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Obituary

Happy Birthday Lily Potter … Jan 30 1960

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James Potter, born 27 March 1960, died 21 October 1981
Lily Potter, born 30 January 1960, died 31 October 1981

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Happy Birthday Lily !!!


Memorial – And Tenth Step Speakings

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The world mourns the passing of a giant of social rights, a saint for the world to remember, and a man of peace, who we may never see again in this lifetime. Nelson Mandela, your life will be remembered for all time.

Eternal Rest grant him and may Perpetual Light shine upon him.

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

How do you go on with what you want to say when a monumental death has taken place in the world…

We take a moment of silence and we pray. Something we learn to do in sobriety on a daily, and sometimes by the minute, we recite prayers. It is part of our survival, the way we connect with something greater than ourselves.

The weather tonight has been dreary. Warmer temps signal rain, instead of snow. I’d rather have snow than rain. And it prompted carrying an unnecessary umbrella, just in case.

“What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities.” pg. 85 B.B.

I awoke to the news today after a short nap. And settled into preparation to leave for the church. What better place to remember and pray, if not in the church proper, than the church basement.

We spend a great deal of time, praying in basements of churches.

I swore I would not write about what’s going on in my head, and I will respect that decision.

All I will say is that “newcomers can be our teachers.”

And it goes, that a newcomer has lodged herself right in my side like a thorn from a huge bush. There are so many things I would like to say, but time under my belt reminds me that I should pray for those with different struggles. And that I am powerless over people, places and things.

We are in the final stretch of the pre-cake roller coaster. Just a few more days and it will all be over with. God Grant me Serenity !!!

I have a certain problem that stems from childhood. Being a child of alcoholics, I tried to avoid conflicts. But more times than I want to recount, I either instigated them, or participated in them.

My father was a very abusive man, towards my mother and my brother. But nobody remembers this fact. And Many times, too many times, when my father went after them, I would step in and take the brunt of whatever he was dishing out at that present moment. I would rather he abuse me than my mother.

But that fact is so easily forgotten, because I am a FAG.

Any semblance of Manly Honor is lost on that fact in my family.

Hence, I became my father’s best whipping post.

I learned to do something particular. I could, without effort, or minimal effort, think my way out of any argument, discussion or abuse.

And that specific gift is still in operation today in my life.

When someone becomes a craw, or the proverbial thorn in my side, the chatter in my head begins. I talk to myself, I have entire conversations with other people, in preparation for an impending face off.

Because I really want that face off when I can knock you down a few pegs because of “who I think I am.” And that wreaks of All About Me.

I have always had this gift of being able to out think you. To estimate what you might say and have my arguments ready and willing. I had to do this as a young person on a frequent basis.

Have you ever had a preemptive discussion in your head? I have.

It is old wiring. It is something when old habits come to new realizations in sobriety, because they mean something different when I look at them with new eyes.

There are many things that I remember that bring up memories that I would rather forget. And old resentments that are pointless to entertain, because they only bring me pain and strife.

Like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, I know them intimately.

My father was that type of drunk. You never knew who was going to walk through the front door at night. Or who was going to barge into your bedroom for the nightly fighting/beating event.

Maybe I drank to forget. I don’t remember ever saying to myself that if I drank, whatever was in my head would disappear. I just don’t remember. When I moved away, I figured that the past would just go away.

The further distance I put between my present and my past the better.

Was that a good thought?

My drinking career began well before I moved out on my own. And I was woefully unprepared for the world when I marched out to meet it. I was a much worse alcoholic in my younger years, than when I grew older.

Chalk it up to youth or stupidity. I was young and truly stupid.

I just drank, because that’s what I learned how to do. For any reason and for any occasion. I moved from daily drinking to weekend drinking, to the last effort, the Binge drinking.

They say “With age comes wisdom.”

And on the run up to a celebration of twelve years of sobriety, I should have all this certain wisdom. I don’t know if that is true.

Lately that tape in my head has been rolling. I take it to bed with me and It follows me into sleep. And then I wake up with it, having totally mentally masturbated for hours and days.

I called a fellow lady member yesterday and did a formal 10th step.

I talked it all out. And then I called a second lady member and talked it out with her. And what did I learn from this tenth step exercise?

Love and tolerance is our code. As the prayer says, I should have tolerance for those with different struggles.

I don’t have a leg to stand on. And it is better to keep my mouth shut rather than sticking my foot into it, all the way up to my thigh.

It was a good night. Good friends, Good discussion, Good coffee.

Because I make the best coffee in Montreal.

In one week I celebrate twelve years of sobriety.

THERE ARE 19 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS !!!

More to come, stay tuned …


All men of faith have Courage …

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“The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.”

Page 68 Big Book

Thursday. Location: Montreal. 18c with clear skies

The weather has been very amenable. It was cool enough last night to open the windows for a bit. The month is quickly coming to an end. When I was much younger and quite more stupid, the run up to my birthday usually began one week out. The barhopping and drinking in earnest would begin. And each night all the way up through my birthday would entail much, much more booze.

