Stenosis …

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Lumbar Stenosis Symptoms

When stenosis has developed in the lower back (Lumbar Spine), leg pain with walking may develop.

Leg pain with walking is medically known as claudication, and it can be caused by either arterial circulatory insufficiency (vascular claudication) or from spinal stenosis (neurogenic or pseudo-claudication). Leg pain from either condition will go away with rest, but with spinal stenosis the patient usually has to sit down for a few minutes to ease the leg and often low back pain, whereas leg pain from vascular claudication will go away if the patient simply stops walking.

For lumbar stenosis, flexing forward or sitting will open up the spinal canal by stretching the ligamentum flavum and will relieve the leg pain and other symptoms, but the symptoms will recur if the patient gets back into an upright posture. Numbness and tingling can accompany the pain, but true weakness is a rare symptom of spinal stenosis.

Over a year ago, I had spinal imaging done for my 50 checkup. I also had a bone density test, which came back clear. What they were not looking for then, when I had the scans done, were realized a few months ago, after I had another CT Scan on my lumbar region, that I wrote about here, during that time. I have spinal deterioration in my L-3, L-4 and L-5 vertebrae.

Since then, I was referred to a spinal surgeon and am still waiting on that to happen. That’s one problem with serious issues, when it comes to specialists here in Montreal, and as well, across Canada.

Hurry up and WAIT !!!

In order to minimize my pain that I’m currently dealing with, I’ve been seeing a Osteopath, not far from home, who does adjustments on my body. I have had two sessions already, and I had numbness in my right arm that was becoming a serious problem with my mobility and usage of my right arm. I still have some mobility issues with “reach” and “extension” with my right arm as it is.

In the last few months, I have developed Stenosis in my lower lumbar region, and this problem has seriously impacted my ability to walk distances. Here in Montreal, we don’t have a car, so where ever I have to go, it is either by Bus, Metro, or I walk.

Walking to the grocery store, three blocks from home has become a chore. When we went away for the wedding a couple of weeks ago, the pain got severe. When we were in Toronto and walked from Union Station to the CN Tower, it took us a while, because I had to keep stopping to catch my breath, and ease the pain in my legs because the pain feels like someone has set my calf’s on fire, or that I did some intense leg work in a gym.

I can’t go to the gym because my body is unable to do what I want it to do. FML !

On the way home, we got off the train here, close by home and took the Metro three stops to the station at the bottom of the hill (read:Tunnel), at Georges Vanier Metro. On the Orange Line.

Our building, where we live, sits at the top of that hill (read:Tunnel) There is a pedestrian walkway through the tunnel connecting the neighborhood above it, with the highway, Little Burgundy down the hill, and the Orange Line Station.

Walking that hill is a challenge, but for the longest time, I had been working on being able to walk the tunnel in one shot, without stopping. I had achieved that, on the down ward walk, but on the upward walk, all bets are off.

That night, after sitting in a train for five hours, I thought I’d be ok with walking the tunnel. I was wrong. We should have taken the Metro one more stop and connected with the Green Line Metro, which lands you on flat ground above the tunnel, three blocks from home, where the grocery store is.

But that night, I had to walk up the tunnel. I was in so much pain, I could hardly breathe. It took several attempts to get up the hill, carrying my luggage as it was. Hubby was dragging his suitcase which had wheels.

Stop and Start, Stop and Start, Stop and Start.

Right now I have to calculate where I need to go, and what the chances are that I can make that trip on my own, and not hire a taxi to drive me back three blocks to home with groceries.

Today, I walked that stretch, and did not have a problem. I had to buy a new granny cart, because I killed the one I had. I had used it so hard that one of the wheels broke off. It was the second cart like that, (that I had) that the wheels failed inside of six months, walking a stretch of three blocks back and forth.

The new cart I got today, has upgraded wheels and a sturdier frame and bag.

I walked the tunnel on Monday night, on the Down … I can do Down alright. But the uphill climb does a number on my legs, causing my calf’s to inflame with fire and pain. On Monday and Friday I usually take the orange line that connects me directly with the station, up-line at Laurier, I transfer to my bus for the second portion of that outbound trip.

