Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Living Life on Life's Terms. A Word Press Production.

Quebec Issues

Talk Amongst Yourselves …

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Courtesy:Tumblr Photography

It is July 4th, or so it was a little while ago. It is well after midnight right now. And I wasn’t going to write – but I changed my mind.

Forest Fires up in Northern Quebec is wreaking havoc on the electrical grid here in the city. Now for the second day wide spread power outages have zapped the city into the dark. Yesterday it was the Metro and La Rhonde amusement park and cityscape outages, and today hundreds of thousands were without power at the dinner hour leaving homes dark, restaurants unable to serve patrons, it was mayhem for a few hours, until they restored the power.

It seems that the church and at home, the power never went off.

I left uber early because I needed to pay the rent to the church, and instead of making two trips back and forth, I just opened the hall and set up around 4:30. I had brought a couple of books that I am working on reading, that kept me busy for a while, when I wasn’t out front people watching.

I hope this is not a bad omen … but not one guest came to the meeting tonight.

Not One …

Thankfully we have several founders who show up without fail because it is a home group for them, and that left six of us for the meeting. Needless to say, I improvised with the format, but I kept my topic just the same.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from Alcoholism.

The only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for membership, we are self supporting through our own contributions.

A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.

Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Copyright A.A. Grapevine, Inc.

It comes as a surprise that in all the years of sobriety, we have heard this reading read at the beginning of every – or most all the meetings – one goes to anywhere, anytime by any group. Over and Over ad nauseum.

Never in my entire time in sobriety have I ever heard someone bring it up at a meeting for discussion. But when we attended the West Island Round Up, I heard a long time member, 32 years, speak about the Preamble. And how important it is as a document that should be up there with the Declaration of Independence.

I heard her speak it again on tape once again here at home. And I decided that the next time I was in the chair I would introduce this reading and put it up for discussion. I had hoped for people to come to the meeting and the discussion go on for the entire period.

But we were six tonight. So we had a leisurely discussion amongst friends what we thought about the reading and what we have learned about it from our multi-year sober journey. As there are members with more than twenty years, a couple with a few years, and myself with 11 and a half years.

We did not go the entire hour. We closed up early and came home.

Like I said I hope this wasn’t an omen of things to come, because we won’t be able to keep the doors open without people showing up and contributing…

That is all for now ….


Canada Day July 1, 2013 or Moving Day in Quebec

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Across Canada folks are celebrating our nation. But I missed all the tv coverage because I slept in today. But I am sure it was fun and fabulous and all that. We will get the synopsis on the late news tonight.

But meanwhile, where everything has to be different … Meanwhile in Quebec it was Moving day. That fateful day where people are fighting for moving trucks and navigating piles of furniture on the sidewalks and pets all over the place.

It seemed quiet in the neighborhood today when I ventured out to the store this evening. And there was a commotion on my floor earlier, but I could not be bothered to open the door and see if one of my neighbors was moving out…

The National Assembly has been in an emergency session to set back to work legislation for more than 70,000 construction employees that have been on strike for more than a week, which has caused billions of dollars.

Here in Quebec the “Strike” is a fine art.

No matter what season it is – or what is going on in the city, a strike is not far off.

They usually happen as the seasons change.

The winter strike is always fun. Then you get one as winter goes away and spring begins with the asphalt pot hole folks, and the blue collars and the likes in the boroughs. The strike is the best way for groups to get more money for what they do. Even if it puts the city and its people on the back burner. They can hold the city hostage if a strike is allowed to go on for more than a few days, especially in the winter when plows, sanders/salters, sidewalk plows and the like are necessary to safe navigation of the city.

Add to that massive construction on the highways that will last until the fall, is screwing with the drive around the island. The super hospital is not yet finished and the present strike has put it in the forefront of taxpayers minds.

Oy Vey ….

It was another sunny day, but it is really hazy outside. My view of the south shore wind turbines are amid haze and pollution I guess. Yes, there are a bunch of wind turbines over on the South Shore. Not far from an energy plant.

Not much else today.

 


Honestly !!!

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Courtesy:Enoemos

It was not a good day today. And they say that “The best laid plans are just that, best laid plans…” They also talk about “Us making plans and God laughs…”

In the grand scheme of things, is university a pointless endeavor? I mean spending years, almost a decade in school moving from a bachelors, to an M.A. and beyond for some… Is it all a waste of time and money, if at the end, nothing comes of earning letters to add to your CV?

We wonder, at what point is the sky going to open up and opportunity present itself in a way that money will follow? Living on the “Find your passion, DO IT, Money will follow, doesn’t seem to be working.

We are on the verge of welfare, because hubby has not found gainful employment in his chosen field because of the greediness of his fellows, and not one hopeful job has presented itself to us so that we can survive.

Hubby filed for government assistance and after filing piles and piles of paper into a dossier covering his and my life, the call came today that our claim has been refused.

WHY you ask … because we were honest.

What good is the government when they fuck you over for a nickel???

Maybe it is time to consider moving out of Quebec.

It is a long and tedious story – but because of AIDS I bring in a modicum of monthly stipend that pays the rent and keeps a roof over our heads. And they asked us to disclose all of our assets and we did honestly, and we got fucked in the ass because of honesty.

And had we lied, or not disclosed, it would of ended up as fraud. And that is not what we wanted to do. It was a NO … The government does not calculate rent payments into the numbers when assessing financial need and so we are fucked royally.

Hubby sat here, earlier tonight and sobbed and there was not a single thing I could do for him, because I am powerless over people, places and things.

Sometimes honesty is a bitter pill.

But tonight I heard two good things.

One … Trust God, clean house, and serve others.

Two … There is a solution, but it just up around the bend, however we are not yet “up around the bend to see it” it will come.

