissing little rain here and there, and I decided to carry an umbrella, even though I did not need it, and got a ride home after the meeting. If it was only a bit colder, we’d have snow.

They are hinting that we might get some flake later on in the week.

It was a gangbusters meeting tonight. Early on one of my friends showed up early and remarked that we might be low in numbers, but I said that it was a toss up. It is either feast or famine. In the end we needed an extra stack of chairs for all the folks who showed up late, but came nonetheless.

We read from the Big Book: The Man who conquered Fear …

Lots was said, but we didn’t get all the way around the circle. But fear and the getting over of said fear was the common theme.

And I was sitting in my seat thinking about fear. I never chalk up fear as a motivator but over time I could see where it played out. As a young person, were talking junior high, I used to leave the house hours early to get to school to hang out just to get out of the house.

I spent a great deal of time living at friends houses, weeks at a time, just to get away from my alcoholic father. never knowing when Jekyl and Hyde would appear. My father still had it out for me growing up, that didn’t stop when I grew from a child into a boy.

In both instances – my first last drink – I was fearing death … and my Second last drink – I was fearing growing up and not being able to hang on to my youth, I had to grow out of that fear in order to come to and begin the process of change.

I was alive – I lived, but I didn’t know how to grow up, I had no touchstones, nobody to show me the way. If it wasn’t for Troy at the end there I might never have made it back. But his calm, daily thought that “I did not drink today…” gave me courage to identify and to speak to him about my slip, brought about another recovery.

Fear doesn’t go away. And shit happens. Life is going to come, and it may get scary, and things may get shitty, and life goes on whether you/we like it or not. But within the rooms we find commonality, and we learn that we can survive this life, if we apply basic principles of I can’t – He can – so I will let Him … A little prayer (strategic prayer for some) helps.

At the end of the day, if I did not take a drink or use a drug, it was a good day. And that is sufficient.

I would ask for your prayers for one of my guys.

He is in Fuck It mode. After I spent good hours tutoring him and talking him up for exams this week, instead of calling and saying that he was in difficulty, he just threw in the towel and did not call. But after several attempts to reach him, he texts me before I left to say that “he had given up and that he did not want to talk about it.”

What is it with this Fuck it mentality ???

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.

At least he did not take a drink.

So that was the day.

More to come, stay tuned …


Friday … Spiritual Condition / TARGET REVIEW

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Courtesy: chinchinalqueraje

“We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” A.B.S.I. #27

Knowing I had to be up at the crack of dawn this morning, I did not go to bed until almost 4 in the morning. UGH !!! I took my night pills and went to bed, and was up before the buzzer went off.

Appointments at the clinic are always “wait and see.”

I practice a little acceptance and turn the day over first thing.

I got on the bus and arrived before my 10 am appointment call. There was shit going down in the hospital – I kept hearing them call codes across the hospital speaker system. I didn’t have to wait long to see a doctor, I had met him before. He looked at my back and decided to send me to radiology for x-rays.

Rumor had it that they were uber backed up and may not be able to take me right away, but we called anyways, it is just down the hall from I.D.T.C., I walked over and got right in. Quick and painless.

Doc thinks I have a few pinched nerves and said to keep taking the OTC pills I have, and rest up, he also said it may take six weeks to get better.

I took an afternoon nap before the meeting and I slept without medication, which was a good thing.

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TARGET

On the way home I detoured to the mall. I really like the clean lines look of the rebuild and the new decorations, and the Big Tree in the atrium outside of Target.

I had commented to a team member on Thursday night that the layout was similar to the way Zellers was set up, and the response was, it’s only a lot bigger.

The store footprint is larger. They knocked back the walls on the sides and back of the store. There is good and ample space to walk with carts from one area to another.

Where Zellers was quite drab and dreary, Target moved in with flash, splash and lots of color. From carpets, to tile to paint, and decor.

The store is awash in color. 

When you enter the store you have a direct sight line to electronics. And with a great splash there are wide screen tv’s on the wall that is quite eye popping.

The electronics section was amazing. I purchased some headphones for my phone on Thursday night, priced right and fine crafted electronics. From Tv’s to phones, to pads to dvd’s. They have it all.

For you Family Folks, there is an entire spectrum of BABY items, from diapers to carts. Nobody is left without something to buy.

The store lay out is near to the same way Zellers was laid out. But on a greater scale.

