17 September … Fall is Coming

It is Miserably hot this morning with a temp of 32c. I was up early today so I went and did my shop for the next few days. While I was at the mall, I shopped for some shirts I needed and some Fall Decor for my front door.

I got my sweat workout done on my trip out and back.

Friday last, I had another dentist appointment at the Denticare Clinic and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my lady dentist actually had a plan of action she wanted to tell me about.

She did a full exam, with her assistant taking notes as she dictated in French, the full survey was done quite quickly. Here is the plan …

I need one more surgical extraction of a tooth that has disintegrated, and then she will root canal the teeth she can save, and grind and fill the cavities. She said I need six months clear of infection, since I’ve had two now in less than two months. Once I reach that point, clear, she will begin building me a bridge. Unlike an implant a bridge is removable, and also unlike an implant you can add teeth to a bridge as needed.

The route will be much cheaper on the pocketbook, than the $50,000 dollar quote I got from the implant dentists.

This week, temps are all above average for this time of year. But as of last night, I heard the weatherman say that Indeed, Fall will be coming, soon. We have not had a hard frost yet. But it IS snowing out on the Prairies. My friend Randall out in Alberta has had snow on the ground for a few days now. Half of Canada is already into Winter, (out West) and from Manitoba to the Maritimes, we are still sunk in above average, humidly, miserably hot temps.

Florence is making her way up the Eastern Seaboard, and rain will fall later in the week, but we stand to get little rain, because we are on the North side of the storm weather coming. Our geographic location, the St. Laurence river, keep us high and dry for the most part, when wet weather comes up from the south. The river is the dividing line for inclement weather.

We should hear this week, when hubby might start his new job. We are waiting for the hiring manager to get into the office and make contact.

Last week was a great week. My young people stepped up to the plate when I asked them to participate. One of my new friends spoke his first share on Thursday night, and got a swelling of praise from the crowd and several people approached me afterwards to say that my meeting was exceptional. That is high praise, when you get a speaker that totally moves a crowd to applause at the end, after his reading of a poem he wrote for the occasion.

I’m really proud of them. One of our young men is a musician and will be dropping a brand new EP next week. We are so proud of him.

That’s about it for an update. More to come, stay tuned …

Essay: Your Teeth Matter

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Many years ago, when I was in rehab, in my first year of sobriety, my counselor had some issues going on with her. Her teeth were giving her grief, and she ignored them, to her own peril. In the end, they had to pull them all, and put in implants. A job that cost a lot of money and caused her months of grief.

I seem to be walking that very same path myself.

When you are diagnosed with AIDS, like I was, whatever else was going on in your body took a backseat to your survival, from said AIDS diagnosis. The initial push to survived trumped any other problem, to our own peril, we know today.

The problem with AIDS, and now HIV is problematic. Because the medication you take is solely for the purpose of keeping you alive. And in many cases, the drugs we take are toxic to the rest of our bodies. And in many cases, other areas of care, become infected, or affected. there is no clear cut way, to properly medicate a body that is immuno – compromised.

AIDS does that to your body. You might be able to save the body, but not its constituent parts, separately. So you have to care for what you can, as long as you can, and hope major issues don’t arise. BUT, HIV is capricious. She is stealthy and devious. You never know when something is going to fail, until it fails you. Then you need extra attention or medical attention.

THAT IS, IF YOU CAN AFFORD SAID CARE …

 

We believe that our teeth will always be in our mouths, and that they will be our North Star, and never fail us … Sadly, that is far from the truth.

I should know this because Memere and Pepere, my mom’s parents, and my father’s father all had dentures by the time I came along. Grammy was the only one who died with all of her teeth in tact.

I should have heeded that warning long ago and took it into consideration, but that was not my case. Far more serious issues befell me and the concentration on survival, took precedence over any other arching issue.

Your medical heath came in the order of importance. Survival was at the top of the list. Everything else took a back seat.

Some time ago, my teeth began to fail, as I crossed the FIFTY mark in my life. One at a time. And as they gave me grief, my trusted dentist, who had been located in the HIV clinic, at the Montreal General, did the work for us, at reduced costs, because who could afford full bore dental payments?

Living on a fixed income as we had for so many years, cost us, in more ways than one. Thankfully, hubby has not seen serious teeth issues yet. But he sure is clued in now, because of where I am today.

