People Come and Go So Quickly Here. Montreal Festivals and Goings On.

It is Sunday today. And from the Wizard of Oz, and Dorothy,
“People come and go so quickly here!”

It is a sad day today. One of my best friends left Montreal with his dad, moving out East to Halifax, Nova Scotia for work. It is also coming to the end of the Semester for Universities here. Other friends will be leaving the country for the Summer, in a few days, to go back home to visit family and to work for next Falls tuition.

I hate goodbyes !

The city is going through its Spring transformation. Last weekend began the very important Three Week Planting Blitz. The weekend of the 24th of May, yearly, is the weekend that “planting” takes place, as the weather is warm, and everybody who has a garden, or the popular city gardens open for planting.

Last weekend was pretty hit and miss, but this weekend was pretty ok. Garden Centers in town are busier than normal these three weeks, with people buying all their plants and flowers and veggie plants.

We had a brief rain squall this morning while I was out at The Mission.

Our planting and growing season is short, so while the getting is good, gardens, and also, the fields up North of Montreal, and in the Townships get down to business. We only get a few good months of growing before we start heading downhill into Fall.

The city spends a good amount of money in planting parks and green spaces with myriads of flowers and greenery, only for the clean up crew that comes through every fall, and just yanks whatever is in the ground, flowers, shoots and roots, and tosses them in trucks for disposal every year.

Along Ste Catherines street, new trees were planted last year as they began to rehab the sidewalks and they put in planters and new trees. They are rebuilding the entire street from East to West over the next three years. They worked on our end of the city already, down at The Forum and Cabot Square, because of all the new condos that have opened over the last three years.

The new Children’s site, where multiple condos are going up as we speak, will bring thousands of new residents to our neighborhood. All those tall buildings are going to kill our most excellent view from our living room.

If you are into fresh foods and veggies, the all important garden markets are in full swing. Up at Jean Talon, on the North End, where Little Italy sits, down near us, the Atwater Market, and up on the Plateau, there is a garden market over at the Mount Royal Metro. I saw that the community garden market down in Little Burgundy was open now, right down the hill from home.

There are several community garden markets and many community gardens that grow food for the people who live here, who, usually cannot afford the prices shops charge for good veggies and fruit and greens.

One of my friends went and got some spice plants and some nice veggies. The community markets open in the spring and offer, FOR FREE, veggies and plants for your kitchen, garden, and for those who have them, balcony gardens.

Very soon … as June opens in a few days, Festival Season begins in Montreal. With the Montreal Grand Prix, the PREMIER event of the Season, down at the race track on Parc Jean Drapeau. The city brings in Millions of dollars on the four day event every year.

If you love music, and you either live here, or close to Montreal, Montreal is the place to be for the summer. The multiple various jazz festivals, both on the English and Francophone sides are popular. These outdoor concerts bring in millions of people to the city every summer. Along with the outdoor offerings are many indoor, ticketed events that cost a little more, but are so worth the price of admission.

There are so many things to do in Montreal in season. There are parks to go to, museums to visit, cafes to eat in, bars to drink in, movies to see, concerts to attend, so many things.

This is our bread and butter, while the weather is good for every conceivable outdoor event you can think of. And only in Montreal, can you climb a mountain in the middle of the city. The biggest green space in the city.

If you have never been to Montreal, or you visit, Montreal is a beautiful city in the Summer. I invite you to come visit. Enjoy all that our city beautiful has to offer. Bring your kids, there are plenty of activities for families across the city, all summer long.

More to come.

Spring has Sprung !!

Montreal hit the 15c mark today. The first stretch of double digit temps this season. The windows are open for the first time. The breeze is blowing. Me thinks that winter has been pushed out of the province.

With that said, I opened the bedroom windows for the first time today, and took down my weather plastic on the windows, and hung the air conditioner in the bedroom as well. I usually do that on the first day of the change over so that I don’t have to worry about it when temps top 20 to 25c and it is too miserable to do anything.

The climate in Montreal is particular because we sit on the St. Lawrence River. We are not that far off from the river, we can see it from out living room windows down to the south. We are about 15 minutes from the river.

When it gets above twenty (20c) it becomes a bit too warm outside. Last year we had a heat wave and many people died, because normally, Montreal homes do not have central air, or even air conditioners in the units, as we only get heat as standard.

The best thing I did a number of years ago was to invest in an AC unit. It saves a lot of aggravation when it warm up too much.

Last night, I hit the Friday meeting, and found out that several of my friends came down with the same cold/flu I did this past week, Everybody was down and in bed for the entire week. We’ve been through the winter rain, snow,freezing rain, snow, rain cycles, and our bodies just could not handle another day of swinging temperatures.

Everybody is on the mend.

More to come.