AIDS is a tedious business. And what I had to do to survive when it had to be done were done. And because of that action, I am locked into a no win scenario. If I break from what I have and loose what I have, I will never get it back. Not now. Not ever. I lived. I should have died, long ago…

I took myself to a meeting. I set up tables and chairs, and I talked to another alchy. I sat in a meeting and listened. Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path …

I am not God, I am not in control. And all I can do is turn it over and trust God.

I don’t know if a soft landing will happen at this point. Hubby will follow through with his next decision and hopefully they won’t turn off the lights and we end up homeless.

God help us …

Pray for us.

Tomorrow I have a cardiac Stress test at noon. I need 11 minutes on a treadmill… Let us pray.

More to come, stay tuned …


The Second Opinion …

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Let’s visit the doctor shall we?

I got up this morning and decided to call the ombudsman office to see if there was any movement on my file. I left two messages. Both useless. I later found out that this office is useless when it comes to patient issues.

I sort of hoped that my diabetes doctor would be in his office at the clinic today, it being Thursday, I wasn’t sure. But I called anyways and was rewarded with a full conversation about what happened last week.

He was sure that I misunderstood Chris, when he said that I was gonna die. And I assured him that I did not misunderstood the words “You’re gonna die!” Hr then offered that he would speak to Chris about what he said and get back to me. In the meantime he said “NO, you’re not going to die…”

So that was a good start to the day.

The city has been under a boil water order for more than 24 hours now. That is more than a million people, on and off the island fighting over bottled water in the stores, and businesses trying to stay open with a biol water order on.

UGH !!!

Do you know how many coffee shoppes closed for the day today because they are on the water main to make coffee and other drinks? Millions …

It was a muggy muggy day. It poured here and there, and I carried an umbrella and it did not even rain on me while I was in transit.

This evening we used two tea pot water boilers and I bought instant coffee, hot chocolate and assorted teas for the meeting.

We sat 11 men. And the DCM for the area came to inspect the group so we can be added to the next meeting list coming out soon. We read from the 3rd edition of the Big Book, a story from the back.

It was all good. Lots of gratitude tonight.

That is all.

More to come stay tuned…


Two-fer Thursday

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It has been an interesting past couple of days. And I chose not to write yesterday because I was waiting on a medical call from my doctor after our short but terse visit together.

Obviously, he says one thing, then does another.

Because of what he said at my appointment was of such import and dire warnings that he should have followed up on what he wanted to do next.

Alas, I am still waiting…

By the Numbers …

16 April 2013   VL 39 copies  CD4% 45  CD4Abs 1080

02 Jan 2013   VL 39 copies  CD4% 45  CD4Abs 1440

07 Aug 2012  VL 39 copies CD4% 44 CD4Abs 1276

My t-cells seem to fluctuate around that thousand mark. But as long as my percentages remain at 45% there is no worry from my doctor. I got copies from my file/chart that has a more explicit history of my treatment.

Two appointments ago, my doctor mentioned that a change is coming for my treatment plan. The new regimen is not online yet here in Canada. So I remain on what I am taking until then. Probably six months to a year out.

Secondly, my doctor has been fixated on my heart. A fixation that has only grown in earnest this appointment yesterday. He tells me one thing, then I go to see his brother for my diabetes issues and George sends me for a cardiogram.

I dropped two copies off to both clinics. Now, it is understood that if a problem arises that they would call me immediately because something needs attention right away.

I’ve been working on that assumption for all these years. So I dropped that lab off and got no response.

Yesterday at my appointment my doctor mentioned in passing that there was some abnormality on the scan. He did not elaborate. He then went on this tirade that I was going to drop dead.

Or have a heart attack soon, as in IMMINENT !!!

He has been about this warning for some time. However he does not elaborate on the warning. Frustrating.

He wanted to order a battery of tests. A stress test and all that goes along with it, and he left it at that. He said nothing encouraging to me yesterday. He was very grim. However good my labs were, he seems fixated on my mortality.

More than usual. Is this about him or me I wonder !!!

Since cardiac issues run in my family, not to mention strokes, I am on God’s good graces, seeing my father has had several heart attacks, and both his parents were knocked down by terrible debilitating strokes. I should be right in line for some catastrophic heart related issue … Let Us Pray !!!

I left that appointment shaking my head. Not knowing what to feel or whether I should really be worrying. The secretary at the clinic was supposed to make arrangements, check with my doc and call me back.

Now, had this been an immense emergency, like needing these tests right away, they would have already contacted me into the cardiac clinic.

They haven’t … No call at all, two days later. Should I worry or not? Do I give in to serious ruminating and worry that my mortality is in jeopardy? I have no clue, so until such time I get a call or further warning, I am going to go on with my life.

An issue has arisen with the Quebec government and my financial aide file. They say I owe them almost $3000.00 in back loans. AIDS and HIV are disability issues and that loan should have been converted to bursaries long ago but weren’t. When I applied for financial aide, I submitted a disability form in late 2003. They are fixated on this date as my diagnosis date. They are wrong.

My diagnosis date was July 8th 1994. Not November 2003.

I have to contact my primary care physician in Miami to get him to send some notes up here to verify that I was treated in their clinic prior to my arriving here in Canada. Ugh !!!

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Today is Thursday. I usually don’t sit here and stare at my monitor all day long. so instead I sleep until I need to get up and go. Which is what I did today.

I was up early and out by twenty to six for the meeting. It has been on the cool side the past few nights. And on the way home I was chilled.

We sat a fair number and hit kitty goal again tonight.

Our chair read from the Big Book, and Chapter Five … How it Works.

“If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.”

One line. Lots of words. People all over the place on the topic of steps.

There is a note in my Big Book on Step Twelve …

Having HAD a spiritual awakening as THE result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

In my book I have this notation at Step 12 … There is no other result if you work the steps…

We talked long and hard about steps, where we all are at the moment, what he did, how we did it and what happened afterwards.

