Thursday: Skets and More

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As the latest Nor’Easter wreaked havoc in points South and East of Montreal, we did not escape getting a bit of snow this week. It snowed for two days, on and off, and a considerable amount of snow is on the ground. So much snow, that crews are out at this hour, clearing snow off streets and highways.

This week, a year ago, Montreal was hit by a severe snow storm, a snow storm so severe that it rendered city management, the Police, and Fire Rescue, unable to make conscious decisions about saving motorists that were stuck, “IN THE HUNDREDS” on highways inundated by snow for more than TWELVE HOURS or MORE.

It was not pretty at all. That bungle at the highest levels of city government and public service, told the citizens of this city, that we really don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

But that was last year. This is today.

Sunday is the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, the track of the parade was shifted to another artery, namely De Maisonneuve. A street that runs East – West, With traffic coming One Way, Westward. For the parade, the traffic will be reversed moving Eastward, with the step off, beginning one block West, On St. Mark.

St. Mark is the drainage point for the Highway off ramp in this neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the city continues highway rebuilding over the weekend, as the new Champlain Bridge is not yet complete, and the continuing demolition of the raised highway, that runs East – West (the Ville Marie Highway).

The rebuild of the arteries of the Turcot Exchange has been going on for years now, and is far from being complete. With the Parade changes, and the Step Off being moved to an artery that takes traffic OFF the highway, and the entire closures of highway ramps for access to and access from the highway, are going to paralyze the city for the entire weekend, with the parade on Sunday afternoon.

The weather will be good, however a bit cold at (-3c) the low Sunday night dropping to (-16c). On Parade Sunday, in the past, it had been much colder, with snow. At least the snow that is on the ground, will be cleaned up by Sunday. It should be alright.

Tuesday and Wednesday are my days off. And I take full advantage of not having to be anywhere or have any work that needs to be done, save chores and grocery shopping.

This afternoon my new Skets came in the mail. Ebay had been telling me that they would not be here for another week. I do know that the Ebay collection Center in Erlangar, Kentucky had been snowed in for many days, and I was sure the mail would be hung up until things cleared out.

Nothing usually stops the USPS from delivering the mail. Through rain, sleet, snow and blizzards, nothing stops the USPS from delivering the mail …

Got to see old friends tonight, and one of them spoke for us.

I have not seen this particular friend in a long time. He hangs on the West end of town, and does not usually come East, into Westmount or up on to the Plateau where I hit meetings. This friend is just a few months older than I am. But what shocked me, when he walked in tonight, was that he went totally grey. I was like Holy Shit …

Is that what 51 looks like ?

I mean, I have a shock of grey hair that hangs in the middle of my forehead.

I call it my Jamie Lee Curtis grey look. I love that she accepted her ageing process and welcomed it, unlike so many in “the business” who color their hair to death, to stave off even the littlest bit of hair going grey.

My stylist and I joke about my streak of grey, it is stylish I think.

Tomorrow is Friday. The nest day/night of the week.

More to come.

Thursday: Life is Good


It has been a few days since my last update. It has been a busy time for everybody all around. We have a family wedding in May, it will be the first time, in many years that the entire family will be in the same location at the same time, to celebrate my niece Melissa and her husband to be, Stephan’s wedding.

We have watched our nieces and nephews grow up into fine young adults. And we spoil them whenever we get the chance. Holidays are always a big deal for our family. We will be traveling to Southern Ontario (on the train) a first for us.

In July, one of my guys, Juan is going to marry his fiancée Nadia, in a very intimate setting here in Montreal. We’ve been working very hard at keeping them “on the beam” so to speak. Juggling school, work, wedding preparations and life, is a tall order. But, like they say, “we have a program for that!”

The weather has been UNUSUALLY warm, as of late. We’ve had a long stretch of temps ranging from the lower plus side to the high negative side. Much of the snow that had fallen over the season is melting nicely, and thankfully, the sidewalks are clean of snow and ice. Which is very good news to the city population, because many older folks have suffered greatly, falling and breaking bones this season, because of the foul weather. Many of them have sued the city for damages, that is not a good thing. But necessary.

The great weatherman in the sky tells us, not to count our chickens just yet, and we are told that Winter will continue until Summer. With a clear SKIP of Spring. We are told that more drastic snow will fall, between now and May 1st.