And we all know how that ended…

July is always a tough month. But it the most important month of the year. It is not only the month of my birth, but the month that I learned that my mortality is on the line.

July 8th comes and goes every year. And I mark it with respect and dignity. People seem perplexed that I would mark an event like this openly. At a meeting not long ago, I shared this piece of info in community and got stares and questions afterwards.

In the beginning I had to learn how to live one day at a time. In fact, I had to learn this lesson more than once. Both instances were based on certain factors in my life.

I would string a few days together. And mark a week. And if I lived a week, I would mark two. And at the end of a month, I would be brave and mark another month. Such is the case when doctors give you your actual “End Date.” And tell you to go home and settle your affairs because death is imminent.

This year I kept to myself mostly. But with Pride every year, come the memorial public television shows like We Were Here and Milk. Many people I assume who have lived through the dark times of the 80’s and 90’s may have book collections that mark the tribulations in print.

Paul Monette is the consummate author of the AIDS years, having lived, loved and died from the disease. I have all his books in my library. And for the most part, I keep them as memorials. To remember how bad it was and to be ever mindful that I may go the same way.

I spent the past week of nights reading “Living on Borrowed Time.” The book details with great pain the months and years that comprised the life and relationship that Paul had with his husband/partner Roger.

It is difficult to read but important for me to pay homage to the men who were there when it all began, who died well before I came along with AIDS. But times were not much different in the early 90’s – there were dedicated drugs, nor doctors to treat us. We were treated like hazmat patients. We would be quarantined in space capsules in rooms away from general population and doctors and nurses would gown up like martian hunters to come near us.

The Christians called it God’s revenge for homosexuality.

Employers fired us. Landlords threw us out on the street. Family and friends and lovers left us because we were sick. Mortuaries would not process nor bury the sick.

But we did. All of it.

Every year I live is a great big Fuck You to the Christian Right. For all those people who left me on the roadside including my family I can only say I lived and I have lived well. I am the man I wanted to be.

Because men of faith took me in and gave me life when you turned your backs on me. And hence the thousands of men who were sick and went to their graves with what little dignity they had in their souls.

I lived … And I am still alive.

Tonight;s reading speaks about God, and no apologies. Courage and fear.

To live with a disease that is going to take your life one day is courage. Not taking a drink one day at a time, is courage. Learning how to live knowing you are going to die with certainty of a disease that is ugly and dirty is harrowing.

AIDS is not pretty. But neither is alcoholism. Both are takers.

But in today’s day and age, both are treatable and manageable.

After 19 year living this way, the fear of dying still exists in the back of my head. But every day I take my pills I earn a day of life. It is my job to take pills every day, if I do nothing during my day, the two actions I make are to take my pills.

I do what I need to do every day, every week and every month to stave off the drink. I don’t know how else to stave off dying. But I don’t fixate on dying, because if I do, I will only hasten the end for which I have been avoiding for more than a decade and almost two.

Our little men’s group is holding its own. We get the by and by visitor to come, but for the most part, it is a conversation between friends in a familiar space.

Do you have courage? How do you live it every day?

More to come, stay tuned…

 


Bill W: “To be helpful is our only aim.”

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William Griffith Wilson (November 26, 1895 – January 24, 1971), also known as Bill Wilson or Bill W., was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), an international mutual aid fellowship with over two million members belonging to 100,800 groups of alcoholics helping other alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety.  Following AA’s Twelfth Tradition of anonymity, Wilson is commonly known as “Bill W.” or “Bill.” After Wilson’s death in 1971, his full name was included in obituaries.
Wilson’s permanent sobriety began December 11, 1934. Wilson suffered from episodes of depression. The most serious of these occurred between 1944 and 1955. In 1955 Wilson turned over control of AA to a board of trustees. Wilson died of emphysema complicated by pneumonia 42 years ago in 1971. In 1999 Time listed him as “Bill W.: The Healer” in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.


Ode to Armageddon …

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Sinai photographed from STS 109 – Shuttle Columbia March 1,2002 …

I’d imagine that if Armageddon was going to take place, this is the place we would imagine the first strike to take place, or the first event. It is 3:10 a.m. on Friday morning. Nothing happened, or should I say, nothing has happened

YET !!!

If you are a listener of Late Night Radio, ala Coast to Coast for any length of time you would know that all the crazies in the world listen to this show night after night. And we have been all through the list of crazies over the last year.

We have the ads for end of days Armageddon style food sales, you know, just for those moments when a disaster takes place and you need those ready to eat meals, They aren’t just for earthquakes and hurricanes Yall !!! If you have a spare couple of hundred dollars that you can plunk down for mass storage food stuffs, and you gotta have a place to put it all, and who has a spare bomb shelter in their property portfolio ???

I hear in UTAH that there are bunkers that have been prepared for today’s calamity to take place. I have also heard that the cleansing of the righteous from the non-righteous will take place today. That God is going to cleanse the earth of the sinful and errant peoples. That only the righteous will be saved from God’s judgment.