On the way home I have to walk to the Laurier Station a number of blocks from the church, because of road construction on the return side of Laurier coming back to the station. No bus means you have to walk half a kilometer to the station.

Monday night, I waited for the 80 bus which connects me with a Green Line Station, Place des Arts, on the Green line a few stops from home, the trade-off for the 80 bus and no walking is waiting 30 minutes for a damned bus to come going towards the station.

I can walk the half kilometer and not have to stop. It seems that flat ground walking at certain times does not bother me, unlike other times.

I can never predict whether I can make a walk I need to make, before hand.

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The other good news today was my suit from Australia arrived in the post today. Funny that when I had to wire the payment to Australia, the bank did the job for me, but we did not know, which direction the money would take to get to Australia.

It would either go East across Europe and down towards Australia, or it would go West, and cross the Pacific coast on towards Sydney.

When the company shipped my package from Sydney, I followed the delivery in real-time. Instead of coming East over the Pacific and across Canada, The package hopped a Westward DHL flight from Sydney to Frankfurt, Germany, where it was processed, and sent further Westwards towards Montreal.

Strange the paths that carriers take to get product around from one side of the world to the other.

I received a second package that came from Singapore the other day, and from Singapore that package traveled trans Pacific to Western Canada into Montreal.

Both packages took a week to get here. One by regular DHL and the other by Express DHL. Same time delivery, different shipping paths.

I did not expect my body to begin failing me at fifty …

Seems my body has its own agenda. And I am just an unwilling participant.

Not sure what I did to incur the wrath of my body, because the only heavy lifting I do is setting down chairs and tables. I’ve been doing the same actions for more than sixteen years. I guess I have worn my back out lifting heavy tables and moving them.

Now I am on light duty. All my friends know I cannot lift or move any longer, so I do simple tasks. I make coffee and everyone else does the heavy lifting for me.

The perks of being older and sober a long time and having friends who will step up and help me when I need help.

Hey, at least I am still alive, twenty-five years after the plague …

Grateful for small mercies.

 

Sufficient Memory …

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“…We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.” pg. 24

“yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.” pg. 152

The former passage, I read with my sponsor as we are working through the Big Book together right now. And I have to say that, right now, tonight, I have more notes and perspective written in the margins and underlined in the passages, than I have ever had before. My book is marked up and high-lit with notes from my sponsor that I had never seen in all the years I have been reading my book with people in the past.

The second passage comes after we open A Vision for you, as we read, the harrowing passages about oblivion coming to the words …

“As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settle down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did – then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand.” pg. 151

Throughout the Book, we are visited with the ghosts of former alcoholics who went to the bitter end, blotting out everything around them. Over and over again, Bill and the first 100 writers of the book, tell us stories.

For all those men and women, the miracle happened and they got and stayed sober. So that the rest of us who have come along behind them, can know how bad it got for them, and for many, we heard tonight, all went there, themselves …

A Vision for You does not start out strong in the hope department for sure. It throws down the gauntlet, one more time, then proceeds to tell us that once we get sober, and clean up our lives, shit does get real … and that The Most Satisfactory years of your existence are ahead.

Many of my friends, farther back on the road, have walked, in as many months, a very hard road. I watched many of them struggle, but they persisted. Shit is getting real for many people. And I get a front row seat to watch and participate in the rehabilitation of lives on a nightly basis.

It is like day and night for many. Life is good all the way around. Many of our Down and outers, who never imagined that life could get so good, are besides themselves with gratitude. We all survived the bitter end. And together, we are beginning to see the light.

I’ve never wanted to be so sober, as I do today. My friends are the best people in the world. I cannot begin to tell you how great life is for many of them. One of my best friend and his wife hiked Machu Picchu for two weeks and climbed over 17,000 feet into the sky. Amazing …

Our intrepid chair tonight, invited us to read the first two pages of A Vision for You, as a whole, and many of us revisited the last drink.