Thinking that small problems could be “pulled out” and not repeat themselves was a false belief in my own body’s ability to prevent infection and further pain.

Many months ago, hubby insisted that I go find a reputable dentist who could fix my teeth, once in for all. We knew implants were the only real solution. After two sorties into the world of dental implants, and the costs of said work, turned out to be too expensive for our purses, combined.

We cannot afford upwards of $50,000.00 of dental implants.

Basic insurance in Quebec does not cover major dental. So we knew I would be screwed. One outfit, quoted me almost $48,000 and six months work time. The other was higher, around the $50,000.00 mark, with TWO YEARS work time.

I’ve been not doing well since.

Having to accept myself as I am. Knowing there is no viable solution to my teeth problem, at the moment. And having to accept that my friends look at me with pity, that I cannot afford to properly take care of my own welfare, makes me a little crazy, when my friends won’t look me in the eye, or look away from me, when I speak to them is disconcerting.

Over the past two months, I’ve developed serious infections. I had an abscess on the upper left side of my mouth, with a tooth that just disintegrated in my mouth. That got seriously infected and caused serious nerve damage in my mouth and on the left side of my face. My HIV doctor prescribed me Antibiotics for the infection.

That was a week’s treatment for an issue that only got worse. That hole in my mouth is still there, and the infection with it, it only moved around my mouth into the right side of my jaw and the right side of my face.

So, for the last two months, I’ve been on a steady diet of pain killers and antibiotics. I had been eating pain killers like candy, because the pain has been so insane. I’ve had issues with eating food, brushing my teeth, and sleeping at night.

This problem grew exponentially last week. By weeks end, I was a sobbing mess. I do not do excessive pain very well. I can do PAIN. But not PAIN that does not go away, and throbs in my head, like a jack hammer.

One oft day, I was getting ready to Skype with Spencer, and as the call went through and he appeared on my screen, I had a pain attack that went off the charts as I sat in front of him. Clearly, I was headed downhill very quickly. I could not pound away a pain-killer and hope it did the trick in a matter of minutes. WRONG !!!

This went on for two weeks, and culminated last week, when I could not stand the pain any more. I called all the appropriate doctors, my dentist, and made appointments, that fell during the rest of the month, and not appropriately, NOW as I needed them.

I could not get into my HIV doctor because he in on vacation, and when he goes away, nobody takes his patients. That’s just the way the Quebec Medical System works here.

You make an appointment, and hope you don’t progress further downhill in between. I could not get into the dentist either, because she was booked, and they did not think me an emergency, when I made the appointment, last week.

By Wednesday last week, like I said, I was a sobbing mess. I could no longer medicate the pain away. It was just too much on my system. On Saturday, I was up before dawn, waiting for the clinic, in the mall up the street to open.

It became an EMERGENCY VERY QUICKLY !!!

There is a Dental Clinic in Alexis Nihon, right up the street from home. I knew it was there, but never considered walking in there and doing something about my problems, because, I knew, for the last few months, what HAD to be DONE.

There were no two ways about it.

At Fifty One, my teeth need to be replaced.

So This is a General Warning to all of you …

IF YOU DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR TEETH AND TREAT THEM AS IMPORTANTLY AS YOUR MEDICAL HEALTH, YOU WILL PAY, IN THE END.

Having several warnings in my life, did not make any difference. Knowing people, IN SOBRIETY, who walked this same path, did not impress upon me, the importance of self-care.

But, when you know you cannot afford certain care, what the fuck to do ???

When one is stuck between a rock and a hard place, one has to accept certain truths, no matter how egregious they are.

Saturday morning I got an appointment two hours later.

I went to the Dental Care Clinic. They could not have been more accommodating.

They certainly rose to the occasion.

I was seated by my appointment time. They had done the x-rays, and in minutes I had several dentists in the room with me, telling me what I needed to know. One doctor said he could root canal the tooth and save it. That I did not need serious surgical procedures.

But I told him that the tooth had cracked and was broken, and was giving me so much pain that I could not stand it any longer, and that the tooth needed to come out.

The three teeth on my lower right side, from the back coming forwards are close together. The one tooth at the back is safe. The two teeth in front had such cavities, and the nerves in both teeth had been impacted, causing me neural infection on the right side of my face.