There is plenty to see and lots to buy.

I called to mind an exercise we had in Sociology last year where we observed a stores use of colors (Zellers)  in certain sections of the store.

Ladies, Men, Children’s, Toys, Housewares, etc …

You will notice that each area is bright and colorful. Blues, Pinks, the Target Red, and Yellows.  It is indicative of how color is used to display items for sale. Take for instance the toy department … Girls toys are in pink colored racks, blue for the boys, and yellow for younger children.

The older areas are darker colors and set up for maximum exposure. There is dedicated kitchen,bed and bath, and housewares. But the selection of bits and bobs are really nice. Once you pick a pattern and style, there are plenty of add on’s you can add to your cart. Candles, table toppers, etc …

LOTS of Holiday items from Christmas trees, to decorations and house ware holiday items.

There is a section for food, groceries and frozen items. With the IGA just upstairs, you can buy those much needed impulse items, candy and munchies galore. I did not see an in-house pharmacy, ala Zellers, I may have to go back and look see again. But Pharmaprix is just up stairs.

Prices are comparable. Shopping in the men’s section I found that the size stock was lacking. I wear X-large shirts and there were very few of them on display. But lots of Small, Med and Larges.

Sox, underwear and thermals were out and priced nominally. They were not overly expensive or more expensive than they had been. I noticed that pricing store wide was very reasonable.

I did not see Winter coats or items of that nature, I might have missed them up front. I was headed to areas for things I wanted to buy.

They have nice things to buy, and they aren’t cheaply made or cheap items, so you are paying a price for nice things. I’ve never had a problem paying a little more for something nice for my home.

The quality is much higher grade than Zellers.

You can decorate your entire home in this store. Bathroom, Dining, Bedrooms and Furniture. Good Quality furniture.

Check out was a breeze. There was a team member waiting for shoppers to direct them to cashes and the process was quick, the cashiers were polite and bright. I like it …

And if you are in the mood for coffee, Starbucks is right there next to the exit, with lots of holiday offerings. They are directly underneath a huge glass window that extends up to the Mezzanine level, outside of Pharmaprix on the main floor.

It is interesting that there is a Starbucks in the Target, when there is a big Tim Horton’s just across the square from the entrance of the Target.

Nothing like Good Coffee Competition !!!

People have their favorite coffee’s. Whether you are a Starbucks or a die hard Timmy’s person, you can get it all here.

On that main floor are Laura Secord Chocolates, a sweet shop, shoe cobblers, jewelry, fragrances, and pastries. There is a dry cleaners, A Dollar Store that is huge. And several kiosks for phone, printer cartridges, and Lotto.

Yellow shoe store is off to the side of Target, and it was the first new build to open on the ground floor when the rebuild began months ago.

There are several boarded storefronts. And they are still building around the escalator casing and the glass elevator.

This new face lift for Alexis Nihon was greatly needed. The new colors and decor is bright and splashy. Like I have said before, they did a great job on the rebuild.

Come visit and shop till you drop.

When I got home I tweeted Target Canada.

I went, I saw, I shopped and I liked. They favorited my tweet, and then later on today they responded directly with a message of thanks and that they had forwarded my comment to the store operations. That was nice.

Thanks Target Canada.

It was a great night. Lots of faces. There was lots to listen to tonight, I just listened tonight. The reading was short, and there were lots of pregnant pauses. But it was good.

It was a great day.

Shopping at Target is a seriously Good Thing …

More to come, stay tuned …


Openings … Prism … and Letting Go !!!

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Today was the Big Day for the REVEAL  …

That was not as BIG a deal as I thought it would be. The ground floor is 95% complete, save for a few still covered spots that are not occupied, and the one build still going on at the tunnel.

But more on that in a few moments.

It is cold, it is warmer, it is cold and it is warmer … Me thinks Mother Nature is having issues. She has a hot flash, then she gets cold, and so on.

The weather through Monday is moderate, then temps go downhill from there. And we hit a bunch of minuses. One of my neighbors from Asia was at the elevator this afternoon and he commented that it was getting colder and that this was his first winter here. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the coming weeks. As we both agreed that it only gets worse from here on out.

I was up early this morning to run some safari and get coin for laundry. And it was a hang up in the laundry room as someone was occupying several washers and they were outside the ten minute rule … which says

“if your laundry sits for more than ten minutes, other tenants have the right to move your laundry to make way for their own…”

I don’t like fussing with other people’s laundry, because that gives them the inkling to fuck with yours.