Friday Thoughts – End of Day

I am re-evaluating what I want. It has been a tough week, but in the end, it all came together. Two nights spent with the people I love, always does the trick, even if my head is in my ass.

Commitments were made and Along the week, I’ve come to a number of decisions that I think will turn out well, as time progresses. I quit one habit, and on Sunday, I quit the other bad habit. And I should be good to go, to put the next round of decisions into action.

Many of my friends have taken up running. A LOT of running. Over the past few months, I’ve watched my friends hit new highs in their lives, and do things they never thought possible before, just by lacing up a pair of sneakers and hitting the neighborhood streets.

Completion of Marathons have been the task du jour.

I have, in my bank, new routines to follow. An old timer I know very well, has been good to me as of late. When I need to pick his brain, about anything, he always obliges.

This afternoon I had a conversation with a local friend who is running a half marathon the end of April. And we got to talking about a race in October that we both might run together. After inquiring about training with him, he was not sure he was the right fit for me, knowing his own strengths and weaknesses as a teacher.

But my old timer friend came up in conversation, because he is associated with our Running Room, here in Montreal. Tonight, I saw him at the Friday night meeting and we spoke about a plan.

Firstly he said this … One, you are over fifty. Two, he said that we both carry about 170 pounds a piece. And Three, he said that over taking myself in trying to complete a distance that is, at the moment, out of my league, would be unwise. So we set up a plan of attack, with simple goals to reach over the next month. Then we will regroup and see where I fall on the running scale.

I’ve got a good six months to train up.

One of my friends worked steadily at distance, over a long period of time. He ran a marathon and ran a personal best and got a medal for it. My other friend Jack. walked out his front door and trained for two weeks. TWO WEEKS, having never run before in his life, and completed the Stadium to Sea run in Los Angeles last week, with a 3 hour time.

But they are much younger than I am and in a lot better shape.

Being HIV Positive and a Type 2 Diabetic has its challenges. Being over fifty is my big downfall. I’m no spring chicken and I have to approach any goal and temper that goal by my present disabilities and hopeful abilities to win.

I have a plan. Sunday I put it into action, after I cross off another bad habit and directly affects me lung capacity. Smoking !!!

Take away touching ones self, and point positive sexual energy in another direction is very useful. It focuses you unlike any other focal method. It makes you a better fighter, a better runner, and a better human being.

I’ve learned over the last little while that when I think I know what’s good for me, that usually turns out to be bad advice, because if I act on my own will, it usually turns out anti climactic.

I should never take my own advice ever. Because I loose on every front.

I got a couple of new books in the mail today. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and If On A Winters Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino. Both books came highly recommended by my writing teacher. He reads like I do, like a mad man. He also works in publishing, and is an author himself.

Usually what he reads, ends up on my read side table by my bedside.

So the week, five days, on self denial has passed. I am more the better for it. I don’t allow myself to take my own advice. Even if I want to.

Tonight we talked about the Sacred Circle, and what we can find within it, and when necessary, if needed, to go outside the sacred circle for help, that’s what we do. We are not doctors nor economists, nor marriage counselors.

If you need help that the rooms can not provide, Bill tells us that “If he was humble enough to seek outside help when necessary, and it was good for him, it might just be good for ourselves too.”

I have great friends who will go the distance with me. I have the best friends, and I am grateful for each and every one of them.

Thanks for reading. More to come.

Happy Weekend.

Emergency Key

The last three days have been interesting. My first choice in the device pieces (rings) were a bit too large, at 2 inches. And things were not fitting well. When I got up this morning, I decided to throw a Hail Mary Pass, and take a run into the village to seek out an emergency key, so I did not have to bother my key holder for my set. And change to a 1 and 7/8’s ring.

I was not sure if the keys that unlock the locks on this particular device were universal, meaning, that any key for this particular device will unlock any lock for this model. I arrived and my friend met me downstairs and quite nervously, I asked him for one of the keys.

He stopped and asked me why I needed a key from him, and who had my keys? I told him that my key holder had my set, and I needed to make a change to the set up, and could I use another key from the cabinet?

He gave me a key and I set into the bathroom for major surgery. This particular device has 2 parts, that must line up inside of pin holes in the master ring, connecting to the outer device. Then you have to unscrew/screw the locking pin, holding the two parts in an aligned setting.

Let me tell you that the first time I had to do this at home, when I bought it, took me a while. This morning, it took me even longer. It took me about twenty minutes to seal the deal, having stripped off my shirts, and drawing blood because I kept sticking myself with the connection pins, instead of lining them up with the pin holes in the master ring.

I’ve decided that this device is NOT coming off any time soon. In fact, I don’t think I am going to take it off for the term set out, because of the aggravation of trying to put it back together.

And even then, if I make it to the end, and not crack up, in between, I just might keep it in place until I feel the need to remove it.

