Being Kind to Ourselves

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One of my friends said to me earlier that, “my God, the weeks are just flying by!” June is halfway gone, and July is right around the corner. Everybody who lives in the Province of Quebec, loathes the first week of July. Why is that, you ask?

Because July 1st is MOVING DAY in the Province of Quebec.

For those who are green, or think that they absolutely HAVE to MOVE every year, in the month of July … Are the bane of our existences. We’ve been in this same apartment for more than sixteen years, and every year it is the same story.

People have a need to change things up on a yearly basis. BUT, if you have PETS, your chances of finding another home to live in that accepts PETS grows ever slimmer, year by year, as landlords stipulate in their lease agreements that PETS are no longer allowed.

AND we see hundreds upon hundreds of pets left on the street, or dropped in a shelter, where they MAY or MAY NOT be adopted, and therefore end up euthanized later.

UGH !!!

I heard a lady friend ask us tonight if, “we take time to be kind to ourselves?” And I had to stop and think about that for a few moments. Among my things to do on a daily basis, do I take time for me? Sometimes I do not. I can find myself with busy things to do, like chores, or grocery shopping, and cleaning the apartment.

If time allows, whenever that is possible, I nap. Nothing pleases me more than having a couple of free hours to just crawl into bed and sleep. On my days off, we have a built-in nap period, between the hours of 5 and 9.

We don’t usually watch tv, during the day, or early in the evening. Things are pretty quiet around here, and we don’t usually turn the tv on before 9 at night. We like the quiet.

One of my guilty pleasures is reading. It is part of my daily ritual. Indigo Book sellers is my go to book source. This week I selected two titles that seemed appealing. Since I finished Kingpin a few days ago, I am working my way through “Causeway” by Linden MacIntyre. I’ve read every book he’s ever written.

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Here are the books that arrived today.

I love Greek Mythology stories. One of my favorites is the Odyssey. My best friend gave me a copy, when they moved from Montreal, and I have read it several times over. Circe, I’ve been looking at for the past few weeks, and it finally made my read list this week.

The other is the book written by James Clapper. I enjoy reading books written by people who work in high places, and seeing how things work behind the scenes. I had read James Comey’s book a few weeks ago, and it seems now with the I.G. Report, he wasn’t all that honest in his pursuit of justice and transparency.

This afternoon, I took a Metro ride into the village for some shopping and some photography. A part of our city history is being retired at the end of the Summer, so I had to get some photos of the decor that hangs above the Village every Summer.

You can check them out on my Instagram. Over there —> in the sidebar.

Last month I joined The Underwear of the Month Club. The Underwear Expert Club, is an account based site, that men can join, (if you want to join and want a discount, message me)… But you get to choose how many pairs you get every month, what style, color or print, and they send you (with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING) each month, a box with assorted undies. This is the first time I’ve invested in fashionable and stylish undies.

This is a snapshot of what Montreal is doing right now.

The Summer festival season has begun. The International Jazz Festival, Just For Laughs, and many other music oriented festivals begin in the next few weeks, and the city will be buzzing for sure. If you have never been to Montreal, I highly suggest you take a weekend and come see what we have to offer.

Food, Fun, Museums, Music …

Summer is one of the best times to come visit.

I tend towards Fall myself. I don’t do crowds and crazy.

Thanks for reading.

When Passion Dies

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Have you ever loved something so much, that you thought at one point, that you would do that thing for the rest of your life ? Climb the ladder of success, in a field/job, a sport, in music, or a trade ?

And what happens when you reach the point of success, let’s say, “going to an Olympics in Beijing as a Canadian athlete at the top of ones game.” And then having the tables turn on you, and that sport you loved, and gave it all of your heart and soul, and then that passion for the game DIES within, and alcohol becomes your best friend and companion.

When I was a boy, I had a gift for music. Beginning as a small child with a little organ, and graduating into the BIG LEAGUE with a double Decker two keyboard Wurlitzer organ that I was a master at playing.

I took private lessons, had lessons in school, and competed at Regional and State musical competitions. 12 years of music, died, on one fateful evening, when my drunken father grabbed my organ seat,(Leather bound, heavy mahogany furniture) and threw it at my mother, to try to hurt her.

I grabbed my fathers throat and said to him that after that stunt I would never play that organ again, so he might as well, send it back to where it came from.

All those years of musical genius went down the drain. And I never touched another keyboard for the whole of my life.

The passion died, because of principle, not because the gift died within me.

When I hear someone talk about a passion that is specific, let’s say, sport, not everybody is cut out to train and compete at the Olympic Level.

