July 31st … 2018

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I got up this morning with a plan. I jumped in the shower and got dressed and headed downstairs to go visit my friend Dee at her beauty salon, just up the block from home.

I figured that if I stayed home, I would have just gone back to bed and spent the day sleeping, (which, I did not).

She had a client so I hung about and drank my cup of coffee, until she finished and we went and stood outside under the trees for a bit, until her next client arrived. I got a bunch of texts from people spread all over the world, and from Megan, Rafa’s soon to be fiancée … And his mom in Brazil.

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I got a book, from my best friend in the post this afternoon. The 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson. He’s a thinker and he is a shit stirrer too. Professor Peterson is a lightening rod for sure. But Rafa likes him and thought to send me a birthday present and introduce the book into our Sober Circle Reading List.

I Instagrammed a photo of the book, and one of my friends, here in town is reading the book right now. There are three people I know reading it. Rafa, Jonathan and then me. But before I can read this book, I have to finish Guns, Germs and Steel by Derek Diamond.

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After a bit of lunch my Elder Best Friend Spencer called from Utah. He is studying at Brigham Young University. He plays the banjo. He sang me the Birthday Song playing his banjo. I saw this clip art on Twitter the other night and sent it to  him.

The photo at the top of the post is of Elder Spencer, (on the right) his best friend Elder John (in the middle) and a fellow Elder, I do not know. They are at the Salt Lake Temple.

Lots of people sent me wishes on Face Book. My young friend Noah, turned 18 today as well. He is the son of one of my Mentor friends in London Ontario. I have watched Noah, his brother Zach and his sister Dahlia grow up. Zach is the youngest of the three young adults now. We celebrated his birthday with his mom on Face Book.

We will have a simple dinner and call it a night.

Thanks everybody.

Reflections on 50, as we Cross into 51

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Fifty was a ripe, solid, round number.

Did you know that Harry Potter’s birthday is ALSO the 31st of July …

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There weren’t any big bells and whistles. Hell, there wasn’t even a party !

I can say, that 50 was a good year. My health is good. All the numbers are nominal. Got my summer doctors visits in, over the last two months, and we are good to go until January of next year.

My HIV is all but non-existent. With high numbers, nobody is worried, so we keep on keeping on. My diabetes is controlled well. My A1C is down and all those numbers are good to go as well.

But at fifty, men need to take a look elsewhere in their bodies, as we are hitting the age where, doctors are looking internally, to make sure the plumbing is running well, that our prostate is good, and doctors begin the tedious work of doing those cancer screenings more often.

Fifty was also the age that we need to bump up our nutritional intake, and vitamin supplements for people, 50 plus. Because it’s all downhill from here. And we have to keep up muscle mass, eat well, exercise, and take the supplemental vitamins to keep our bodies in shape.

If you are not paying attention to the engine of the car, the frame is going to begin falling apart. If the engine ain’t running well, that car, won’t go very far … so to speak.

I’ve had certain issues begin to come up that are beyond my control, both physically and economically. As we age, teeth begin to fail, erode, and to disintegrate. This is a serious issue for me.

On the negative side of fifty, my fifty year old teeth are not serving me well. Over the last year I have lost four teeth. A month ago, one of my front teeth cracked in half.

I’ve written about this earlier, as it happened. I went to get checked out by two institutions. One a professional dentistry office, and they wanted upwards of $48,000.00 for a rehab job, taking six months to complete.

I also hit the McGill Dental Teaching hospital, and they wanted upwards of $50,000.00 for the job, including braces and adjustments, taking TWO YEARS to complete the job there.

The reality of this situation is this … We cannot afford $48,000 to $50,000.00 dollars.

Our group insurance does not cover major dental issues. And No Canadian insurance outfit does either. I’ve called everyone in the book to inquire, and they all told me that the Canada insurance plans do not cover major dental.

Which means I am FUCKED !!!

I hear about Clear Choice in the States that do the work in ONE DAY. But they finance the whole shebang. We won’t qualify for a loan that large, $48,000 or $50,000.00

I feel bad going to the bank and asking for money that will take the rest of our lives to pay back, and I’m afraid that I won’t live long enough to see that completely paid off, and I don’t feel right saddling my husband with a debt larger that he can visualize and take care of himself, if I die in the interim.

A week ago, I was in Ottawa. It was grim. Knowing I was dentally challenged, made enjoying myself a bit subdued. Nobody wants to see a crack whore on film.

I feel like a crack whore …

When I got back early last week, Something happened in my mouth, and an abscess presented itself, quite forcefully. The pain was excruciating. I’d never felt such pain in my life. By Thursday last week, the pain was so intense, I was having immediate, brain reactions to said pain. The pain cycle was two hours.

Thursday morning I saw my doctor. He took a look and prescribed me antibiotics. When I got them filled, I also got some serious pain killers to go with the antibiotics.

I ate an entire bottle of pain killers over 15 hours.

Like I said the pain cycle was two hours. I timed it. I take two pain killers and the pain would subside somewhat. But would eventually crank back up to 200%, over a two-hour period and then finally peak, with screaming, insane, blinding pain in my head.

