We’re Always Making New Friends

Humboldt

It is almost 2 a.m. and I should be in bed. Have to be up at 7 a.m. for an 8 a.m. bus ride to the West Island in the morning. Today, A new friend and I made the trip out this afternoon. The island of Montreal is under severe construction, all the elevated highways have been knocked down, as they build new ones in their place.

If you have to travel East or West, by those very same highways, everybody is using surface streets to get around the detours. Imagine, buses, cars, and every other vehicle imaginable trying to navigate surface streets, not made for heavy traffic or multiple cars all at once.

The detour took us over an hour to navigate on a Saturday afternoon, but we made it to the community center with plenty of time before hand. We socialized and made new friends, or met friends that I see often, but not get to talk to on a deeper level, at meetings.

Not a whole lot of people from town were there today. But the numbers looked good in the “young people quotient.” There is a cross-section of folks from all over the island, with varying time of sobriety.

You know when you go to a sober gathering that you must carry several things in abundance. Munchies, Cigarettes, Kleenex, and Cash. Making new friends always entails being kind to them, from the get go. Because what you do for someone else when it matters, may impact them in ways you might not see right away. But a kindness given is a kindness received.

We got there early, and a handful of young people I know, from around town had shown up, which gives me time with each of them outside the purview of a meeting. The gatherings around the communal cigarette bin located outside the hall is the location where we network the best.

The one cigarette per person rule goes out the window. So I brought several packs with me just in case I needed them. And I did.

We heard two good shares. A young man, well, young in his forties, with 23 years sobriety, and our pinch hitter speaker this evening, an old-timer with more than 45 years of sobriety. Today’s contingent came from Toronto.

Many good things were shared. Two that come to mind at the moment are, our young man has a habit of opening meetings in his neighborhood, so that the meeting are all by his house. Because like he said to us … We Are Always Making New Friends.

Sober Folks are friends we just haven’t met yet.

Our Lady speaker talked about God. Coming from Humboldt Saskatchewan, nobody knew Humboldt until a few weeks ago, when the youth hockey team were involved in that tragic bus crash that killed so many young men and women in the bus.

She told us of the incalculable Power of Good. She might not know, at forty some odd years who God is, but she does know about the Power of Good.

We are all here for a purpose. We had to just get to hell, to find the direction into the Power of Good, to turn our lives around.

We laughed. We giggled. And we were sad, but then joy took over.

A good day was had by all. Tomorrow is a long haul day, with multiple speakers from all corners of the world, an ALA-Non Speaker, lunch and the afternoon filled with more to come.

Stay tuned…

At What Point Can We Get Honest ?

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I heard one of my friends tonight say, about a conversation he had earlier, with a friend, that he was not sure he could be honest with said friend about the topic they were discussing.

I know my friend for many years now. I have many friends, I have known for a long time, and becoming who we are begins with getting better all the way around. We stay clean and sober, and we do the work that is given to us, Willingly.

Willingness is the key.

I have said before that I cannot do life alone. I need my sponsor, my guides and my friends. I need that voice, coming over my shoulder, that says … It’s gonna be OK.

I have a few twenty-four hours under my belt. And for a long time, I did not know what I did not know. And I know the first time I was attempting to get sober, there was A LOT that I did not know. And that worked against me, as represented by the wordsI spoke and the decisions I made, based on self. (not the good self for that matter)

Life is all about becoming who we are supposed to be. Sometimes the road is easy, but in my experience, for many people, the road has been very tough.

I spoke tonight about life. I knew, very early on, in my life, what it was that I did NOT want to be. I heard words that I swore I would never use myself. And I heard thoughts that were repugnant, bigoted and racist.

I knew …

Growing up, if you did not fit in the box my parents wanted you to check, they punished you with silence, and darkness and humiliation and resentment.

Imagine a kid growing up with that kind of negativity and trying to find your way into the world, and survive the slog!

My father went to his grave, hating me, and resenting me for becoming who I was meant to be. My mother is on that very same shit path herself. Last night, I read in this months Grape Vine, about a woman long sober, making peace with her mother, and she asked her what she could do to mend the fence between them ?