The choice was surgery …

A second young woman doctor came in and told me she was gong to freeze my mouth and told the hygienist that she should prep for surgery. About ten minutes later, they went in with both guns blazing.

They pulled and tugged that damned tooth out of my mouth, while I was holding onto the chair for dear life. They cleared the tooth in front of it. And twenty minutes later, the tooth was out of my mouth, and for the first time in weeks, the pain was gone.

Talk about GRATITUDE …

They gave me a second round of antibiotics and pain killers to chase them.

They took great pains to warn me of all the things I could not do, for twenty-four hours after surgery, for if I transgressed the warnings, the pain in return would be greater.

The infection in my mouth was all over the place. One round of antibiotics on their own did not do the trick, and the infection made a tour around my mouth. So after radical dental surgery, another round of antibiotics.

I’m eating on the left side of my mouth. Have been for some time now. Now, I just need to wait out a little longer for the hole to heal over completely, before I introduce food to the right side of my mouth.

The issue of what to do with the rest of my mouth is still in play. I have a follow-up appointment on Friday this week to get a full picture of the severity of my problem, because none of the dentists I HAD SEEN about implants did any kind of explorative foray into my teeth.

First they wanted a commitment AND CASH to begin the process.

I could not commit to either plan, because we could not afford to see it through to the end. And I could not, in good conscience, saddle hubby with a $50,000.00 loan that the bank would not give us even on a good day, and thinking that I would not survive seeing that kind of money paid back in full prior to my own death …

And that my friends is the latest saga in I need new teeth and soon story.

Hubby got the job, in principle, he has been working towards. Hopefully in the next little while he will get his start date. And hopefully soon after that, we may have a solution to my problem.

A Platinum Insurance plan that will cover Major Dental.

If that plan exists,  in the constellation of insurance coverage, hubby is going to BUY IN, and pay the extra costs in having that ability to help me finally.

Needless to say, hubby is clearly aware of my situation, and has had a serious time dealing with his inability to provide properly. Because I live on a fixed income from the U.S. Government and that money only pays for the roof over our heads every month. We do not get any more use out of that monthly stipend. So my hands are tied to what I can contribute to the house purse.

Being fucked sucks …

That is just the reality we live with day in and day out.

Hopefully, a solution is on the horizon. We will find it, one way or another.

September 11, 2018

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It is now Tuesday September 11, 2018 at this hour. Many years have passed since the clear blue day of September 11th 2001. I remember where I was when my phone rang on that early morning. My friend Ricky telling me to turn on my tv because, something was “going down, in New York City.”

I tell this sobering story often because it happened to us on Miami Beach. I was sober, because it was withing the week, and I was only binging on Saturday nights, because that was my night out for the week.

For two weeks post 9-11, the bars, nightclubs and liquor stores all closed. There would be no party. Nobody celebrating anything. I remember renting hours upon hours of internet time at the local internet cafe, on the beach. So much so, that after a couple of days, the proprietor of said cafe, was giving me free time.

Fourteen days of mourning took place.

At the end of this period, bar owners thought, out loud, that Miami Beach needed to do something concrete for New York City. They decided to re-open the bars and nightclubs, for one purpose.

To raise money for New York City.

For every dollar donated, the bar would match said donation, AND would offer the same, in kind donation, in alcohol to the person donating the money. They made money hand over fist for a month. And the people of Miami Beach paid into the New York Fund, but drank as much alcohol as they could safely consume, on any given night.

Every dollar, was given back, in free alcohol.

We drank every drop of alcohol, in the radius of 100 miles in every direction.

Not a sober human on the island for weeks and weeks.

I would eventually get sober, in December of 2001, because fate stepped in when I uttered that prayer to God for help.

Help came.

Those who do not remember the past, are doomed to repeat it.

Interesting that an entire generation of kids graduating these days, have no memory of what happened on September 11th, 2001.

September 5th 2018 – So Much to Say !!!

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Summer is officially over. We did not Labor, over the Labor day weekend.

However good news did come.

I spoke about hubby applying for a new job at a firm here in Montreal, prior to his loosing his job last week. That process took a serious turn, late on Friday night. The new company website is updated live, frequently. Hubby can see the progress of his application in “real-time.”

At 11:35 p.m. Friday night, the hiring manager for the firm, sent hubby a welcome email.