Suffice to say that at ten years, I had a spiritual awakening. I have worked my steps again since then. I live in my steps today, to the best of my ability.

I am not perfect. I still have issues, with myself and a few others. Not many others. But still. I do what I can every day to help someone else.

It was a good night.

More to come, stay tuned…


The Sociology of Montreal Transit and Escalators …

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Firstly, welcome to all the new followers of the blog. It seems you like what I am doing, and that is always a good sign of where to go next.

I’ve got a new follower from our magic city of light. And after reading his blog earlier I thought I’d put up something I did a while ago – but never wrote about it because it was a school assignment. Maybe he will engage this post…

I took a semester of Sociology, because my husband is an M.A. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Concordia. This was at Dawson last year.

One of our work papers consisted of performing acts of breaking the norm when it came to mass transit, elevators and escalators.

When I first moved here more than 10 years ago, I fell in love with the city, not only because it was my birth mother’s city and I have family here, I came to visit and decided to stay.

It IS my anniversary of my arrival in Montreal this Easter. And so the first week I visited places, found meetings, found a place to live, sent off my application for my birthright citizenship form, and began to get to know the city.

Coming from Miami, there was little mass transit. One train, One line, and feeder buses connecting both points. I was blown away by the Metro System here. It is a big system. But pales in comparison to other Canadian cities and some in the U.S. like Washington and New York.

Montreal has its own charm. And there were things I learned early on. Like how to line up waiting for the bus in orderly fashion. Nobody seemed to push or barge in front of someone in line. People were polite and orderly.

Escalators … Stand Right, Walk Left. Never stand on the left, and never walk on the right. Except of course you are on a BIG escalator in a station.

Then it is all fair game.

Elevators … Always be kind to your neighbors. I live in a highrise. Never play music while others are in the elevator. It is rude and antisocial. People come in the elevator and talk on their phones. (Like I want to overhear your entire conversation !!! ) Going Up, What floor?, Hello Good day/evening.

If you enter a crowded elevator – take off your backpack and hold it by your feet to save space. THIS GOES for the Metro and the Bus as well. Because sometimes buses and trains are packed in peak hours.

When you get on a bus, if you are in a queue line, you are observant of others in front of you and behind you. Never sit in the front seats of a bus – they are often reserved by handicapped folks, older members or children.

Always be mindful of your bus driver. Be polite. Say hello – good day – have a nice day/night, and goodbye. Preferably in FRENCH !!!

People wait in orderly bunches on Metro platforms. On some platforms there are clear door markers on the floor marking where the doors will open. Always allow riders debarking the train to get off before you barge your way onto the train.

Never sit in marked seats for the pregnant and disabled.

Always be mindful of what is going on ON  the train while you ride. You never know when you will get to practice your chivalry or your French. Always be kind – don’t hog two seats because you only need one. Take care to pay attention to others, in case shit goes down while you are traveling.

You will notice that most folks are connected medically to their devices. Be they phones, players, I-phones, MP3 players and the like. Don’t blast your music and be aware of what is going on around you in case you need to step in and do something.

Learning how to navigate the Metro system took some time, until I learned what the directional signs meant. There are four lines. Green Line (downtown) Orange Line (Financial district line – going from one end of the city to the other) and the Blue line (which bisects the city up on the Mountain) from Snowdon to St. Michel. And finally the yellow line which operates from Berri to the South Shore and Ille Ste. Helen (where Expo 67 took place).

Your stop corresponds to the direction the train is traveling. You get on the train in the direction of your stop, the end points are identified on all metro platforms. I live downtown.

Our building sits equidistant between George Vanier on the Orange line, Atwater Metro on the Green line and Guy on the Green line up the way from here going into the East end.

Over the years the STM has perfected the way we use transit. We went from tickets we fed into turnstiles to plastic monthly passes we swiped to the all important OPUS pass that is a rechargeable credit card that holds all kinds of fares, be it daily, weekends, monthly etc …

If you are not fully fluent in French, you will learn, if you come here to live.

French is mother tongue over the transit platform. I’ve learned my French at Dawson and learning to live in this multicultural city. However I identify as a member of the anglo community. I find the only places I use French in my daily life is on transit, the grocery store and the shopping malls. For the most part I live in English Montreal. My meetings are in English and most of my friends are English – but a fair number of my friends are fully multi lingual.

The English AA and French AA share the same space at the Intergroup office. Our meeting lists are printed multi-culturally, French, English, Spanish, and Farsi. With the need of meetings crossing cultures, AA has adapted to the needs of the people in the city.

So now that we have given you the pointer of how to navigate our city, we come to the highlight of the post. The breaking social norms exercise. We had a week to complete this task. Then it became a written paper for class.

We were asked to do things a bit differently. With all that I have written above about etiquette and social responsibility this was our task.

1. To sit where we shouldn’t
2. To stand/walk where we shouldn’t
3. Take seats that are not usually sat in (see above)
4. Be counter the flow

And add to this watch how folks respond to breaking the social norm.

I found that I could not break social norms when it came to the bus, metro and escalators. And I surely did not sit in a front seat on a bus, I never sit in the front seats on any bus, Even if I at at the head of a line getting aboard.

I’ve learned in Living here more than a decade, there are unspoken rules that we all live by. And your lessons start the first day you set foot on our streets. We are kind people. We are forgiving. And we are polite.

However, there are those who just don’t fill any of these qualities.

NEVER be rude to an S.T.M Employee.

NEVER be rude to a bus driver.

Just Never be RUDE if you can handle that.

Smile, be kind and be aware of what is going on around you because you might, one day, have to act to help another human being on your day’s journey.

And that is a snapshot of Montreal from my perspective.

What have you learned about people, where you live???

