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Archive for December, 2015

Tuesday … Snowmageddon 2015

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Dear cute young man, standing on the platform at Lionel Groulx waiting for a green line train, I admired your saggy pants, and all the effort you went to, to make sure they sagged just right. The fit was good, and your outfit was smart.

And you got on my car, SCORE !!!

The warning of snow was on the table for a few days, and twice they changed the estimations of total snowfall into last night. It was after midnight Monday night that the cloud finally rolled in, and Snowmageddon 2015, began.

It hasn’t snowed this hard for this long in a long time. I remarked that if it got really ugly out, that I wasn’t going to go out today, but I got two phone calls this afternoon confirming that yes, indeed, I would be there this evening.

It was snowing when I left the house. And the plows were making their first passes on major arteries so that traffic and buses could move. But what they plowed from the streets went onto the sidewalks.

In the end, “30 cm plus” of snow fell. And higher totals fell outside the city to the North and East. And as the wind blew, the snow piled higher and higher all over the city.

I bundled up, because it was cold, and thankfully I had a new pair of snow boots that I bought last year to wear.

They came in very handy.

There was snow everywhere. It wasn’t so bad close to home, but on the other end, they had not plowed and there was more than 3 feet of snow on the ground, cars had been buried and sidewalks were nonexistent.

I had to check on Baby Mama’s apartment on the way out and there was three feet of snow mounded up on the balcony that we will need to get rid of when she returns on Friday. I don’t know where you shovel snow, that is sitting on a fourth floor balcony, but to the pavement below, hopefully not on top of a human being.

It was a hard slog through feet deep snow all the way to the church. And people actually showed up. So that was good.

The Year End Report is up on the blog tonight. And the magic number is 19,000 …

NINETEEN THOUSAND PAGE VIEWS IN 2015.

And I made 52 weeks of Sundays the best day of the week in writing, because I actually put up 52 posts. That’s a year of Sundays.

It has been a good year. Thanks to all of you for coming and reading, this has been a work of love and devotion, for all these years.

One More Post coming for 2015, and then that’s it.

A New Year opens.

 

 


See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

See the fireworks My Side of the Street created by blogging on WordPress.com. Check out their 2015 annual report.

Source: See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.


Sunday Sundries … “A Little Goes A Long Way”

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Courtesy: Jake Cooper

Well, we wanted change. We’ve been complaining for weeks. Mother Nature, I am sure, was weary of hearing us kvetching. Last night, the clouds rolled in, and snow began to fall, and fell well into this afternoon. Right now there is a good dusting of snow on the ground.

If the forecaster on tv got it right, 10 to 15 cm of snow will fall on Tuesday. That means it will be a messy night for travel.

December is always a tough month, for folks in the rooms, those who came in the rooms, this month, and the expected souls who will make their way in over the next thirty days.

I know how hard it is to stay sober over the holidays, and what lengths I went to, to stay sober that first holiday season.

There is much discussion going on right now, about how we can better serve the new comer. Our first January Sunday meeting will fall on the 3rd. The first Sunday in January.

As it happens, some some folks come in, who got caught drinking and driving, and come here by the courts. Then there are those who will make New Years Resolutions to A) Moderate their drinking, B) See if they really have a problem, or C) Decide to clean up, spend a few weeks drying out in the rooms.

Some, will stay, but sadly, most will go. And never return.

Tonight we decided on a plan to make sure everyone who walks in the doors, is welcomed, not that we don’t do that already, but sticky times need a concerted action on our part, to make sure that you know how important you are and that we care.

As it was the last Sunday of the month, so it went we read from the Twelve and Twelve and Tradition Twelve.

I must decrease, so that He may increase. I am not the center of the universe. And it is not always about me. The only person I can talk about is me. I cannot talk about you. Your safety is more important that my ego.

I don’t fear talking about me. It is more important that people know that if a problem arises, that maybe I can help. There again, it isn’t about me. All I have is what I’ve experienced. Everyone has a story, and every story matters. I think the important thing we can hope is that we can learn from each other, each in our own ways.

The future seems very bright. We are on a journey of discovery and I hope that the New Year brings light, love and hope.

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I have several books at my bedside and I’ve been rotating through them. My reading of Pope Francis continues. I have an updated copy of “Pope Francis (Untying the Knots) in, “The Struggle for the Soul of Catholicism.”

This is quite a large book, having been able to skip past the chapters that came in an earlier book, we are reading another writer, Paul Vallely, who has been present in Papal history as it unfolded as Francis became Pope.

It is striking to me, reading the stories of his first few months as Pope, similar stories that were told about Pope John Paul II. John Paul II living in the Apostolic Palace, and Francis living in Casa Santa Marta. Two diametrically opposite locations. One more austentacious and sprawling than the other more modest and simple lodging.

Francis chose not to take the aparment because in his words “these rooms could accomodate 300 people.” He opted for a two room suite in Casa Santa Marta, where he desired to live “with/and in community.” Because he states openly, that “he desired community, rather than exclusivity and separateness.”

One story I never tire in telling, concerns both Holy Men.

It was Christmas, and John Paul II was visited by a number of Cardinals, who all ignored the Swiss Guard, standing guard outside the door. Once they had left, John Paul walks out with a chair, and invites the young man to sit, the young man responds, “I can’t sit down, I am on duty!”

John Paul replies, “Well I am the Pope, And you can sit.” He goes back into the house and brings the guard some holiday treats to eat.