He was up, and in the company email server at 11:35 p.m. on the Friday going into a Holiday weekend. His contact email asked for some supporting documentation of hubby’s work, to date. We took all weekend to polish the PDF’s that would be sent out.

Hubby completed that work around 11 p.m. Sunday night. Before he went to bed, he sent the PDF package to the hiring manager. Today, Wednesday, at 12:30 p.m. As I was preparing to go get my haircut, hubby received another email from the hiring manager, thanking him for the package sent and to set up a secondary interview with a manager, as he was on vacation, but said …

“I would like the hiring process to continue in my absence.”

The HIRING Process …

Two further interviews are now scheduled. One with a representative, and the final interview, with the hiring manager himself.

Hopefully, we will have this job in the bag, so to speak, soon.

Fingers Crossed !!!

Summer might be officially over, but right now it is 42c outside.
Miserably HOT as HELL.

All of my young people, who were away working for the summer, are home now. Monday evening I met with a young man, I kept in contact with, while he was away. Everybody is reconnected, and in residence, and school has begun for many of them this week.

Monday night, we read a story from the Book, that spoke about failures and success.

You don’t have to fall into the category of abject loss and failure, to be an alcoholic. Although many do fall into the category of “Crash and Burn.” The writer, of Monday’s story, rattled off his accolades and accomplishments, quite boastfully, you would think, upon first read, he did not lose like many, but like many, at one point, in his drinking career, he crossed that invisible line, when the joy of drinking dies.

Alcoholics across the board, eventually reach that invisible line,
when the joy of drinking DIES.

He was successful his entire life, even a success at drinking, albeit, heavily.

Until he could drink No More.

I thought to myself about the passage we read. Insight always comes from looking backwards. In order to go forwards, we MINE the past for wisdom. The older I get, the more insight I learn about myself and my friends.

This is where I went with my thoughts:

I had great friends in school. I had a lot of best friends. Boys I loved dearly. I spent inordinate amounts of time in their respective houses over those years, fleeing my father’s wrath.

Everybody drank. We all drank. However, I look back at the time now, and this is what comes up. My friends drank as hard, if not harder than I did, but I was the one who always fell down, at some point. None of my friends I grew up with, recount ever having the same “problem” that I did with the drink.

When Face Book dawned, I went looking for old friends. None of them wanted to reconnect, or know me. Each of them moved on with their lives, and had no desire to talk about the past.

As a young drinker, I just made it by, in school. The only reason I graduated High School, was fortuitous. I told one truth to my Math teacher, the last day of class. I was a failure when it came to math. To this day, I do not do numbers very well.

When the entire class got an advanced copy of the final exam, I did not. On the last page of that exam, I wrote a truth. Sharing with my teacher, that I was the only person in the class, who did not get an advance copy of his exam to study from.

I wished him a good day, and left it at that.

I got my High School Diploma, shortly after.

My parents had told me that they would not pay for college. Thankfully, I got a scholarship to the local community college, for a years study. The second year was paid by the archdiocese of Miami, when I entered seminary.

I’ve spoken about what happened when they told me to leave.

Alcoholism was waiting for me just outside the gates of the property. There wasn’t much in my life at that point. I had a job, that was aided and abetted by alcohol.

My coming Out Experience was based on Alcohol, and my viability as a sexual being.

My parents were not involved in my life, as they had turned their backs on their gay son, I could not live under their roof, and be gay at the same time.

I followed the only advice I got. That advice became a serious delusion, as I grew older.

Go to the Bar, Sit down, Drink, and wait for Fireworks, was the advice given.

From the age of twenty-one till the day I got sick, at twenty-six, my life revolved around three things: Alcohol, Drugs and Sex.

I’m not really clear on how I managed to survive, on that kind of pepper diet.

I succeeded in drinking, drugging and having sex. Being gay in Orlando Florida was a blood sport. If you were cute and sexually viable, you were in the hunt, to out hunt the other hunters. I proved myself quite adept at acquiring specific men.

At one point I was in love with a boy who worked at the Parliament House Bar and Resort. Everyone was in love with him. That was a notch in my head-board, in the end.

I could compete on the sexual stage. I could compete on the alcohol and drug stage, what I could not compete on, were the employment and responsibility stages.

I did not amass, THINGS, or ACCOLADES, or FRIENDS, or MONEY.

