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Dawson College

Ready Set Go !!!

Courtesy: RTMH 1989

It is an odd Monday to be posting. I wasn’t going to post anything except my Life class episode recap later on tonight. But I have some good news.

Montreal is sitting at 13c at this hour. Cool but comfy.

It is midterm exam period at Dawson, and I’ve spent the better part of the last 2 weeks studying for them. Last Thursday I got my Western Civilization Mid term back and I wrote a perfect essay. 20/20 points. It’s the best grade I’ve ever gotten on an exam so far.

I wrote my analytical essay last night on Otzi, the Iceman. Found in the Austria-Italian Alps above the Otz valley in 1991. I was very careful to make sure that I stuck to script on my essay. There is an entire Wikipedia page on the topic. Although I hit many of the parts of what is online, my investigation differs from what you can read on the site.

The National Geographic program that I based this essay on aired for the first time on October 26th, when I saw the episode myself. In the end the essay runs seven pages in length. I hope that that is sufficient. I guess we’ll see.

TONIGHT …

I am still trying to get my sleep pattern adjusted. Hubby is on the morning shift and I come on in the afternoon. Monday’s hubby teaches so that leaves me the house to myself all day long. I got up and set out for class an hour earlier that usual. I had to get the reading done for the weekly reading quiz.

And it seemed that most of the class was in the same mindset because a good number of them came early as well to read from the text. When the prof walked in at quarter past 6, she announced that the quiz had been cancelled. That we would take it next week instead, seeing that the midterm was just last week.

She gave back the exams and I was totally blown away.

I ranked 88.5 … 52.5 / 60 for the multiple choice
13/21 for the short answer
19/19 for the long essay

The total comes to 84.5 + 2 for the bonus question and +2 for the review class brings me to a grade of 88.5.

I did much better that I thought I had done. All those hours I burned the midnight oil were well spent. She did tell us that the same essay questions would appear on the final exam. That if we broke down each chapter by theory and theorist, we could write the essay questions before hand and get the full marks on that portion of the exam coming up.

We had a short lecture and then class evaluations. We got out of class by 8:15.

I will post Life class later on tonight.
Stay tuned …


Halloween …

Courtesy: RawrDaniel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow is Tuesday, and it will be exciting.

More to come, stay tuned …

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

Following your gut …


Two Fer Thursday …

Courtesy: Flickr Evan Mischelle

Don’t you just love it when time is on your side?

The week is almost over and what a week it has been.

Lots of things going on. Gifts of the program keep coming. One of my friends at the Sunday meeting is a Sociology Professor at Concordia and he had a copy of the textbook I need for my Sociology class at Dawson. We did not have enough money to buy books this past month because of bills, but my friend gave me the book from his library stock.

Saving of $110.00 … Sweet !!!

Today the weather held, raining early in the day. We had an essay exam in Western Civilization in class tonight. I’ve been running over my notes like a madman. Last term in Philosophy we studies Greek history and the men who made it. And the term prior we studied monarchs.

I studied all last night and into this afternoon. And I even left early for school to get there early so I would have some more time to look over my notes. I was pleasantly surprised when the prof handed out the exams.

Much of the exam was on topics that I was already smart on. The Greek Polis and the explanation of how society runs, what the Polis means and what kind of government it has. I had that one in the bag.

Then she asked a second question about the 5 types of government from our notes. they would be Monarchy, Oligarchy, Democracy, Tyranny and Federalism.

The huge essay, second part of the exam was on Paleolitic and Neolithic periods of time, covering the topics of Stonehenge and the Ice Man found in the Italian Alps a couple of years ago. Both of these are examples of Neolithic artefacts, human remains and monuments.

All the topics on the exam I could have written on since all of it was historical topics covering Greece, Athens, Neolithic England, Egypt and Mesopotamia and Alexander the Great. I nailed it in the end.

Once I started writing, I did not stop until I was done, which took me less than a hour to write the exam. I was finished as she wrote 7:22 on the board. We were free to leave after the exam which set me out front by 7:30.

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

I walked out front and looked at my phone and decided that I had enough time to walk up to St. Matthias and hit the 8 p.m. meeting. The room was packed. The speaker was from Ottawa. A woman with 22 years of sobriety.

Listening to old timers talk about the insidiousness of alcoholism is important. Even with time, things are not easy. People get complacent with time and for some they end up in the bottle or better yet, they end up dead. Once again tonight we heard an old timer talk about people with time, DYING !!!

The book says “Remember that we deal with alcoholism cunning, baffling and powerful,” and we can add the next word “Patient!” You never know when it is going to sneak up on you and bite you in the ass. And if you don’t recognize it before it gets you, you’re gonna end up on the loosing side of the battle.

It was a good message. Sound advice to a room full of people with varying amounts of time. At the end of the meeting one of my lady friends gave a one year chip to one of her friends. It is always nice to be at anniversary nights.

There were people at the meeting that I had not seen in a number of years. You never know who is going to turn up at a meeting on any given night.

It was a good night. I jammed an exam and had time to hit a meeting.

Two for Two…

I came home and we had pizza for dinner.

Tomorrow is Friday and Friday West End. YAY !!! Then the weekend comes.