Pope Francis, early in his papacy, has the very same experience. And the story is almost written in the very same words that were written in John Paul’s case for sainthood file.

We could all learn a great deal from the Pope. The world is out there, and we must go out into the world and share, with those who most need it. We must not hide in the world of materialism and pride and ego.

Francis asks us to challenge the way we see and experience the world around us, and the people in it. And find ways to serve our brothers and sisters in the best way we can. Because everyone matters, believers or not.

Francis states, “All of us, man, woman and child, no matter where you come from, or what you believe, we are all Children of God.”

He said this to a room full of reporters just after his election, in his first interview, knowing that there were many people sitting with him, and he wanted to make it perfectly clear what he was all about, and how he saw each person, as a child of God, no matter their faith, or belief.

Francis believes that the church, as it was, was turned in on itself, and kept to its rules and gates and fences. Waiting for the people to “come to the church.” For Francis, he says that for the church to do its job well, “the church must go out to the people.”

And as he sent home, the cardinals who elected him Pope, he encouraged them to go out into the world and be present, and to be human, and to experience all the people that reside in their cities, towns and villages.

To find ways of helping the least of these, and not concentrating on those who have too much and want nothing to do with those they might see as “other or less than.”

Here in Montreal, we have seen a great outpouring of love and affection for the many. A new reality in the lives of the indigenous people has come, with the Truth and Reconciliation commission.

Our government has pledged truth and assistance to those who, for decades and lifetimes, have gone unnoticed, abused and forgotten.

Syrian refugees are coming by the plane load. And Montreal and other Canadian cities have opened their doors and their hearts. People are giving and knitting, and sharing and loving those who most need it right now.

Montreal, here at home, over the last two years, have spent countless hours counting, documenting and working to help every homeless human being on our streets. An effort that has taken countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears.

These past few months have proven that we, as community, can do better, and we must do better. It is all well and good to give to the rest of the world, but charity begins at home. First we must take care of our own, to see that they have what they need, and do it.

And these efforts in our own communities, have turned into the ability to welcome and serve those, Canada is bringing to our country, who have nothing, because of war, genocide and terrorism.

I have said it before, that there is so much more we can do, if we just step outside our comfort zone and find the will to try.

This is the message of Christmas.

When we turn our eyes from MORE and begin to accept what is ENOUGH, we will find that we really do have something to give, and we find that, not far from our own doorways and homes, there are those who have very little or nothing at all. If every human realized just how much ” a little goes a long way …”

There is new hope in the world. And we must bring that hope to all the corners of the world, because failure is not an option, when the odds are so high, and terrorism and destruction is so rampant. Not to mention what goes on right beneath our noses, here at home.

Francis want us to go out into the world and to serve.

So go out into the world and serve…

“A little goes a long way …”

 


Christmas Round Up Part 2 Before and After

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The Before shot … hubby’s shoe mess off to the left.

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The After shot …

I say that you can never have too many pairs of Underwear, Sox, and Shoes. I have plenty of all, in all kinds of shapes, colors and sizes.

Underwear is necessary. And I don’t get this trend these days of assless underwear. I would never wear them because I would feel insecure without that little protective coverage on my behind.

It is just one of those little things that keep me up at night.

I have oodles of sox, from all over the world. Some of the best sox, in terms of durability, style, and comfort come from Europe. I have spent a pretty penny, more than hundreds of dollars over the last year in my sock collection. Mostly from Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. Soccer and Rugby socks are all the rage in Europe.

It seems I have too many pairs of shoes, boots, and wellies…

In the jumble photo above, you see what a mess we have been dealing with since forever. In the second photo you see how wonderfully organized the shoes are right now. A very nice change with a little ingenuity and organization.

I have 12 pairs of shoes.

  • 3 sets of combat boots, lace up, zip up and tactical SWATS
  • I have 5 pairs of sneakers, stylish must haves and spent many pretty pennies on them.
  • 3 pairs of wrestling shoes, because, they are collectors items now, since they don’t make this line any longer. I have blue, black and black and orange Adidas.
  • and one pair of winter wellies, that I had to get last winter because of slush and wet shoes.

Part three to follow later …


Christmas Wrap Up 2015 Part 1

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Well, the sun is shining and it is quite nice outside. A beautiful day for friends and family. However, my good friends who, if they were here, would be here already, are back in Nova Scotia with their kids.

This year was very different in the way of gifts. There were actually things we bought each other, that are useful, and things that we needed. Thankfully, hubby did not shoot his mouth off and spoil his surprise like he did with the phone. Which also took some seriously adept work at getting the gifts in the door, and then wrapped, before I saw them or figured out what they were, because in all honesty, I had no idea what was under the tree.

So this year we have only a couple gifts each:

  • Cuisinart 5 Function Panini Grill (Read: Small Barbeque)
  • Black and Decker fully programmable Coffee maker
  • A grocery rolling cart (that I really wanted)
  • And a Shoe rack for all of my shoes (I really needed that)

Because let’s face it, a boy can`t have too many shoes …

The grocery cart is going to come in very handy, since we will have to cart groceries from IGA which is a WALK from there to home. I have now graduated into Old Fogie Land, dragging my cart to market.

Woo Hoo … I am one of you now !