That is … If I don’t crack up in the interim.


Key Holder

After yesterday’s technicolor dream and the prophetic nature of the message, I followed through to the end this morning.

I had researched my quest last night, and decided to go with my local seller, Priape and save some serious cash, on the exchange and shipping from the U.S.

The man who works in the fetish shop in the basement was there when I arrived. I’ve known him for over 18 years. We’ve been friends since the day he started working at Priape, and we’ve become good friends. So he knows all about me and my fetish likes and dislikes. Because he’s the one who sold me on every purchase I’ve ever made in the shop.

That is a good contact to have.

I learned a long time ago, when I moved to Montreal, that in Montreal, sex is a common subject. It is not taboo, and the fact that I said yesterday that there are sex shops scattered all over the city, speaks for itself.

In the Gay Village, Priape is our flagship store. We’ve kept that store open in the darkest of times, when at one point the shop had been sold, and they were going to just shut it down for good. We, the community, had other plans. We got the store re-opened and it rocks the community.

When I worked for Todd back in the 90’s, the bar was a hard core fetish bar, serving the leather community. Right up my alley. But Todd knew I had a dark side, and he kept men and myself apart, on purpose. Because he knew I could get into serious trouble if left to my own devices, which is why Todd took me in and forbade me to engage, and forbade the men in the bar to ever touch me, Period ! Those rules saved my life.

Because I can tell you honestly, that some of the hard core leather men who were sick (then) took down many of my younger friends in my age group. They got them addicted to drugs and alcohol, then infected them with AIDS, and all of them died in the end. I was the only young leather man left standing alive, when all was said and done.

Hundreds of people died. And I survived them all.

Moving to Montreal, I attempted to break into the community, that took a lot of work, but in the end, I failed because of the two solitude’s. If you did not speak French in a mostly French neighborhood, you were finished.

But I made some good connections in the process. The men at Priape became friends, who did not judge me because I did not speak French.

The Male Chastity fetish was born a couple of years ago. I watched it rise on Tumblr and within the limited Leather Community I was following online. After the dawning of this little denial of sex began to rise, the straight community took hold of it and ran with it.

The race to build the Best Mouse Trap began.

There are many companies that claim to have the best product. And since that dawn, I have watched the evolution of it grow exponentially. I know my personal sellers. Some ran well with it, where others, only dabble here and there.

Friends of mine, here in Montreal, engaged in this kink. I knew this because they told me so. I was kind of jealous that my friends had better sex lives than I had.

Truth … 17 years ago, when my husband was diagnosed as Bi-Polar II Rapid Cycling and the drugs were introduced to his body, over the ten months they dosed him with the myriad of drugs they were trying to see if they worked, at the end of the line, the man who went in, was NOT the man I got when he came out the other side. Our sex life all but died. We’ve not had sex, but maybe twice in the last 17 years. So fuck me now.

Let’s just say, that if I want to jerk off, I can. And there is nobody who is going to see or stop me.

Over the last little while, I’ve been in conversation with my friend, who shall remain nameless. He knows my situation, because he has his own.

I went to the shop and got my device. My friend showed me how it worked, and how it went on. I came home and wow, what a nightmare getting it on, but once it was on, it wasn’t coming off.

It isn’t a denial in full, until you give your keys away to someone who will hold them for you, for whatever period of time, until you want them back.

I had to get rid of my keys today.

I made the call to my friend, and we met for coffee and had quite the conversation. Because I told him, he was part of the dream last night. We talked honestly and openly.

I handed him my keys and told him that I did not want them back until the end of the summer when he comes back into Montreal for school. Now I am fucked until at least September. There is no going back now, I did not keep a back up key here, because that would be a temptation to cheat and unlock the device early.

He is going home to Alberta after this term, so he won’t even be here, to give me the keys back, even if I wanted them. He will have them on him. So I am doubly fucked.

But he agrees that knowing he’s holding those keys, will seriously remind him that he is also in the same boat as I am. Because he has the same issue that I do. So he knows he can join this challenge if he wants to. But just holding the keys, right now, is enough a deterrent to interrupt the cycle.

Lockup began at 11 am this morning. And will run, until at least September.

I don’t have the keys. And the device is locked.

Violence in Sacred Spaces

Al Noor Mosque Christchurch New Zealand

I’ve waited for the dust to settle to speak about recent events. Violence in Sacred Spaces is not an issue that happens in other places, other countries, other provinces, other cities.

Here in Quebec, Alexandre Bissonette walked into a mosque in Quebec City and killed six worshipers, praying in their sacred space. The Muslim community is still reeling from that violence, because it happened again.

This time, New Zealand was the country where peaceful men and women lived, because they felt safe, and accepted by the people of Christchurch, a little over a week ago, a man walked into Al Noor mosque, and a second mosque and killed fifty people and injured many more.