More to come for sure, Stay tuned …

 

 


Worth my While …

Courtesy: Jake Cooper || Pull & Bear september 2011 lookbook

It was a multiple generation Friday night, last. I went to Friday West End and my sponsor and his sponsor was in attendance. It is rare that Uncle Bill comes into the city for an extended period of time, because he travels the world for most of the year. It was good to see him.

The weekend came and went. It was wall to wall coverage of 9-11 all weekend here in Canada. Across every channel for the entire weekend. It is good to remember and it is a teachable moment to show our kids how the world has changed. An entire generation of kids came into the world since then, and like every generation there should be the story tellers. So that the horror we saw won’t happen again.

When history becomes just a memory … then it is feared that history will repeat itself. If we forget the past we risk the possibility of history repeating itself.

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

I don’t know where it came from and why now, but I have been sniffling, sneezing and snarfing for the past couple of days. Maybe it is the cooler nights, or the fact that people I know lately are fighting colds themselves. But I went to Pharmaprix the other night to get some flu pills so that I could navigate my days better.

Last week when I got my book list, we did not have an extra two hundred dollars to buy books so I went to the library and photocopied all the readings for the next month. Next month there will be enough money in the kitty to go buy books. So for now I am reading photocopies for both my classes.

I haven’t been in the mood to really do anything academic like reading and studying because my brain is a little fogged. But today I forced myself to go over the reading for tonight’s lecture and quiz we had in class. And I only read two sections of the reading that my prof said would be on the quiz the other day so that’s only what I read, and tonight in class she handed us the quiz and it was all multiple choice – so at least I had “the guess” on my side. Since most of the quiz was on material that I never looked at to begin with. UGH !!!

Our first discussion in class was on suicide and the statistics and types of suicide that happen in the world based on Sociological Thought. It was an interesting discussion. There were a lot of people including my prof who have lost someone in their lives by suicide. So there was a lot to talk about.

After the break we came back to class and we have a journal that we are keeping based on certain readings that she has us reading. Tonight’s reflection came from the Sociological Imagination by C. Wright Mills. I think I did ok on that assignment.

The second discussion was on Sociology and the founders of Sociology and then we finished with some Feminine – Feminist Theory.It was interesting to sit in a lecture where we talked about the nuclear family and the roles of the parents, family and children. So much has changed over the last 44 years of life it makes for interesting discussion.

I wasn’t sure that I would go to class, but I medded up and went to class anyways because if you miss a class that meets only once a week, you miss a lot. And tonight the prof made it worth my while to go.

A good night was had by all. It rained a little bit on the way out and during the break, but the rain stopped by the end of class.

So that is all I have for you right now.

I need to eat dinner and then get some sleep.

More to come, stay tuned …


No More French !!!

Courtesy: Everythingsmagic

The province of Quebec can kiss my right butt cheek today. I felt a change coming and it has begun. No more pandering to the Quebec language law. I don’t give a shit any more. Today I am making choices for what’s good for me in the long run.

I did not get much sleep last night, and I am wired. Hubby did not sleep well last night either, and the Seville construction site was pounding piles at 7:30 this morning along with deliveries next door to the hotel and those fucking BEEP BEEP BEEP reverse alarms were just out of hand. There was much slamming of windows and the spilling of drinks and a lot of huffing and puffing …

I finally got to sleep around 10 I’d say and woke up to a dream that was taking place in my dream and in my bed at the same time around 1:15. I am off medication so I am having to try and work around it till money comes and so sleeping is a chore.

I got to sleep and I guess I progressed into a dream, and in that dream I was at some gay fair and we were covered in paint and riding a merry go round and for some reason I was peeing in the dream at that stage of the dream, and as I was dreaming – I was doing it in my sleep. I woke up to a warm sensation in my undies and once again, a dream crossed over into my sleeping self.

That’s not the first time that has happened.

So I got up around 2 and showered and shaved and got dressed and headed out for school. I got there around 3/3:15. I got to student services and got a drop/change slip and got in line. I was close to the front. They later came and dropped purple sheets off to us with the proviso that a $20.00 fee was due for changing the schedule and fees had to be paid in full at the time of change. Well, I didn’t have $20.00 on me nor in the bank. So I was essentially

FUCKED !!!

I called hubby and he was in transit and luckily he had some cash on him which he brought to me at school to pay the fees due.

SAVED !!!

The line opened up and it was a short wait to get to the change operator and they DROPPED my French class (Thank Fucking Christ!!!) and then told me that Western Civ. was full but I could wait list.

FUCKED AGAIN !!!

So I got in the wait list line and handed my sheet to a kind young lady who punched in my info on the computer then she checked her wait list sheets and signed my slip with OK. I was like, the class was full, and she said that she fit me in anyways. So now I am taking Sociology on Monday nights and Western Civilization on Thursday nights.

SAVED !!!

I then had to pay my fees. They punched me into the system and got my account up and told me that I was due a credit of $30.00. The new course must have cost less in fees or shorter hours, so they credited my account the $30.00.

WIN !!!

I had $20.00 in my pocket and $30.00 in refunds which put us up $50.00 for the day. Not a bad haul.

So I let go and got there early. The stars aligned for me today. Grateful for little mercies. Let’s hope that Quebec opens up the coffers sooner than later, but I am not expecting. Friday is coming and all will be well in any case.

It was a WIN/WIN day today …

I am keeping it GREEN !!!


Blessings on your heads …

Courtesy: Wrestlingisbest

It has been an eventful past few days. I’ve been sitting on this post to let my mind percolate and write something substantial and meaningful.

