Week 5 and You’re Just Not That Important

“You’re just not that important Mike” were some words spoken to me by Morley almost 24 years ago. Morley Moger was my first sponsor, or mentor, when I showed up to the rooms of recovery and he remained my sponsor for 21 years. I was reminded of the time Morley said this to me when I was speaking to a friend tonight who is from my 12 step group. He’s new to recovery and as it turns out these same words were said to him on Monday night by another man. They were spoken word for word although the first name was different. Many of you who aren’t in recovery already know this about yourselves and for those that don’t know it the opportunity to learn it is a must. You’re just not that important. Morley said these words to me out of kindness and love, not out of malice. I needed to hear these words, learn these words and understand what these words meant. Those words weren’t used to put me down. Those words were said to help me right size myself and to begin to learn and understand some humility. You see when I was active and deep in my alcoholism I thought I was so very important. I tried to control the world. Well that is I tried to control that small space that was my world. I had family to control, or at least what they thought of me. I had work situations and problems, of my own making, to control. I had a need to control everything around me so you wouldn’t find out I was an alcoholic.  I didn’t know that you already knew this about me.I was such a great liar that I ended up being the last to know how bad I was because of the lies I told myself. I was sure that if I exercised enough control I could keep doing what I needed to do and that was to drink. I was also pretty sure that this world I was trying to control revolved around me. So by the time I showed up to the rooms of recovery and got sober I still believed the world revolved around me and that I was in control. The 12 steps taught me not only that I wasn’t in control but that I didn’t have to be in control. The world did not revolve around me. People, places and things would do quite well without me. Some would even thrive with my absence. Morley would remind me to count the stars in the sky if I was feeling too important. Or remind me how many people have lived on planet earth before me, who no one remembers. Those words spoken to me were not spoken to suppress me but actually to provide me with the relief I needed ,to know I didn’t have to run the show. It was like the world was lifted off my shoulders for the first time since I was a child. You’re just not that important. And it feels great to know it.So don’t worry,you’re not that important.

I am sharing this Ted Talk with you because it’s worth sharing. Some of you will listen for a short period but for those that listen to it all, well you’ll get it. Lidia Yuknavitch is an American writer and teacher from Oregon. She’s also a misfit! I love misfits.

 

The song this week is from a band called XX who I first heard when I bought their album Coexist in 2012 after reading a great review. I love this band and I am looking forward to buying the new album, I See You.

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The quote this week is :

“As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

Marianne Williamson

Week 4 and Belonging

 

Well it’s week 4 but only my second blog of the 2017 and an otherwise bad start to a weekly blog. I was in Austin, TX last week and between hotels and airports I wasn’t able to pull off a blog post. That brought about the thought that it might be nice to have a couple of posts written and on the shelf ready to post for times like that. It was a short consideration though because I prefer the spontaneity of how I write now. This is, I don’t know what I will write until I sit down to do it and I never have plan or hidden motive. I also get a bit of a thrill from the self imposed sense of urgency I get from feeling I must post on Thursdays. It reminds me of college and studying for a final about 12 hours before it is to take place.

Austin was good as always but a very quick turnaround. We got to Austin last Wednesday at 930 PM, got our rental car, went for supper and to the hotel. We were up early the next morning as our meeting was for 745 AM. We and they were on time for our meeting and it ran to about 10 AM. We wrapped up and went downtown and wandered for a little while before getting to Lambert’s for a BBQ lunch. If you’re in Austin check it out. It’s fantastic food. Then it was back to the airport to catch our flight to Houston then Houston back to Calgary and we landed at 930 PM in Calgary. That is a quick turnaround!

 

My daughter Olivia moved to Whitehorse, Yukon at the beginning of the year and I’m really proud of her for stepping way out of her comfort zone and leaving the big city for a small northern city (far north) for an opportunity to advance her career and gain experience she might not otherwise gain. She’s on a one year contract with the Yukon government. Olivia just graduated from U of C last June with a Master’s in Social Work so it’s great timing. I’ve never been to Whitehorse so I am looking forward to visiting her this spring. I’ve never heard anything bad about the city and I’m already excited to see it.