I have ten minutes to spare before I have to bake the bird for dinner in a few hours. Our good friend Mr. Bill will be here for supper. Our yearly tradition, Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Part two will air later tonight …


Thursday …Everybody Matters … Christmas Eve

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It is Christmas Eve. It is 9c outside. And tomorrow is going to be a very Green Day. But, there is light at the end of this very warm tunnel, the SNOW is COMING beginning on Sunday next.

The holidays are here. And it can be a very tough time of it, these two weeks, Christmas and New Years. Having come in during the month of December, I learned early on, just how hard it can be getting sober in the month of December.

I had two weeks on the holiday because I came in in early December and I had a couple of weeks before I was tossed into the deep end of the pool. It was Christmas Eve 2001, I was getting sober, in Miami, the city where I got sober the first time. I was coming back from a major slip, and I was hiding on the beach, hoping against hope that none of my old friends on the mainland would know I was back in or that I had even come back.

So Christmas Eve comes, and friends said, hey let’s go to Poinciana, on the mainland, over by the airport, for their late night meeting. You know alcoholics, they know everything, And news travels fast. And someone is always there.

I walked into that candle lit room and wouldn’t you know it, a bunch of old friends were there. I was embarrassed and my self esteem was shot. And you know that look you sometimes get from some folks? That look of pity, of sorrow, that “look at the poor sod, come back from a slip that almost killed him,” look !

I wanted to melt into the floor.

The next day was Christmas and sober friends invited me to their house for Christmas dinner and a meeting there. I was not alone, and I mattered to them. It was important to them that I was alive, sober, and that I mattered.

Everybody matters. And we do things for friends, to make sure they know that they matter and that they are not alone. Meetings are open on the holidays, we cook for friends, and everybody has a place to go, even if they don’t know it.

Knowing myself, that I have family that does not care where I am, or that I am even alive, or care in any way, for my welfare or life is a bitter pill, but that’s ok.

I can go either way right now.

I could get bitter and maudlin, or I can decide to remember that I matter to people here. That I have family here. That it really doesn’t matter what it was like, it matters that I am here right now.

Tonight, a young woman from the Thursday meeting spoke. She is not from here, has no family here, they are all back in the UK.

But she knew what to do, three years in now.

She’s learned what to do in times like these. You go to meetings, even if you don’t want to, you go anyways. Because we care about you. And we are family to a great many people. We are the community that gives back to anyone and everyone.

We sat a little group tonight, but the fact remains that the Thursday meeting has been there, open and present for more than sixty years, in that little church hall.

Tonight was no different. We showed up because that is what we do.

And tonight, we were there for our young lady, so that again tonight, she wasn’t alone.

Funny that. Where ever you go, anywhere in the world, we have ready made family willing to be present, willing to listen, willing to share time, space and holidays together.

Amazing.

Hubby returned from Ottawa this afternoon with a suitcase full of goodies and gifts. I had cleaned the apartment, put the leaf in the table and cleaned up the fridge, and gutted my turkey for baking tomorrow.

I broke a wine bottle that was full of rock salt, that we got last Christmas that we never used, on the floor, and there was salt all over the carpet, and it took me half an hour to vacuum up the shit off the floor.

UGH, God give me strength.

I had candles lit and it smelled like pine, the house was ready to go, HGTV was on which is still on at this hour. I’ve put a serious embargo on crime, politics, war, and death. If it doesn’t matter to Canada, or our lives, it ain’t on the tv.

Tomorrow we have guests for dinner, and a Friday night to ourselves, Baby mama and the baby are in New Foundland, and everybody has someplace to go tomorrow, and I don’t have to be anywhere till Saturday night.

I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas.

More to come, stay tuned…

 


Tuesday – Christmas Miracles

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Well, the forecast is not good, for Canada that is, Canada in the Mid to East. There is too much snow out West, and out East, to the Maritimes.

We will hit a balmy 17c on Christmas Day. For the record books, this will be green Christmas number 7. This record goes back to the 1950’s.

The Canadian forecasters tell us tonight that Winter, will just be “late,” as they put it.

It was a busy day today.

I had a doctors appointment across town, a 40 minute train ride and a short stroll. I got there EARLY and waited almost 90 minutes. Once again, I noticed that the Greek national dress is black …

The room was full of hens and chicks. And they were babbling away. Several women, traveling with husbands and daughters. But it seemed to me, a common conversation was going on between them, that I could not understand.

While people were coming and going from the exam office, couples were reunited, and we played musical chairs for an hour. I had the solo seat, being the only single in the bunch. And a couple of elderly women came in and needed seats, so I know that drill …

I moved three times, I stood for half an hour, then had my turn.

Doc had things to say, and not all good. He said the x-ray report was worse than the x-rays themselves. I have calcium build up on L3 and L4, and the discs are crammed together, causing pinched nerves which caused the sciatica and the pain and numbness.

He can tell by the x-rays whats wrong, and the fact that I am presenting solid evidence for spinal issues, the aforementioned pain and numbness.

I have NOT been taking my pills, that are suggested: As needed.

The pain is not cranking, and only ranges in the 1’s and 2’s. And not the past 9’s or 10’s. So I stopped taking them. Addict that I am, I don’t need any help.

BUT, he suggested I take the pills so that I get the muscle relaxing and the hope is, in 3 to 4 weeks, things will begin to get better. I asked about Chiro … He does not usually suggest chiro.

In simple speak, I am almost 50. And my body is aging. Having several medical issues going on at the same time, and the fact that I take a handful of pills nightly for them, one more isn’t going to kill me.