And I can tell you that many of us, CAN, with SUFFICIENT FORCE, bring into our consciousness of the suffering and humiliation of our last drink.

I heard many things tonight. And I pondered my own story again.

When I got sober the first time, Todd was there. That voice of calm, the voice of wisdom and the voice of control was always with me. Yes, I was working in a bar, but that bar was the safest place I could be, given the circumstances we had been visited with at the time. AIDS was the great equalizer. Many went to their deaths, miserably.

Thankfully, due to Todd, (read: God) I live to tell that particular story.

When Todd moved away, I could not keep it together by myself. I just could not fathom, living by myself, on my own, without Todd behind me.

When I went out, it was my own fault. I listened to all the WRONG voices. When those final weeks of my drinking took place, it was binge drinking one night a week, because I just could not stomach drinking every day.

I was still, drinking to fit in. Drinking to be seen. Drinking to be noticed.

Nobody noticed.

I would drink, until I fell down. In a room with a couple hundred other men doing the same thing. But nobody noticed me. So I drank more. Thinking that if I kept drinking, SOMEONE would NOTICE me …

At the bitter end, Black Out after Black Out … I came to believe that I could no longer drink any more. I called out to God, and He answered me in due course.

The rest is history they say…

But I still wonder, who was it that picked me up, off the dance floor after I collapsed, took me outside, got me a taxi, drove me home, AND got me in through TWO locked doors, into my apartment ???

I don’t know the answer to that Million Dollar Question.

Someone did notice me, and did me a great favor.

There must have been angels in that club, watching me.

Walking from home to the SOBE room, where I finally arrived in, I had to walk past the building that housed the club, I used to drink in. On the way out and on the way back.

A few weeks after I got sober, I heard they shut down the club for good.

I like to say, with a giggle … The last alcoholic left that building, so they had to close …

I mused tonight, that I needed a steady hand on my shoulder. I cannot go through life and NOT have that steady hand on my shoulder. I cannot do life alone. I know that today.

I knew it long ago, but when Todd left my life for good, there was nobody to take his place, and I foundered.

It wasn’t until I walked back into the rooms, in South Beach, that Fonda, Ed, Charlie, and Shane stepped up and took me in and cared for me.

When I moved to Montreal seventeen years ago, I did it the right way. I stepped into the room, with the people who would change my life. I needed that steady hand on my shoulder, and I got it in spades.

The right sponsor at the right time appeared, and took me on a journey, that first year. I was Never Alone. Not for one Minute. He showed me Sobriety. He showed me everything that this city could offer me, now that I was sober.

He took me places and showed me life. And little by slowly, A Vision for You Came to pass for me and countless others. The most satisfactory years of my life WERE ahead of ME.

And they are STILL AHEAD of me YET !!!

Life did not only get better, it got richer beyond my wildest imagination.

I’ve survived twenty-five years of a death sentence. I live every day to tell people that story to the degree that many of my friends roll their eyes at me when I mention it.

So I don’t talk about it any longer.

We live in the Solution today. You too can live in the solution.

With all the good, there is also bad. Sober people, are sick people, at the root of life. Those who do not work, falter and get sick. They freak out, and I see this happening around me, in old-timer disease.

I can see when old timers freak out and go down the rabbit hole. I can see it, when they cannot see it themselves. I spoke to one particular guy about it when he freaked out and he said to me, all twenty-six years of his sobriety said … How dare you call me on my shit, when you are only sixteen years and a few months sober ???

Go fuck yourself !!!

Alcoholics get sick. When they stop working and go into Ego and Resentment.

If you are NOT in The Work, then why not ?

Our kids work their asses off, day in and day out. We do not get a day off. There are no free passes to sobriety. It is just NOT GONNA HAPPEN without our doing anything.

Because when we sit back and wait for it to happen, we too could end up going down the rabbit hole ourselves.

I’ve been seeing it happen all around me, so I buck up on program. I listen to speakers on my phone. I hit meetings, and I am in the Book right now. With a young lady friend who has infinite amounts of wisdom to give us all.