 

This past Saturday my home group, the group I belong to in my 12 step fellowship, celebrated our 15th anniversary. This isn’t a long time for most groups but we’re kinda proud of our group. When we started 15 years ago we started in a relatively new community called McKenzie Towne. And McKenzie Towne was about as far south as Calgary went on the East side. There were just a couple of regulars when this group started in August of 2001. But the word got out that there was a meeting now in the Deep South and more and more people started coming. As Calgary grew, many more communities started to spring up south of us and we grew some more. We have 3 meetings a week in the McKenzie Towne Church. The Church has turned out to be great hosts to us and this Church is always reaching out to many groups and organizations in the community. They themselves have a strong sense of community. I’m not 100% sure of how many members our group has now but if I were to guess I would say about 170 members with many more people than that who drop into our meetings. It’s not uncommon to have 50 people at our Saturday morning meeting at 10 AM, which is a great way to kick off a weekend. Our celebration this past Saturday was pot luck and we invited anyone in 12 step community and I would say with friends and family and members we had about 160 people at our anniversary party. There was a band playing in the background, lots of opportunity to visit and enough food to feed everyone a couple of times over. Towards the end we had 3 scheduled speakers who all had approximately 20 minutes to speak. Each of the speakers was assigned one of the 3 legacies of our fellowship, to speak about. Those legacies are Unity, Recovery and Service. I thought all 3 speakers did a great job of speaking to and addressing the legacy they had. It was a great Saturday afternoon. I came to these rooms 24 years ago in the hopes I could stop drinking and stay stopped. I had no idea I was joining the greatest fellowship in the world or that I would end up with a few million really close friends-hahaha. It’s often said that AA is the only place where you can walk into a room full of strangers and reminisce. I’m very proud to be a member of the McKenzie Group in Calgary and very humbled to be surrounded by such great people. I have a real sense of belonging.

 

Moving along and over to football ,in my week 2 blog I predicted with confidence a Patriots Seahawks Super Bowl. Ummm, I was very wrong. But it has shaped up to be a great game, or at least it should be by the performances so far by the two participants. That would be the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. I am pretty indifferent as to who wins. It would be great to see the Pats win another and it would be really good to see the Falcons win this one. I’m looking forward to enjoying the game; it should be great one and a lot of scoring.

 

If you’re a regular reader you know that I love The Players Tribune. The stories are about athletes and almost always written by the athlete themselves but rarely are these stories about their sport and more likely about an aspect of their life. The following is a wonderful story by Paul Holmgren and its called My Brother Dave. Paul Holmgren was a very tough competitor and a very good hockey player .Holmgren was an American in a game that was predominantly played by Canadians, with a few exceptions. Paul Holmgren is presently the President of the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL.

 

The song this week is Holland Road by Mumford & Sons.

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The quote this week is:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

– Steve Jobs

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll drop by next week……….

Week 2 , Sobriety Continued & Change

My first post of 2017! Unfortunately I was unable to post last week.

Around this time every year, I have take time to reflect on my past year and the many years that have passed since 1993. This past Saturday, the 7th of January, I was 24 years clean and sober. I can not help but think back on my life and how different it has become for me. I am so far away from the person who drank alcoholically everyday that I recall certain painful and damaging events to reminiscence and remind myself how much gratitude I have for the life I have today. For me this second chance at life has been a rebirth. I always think of the first verse to John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High when I’m thinking of my rebirth.