Ok …

I got back on the train and headed back to my first connection where the Orange and Blue lines connect. At this station, the tracks are not side by side, they are stacked, one above the other, on both lines.

I get off on the upper level, and have to transit downstairs to my connection to go back downtown. Somewhere along the line, I ended back on a blue train going back in the direction I just came from.

I should have noticed, the train was empty when I boarded, and that the train sat in the station longer than a usual train does. So I sat down, and did not notice I was on the wrong train until it hit the first station, like I said, in the outbound direction.

I had to get off at the stop and cross back over and come back a station to get on the proper Orange line train I needed to make.

Hubby left early this morning, so I got home and was all alone. I had a couple of hours to kill before I had to travel back in the direction I came from earlier in the day.

I packed my bag, with the usual stuff. I have an old plastic and metal water bottle, and I had bought a great Christmas card for the church and had our Christmas donation in a baggie, and a few odds and ends.

I dropped my bag at the elevator going downstairs, and it cracked on the floor. I did not notice that anything was wrong with the bag until I hit the mall. As I walked in and got on the escalator to go down, I noticed my pants were soaked wet. I was like, did I pee my pants or something?

No, I didn’t actually.

My bottle was broken and a full bottle of water was flowing out the bottom of the bag all over everything inside. There is a huge potted plant on the ground floor which I stopped at to rid the bag of water and now sodden shit. The card was ruined, but thankfully, the money was dry. You can’t wet Canadian currency. It won’t hold water.

I got on the train and made my transit without delay.

I walked down the hill to the church, and miracle number one was waiting for me in the hall. For the last few months I have been writing about a particular friend, whom a disagreement was had.

Both of us went into radio silence.

One because he was mad at me, and two because my sponsor told me to keep my thoughts to myself and my mouth shut.

In no uncertain terms.

It has been a tough slog going to meetings knowing that someone in the rooms hates your guts and is resentful. But people have to be allowed their process, and God took His sweet old time in acting.

I walked in the room and stopped short and dropped my bag on the table, and thought to myself, “what are you doing here? You never come to this meeting.”

I said nothing, instead.

Love is a term we use with friends we care about. And I love my friends, this particular friend especially. He said his piece outside in the hall. I was shocked and in tears by the time it was over with.

The water flowed and we hugged for the first time in months.

We spent the rest of the pre meeting time period talking outside.

He did not stay. And they asked me to chair.

I sat down and began the meeting, and miracle number two walked in the room and sat down. Miracle number two is a young man, like miracle number one, I care about very deeply, because they together saved my ass during a very crucial time in my sobriety.

Good deeds do not go unnoticed.

Miracle number two has been off on an adventure in Isolation.

But he’s been coming around for a few weeks, quietly. He would come and go and not speak. So I put him to work, in reading and participating in 12 step work at the end of the meeting.

After the meeting we walked back to the train together and we spoke for the first time in months and months.

Never let good deeds go unspoken. I had things to say and he needed someone to listen.

Right Now, my family is complete. Everyone I need is in my life. And I mean everyone I need. (not including my husband).

I prayed for these two miracles for months now. I Begged God to make it right, and in His time, He made things right.

Glory Be To God…

My heart is full.

There are gifts under the tree that I did not buy. Where they came from and how they got in here without me noticing them and then the gifts being wrapped, is beyond me. One is a huge box, and the other stands about four feet tall and I have no idea what they are.

The gifts I bought myself are in transit. One is in the city somewhere, and the other two are in transit from the states as we speak. My Indigo books that I bought on Friday, came on Monday night.

All I want for Christmas is family. It is the family we created. The family we were all meant to have. Some are blessed to have family of origin still in their lives, but I do not.

And you are grateful for God’s small miracles.

I certain am.

 

 


Sunday Sundries … 14 Years Retrospective

A.A. #3 Bill D.

Rafa gave me a special gift the other night. It is a chip that he bought at Dr. Bob’s house in Akron. This photo is on one side of the chip, A.A. #3 Bill D. On the other side the chip reads:

“If You and I are going to stay sober, we had better get busy.”
Dr. Bob…

In my twelfth year sober, a man named Bob, came from New York to Montreal and the Dorval Roundup that year, May 2012.

I listened to every word he said and afterwards we spoke together and he gave me a challenge. In return, he promised me, that if I took the challenge and did exactly as I was told, that my life would change in ways that I would never have imagined.

Bob was not only an alcoholic, but he was also a drug addict, who at the time we met was almost thirty years sober. And he was gay as well. “Family”

This fact, which I had not thought about in its entirety, came full circle on Saturday night for me.

You see, I was twelve years sober, doing my thing, thinking that it was enough, when really it wasn’t, according to the Atlantic Group of New York City.

In time, the work I put in, began to see results.

Prayer … Meditation … Every day, Every night, over and over until you know all the prayers by heart and you have practiced saying them, and learning what they mean, and how they apply to you.

My “working with others,” muscles were being formed.

Funny, that it was a drug addict that came first. Then I was introduced to another. In time, I began to pay attention to my own drug addict story, that I really wanted to forget ever happened.

But today that portion of my story, has served the greatest number of people I have in my life. And that trend continues today.

I work with another young man who is “sober” now 13 months.

I was talking to my Maternal Sober Sister this evening before the meeting and I don’t know why some young alcoholics have decided on the cycle of pain and suffering, I’ve spoken about them a great deal in the past. They don’t connect, nor do they seem to want to. We are there week after week, like clockwork, and it is obvious that attraction, is not working for some reason.