God help us if the weather goes really South …

We will gladly take the weather we have had for the past week over more winter, and if it stays this good for the duration, all the better.

It is good that we have good plans on the horizon. This will be a first, seeing a good friend and his soon to be bride getting married. The whole focus on getting and staying sober, is to finally reap the rewards of hard work, done well.

Our young people are all doing well. Everybody is still sober, from our holiday extravaganza weekends. It is a hard slog for some, but they keep showing up, and they are talking. Which is a good sign. Many of us, have committed to being present, as often as we are able.

I am soon to start a new pass through the Big Book, with a young lady friend of my acquaintance, from the Monday meeting. I listen very carefully to what our young people say in meetings. And over the past year, have been blessed to witness one of our young woman, stand up and be counted among us.

Our Monday meeting has been talking hard topics and the discussion has been very fruitful to the extent that I am learning a great deal about sobriety, that I had never heard before, coming from the mouths of babes. Monday night, I asked my friend if she would be able to share her teaching of The Book with me. From what I am hearing from many of my friends and fellows, men and women, I’ve found that i still have a lot to learn. It may be unconventional, but any chance to walk through the book with new, fresh and younger eyes, is useful.

I’ve stuck close to my core meetings, Monday, Thursday and Friday. And I’ve placed my trust in all of my best of friends. One f them reached his Year Mark a couple of weeks ago, after a tragic crash and burn. Drugs and Alcohol will do that to you. With family, friends, and fellows present, we shared in a very special Year Celebration.

I have kept the same routine going for a long time. That being service. I heard a young man say tonight, that the first thing that he felt good about, when he got sober, and finally got connected, was doing service.

When folks in a meeting,ask you to Come Back, and to Stick and Stay, and put trust in you to do a job for any particular meeting, that is pretty special, but lost on many. But our young man tonight said that he took particular joy in knowing that people were drinking HIS COFFEE, and sitting in HIS CHAIRS.

It begins very simply.


It is high praise when someone says, “Hey, you make a mean pot of coffee!”

I know, the first job I ever had when I came in was setting up chairs and tables, for months and months, until the good ladies of my initial home group, trusted me enough to make my first urn of coffee.

Sixteen years later, I can make a mean Urn of Coffee with my eyes closed.

The next spiritual experience he spoke about was the first time someone asked him to share at a meeting. Someone, in asking him that, had wisdom that HE actually had something good to share, with a room full of drunks and addicts.

We all sit in rooms together, with assorted days, weeks, months, and years of sobriety. But is oddly the case, not too many people will ask for help, until they are down and out suffering. Even then, it is like pulling teeth, to get people to want to work with us.

It is hard work, going to meetings, and learning how to stay sober, because someone stepped up and took us on, when we came in and trusted us, with what they had to teach us about The Book and Sobriety. And the greatest gift we can offer, is our time, talent and treasure, when it comes to sobriety.

One of our men spoke a couple of weeks ago and told me that I should ask for numbers of new folks coming in, INSTEAD of giving them My number first. Flip the equation, he told me. Go out and get numbers.

Caveat here … We actually have to commit to calling those numbers if they come to us.

I guess I am in a place where, I am seeking something new to learn. And in hanging around with young people in sobriety, I am finding that I can still learn something new, that I am not the center of the universe, not that I think that …

The holidays were a great reckoning for many. Through hard work and perseverance we all came through the other end, mostly unscathed. And far better for the challenge the holidays presented many.

Sit in a room for a few seasons. And commit to being present for the long haul. Read: Commit to a room for a Long Period of Time, and you too will see how your friends a fellows grow up and get and stay sober.

I’ve been at this a long time, and teach-ability is not lost on me.

Everybody is well. It is March. The snow is melting.

It might not be Spring yet, but it sure feels like it.

Save for the first appearance of our Red Breasted Robin at the Friday Meeting church yard. I always see her. She has not appeared just yet, because there is still snow on the ground and in the trees at St. Viateur Church.

Stay tuned …

Thursday: Fade Away …


It is a bit cold outside. And thinking I would change it up, I dressed a little simple with single layers … Note to self … No Single layers in the winter.