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

The gift I have received from my Higher Power is so great, it can be overwhelming at times. The gift is this rebirth; this do-over that I have been Graced with. One, that in a different lifetime, I never knew was available to me. Not all my days were bad prior to January 7th 1993 but with a few exceptions, like the birth of my children, the best day I had back then would still be worse than my worst day today. It was never what was going on around me but what was going on inside me that was so damaging. These past 24 years have been exceptionally great and gratifying. Not so much because of outside changes but because I changed. I have a new perspective on life and I continue to allow it to change. I came to believe in a power greater than myself and I do my best to turn my will and my life (my thoughts and my actions) over to the care of that power everyday.  Today it’s not about what life owes me but it’s about what I owe life.I’m no longer a bystander watching my life pass by but I am fully engaged in every moment. I do not have to control every outcome or situation in my life and this has certainly been healthier and less stressful because I am leaving the heavy lifting to my Higher Power. I have a peace of mind today instead of an anxious mind. I have an ability to accept an outcome instead of continue to battle a decision. For any of you who have ever coached kids or been coached you have said or heard the words “Leave it all on the field “or “give everything you have” or “leave it all on the ice” and if you do that then the outcome is irrelevant because you tried your hardest. Well this is kind of how I try to live. I do my best in my actions and after that I have to leave the results up to my Higher Power. I do the footwork and leave the results to something much more powerful than I. My 12 Step Fellowship and Program never once gave me the promise or thought that they would teach me how to not drink.What they did promise was they could teach me how to live. That promise has been fulfilled over and over and I am not sure I can ever pay back my debt. These past 24 years have been amazing and I’m grateful to everyone who has played a part in my recovery.

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I believe it’s never too late for me or for you to change our lives. It’s never too early either. I have heard people say I’m too old to change and I have heard people say I’m young; I have lots of time to change. We need to be honest with ourselves if we want to change and I find these two statements to be very opportunistic for us to lie to ourselves. I had to get very honest with myself 24 years ago. I had to admit I had a fear of change. I had to admit that I had so many resentments that were blocking me from the sunlight. What was worse was my fear of living without my resentments. All I had to change was everything. Everyone has the ability to change. They might not have the willingness but everyone has the ability. Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness, these are the keys required for personal change. Not everyone I know believes in God and although I find God to be essential for my change and growth, the lack of belief in God shouldn’t hold anyone back from making the changes necessary to live a complete and rewarding life. Identify the changes you want to make and start today.

 

 

I’m going to change gears and tell a little story about the youths in my neighborhood. I keep seeing a meme on Facebook that shows some teens carrying shovels in a snowstorm and the meme asks “where have these people gone?” And it goes on to berate them for their video games,texting, etcetera etcetera etcetera. It get’s tiresome listening to people complain about kids texting and gaming. It reminds me of my dad telling me I was wasting my time in the pool hall and wasting my money on pinball machines. Last week I was sick and was man down for a few days and my sidewalk was covered in a few inches of snow and some was now hard-packed from being trampled on. We live on a large corner lot and our sidewalk is a chore at the best of times. I found the kids with the shovels! I went to my community page on Facebook and said “does anyone know a kid in the neighborhood who wants to make $20 shoveling a large corner lot sidewalk”. I had 3 responses within 10 minutes and I gave the work to the first kid who responded. I texted my address and I also said this is a large corner lot and I need it taken down to the concrete. His only response was “it pays $20 right?” A real nice 17-year-old showed up and went to work in minus 26 weather. 30 minutes later it was done and done very well. He gave me his cell number in case I needed him again. So those kids are out there we just need to know how to reach them.

 

Changing gears again it’s over to football.We’re down to the Divisional Playoffs in NFL which leaves 8 teams vying for the Super Bowl. Games on Saturday will see Seattle vs. Atlanta and Houston vs. New England. On Sunday we have 2 more great matchups with Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City and Green Bay vs. Dallas. I’m predicting a Seattle/New England Super Bowl. But regardless there should be 4 very good games this weekend.