When Bob promised me life changing results, it did not dawn on me that one portion of my life would open up and be fruitful, in the way that it did, and I only realized this the other night.

But, my entire story is important, because it is mine. I own it,

Lock, Stock and Barrel.

My people are willing and were willing to go to any length to get clean and sober. But I had to learn that I had a message, and be confident that I even HAD a message, and little by slowly, it worked its way out of me, into the world.

My work, is “solution based.” Yes, we identify, but there needs to be certain “solution oriented” hope. What I share is an amalgamation of many people I know, and how they work with others.

A kind of, “best of,” everyone kind of method.

It works, because my guys have all grown up so much in the time I have had them in my life. We work towards Rigorous Honesty. And that has been a work in progress for everyone involved.

Over the last year, I’ve worked my steps with my sponsor, going on three years. I’ve not only worked my steps, they have materialized in earth shattering ways for me and I’ve learned so much about myself and the world around me.

Over the last year, and the two years prior, I watched friends come INTO my life, and I’ve watched them walk OUT OF my life. I’ve watched friends get angry for one reason or another. Usually based on some article of truth that rose, that was unpalatable to themselves.

And today, One friend, whom I loved and respected a great deal, a man I trusted with my life, turned into a vengeful, angry and resentful man, who will not deign to speak to me, but comes to my home group and pontificates about how sober he is, yet under the surface, he treats his friends like shit.

And said as much as I took my chip tonight, in open community, in front of everyone sitting there. Rigorous honesty they say, even if the truth hurts. Because how often we ignore the truth because it is more painful than acknowledging it.

My sponsor, may not have been pleased I said this, because he scooted right after the prayer, and he mentioned that he wanted to do dinner, and that did not happen. or just maybe he wanted to get across town to his home group that met at eight, where we ended at seven thirty.

I don’t know …

I’m just not comfortable being treated like a second class citizen in a space that is open and welcoming to everyone. Whatever your problem is, (read:Character Defect).

My life is full, I have everything that I need today. And enough is enough for me. I don’t need MORE. I don’t suffer from the need for more today.

I have friends who love and care about me. I have men and women to work with every day. I have best friends, and babies in my life. I am accountable and consistent in my friendships. And that has made all the difference in the lives of baby mama and the baby.

My heart is full.

Honesty is a bitter pill when we are faced with it. I can no longer say that I’d rather have bullshit rather than truth. And if you can’t deal with that, then I don’t need you in my life.

The regular chips that one gets at inter-group all say the same thing:

“To Thine Own Self Be True …”

What freedom comes when we realize that this can be achieved one day at a time, if you take up the challenge and choose to work the program.

I’m really grateful that I have solid old timers in my life today, who won’t bullshit me and tell me the truth, even when it hurts. I would not be where I am today without them.

 

 

 

 


Saturday…It Snowed just a Bit Tonight

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Montrealer’s have been bemoaning the fact that the temperature has been mild and above average for weeks, and that there is no snow on the ground, and the holidays aren’t really holidays without any snow on the ground …

Well, tonight all that changed.

It got very cold, very fast, and as we left the meeting at 9 p.m. it was snowing… just a bit, and very flurrying …

Last night, I finished reading “The Goldfinch” a 771 page read.

The book was incredible. The story was well thought out and written really well. The crucial culmination of the story totally took me by surprise. Funny, I identified with the situation as it played out, as in (read: Been there, Done that) kind of feeling.

I really had hoped for a particular ending, as in, Theo ending up with the woman he really wanted, but was going to marry another, who really didn’t flesh out all that well, in the end we got the authors ending.

The book came to its climax triumphantly. All the loose ends were tied up succinctly. The story ended where it ended up.

I was thoroughly impressed with the writing and the story.

All along, the book read really well. When necessary and appropriate, the story changed and layers and layers of story played out, in a really well written way. This well written effort was not lost on me and I really appreciated it as I read the book.

I was engaged for the entire story, and I was kept turning the pages where that was really necessary to keep me reading, when I could have gotten bored, or put the book down.

One thread led to another, as the story played out. I enjoy that about particular books I have read, but very few writers get that formula and that process right, The Goldfinch, and Donna Tartt got it really right.

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

It was a good Saturday night. I saw friends, we had dinner together, and I opened and chaired a meeting. We had a newbie come in and we had a meeting just for him.

Like I said, it snowed. We went for a meal afterwards. That “meal after a meeting” usually seals the deal for a return at the next meeting. And we made sure we sealed the deal for one lost young man tonight.

I got a ride home. I love my friends. They are my everything.

M.T.C.S.T.

 


December 2015 … An ODE to Provigo

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This is our local Provigo Grocery store just on the corner downstairs from home.

The building is multipurpose. The store on the ground floor and the Toyota Dealership garage upstairs. This sits on the corner, just up the block from home (read: easy peasy grocery shopping at any time of the day or night).

But this little dream store is dying a slow death.

The close date is set for January 6th, but at this rate, they won’t last till the end of the month…

It is just really depressing …

Now there are three grocery stores within walking distance. The Provigo, P&A grocers, directly across the street from here, Adonis which is up the street at the Seville Project condos, and then finally, IGA at Alexis Nihon Plaza, the mall a little further up the road from home.

Over the last month, our little Provigo that could, is turning into the little Provigo that can’t …

The began on the farthest section where the frozen goods are, and they crated it all. And little by slowly, day by day, the store is shrinking one aisle at a time.