I had very little, when I walked into the Stud on that auspicious night, unawares of just what was going to happen to me. The night I drove to that particular bar location, which had a “particular” sexual clientele, I knew what I was after.

Sadly, Todd, upon seeing me for the first time, KNEW TOO !!!

That night, he strolled out of his office and approached me, and sat down next to me and said these words … “I know why you are here!” He whacked me clear off my stool and across the floor.

Todd, not unlike God Himself, knew the darkness in my soul. In my mind, all those fantastical scenarios I was fed, from my father’s sordid reading material, were going to come to me, now that I found the location that would give them to me.

Funny … None of it ever happened.
NOT ONE BITE FROM THE APPLE.

I love Todd, more than any other human being I have known or love today. Not even my husband. Todd walked into my life and provided me with everything that I would ever need. “Love, Attention, Respect, Dignity, Ability, and Responsibility.”

From the moment Todd made his proclamation to me, he never allowed me to cross that invisible line into sordid behavior, EVER. And also, he never allowed another human being, the ability to cross that invisible line, into ME either.

Gay men, well, the gay men I grew up with, were concerned with only three things.

  • Where was the alcohol going to come from, and who was going to pay for it
  • Where were the drugs going to come from, and who was going to share them, and
  • How many men can I fuck, just for the fun of it ?

It is sad, that the delusion that Alcohol and sex were inextricably connected, was the way I lived from twenty-one till I hit thirty-four.

When I got sick, I have said before, that I went from HERO to ZERO in 5 days time.

When Todd arrived in the parking lot of The Copa, and said the word STOP, he meant it.

Several times, in the year prior to this event, Todd had wiped me off the bar floor, sodden drunk and sobbing.

I did get sober. Todd continued to wipe me off the floor, sober, many nights, when all I could do was cry. I cried for a long time. And Todd held me to his chest every time.

I learned how to succeed. SOBER. I did not have much in the way of “THINGS.”
I did survive when many did not.

That was a HUGE success.

The short eighteen month BLIP on the proverbial radar, was a mistake. A HUGE mistake. Todd, by that point, had been in California for a while, and there was nobody to confide in, or talk to.

Trusting myself was a serious liability.

In those intervening years, I amassed many “THINGS.” When I made that fateful geographic, I LOST all those THINGS.

I stared with a duffel bag of clothing, and not much else. I had to rebuild from nothing.

Sobriety came a second time. The sexual delusion had to be smashed.

Thirty Four years old, believing that sexual conquest was still a viable option, had come to an end. I was drinking to be seen, and to be noticed, and to have sex.

Nobody saw me,
Nobody noticed me,
And sure as shit, Nobody wanted to have sex with me.

It was a bitter pill to swallow. For sure.

Moving North, over the Border, was the best decision I ever made. I reclaimed my life and in sobriety, I have earned every success. Because each success was hard-fought for.

Life did not come easy. Not for one moment. I worked my ass off.

And like Todd, who loved me, cared for me, and taught me how to survive, hubby loves me, cares for me, and takes care of me, in ways Todd did, but in specific different ways.

A long time ago, in a little nightclub called the Stud, Todd taught me how to survive, in the basic job of GIVING. Even when I had very little to offer.

Simple service to the greater good, worked …

Gratitude is not lost on me, neither is Humility.

I’ve spent over sixteen years giving to my community, because that is what I was taught to do, by sober women and some sober men.

In the beginning, WOMEN ruled my life and cared for me when I most needed it.

Women still hold a dear place in my heart, to this day.

Women Do Rule the World.

Gotta give my ladies props !!!

I am well cared for. I need for nothing.

Hubby is my guy …

Thursday – August 30, 2018

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I haven’t written in a long while. Not that I did not have content to talk about. But life, as it has happened over the last little while, has not been easy.

I’ve not been feeling myself, for the last little while. I need medical attention, that we cannot afford at the moment. And as of 2 days ago, that need became seriously magnified.

Over the past couple of months, my husbands office, has gone through serious changes, and to that effect, by Monday afternoon, all the furniture in the office had been liquidated, and sold off. All the employees have been working from home, which has turned the office into no-mans land. Several employees quit, and on Monday night, hubby came home and was sullen and depressed.

Before dinner, he turned to me and said the following …

“They’ve sold off all of the furniture and computers. The refrigerator had been emptied and turned upside down, over the tub, in the bathroom, to defrost it. All the employees have vacated the premises.