I think to myself, violence in sacred spaces is not new. Dylan Roof walked into a Christian church and killed indiscriminately.

I’m not sure where the notion of killing people in sacred spaces began, I cannot recall, by my memory, where this line of attack was delivered to the masses, that killing of religious people was an acceptable choice.

TODAY … here in Montreal, in one of the most hallowed religious churches in Montreal, St. Joseph’s Oratory, on Mount Royal, a priest was in the middle of saying mass in the main sacred space, where worshipers gather from all over the world, and from our own community, a man walked up to him, during the commission of saying mass, and stabbed the priest in broad daylight, in front of a church full of innocent people, and tried to kill him.

Thankfully, the video shows, how people in the church jumped in to part the two men, and to save the priest from death … The elderly priest was rushed to the Montreal General Hospital, with non-life threatening stab wounds. He was later released, is in good shape, save a little beaten up by the experience, saying … He wants to go back to work, in a place of peace.

I was raised in the church. I served Holy Mother church for many years, and I thought serving the church as a vocation was going to be my lot in life, but God, had other plans. I know today, through considerable reflection about God, He knew the location was not right, nor were the people in that place. I know this today.

Today I serve my God, in many capacities, through the rooms of recovery, and with my friends and fellows. This is the life I always wanted, but it took a turn down a rabbit hole to get here.

I studied Religion and Theology in University and I have two sacred pieces of paper, who attest to my knowledge and my educational abilities.

I just don’t understand what drives people to walk into a sacred space and kill people. I mean really, you could choose any location to do that kind of murder. I believe it is some kind of shock factor that people get a rise out of killing in a church or a mosque, as if to say,

NONE OF YOU ARE SAFE, ANYWHERE !!!

That is just sick and demented.

It saddens me every time we hit this act of terror, where ever it may happen. The battle of the religious groups is historical. It goes back millennia. I mean the world began with conquest and religious strife.

The world moved from rags to riches, because men with religious leanings, got on a boat and traversed the oceans, only to find, indigenous peoples, living their lives, as they did, only to arrive, approach, and kill. So that they could plunder their riches to fill their coffers back at home, and to become filthy rich.

Some by sword, Some by war, and for the most part, by disease.

Indigenous communities all over the world, a millennia ago, were decimated by disease, brought to the new world by the conquerors of Holy Mother Church. Millions of people died, in the first scourges of religious warfare of sacred spaces.

In Europe, the battle between the three monotheistic religions, they being Christianity, Islam and Judaism, built, lived, fought and died, to bring their superior religion to an area, and conquer people into submission.

Killing in Sacred Spaces is not a new proposal.

There is really nothing we can say, as a whole that will make a hill of beans difference, because governments sit on their hands when it comes to logical process of stopping mass killings.

But New Zealand has done something the world over were gobsmacked by. In SIX DAYS, out from the double mosque killing, New Zealand, passed a common sense gun control measure, banning military type guns from New Zealand.

SIX DAYS … Imagine what the rest of the world could do in six days, if we had the resolve and the backing of governmental parties, if we ourselves could make this kind of resolution, and make it stick.

SIX DAYS !!!

We mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters in other places. We pray for them and their communities and their families.

If we were able to say, Never Again, and make it stick we would. But that is just not possible, because crazy, gun nuts, fucked up people are still out there. They just need the right dog whistle blown in their ears, and they too, may one day, commit another heinous act of terrorism.

Killing has to STOP.

We must act, NOW.

Let us pray for our departed brothers and sisters.


The Calm After the Storm

After the flood, God sent a rainbow, saying, in essence, “Never Again.” Tonight, this was our view from the living room windows.

The blizzard of yesterday dumped 24 cm of snow. And tonight, it is MINUS
(- 30c) outside.

I took today off because it was bitterly cold outside so I stayed home tonight, and enjoyed some down time. Not that I like down time at home. But it is what it is.

I might have gotten a major workout in yesterday. My arms are killing me today. Some ask the question, how long do I train? The high rollers push through to group failure. I train in a very simple manner. I work an entire circuit in the weight room. Yesterday I pounded weights because I had them to myself. Then I stretch on the mats, then I run.

Yesterday, there was a young guy to my right, who was cranked up to full speed. He had his phone in one hand and waving the other, was really trying to get somewhere. I attempted to match his pace, but I failed in keeping up with him. Then a young woman got on the mill to my left and starting out gently, she cranked it up as well.

I was like, fucked in a way …

I ran for a little longer, and then gave it up. Tomorrow is another day, in the fight for a better body.

I keep in mind this simple thought:

I WILL NOT BECOME AN OLD, FAT, GAY MAN !!

Absolutely not.

My team of supporters all know what’s going on with me and I check in daily with them when I train. So I get pointers and training exercises.

More to come.