The answer was, You Could agree with me sometimes. I’m not always wrong you know.

And I thought about that conversation all day today.

I imagine going to visit my mother, in my brother’s house, where nobody knows me today, and does not want to know me, because of resentment and anger and denial. I imagine having that kind of conversation with her, knowing she spits out the same vile shit, like a script she has mastered over my lifetime.

I don’t ever think I will ever mend that fence, myself.

The second time I got sober, I began with steps that were all about ME. What people did to me, and why they deserve my scorn and hatred. I remember the first round of steps I did, and how LONG my fourth step was, and the hours it took to do my fifth.

Then I burned them.

For years and years, I’ve been working steps with different people, with different lengths of sobriety. And I have amassed a library of knowledge about myself but more importantly, knowledge about everybody else.

God has a funny way with me. The evidence is right there for me to look at. Steps Six and Seven are the growth steps. The change steps. Because we work Six and Seven for the rest of our lives. And further up the road, at Ten, we learn how to do spot check inventories and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Over the years, as I pass through Six and Seven, God shows me Six and Seven, in front of my face. I have learned to see “spiritually.” It has taken a long time to work that vision out. I know I can trust because I can see.

It is the same with some of my friends, when it comes to me. They can see, for me, when I cannot see for myself. And each of them, each in their own ways, have the voice and the temperament to sit me down and tell me like it is, when I fuck up.

Many of my friends know who they are, in each of their varying lengths of sobriety. Many of my friends are honest with me. And I see that virtue in them, in the books I have read on honesty, virtue and honor.

What I see in them, I want to become myself.

I don’t know, at what point, we can trust our vision, and humbly admit we don’t know everything, but I we know some things. In the beginning, I would not say anything to people because I did not know myself what it was I really wanted to say, even if it sounded good in my head.

Over the years, I have worked with others. And over the years I have had several sponsors. And over the years, each of them fell victim to their own character defects.

As I get and stay sober, and life goes on, and shit happens, and things get real, what I witnessed was my friends, my sponsor and other drunks, reacting to the fact that I was having a hard time. I listened to the words they said to me. And I witnessed what each of them did to me, in response to my life getting “Shit Real.”

The rooms really don’t like to see people “In the Mix” People in the rooms, don’t like to witness pain and hardship. And many of my friends and sponsor at the time, pushed me away, freaking out, because I was freaking out, and when I jumped out of my placid, quiet, reserved skin, and became a little odd and crazy, that freaked people out, because I was coming out of my skin, and for a long time at that, that quiet, sane individual became someone they did not know, or want to know.

So they all ran for the hills.

What a shame. And at that point my friends, not knowing what to do with a crazy man, in front of them, all scattered.

There are many ways to get sober. I know a friend, who is more than twenty-five years sober. She, like myself, learned how to get sober, the hard way. We walked into particular meetings, and those men and women, said one thing to us …

If you follow our suggestions, and do not argue, and you work, as we show you what to do, yes, you too will get and stay sober.

There were no two ways about it. It was their way or the highway, so to speak.

She was handed her job. And likewise, I was handed mine. A coffee pot.

We listened to old timers tell us what to do. We both had sponsors who did the right thing at the right time, for the right reason. We learned suggestions. We worked steps. We did service, and to this day, BOTH of us do service, all the time, every day.

Repetition is the key in recovery.

We read the same book, work the same steps. hear the same stories, over and over again. But as we share with each other, as we remain clean and sober, perspective changes.

Each time we make a pass at a particular story or topic or step, we see it in the way we see it IN THAT MOMENT, as it is. not particularly, the way we saw it, the last time we hit that share, or topic or step.

It is like polishing a gem stone. Each pass at the wheel makes the gem better.

We both know what we heard, all those years ago. We both know what we did, over the years, so we know what to do, because we spent the better part of our lives, treading the same things over and over. With all that time between us, and each in our own times, we know what we know, because we heard, we worked, we spoke, and we did.