Thursday came and went. It was all very anticlimactic. I don’t care for French any more and come tomorrow I will “crosses fingers” have the opportunity to drop said course in opt for a little Western Civilization. I told a friend of mine earlier tonight that I needed tomorrow to go as planned, or I am screwed. And you know what they say about the “best laid plans” right … Never expect …

I got out to Friday West End early for the business meeting, since I am a member there now it was my first business meeting and it is a good group of people, lots of long time sobriety. They run on biweekly service commitments so I am on set up on the 30th of September and the 7th of October. You know from the get go that when you join a group you start at the beginning by doing service. That means chairs, coffee and greeting. And you do that from the beginning.

I have been going to this meeting for a number of months continually since the beginning of summer and that is how you work your way into a group by getting to know people, learning names and lengths of sobriety. Many of the members there had once been members of  Tuesday Beginners.

I’ve been focused on my double digits coming soon. And it has been, for the last month or so, a journey of change and transformation for me. I don’t know why at this point, but I know not to try to figure out why things happen the way they do but just go with it and find out where the journey is leading me.

Which leads me to tonight’s meeting, which I will talk about in a little bit, but before that we need to talk about the weekend and Irene. It was wall to wall coverage of hurricane Irene over the weekend. It was billed as the storm of a century to rock the East coast in a hundred years. And they warned us here in Canada that we would get something from Irene. So we watched a lot of tv, and we waited.

Saturday the skies were clear and it did not rain. But come Sunday everything changed. The skies grew dark and dismal. And the rain began early in the morning on Sunday and it rained all day long. Sitting as high as we do, the winds were gusty and the windows buckled in their sills. In many parts of the city there was destruction and devastation. Trees falling on houses and cars, power lines down and electricity cut for millions of home owners. Flooding in areas east of us that have been devastated earlier by the spring floods got even more water on top of what was still lying around. Points further East of us in Maine, and Vermont got slammed. Roads, bridges and homes were devastated.

With the night the storm rolled out of Quebec and the skies cleared by nightfall and the weather cleared up. We saw little damage in the downtown core. But other areas in the city did not fare as well.

Monday I had my first Sociology class. The prof is a PHD and has a good head on her shoulders. I think I will find this topic intriguing we had a good first discussion about the “lifeline.” We looked at the events that changed the world from the years 1961 to 2011. There were many points on the timeline that impacted many of us in class. We need to buy the textbook or find ways to download the E Book. The book costs $103.00 and I don’t want to E Book it.

I need the physical book in my hands and I have two weeks to get it and read the first chapter for class on the 12th.

Today has come and gone. We are waiting to see when Quebec City is going to pay out our next money dump – they fucked up my file again and I had to email the financial aide office to re-update my file confirming my full time status on file which dropped me back a day because Quebec doesn’t reup their files till late on the day we file changes here. So the file is reupped but they haven’t issued out the next deposit. And I really need that money today actually knowing Quebec they are going to screw us left and right this month because of the Labor day Holiday. I really hope that they don’t wait till after the holiday to make the deposits because I will be pissed.

I am empty of all my medication and I need to pick up this months draw from the pharmacy but that’s gonna run me over $100.00 and I need the cash today not tomorrow. I hate the end of the month and add to that Quebec dragging its feet doesn’t help the situation.

Hubby got his teaching gig for the semester and his friend and sidekick did as well so they will both be teaching this semester and the universities go back next week. It is all very exciting.

I got out to the church early for set up because we had our business meeting tonight before the main meeting. It was a good meeting. Lots of good ideas floated for the future, lots of new topic discussion. We are working to come up with some fresh ideas to keep the newcomer engaged and present, to keep them “coming back for more.”

We talked about “The Doctors Opinion” from the beginning chapters of the Big Book. And I was on the end of the table as the discussion went counter clockwise from the chair which put me at the end of the line tonight. So I had some time to ponder what I wanted to share about the chapter. And this is what I came up with.

Coming to the end of my drinking career the first time I was drinking to get drunk, drinking for the effect. Drinking to get to the bottom of the bottle intentionally without a second thought. I craved the drink. I remember what that felt like. The first time around. It took a while, but once I quit drinking the craving went away. I stayed sober for some time.

But when I went on my slip, I don’t remember ever craving the drink like I had the first time. And this is the scary thought in hindsight, I don’t remember the feeling or sensation of craving. I had refined my drinking. I knew all the particulars of the how, where, when, how much and to what extent…

And after I had those coordinates I went to it. All I remember about that time is that I had skipped over the craving and went into the downward spiral binge. Once I began to binge the craving stopped. I had moved past that point of no return. I lost the ability to know that I was craving because all I did was drink.

And I think that is what is driving my recent reflection on “keeping it green.” I’ve been doing a lot of reading from old grapevines and writings from Bill W. I don’t know why I am so focused on ten years. This is the longest period of sobriety I have ever had in my life. And it is too easy to get complacent and sit on my heels and do nothing but that is not the case.

The longer period of time that elapses from the last drink to today is an opportunity to pick up a drink, again … The farther we move away from our last drink we tend to forget what it was like, and the defenses go down and we ponder the thought, “well, maybe I can, again…” Nope not for me.