The store isn’t stocking any longer, and the shelves are coming down day by day, whatever is left on the shelves is priced at rock bottom prices, and it is getting bleak and depressing by the day.

We are mourning this loss terribly, because of all the folks that are going to loose their jobs in a few days, and the loss of friendships we have made over the years.

Loblaws, it is said, is restructuring so they are closing many Provigo stores across Canada. But rumor has it that sales are down since Adonis opened more than a year ago, up the street.

All three stores are different sizes and offer different perks, some are not proper grocery stores because they are boutique stores that only offer certain items regularly, like meats, fish and produce. Adonis is a Halal store so they are specialized. IGA is at the other end of the spectrum “shop” at the mall, at proper store size that serves Westmount and Westmount Square and the surrounding area. They recently refitted the space and grew its footprint when the mall was refurbished last Spring.

Carting groceries, often, from IGA is going to be a pain in the ass, and we will probably have to invest in a roller cart to bring stuff home from the mall, because I sure am not carrying bags every day in the near future.

It is said that the Toyota dealership is taking over the space because Provigo’s lease is up in January. It is also said that the dealership that sits across the road is moving into the ground floor, and added to that, I was told that a condo building is being floated for build above the dealership … not sure on that one though…

Sadly, we are going to have to learn how to shop with less, and on a new schedule, because not all the shops are open late. Everyone closes at 9 (the mall) and 10 (Adonis). You can’t buy smokes at Adonis, and only certain brands at IGA, which leaves the TabaMag shop on the main, which also closes earlier.

We will have to change our shopping habits and make room for the fact that prices have gone up considerably over the last few months, and that is bringing up our shopping costs to a pretty penny.

I haven’t begun to shop at the other sites yet, but we have recently. I just need to see how the change is going to effect our bottom dollar.

Goodbye our old and trusted friend …

 

 

 

 


7 Days till Christmas and Not A Flake of Snow in Sight

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Location: Montreal
Current Temperature: 2 c
Christmas Outlook: It’s gonna be a GREEN Christmas

THIS is what Montreal should look like about NOW !

BUT, noooooo … Global Warming

Maybe El Nino …

Mother Nature …

We are getting a real fuck you Christmas this year. No Snow !!!

And next week we will see days, DAYS worth of rain instead.

The weather has been shitty damp and cold. Whatever snow we would have gotten recently, fell in the form of rain. And that rain has been falling for days, where all points East, North and Across the Maritimes, the snow is piling up.

Last night I went to visit Baby Mama and the baby, and it was pissing rain, enough to warrant carrying an umbrella, but not really needing it, but my clothes got sodden wet anyways.

Mama flew home to Newfoundland this morning bright and early for a couple of weeks. We are hoping she completes her trip in full and not come home early because of assholes and attitudes and dysfunctional family … Let Us Pray !

This week trading was rough. The loonie sank to an all time low for the first time in years. Cross Border shopping was terribly painful to say the least. My bank account took a massive hit with the exchange.

I did shop with sellers I buy from regularly, so I am getting what I paid for indeed. Even if it cost me substantially more than usual.

I am home alone right now, and I thought to go do some Christmas shopping on my own, but before I set out, I checked my sellers for in store stock, so I did not have to make a wasted trip in case stock was out. AND it was OUT. Indigo is local, so shopping online was the way to go, and that’s what I did.

I kill for good books to read. Tonight I bought Reza Aslan and his book, “Zealot … The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” and Pope Francis … “Untying the Knots” by Paul Vallely. This is an updated version of the original book with additional chapters, which is an ongoing report of the Pontiff.

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Speaking of books, I am reading an incredible book written by Donna Tartt, “The Goldfinch.” This book won the Pulitzer Prize.

A couple of weeks ago, I went book shopping, And I picked this book up cold, off the shelf, just on its blurb on the back and decided to buy it along with another book, “Why Men Lie” by Linden Macintyre, which is the second book in a series I started reading some time ago.

The Goldfinch is a BIG Book. And it is fantastically written. It is the story of a young boy, who along with his mother, visit a famed New York Museum to see some art, to get out of a rain storm.

A bomb explodes, mom is killed, and what happens next is the adventure I will let you go read for yourself.

Many of our men are gone for the holidays, so meetings are going to be sparse until the beginning of January. It is a week till Christmas and there is not a FLAKE of SNOW anywhere. Which is a total pisser.

What good is Winter, if you ain’t got no snow ???

It spoils the whole mood of the holidays with bare sidewalks and pissy rainy weather every night…

There is more to come, Sunday I take my 14th anniversary cake at the Sunday Evening Meeting. That’s when I will write my year end review for you. Life is progressing nicely so I don’t want to write prematurely while the roller coaster is still in motion.

And soon after Christmas we will each get our Word Press Year in Review report for 2015. I am looking forward to reading all the stats over the last year, you will see it when it is released.

Stay tuned …

 


Sunday Sundries …Loss

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Courtesy: Daniel Pb Jars

The weather outside is not what we all want, but Mother Nature hasn’t decided to let it snow just yet. We have been above normal across the board for a number of days in a row. The next seven days doesn’t look ripe for snow either, at this point.

My step mother died yesterday. And she was the closest I had to a mother after my own mother walked out on me. For many years after I came out, she was a source of support and love.

It is bittersweet, and I am not sure where I am on the feelings meter.