Intense pain induces a kind of insanity that I’ve never experienced before. I would swing from placid and happy to intensely bitterly short and angry over a two-hour period.

I thought I was loosing my mind.

Thursday afternoon, I was Hanging out on Google with a friend, and as the conversation went on, the pain began to ramp up and I began to unravel, in front of him. I did not tell him then and there what was going on, because I was trying to keep it together as my brain whirred into NERVES ON FIRE mode.

In the end, I cut the conversation short, and tried to gather my wits, take a pill and try to lay down and get past the fire …

The pharmacist told me that as soon as the antibiotics got into my system, that the pain would go away. That did not happen until Friday evening, when I took my last dose of pain killers, because I wanted to get through the meeting in one piece, so I loaded up before hand, to make sure I would not flip out in front of my friends.

The antibiotics are working.

Now I have to find the method and the money to try and fix WHAT I can get fixed, without breaking the bank, or having to go to the bank and ask for money, that we cannot afford at the moment.

So in financial terms, we are kind of intensely POOR …

Tomorrow we hit 51 …

I am still alive more than twenty four years later.

I am IN THE WORK. Both my guys are IN THE WORK themselves. I am reading the book with my lady friend. I am spiritually centered. I am solid in sobriety. I have good friends. I have meetings and service to do. I am doing everything right, to stave off a drink.

Sobriety serves me very well these days.

Let’s end on a good note shall we…

 

Birthday Celebration

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It was a good day. Filled with friends and good wishes. I started the day with a stiff broom, sweeping out the trash. I got my laundry done in the morning. I can toss a load in the washer and then get my grocery shopping done during the dry …

I even got a nap in.

Tonight we went to Fire Grill. I had invited my friend Juan and his girlfriend Nadia to join us for a meal. It was really nice. We don’t get to spend much time together outside of meetings, so tonight was a treat.

I have a plan. And this week that new plan begins.

We are going to go meet new people and hit some new meetings.

Now we will all find out what living in my fifties is going to look like together.

Thank you all for subbing and reading and joining the conversation.

Writing this little blog is an act of love, every day.

Sunday Sundries: Birthday Pre-Show

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Sometimes you just have to tell people to just “FUCK OFF !!!” My phone has been ringing off the hook, with a very needy, self-centered woman, who thinks I exist to serve her day and night as her beck and call boy.

NOT !!!!

I have a rule about reciprocity, if you fail this requirement, you loose …

I spent the balance of the day with my best friend, eating good food, and decadent desserts, at Jeanne Mance Park. Jeanne Mance Park is within earshot of Mount Royal Park, across Parc (road) where the Sunday Funday Smoke Some Weed and Play Your Drums, Tam Tam’s takes place weekly.

On our left was a badminton game going on. On our right, was a biker, who was smoking weed, he asked us for a light, with a huge DUBE in his hand. He didn’t ask us if we wanted to share, just a light, for himself.

Not that we would have partaken anyway.

You cannot go very far in Montreal, in the park system and not have to smell weed in the air all around you.

How often does your best friend come to Montreal to see you ? Not often enough. We pledged to change that. I will be going to Ottawa next month.

Good conversation was had.

On the way home, we stopped in a very dangerous shop. A RECORD STORE !!!

I haven’t seen a record player since I left the Night Club business some years ago. I knew records existed. But I have not owned a record player in more than thirty years.

But I bought three records for myself. Which means, I need a RECORD PLAYER …

Xanadu is self-explanatory. I have the music on my phone already. I remember, as a teen-ager getting both my parents to take me to see the film. I’ve seen it several hundred times over the years.

Level 42 needs a little bit more explanation.

When I was a young man, not yet twenty-one, I was working in a travel agency. I was the Manager of said agency at the time. Auspicious? Maybe, maybe not. It was a career that I could have prospered in. Save for the rampant alcoholism that was already present.

That particular year, business was especially good. Pan American ticket sales were through the roof, and we traveled as often as we could. First Class at that.

Because, who flew coach, when First Class Passes were handed out quarterly.

First stop was London, England. Don’t remember much of England. But I did some serious record shopping while I was there. I had a walk man in my carry on luggage and I shipped all my packages home, because we could not check luggage when traveling stand-by passes.

I bought a Level 42 Cassette of Running in the Family … Record Above …

I have a copy of that album on my phone as well. And I listen to it often. One particular cut on that album, “Children Say” has a sound that is reminiscent of trains over tracks.

Every time I listen to it, I can shut my eyes, and JUST make out a visual memory of the over night train we rode from Munich, Germany to Rome. It was an overnight, sleeper car journey.

I know both records I bought today. Just finding these little gems of records is sweet.

I could really do some damage, money wise, if I started collecting records again.

Which means, I need a player to play them on.

My best friend gave me a John Coltrane CD called Giant Steps.

I am told that it was one of his best creations, after he got sober. A little JAZZ to accompany my meditation practice.