Old timers with double digit sobriety, we’re talking 20, 30, 40+ years of sobriety warn us not to forget. To keep it green. To always remain connected to service and meetings. To work with newcomers. To read and re-read the book. To remember what it was like, because if we forget, we are closer to the drink than ever.

That is my meditation for tonight. May I never forget…

Tomorrow is Wednesday. I need the day to go as planned. I need a real break. I don’t want to be fucked for the semester. I need to get up and out to be at the school by 3:30. And hopefully the early bird will get the worm and I will succeed in the end. Let us pray …

Hence our photo above of prayer and blessings on your heads…

I need things to happen that I am powerless over to make happen or change.

God’s will be done …

More to come, stay tuned …


Out of the Frying Pan …

Courtesy: Tumblr

And into the Fire …

I should have made this decision weeks ago. I should have gotten to this point already, but I didn’t. The first day that registration opened Aug 2nd I put my choice into the system. BUT the problem with CGEP is this, Once you make your selection and confirm that choice you can’t change your choice later.

Or so I thought.

I had decided a few days ago that change was necessary and my desire to study French any further went out the window. I just don’t care for it and I am not taking to it like I would like, and fuck this province and its language laws. You can all kiss my royal white ass.

So it was the first day of class. And so I went to class. There were no tables just little chairs with these faux desks attached to them, the kind of things you see in cheap college lecture halls – its not so much a desk, but something to write on.

The prof was there. He had a table covered in xerox sheets and packets of study materials. He handed out the syllabus and then he started in. There was no introduction – no nothing. He jumped in with both feet and assumed that we were ready to jump into the deep end of the pool with him. I wasn’t that prepared.

If I was supposed to remember every word that I learned last semester and every theme, definition and translation, I didn’t. We got three pages into some classwork and I knew I was foundering under the water and that I would not come up for air either. I was looking for a way out of class. And thankfully the prof gave us one. At 7:30 he broke for 15 minutes. I took my bag and my things and headed out the door.

I had just enough time to set off for St. Matthias and the 8 p.m. meeting. I made it with time to spare. It was a great speaker with 20+ years time. The take away “You just missed a great opportunity to keep your mouth shut.” He didn’t know how it worked at ten years and now at 20 he is a little more understanding of how it works. Something like that…

I walked home with Dave and we chatted about life events and hopefully all will go well with him tomorrow. We send lots of good thoughts his way.

So back to changes: I called the Continuing Education office this morning at 9 o’clock and asked how I could change my schedule and if the opportunity is good and I get in on time, on Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 I need to line up in front of Oliver’s and see if I can’t change out the French for something else. And that something else would be Western Civilization to go with my Monday Sociology class. If I can’t change the class and that options gets taken away – I will probably drop French and stick with one course this term if all else fails. I am hoping that being early gets the job done. We shall see…

Tomorrow is going to be great.

There is a hurricane churning up the coast and the weather even here will get dicey any way you cut the cake, it’s gonna get nasty, just how nasty remains to be seen. The East coast, North Carolina and on up the East Coast will see a once in a hundred years storm. This could get bad … Let us pray !!!


Lines …

Courtesy: Mindstate

Today’s theme is lines. More to the point, the ones you stand in for hours at a time.

Today was registration day and I had (well more like) hundreds of students were given appointment cards last week to take care of registration today. My appointment was for 1:45 p.m.

I got to the school at 1:00 p.m. and walked down to the lower mezz and found out that people had been waiting for hours to register for summer classes. It is all very weird. Why they just don’t open up the online registration is beyond me.

But I digress…

I got in the proper 1:45 line in the locker section of the lower mezz. It was 1 p.m. Thank God I brought things to keep me occupied. I downloaded the U2 360 Tour last night and I ran through the entire concert two times sitting there. There must have been more than a couple hundred students in our line alone. Not to mention the people who were waiting before us.

At 2:45 we started moving.

I got logged in by one person and sent to a second room on the 5th floor to register. Another wait in another line. I had my papers and ID ready. It was a short wait. I sat down with the registrar and found out that I didn’t meet prerequisite for the humanities class I wanted to take, since I bombed my Knowledge class that I now have to repeat. (God Dammit) …

There was only one section for Knowledge this summer, and it was full. Fuck me. So I went to the Dean’s office to sign up on the wait list sheet for the class. We’ll see if that opens up. If not, then it is going to be a very long summer with nothing to do until August.

Yuck !!!

A long afternoon – with a futile end …

Today is hubby’s birthday. He said not to get him anything but I got him a card hopefully it will go over well, because he is not happy about his birthday this year. We’re all getting old over here.

So much for the day. Maybe I will take a nap, since sleep evaded me last night.

More to come, stay tuned…

 


Tuesday Business …

Courtesy: eeedwfff

I went to bed last night as the sun was coming up and the birdies were singing before I could get to sleep.  And it seemed as well, that the Seville construction site started up soon thereafter.

The Seville Project is the new condo expansion program just around the corner from here on Ste. Catherine’s Street, just a block up from our street. They are still in the foundation forming process which means they are driving piles into the ground from sun up till sun down. There is a huge crane on site that spins with precision accuracy over the site and the pile driver was in full swing today, all day.

I did not get a lot of sleep. It being the beginning of the month tomorrow, financial aide comes on the last day of the month, today. And since I was up with the birdies I decided to get as much done as I could this morning.

As soon as the grocery store opened I was off for a little supermarket safari. I like shopping in an empty store either in the morning or late at night, there isn’t usually a big crowd at either end of the day.