When I realized I wanted what she had, I asked her to walk me through the book.

I have not looked back yet.

I love my life and those people who are IN IT TO WIN IT with me.

The whole point of getting sober, is to one day be:

Happy, Joyous and Free …

Some say I look happy. I feel joyous.

I AM FREE ….

Heaven Held Its Breath

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Lorna Kelly, reverently speaks about Bill W. when she tells the story of the time, she herself, visited the Mayflower Hotel in Akron, Ohio. This is the actual phone, still located in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel, that Bill used on the day that changed the world.

Bill had traveled to Akron for business. That day, Bill had met with other business men, hoping to score a deal and make some money. Sadly, the business went South, and Bill walked away from that meeting, dejected and depressed.

He stood in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel that day. Bill was sober. But was standing at the crossroads of his sobriety. His day was shot, and he had but one choice to make, between two extremes.

On one side of the lobby was the bar. The Easy Choice. The most logical, for most men.

Nikos Kazantzakis once said that “Always choosing the sure path is treason for the soul.”

On the other side of the bar, was the phone, and the church directory.

In that moment, the angels in heaven, must have been holding their breaths, wondering, “which way will he go?” “What is Bill going to do?”

The world did not know this innocuous situation would be as critical as it became.

Bill could have chosen the sure thing … The bar and a drink.

But Bill was sober. And he thought to himself, in that moment of desperation, that he needed another alcoholic. And in a moment, he turned, away from the bar, towards the phone.

Bill made several calls, none of which produced his desired intention. The last number he called was to Henrietta Sieberling. And it was Henrietta who sent him to the home of one Dr. Bob and Ann Smith.

Ann knew her husband had a problem with alcohol. And she tried in vain to try to get Bob sober, one way or another. In the end, it was a single conversation that ignited the spark that became the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Bill had once said that, “He needed Bob as bad as Bob needed him.” from ABSI, from tonight’s reading.

Bill arrived at the home of Bob and Ann. Bob, none to sure of what to expect, deigned Bill fifteen minutes and not a minute more. Bill walked in, with everything that he had. His story. His experience. And his own story of alcoholism.

It is in the telling of ones story, not dogma, not preaching, nor from ones ego, that we can reach another alcoholic.

Bill sat with Bob for more than six hours, that first night. In the end, Bill spent two weeks in the home of Bob and Ann, helping Dr. Bob get sober.

It was an easy sell, the basic premise of getting sober. The identification was there from the very beginning. But Dr. Bob was a little slow on the uptake, and sputtered and ground himself into the ground on a few occasions with bouts of drinking ending up on an errant sofa in the end.

That day, as Bill spoke with Dr. Bob about his own Experience, Strength and Hope, the fellowship began.

The Book reads: Dr. Bob’s Nightmare … Pg 171, the first story in the Book.

A co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. The birth of our society dates from his first day of permanent sobriety, June 10th, 1935.

To 1950, the year of his death, he carried the A.A. message to more than 5,000 alcoholic men and women, and to all these he gave his medical services without the thought of charge.

In this prodigy of service, he was well assisted by Sister Ignatia at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, one of the greatest friends our fellowship will ever know.

Alcohol and drugs are the great equalizers. They do not discriminate.

Once one walks over the threshold of any meeting, we are all equal. And the cure for what ails us, is the experience, strength and hope of one another. The allergy of the body and the obsession of the mind, is solved, in spiritual principles.

Because at some point, somewhere, in that moment of indecision, the only thing that will stand between you and a drink, will be your Higher Power.

Gratitude week is always celebrated around the anniversary of Dr. Bob’s date of sobriety.

June 10th, 1935.

See It, Find It, Buy It …

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This piece is on its way from Australia …

The world is your oyster, when it comes to shopping these days. Some areas of the world are better to shop from, than others. I have always said that, shopping from just any site that appears on the internet, may not always be wise.