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Election Night in Quebec …

What can I say about today? I voted. And I voted for the CAQ candidate in our riding. Our riding is a heavy Liberal riding and it stayed that way. I saw lots of people out there voting all day today especially in Westmount.

I am going to repost this from a friend because he has the pulse of this issue and I don’t have the knowledge to paint this picture correctly.

CTV called a: Parti Quebecoise Minority 9:21 p.m. This may change later on tonight, I will update it as needed.

Lifted from Written Inc – Carmy Levy

As I write this, voters in Quebec – where I was born and raised – are casting ballots in the provincial election that, in all likelihood, will spell the end of the rule of the Liberal Party and its leader, Jean Charest, after 9 years. If you don’t live there, I know what it means to you: meh. If you’re Canadian, however, it could mean the beginning of yet another chapter of game-playing with our country’s future.

I’m going to way-oversimplify this, so forgive me in advance. Here goes: Quebec is the only province in Canada where the majority of residents speak French as a first language. Long-festering feelings that the rest of primarily-English Canada treated them like second-class citizens gave rise to the separatist movement, spearheaded largely by the Parti Quebecois political party. They first came to power in 1976, under leader Rene Levesque, on a platform of separating the province from Canada, their way of preserving the French language and culture in a North American milieu.

Yes or No

The PQ has held two referendums on sovereignty since then – in 1980 and in 1995 – and in both cases voters said, no, they wanted to remain in Canada. They’ve voted the PQ and Liberals into office sequentially since 1976, and every time the PQ takes over, fears of yet another run at leaving Canada surface.

Throughout the current campaign, PQ leader Pauline Marois hasn’t exactly endeared herself to members of minority groups, and has made it fairly clear that the French majority makes the rules. To wit, here’s a fairly typical gem of hers:

“It is the responsibility of everyone that wishes to call Quebec their home to learn and assimilate the local culture, not replace it with their own.”

Lovely. And this in a province where the schools your children may attend are determined by what language the parents were educated in, and where they are from. And stores are only allowed to post signs in the official language of French (Canada’s bilingual, remember) and, if they violate the language laws, the so-called Language Police swoop down and charge them. Where a province crippled like all others with the modern vices of too much demand and too few resources spends billions on legislating language and prosecuting violators.

The exodus continues

My wife and I – both fluently bilingual, and she’s a French teacher – eventually grew tired of the cultural, language and borderline-xenophobic games, and finally left soon after the 1995 referendum. Of my high school class, the vast majority have left, as well. Montreal was once a city of boundless opportunity, a cosmopolitan city of the future. After the PQ swept to power, waves of well educated anglophones headed west, primarily to Toronto. Head offices of major corporations and the country’s top banks soon followed. If you ever wonder why Toronto became the business hub of the country, now you know. I’m not sure they ever sent a thank you card, though.

We decided we wanted to live in a place where the priority was building businesses, building communities, and raising families. The endless political, language and cultural wars became tiresome for us. And I suspect another generation of folks just like us is already getting ready to call the real estate agent, book the moving van and get the hell out of Dodge. Or whatever the Pequistes choose to call it from here on out.

Unfortunately for those who escape, Quebec’s inability to get with the program – or to willingly work with the rest of Canada to address its persistent feelings of being left out – sucks the life out of the rest of the country, too. Political uncertainty destabilizes not just the Quebec economy, but the national one. It discourages foreign investment and diverts resources away from the issues and projects that will benefit citizens the most. Many Canadians, fed up with Quebec’s generational tantrums, have stated publicly they’d like to be rid of the province entirely. Unfortunately, separation would throw the entire economy into a tailspin – as if it isn’t there, already.

Back to the brink

Anyway, apologies for the ramble. Tonight, the PQ stands poised to kick the Liberals out of office. Mind you, the Liberals, dogged by persistent corruption scandals and a grinding protest by students against tuition hikes, didn’t do themselves any favours. Like the good politicians they were and are, the pig-at-the-trough mentality eventually caught up with them. But as we once again listen to voters justify their choice by saying they didn’t vote FOR the PQ as much as they voted AGAINST the Liberals, I can’t help but think that the subtlety of democracy is completely lost on them. After all, what you’re thinking matters little once you’ve let the wolf in the door. The wolf doesn’t much care why you let him in, and will proceed to happily do whatever it is that wolves do best.

Vive le Quebec libre, indeed. What an unbelievable waste of political capital. And what a sad comment on an entire society’s inability to do what it needs to do to keep pace with the rest of the continent. While they bicker over perceived slights to their beloved language and culture, Rome – or in this case, Montreal, or Quebec City, or virtually any other city in a place that could have and should have had it all – burns.


Wood …

Courtesy: Homedesigning

Such a pretty space. The home conversion of a holy space. I’ve seen a few of these and they have been done up to high spec.

You know what they say about prayer … “Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it.”

I wrote a post about what has been going on here at the hacienda and my worries. It is the end of the month, hence, we run out of everything all at the same time, it is just a gradual – well, we run out of food. We run out of pills. We run out of stuff to drink.

And most importantly, you know you’ve hit rock bottom when you run out of toilet paper. And have no money to buy more. Thankfully there is 1 roll left which means money will come. I believe as long as there is one roll of toilet paper ready to go, that’s money in the bank.

I was up late last night. Much later than usual. I was scanning through several books to occupy my mind because I was out of my meds and I wasn’t really tired, because my mind tends to wander and I begin to ruminate. So I picked up Harry Potter and read a scene from the Order of the Phoenix, and put it down. I picked up Many Lives and Many Masters and read a paragraph, and was like Oh God !!!

Then I picked up meditations by the Dalai Lama, and was like, too deep for 4 am. Then I picked up The Tao of Pooh, and read a couple of chapters. But it wasn’t sinking in, so I gave up the ghost, turned off the light and tried to sleep. 45 minutes later I was wide awake laying in bed. It was close to 6 a.m.