 

The song this week is from the Dexys Album Dexys Do Irish Country and Soul and the song is titled Carrickfergus

 

 

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Kevin Rowland with bandmates on the album cover

Most of you will know the Dexys as Dexys Midnight Runners and their very well known song Come On Eileen.  I’m a huge fan of the band and even more so of Kevin Rowland. Although Kevin was born in England both of his parents were Irish and in this album he pays great tribute to his parents.I would love to see these guys but they play about 1 gig a year.

 

The quote this week is from Norman Vincent Peale.

 

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

 

I appreciate you reading this far and I hope I will see you again next week………..

 

Week 52 ,and I’m Ready For 2017

Christmas 2016 is in the record books and it was another good one. I am always filled with so much gratitude at Christmas. Especially when our kids and their significant others are in the house. The opportunity to see family and have some quality time with them really makes me grateful for what I have been given .The kids were over on Christmas Eve for about 6 hours. Enough time for supper, a visit and a couple of games. They were back over Christmas morning for a couple of hours while we exchanged gifts and then on Boxing Day at my in-laws for an awesome supper served up by Marge. Christmas Day Lori and I went to my sister Debbie’s home. The food was great and so was the company. There were only about 15 of us this year but in my family it’s always quality over quantity and it was a good visit as per usual. Often my family is louder than a football stadium packed with fans so despite the smaller crowd this year there was still a lot of noise. I actually counted a couple of people who were in on more than one conversation, at the same time! That’s us; not too shy. But now it’s time to enjoy the few days off we have until we are back to work on the 3rd of January.

A very good friend of mine has ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. She was diagnosed just a couple of months ago.Yesterday she asked me if I wanted to join her team in Betty’s Run for ALS. Of course I will! I will most likely be asking you to donate to this run. From $1 , $5 to that million you have stashed.From The Player’s Tribune I want to share this article about Steve Gleason , a former safety with the New Orleans Saints of the NFL. In 2011 Gleason revealed he had ALS and for 5 years recorded his challenge of living with the disease which is now captured in a documentary titled Gleason. There’s a movie trailer below.

Here’s the article from The Player’s TribuneSteve Gleason.

 

 

 

It appears that the frontrunner for album of the year will go to Beyonce for her album Lemonade. I would normally shrug this selection of because it would be from Billboard or Rolling Stone.But when I researched I found that this album is on the top of the charts for most music critics and magazines. I’m confident I won’t be buying this album but I will go to YouTube and give it a listen and see what the hype’s about.

I would like to share with you my top 5 albums of 2016. These are my picks and based on my music preferences and many of you music lovers will have many other selections.

                                       Mike’s Top 5 Albums of 2016

Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker

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Wilco – Schmilco

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Bon Iver – 22, A Million

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Richmond Fontaine – You Can’t Go Back if There’s Nothing To Go Back To

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Drive-By Truckers – American Band

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The song this week is from is the title track from Leonard Cohen’s newest album, You Want It Darker

 

 

 

 

The quote this week is from Brad Paisley.

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

 

 

 Have a fun but safe New Years and I wish for everyone that 2017 brings happiness and contentment

 

I hope to see you next week…………..

Week 51 . It’s Christmas Time

I love Christmas! It’s my favorite holiday of the year by a long shot. It’s very meaningful and although at times very busy it is also a relaxing time. My company actually closed the office from the 23rd to the 3rd which was a nice surprise and good Christmas bonus in this horrible economic situation Alberta finds itself in.

The kids are all coming over Saturday afternoon for the evening and they will be back Christmas morning for a couple of hours. Christmas Eve morning Lori and I go to a 12 step breakfast with some speakers and great fellowship, at The Deerfoot Inn. There’ll be a few hundred people as usual. On Christmas, after the kids have left to go to their respective dinners, Lori and I will go to my sister Debbie’s place for supper along with so many others. On Boxing Day, we will all head over to Marge and Gabe’s for supper and by about the 27th I will be needing a big nap.