She has a voice, and I have mine. Based on practical experience, strength and hope.

I talk to newcomers and I tell them what I did, and I make simple suggestions. Not many people want to hear what I have to say, because I, like my elder lady friend, come from the sober school of hard knocks.

Sobriety is not easy. And people know that from the get go.

But if you say something that is not easy … They respond with I just Can’t !

So I ask, why not ? What have you got to lose, but the old way you used to live ?

They say that honesty is the best policy. But when do we know what honesty is, and when do we know that what we have to say matters, is truthful, honest and comes from a place of humility?

That, is a tall order. And can take a lifetime to learn.

Over the years, I have worked with men and women. many of them are not in my life anymore, because when I hit the rough spot, who I became was unacceptable to their sensibilities. All that sober knowledge I spent teaching them, went for naught.

Because each of them sunk into their character defects. I saw it. I heard it, and I spoke about it too. Being honest in all my affairs was a mantra I use to this day.

I was honest with them. They did not like that. So that made me less sober or trustworthy.

Fuck Me for Trying !!!

I know today, the odds, when people come in the rooms. By what they say, and what they do, and who they listen to. The fighters and arguers, never make it. Those who justify their addictions, never get better. Until they decide to get honest.

I know sober folks who are constitutionally unable to be honest with themselves.

If I attend a meeting, for a long time, for a specific reason, to learn something, and people treat me badly, that is not on me, it is on them. When people who used to be my friends, turn out to NOT be friends, and do not have the ability to reciprocate kindness, that is on them and not me.

There are LONG SOBER men and women, whom I have known for the whole of my sobriety. We are talking people with decades of sobriety, who treat me with ignorance and silence. That just floors me.

I know who I am today. And I know what I know about each person I know. Because I have spent the better part of sixteen years and a few months, watching and listening to them in meetings.

I got sober, on the backs of every single person in every single meeting I went to. Every single day of this sober segment.

I know every decision they made. I know every mistake they made. I heard every word they said, in meetings, over and over. I watched people go back out, come back in, go back out and come back in.

I also watched some people die in that process.

If you did something and succeeded, I used that myself. If you did something and failed, I chalked it up to lessons learned. I made mistakes. I said things. I decided things too.

For the most part, I did my best, with whatever I had at the moment.

Not everybody was amused. Many people judge and are critical of me.

That is on them and not me. People are who they are, and will do what they do, so I should not let that bother me, but it does. Some don’t seem to learn and get better. They just want to be who they are. And their growth becomes stunted.

I am honest with people. Almost to a fault and that scares people, that I could know what I know, it is only that I know because I have tested all my methods over the years and I know what works.

I am in the book. I am in my steps. I am in meetings, and I do service. All the time.

I am always looking for the next greatest teacher or lesson. And right now, I am in a brand new incarnation of who I want to be, based on those I surround myself with.

I trust few.

We are all growing up to who we want to be.

Each at our paces.

I am powerless over people, places and things.

And what ever happens, a drink will not solve them.

So I hit another meeting …

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 ….

Tuesday: Books, Books and More

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During my trip to Ottawa last weekend, I finished reading James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies and Leadership. The book is a fascinating look at Comey’s life, where he came from, how he got here, and his professional career in Justice.

I was reminded by my best friend that when someone writes a book about themselves, they usually write it, so that they look GOOD. James Comey, admits his faults, and his character defects from the get go. He is aware of his own shortcomings, and within the book, as he writes, keeps those issues front of mind, in his telling of stories.

James Comey is a man of truth, character, and dignity. He believes in the rule of law, and the need for specific distance from certain entities in the Government Cabal.

The President is NOT an honest man. He IS a Character … Right out of mafia speak. And President Trump has no dignity, and does not care about anyone else but his own bottom line.

I highly suggest that you READ JAMES COMEY …

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A few days ago, Ronan Farrow was on Rachel Maddow’s show and they were talking about his latest book out. War on Peace; The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence.