The stress of being a young athlete, away from home, not knowing ones asshole from their elbow, and finding the companion of alcohol to fill the whole of the need for external approval, is a killer.

I know this also, the lesson about approval comes to mind with Todd all those years ago, thinking that I needed him to tell me that I did a good job, every time I did a particular job, because I did not trust myself or my inner self. He taught me that lesson, hard and fast.

When you cannot look yourself in the mirror and be kind to ones self and always beating ones self up, always needing someone else to affirm us, is the death knell for mental health and stability.

Oh how the mighty fall. I’ve known athletes who threw in the towel and sabotaged their careers because of drugs and alcohol.

Once you get that Olympic Tattoo on you, you can never remove it. It will always be the constant reminder of who you once were, and where you had been. Only Olympic Athletes get that specific tattoo. it is a rite of passage.

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But we come in and we are messed up emotionally and mentally. Character defects running rampant. Arrogance and egotistical behavior abound, until we hit the proverbial wall of humility and humiliation, because of our attitudes, lies, and cheating.

And if we don’t get right, we will never get sober, ever !

Humility is a long hard lesson to learn for a lot of people, myself included.

But I know what it looks like and feels like today.

We all sabotage our lives with drugs and alcohol. The good news is, that there Is a Solution. One of the only solutions that work …

You – We – Us – Together – In a Church Basement – As often as Necessary !!!

You don’t have to go to the bitter end and sabotage a life of promise, you can always make that choice, for many, they could not make that choice alone.

Save for a few friends who did.

Self Sabotage is a familiar story line.

Sad that such promise went to pot, because of insecurity, ego, arrogance, and cheating.

Olympic careers are made out of a life of hard work, dedication and stamina

Very sad, that such a passion died for one of our young people.

But he is sober a few years now. Regretting nothing, because he is renewed every day.

Because he is with US now.

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…

 

Sunday Sundries: It Could’ve Been Worse

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I am home tonight from my weekend trip to Ottawa this past weekend.

It was WET, COLD and it SNOWED for two days.

Nothing beats spending quality time with my best friend and his girlfriend.

Time Well Spent.

Thursday night, I was packed and ready to go, ready to go so much, that I did not sleep Thursday night. At least, I thought I had packed everything.

Do I openly admit that I am getting forgetful of things, important things too?

Hubby was home on Friday when I left for the bus station. I left uber early, because I thought I would hit an early bus and get into Ottawa earlier than I had planned, to facilitate scheduling on the other end.

I figured just showing up and presenting a ticket for a specific departure time, would grant me passage on an earlier bus, it has happened before. I got to the station and thought better of taking chances, and so I dropped my luggage at the ticket office and paid for a ticket change. And got a seat on a half empty bus at 11 a.m.

It was a smooth ride out. Not too bad. I had two seats to myself on the way out. About halfway to Ottawa I got up to use the restroom, and while sitting on the throne of thought, I realized that I had forgotten my insulin at home.

FUCK !

NO, Double FUCK !!

I called home and spoke to hubby. Then from the bus, I phoned my pharmacy here in Montreal, telling the girl on the other end that I was on a speeding bus headed to Ottawa and that I had forgotten my insulin at home.

That would be my insulin pens, my needles and my alcohol swabs.

Insulin comes in 5 pen boxes, and they cannot be split up. You can’t buy a handful of insulin needles because they come in a BOX too. I only had $100.00 in my wallet and $50.00 in the bank reserve.

Meanwhile, as the bus is almost into Ottawa, hubby gets a paycheck advance from his boss to cover my insulin if I needed to buy it once I got there. There was money in the bank, enough to cover the purchase. however, we were not sure if the insurance would cover another insulin prescription.

My insulin runs me over $185.00 up front. And usually it pays 80% 20%.

When I got to Ottawa, I stopped at the first pharmacy on the way to the apartment. They called Montreal and transferred my prescription to Ottawa. They ran my card, and the payment went through.

I had to buy an entire BOX of insulin, an entire box of needles, and another box of alcohol swabs. The grand total of that little forgetful mistake cost me $85.00.

That sunk my weekend into the hole right off.

Now I have more than eight months worth of insulin in the fridge, enough needles for months and months, and two boxes of alcohol swabs. Thank God sealed insulin does not go bad, if refrigerated.

Friday we hung out at coffee shops and played Backgammon. Rafa is a game player so we played games all weekend. I like Backgammon. We played two days worth of it.

Friday night after dinner we played a board game called PANDEMIC.

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I’ve never played this game before, but it was very cool. Each player picks a “role” from a bunch of cards. And each player has specific abilities in the game of pandemic. With all the players engaged at trying to stop pandemic from infecting the world, each player PLAYS against the GAME.