I fired up the box and rifled off my opinion about the looming election on September the 4th. If the Liberals loose we may find ourselves under the gun of a separatist party who’s main goal is to push through a referendum “tomorrow”

As the Parti Quebecois Pauline Marois has said in interviews as of late,

about separating Quebec from Canada. Like they can afford to do this, and have a new currency ready to go, and a majority government to push through this referendum, because it will be harder to do with just a minority, which if we believe the reports as of last night, a minority is within reach, if the Liberals cant eek out another win, which is unlikely, but we all haven’t voted yet and until the last vote is counted, we don’t know who will win.

Fuck these separatists. They can all go to hell.

When I came to Canada I became a citizen of Canada. Not a citizen of Quebec. Quebec didn’t send me a nice signed “Welcome to Canada proclamation.” And the first time I shopped in a Quebecer staffed grocery store and a francophone woman spit at me I was finished with anything French… They can all go fuck themselves.

And if the separatists win and they fuck with my living in Anglo Montreal, I will sure as fuck consider leaving the province because I don’t need that kind of shit to worry about.

Sorry for that rant .

Moving right along … back to my story:

So it was closing in on 6:15 and I was ruminating so I got dressed and I actually broke out a sweatshirt to wear out because it was that cool this morning. I walked the few blocks there jamming some good tunes, and I arrived around 6:30. The meeting is only a few blocks away.

I sat there and waited until 10 to 7 and then texted grasshopper because nobody had shown up to open and he sent me back an “I’m on my way.”

He has this new phone a Galaxy something or other. And he has an app that is a virtual personal assistant. All he has to do is speak into the phone and tell it what to do and he does it for you. Like instead of texting and driving all you need to do is speak to the assistant and he will do it for you … It’s not Siri…

So anyways, I said a prayer to God last night when I wrote that “trust me” post and God replied at 7:20 this morning. Just as my sponsor advised me to do.

You might pray to God to help you change this … or ask him to change it…

Once you become a member of the fellowship, ALWAYS bring your needs to a meeting, be they big or small. In 10+ years of sobriety, I’ve never had to go outside the room for anything. If there was something going on, I took it to a meeting and spoke about it and I shit you not, I got answers. Sometimes not immediate like today, but damn close.

I shared my concerns with a friend and he, without skipping a beat, took care of those problems as soon as the meeting was over with. I am truly grateful for friends in the program. Because they have done great things for me.

Attitude of Gratitude…

And I get word that tomorrow is our wonder woman chair from Tuesday Night’s meeting, anniversary on the 30th. Thursday night, and her sponsor is flying in from New York to speak at St. Matthias then. It will be a Big Huge Estrogen Party. It will be exciting for sure. 14 years is a long time.

Good things to look forwards to on Thursday night.

I think I may try to sleep now. Since I’ve been awake for umpteen hours now.

More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday Notes …

Courtesy: JackAnthony

This photo would be more appropriate if there were train tracks near here, and there are, not far off but one doesn’t really go walking on the tracks because they are busy all day long.

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

There have been marches every night here in the city. The cops are getting creative with their “Kettling” of the crowds, and though other police forces in other cities have been cited for using this drastic tactic, Montreal police are fearing for their lives on a nightly basis.

Hundreds were arrested last night after a Kettling, and even innocent passersby have been getting caught up in the dragnet. We are told that talks will resume and that they really need to reach consensus, and they need to do it now.

The Grand Prix is starting to suffer as groups have begun to cancel their appearances here because they fear for their lives and the well being of the cars and those who would be coming.

Festival season is just days away now and students are holding the city hostage and the Premier is shuffling his cabinet in the attempt to bring fresh eyes and ideas into the mix to try and end this conflict with students.

The protests have morphed into what is called Casseroling. People sit on their balconies and on street corners banging pots and pans in civil disobedience to voice their displeasure with Bill 78.

Social media is firing all these protests in our city, and even though I support the students, something has to give and it better give soon.

We don’t venture out into the neighborhood very often and we sure as shit don’t travel to the East end or the village because that is where all the nightly troubles start. Marchers are fucking with the city by marching up and down streets Against traffic which creates nightmares for pedestrians and drivers and buses.

They marched against traffic down Ste. Catherine’s Street earlier today which stopped traffic for hours while cops drove behind them the wrong way all the way to Westmount.

I don’t see an end in sight and this needs to end because if it doesn’t the summer tourism season will be heavily affected and the city will loose big because tourism is a huge draw during the summer with the Grand Prix, The Fireworks Festival, the Jazz Fest, Just for Laughs, and on and on …

If students are marching in the streets blocking traffic, fucking with the Metro, blocking bridges and streets en masse, how are we supposed to go on with our lives – it’s not only the tourists who are loosing, it is Montrealer’s just as well.

We will keep you posted …

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

It has been a quiet couple of days. I had lunch with my mentor yesterday and we chatted about a great many things. Lots of ideas are on the table but nothing looks really good at the moment. I’ve been told by more than one sober person that I should wait to see what presents itself and not to rush to do anything big just yet. I’ve been making a list of “Things to do or Things I would like to do.”

And all these things involve other people and all of those people are out living their lives and doing their jobs and ministering to their folks. How do you go about asking someone to devote some time to you when it seems that their plates are full already? Time is precious and I don’t want to waste someones time or be a burden on them or their community.

All my EBAY items for sale will end tomorrow. Which means I will have to cart those boxes downstairs for pricing and shipping again. I contacted all the bidders to get some information from them and I am waiting on them to respond. It’s all about timing right now.

I was sitting on the balcony earlier today and the sun was shining and dark clouds closed in from the South Shore and it poured down rain just before I was getting ready to head out for a meeting. And glad that I arrived when I did to see arching over the sky from one end of the sky to the other was a huge bright and beautiful rainbow – I took photos of it with my phone. It was the first time in recent memory that I have seen a rainbow that big in the sky.