The reason for this holiday is very important to me also, as I am a Christian. But this holiday time is always a special time to celebrate friends and relatives with food and gatherings and for the large part people are softer during this holiday. Sharper, rougher edges are replaced by additional patience and kindness. It’s just a really nice time of the year. It’s also a very emotional time of year and there are some people who really struggle at Christmas, with sadness, because of loved ones who are no longer with us in body. Be gentle with these people. Be kinder than necessary.

We live in Canada with an awesome mixture of Faiths and cultures and not everyone celebrates Christmas as the birth of Christ, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t celebrate the spirit of the holiday. Be respectful, be kind.

Not everyone has as much as others and the food bank, Mustard Seed, Drop Inn and these places need money to clothe and feed people. Help where you can and if you can’t help financially, then share a smile, a handshake or a hug.

Be patient with the children. They’re excited, happy and playful. Yes, they will make more noise, eat more sugar and run a little harder. This is the joy they add to the holiday. Be kind to the old. They may not have their memory or physical capabilities but they were the ones who raised us. Show patience. Be kinder than necessary.

 

So no matter what your Faith, your beliefs or how you celebrate this holiday, know that I wish you a Merry Christmas, from my home to your home.

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Our Home

The song this week is my favorite Christmas song and I love this version.

 

The quote this week is :

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

 

Have a great Christmas and I hope I’ll see you next week………..

Vegas,Vigor and Week 41

Lori and I just got back from Vegas Tuesday afternoon and we enjoyed 5 days in the sun and heat. It was over 30 C every day we were there, while back in Calgary it was below 0 and snowing. The trip was planned around the ZZ Top / Greg Allman concert at Palms Casino but unfortunately Greg Allman was hospitalized for pneumonia and was not able to make it. We had seen ZZ Top before and this time I really had hoped to catch Allman. But that did not get in the way of a great concert. Kenny Wayne Shepherd filled in for Greg Allman and he and his band did not disappoint! I never knew he was this good. Of course ZZ Top was in ZZ Top form and they put on a great show like they always do. Four decades with the same 3 guys and the same 3 chords. Rock and Roll hall of famer, Billy Gibbons says his band has just two rules; no drinking during the gospel songs and we don’t play gospel songs. It was a great night and the concert was held in the Pearl Theater which is a top rate, intimate venue.

When I bought the tickets I had no idea the concert was the same weekend as Thanksgiving and had I known we would have stayed home to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family.

We had a great time in Vegas though. We took in the concert, two Cirque du Soleil shows, some nice dinners including one at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak at the Paris Casino. We spent an evening down on Fremont Street which was full of street entertainment and surprises. Everyone goes to Vegas to have fun and it’s easy to feel that vibe on the streets. Yes, it can get a bit wild and outrageous but we never saw any trouble. I think this is indicative of the reason most people are in Vegas and that is to have fun. Vegas is a city of fun. There’s lots of action and neon and sounds and most nights the streets are packed until the early morning hours. You can’t use foot traffic to gauge the difference between a Saturday night and a Sunday night; they’re just the same in Vegas.

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Fremont Street

Most of you know I don’t drink but I can assure you that you don’t have to drink to have fun in Vegas!! I have more than enough fun when I am there and I find so much to do. There is something for everyone in Vegas so whether you drink or don’t drink there’s always something to do.

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Me in front of the Venetian

My wife has a really nice habit when we’re on vacation. She makes sure that no food is left behind on our plates. Like any city, Vegas has homeless people and they tend to hang out downtown, where the action is and they can panhandle. Lori get’s extra food packaged up to go and always find someone in need, to give it to. On Monday we went to Denny’s for breakfast and had the bacon, eggs and pancakes. Lori ate her pancakes and had her toast, scrambled eggs, bacon packaged on a go plate and she got the server to bring napkins, plastic utensils and she got her orange juice in a go cup. We left Denny’s and within a short walk from the restaurant she found someone not only in need but expressed how hungry he was and he was very grateful for the food. Some of these homeless people, like every city, are suffering from addictions and many are just really down on their luck. We have so much. It never hurts to buy an extra breakfast.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend; we sure did!