We’ve been eating very slim meals for the last five days, being the end of the month, money is still tight – we can’t seem to figure out how many bills to pay in order to keep prudent reserve in the bank for the end of the month. I no longer fear financial insecurity. I just roll with it nowadays. I got a few sundry items and came back home.

Then I decided that I should go take care of my Ram Q card renewal, since that came in the mail a couple of weeks ago. Our health care cards here run for two years and they province sends us renewal forms in the mail prior to the card running out. Which meant I had to get photos taken and stamped. Everything is very official.

I headed down to Pharmaprix on Guy, because that’s where I got my photos taken the last time. I walked into the store and realized that when they revitalized the store they did away with the photo department. I wandered around a bit before I asked a clerk where the photo stop was now. The Post office (Canada Post) has branches in certain stores. That’s where the photo stop was. Official photos cost me $9.00 for two photos. I hate getting my picture taken. But it was ok.

Then I walked the photos and my renewal form to the CLSC Metro over at the Guy Metro that was painless. They said that my new card would come in 4 to 6 weeks. I have to drop labs in the next month and see the doc at the end of July around my birthday. I should have my card by my next doctors visit.

I came home and changed out. Have I mentioned that the weather has gotten progressively warmer over the last few days. The end of rain in the city has brought us warmer temps (it is 26c) at this hour. We don’t have AC in this apartment so trying to nap during the day is a task when it is balmy outside.

Not to mention how noisy it is during the day with a construction site next door to the building, a hotel delivery stop next door and the highway access just up the street. I attempted to nap for most of the afternoon but in the end I just listened to the BANG, BANG, BANG of the pile driver all afternoon.

I got out to the church a little earlier tonight because I needed to stop by another Pharmaprix to pick up my monthly meds haul on the way out. Since today was our business meeting, I needed to finish set up earlier than usual. it was a painless meeting with our new members which was nice to see.

We had a packed house for the meeting, we finished the chapter “to Wives” and had a lively discussion that went the entire period. We had 25 guests tonight which was good. We filled the kitty which was needed. We need to maintain prudent reserve in the bank for rent.

We have our topics selected for the next couple of weeks and one of our new members is going to make photo copies for the group for next week. The readings are still coming from the Big Book so it’s all good.

A very busy day was had by all. Hubby was in and out all day today running errands and taking care of his RA work with his prof at school. It’s good that he will have work over the summer to do, it will keep him busy.

Registration for summer classes isn’t until the 6th. I called today to inquire the specifics about registration because the academic office gave us post it notes that say my appointment is at 1:45 on the 6th, but doesn’t say where I am supposed to go, so in speaking to the registrars office they said there would be people at the school on that day to direct us where we are supposed to go. Summer registration is in person at the school, with immediate payment to be made at the time of registration.

For Fall and Winter, we can register online through the Dawson Portal from home and pay that way as well. I guess since there are few classes offered during the summer – they make you register in person to make sure you get your spot for term. I am only taking one class over the summer, a Mon/Wed Humanities class.

A good day was had by all.

Now some dinner and tv.

More to come, stay tuned…


Tuesday Thoughts …

Courtesy: AllthatIam/Josh Stewart Photography

It was a good day. The rain stayed away, but it poured over night in the city. Lots to do today and everything happened at the same time, so it seemed. I had to get my appointment for summer school registration, thank God I left early because I waited in line to see an adviser for more than twenty minutes. We only had an hour this evening to get in and get a slip from the advisers department.

I got to the desk and checked in with my ID and I have my appointment for the 6th of June. Classes start on the 7th, so it will be a quick register and pay at the same time. As I was leaving the office the line was all the way down the hall from the main lobby area on the second floor down to the advisers desk. There must have been at least a hundred people waiting for their turn. This all was taking place from 5 o’clock to 6:30.

I left early because I usually get to the church around 5:30 to set up. I got there a little late today because of school. It was a quick set up, and I got to look through the class schedule and I am not pleased with the choices of class times over the summer.

Damned that the French course I need to take is a Mon-Tues-Wed-Thurs class from 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. SHIT !!!! The Humanities class I want to take is on Mon-Wed from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. It doesn’t look like there is any other way around this fucked up schedule.

This sucks …

We had a good showing for the meeting. I set out more tables and chairs and more seats on the sidebar and every seat was taken up. It was all well and good. We talked about “To Wives.” The discussion was good, we went the entire period.

I need to eat some dinner and chill out.

More to come, stay tuned …


What is Happiness ???

Photo Courtesy: Written Inc. My Friend Carmi – Noah Blue

This Academic Essay may not be copied, used or reproduced without permission of the author and is protected by Creative Commons License.

This was my final project in my World Views Class this term.

What does it mean to be happy? If you polled a hundred people with that question, you would get a hundred different answers. Every person in the world has a specific definition of what happiness means to them. There are a multitude of factors that come into play, and those factors also depend on the place each person lives. Different people and different cultures around the world place varying degrees of significance on the concept itself. Do we ever find true happiness or do we ask the real question ‘can happiness ever truly be achieved?’

In my worldview, I am content with my life as it has unfolded and I am as happy as I can be at the moment, the caveat here is ‘but there is always room for improvement.’ And I think that most people would say they are relatively happy. In any case, there are many ways to find happiness, and in some cultures, ways to cultivate happiness. Values differ from culture to culture when it comes to topics such as these, because the world is so vast and for every region of the world there are millions upon millions of people who strive every day to be happy, in one way or another.