Not a bad photo !!!  Courtesy of Android HTC Hero.

The speaker at tonight’s meeting talked about God, and his conscious contact and how God had moved in his life. All the stories are somewhat the same. We came, we drank, we couldn’t stop things get ugly and only finding God as a result of working the steps, does one finally get sober.

A friend of mine asks the questions …

How much recovery is enough?  My answer to this question is another question…. how much is there?

Our man has been part of the program for more than 25 years. But he dabbled, drank and drugged in sobriety. So how much is enough? I don’t think we ever get “enough” but we have to come each day and fill our cups with living water, hope and serenity. It isn’t enough to stop drinking – but a constant daily necessity of getting what we need as we need it.

It was a good meeting. Here is today’s reflection…

Happy, Joyous, and Free

We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.

Alcoholics Anonymous P.133

No matter how bad it gets (Grasshopper) there is always a solution. It may take some time – but we will find the solution. Just don’t drink. One day at a time.

That’s all for tonight.


The Largest Act of Civil Disobedience in Canadian History

Courtesy: Philmphoto

Daily Kos – Online Article Listing

The TroubadourFollow for Writing by David Harris Gershon

Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Tue May 22, 2012 at 06:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by Canadian Kossacks.

Massive crowds engulfed downtown Montreal this afternoon, marking the 100th day of student strikes and protests sparked (in part) by Quebec’s plan to raise tuition by 82 percent on May 22.

While estimates ranged wildly – from 100,000 to 500,000 in the streets – the number is less significant than the civil disobediencethat has thrust Montreal into the global revolution spotlight.

Authorities in Quebec, trying to counter the protests that have raged for over two months, passed “emergency” legislation last Friday that suspended the winter semester and effectively made protesting illegal. (The legislation, or Bill 78, stipulates that groups of 50 or more gathering must submit itineraries to the authorities in advance or be deemed illegal.)

Students and citizens in Montreal responded to the draconian legislation by streaming into the streets and defying Bill 78 in record numbers today. While the protests have been led by the significant student population in Montreal, the protests today contained cross-sections of the population.

Noting one of the more visible and noisy marches of the day, which was gatherings of both the young and old banging on pots and pans, Steve Faguy of The Gazette Tweeted the following:

I’ve covered quite a few protests. Never have I seen one that so resembled an actual popular uprising.

And writer Kris Holt had this to say regarding the emergent popular uprising:

Those on my street banging pots and pans are middle-aged or older. Much more than students now.

It seems that the legislature’s attempts to quell protesting in Montreal has had the opposite effect, as many today streamed into the streets specifically to defy the anti-protesting emergency legislation.

As one of the student leaders, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, stated today:

“We want to make the point that there are tens of thousands of citizens who are against this law who think that protesting without asking for a permit is a fundamental right,” he said, walking side-by-side with other protesters behind a large purple banner.“If the government wants to apply its law, it will have a lot of work to do. That is part of the objective of the protest today, to underline the fact that this law is absurd and inapplicable.”

Absurd indeed – and that absurdity seems to have awakened popular support for the students’ plight, support that has increased dramatically in recent weeks.

The global revolution has officially arrived in Canada. And with student strikes and protests set for the summer, and with more of Montreal’s citizenry falling behind the students, it’s a revolution that may not be ending anytime soon.

Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece, Israel, New York City, Montreal…

…we are witnessing an historic global uprising, as peoples across the globe continue to rise up in numbers and demand their political rights, demand social justice, demand economic fairness.

It’s a struggle that is not just essential, but fundamentally human.


We … The First Word …

Courtesy: ChicagoTheatreBeat – A Separate Peace …

“WE” The First Word of the First Step …

It rained today. And amid all that rain, tens of thousands of people defied provincial law to march on the city once again today, and I hear through the grapevine that a march will happen again tonight marking the 100th day of the student uprising. And the plight of students here in Montreal has gone global, with support coming from far and wide around the world and on tv.

On Saturday night on SNL Arcade Fire wore the “Red Squares” on their shirts in support of the Quebec movement. If the authorities (read: Government) thought that Bill 78 was going to stop the marches –

they were terribly WRONG !!!

They not only thought wrong, they threw more fuel on the fire. We will see where the march tonight.

It was a dreary, blustery day today. And it doesn’t rain for very long, but comes in intervals and we got a good downpour just before the meeting started.

But the day began with me carting two huge boot boxes down the the post office to get weighed and rated for shipment come Friday when my auctions end, and it was raining this morning on and off. Then I had to cart them back upstairs, what a pain in the ass.

I knew that thousands of people were gathering at 2 pm this afternoon, and I was afraid that the marchers would get to our end of the city before I got out of the house, One doesn’t want to get held hostage by marchers in the street. I got out of the house early, just to avoid getting caught up in the throng.

On the way out, I checked the mail, as usual, and stopped at the bulletin board to read the announcements and I was pleasantly surprised to see a baby announcement from our building manager. Now I see her every day, sitting behind her desk, but I haven’t seen her stand up in a while, so I stopped in the office to congratulate her and she was not only pregnant, she was VERY pregnant. And I missed it all this while. So she is off for a year’s maternity leave starting in a couple of weeks. We’ve lived here more than ten years now, and it will be joyous to welcome a new baby to the building.

Set up was a breeze and it rained so you never know how many people are going to come to the meeting in the rain … If it rains, people don’t show up, If it is -20c out, people don’t show up, and If it is 40c outside, people don’t show up …

That’s the facts about our meeting. Depending on the way the wind blows, people either come or they don’t. We sat 40 folks tonight. One of our young men was in the chair for the first time so he went with the Daily Reflections. And today’s reflection was all about the word “WE.”