Ronan Farrow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Harvey Weinstein debacle. A Pulitzer Prize is a BIG AWARD. I plan my reading library around the esteemed Pulitzer Prize winners, every season.

I’ve just begun this read, this week. The writing, so far, is stellar.

This week will be very busy. Meetings are moving around the city, and others are closed for church Bazaars on the weekend, So this is a rare week off …

We have been shopping like mad women for suits, shoes, ties and pocket squares for our niece Melissa’s wedding this coming weekend. We are leaving on Via Rail on Friday Morning, from Montreal to Toronto, and the Go Train to Hamilton.

We will return on Sunday night.

New clothes have been arriving sporadically. My Odyn gear from New Zealand is on its way, and another piece I ordered from Sydney Australia will go out tomorrow. The good thing about buying in Australia is that the exchange between Canada and Australia is almost dollar for dollar. An even trade. So I am not paying exorbitant exchange rates.

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The third book I am working through is American Kingpin. The Epic Hunt for the Criminal mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton. Needless to say, I will have enough reading material for this epic train ride this weekend.

More to come.

Stay tuned…

International Record Day – Ottawa

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This past weekend, I spent with my best friend in Ottawa. On Saturday, was International Record Day across the city. My friend actually lives in the heart of the Village, and was within walking distance of all the record stores we shopped at over the weekend.

Before there were cell phones, we had land lines in our homes. Usually on the kitchen wall, and maybe in the living room. I happened to have my own phone in my bedroom growing up.

Before there were computers … Was there ever a BEFORE computers ???

Yes, if you grew up anytime before the early 2000’s. I did not get a computer until the year 2001. But I used one on a University Campus to facilitate my crash and burn SLIP.

What did we have to occupy our time, when we were kids ? We had friends, that we actually visited with, for hours and for me, DAYS at a time. Before there were cars to get you around, your parents had to drive you everywhere.

I thought a lot about this, over the weekend. When I go o Ottawa, we are partially disconnected from the world. Although we have our phones and an I-Pad to access the internet and Netflix.

For the most part, if we aren’t running around town, visiting museums or walking around the city, aimlessly, or eating, we listen to records …

What’s that ? You Listen To Records ???

Yes. My best friend has a television, and a stereo, and a Record Player. Over he past three years, he has built quite a fine collection of records, across the board musically. And we spent hours, over this past weekend, listening to the new records we both bought over the weekend.

With our phones, it is all too easy to download digital copies of music. In a flash, from a Pirate Site or I-Tunes, or from where ever you get your music, we all have libraries of music on our phones.

I purposely, do not have social media on my phone. But I have music. Enough music that while I am on Shuffle … I can listen to so much music, over hours of time, that not one song repeats itself.

When I was a kid, records were my life. Records were the life of many of my friends, growing up. We spent hours upon hours laying on the bedroom floor, staring at the ceiling, listening to records after school.

The best part of records was surely an opportunity to go see you favorite performer live in concert.

I spent countless hours in my bedroom, ALONE, with my records. I would draw. I loved ships. I would sit and look at travel brochures and I would draw by hand, ships on a huge sketch pad. There was always MUSIC playing in the background.

Back in the day, music was physical. It was something we owned with pride. Our respective record collections. My grandparents had a 78 rpm record player with those thick 78 pressed records.

The resurgence of records has been growing in demand over the last few years. This weekend we spent a good amount of time in many record stores looking for those records you could not find on ANY OTHER DAY, than on International Record Day in Ottawa. A One Stop Shop, Extravaganza.

I met men my age, (read: In their fifties) and some a little bit older, picking through record bins, looking for records of their youth. I watched men and women experience a joy that you don’t see very often.

I had several OH MY GOD moments, yesterday and today.

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I love old music. I cannot get enough of it. I have toms of old music on my phone that I downloaded digitally. On my birthday, The Big 50 we went record shopping here in Montreal, however, I don’t yet own a record player.