There is a town in Southern France that is supposed to be a vortex location and that when the earth meets its end, that the aliens are going to appear there and take away all those who fled to the safety of this mountain perch.

All over the tv tonight have been every kind of end of days programming. People trying to divine what the Mayans were trying to say and what that damned calendar and glyphs really have to say, since they are woefully incomplete, and the end story is all up to conjecture.

We’ve heard over the last year all those good preacher men who have foretold of the coming Apocalypse and twice they were wrong and God did not come screaming out of his heaven to take us all to heaven and send all the sinners to hell.

That would mean all of us LGBTQ folks. Because homosexuality is all so sinful and errant of God’s ways … Oh, I kid …

Did you partake in the hysteria of the end of days? Did you buy into the end of the world? Are you hoarding food, guns, ammunition and all kinds of food stuffs? Because you know, when the end comes later today it is going to be utter anarchy in the streets. People clawing and fighting for food and guns.

And those who are prepared for the end will be hunkered down in their bunkers and nuclear safe type hovels defending themselves from the marauding hordes of people who did not listen to the council of the folks who have spent the better part of the last year telling us all this it is coming and you’d better be prepared.

All this talk of financial ruin coming to the U.S. The wars over seas and the Arab spring running into Arab Winter. You never know if the Anti-Christ is going to rise from the desert sand of the Middle East somewhere like Iran or some other backwater Middle Eastern country. Because like I said above, if Armageddon was going to take place, you’d probably be looking over there for him.

I have read that the sun isn’t going to erupt in some hellish solar flare that is going to knock out the electrical and communications grids all over the world. And at this hour, I haven’t read of any earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions taking place anywhere in the world.

And when you wake and come upon this entry – having said your prayers to whatever God you pray to the night before, you will rise and the sunrise will be glorious – just like the day before.

And I am sure on Friday night on Coast to Coast they will be hosting a night of checking in with all those folks who have added to the mass hysteria that today is supposed to unleash on humankind.

Did the ancients get it right? Will we come to rise above ourselves and grow in spiritual awakening? Will we rise to the next level of humanity overnight? And what have we learn in this exercise of preparing ourselves for the end of the world. And what will we say to all those folks who are hiding in their bomb shelters as I write this.

Will we see a nuclear Armageddon from the East? Because if we do, for those of us who could not afford a bomb shelter – we are all goners … So I guess before I go to bed I should say my final prayers – kiss my ass goodbye and hope to wake up tomorrow morning.

Today my husband is traveling to Ottawa to see his family, and it may be his last meeting with them if we are to believe that something BIG will take place tomorrow some time. Who knows.

It’s the end of the world as we know it. And when you wake tomorrow – what kind of world will it be? And what will we say to all those crazies out there sitting in their bomb shelters and on mountain tops and those fleeing the big cities into the interior of the United States and Europe because the oceans are going to swell and swallow up all the coastal land. God forbid you know that volcano on the Canary Islands that is supposed to blow its peak and send a tsunami across the Atlantic and submerge the entire East Coast of the United States.

You are all FUCKED !!!

Shall we make a prediction of what all will happen the day after tomorrow?

Sit tight. I will report more as the day progresses.

More to come, stay tuned …


Australian author Bryce Courtenay, writer of ‘The Power of One’ and 20 others, dies at age 79

Report From: The Canadian Press

CANBERRA, Australia – Australian bestselling author Bryce Courtenay has died of stomach cancer. He was 79.

His publisher Penguin Group said Friday that the South African-born writer died at his family home in the Australian capital Canberra late Thursday surrounded by his family and pets.

Courtenay had a successful career in advertising before writing his first novel, “The Power of One,” which was published in 1989 when he was 56. The story became a movie starring Morgan Freeman.

His 21st novel, “Jack of Diamonds,” was published this month.

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

This is a very sad announcement. Bryce was a wonderful writer. All of his books are monumental. The way they are written is unlike any other author I have read. And if you have read anything by him, you will agree … Once you begin one of his books, you don’t stop till you reach the end. His ability to capture time and space and weave his stories with such amazing characters is amazing.

If you’ve ever wondered what Africa was like Bryce truly knew how to capture the people, the land and the images from his mind to paint just amazing pictures as you read. I’ve read a number of his books that are in my personal library.

If you’ve never read Bryce Courtenay … Put him on your Christmas list…


Tell us a Haunted Tale … Plinky Prompt !!!

I’m bored … and dinner is not ready yet. And the movie wasn’t showing today.

Hubby woke me up this morning with his announcement that he checked the theatre website and our film was not on till tomorrow. So we rescheduled and added a third person to join us on the adventure. So that will be good.

I thought about inviting a friend along with us tomorrow, so I cleared it with my sponsor and made the call. My friend is going through treatment for prostate cancer and I’ve been keeping a close eye on him, calling him and just being kind.

I think it is easy to be complacent – but much more important to be kind.

Well, what do we have here ??? It’s been a long time since I have written a Plinky Prompt. The website is a collection of writing prompts that wordpress encourages us to use to get the “creative juices” flowing.