Stuck in my disease – it was always about me. But not really about me. Living with HIV put me in a very specific hole in life. After your friends and family ditch you, what do you have left, Yourself…

I was living alone. I had very few friends. Nobody knew the misery I was sitting in for so long. And nobody would know, because I kept it to myself. There was nobody there to notice that I existed. Nobody to point out the hole I was in, lest they get in the hole with me. I drank in a big, loud, dark, room with hundreds of other people – and I was alone …

It was by the grace of God and the persistence of a young man named Troy, who came into my life at the right moment, when I was ready to hear the message and the invitation to come back. I prayed for those words to be spoken, I asked God for those words to come, and they did.

I went to one meeting to see Troy get his year cake. Nobody noticed me. Queers in recovery can be as clueless as they are in the bar. So I waited for the next meeting at 10 that night, and a woman came up to me and greeted me and asked me to join them all in the meeting. Fonda took me by the hand and welcomed me into that meeting.

I was no longer alone …

I never took another drink. I was lucky to be in that “we” group. We went to dinner, We went to the beach, We went to meal after meal after meal together. We did things together every night and I was never alone again. And that is the spirit that carried me to Montreal some months later.

And ten years and some months later I am still part of that “WE” effort.

It was a good night, and the skies are clearing up, the temperature went down drastically, when we came outside the hall after the meeting it was very blustery and cool. Great sleeping weather. The helicopters are buzzing our neighborhood which means marchers are getting close.

Hopefully – nobody gets hurt we’ll see …

Goodnight from Montreal.


Montreal mayor livid over metro smoke bomb attacks

McGill Metro Station – Green Line – Montreal

The Mayor is pissed, the Premier is pissed and Montrealer’s are getting pissed as well. Who’s to blame for this action today? Nobody is sure. But these kids are adamant and just hitting their stride. This could go on for months. I’ve seen marches like this before, and once a movement gets galvanized, there is little that they can do about it unless the authorities get drastic and the government moves its ass and changes their tune …

The summer festivals will begin soon and the city doesn’t want this taint on our city, nor do we residents. Somethings got to give, and give soon, or else Montreal is at the mercy of the angry student movement.

CBCNEWS.CA

Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay is urging people to “take back their city” after a series of smoke bombs paralyzed the public metro system, sending the island’s transit service into chaos at the peak of rush hour.

“No cause, legitimate or not, can justify any criminal action that jeopardizes public security,” a livid-looking Tremblay told reporters at a news conference.

Although the attacks haven’t been directly linked to ongoing student protests, Tremblay also urged students and politicians to get back to the negotiating table to settle their tuition dispute, and restore civil order.

(more…)


NDP chooses mercurial Mulcair as spear carrier of official Opposition

The Canadian PressBy Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press

TORONTO – New Democrats opted Saturday for a rhetorical spear carrier over an ideological puritan, selecting mercurial Thomas Mulcair to carry the official Opposition into electoral battle against Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Mulcair, a combative former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, won the NDP leadership on a fourth ballot, besting longtime party strategist Brian Topp in a contest that severely strained the party’s self-styled tolerance.

A perceived centrist who was once wooed by Harper’s Tories, Mulcair overcame loud complaints that he would abandon social democratic principles in the pursuit of power — a federal pursuit that New Democrats can now truly taste for the first time in their 50-year history.

In the end, a party now dominated by its come-lately orange wave in Quebec went with its star candidate in that province to replace the late Jack Layton, whose sudden death from cancer last August staggered New Democrats just weeks after their spring electoral breakthrough.

Mulcair claimed 57.2 per cent of the vote in the final, head-to-head showdown with Topp on Saturday’s fourth and final ballot.

Mulcair assumes the role of leader of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition when the House of Commons resumes Monday after a one-week break.

The experienced legislative sparring partner was the candidate most New Democrats conceded was best prepared to hit the ring swinging. He’ll be put immediately to the test when the Conservatives bring down their first budget as a majority government this Thursday.

“Thomas is fearless, Thomas is organized,” NDP MP Charlie Angus said Saturday after his first choice, Paul Dewar, dropped out following the first ballot. “He’s one of the strongest MPs we’ve seen in the House of Commons and he’s certainly a match for Stephen Harper.”

Topp, a close Layton confidant and the first candidate to enter the race just three weeks after his death, fell 8,542 votes short on the final ballot against Mulcair.

He vowed to work with the new leader in a united front against the Conservatives.

Topp had earlier defended his decision to force the final ballot, rather than concede, even after it was clear he could not win.

“I think it’s fit and proper to let the party decide who the leader is and to not have the appearance that it was arranged,” said Topp.

Dark-horse contender Nathan Cullen, written off at the start of the race last fall after proposing co-operation with the Liberals, made it to the final three and cemented his role as a rising star in the party.

Cullen said his strong showing in the contest proves there’s an appetite for co-operating with Liberals.

“Change is in the wind, my friend,” he said. “I think anybody who (thought) New Democrats aren’t open to the ideas of change was obviously mistaken.”

Peggy Nash was eliminated following Saturday’s second ballot, while Paul Dewar, Martin Singh and Niki Ashton all dropped out after the morning’s initial vote.

Mulcair, Cullen, Nash and Dewar are among the NDP’s best parliamentary performers and their long absences on the leadership campaign trail have not helped the official Opposition consolidate its role.

Their return next week should reinvigorate a Commons already boiling with political controversy over allegations of election fraud and the prospect of a ground-shifting federal budget.

The NDP’s weekend leadership showcase, however, was drained of much of its excitement and vigour Saturday by a series of technical delays with the online voting system — although the source of the delay did add a minor element of intrigue.

Party president Rebecca Blaikie confirmed two IP addresses had been isolated as the source of cyber-attacks that appeared designed to slow entry into the system, effectively gumming up the works but not impairing the vote.