 

 

I believe one of the factors that contributed to my having such a nice vacation was the news I received while waiting for my luggage at the Las Vegas airport. My buddy Dale contacted me to let me know that our dear friend, Terry Primeau, had passed on from a heart attack the day before.Terry always lived life at full volume,was kind and generous and enjoyed everything he did or he didn’t do it.I remembered how Terry lived, and while I was in Vegas I know he would have told me to live loud! I tried Terry. Terry lived in Perth and was on his usual morning walk on the beach and it was on the beach that he was found. We had met Terry in college and had struck a friendship immediately. We lost a good friend and a really great guy. Full of wit and humor and vigor for life. He will be sorely missed by myself, and all his friends back here in Calgary.

 

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Terry Primeau and his wife

There’s a quote from Brendon Burchard that I like for my buddy Terry’s life.

At the end of our lives we will all ask “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?”

Terry could have answered yes, yes and yes!

 

PRIMEAU (Terrence): 
Born 19th July 1959, Calgary, Canada. Raised in Virden, Manitoba. Passed away 6th October 2016, Perth, Western Australia. Engineering saw Terry travel the world over, but he chose to settle down in Perth and eventually married. Terry strove to magnificent heights in business and was proud to build a successful public company.
One of his passions were the many fishing trips he went on with his brother, brother-in-law and nephew Another was to show Australia to his Canadian family.
Terry loved his family wholeheartedly. He leaves behind his wife of 10 years, daughter, family and friends. Terry will always be remembered for his selflessness and joie de vivre.
Gone but never forgotten. Rest in Peace. 

“drilling’s a little flat this week Terry”

RIP my friend

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The Jays open up their best of 7 series against Cleveland on Friday and have most of the baseball fans in Canada cheering them on….Go Jays

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Go Jays Go

 

The song this week is True Lies by Kenny Wayne Shepherd from his album trouble is….

 

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Kenny Wayne Shepherd

 

The quote this week is as follows:

“Sometimes it’s easy to walk by because we know we can’t change someone’s whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize it that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place.”

Mike Yankoski

 

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’ll be back next week……

 

 

 

 

Week 26

Tomorrow, July 1, is Canada Day. Canada will be 149 years old! It’s an excellent day to head to the inner core, or smaller towns close by , and take in activities. In our case, we will take in multiple activities at a few venues. In the morning we will get over to the East Village first. The city closes the street to foot traffic only and opens the west side of Fort Calgary so we can saunter down 8th ave. and right into Fort Calgary and enjoy two separate venues in one sweep. When we’ve decided to move on we will get to Eau Claire Market and once again we can get two venues that are so close together. The other venue is Prince’s Island Park where there will be an Aboriginal showcase and powwow and the Canadian Military showcase. If we still have energy and the dogs can keep going we can check out Riverfront Avenue. There is no shortage of things to do in and around Calgary. For anyone who wants to go to Banff or the Bar U Ranch, admission to all National Parks is free on Canada Day. Be aware there are no dogs allowed at the Bar U because it is a working ranch and there is a lot of livestock wandering around so they’ve had to make a blanket rule. Have fun and be safe. I have posted a link to the events in and around the city.

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Canada Day Events. 

 

I did say dog(S) above as we have our daughter Olivia’s dog, Nelson the Boston terrier, for a week while she is in Toronto for Canada Day. Hoover might warm up to the very young Nelson by the end of the week. Or she might not. I do think she’s a bit jealous right now.

I was reading an article about CO2 this week and stumbled upon this website that I would like to share in case you don’t know about it. What a great site!

Big Think

The song this week is from a wonderful and well known Canadian, Leonard Cohen. I don’t think I have ever said “too much Cohen”. The song Suzanne was voted, in Rolling Stone magazine, by a readers poll, as Leonard Cohen’s second favorite song. If you’re a fan of Leonard Cohen I’m sure you  know what was number one.