Growing up in the United States I learned that only hard work and perseverance and the collection of things; cars, homes, objects and money over a lifetime would maybe result in a life of happiness. The painstaking trail of growing up, getting an education and finding ones place in the workforce was the way to guarantee a modicum of happiness. And if you found a partner along the way that would be a happy benefit. I spent thirty years in that grind of a life, moving from one economic bracket to another and in the end happiness eluded me.

Living with a terminal illness and facing my own mortality has taught me a few things about happiness. Most normal people in the world do not get this kind of in your face lessons for life so in a way, I am on a totally different journey than my healthy counterparts. I did not find that happy dream of a life in the U.S. so I closed up shop and came to Canada.

I began again that long journey to find a new definition of happiness. Over the last ten years I have cultivated, in my estimation, a happy life. I am seventeen years into a life sentence and I have never been happier with my life as it has unfolded over the last decade.

But what is true happiness? A life well lived, one day at a time, with people I love and friends that I adore. Happiness is a state of mind for me, contingent on my spiritual condition on any given day. Happiness is not in what objects I have collected or how much money I have in the bank. I have left behind that materialistic way of finding happiness for a much more simple way of living. And I think that is one of the biggest differences between my way of life and the lives of many I have met over my lifetime.

I have had to contend with a less than productive work life, in opt for a life of educating myself on my passions and I am still cultivating that life today. I have achieved many good things in my life thus far, and I am still on that journey to find ultimate happiness. At this point I don’t know if I will ever get to the magical ultimate destination of true happiness, so I must do with what I have and be happy with that. And I think that a majority of people would identify with this thought for themselves.

In every life, you reach a point that one tires of the ‘hunt for happiness,’ that every day slog through the motions trying to find ‘it’ whatever that ‘it’ may be. People who never learn the lessons about life they need to in one way or another will find themselves on a never ending rut of hunting and never finding.

Aristotle has a particular view on happiness. Stevenson and Haberman write, “There is an end to which we all seek for its own sake, and that is happiness. But how do we define happiness?” (Stevenson & Haberman, 2009, p. 98). For Aristotle that training to become good and virtuous people should begin at home in the early stages of life so that children are ‘trained up’ to become those people.

Good teaching as youths brings about the necessary changes that will insure that goodness and virtuosity continue on through the generations. In simple terms we can agree on the thought that in the end happiness can be translated in a word “fulfillment” (p. 98). But there are required processes to bring about this fulfillment.

The authors write about Aristotle, “(a) human fulfillment consists in activity, namely the exercise of our faculties, not in mere passive enjoyment; (b) that it must involve the use of our distinctively human rational capacity; (c) that this activity should be conducted “well and finely,” displaying the best, most complete kind of ‘excellence’ or virtue; and (d) that it should last over an extended lifetime” (p. 99).

Aristotle speaks about virtues, which are important in the actions of men and women. The finding of the means between two extremes. Too much in any one direction of the spectrum is not good in ‘less than’ or in ‘excess of’ the median. Aristotle mediates the extremes with virtue. A middle way, so to speak. Just the right amount of particular stress on what is right and good. We should mention some of the virtues Aristotle finds necessary in life.

They are prudence, temperance, courage and justice, open handedness and mildness. In Greek times, Aristotle was apt to add a few other virtues within his society of ancient Athens and they would be greatness of soul, munificence and finally littleness of soul (Stevenson & Haberman, 2009, pp. 100-101). Everything in a tremulous balance and not a drop overflowing. Finding this middle way is the route to fulfillment and in the end one will find happiness.

As a major in religious studies in university I have studied world religions across the board and I found that eastern religions bring a totally different take on practice, dogma and teaching. Unlike monotheistic religions eastern religions bring together many paths to achieving ultimate freedom from the shackles of life that keep us rooted to the spot, in a never ending cycle/drama of pain, suffering and loss.

Buddhist teachings tell us that there is a path to rid ourselves of suffering, a way to get off the cycle of pain and karma by purging ourselves of those things that keep us tied to the earth in the fashion that we find ourselves in. And for many, the purging of practices which keep us in this cycle of suffering and pain, is daunting.

Western cultures tend not to pay much attention to Eastern ways of thinking, if ever they think of them at all. Buddhism offers us that path, nonetheless. It may not be called the route to happiness, perse, but in ridding ourselves of unnecessary pain and suffering, the evidential end point could be called happiness. For the enlightened man and woman this end would be called nirvana.

In  Kindness, Clarity & Insight, the Dalai Lama writes about the four noble truths:

The four truths are two groups of effect and cause: suffering and their sources; and cessations of sufferings and the paths for actualizing those cessations. Suffering like an illness; the external and internal conditions that bring about the illness are the sources of suffering. The state of cure from the illness is the cessation of suffering and of its causes. The medicine that cures the disease is true paths.

(Gyatso, 2006, p. 30)

The virtues in Aristotle’s discussion and the eightfold path for Buddhism are similar. Finding the means between the extremes and finding the right path to live are common. Both processes involve years of training and practice. If you follow Aristotle’s middle way and find the ‘good’ path to live you will find fulfillment and happiness.