By the close of business Monday evening, hubby was the last man standing in an empty office. The only furniture left, in the place, was his desk and his computer. He then told me that Tuesday, would be his last day at a job, he has excelled in over the past four years.”

On Tuesday morning, I was up before dawn, watching cruise ships sail into Nassau harbor, via web cams on my desktop. One, I could not sleep, and two, I had to be up to make sure hubby was alright and mentally prepared for the day as it was to transpire.

Sleeping in, and leaving him alone with his thoughts was not what I wanted for him.

We knew going into Tuesday that a severance package was in the works. As the last man standing, he was offered a healthy severance package upon departure. In the end, he was retained on a part-time, freelance option.

The office has been closed. And the other employees, that were let go, will be afforded a flex space in Old Montreal, for important face to face meetings, with the company owners.

For all intents and purposes, the company has folded major operations, and only a few employees remain. Hubby will work from home, on a part-time, 20 hour work week, making good money for the hours he is billing the company to remain, partially employed.

We will lose our much-needed insurance, that pays for our medications. Which prompted an emergency call to our pharmacy, and we ordered three months of medication to be provided in one drop, because the insurance is going to lapse, and while it is still in place, hubby decided that we should fill as much medication as needed, hoping that he lands in a new position, in that three-month period of time.

Meanwhile on Stream B, hubby had applied at another media firm, that he had researched and sent his updated cv and coordinates. He is able to see, in real-time, how many people have looked at his papers, and their movement up the chain of command.

I am told that this company may take its time in responding to a job inquiry, so he is in a holding pattern, for a second job, while working part-time to keep the money flowing from stream A.

His intention, from the very beginning, was to figure out all these problems by himself and not bother me into worrying about the job, the money and the loss of insurance, hoping that he would have heard from Stream B by now, but that did not happen, as he planned it. In the end, he spilled the beans in an emotional flush of words.

What was I supposed to do now ? All I could do was listen to him talk, and to be present in that moment. Once again, as I look back over the past week, and for the last portion of our lives, Someone Much Greater than we are, is watching us.

And every so often, that Power Greater than ourselves, sends us a sign. A physical sign that we are not alone. The last sign we got, was at the end of the trip to Hamilton in May. That trip was a shit show, but when we got home, a concrete sign was sent to us.

I know that we are not alone right now, for sure.

And at dinner tonight, I spoke these words to hubby. Reminding him that he was not alone, that I was here, and that someone is keeping an eye out for us.

On Stream C, all my kids returned from summer vacations, as school begins the next week for them. We have been welcoming them back a few at a time, over the last little while. The last remaining folks return tomorrow, Friday …

We are all reconnecting. For a handful of graduates who have moved on, they are all relocated in jobs scattered all over Canada and the U.S. Everybody is still sober and that is a good sign, going into the Fall.

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

Yesterday around 3 p.m. I was sitting at my desk, and in moments, the sun disappeared from the sky, and it got very dark, very quickly. Environment Canada sent out an emergency storm warning across the web and via text.

As it was dark outside, I stood at the windows and watched the rain move from East to West, across the sky. A rush of wind blew, and the demolition site, just up the block, where they are tearing down the former Children’s Hospital, the wind was blowing so hard that the mounds of dust and debris from the site, began to fly into the air in a flurry of motion.

The rain began to fall, earnestly. Had I not been watching the progress as it happened, I would have missed it. A few hundred yards from the building, I saw a rain cloud open and drop a burst of rain, falling so hard and so fast, that it obscured the sight-line of the buildings and land beneath it. I’d never seen so much rain fall in one concentrated spot like that before. It lasted all of twenty minutes.

Then it was over.

When all was said and done, over 100,000 Montrealer’s from on the island to off island were without power. Many trees were felled. Many roofs were knocked off their buildings, cars were destroyed by falling trees onto cars.

A man on a construction site, here in the city, was injured as he was hit in the face by a two by four, from debris flying through the sky, in his direction.

Off island, several barns were destroyed, including several houses. There was widespread destruction all over the place, from a storm that hit and only lasted mere minutes.

We know today that a type two tornado had dropped from the storm and severe destruction happened.