It was a full day for me. I think I said a few nights ago that I had looked in the mirror and realized that I had much more grey hair than I thought. I don’t usually study myself in the mirror, actually.

On my morning shop, I stopped into Pharmaprix, and bought me some hair color.

And I was gonna “Wash that grey right out of my hair …”

I bought a lighter shade, with some lighter tones, well, 35 minutes later, my hair was a bit redder than when I started, and not a hint of “light.” UGH. I guess the hair I have did not like the mix I gave it, so it spit something out totally different.

It’s ok. It’s not bad. I’m working on a grow out for a new cut next week, because I didn’t want to get a cut and look like I was stuck in between two styles.

I cleaned the apartment, did the laundry, cleaned the bathroom. Very good things.

**** **** ****

This month I am doing service again, at my Thursday home group. They gave me a set of keys so I can open/close this month. Last month I was talking to some of our women before the meeting, and they asked me if I could open, and I said to them that I have had a key for a church on my key ring, for the last 14 of my 15 years of sobriety.

I’ve maintained all the First Things First routine that I learned in my first year. I lived my life around that system and it worked for me. So rather than change something that works well, I just do what I have to do on a daily basis.

Our speaker was “family.”

The theme of the share was the Fading Away …

People who have had slip experiences, and get back, and make it, tell this same story, in differing ways, and differing circumstances. The consequences are always the same.

The theme is common.

I’ve said before that I’ve seen many people, in the double digit territory, tens, twenties and thirties … just fade away. They stop doing meetings. They stop calling.

They just STOP. Common.

Our lady friend tonight spoke about her ten year anniversary. Some, at certain points in sobriety allow the tape to begin to play …

  • Ah, I’ve got this
  • I haven’t had a drink in a long time
  • I can skip a meeting or two
  • or I can go without a meeting for a while …

In sobriety, things begin coming back, and life gets good. We get settled in a routine, that may/or may not/ require our full attention, and meetings fall by the wayside, as happened for our woman tonight.

Children, Mortgages, Jobs happen, Life happens.

She just faded away. When the fade begins, we tend to disconnect in small ways, that may seem innocuous in the beginning, but if we don’t catch the trend, we end up out the door.

She did not drink right away. Not for a while.

Then over a holiday in France, she was out with friends, and she had a simple glass of champagne. And was like … I am GOOOOOOOOOD !!!

Just one drink.

That eventually led to two, which eventually led to pitiful incomprehensible demoralization.

Double digits, down the drain.

Women suffer too. Drinking to have fun, and to be part of turned into drinking all alone on her night “to herself.” Shame Drinking in Secret …

One drink turned into “Bottles of Wine…”

Cue up Shame, Fear and the Killing of Self Worth …

She knew the drill. She has, like many of us, alcohol in the family. BUT she also had sober family for a bit. And good things came to her, but in the end …

She Forgot …

Thankfully, she found her way back a few years ago. And is now sober again, with some time. She made it back. Many women don’t make it back because of boatloads of problems like:

  • Shame
  • Fear
  • Low Self Worth
  • Depression
  • Nobody Cares if I am out here so why bother ???

Shame and Fear are two major killers, not to mention a killer bout of depression in the middle of all the drinking…

We are not doctors. And Depression is a serious topic, that if it arises, and we need help, we get that help. In the end she got that help.

The warning was really clear to me, because the same thing happened to me, at the first “four year mark.” But I did not fade away on my own steam. I faded away because members of a room of drunks, asked me to leave and not come back.

Dealing with a terminal illness, Go and Don’t come back, and the HOLE in the SOUL, are serious deal breakers if you are trying to stay sober, in a world that does not want you around.

But the fade away took place, because, like our lady tonight, she was DISCONNECTED from the system.

  • No meetings
  • No Sponsor
  • No Book
  • No Steps
  • No Service

If you tick two or more of these things off your mental list, that is going on with you at the moment, then the warning is clear, the Fade Away IS IN Progress.

Nip that shit in the bud right away.

Because like they say, “The first time is a gift, the second, third or fourth time, you really have to work for it.”

And that’s the God’s Honest Truth …

The Fade Away can be avoided.

Recognize it before it is too late.