Just because a site looks slick and authentic, and the merchandise is what you want, if you aren’t familiar with a particular seller, my caution is always the same:

Buyer Beware !!!

Social media has gone through many incarnations. And the ability to see something online, find it and then buy it, has become much easier, and A LOT more reputable. I have made some serious mistakes in trusting just any site out there, having been burned for hundreds of dollars by Shanghai gangsters.

I still will not shop in Asia. Not even on a selling platform like Ebay.

And lately it seems that something is going on, on Ebay. In the past, you could filter your shopping destination, to a particular zone. It is too bad that Australia is lumped in with Asia.

I try to stick to North America, and Australia, when I hit Ebay. Now, Ebay has disabled the filter by zone feature on their website. And the first location that masses on the front pages are items from China and Hong Kong.

To find what it is you are looking for, you have to scroll through pages upon pages of Asian merchandise to get to someone from the zone you are really looking for.

Pain in the Ass …

If you take, in combination, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Etsy, and Snapchat, you can find anything that is photographed, and attach it to a reputable seller. Like I said, this ability to link up with a reputable seller has gotten much better.

Over the past few months, my Instagram has ballooned. Friends of mine sport clothing they have bought from a particular creator, and posted photos of said clothing on their social media sites. We come along, see such clothing, and if you are like me, you probably wanted some of your own.

From this came clothing designers who come to my Instagram, and they follow me, and tell me to buy from their inventory and post a photo of that piece you have bought, and tag the creator. Etsy is a new site I shop at, because of Casey Neistat. He made a purchase, posted a photo, which generated huge business for the Etsy creator. Instagram is a huge site where you can confidently, see, find, and buy.

A few weeks ago, I was on a friends blog, and he posted a photo from a creator in New Zealand, called Odyn. I went over to Odyn and scored some of my own, from their Odyn collection, which will arrive here tomorrow. It took a month for them to hand sew all their gear.

Well worth the sweat equity.

I saw another set of gear from a seller in New South Wales, Sydney Australia. I had to wire the payment from my bank to their account, on the other side of the world, which added a few more days to shipment. But that was painless.

All of my gear from New Zealand and Australia is en route tonight.

The perk with shopping by zone, is the exchange rate. The best place to shop is where your dollar goes the furthest. If you can make a purchase and the exchange rate not kill you in the process, that’s the way to go.

Shopping in the U.S., Euro Zone or the British Pound, will cost you. I shop in Australia because the exchange is almost dollar for dollar. The Canadian Currency is about par, if not a few cents cheaper, going towards Australia. My shop in Australia saved me seven dollars on the exchange. New Zealand went with the U.S. dollar. So I paid a bit more on that one.

Each zone you shop from will either sell in their local currency or they will choose to run with a particular currency that translates across the world selling platform. Like the U.S. Dollar.

I’ve found that the trustability factor goes up, if you follow the logic of someone posting photos on social media. Because if they either create it, or wear it, that piece came from a reputable creator or seller.

Instagram has blown up with creators and sellers. To the point that new creators that have garnered business from a single photo, have expanded to go to other social media platforms and opened groups and business accounts, which has spawned even more business for their companies, moving product to further corners of the world.

The fitness clothing rage is alive and well. Now in year number two, as fitness clothing goes. I remember when I first noticed it, when I started loosing inordinate amounts of weight because of my medical regimen, which changed the way I live my life and the clothing I choose to wear.

Over the past year and a few months, cool clothing creators have come out of the wood work, so to speak. My friends sport clothing they buy, which spawns their friends to repeat that purchase, which drives business way up, and every time you buy something from a creator and you post a photo of your gear, YOU drive the business for the creator you sport.

When I went to Ottawa a couple of weeks ago, we photographed all the gear I had bought over the last month and Instagrammed them. This proved very good for each of the creators I sported.

Buy great clothing, by creators and designers, that work hard to produce quality gear. Creators that do their own work, “in house” by hand, always gets my vote.