When we made our final move to the last family home that my family would share, until I moved out, my parents were introduced to two families. It was during this time, that Nancy came into my life.

I call her step mother, but she never was married to my father.

At the time, there were three families that rotated events, holidays and dinner parties. Of the three families, Nancy’s family was the most well off, financially.

From the time I was in sixth grade, through high school and into college, we grew up in each others houses. And Nancy and Fred, hosted the biggest and most wealthiest dinner parties that I had ever attended.

My parents could never compete. Nancy also introduced us to many different couples, gay and straight. It was in Nancy’s home, over dinner that I met the gay men who would be instrumental in helping me into gay life and out of the closet.

My father hated the gays, vehemently. When ever dinner was at Nancy’s, my father’s drunkenness and violence would spike. I had relationships with these gay men for a long time, before I moved out, and my father hated that fact. My father and I never had a sit down conversation after he realized that I might be “queer.”

His goal was to beat the gay out of me at any cost.

Not having contact with my family of origin, puts me in an odd place, because I am not sure what rights I have to my own feelings.

But I am sad, at Nancy’s passing. Because this marks the end of an era, where friends of mine have lost both parents. I have no idea of the status of my family of origin.

At Fred and Nancy’s, we learned the fine art of dining. We grew up moving from the kids table in the breakfast nook, to finding our own chairs at the adult table, when we graduated into that portion of our lives. Fine dining is an art. And it was “fine dining.”

This was also the period of time, when drinking fine wine, liquor and champagne was standard fare. Whenever the dinner party coincided with a holiday, alcohol was the focus. Especially on New Years Eve and Christmas.

This period of time was the best time of my life, and the worst time of my life. My father provided for everything we might want or need, but in the same breath, he was violent to his bitter core as well.

The only period of time that I categorize as the very best of times and the very worst of times, was the two years following my diagnosis and death march. I would go back there in a New York Minute if it was possible.

Nancy introduced me to very influential men and women. And my father was terribly jealous of that. Nancy, was a very important mother/friend/mentor/figure in my life.

The last time we saw Nancy was on our Honeymoon in 2004. When we flew to New Orleans for a cruise to Mexico, where we surprised her being on the same ship together for that week.

I’m nor sure she knew who we were, it was an odd time for her and for us. But it was time we took to spend with her in any case.

In the past week, she had gotten very ill, with kidney failure and vascular disease, and after attempts were made to save her life, in the end it wasn’t enough. Once the organs go, it is forgone that death was imminent.

I mourn her passing. It saddens me in a certain way.

She was an integral part of my youth and she cared about me as well.

Eternal rest grant her and may perpetual light shine upon her.

 

 


Thursday … Sciatica – The pain in my ass

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The weather outside is frightful. Depending on what you want from Mother Nature. We are in a very warm stretch, with temps hitting record levels on the high. We won’t see any serious cooling coming in the next week.

And GLOBAL WARMING is NOT A THING !!!

It might just be a green Christmas this year.

It is Thursday, about ten days into a serious nerve pain episode. I don’t know when it happened, or why, but things got progressively worse over last weekend.

Sunday night, into Monday morning, at approximately 4 a.m. I awoke to the most incredible and excruciating pain I have ever felt. I was screaming and sobbing at the same time. I had to pound some serious pain killers just to cut the pain, which took about an hour.

Imagine a serious muscle cramp that extended from my torso down to my left knee. My leg has been numb for a week, and my left leg is weaker than my right. I had issues climbing stairs all week.

On Monday I called my doctor and pushed up my appointment to this morning. And since I wasn’t seeing him first, I made a call to the I.D.T.C. clinic at the new super hospital. That is the HIV clinic that moved from the General last year to where it is today.

I was in some serious pain. I needed to see a doctor and maybe get some x-rays or a scan. I see my doctor(s) at their private office, so I don’t have to go to the super hospital. But when needed, i.e. labs or tests, I have to go to a hospital then my docs can access my files online.

The good nurse told me that I could not get treated at the clinic, since I see my doc offsite. She then informed that is I wanted an x-ray and to get it read right away, I would have to run through the emergency room. Because it would take 2 weeks for a regular x-ray to be read by a radiologist.

Fuck me …

So that was a no go. I called up my pharmacy and they filled some over the counter (or more like it: from behind the counter) pain killers. They did little to cut the worst pain.

This morning I went to see my doctor. And I told him what the nurse at the clinic said to me in regards to emergency care. He was pissed, because I was the fourth person to tell him that shit about the clinic turning patients away.

I was limping into his office, and I told him what was going on and he knew exactly what the problem was … Sciatica.

I’ve got some issues with my lumbar vertebrae which has affected my sciatic nerve that runs down my left leg. The Mayo clinic has a really good synopsis of this condition. My doc did some tests there in the office, then he said that I needed some serious pain killers, and I told him that I can’t take certain drugs because I am sober.

He said, you’ve got a serious problem that needs serious medication, so you will take it for as long as he deems it necessary. I have to go back in two weeks for a check up.

I went to get x-rays done at an image lab right around the corner from the doctors office on the way home.

On the HIV front, the new medication TIVICAY is doing wonders for me. This is a new single dose pill that we added a month ago. My triglycerides have been very high and in dangerous territory for as long as I’ve been his patient.

In one month’s time, my triglycerides came down more than ten points to the lowest it has been in forever.

My doctor is very pleased with the added positive side effect.

Wednesday … December 9th, was my 14th Sober Anniversary. I really did not have anything particular to write about, since I write here often, so repeating myself seemed stupid.