If in Buddhist terms you accept and learn the teachings of the Buddha one can free themselves of the chains that bind them. Aristotle finds the middle way to live, yet the Buddhist goes much further to bring about a spiritual transformation that encompasses an entire life. One path teaches us how to live, but doesn’t address suffering and pain, while the second gives us solutions to what ails the common man.

I believe that the Buddhist path to enlightenment and freedom is what appeals to me. I have studied this tradition over the years and find it very amenable to my life. I can follow the teachings and aptly apply those lessons to my life on a daily basis. I have learned how to navigate the middle way in my life. I am not tied to the cycle of pain any longer and the better I stay away from that cycle the closer I get to remaining happy and one day will evidentially find enlightenment.

REFERENCES

Gyatso, Tenzin, the 14th Dalai Lama. (2006). Kindness, Clarity & Insight. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion.

Stevenson, Leslie, & Haberman, David L. (2009). Ten Theories of Human Nature. New York: Oxford University Press.


Lost in Translation …

Courtesy: Ministry of Pleasure

It is a mixed bag today. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Last night I had my final interview for my final grade in French. The prof gave us the work sheet well in advance to work on our translations and story telling abilities. We had to bring photos of a vacation that we enjoyed in the past. We then had to answer questions regarding the trip itself. A second topic was about our daily habits and what we did during our days and nights. The last topic was questions about our health situation.

My skills at writing are less than acceptable, my speaking skills are better than my written skills, even a year in, I favor my speaking ability. And the prof says that stuff like this happens when studying a language.

I’ve been making good use of Google Translate to work on my skills. In stead of breaking my back trying to translate my English into French, I use a computer program. On Sunday night I wrote up my script, it was a page long. I had hubby check my translation for mistakes or language errors. He amended my script for me because the program isn’t perfect translation.

I studied that script like a madman, trying to memorize what I had written, and I even went as far as to write flash cards with short notes that I could look at during the interview.

My appointment was for 7 o’clock last night. So I went to school 45 minutes early to sit and read, re-read such and so forth. Some of my classmates were there studying themselves.

I went into the interview with my vacation photos and sat down. I had my script with me which I placed face down on the desk, and it started. The prof started asking me questions which I answered in French, that was working for me so she kept going. The more questions she asked me the easier it got for me to talk to her. And so it went like that for almost fifteen minutes. Script be damned – I did not look at it or my notes once. So much for studying.

She went through all the topics from the sheet, including the health questions, which I really did not want to have to discuss. How do you explain AIDS in French? I tread lightly on the topic of HIV and she looked saddened when I said the words. That passed rather quickly.

She said I did very well and that she was happy with my progress. I had a few speaking issues like past and present verbs – I can never get them right all the time. But I got through alright.

So classes are over for me now. I have a few weeks off before the summer term beings at the end of May. I have to make an appointment to register for summer.I was very pleased with this term. It went much better than the last term, and I enjoyed my classes much better as well.

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

I set off for the meeting around 5 tonight. It was nice out so I took the overland route up to the church. I had plenty of time to set up and pick what readings we were going to study tonight.

I got a call from my sponsor saying that he would not be coming to the meeting tonight because one of his cat’s are very sick and he is going to put him down tomorrow afternoon. Very sad indeed.

So it was Dave and I to run the meeting and break down afterwards. It was looking thin on the ground as 7 o’clock was coming quickly and eventually about a dozen people came in at the last minute. We read from the Big Book, chapter 7, Working with Others. It was a lively meeting with lively discussion. One of the members brought a loaf of banana bread for people to snack on and baked goods always go over well.

After the meeting everyone pitched in, in helping me break down the hall so I got home just about 9. I called my sponsor when I got home and we chatted for a bit about kitties and anniversaries. Hopefully he will be up for the party that we are supposed to attend tomorrow night. We’ll see tomorrow.

Classes are over and I am officially on vacation, Yay …

I got a friend request tonight from a friend I haven’t seen or heard from in over 25 years. It seems that my family (what’s left of it) is coming together on Facebook. It is quite a treat to see people from my childhood. My extended family is growing from friends I grew up with to include some of the adults that raised kids the same age I was once. It’s all good.

 That’s all for tonight.

More to come, stay tuned…


Cramming …

Courtesy: MindState

On my phone – Listening to Keane Hopes and Fears …
Somewhere only we know…

It’s 3 a.m. and I am sitting here … I watched all my You Tube videos that were new, I tumbled a hundred pages and found nothing that moved me to post. I have watched all the shows I want to watch tonight. A little Discovery and a little BIO – Celebrity Ghost Stories.

So I opened up this page and I thought I’d write something before I went to bed. It was a good day, albeit it is raining – lots of rain and more rain.

This is the last week of classes for me, YAY !!!

I had a 1500 word essay due and a final exam earlier tonight in World Views. My essay was on “What is happiness – Aristotle and Buddhism” I cranked that paper out in less than two days. I had to make sure that I did not screw up this paper like I screwed up my last long paper and failed hugely …

Most of the paper was free written. I only used a few quotes from the textbook and from Kindness, Clarity and Insight by the Dalai Lama. I think I did ok.

I printed up the final exam study sheet the other day but I never looked at it until Monday night. I did not start working on it until Tuesday night, which left me only a couple of days to study it correctly. I don’t recommend that you follow that example. But last night and today I crammed up the ass for the exam that I wrote earlier.