The Night Before, The Night Before, New Years Eve


“Accept the Past with No Regrets. Handle the Present with Confidence. Face the Future with No Fear…”

Montreal weather, this week, has been all over the map. A flurry here, some freezing rain there, terribly dangerous conditions ensued. As the rain came to an end on Tuesday, Wednesday, it was warm enough that all that ice melted, not before wreaking havoc on the population.

Last night, clouds began to form from fronts coming from the Great Lakes, and warnings went up for some serious snow to fall. It snowed all day, and into the evening. When all was said and done, there was about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground.

Twitter exploded early this evening telling riders of rapid transit, that buses would be running late (read: Or not come at all) because of heavy snowfall.

I listened to Rafa’s advice, so this afternoon, I downloaded the UBER app to my phone and filled in all the info for tonight’s trip.

I told the app where I was, and where I wanted to go. I set up my payment option and hit the “Request UBER.” Within three minutes my driver was at my front door. He actually called me while I was coming down in the elevator to tell me he had arrived.

I will NEVER take another TAXI in Montreal, so long as I live here.

Taxi drivers here in Montreal have been up in arms about UBER operating here and decimating their bottom lines and livelihoods from direct competition.

If there is one dishonest taxi driver out there, there are more, I am sure !

Thank you UBER.

This will be the last post of 2016. I am looking forward to the WordPress end of year report that comes on New Year’s Eve. After a year of writing, I get the specific stats on just how well we did this year in regards to trends, numbers and readers.

God has been very busy this year, taking many of the most important people that entertainment has ever seen, and will never see again.

In 1977, I was TEN years old, ( My apologies ) when Star Wars came to New Britain, Connecticut. The first time we saw Star Wars was at the Twin City Theatres, across the street, from the store my mother worked in when I was a kid. The name escapes me at the moment.

Star Wars has been a HUGE part of my life, for all of my life. I remember when Return of the Jedi came out, And I specifically remember sitting in the theatre, weeping. I had had a spiritual experience, one of many through the franchise of films.

“Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, You’re my only hope ….”

While God is calling home luminaries of stage and screen, there are those who are speaking petitions to the Almighty, to remove certain people off the face of the earth, specifically. By name …

And I have to agree with them.

Death is never a good option, but, while God is doing what He is doing, why not take a few more for good measure !!!

Let Us Pray …

It is crunch time in the rooms of recovery. We’ve been prepping for this weekend for an entire year. making sure our folks have everything that they need, in terms of time and sobriety. And we even have printed worksheets for people to take home with them, along with a copy of Living Sober, for good measure.

Christmas and New Years can be real killers, both Figuratively and Literally.

As is usual, the stats go down through the weekend, and come January 1st, the stats rise and we welcome folks from all over, to the rooms. We’ve worked very hard this season to anchor our men and women in the rooms.

But, in the end, it all comes down to choices.

There are sober places to go on New Year’s Eve, all over the world.

Sober people really know how to throw a good New Years Eve Party. At least we do, here in Montreal. There are several choices one can make here in the city. Nobody has to be alone, or need to drink. You don’t have to be alone.

I thought about writing a retrospective on the past year, but decided against it.

Good Riddance 2016. It was my toughest year in sobriety for many reasons.

In the end, I am still sober and I listened to good advice where necessary

People might have LOTS of years, but some of those men and women, are not very SOBER.

There but for the Grace of God go I.

Let us turn towards goodness, hope and love.

Goodnight, for the last time in 2016.

I thank all of you who have stayed around, for those who read, and for a certain author, of my acquaintance, who LOVES the LIKE button.

You know who you are.

Many words have been written this year.

On Saturday we will see just how many words were written.

Thank You So Much.




Sunday Sundries: Christmas Wrap Up 2016


Our Christmas Holiday 2016, is over.

Hubby visited his family in Ottawa Thursday to Saturday and returned early Saturday afternoon. The nieces and nephew are growing like weeds. They have grown so much over the past few years.

My in-laws are not getting any younger. And for a long time, my mother in law has been infirm and was in a cast, so she could not stand and cook, hence their Christmas dinner was catered. My father in law was gifted Netflix for Christmas, and he became a kid in a candy store.

We got lots of goodies, and gifts from everybody.