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Suzanne 

The quote this week is from another Canadian, Vincent Massey.

“Canada is not a melting-pot. Canada is an association of peoples who have, and cherish, great differences but who work together because they can respect themselves and each other.”

Happy Canada Day, and Happy July 4th to my American friends

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll check in again next week ……..

Week 22

Welcome to week 22. Last week I was talking about Hope. I was prompted to write about Hope because of what was and is going on in my province. The fires in Fort McMurray and the state of our economy are what motivated me last week to write about Hope. Alberta is very contemporary and diverse and our economy has many elements to it but we are largely founded in Energy. There is no mistaking that the economy of Alberta is driven by oil and gas. These commodities have been down and out for 18 months now and it’s the most severe downturn I have seen since I started working in the oil industry , on the drilling rigs , in 1978. Oilfield Service Companies and Oil Companies are going bust every day. There are layoffs every day in Calgary and in cities and towns and communities throughout Alberta. Don’t be offended if someone in Alberta greets you with “You still working?” .It’s a legitimate question today that reflects the state of our economy. Countless good people have been laid off with not many prospects for work in their sights. In what is a typical Albertans manner though, is the Hope that things will get better. All of us in this province have been through downturns in the energy sector and if someone hasn’t been through this before it’s because they’re new to the energy industry and this is just their first downturn, not their last. Albertans are resilient and they’re Hopeful. They are strong and willing. Some of my friends who have been out of work have carried themselves through this slump with a dignity that is impressive and humble. They have Hope! For the past few weeks I have listened to residents of Ft Mac speak with the same dignity. Ft Mac is a city of approximately 80,000 that exists primarily to mine the oil sands. These people have been delivered a double whammy the past short while as many who lost their homes to the wildfires have also been out of work for many months. If they didn’t lose their homes  there was the anxiety they all endured while they were evacuated and living as evacuees. The whole city was evacuated and it was done so quickly and on short notice. No one had time to grab belongings of any kind or sort.  I have listened to these people speak of how the city would be stronger, better and back to work. They have Hope in their voices. Don’t think we didn’t all see or hear their pain but we could all hear their Hope. Yesterday the province started allowing residents to return home. I watched them on the CBC National News last night and could see the Hope as they returned to their homes. I am certain Ft. Mac is going to be different and stronger after this. If you haven’t got a friend from Ft. Mac, then make one. These are unique people. Where there’s Hope, there’s Hope.

There’s a bill being debated in our Senate right now. It was voted on in Parliament and it was 186-137 for the bill, and to send it to the Senate for debate. I’m not really sure why or how or what about this bill because the Supreme Court of Canada has already settled this debate. The 9 jurists of the Supreme Court have ruled that effective June 6 it will no longer be illegal to assist someone to commit suicide. This means any doctor who wishes to help a suffering person will be free to do so without the fear of prosecution. Not that anyone asked but I support bill C-14. I caution though what we in the future define as “suffering”. What if someone is having a bad 6 months, is clinically depressed and sees no hope? For instance the late Robin Williams is an example. Do we support a decision of lonely or despondent or depressed people to end their lives? Does this absolve us from our obligation to care for the mentally ill? What about someone who is mentally handicapped but wants the right to die, for no reason? Most of us know what the intent of this law is and what bill C-14 stands for. But as a community we must be so cautious with this new law and we must be on guard and never neglect our responsibility to care for those who are having weak times. I support bill C-14 but I do not have the right to shirk my responsibility to care for people who need to be cared for.

 

Next Tuesday my daughter Olivia convocates with her Master’s Degree and I’m proud of her and excited to watch her walk across the stage!

 

On Wednesday I fly to California with a good friend to do a little outdoors exploring so there won’t be a post for week 23 and I will resume with a combo 23/24 the following week.