As each turn goes around, you draw cards from two piles. One pile of country and city cards, the other, pandemic cards that plague a city around the world. Each major city center is connected by lay lines to other cities in each region.

As the game progresses, each player works against the game to stop pandemic, but the game plays against each player as well, and each pandemic (there are 4 in total ) need to be cured, and cities cleansed. We lost that game, because at the end, the game forced the hand and we ran out of turns together.

This is a multiple player board game. We played three people, but with extension packets, you can play up to seven people at the same time.

Saturday we went to Wakefield, Ontario. A little town about a fifteen minute drive outside the city in the hills. It is a small community of artsy people. There is a town center with shops and stores, and a central hub Coffee Community Cafe.

I really enjoyed that visit. Rafa and his girlfriend are looking to buy a house outside the city to start their family and to bring the extended family into the house for a multi-generational home for their kids, in the future.

I have photos but I am too pooped to upload them right now.

Saturday it started snowing early, so that curtailed the traveling to a meeting. So instead we stayed in and watched Star Wars (Rogue One) a really decent stand alone Star Wars Movie. I had not seen it when it was in theatre.

Then we watched a Steven King movie called “IT”

I noticed while watching this movie that there were a bunch of pop culture references that have been used in SNL skits and other media around the tubes.

It was time well spent.

Everyone went to bed early, as Rafa and Megan were battling a cold between themselves. I brought a book that I have almost finished on the bus ride back. The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb. It’s a Vietnamese story.

I have been sunk in South East Asia for more than a year now. I’ve read a handful of books in that region, including the Shantaram Series by Gregory David Roberts.

Today, Sunday we hit another coffee-house and played more backgammon, before I had to head to the station for my return trip.

This time the bus was PACKED ! It had snowed quite a bit between Ottawa and Montreal, because the closer we got to Montreal, the deeper the snow pack was on the roads and in parking lots along the way.

I have a multitude of music on my phone. I picked one band. Linkin Park. They are my favorite band. And since Chester Bennington’s suicide a few months ago, I listen to them as often as I can. I had enough music that it played from the moment we left Ottawa until we arrived in Montreal, without repeating a single track.

It seemed the ride back into Montreal was LONG … Because it was pitch dark by the time we hit the station here. On the way out of Ottawa there was a multiple car accident on the highway and several rescue trucks were on the highway and several drivers had stopped to help people who were hurt. That slowed us down for a bit …

I got home around 7 when all was said and done.

Everybody has a plan. Rafa and Megan are going to be married, down the line. Juan and Nadia are getting married in July this summer. Houses, Kids, Jobs, Retirement plans. It seems everyone has a plan.

Hubby and I don’t have a plan …

While in Wakefield on Saturday afternoon, we talked about PLANS and CONTINGENCY plans. We also discussed the fact that I might be entitled to inheritance from my father’s will. Because I am his first-born son. However, my family wanted to fuck me over and have the whole of my life, there might be legal grounds for me to pursue Legal Rights to inheritance of any monies in his estate.

Even if they deny me inheritance and write me out of their wills, which I am sure they have already done, the money might be there to be had. Even if it is resentment money and that money would be dirty money, that I might not want to keep, if I did win an inheritance law suit, it would be my choice what to do with it.

I am calling a lawyer this week, to get that ball rolling.

My mother will have a shit fit and my father will be choking in his URN. Because my brother had him cremated and sent to Virginia. Where my mother now lives.

It was a very fruitful weekend. Lots of serious discussion about the future. I spoke with hubby over dinner about exactly that … The Future …

It seems, that “A PLAN” is in the works. A new law was passed here in Quebec about employers offering an opt in/opt out choice of 3% of gross pay being funneled into a bank run RRSP … That’s a retirement plan here in Quebec.

We talked about having a fifteen year plan, because by then, he will be retirement age and I don’t expect to be living in this same apartment for another fifteen years. We’ve just negotiated another years lease here this past week.

More to come.

Story Time (In a Galaxy Far Far Away)

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I’ve been pondering telling this story for a long time. It is a story from my younger life, that I think, was one of the best times in my youth.

When times get tough, and you need a place to go to get away, this could not have come at a better time in my life.

The last incarnation of home came in my sixth grade year, about at the halfway mark, we moved to the last place we would all call home. My father’s upwardly mobile life was still on its way up.

I have said, in the past, that when my father was good, he was Very Good.

My father worked very hard at being good. And he made his mark in the area of goodness, whenever he put himself forwards. And I have to commend him when I speak about his goodness, because it seemed that he could not have done worse, if he tried.