I don’t think I’ve told this story, so here it is.

This story takes place a long time ago in my timeline. I was a teen-ager living with my parents. Whether or not you believe in the here after is not a question, but this happened to us.

My uncle Paul, lived in Connecticut. He was old and died when I was young. One day my uncle John, was blacktopping the driveway and a Bluejay flew out of a tree and landed right where he was standing.

Birds are birds right, they don’t usually fly up to people for no good reason.

This was just after Paul died.

And where ever my uncle John went in the yard or even in the house, the bird would fly to whatever window was closest and peck on the glass. This pecking went on for weeks and weeks. And at one point uncle John went outside and called to the bird to stop pecking.

The bird stopped pecking …

My grandfather died while I was still living at home. He was suffering from a stroke, alcoholism and fading age.

A couple of days past his funeral, I was in my bedroom doing whatever. And there was a huge tree, well, there were several. A 50 foot oak, a smaller flowering tree and a grapefruit bush.

On that particular day a red headed woodpecker appeared at my window and began to peck. This bird followed me up to the bus stop at the end of the street, it would be there when I got off the bus and it followed me all over the house, pecking on the windows. The pecking went on for weeks and weeks.

It got so aggravating that we would walk out and say to the air, “get out of here Al!” which was my grandfathers name. And the bird would stop pecking. But it did that for a long time.

Weeks and weeks went by and two pecking bird stories were shared by two families 1500 miles apart.

At some point, Al was ready to move on … and he did eventually leave us.

But a couple of weeks later my uncle called from Connecticut saying that Paul was still hanging around the house, and then he added that a woodpecker appeared with the bluejay at their house, 1500 miles away.

They both pecked for a while then they took off. Neither bird was ever seen again.

My grandmother (on my dad’s side) lived a while longer than my grandfather. She had a massive stroke and was disabled when she died. I was living with Gloria not far from my childhood home.

I went to the funeral and it was a very sad time for me because grammy was my whole world. I missed her terribly.

I had brought a couple of flower arrangements back to the house and kept them in my bedroom. I just had a feeling …

It wasn’t long after that that she appeared to me. Grammy would always silently stand at the foot of my bed and watch me. The first time she came she scared the shit out of me, I was like, “don’t do that …”

Her apparition stayed with me for a couple months.

Time would pass, I would move three times, I was in my 26th year of life and I was living in a small apartment not far from the bar I worked at when I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994.

It was a one bedroom flat with a living room, kitchen seating area, a walk in closet and a small bedroom. I would sleep at night in my room, with the door shut at night.

Things started happening in the apartment. Pictures on the wall would move, magazines on the tables would move and drop to the floor. I could not explain this, but I was sure I wasn’t alone.

I was seeing a Tarot Card reader at a shop just up the block from home. He was a gifted man whom I trusted for advice. I mentioned the “happenings” to him in passing and he offered to come and see what he could find.

So one afternoon he came over and walked into the apartment and sat down. Almost immediately, he had a face, hair color and the answer to my question.

He saw an older woman with red hair and a kind face. When i was a child, grammy had fire red hair, I have pictures of her from that time period.

He said that she was hanging around watching me and that she asked him to tell me not to sleep with the door shut because for some reason, she couldn’t get through the door. I knew it was her.

Never did I sleep with the door closed again. And she stopped moving things around. She stayed with me for a long while, when I got sick. I needed her strength.

Some years later, my memere died. (my mother’s mother). Again, my world was shaken by her death. My mother did not want me to go to the funeral because of my gayness and my HIV positive state of being, and she made that perfectly clear to me. I had stashed enough cash aside to afford a ticket to fly to Connecticut, but I decided against it.

For weeks after her death, memere visited me. I saw her in my sleep. I had fits of writing compulsively in her hand, with her words. I knew it was her and I progressively wrote these letters to my mother – from her, and the things she wanted me to tell her.

I am sure my mother still has these letters, and that she probably thinks I was crazy, but I will never know anyways.

That’s three for three.

My parents returned with mementos from the funeral. Statues,  photographs, paintings from both my grammy and memere. They sat in my personal shrine and they went with me on the slip that almost killed me.

I lost everything that I owned on that slip. Including my mementos.

Fast Forward to Montreal. I met my great aunt Georgette at the Grey Nun’s Convent just up the street from my apartment. I visited often for meals and Eucharistic Celebrations. And she shared stories with me of Memere from when she was a child.

My great Aunt Georgette’s family in the 1920’s during the Spanish Flu epidemic  that killed millions of people had claimed the lives of Memere’s parents, and they took her in and raised her as their own.

I learned all this history from her over the 2 years that she lived, she was well into her 80’s. At one point, I got a call from the convent that she was in hospital and that it was terminal.

The doctors said that they would operate to take out the cancer, so we waited and hours into the operation they came out and told me that it was a no go, that there was way too much cancer and that nothing could be done to save her.

The convent came together and the sisters came to visit her. They were all she had and I was as close to the next of kin as you could get. Her brothers and sisters lived in Atlantic Canada and would eventually come for the funeral service.