The packages I sent to St. John’s arrived on Thursday morning. And this morning, mama was up with Lu at 3 a.m. I woke up around 5:30 this morning anticipating a Skype call around 6:30. Sadly, Skype would not work on their end, so I got a blow by blow on the phone. The HUGE PINK TURTLE I sent Lu was a big hit, after she realized what it was.

Everything I sent to mama and Lu was appreciated.

My friend Ben, returned from Palestine last weekend, and gifted me my own Keffiyeh from Palestine. I wore it to a meeting on Thursday night, and what a conversation starter that was. One of the elders who sets up with me, is Palestinian, and has family in Palestine and abroad. He and his wife, live here in Montreal. We had a very lively discussion about world politics and we share very similar thoughts on a great many things.

Here at home we exchanged gifts, and hubby got some more earthenware bowls that he wanted, and I got a new bathroom suite decor in Silver, Grey and Whites, and a stainless steel towel/sundry rack for the wall. The bathroom was the last room to get new fixtures and decor.

I had painted the kitchen and the accent walls a few weeks ago.

We had a family dinner around 2 with my friend Bill and Amy, both from the fellowships. Sharing meals is tradition here at home. And it was very nice. There was plenty of food and conversation. We all left the table 10 pound heavier …

The weather was cold, but no snow. We are sitting at (-8c) with a freezing rain warning in effect through tomorrow morning. UGH…

Just what we need, more ice on the sidewalks. I took a dive on Friday night coming home and ruined my clean white pants. Yesterday I was going to do laundry, and I noticed that I misplaced my laundry card. We have a coin-less system now.

We have prepaid cards that you fill with a credit card and it debits when you do laundry. So no card, no laundry, until I find it, or get a new one on Tuesday. I am hoping I left it in the laundry room, and someone turned it into the office, which is closed tomorrow.

December has been a rough month for some of my friends. We lost a number of friends, and parents earlier this month, Christmas this year was bittersweet.

With a week to go until the end of the year, 2016, was good.

More on that later.



Christmas Shopping Extravaganza


The weather outside is definitely FRIGHTFUL ! We are sitting at a frigid MINUS 15c with a wind chill of MINUS 25c. Earlier today my lady friend and I braved the cold to go shopping at the biggest mall I have seen in Montreal.

I never go that far to shop, but there was a Toys R Us / Babies R Us gigantic store at Angrinon, which is at the terminus of the Green Line, about 20 minutes from home.

And let me tell you that we hit some serious pay dirt. I was shopping till I dropped, looking for the BEST Christmas Gift EVER, for Lu and Mama. We did some serious damage to my wallet when all was said, purchased, wrapped, and then SHIPPED to New Found land.

I have alerted Mama that three boxes are on their way there and should arrive early next week. It is going to be interesting to see Lu’s reaction. I told Mama that her little heart is probably going to explode on Christmas morning.

I am competing, don’t you know, against grandma and grandpa, for the Best Gift EVER !

I think I have this in the bag…




Thursday – The Quiet before the Deep Freeze

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The weather, as we speak, is going where it has not gone yet this season. Double digit Minuses which will last for the next 48 hours or so, with another dump of snow coming over the weekend.

But this IS Canada, don’t ya know !

It has been said that Winter has come much earlier than forecasters had told us it would, or that they had expected …

And I have to be out tomorrow afternoon, Christmas shopping.

It snowed the beginning of the week, enough that the plows and dump trucks have been out two nights in a row. And the bane of our existence, are those trucks with the sirens on them, that drive up and down, SOON TO BE PLOWED streets, alerting the owners of cars parked in PLOW zones, that they must be moved immediately or else be towed at the owners expense.

It has been a quiet week. Another quiet week on the front that really needs some noise. I am beginning to believe that, people who don’t want to see you, or won’t make time to see you, are not worth waiting for, any longer. This saga has been going on for two months with no resolution.

I’m just not hedging my bets any longer that I am going to get the answer I seek. And the other day a good friend of mine that I studied with, and he played the organ at our wedding said this to a question posed …

How many sins must one repent and atone for, before God accepts our sacrifices to Him ? And the answer was stern and swift ….

You don’t have to. He has made the sacrifice; offering himself to God and to man. Live your life. As for those who cannot accept you, “leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Their stubborn pride is their shame, not yours.