It may take a few weeks to produce your gear, but it drives business in big ways. I’d rather buy from creators who want to make an honest days wages, because they are making the clothing we buy every day. By Hand …

There is good stuff to be had, created by great creators.

Get out there, and share in the creative cycle …

Forever ???

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At the wedding reception on Saturday, family and friends shared stories about Melissa and Stephan, and their many years of being together, prior to their wedding day. And in fact, The date … May 5th, 11 years prior, was the day that Stephan had asked Melissa to be his girlfriend.

Most couples meet at some point in their lives, and date and later marry. Melissa and Stephan met in high school. There is an old Facebook photo from that time period, long ago, of the two, standing in front of a “Just Married” sign. Portents of the future, they say now.

Who knew that back then, that eleven years later, they would meet in a chapel to make it official. There is a history there for sure.

Both sets of parents had introduction stories about the “other.” When they either first met Melissa, in Stephan’s parents case, or when Melissa’s parents first met Stephan. We got to hear what the parents were thinking at that time, and their concern over “longevity of such a young relationship.” Who could tell, if they would make it, or survive the test of time, and still be together.

A few years into Stephan and Melissa’s relationship, Stephan went into free fall. He was not sure that he wanted to be with Melissa forever, since he had NOT had another girlfriend before, and wasn’t really sure if “this was it …” so to speak.

The next day, he broke up with Melissa. He went home that night and told his mother what he had done. And she asked him bluntly … what the hell did you do that for ??

Thankfully, he had been talking all along with Jessica, Melissa’s younger sister, and his closest friends about the breakup. After receiving wise counsel from all, he had decided that Melissa was the girl he wanted to be with for life. He had to devise a plan to “get her back.”

With Jessica’s advice he went out and bought a “Promise Ring.” The very next day, he met with Melissa to give her that ring.

With that promise of love and devotion, Stephan and Melissa began walking the long path of 9 more years to the altar.

Stephan had figured it out. The girl he asked to be his girlfriend ended up being the woman he would marry on Saturday, last.

A moment happened at the reception that I had Stephan to myself. Oddly, during that night, people had the opportunity to speak one on one with bride and groom, individually.

When the moment came for me, I hit my mark. I told Stephan the story about the “wedding vows on the fridge story.”

Yes, you both had eleven years together before the wedding. You hit some hard times, well, things that were hard on lives so young. You built businesses, and then found a home together. Now you are married. And this is where the “Rubber meets the Road.”

They did not recite the traditional wedding vows …

Wedding vows may also take the following form: I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

They instead, opted for the HANDS reading that I wrote about the other night.

So I told Stephan about the vows as they are stated. And that now they were married, what happens when shit really hits the fan? What happens when good goes bad, easy goes hard, wellness turns into sickness. When better gets worse, when richer goes poorer, such and so forth.

I told him about people I knew, who got married, because it was the “thing to do at the time.” They really did not think about Forever very well. And for some of them, when things did go south, as they sometimes did, they did not make it, and for many of those couples, break up and divorce was in the cards for them.

I warned him. Told him to be vigilant. To Be a good Boy Scout and “Always be mindful and prepared” because you never know when shit is going to get real.

Right now, in Hubby’s family, shit is getting real. And the writing is on the wall, and death is a forgone conclusion, for Hubby’s Mom. She is frail, and weakening badly. She is not eating. (Once a sick person or an elderly person decides to stop eating) you know, the end is not far away.

My father in law, over dinner, with all of us sitting around him, related my Mother in Law’s frail condition. At one point he was free, and I implored hubby to go talk to his father, and tell him what he needed to hear from hubby. Which he turned around and spat words in my face to the effect that … “I should butt out of his family life…”

He did go talk to his father in the end. And when he left the reception we both spoke to him, offering them whatever help they could ever need, that we would be ready and willing to do whatever needed to be done, when it was necessary.

We are going to lose a family member, the question is When ???

So we are steeled right now for the inevitable. Many of my nieces and nephews are young, many of them have never experienced death in real-time. Stephan needs to know what to do when this event comes around. And how he is going to support Melissa when the time comes.