When it all got too painful for her, they took her up to the ICU at the Montreal General Hospital and there were machines galore, bells, whistles and flashing lights. She did not like this at all. It scared her. When they tried to place an oxygen mask on her face she went crazy.

Then they decided that the only other choice was Morphine …

They turned off the machines and the lights, and strung her up with an IV line dripping morphine. I sat by her bed through the night I was reading the Bhagavad Gita.

The surgeon who worked on her came by in the middle of the night, prior to our last conversation, to check on her, shouting loudly, as if she was trying to communicate with a dead person.

At 3 a.m. she stirred and grabbed my hand and asked me to find her a priest. I did not know who to call, so I asked her ICU nurse. It was late in the night and she wasn’t sure she could locate one.

I stood over her bed and listened to her tell me that the devil was trying to take her and that she needed a priest and prayers. So I put my book down and began to pray over her and with her. We said the Lords Prayer and she faded off into lala land.

Her eyes had rolled into her head. And she was gone.

The next morning came and the shift nurse came on and the sister’s came for morning watch. I kissed her cheek and said that I would be back shortly. I was going to walk down the hill to home, take a nap and go back.

Around 11 am that morning I was laying in my bed and I felt her move through me and past me. Shortly afterwards the phone rang and the nurse told me that she had passed. I did not return to see he at the hospital, but opted to greet her when we buried her at the Mother House.

I have her picture on my sacred shrine in my bedroom. Along with the items I received from the nuns. A rosary, my relic that she carried close to her heart. And a Marian statue.

Whatever memory remains, must be written down so as not to forget it. They are all I have today. The women who meant the most to me are long since gone. But people are never far away if we remember them on a daily basis.


Lily and James Potter …

James Potter, born 27 March 1960, died 31 October 1981

Lily Potter, born 30 January 1960, died 31 October 1981

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Page … 268


Sally Ride RIP …

This is one reason D.O.M.A needs to be repealed and ended.


An Open Heart …

Courtesy: Alexander

It has been a quiet few days. I should be posting more, with more time on my hands, and I find myself sitting in front of this screen bored out of my mind. Hoping that at least one of my reads from that day is going to jog my brain into writing something, but there have been no seeds to glean from my fellows.

I pondered the Blank Page Exercise again, but decided against it. I’ve been preparing myself for the next great achievement on  my so called bucket list.

I got my Couch to 5 K podcasts on my phone. I downloaded the app for my runs and the only thing missing was a new pair of running shoes. I have plenty of sneakers, but they are all high top editions and you can’t run in high tops. So instead of waiting to go to the running store and paying through the nose for high end running shoes, I opted for the easier solution and go Ebay. I saw these sweet shoes for sale and they were a steal.

The whole kit and kaboodle cost me $50.00 shipping included. And to boot they shipped today so I will have them in a few days. Sweet !!!

It has been miserably hot and humid for the last few days. Almost too humid to sleep, (we don’t have A/C) and the fans we have only blow the air around the room at best. It was manageable. And it is only June. God forbid we get a heat wave like we did last summer and it stays humid out for more than a week at a time. God Forbid !!!

I am pondering buying a small window unit to hang in the bedroom, since we are getting taxes back on Thursday, maybe I can find one that would fit in a small window. I have to check “The Tire.”it would have to fit in a 20 inch window because we have side to side sliding windows in the apartment in both rooms, and you can’t hang a window unit in the living room 17 stories up, it is too dangerous. But we could hang one in the bedroom because we have the exterior balcony. So there would be no overhang outside the building proper.

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

It poured all afternoon and I didn’t want to get soaked on my walk, so I waited for a break in the rain to get going this afternoon. I arrived and was all set up by 5 o’clock. I had the entire hour to myself. I finished reading my Grapevine.

One of the final articles in this edition was about gratitude. And when the meeting started the chair read from Came to Believe, and the reading titled

“An Open Heart.”

Within that reading was a mention about gratitude, suiting up and showing up and having or cultivating an Open Heart. From the shares that went around the room, people struggle with this concept. How should I open my heart, and just how open should I make my heart and what cards do I hold close to my chest?

Words like Fear, Pain, heartache and few others were mentioned as well.

Getting Married – There are certain activities in life that take place as we grow up that afford us to begin cultivating an open heart. We grow up and become independent, we meet someone (our significant other) and we get married. This is an exercise in opening ones heart. Especially if you write your vows and speak them to the one you love.

Adversity – emotional – mental – medical and physical all tend to open ones heart and soul to the unknown. Illness tends to turn you inwards because in facing adversity, one becomes ONE with ones being or heart.

Babies – The gift of Life and the birth of a child is the closest thing I have ever experienced that is divine. Being present for the birth of a child is the closest that I have ever come to seeing God’s face. And this is truly the biggest heart opening experience I can tell you about.

Death – The ending of life is also an experience in opening ones heart to feel and to mourn, as was the case at our meeting recently. There have been several deaths for folks in our group over the past few weeks and although they are raw and mourning, they come away with a tender open heart.