I got my wash done, and into dryers before someone came up and finished their laundry. So that was a good thing.

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

I have a doctors appointment at 10 in the morning for x-rays and to see a doctor, not MY doctor, but a doctor nonetheless. I’m hoping I did not do severe damage to my back in the fall.

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

I was out uber early for the church, as I had a tutoring session with one of my boys. He is having a case of the “fuck its” and ran into a wall and almost dropped out of university because of adversity. Thankfully I talked him out of “Fuck It.” We pow wowed and I gave some pointers and gave him several essays to read, so that he would learn what an essay looks like and how one is written correctly. He also has a style guide grading sheet to look at while he studies. Time will tell. We also hooked him up with a rep from the university to get him hooked into student services.

Our meeting was sparse, but the same faces come, and the intimate atmosphere is appealing. One of our men said tonight that he felt that our name has been coming to pass … Changing Attitudes among the men present.

We talked about Letting Go.

This last time I was getting sober, I was an empty shell. Living alone, very few friends who were “involved” in my daily life. Not many at all.

Someone mentioned he was still trying to figure out who he is in sobriety.

When I came back in, I was nothing. I was trying to be something that I could not be. And reclaim or hold on to an age that was long gone.

For the first few months, I had to let go to the process, and trust the people in my life at the time to steer me in the right direction. When I got HERE, I had not very much, not a tv, not a bed, not any furniture.

I borrowed a hand me down throw mattress and I had a radio.

But I had my meetings. And the people in those meetings. Despite my expectations, I had people who told me right from wrong, kept telling me to keep coming back, and stay in my day. It took me a long time to learn how to do that AGAIN.

I had a passing glance of the boy who would later become my husband.

I followed him around, and the rest is history.

I had good people in my life. I worked my steps a couple of times inside of the first two years, and I studied the slogans and I began to practice them one day at a time.

I would get some step time in, and then God would give me something to actively work with to practice what I learned on that pass.

I would study for a few months, or maybe a years time, then something Big happened in my life and I had to work my program to the hilt. And that happened over many years, and to this date.

I don’t plan my days to a severe degree. I usually let things pan out and see what happens. I have chores to do and things for myself. Then I leave a majority of my time to work with others, in what ever way that works out.

I am useful today.

Some friends of mine have problems with asking for help and would rather eat pride and say Fuck it and fail. But it is proven that over the last twelve years, if I needed anything, I brought it to a meeting and spoke up.

You cannot get sober and keep your ego …

There is no shame in asking for help, especially at a meeting, because there is always someone at a given meeting who may be able to help you and if we listen and we find we can’t help you, nine times out of ten, we know someone who CAN help you. So ask away …

It was a good night.

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

I walked my friends to the Westmount tunnel and they walked outside as I took the tunnel. As I plugged my buds in to listen to my music, one channel went out and I only got half sound. I was like “fuck me !”

Like I said above … Target opened their doors today. And there was no BIG BANG details or happy party. Not even on twitter. They put up a huge Christmas tree in the atrium out front of the store. Which is nice.

The Big Open Space is also very attractive. They did a great job on the rebuild. But there is still work going on in other areas of the mall.

Thankfully, Target was open. For a few more minutes at least. Enough time for me to hit the electronics department to buy new headphones.

From my brief visit, I could see that the layout of the store is almost identical to the way Zeller’s had it. Tomorrow I will have a full review after my doctors appointment.

They guy I was talking to said the store was much bigger in size, so there will be more to explore in the morning.

I paid $40 bucks for a new headset, with a small jack for my phone.

I’ve been trying to fill my days with space to listen to music. Which means taking the long way around, and being by myself. Because it is rude to listen to music in the company of others.

I had a listen to Lady Gaga, and that is still a work in progress. I don’t love it like other music she wrote.

But I am LIKING Katy Perry’s PRISM. That is some solid song writing. And it plays well. There is a tone and meaning to the lyrics and I really like what I am hearing.

I stopped at Pharmaprix for some things, then to Provigo for some safari on the way back. I think I am set for now, unless of course I see something I have to have before Christmas tomorrow at Target.

It will be a full day tomorrow – with a meeting tomorrow night and a cake with friends marking time at the meeting.

More to come, stay tuned …