I got up today with plenty of time to study, if I was doing it right. I wasn’t terribly concerned with the exam, because most of the questions on this sheet were the same as the last mid term exam, so I had already done the study sheet so that took the edge off.

Around 4 I thought, I was a little tired, so I went to take a nap for an hour to gather my thoughts and rest my brain. I got up and got ready to go which left me with about half an hour before class to look over my study sheet before the exam.

When Brian walked into class and started handing out the exam, he said that there would be no surprises and that it was easier than the last exam. I sat back and waited for my packet.

It was a few pages deep. Multiple choice, short answer, a few short essay questions and three major essay questions of 250-300 words a piece.

I cranked through the exam faster than I had imagined. The short essay questions were a little tougher – I’m not sure how I did on those. Then it came to the three major essay questions and we got to choose two of the three to answer.

I wrote as much as I could on the two topics. About a page each single spaced, I noticed that two people got up and handed in their exams before I finished mine and I was like, whoa – that was quick. I was third person up to hand in my exam. It was easier than the last exam. I am sure I did ok.

It was like 7:20 when I left the college and I was out of Alexis Nihon by 7:30 and I thought maybe I would hit St. Matthias, but it was raining and I did not want to walk all the way back in the other direction and up the hill in Westmount, so I continued on the way home.

We had subway for dinner. Nom Nom Nom…

So I’ve been chilling out here all night, Thursday night is hubby’s tv night to watch all his silly sitcoms. While I just sit here and dawdle on the computer.

Now I have one more project to finish for the 9th in French. I have to write up my script and gather my photos for the final French interview. We had a writing test the other night which I am sure I bombed, even though I did my best. We had too  many exams in this session of French.

For the most part I am done with this semester. It went much better than the last semester. I enjoyed these classes better than last term. Now I am waiting for the summer schedule to come out because the government makes you take summer school in order for them to pay out for the next calendar year beginning in September. UGH !!! Kill me now …

There is one more French class I need to take in this series then I can move into mainstream classes in regular community. These  introductory classes are for new speakers, I am two in with one more to go.

So that was my day.

Hopefully this weekend I can get out and do some impulse shopping at Indigo, I need some new books to read. So what are all you reading this summer? I’ve got a list of books to buy from my friend Will who is doing a summer 15 read again this year. It took him a year to read the last 15 books on his read list. I don’t have that kind of money to go out and buy 15 books in one clip. I usually buy mine two a trip. We’ll see if they carry the books on my read list.

More to come, stay tuned…


Kandy Krew …

Courtesy: Tumblr

Anybody who watches videos on You Tube must know about Vlog Candy. This channel has been one of my favorite channels on You Tube for years now. Andrew, John, Zach, Megan and Aubrey they are five incredibly creative people on the Tube.

Sadly, this week is all about goodbyes. The channel is coming to an end, but as I learned, the channel will stay up and running so we can watch their videos in the future. We shall see what incarnates next for these creative folks.

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

Spring may have begun, but you’d never know it by the weather. It has been cold, cold enough that I am still wearing my winter jacket out and about. And there is a rain warning in effect by Environment Canada. They say it’s gonna pour down rain, snow and ice pellets over the next three days. UGH !!!

Today was like any other day. Tuesdays are always the same. Set up was a breeze and we had about a dozen folks show up for the meeting. There were three generations of sobriety at the meeting tonight. There was me, my sponsor and his sponsor who has been sober since God was a boy. Almost 60 years now.

We read from the Big Book once again, “There is a solution.” I have two Big Books, one Third edition and one Fourth edition. Both of these books have seen action over the years. Most of the first 164 pages of the book are highlit in different colors over the years and there are dates and notes in the margins of the book from countless step series and readings.

It was a good meeting, a small group of people with varying time in sobriety made for great discussion. The reading went a little long which meant that the meeting went a little long, which isn’t a bad thing, we might shorten the read next week, as we are tweaking the way the meeting goes. It was our third week with the new format, it seems to be working ok. We are seeing the same faces which is a good thing.

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

We are coming to the end of term this month, three weeks to make it all count. We are into Buddhism in our philosophy class which is good for me, a familiar topic seeing I have a degree in Religious Study, and I spent a good deal of time studying Eastern Religious Traditions.

Tomorrow I have my final reading test, god help us all. Then it is on the the final interview for the bulk of the grade. This is the one assignment that I cannot fail, because it will carry me forwards into the next French class during the summer. I have one more unit to go before I start regular French classes. There are two levels of study at Dawson depending on where you started based on your knowledge of the second language. I started from the beginning and the class I am in now is the second of three courses at this level of study.

That’s all I have for you tonight.

More to come, stay tuned…


Postaday Day 2 … Accomplishments …

Courtesy: Mattnstuff

What’s the most important thing you accomplished in 2010?

As the year progressed, a number of things happened in succession that facilitated a new phase in my life. I ended my tenure as a graduate student. More like, crashed and burned. Without a base to operate from I took a suggestion from one of my friends at the university about what to do next, and I did that next right thing.

I applied for a spot at Dawson College and chose to study the areas that I was lacking in my university studies, that of French. I succeeded in my first semester studies at Dawson college.

I survived another year in this life. That is always noteworthy. I stayed sober another year. Which makes this nine years sober.

There aren’t any other noteworthy accomplishments for the year as it went.