Getting Sober – We find when we come to the rooms that we may be a bit frayed, and maybe raw from the beating we gave ourselves, and it will take some time to learn how to open one’s heart, but it does happen, if you stick around long enough for the miracle to happen.

I’m sure you can add your own experiences that have opened your heart. This was just a short list that I can rattle off from my own life. But you get the idea.

The room was full. We sat 33 folks. Uncle Bill showed up and when he said that he got sober in 1950, people clapped and cheered. That would be 62 years of sobriety. 62 YEARS !!!

Amazing …

Thank God for our Old Timers.

What has happened in your life that your heart became open? Leave a comment below…

I start my running as soon as my shoes get here and the training will begin. I was talking to a friend before the meeting and she said that running/walking is a life changing event, if you stick to it long enough. And I am hoping for big changes to happen in my life and on my body as well. My doctor would be Oh So Pleased.

Sorry for being so quiet lately.

Stay tuned. More to come…


FLOODED !!!

The day began at 4:45 this morning. I was in bed and I listened to thunder rolling in the sky. The storm was coming from the West, traveling Eastwards. There were huge flashes of light in the sky so I got up and stood on the balcony and watched the storm come.

There were two huge arcs of lightening that dropped from the clouds down to the ground just behind the Children’s Hospital, so it seemed. It was that close. If I only had my camera in those split seconds, they would have been fantastic photos.

I curled up and went back to bed and listened to the rain fall. I slept until I got up earlier this morning. It would be a very wet day indeed !!!

The skies were grey all day today and I had to make several stops on the way to the church to get supplies and then pick up my medication refills at the pharmacy. It was great timing that my EBAY monies hit my account today because I was low on cash until the deposit came.

I did my shopping and hit Westmount Square. When I got to the other end of the underground city the sky was darker than when I entered on my end. That is how fast the weather rolled in. As I exited the tunnel onto Green, it started to rain. But I didn’t get too wet, because my backpack was full and I was carrying a bag and I didn’t have enough space to open and carry an umbrella, so I walked in the rain the two blocks to the church.

I was cranking out chairs and tables and I had gotten there early because of the business meeting tonight. But I was also aware that one of our members lost her father on Saturday and today for the next three days is Shiva. A second member messaged me to tell me she wouldn’t show up because her neighbor had a heart attack.

I finished up set up and took a breath, it was pouring cats and dogs outside, as I am in a basement hall, I was waiting for water.

Well, Let me tell you what happened.

There is a drain in the center of the hall. A second drain in the hallway, and a third drain just outside our hall in the entrance to the church above on the lower level.

I went to the bathroom because I heard gurgling coming from the faucet, so I ran some water thinking that it was just air in the pipes. I was WRONG !!!

This is the hall proper …

I walked back into the hall and water was streaming from the drain coming up like a flood. The room is about 100 feet by 100 feet square, with a kitchen and bathroom off to one side. Picture tables in the middle of the chairs as we sit at table for reading and discussion. But this is the hall.

The water was coming in very quickly and the hall was flooding fast. I ran into the church building up the back stairs to the parish house and rang the bell like a madman until someone answered. I screamed “The church is flooding, there is water all over the place…” By the time we got back downstairs there was three inches of water piled up from one side of the hall to the other, and back into the church proper. The priest ran back upstairs and got the concierge and Pierre came down in sandals. He got soaked.

He went into the store room and grabbed the wet vac and pulled it into the hall. Now, you’d think that the church would be prepared to clean up the mess, that the concierge and the church staff would take care of this flooded hall …

Well, you would be wrong !!!

It was around 5 o’clock. The hall is flooded, the room is all set up and I am all alone in the hall. Pierre looks at me and says “Here you go, have a good time, I need to go now, hope you can clean up this mess…”

Do you know what it is like trying to vacuum up a water flooded room, not knowing which direction to start in because water flows downhill or down slope. I half heartedly looked at him as he left and I thought that I would start in the middle of the room and work my way out. Wrong !!!

The water was just too deep and it was running all over the place. I spent the better part of an hour vacuuming and emptying the can several times. There was a lot of water…

Around 6, one of our members showed up and she was like, this is a mess, and I had a mini breakdown, and shared a few choice swear words with her. I was not happy. I was all dirty, my pants were soaked and my boots were waterlogged.

She was like, “well we can’t have a meeting, we have to shut down the hall and cancel the meeting,” mind you, people were on their way for the business meeting, which never happened, thank God…

A few minutes later my sponsor showed up and we told him what it looked like downstairs and what ever he decided we would do. He just grabbed the vacuum himself and he started working. The entire entrance hallway at the bottom of the stairs, the hall proper and the bathrooms were all flooded.

Where do you start vacuuming up all that water and with one little wet vac, you aren’t going to make a dent in hell in the hours that you really need to clean up this mess.

Dave showed up and we grabbed buckets and mops and started trying to mop up water and Rick was vacuuming, we had to move the urn and the makings over into the one dry section for people, because the meeting would go on no matter what. We worked up until a quarter to 7, and stopped and washed up.