Last year, or was it the year before, I got John Coltrane’s Love Supreme CD. He was still living in Montreal, before they moved to Ottawa. We used to sit on the deck out back, and listen to music, and eat fattening food and talk for hours upon hours.

Something I really miss today. And he came up for a concert on Friday, which coincided with my birthday quite nicely.

I’m really grateful.

In 4 hours … I will technically be 50 years old.

Sunday Sundries: I Want A Drink …

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Nothing pisses me off more, than a room of few people, an hour fifteen for a meeting, 45 minutes to share, and a chair with the penchant for egg timing people from the chair.

I go to meetings to listen to my friends. And I go to meetings to hear God speak to me. And if the share gets to me, you bet your ass, I am going to take all the time I want.

We have two Hasidim men who come to our meetings out of their communities. We had a woman who had just days, and she was in pieces trying to get her words out. There were old timers who just sat there and tutted me every time I said to the chair to put his goddamned egg timer down and let people finish.

It wasn’t like we were pushed right up against the hour. No we had 45 minutes, and everyone should have gotten the time they needed to speak.

And Be Damned your Egg Timer … Damn it to Hell.

I made it a point, when our Jewish friends came, to make them feel comfortable and welcomed and supported and all. They usually come in late and have to catch up, which means, if time allows, you Let Them Talk, for Christ’s sake !

I never egg time anyone. And I’ve never egg timed anyone in a meeting that I chair. Not in all the years I have chaired any meeting in this city. There are very few occasions that I’d stop someone from going on and on and on. We all know, in the rooms, who they are.

The last time I had to kettle someone was after the election and a man started ranting and raving about politics and Donald Trump, at a Friday Meeting. We don’t do politics in the meeting. That’s in the Preamble.

The share got to me, and I had things to say, and I picked up my phone and said to the chair that, “I had 30 minutes to speak, and I was going to take every minute I wanted.”

My former sponsor and her boyfriend were sitting in the circle TUTTING me.

Fuck you…

That meeting is the hall at St. Leon’s where I got sober. The room where I saw God. The room that has been a weekly fixture in my sobriety for more than 15 years.

And you’re gonna egg time me ??? You Fucker …

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Clock-and-Stairs 200%

This morning I went to sit for my first design appointment for my birthday tattoo. My guy did not show. This is the image of the tattoo as my consultation began. The boy on the stairs, walking towards time, over the ocean.

It is a black and white image. No color to speak of.

The discussion went along, and we eliminated the clock works from the image. The clock is now a spiral configuration. The stair case is also Spiral, with the boy climbing a Spiral set of stairs, and in my mind’s eye, his shirt is red.

We are going to go along a blue theme. Having One Color, and many hues, is much cheaper than going full-bore, with many colors on the same tattoo.

The reason being is that your paying by the hour. Each color is, in and of itself, one set of color. And every time you have to change colors, you have go to through a cleaning process, eating your time and your money.

The outline is black. The ocean is blue, and whatever else needs to be colored will be a hue of blue, except my required red shirt on the boy.

The Clock denotes … TIME.

The Past, The Present and The Future.

The Stair Case … Is self-explanatory if you are in recovery.
We all know what Stairs or Steps mean.

The Ocean … Is life in all its turbulence.

The Boy’s shirt is … RED. A nod to my journey with AIDS.
One single shot of color. And the boy is going UP the stairs.
Not looking back or coming down. He is moving forwards.

The Clock is ticking, The steps are in front of you, and the water is gurgling below.

The Journey Home …

There is also a Kryon Parable about Michael and the Angels. A story I’ve read over and over again. Michael has suffered a terrible tragedy, the loss of his parents, he is living a dead-end life, and there is no one special in that life either. He gets mugged and almost killed. While in the ER he has a vision of an angel, who he tells, “That all he wants is to go home!”

The angel facilitates his way out of the hospital after a benefactor pays his bill and tells him to pack his things and prepare for the Journey Home.

In the story there are seven angels who teach Michael about life, in seven very colorful houses along the way. The last house is the House to go HOME.

Michael’s final walk, is up a staircase, to a door marked HOME.

Then he threw up …

If you’ve never read the story, you won’t get the last sentence.

People who know me, know I am a gentle man. And I never raise my voice or get angry. But the last few months has changed all that. I am more apt to speak my mind a bit more openly, even if it pisses my friends off and imbalances the power in the room.

I may not be in the chair, but if you displease me, you will know it for sure.

I’ve never walked out of a meeting before, ever.

Tonight I did … Wanting a drink !

Happy Birthday Neville Longbottom

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“No matter about all the shortfalls he had, he just came through. It was really brilliant to play the evolution.” – Matthew Lewis

Who knew, that Neville would grow up to be such a great young man. Neville, who was the other boy named in the prophecy about Harry. But Voldemort chose to go after Lily and James, instead of Neville’s parents.

Bellatrix was the witch who took Neville’s parents, who ended up in St. Mungo’s.

Neville cemented his place in the pantheon of the Harry Potter Story.

Happy Birthday Neville.