I had a song, new music, all picked and ready for this week and then today I watched a video of Pink singing her rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee” and now, well now I am putting up Me and Bobby McGee by Pink

 

This week’s quote is from one of my favorite authors,poets, mystics, activists and a Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton. I was introduced to this man by my first sponsor, Morley. Morley gave me the book “The Seven Storey Mountain” when I was about a year sober. If you have time click on his name and read his bio. He was a very interesting man.

thomasmerton

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton

RNS MERTON 40

 

Thanks for dropping by this week. I appreciate your time. See you in 2 weeks……..

 

 

Week 19

The fires in Fort McMurray have been the focal point for most of us in Alberta this past week. I think that by now everyone in the world has heard about the city of Fort McMurray in the news.

a-mountie-surveys-the-damage-on-a-street-in-fort-mcmurray-m

Most of us in the Energy Industry know someone who lives or works in Ft. Mac that has been affected by the fires and the evacuation of up to 90,000 people. There has been so much damage and devastation. I can’t imagine what goes through the hearts and minds of those who have lost every possession including photographs and mementos. People from all across Canada have reached out to help and Albertan’s have pulled together, once again, to help a community in dire need. I won’t reiterate the news. If you want to see more pictures, video or stories you can Google the fires. The flames are still raging but have moved away from the city of Fort Mac and the state of the city is being evaluated. My gratitude goes out to all first responders who fought and/or are fighting this fight. Some of them while their own homes were burning. Alberta Strong is what I keep seeing on social media and this province is strong. I’m very proud to be able to call myself an Albertan!

 

The kids were all over last Saturday for a nice evening on the deck in 27 C weather, along with my mother in law and father in law. We were celebrating my birthday, Mother’s Day and my daughter Olivia’s birthday which actually is on May 15th ! Happy Birthday ‘Liv!!

 

The NHL playoffs continue. One game is left in round two. The San Jose Sharks will play the Nashville Predators in a decisive game 7 and the winner will play the St Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final. The Eastern Conference Final will see the Pittsburgh Penguins play the Tampa Bay Lightning. I think the Eastern final is going to be a game of speed and I’m looking forward to it! I have no dog in the fight so It doesn’t matter to me who wins.But St Louis has never won the Stanley Cup so I think that could be good for the game if they did.

Stanley_Cup,_2015

I am replacing the quote this week with a poem. A poem by Rudyard Kipling. I found this poem about a decade ago and it has become one of my favorites.

 

If….

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

 

The song this week is from the Noisettes and is called The Count of Monte Christo

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I hope you’ll drop by next week…………

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 13

Easter weekend was a nice 4 day break. A mini holiday. We had time with family and we had time to relax at home and time to catch up on a few chores. Good Friday was a very quiet day for me but the following day, Saturday, was very busy but add a great Easter supper over at Debbie’s with family and friends and we ended up with a very nice day.

I have a few links I want to share with you this week. The first one is titled “10 Books to Read If You Are Looking For Your Purpose”. I have read 2 of these books. Now just because I am saying I have read 2 of the 10 suggested books doesn’t mean I found anything and I am sure to pick up another of these books soon.

10 BOOKS TO READ

 

This next link is a story of Courage and Faith and is taken from The Players Tribune

Players Tribune- Visiting Hours

Lastly is Naval Admiral William H McRaven addressing the University of Texas at Austin Class of 2014. It’s long at 19:26 but if you can beat back your ADHD it’s really worth the watch and listen. I myself just listened to it for my first time early this morning

Graduation Speech

 

The song this week is from David Gilmour of Pink Floyd playing “Wish You Were Here” on the Jimmy Kimmel Show this past Monday, the 28th. Gilmour is presently on a 4 city tour with the first two dates set for this weekend in Toronto. This song is from the album of the same name as the song ,released in 1975

Pink_Floyd,_Wish_You_Were_Here_(1975)

The quote this week is from Thomas Merton. Merton was a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky.

“We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.”

Thanks for dropping by and I hope to see you next week…….