We read from the Big Book, Page 419. Acceptance is the key to all my problems, and that I really don’t have problems. It’s all about perspective … I had a problem, the hall was flooded and I worked for more than an hour to try and clean some of it up. 20 people showed up. But we were down a good number.

Then one of our women shared that a friend lost her baby over the weekend, the second member lost her father on the same day and a third member’s friend had a heart attack this afternoon.

Tragedy comes in threes.

And when things go bad, they go Bad Big. We also heard that the metro was shut down because of an incident and the city was flooded all over town.

Yeah, when it rains in Montreal, streets, highways, tunnels and roads all flood. People were stuck on buses, cars were stranded in the middle of the highway and there was water all over the place.

With 20 people – the meeting ended shy of the hour fifteen. Most of the people there were going to shiva afterwards. I wanted to come home and clean up. I had to go to Provigo to pick up dinner and soda on the way back.

We picked up our stuff and put it in the store room as usual. And left the hall half flooded the water was still two inches deep in some places. Hopefully the hall will be cleaned by next week, and hopefully not a lot of damage will occur but water piled up on the edges of the room will undermine the foundation of the walls. We will see …

What a Day !!! Thank God I am sober … Because it could have been a lot worse.


Priest Walks Out Of Woman’s Funeral Because Of Her Gay Daughter

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This article was posted on Facebook, and I thought I’d share it with you here.
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The battle in this country between the right and the left is raging. Since the right has no answers to the economic questions we face, they’ve decided to concentrate on dividing the country on so-called “moral” issues, one of those being the demonizing of gay and lesbian people.

Little by little, they are losing the battle, as we see states individually legalizing gay marriage and recognizing that our forefathers intended that ALL are created equal and marriage is an equal right. But that doesn’t stop the right from carrying on their battle.

Something terrible happened this past weekend in Maryland and the fact that it was Maryland, a state that has just proclaimed that all are equal and has enshrined that concept into state law, goes to highlight the lengths to which the right will go. In this instance, the right was personified by Father Marcel Guarnizo, who officiated at the funeral of a former family member of mine.

She was no longer a family member because I divorced the man who was her blood relative. But with social media these days, a person can remain in touch with those who, although there is no longer a family connection, are still people who are valued.

My friend Barbara, the daughter of the deceased woman, was denied communion at her mother’s funeral. She was the first in line and Fr. Guarnizo covered the bowl containing the host and said to her,  “I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman and that is a sin according to the church.”

To add insult to injury, Fr. Guarnizo left the altar when she delivered her eulogy to her mother. When the funeral was finished he informed the funeral director that he could not go to the gravesite to deliver the final blessing because he was sick.

EDIT: A letter of apology was sent from the Archdiocese of Washington. This story has gained a lot of traffic over the past few days. I join the call for Father Marcel Guarnizo to be removed from the parish and taken out of pastoral ministry, what he did was unconscionable. And he should loose his position as a parish priest. Put him somewhere where he can no further harm parishoners like this ever again.

Here is that apology:


World AIDS Day 2011 …

It has been 17 years and 5 months since my diagnosis of AIDS on July 8th, 1994 and what can we say about AIDS in 2011???

I think we can talk about “The Ministry of Pleasure” He says it all …

We are fast approaching December 1, 2011 when we commemorate yet another year of World AIDS Day. It’s now 30 years, June 5, 1981, since the first AIDS case was published by the Centre for Disease Control. It became known as Gay-related immune deficiency (GRID). Today, this disease knows no boundaries and can affect and/or infect anyone. At the end of 2010, it’s estimated that 34 million people globally living with HIV, there were 2.7 million new HIV infections, and 1.8 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses.

UN AIDS report that “the overall growth of the global aids epidemic appears to have stabilized. The annual number of new HIV infections has been steadily declining since the late 1990s and there are fewer aids-related deaths due to the significant scale up of antiretroviral therapy over the past few years. Although the number of new infections has been falling, levels of new infections overall are still high, and with significant reductions in mortality the number of people living with HIV worldwide has increased.

December starts with a day to remember all those who have gone before us. All those courageous and loving people that I have known in my lifetime. So much has happened in the care of people with AIDS. In Canada we have comprehensive medical care and the best drugs on the market come through our clinic. And when they do we test them for the rest of the world to make sure they work correctly.

I have come so far in my life, I have achieved many things in this life that, if you had told me that I would be where I am today, with the life I have today, I wouldn’t have believed you. But here we are and I am still alive.

Thanks to my doctors and the men and women who work at the Montreal General Hospital for their love and care. It goes without saying that we always have front line access to our doctors at any time of the day or night if need be. Which is more than I can say for what life was like in the United States.

But all to say that I am grateful for all of you who come to read. Take a moment to tell those people in your life that you love them and appreciate them as well. A little love goes a long way …

So share the love.