This weekend, I hit Record Gold with a find that just blew my mind away. Captain and Tennille records. FOUR of them. I hit three in one day, and the fourth one, the Very First Record I ever owned, back in the 1970’s … Pictured there on the right, in the display to the right of the record player …

I found a brand new Never Opened Def Leppard Hysteria, reprinted last year, 2017, double record set, that cost $30.00 less 20 % on sale. Everything in the record stores yesterday was 20% off …

I had several Oh My God Holy Shit Moments, finding records I had not seen in over thirty years. Folks far and wide are recapturing their youth in vintage record stores all over the country. We’ve decided to disconnect from our phones and re-attach ourselves to the past, once again, in records. The Age Old Practice of record playing.

There is nothing like the classic sound of vinyl records. Especially remastered works on stereo systems. Digital may be a choice for active people in today’s world. Listening to music on a record player is such a beautiful experience.

My life is painted in music. Every piece of music I have on my phone is connected to particular memories. And as we played our records, this weekend, we talked about where we were, what age we were, when we first heard that original music.

The best thing about music and records is, that it invites you to disconnect from the world for periods of time, doing nothing but enjoying a record experience.

My next purchase, soon, very soon … Is going to be a record player of my own.

There is NO LIFE without MUSIC or Books for that matter…

 

Thursday: Weekend Plans and News

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This has been a very interesting week, to be sure. The most anticipated book of the season was released on Tuesday. James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty” Truth, Lies and Leadership.

I ordered a copy of this book, in March, after seeing it appear on the Indigo Website.

This week had been spent waiting on the mail, for many things. All the books I had on order arrived today, along with clothes I had purchased over the last two weeks.

Tomorrow I am taking an afternoon bus to Ottawa to visit my best friend for the weekend, and the 2.5 hour bus ride will be spent reading. There is nothing better than being able to get on a bus, and sink into a good book.

If you are political, in any way, then you would have spent good hours of time, in the last week watching James Comey being interviewed.

Being noble and honorable are words that have been spoken by people I have known in my life. Parents are supposed to be honorable and noble. Serving your country is noble and honorable. Dying for your country, in the pursuit of war, automatically makes one noble and honorable, because you made the ultimate sacrifice for your country.

There are very FEW Noble and Honorable men in the world.

If you had to choose between a President of the United States and a Public Servant, the Public Servant gets my vote on any day of the week. There is no doubt in my mind the nobility and honor that James Comey exhibits.

Read the Book …

The weather in Montreal has been shit for weeks now. It has been cold and miserable. Mother Nature does not know whether to make it snow, or make it rain. And we have not seen the sun, in as many days. Tonight, it was cold, and snow fell from the sky again this evening.

We have been told that by Saturday, temps will rise into double digits. It is sitting at 2 degrees on the positive side right now. By Saturday, they tell us it will be 18c, on the positive side, and as well, those positive temps will last through the end of the month of April.

Let Us Pray …

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Casey Neistat rocked a pair of tights from Dyno Tights the other day, on a run around New York City. I then went to Dyno and ordered a pair of my own. Those tights arrived in the post this afternoon, along with several books.

My Spring and Summer wardrobe is well appointed. With a couple more items on order tonight, I will be the best Athleisure model the rooms has ever seen.

I’m amid a read of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. There is a noble and honorable man if I ever met one. If you’ve never read Marcus’s writing, you should.

There is a thread of what my friends have read, going around. Books come into our collective mental libraries, each on their own. Someone reads a book, and adds it to the collective conscience to be read by others.

One of my tools I use to reach and teach, is through books. When several people, in my circle is reading the same book, over time, as life goes by, one begins to see and realize just what moves my friends, in how they live, treat others, and share on any given day.

We’ve all read The Spirituality of Imperfection. We’ve also all read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, The Big Book is also on that read list, Steps you see. Many of my guys are noble and honorable men. At least they all strive to be, each in their own ways.

I can see, in many of the books we have all read, pieces of each book, that exist in the actions and lives of my friends. That is a good thing.

I will be away from a few days. We don’t do TV in Ottawa. And we don’t spend time sitting in front of the lap top either.

More to come, Sunday or Monday.