My brother and myself were actively involved in-house hunting. We looked at several really nice houses, in areas close to where we ended up. When it came down to choice, the Power’s House sealed the deal. It was in the right neighborhood, with great schools, close to shops, stores and restaurants, and access to highways was a block away.

The house had three bedrooms, 2 car garage, an acre of land, and most importantly, it had a screened in pool. We had hit the big time for sure. My father had earned his keep, and produced the best home he could afford. Along with my mother’s salary included.

I attended the last half sixth grade here.

The Big Change would come when I completed sixth grade and graduated to Junior High School. From the sixth grade, we were all taken on several field trips to the new school, to learn the lay of the land, and to make the transition as smooth as possible. It would be a whole new world.

Six classes a Day – Gym – Locker Rooms – Lockers – BOYS !!!!

Southwood Junior High, now Southwood School for the Performing Arts, was a bike ride from home. You could do the ride in about half an hour. That worked. The school was only a year old when I began seventh grade.

I did not know that there was anything wrong with me, until the first day of school, when it came to gym. The girls had their locker room on one side of the school, the boys on the other. We had seen it, before. But until I was a student here, that was a different story.

The first day I had to change my clothes in the company of other boys, I knew, for SURE that there was something wrong with me. I had crossed that invisible line into gay, that very day. I certainly was different. I knew it. I just did not tell anyone else about it.

I knew, that GAY would never fly at home, so for the next six years, I played the straight game, to the best of my ability because there was no other option.

By this stage of the game, and time, our family became one of four families, who hobnobbed with my step mom and step dad. It was there, that we were introduced to living Homosexuality, in real-time. My father was no fan of The Gays. Which is where all of his most savage abuse was born.

I said above, that when my father was good, he was Very Good. And what he gave with one hand, he took with the other. He had a dedicated room in the house where he dispensed his abuse.

It got so bad, at one point, that I could not find any place to hide at home. I bought a dead bolt and put it on my bedroom door. That pissed my father off, so much so, that he took the entire door off its hinges. I could not run, I could not hide.

If I did not physically leave the house, I was fair game.

For the next six years, I spent countless hours, days and weeks, sleeping at friends houses. Their parents kind of knew, that I was in serious trouble. That worked in my favor, even when, in high school, my best friend and his brothers, were going to a private Catholic Boys school, far away from where we lived. I would sleep away, and commute to school and back there at the end of the day. I did not go home for weeks.

When Junior High began, the teachers and staff, figured out that I was particular. I had certain needs that NEEDED to be met. And over time, those very teachers, stepped up and did for me, what I could not do for myself.

Having KEYS, is a theme in my life. Keys, play a distinct role in my life. To this day, I am the keeper of certain keys, to certain church basements, here in Montreal.

Back then, in junior high, I was given certain keys. I was a kid, with keys.

If I was home, I would get up before dawn, and take care of what needed to be done at home, I would then, get on my bike, and ride over to the school. As usual, there was a teacher on door duty, early. I think, they knew I needed help. So there was someone there to receive me whenever I arrived.

I was a junior high geek, you could say. I inserted myself into school life early on. Seventh grade was all about figuring it out. What I was going to do, and how I was going to do it. I always had to have a plan. I knew all the ins and outs by the time I hit eighth grade.

Science was my department. I became a teachers assistant, as soon as I was able. It was actually a class. You had one period during your day where you could sit along side a teacher, and be a (Teachers Assistant).

By that time, the science department was my home away from home. I had the key to the Science Department Teachers lounge. Each department faculty had a dedicated teachers lounge (upstairs) on the floor.

Being a teacher’s AIDE came in very handy. Because once you had attained that position, you could, use that position to get out of ANY class you needed to. Gym, was the bane of my existence. I went to gym, when it served me. I played Soccer, baseball, football on occasion. And I wrestled for a while. I participated when it was necessary. I had gym either first thing in the morning, or last period of the day. If I had to shower, it was dicey. I had abject fear of showering in front of other boys. At the same time, I was fascinated with boys too.

I had certain alliances with certain friends, who played certain roles in my life.

Anytime it rained outside, I had an out. Anytime I wanted to skip gym, I had a way out. All I needed was to present my teacher’s aide card to a teacher, and say those magic words: “I need to grade papers …”

Worked like a charm every time.

By the end of ninth grade, I had skipped gym all together. They gave me a C in gym that final year, because by then, I was never in class any more.

Nobody knew, I was gay. At least that I knew of. I never asked any one. And nobody ever said a word to me personally. And I am confident, not one teacher asked my parents about it either. Because my father would have flipped his lid, and then I am sure I would have heard about it.