“Whoever this is or whatever it came from, their goal was simply to make it a pain to get into our site, to make it harder for people to vote, to block it up with a lot of traffic,” Blaikie said.

Whatever the cause, Mulcair’s victory wasn’t confirmed until late Saturday evening — timing the party had scrupulously planned to avoid.

That wasn’t the only come-down for New Democrats.

The day’s biggest ballot topped out at 65,108 voters, a less than 50 per cent turnout from a party membership that swelled to over 131,000 during the leadership campaign.

About 56,000 people had voted in advance of the convention.

Under the preferential ballot system, in which voters ranked their choices first to last, those 56,000 votes were locked in for all subsequent ballots and couldn’t be influenced by floor-crossing endorsements.

None of the vanquished candidates except Singh — who, as expected, went with Mulcair — chose to publicly endorse another contender.

As it transpired, key endorsements weren’t required.

Mulcair’s high profile in Quebec helped him maintain his status as the candidate to beat. Once a western-based protest party, the NDP’s world has revolved around Quebec since last May’s election, when an unexpected Layton-led wave swept the province and vaulted the party into official Opposition status for the first time in its 50-year history.

As the lone Quebec MP in the hunt, Mulcair made a powerful case as the standard-bearer for a party in which 58 of its current 102 seats came from his home province. Mulcair was the lone New Democrat among those 58 Quebec MPs who held his seat before last May’s federal election.

He has also caused divisions, however, among social democrats who believe he’ll turn the party into a pale imitation of the more centrist Liberals.

Elder party statesman Ed Broadbent lambasted Mulcair as temperamentally ill-suited to leadership in an extraordinary public broadside just two weeks before the convention. Jack Layton’s mother Doris endorsed Topp in the final week.

None of it could stop Mulcair.


The Last Meeting of 2011 …

Courtesy: jsounthone

It is a cold (-8c) And it is brisk out. A soft blanket of snow lies over the city, we had a soft snowfall earlier in the day. But they tell us that more is on the way, maybe some freezing rain along with it… Bah !!!

Things are very quiet here at home. With plenty of time on our hands, it comes down to finding things to do when there is nothing to do. Just how much politics can you take in one day’s news cycle ??? Hubby loves every minute of it but I am getting tired of hearing about it, since it doesn’t affect us here.

So the day was quiet. I spent a few hours reading “Inheritance.” I am about 300 pages into the 850 page read. Then we took our afternoon nap before having to get ready to go to the meeting.

Lizzy offered to drive me out and bring me home which is nice, not having to take the bus and train. Not that I mind rapid transit. But a car is nice when it is in the minuses outside.

We got to the church and the door was open. I made coffee and tea whilst Lizzy did set up and did chairs. I did my share of set up as well. Then we waited. It was the last Friday of the month and we had our business meeting. Everybody is happy with their Christmas gifts. IPads, Blackberry tablets, smart phones and the like.

I don’t see why I would need an IPad. I have no use for one. I am happy with my desktop setup. And I like my Android smart phone as well. Since we are an Anti-Apple household, we wouldn’t deign to buy an Apple product.

So tonight was my last meeting for the calendar year of 2011. There are plenty of meetings open tomorrow night, but I will be staying in with hubby. I got to do literature tonight and it was another round robin share meeting.

At the end of the hour I got up and shared about my “seat.” I told this story on my year end review the other night. I wanted to commit to a meeting, and you can’t do that when you travel from meeting to meeting. And picking my chair at Friday West End was the best decision I had made in sobriety this past year. Because it paid out in spades. I could not ask for more from a group of people who care about me and each other like they do at Friday West End.

We heard a lot of good things tonight. There are ways to celebrate the New Year that do not involve drinking …

Our yearly New Year’s Eve Tradition begins tonight at 1 a.m. With Coast to Coast AM on CJAD. The yearly, two night 2012 prediction extravaganza.

Hosted this year by the esteemed Ian Punnett from the Great Lakes Region of Minneapolis St. Paul. This will be his last weekend hosting his regular Saturday night gig because of tinnitus. So it will be a bittersweet weekend of radio.

We look forward to this show every year because of the rotating hosts and the show itself. They pull out the books that hold the predictions from last year to see which ones were hits and which ones were misses. While callers get to give one prediction for the year ahead.

And 2012 is going to be crazy. You know, with the end of the world on the calendar, you know the crazies are going to be calling for destruction, pestilence and calamities beyond anything the world has ever seen. It’s gonna be earthquakes, famines, floods and calamities … Mark My Words …

I can just hear it now, one crazy fucker after another trying to out piss the caller before them to see who can best the other in the predictions for 2012.

It will be crazy. Worth every minute of listening.

And the show will conclude on Saturday night into Sunday morning. We will ring in the New Year as usual. Hubby hates New Year’s Eve. So it will be a subdued affair.

This week we got screwed by Quebec City once again. They issued our bursaries over a week ago. And they posted a bank date of Wednesday. But it is the holiday’s and nothing is carved in stone. And Quebec City fucks us all over several times over each year and this year would be no different.

So when Wednesday came and went and no money in the bank, hubby called Quebec City and they told him that the monies would be deposited on Friday. Today … Well, no monies were deposited today either. Which means the money could come overnight tonight. And if it doesn’t come overnight, then it will be next week before we get paid and having no money is putting a strain on us here at home. FUCK ME !!!!

God Damned Quebec Financial Aide You Fuckers !!!

You know they all got paid for the holiday don’t you !!!

Anyways, what was I saying … Oh yes, Coast to Coast… You gotta listen if you can. It will be entertaining at least.

I don’t know if I will post before the New Year so if I don’t Happy New Year to you and yours. May it be filled with happiness, love and peace…

Goodnight from Montreal.


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 …