R.I.P Farmville …

Courtesy: Flickr EvanMischelle

A few weeks ago I had to write a reflection on my gaming life. That life consisted of Farmville on Facebook. I don’t own any video game consoles. Haven’t been near one since I was a kid. So anyways, I wrote it.

Over the last 3 years, I have played this little Zynga game and had fun for a while playing. I quickly moved from level to level. It was a great fun for a while. Then to sweeten the pot they added the English Country Side, which we all with bated breaths waited for with great excitement to get our invitations.

I consolidated my home farm, where I had amassed millions of coin and over the years paid out handsomely for Farm Cash every so often. There are times when you have to buy in to move forwards in the game. During this time I began a foray into CityVille. An energy based game of the same sort but more on city building and maintaining a farm onsite as well. I overgrew my city, I could not provide for my city very well, and my citizens were not very happy with me. So I ended my relationship with City Ville.

All the while I was farming madly in the English Countryside. I played the game all the way to the end of the series of quests and achieved my Castle at the end of the game. You could play both farms at the same time. Many of the quests were set so that you would utilize both farms to complete missions across the platform.

Then in August, the English Countryside was retired. And they decided to change our settings where our farms were to these plain Jane backgrounds, and the little English Countryside farm was gone. I was not pleased with this change. So I stopped farming all together only harvesting my animals, trees and my livestock pens.

Once again, I figured they wanted to sweeten the pot again and opened Lighthouse Cove. That would be three farms now we would be farming, playing and questing. I had timed my farms all to harvest at the same time every night. Because I wasn’t farming, just harvesting, the 24 hour cycle was the same for all three farms.

When playing a game becomes a chore, you know you’ve come to the end of your playing days. So with a full heart tonight, I logged into Facebook and calmly deleted all traces of any links to my farms, Farmville or Zynga. After years of faithful play, I was finished.

I put an RIP message into my status and was done with it.

I think I am gravitating away from Facebook. It has become a depository of posters, rude signs and all this political shit that doesn’t concern me since I live in Canada. I mean we watch U.S. television here and we know what’s going on, I just find all this stuff pointless and not worth my while. Now I don’t have a reason to even log into Facebook any longer. I mean I will – but the why has changed.

We are all changing as we grow up. All of our lives are changing and priorities are changing as well. I still do my fair share of internet reading, Tumbling, You Tube and Ebay. But I’ve noticed that today I am not spending as much time online as I used to. I can run my reads and tumble and watch videos in smaller intervals during my day.

I check my mail in the mornings. I go about my day, school, shopping, meetings, and so forth. In the evenings I run my reads because by nightfall everyone has posted on their respective blogs, most do, but a good number don’t post every day and I don’t even post every day. I Tumble for a good hour and keep up on the rotation over night until I go to bed.

But I am not attached to the computer with the chain like I used to be. I still love my blog and all my reads. It keeps me in touch with the wider world out there. And I write for my friends who read whenever I post.

So a change has happened. I bid it goodbye. It was fun for a while.

Tomorrow is Friday. I have to get my hair cut, Finally, I have to go buy a textbook and then put tickets on my Opus card and my meeting Friday night. Which means a 6:45 departure from home for set up and a business meeting at 8 before the main meeting.

Hubby informed me tonight that I owed him $500.00 to pay bills and take care of sundry needs of the house. And here I had already budgeted out all the money to pay bills and take care of some of my own needs this time around, but that isn’t going to happen, Again!!! Fuck My Life !!!

I have an Ebay bill to pay, a book to buy and  haircut on the list … Everything else will have to wait until he gets paid again next week.

God Grant me Serenity …

More to come tomorrow, definitely. See you then…


For Matthew …

Biography data: Via Wikipedia

Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming, in October 1998. He was attacked on the night of October 6–7, and died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12 from severe head injuries.

During the trial, witnesses stated that Shepard was targeted because of his sexual orientation. Shepard’s murder brought national and international attention to the contention of hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels.

In 2009, his mother Judy Shepard authored a book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed. On October 22, 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Matthew Shepard Act for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Obama signed the legislation into law.

Shortly after midnight on October 6, 1998, Shepard met Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson for the first time at the Fireside Lounge in Laramie, Wyoming. It was decided that McKinney and Henderson would give Shepard a ride home.McKinney and Henderson subsequently drove the car to a remote, rural area and proceeded to rob, pistol-whip, and torture Shepard, tying him to a fence and leaving him to die. According to their court testimony, McKinney and Henderson also discovered his address and intended to steal from his home. Still tied to the fence, Shepard, who was still alive but in a coma, was discovered 18 hours later by Aaron Kreifels, a cyclist who initially mistook Shepard for a scarecrow.

Shepard had suffered fractures to the back of his head and in front of his right ear. He experienced severe brain-stem damage, which affected his body’s ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature, and other vital functions. There also were about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face, and neck. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to operate. Shepard never regained consciousness and remained on full life support. While he lay in intensive care, candlelight vigils were held by the people of Laramie.

Shepard was pronounced dead at 12:53 a.m. on October 12, 1998, at Poudre Valley Hospital, in Fort Collins, Colorado.