Tonight, Thursday, we arrived at the church in good time, and during the wait, I called my sponsor. He was on his way to the church as well, with one of our long time sober women.

And he was our speaker.

It was a good night. I was able to sit, for the hour, and afterwards, I was able to get up without serious pain. Thanks to good narcotics.

I have been ordered to rest, and not do anything stupid.

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

 


Sunday Sundries … Grinding

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Courtesy: I Hate Renton

And we are back on a Sunday, with a successful week that has been. I’m still on a reduced schedule. I did not have to press myself with things to do, because of company that was in town last week, which freed me up to take care of me.

I’ve been reliant on pain killers the past few days, and I had to stop at the pharmacy on the way home to refill a script that I really did not want to fill, but it was a necessary evil.

I spoke directly with the pharmacist on duty about what was going on with me and what she could do for me. There is medication that one can access without a prescription from a doctor.

Being in recovery places certain limits on what kind of medication I can take, but real pain, is real pain. I just can’t ask for something that I should not be taking at all. So she refilled the meds I had at home, so that I would be able to get to Thursday, when I actually see my doctor in person.

I’m thinking that I can get a radiology consult in order to find out what is really going on, instead of waiting until Thursday and seeing him, then making a decision on what to do next. I would like to get the diagnosis in the bank sooner than later, then allowing my doctor to be able to see the tests or scans as I am sitting with him, then we could take a plan of action.

I got to the church on time, and friends were already setting up as I walked into the hall, so half the job was done. We finished up and I spent time with a sponsee in the hour before the meeting.

As is usual, we hit another really sad story. It was laughable, but utterly raw in terms of the situation. They say that it becomes a blessing when we can laugh at our own stories. And in reading tonight’s fare …”There’s nothing wrong with me,” that phrase was common amongst us at one point or another.

There are different types of alcoholics, depending on the depth of the addiction, what we drank, how much we drank, and who we hurt all along the way.

Our man, in tonight’s story drank like an animal. Back in the day, when it came to alcohol, some oldsters went to bitter and dangerous lengths just to get cranked.

I, myself, never resorted to shoe polish or mouth wash, or vanilla extract. I just drank alcohol, until I could not stand up. I was reminded by our story tonight, just how much of an animal I was when I was drinking.

I wasn’t drinking because liquor tasted good, but because of what the liquor did for me. And I repeated that same thought, that has come from me before. The thought that, at no time did any of my friends, employers or family ever said the word STOP.

I’ve ruined travel occasions because of my drinking. Back before everyone got sober, from the office I worked in in my younger years, we would go on weekend jaunts just to get on a plane and drink compulsively. The longer and farther the flight, the better, because as travel agents we were privy to First Class accommodations, which afforded us free liquor. I was not the only alcoholic in the bunch, but in the end, in our own times, we each got sober.

I don’t know where my love of alcohol came from, I mean, when I started drinking, it wasn’t for just one drink, or one beer. It was all or nothing. My friends used to drink as well, I mean, that was a familiar past time, to get some beer or hawk a bottle of liquor from a liquor cabinet and get piss ass drunk.

I loved it from the get go, so I wondered out loud tonight, how I came to love alcohol so much. I guess you could say that when I was told to go the bar and drink, then see what happens, I guess I figured that if I learned to drink correctly, to get the effect desired, then I drank. Once you get past the first drink, the rest go down like water.

Bar tenders were more than happy to pour a drink or two, and match those drinks, with shot after shot. And drink with you as well, so they were getting as cranked as we were.

Eventually we either find the end point, or it is pointed out to us, and we stop. I knew, this time, that Stop was coming. I prayed, and God answered me, because He knew better what I needed than I did myself. The rest is history.

Wednesday December the 9th, is my 14th sober anniversary.

That is 5,110 days without a drink. One day at a time.

The story said this last thought succinctly …

A.A. does not need me, I need A.A. it is that simple.

More to come, stay tuned…


Friday – My I Phone Arrived

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Christmas came early this year.

After yesterday`s day of purgatory, today was much MUCH better. I did not have to resort to pain killers to get through the day. Things are a bit topsy turvy lately, and everyone is a little off.

Today I slept in, because that was what was recommended to me by several of my friends, when I asked about my back.

I got up before hubby got home and transferred all my music and photos off my HTC to my hard drive. When the transfer was done I Tunes counted 822 pieces of music in my collection.

I moved from an Android HTC to an Apple I phone 5S.

We had to go to the Telus store to buy a new sim card and for them to transfer all of my data and contacts to the new phone, which only took a few minutes. Then we were on our way.

The new phone is sleek and stylish, I really like it.

The only things my old phone did was making calls and acting as a music player. I downloaded the standard apps, like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Skype.

There are so many apps out there, I just would not know where to begin downloading them or using them for that matter.

I Tunes took a bit longer to figure out. I have an I Tunes account that I buy music from, so that collection was stored. I needed to update the I Tunes program to the latest version so that it would recognize my phone, which meant an uninstall and install.

When that finished, my computer and my phone began to communicate and it sorted out all of my music files and loaded them into the phone.

It has all kinds of bells and whistles. There is a sound for every action the phone does. I sorted out images and wall papers, and got Siri sorted. I changed her to a British lady friend, there were three options for her. Not that I know just what Siri does …

I have crossed over into Apple territory.

YAY !!!

more to come, stay tuned …