This was the second Micro-burst storm to hit this city. The last one to hit, had hit the city, West of downtown, in a section of town called NDG. In that storm, it dropped serious rain, and the micro burst destroyed a park full of century old trees. Snapping them into pieces like match sticks.

As it stands, the city is trying to decide what to plant in their place to repopulate the park with trees.

Right now, I am trying to remain calm, and not lose my mind, with the thought that these problems won’t go away very quickly. All we can go is just cope the best way we can, and not get stupid mental over the fact that shit happened in the last week, which we are totally powerless over.

Sometimes God needs to shake the tree because growth is needed, in one area or another. We may not like the tress shaking or the uncertainty of life, but I also know that someone, something greater than we are, has our backs.

At least I can trust God, as I understand Him.

I cannot afford to lose my cookies at the moment.

When Honesty Dies …

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Yes folks, the President of the United States is a criminal. But many knew this before he ever took office. The Office of the President of the United States has been irrevocably tarnished and denigrated.

The Hallowed Office that We The People own, is inhabited, right now, by a man who believes that Truth is not Truth, that alternative facts run the day, and that firing government employees and revoking security clearances, just out of spite, is just a natural thing he can do, with impunity.

Where are the values of Honesty, Integrity and Humility ?

I believe they are dead on arrival.

I have a basic set of morals and values that I ascribe to. I do my best at being honest in all my affairs. I work daily on integrity, and I strive for humility. Sadly, some do not see life in this same way.

Where are the men of honesty, integrity and humility ? Our government has failed us at every turn. They have stuck their heads in the sand, and hands over their eyes, and fingers in their ears.

It seems that if they do not acknowledge that something is seriously wrong with the current state of affairs, then, they don’t have to act to correct these critical government imbalances.

The President has lost his mind. He is erratic and unhinged, as some have already posited. Last night, well, early on yesterday I was watching my regular political fare and I watched as the day progressed and news was broke, all at the same hour, in two different cities and states. At 4 pm yesterday, the bottom fell out and we learned some hard truths about the man, many elected into office.

Not that we did not know what was going on, but without factual proof, as many really need to make an informed decision, but it is what it is. Now we know for sure that Michael Cohen, acted, and committed Federal Crimes at the direction of “the candidate” to pay off two women who had sexual affairs, the reason he paid off these women was for one fact …

TO INFLUENCE THE ELECTION OF THE CANDIDATE.

 

We not only have Russian Collusion to think about, we have a man, who at the behest of his boss, (said candidate) shut two women up from speaking up, so that the (so-called candidate) could win the election.

The Access Hollywood tape was just the tip of the iceberg. And the Teflon Don, survived that little burp on his timeline. But I wonder, if the Teflon coating on the Donald’s head has not worn off, and that maybe somebody in the government goes to the Oval Office and says to the President, Well, Mr. President, I THINK IT IS TIME TO GO …

WE HAVE A VOICE, WHEN IT COMES TO GOVERNMENT. AND THAT VOICE IS CALLED A VOTE. TOO MANY PEOPLE, IN 2016 CHOSE NOT TO VOTE, JUST BECAUSE. I GET IT, THE ELECTION WAS A REFERENDUM ON THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS.

BUT COME ON, NOW DO YOU SEE, DONALD TRUMP IS NOW THE GREATER OF THE TWO EVILS, WHEN YOU STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT ?

IF YOU DO NOT VOTE, YOU CANNOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RESULTS.

WE CANNOT AFFORD APATHY ANY LONGER. WE MUST ACT AS A UNIFIED PEOPLE, WHO NEED TO GET OUT IN NOVEMBER AND FUCKING VOTE.

GET OFF YOUR SOFAS, PUT DOWN YOUR BEERS AND GUNS AND DRAG YOUR ASS TO TO A VOTING BOOTH AND PUT DEMOCRATS INTO THE SYSTEM.

BECAUSE IF THE DEMOCRATS WIN ENOUGH SEATS, IMPEACHMENT IS ON THE TABLE FOR GOD DAMNED SURE

The integrity of the Oval Office ha been ruined and the only way to remove Donald Trump is to vote senators and representatives who will have the power to impeach him out of office. If he does not just up and quit under the immense pressure he is under right now.

We Must Act. There is no greater crisis than the one we are living at the present moment.

USE YOUR VOICE AND GO VOTE.