So every morning, I was riding to school, one to two hours earlier than when the typical school day began. I had keys to the department. And I was racking up brownie points all over the school. I worked like a mad man. I was a good student. I did better in Junior High than I did in High School. most definitely because Alcohol had not yet been introduced as a pain-killer. I did not start drinking regularly until High School.

I loved Junior High School. I loved the teachers, I had good friends. And also, I was safe. nobody could touch me at school. I think teachers have an innate sense that particular students have needs. They must have known, when I started showing up before hours, that something was up at home. Not that I remember ever stating that for sure to them.

I think they knew better. (All this in retrospect)

I was a musical student. I played piano. I had music courses. I performed every year in the Superintendents Musical Honors Festival. My father went so far, to gain my good graces, was to buy me an organ, that over six years, was graduated to the next Bigger organ, because I also had private lessons. As long as I played “The Entertainer” on that organ at home, my father would leave me alone.

I was a really good organist. On the outside I was performing in yearly concerts that were put on by the musical school I was taking lessons at. As I rose through the ranks of organs and pianos, the Brass Ring was always there.

The ultimate goal, was to reach the ranks of professional student and play the REALLY BIG ORGAN, that was always reserved for the best kid on the block, who would bring down the house at every concert.

I never got there.

The night my drunk sodden father picked up the leather padded seat and threw it at my mother, in a drunken rage, was the last day I ever touched that organ.

FOREVER !!!!

I took one look at him that night and said: “You crossed a line. I will never play that organ again. Send it back where it came from.”

My father never forgave me. And I never played another note, for the rest of my life.

Probably one of my greatest regrets. Music could have gotten me somewhere, if i had the forethought to had thought about it then, but didn’t. I was just a kid. I did not have sight for the future yet. I still lived at home for God’s sake.

By the time I graduated from Junior High School, I along with a friend of mine were nominated for a service award. This would be the first graduating class of the school, and the first nominations for both a girl and a boy, in the same award year.

Michelle and myself were awarded the American Legion Award for Exemplary Service to the School Community.

All those brownie points I accrued over the years were paid off in spades.

For what it’s worth, for all the bad that went on at home, in exchange for all the good we were given, School was a very safe place for me to be and I prospered there in every way possible.

High School was not that good at all. I did not have the opportunities that I had the three years before. And Alcohol had become an issue.

I just barely graduated High School in the end, all because I told the truth, about a cheating scandal that rocked one of my teachers in 12th grade.

I had drunk my way through High School, along with a stint in Youth Group. Where the school played a role in keeping me safe years earlier, the church had stepped up to do the same, which is why, after graduation, I ended up in Seminary.

God, it seemed, had a job for me. One I was ready and willing to do.

While in seminary, I witnessed abuses by church members. I knew the secret, and was warned about sharing them with anyone. At the end of that year, I was dismissed.

Very Angry at God, I got very drunk, for a very long time.

But the next chapter of this story has yet to be written down here.

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.

Linkin Park star Chester Bennington’s hurt made beautiful music

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Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who died aged 41 on Thursday, had helped lead the group to critical acclaim.

Bennington’s distinctive vocals – added to the group’s blend of rap, metal, and electronic music – spawned a string of chart-topping hits.

The son of a police officer in Phoenix, Arizona, Bennington was born on 20 March 1976 and had a troubled youth.

After years of intense drug use, he got sober and joined Linkin Park in 1998.

“Growing up, for me, was very scary and very lonely,” he told Metal Hammer magazine in 2014.

“I started getting molested when I was about seven or eight.”

His parents divorced when he was 11 years old, and he went to live with his father, whom he described as “not emotionally very stable then”, adding that “there was no-one I could turn to”.

The singer quit hard drugs after a gang broke into a property where the future star was getting high and pistol-whipped some of his friends.

Bennington moved to Los Angeles and successfully auditioned to join Linkin Park.

Later in the 2000s, as the band’s success took off, he again began using drugs before returning to sobriety, telling Spin Magazine in 2009: “It’s not cool to be an alcoholic.

“It’s not cool to go drink and be a dumbass.

“It’s cool to be a part of recovery.

“Most of my work has been a reflection of what I’ve been going through in one way or another,” he added.

Formed in 1996, Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory surfed the popular wave of nu-metal, Rolling Stone magazine writes.

It eventually sold more than 30 million albums and became one of the top-selling albums since the start of this millennium.

The band has sold 70 million albums worldwide and won two Grammy Awards.

Linkin Park had a string of hits including Faint, In The End and Crawling, and collaborated with rapper Jay-Z.

Bennington was said to be close to Sound Garden’s Chris Cornell, who took his own life in May 2017.

As well as a hole in Linkin Park’s line-up, he leaves six children from two different marriages.