Warnings that Wedding vows talk about.

Marriage is not always a bed of roses. Life has a funny way of throwing wrenches into life at the worst possible moments.

One never knows when shit is going to get real.

Hubby strode up behind us while I was talking and rolled his eyes at us, and turned to Stephan and said … “Ignore everything Jeremy has just said, because he likes to talk.”

He was afraid I was putting the Fear Of God into our young married man.

Forever is a long time. And Marriage is Forever.

We only hope that Stephan and Melissa last the test of time, till death they do part.

Sunday Sundries: Weekend Wrap Up

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The CN Tower, looking towards from outside the Union Station Go Bus Platform.

After ten hours of travel today, we walked in the door to home at ten minutes to nine this evening. Today was a long travel day, and I was not sure if hubby would make it in one piece. It was touch and go, when we got to Toronto.

Our daily routine was thrown out of whack, our daily naps did not happen, and we were on the go for the entire weekend, after the nightmare beginning to the trip and the wind storm and blackout in Hamilton.

The wedding was beautiful. Seeing family was the best part. Being appreciated made it all worth it. However, like I said the other night, some people never change, and some people are just not happy at all.

But we connected with our younger nieces and nephew Adrian. We will have more game players to join us at the Board Game Cafe, when I go to visit my best friend next.

We departed Hamilton this morning at 10:15 a.m. We took the Go Bus to Toronto, because there was no Go Train service on Sunday. We were plainly tired. And the bus ride seemed much shorted than the commuter train on Friday evening. But traffic going into Toronto was a nightmare.

We drove past the lake front. It was beautiful. There was a Marathon being run on the lake front today. We did not get that far in our sightseeing.

We arrived at Union Station at noon, with three hours to kill. Since you cannot check luggage and leave it in a station, we had to drag the bags where ever we wanted to go.

Hubby was on thin ice emotionally. But he asked me what I wanted to do, and he walked with me to the CN Tower, which was not all that bad.

Toronto is a HUGE city. There is Concrete, Glass and Metal, as far as the eye can see. I mean every square block of downtown Toronto is BUILDINGS …. Yes, there is the water front property, but I imagine if you lived anywhere inside the downtown core, one must have to pay BIG BUCKS to live there.

I imagine the majority of people like us, could only afford to live in the suburbs and commute into the city for work and play. On Friday afternoon when we arrived in Toronto, Union Station was crawling with people.

Rush Hour Toronto is a nightmare.

Today, when we got to Union Station, the Go Platform was empty. I was having serious Deja Vu …

So we hoofed it from Union to the CN Tower. When we got there, I took some photos, and we started to go inside, but hubby vetoed that decision when the security agent told us it would cost nearly $80.00 CAD to go up the tower.

He was like NOPE … SEE YA !!!

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The Aquarium just outside the CN Tower. And the Roger’s Center.

I took a few more photos, and we cabbed it back to Union Station, where we had lunch, albeit we spent almost $60.00 on lunch because it was a restaurant IN Union Station and not a cheap dive above ground.

I have to say that if you have to travel a fair distance and you don’t need to fly, and you have time to waste, VIA RAIL is a great choice. The trains are clean, well-appointed. the seats are comfortable and the views on our trip out and back were stunning.

I take a bus to Ottawa, because the bus station is only 5 blocks from my best friends apartment on Bank Street, an easy walk from the Ottawa bus station.

We’ve never traveled on VIA RAIL before, and we were pleased very much with the train ride out and back. It was five hours to and five hours back from Toronto.

Our final word on Toronto was … Not our cup of tea. Hubby really does not like Toronto at all. I think if we were there with a place to stay in the downtown core, and no luggage to drag around and more time, and some ample rest before hand, we could have had a better time of it, than we did today.

We love Montreal. Our city has chic. And it has a style that Toronto does not. Montreal is NOT ALL Concrete, Glass and Metal. We got to see night-time views of downtown from the Via Rail on the way in that we had never seen before.

Makes us appreciate our beautiful city all the more.