IF YOU VALUE YOUR COUNTRY AND THE MAN WHO OCCUPIES THE OVAL OFFICE, YOU WILL DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, ONCE AND FOR ALL.

LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike.

Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.

1. If one member suffers…

In recent days, a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years. Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on we have come to know the pain of many of the victims.

We have realized that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death; these wounds never go away. The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced. But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence it, or sought even to resolve it by decisions that increased its gravity by falling into complicity.

The Lord heard that cry and once again showed us on which side he stands. Mary’s song is not mistaken and continues quietly to echo throughout history. For the Lord remembers the promise he made to our fathers: “he has scattered the proud in their conceit; he has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” (Lk 1:51-53). We feel shame when we realize that our style of life has denied, and continues to deny, the words we recite.

With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.

I make my own the words of the then Cardinal Ratzinger when, during the Way of the Cross composed for Good Friday 2005, he identified with the cry of pain of so many victims and exclaimed: “How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to [Christ]! How much pride, how much self-complacency! Christ’s betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his body and blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us! (cf. Mt 8:25)” (Ninth Station).

2. … all suffer together with it

The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way. While it is important and necessary on every journey of conversion to acknowledge the truth of what has happened, in itself this is not enough. Today we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit.

If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history. And this in an environment where conflicts, tensions and above all the victims of every type of abuse can encounter an outstretched hand to protect them and rescue them from their pain (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 228). Such solidarity demands that we in turn condemn whatever endangers the integrity of any person.

A solidarity that summons us to fight all forms of corruption, especially spiritual corruption. The latter is “a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness. Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centeredness, for ‘even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light’ (2 Cor 11:14)” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 165). Saint Paul’s exhortation to suffer with those who suffer is the best antidote against all our attempts to repeat the words of Cain: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9).

I am conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world to come up with the necessary means to ensure the safety and protection of the integrity of children and of vulnerable adults, as well as implementing zero tolerance and ways of making all those who perpetrate or cover up these crimes accountable. We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future.

Together with those efforts, every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need. This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does. For as Saint John Paul II liked to say: “If we have truly started out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he wished to be identified” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49).

To see things as the Lord does, to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help. I invite the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command.[1] This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says “never again” to every form of abuse.

It is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the members of God’s People. Indeed, whenever we have tried to replace, or silence, or ignore, or reduce the People of God to small elites, we end up creating communities, projects, theological approaches, spiritualities and structures without roots, without memory, without faces, without bodies and ultimately, without lives.[2]

This is clearly seen in a peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority, one common in many communities where sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience have occurred. Such is the case with clericalism, an approach that “not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people”.[3]

Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say “no” to abuse is to say an emphatic “no” to all forms of clericalism.

It is always helpful to remember that “in salvation history, the Lord saved one people. We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people. That is why no one is saved alone, as an isolated individual. Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in the human community. God wanted to enter into the life and history of a people” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 6).

Consequently, the only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God. This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within.

Without the active participation of all the Church’s members, everything being done to uproot the culture of abuse in our communities will not be successful in generating the necessary dynamics for sound and realistic change.

The penitential dimension of fasting and prayer will help us as God’s People to come before the Lord and our wounded brothers and sisters as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion. In this way, we will come up with actions that can generate resources attuned to the Gospel.

For “whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world” (Evangelii Gaudium, 11).

It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable. Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.

Likewise, penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people’s sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils.

May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled. A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary.

A fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will, and with society in general, to combatting all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience.

In this way, we can show clearly our calling to be “a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race” (Lumen Gentium, 1).

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it”, said Saint Paul. By an attitude of prayer and penance, we will become attuned as individuals and as a community to this exhortation, so that we may grow in the gift of compassion, in justice, prevention and reparation.

Mary chose to stand at the foot of her Son’s cross. She did so unhesitatingly, standing firmly by Jesus’ side. In this way, she reveals the way she lived her entire life. When we experience the desolation caused by these ecclesial wounds, we will do well, with Mary, “to insist more upon prayer”, seeking to grow all the more in love and fidelity to the Church (SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, Spiritual Exercises, 319).

She, the first of the disciples, teaches all of us as disciples how we are to halt before the sufferings of the innocent, without excuses or cowardice. To look to Mary is to discover the model of a true follower of Christ.

May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them.

Vatican City, 20 August 2018