I also listened to the advice given to me a few days ago about taking care of my self and my spirit. I have been doing that. I’ve spent time with people I enjoy being with, I had coffee with an elder last Friday night, and I’ve devoted much of my Christmas to my friends and people I care about.

It’s funny really, our Christmas Lists are very short. Hubby does not ask for anything for himself, it always has to do with cooking or food. Hence, home.

I don’t really need anything that much, because I have everything that I need. And today was pay day and I had errands to run, and gifts to get into the mail first thing this morning. I did my grocery shopping, I got my hair cut, and finally came home.

I trolled every site that sells stuff that I think I need. And after that run, of so called “Window Shopping,” figured out that I really did not want to buy anything.

My friend Lisa says this about shopping soberly …

  • Do I need this ?
  • Do I really need this ??
  • Really, Do I need this ???
  • If you answer No to any one of these, then don’t buy it.

I only have one running list of BOOKS, I would like.

I have found the ease and cheaper pricing of Amazon.Ca. I bought a couple of books from them, but my heart rests firmly at Indigo Book Sellers, right up the Green Line.

Twitter is wonderful for news and shopping aggregation.

The New York Times Best Sellers List, The New York Times, Best Books of 2016, are great, and the popular Indigo Recommendation page is also good. I gave hubby a list of books I wanted to add to my library, and in case he gets me a gift card, I can use it online to buy all the books that are presently collected in my virtual shopping cart.

  • The Return by Hisham Matar
  • The Dispossessed by Szilard Borbely
  • Barbarian Lost – Travels in the New China by Sasha Trudeau (Brother of the PM)
  • Israel and Palestine by Alan Dowty – EXPENSIVE at $80.00 cad
  • Where Memory Leads by Saul Friedlander
  • Fragrant Harbour by John Lanchester

All of these come highly recommended, so they are currently, like I said, sitting in my cart. And at night I get that little email saying … “We think you left something in your cart, are you going to buy them?” Hopefully, one way or another …

With Christmas, I either get maudlin and angry and resentful, or I can turn it around and remember that I have the choice to do what is good for myself and my friends.

I chose the l latter of the two.

This afternoon I did some laundry and around 5, I was gonna take a nap, but that did not happen, because my mind was racing. I’ve been re-reading Ben Ehrenreich’s … The Way to the Spring, Life and Death in Palestine again.

I wanted a Kaffiyeh, Because Rafa has one that is beautiful. Thank you Amazon. I also ordered a book,

“Palestine, Drowning in the Tears of God,” by Rev. Anthony J. Mucciolo D.D.

There is so much terrible in the world, and innocent civilians, men, women, and children and young men, are dying by the tens of thousands because of war and strife.Not All Men are created in the image of a terrorist. And outright killing everybody, is a WAR CRIME for sure.

The question of Palestine and Israel is a subject I rarely talk about, because it is complex and fraught with complications, that dipping my toe in the water of education, would take decades. But I know enough to know where to stand in this debate.

Firmly in the Middle of the road …

Like my best friend, and probably because of the way HE sees the world, he encourages me to study the hard truths. And So I’ve been slowly doing that, reading good books, by good authors. Ben Ehrenreich was on the ground, in the thick of it, when he wrote his book about the conflict from the Palestinian side of the equation.

So that is a thing …

After that I decided to to some serious heavy lifting here on the blog. My first blog has been sitting dormant for almost a decade that I’ve been paying for upkeep, space and domain. Why pay for two blogs when I only use one.

That First Blog, has been exported off the main frame, and imported into this one. There are close to 4,000 entries now indexed in the back end. And over a thousand images sitting in my image bank now. When I attempted to do this a few years ago, images would not transfer across, now they do. I purchased an image bank upgrade to complete the import, so for those electronically inclined, there is fifteen years of blog in the archives.

Tomorrow, well, in a few hours from now, when temps will be in the MINUS double digits, my intrepid lady friend who lives across town is meeting me for a shopping extravaganza trip so that I can shop for Baby Mama and Baby Lu Lu.

My quest is simple. I need to find the perfect Christmas Present that will knock to socks off of a two year old little girl. Not to mention her mother as well.

Christmas is coming to those I love dearly this year.

It will be merry and bright for sure …