Week 25,Whitehorse and Further

I flew up to Whitehorse on June 8th to visit Olivia and had a great few days in the north. I was a little shocked at first because they were experiencing a 50 year record for heat on the 8th and 9th , the 10th was decent and by the 11th it was a normal ,cool ,northern spring day ! But June 9th was 29 C and I had a hotel room that didn’t have any A/C. I survived. The lack of darkness was another thing I had forgotten about and. It was only dark from about 2 am to 4 am.It looks like high noon at 8 pm!

I had a great time though hanging out with Olivia and touring the north with her. We walked and talked around town on Thursday after I arrived and she showed me the city. The mighty Yukon River runs through Whitehorse and I was impressed. We decided to go for dinner around 6 and went to Klondike Rib and Salmon which is one of the best places I have eaten in quite awhile. It’s been on the Food Networks show “You Gotta Eat here” and deserves to be.

 

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Me and Olivia at Mile’s Canyon

 

On Friday Olivia took me on a road trip to Skagway Alaska. It’s only a 2-hour drive and in the summer there is no shortage of daylight, so there’s no need to rush the drive. One thing that immediately struck me as unusual is that we would be driving south to get to Skagway! I just assume Alaska is north. The drive to Skagway was beautiful. We were on the Klondike Highway and there were so many lakes and rivers and mountains. But first we stopped 70 km from Whitehorse at a community called Carcross which is home to the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, with a population of about 250.They have a terrific small but unique boardwalk commercial area set up for the summer tourist season with food and many crafts for sale.

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Pole at Carcross

After this , we were Alaska bound with a few stops for some great pictures.

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Tagish Lake

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Tutshi Lake, a larger image to appreciate the mountains

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I could have taken a picture every kilometer of the drive , it was so awesome

Our last stop before Skagway was Dyea a former town with just a few small homesteads left. It’s at the convergence of the Taiya River and Taiya Inlet and it is the south trail-head for the Chilkoot Pass. Dyea was abandoned for the offering of deeper port waters at Skagway a hundred years ago. The Chilkoot Pass and Dyea are U.S. National Historic Landmarks. When Lori and I were planning our West Coast Trail hike that we completed in July 2016 we talked about doing the Chilkoot Trail. Now that I have been up in this country, seen how beautiful it is, I am going to revive the conversation.

The links for the Chilkoot Trail and the Chilkoot Pass are different if you’re checking them out.

 

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The south trail-head at Dyea

 

It was now on to Skagway, a mere 10 miles away. Skagway was a surprise for me to see and totally captivating. The main street and the side streets off main have all been restored and maintained to their original appearance of 130 years ago. The population is only 1,060 but it doubles in the summer to handle upwards of 900,000 visitors, most of who arrive on the cruise ships. During the Klondike Gold Rush the town was virtually lawless and was described at that time by a North West Mounted Policeman as “hell on earth”. People came from all over America and Canada, up the pacific coast to Skagway before heading for the Yukon gold via the Chilkoot Trail. I have fallen for Skagway and I need to get back there. From Skagway you can catch a ferry to Juneau and Haines if you wanted. Skagway had more than enough to keep me busy for awhile taking pictures and snooping around before we settled down to the reason we had come to Skagway;the promise of a big, fresh ,crab dinner

 

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State Street , Skagway

 

We had a fantastic 1lb crab dinner each with ice tea to drink and hot melted butter for the crab meat! I don’t even remember the name of the restaurant or I would cite it here because the staff were so friendly, and service was good. I could have eaten another. I was stuffed though. After dinner, we hit the streets again and Olivia treated me to a t-shirt!  We bought some candy for the drive back to Whitehorse and we headed home but we had to take 4 tries to get out of town, as I was filming a snap chat and had to get it perfect,while even just correct. Olivia has more patience than I remember her having.Ha

Another thing to mention is the weather. It was 29 when we left Whitehorse and 9 when we got to Skagway and 27 again when we got back to Whitehorse ,at 9 pm.

 

Saturday, we stayed around Whitehorse and one of the things we did was go to the Pride Parade. That was my first Pride parade and although not as big as Calgary’s it was bigger than I expected. Also, you can see by the picture that this has to be the coolest Pride sticker ever.

 

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Sunday, we drove a couple of hours up to Haines Junction and into Kluane National Park. At Haines Junction, you can choose to continue on the Alaska Highway towards Anchorage or you can carry on through Kluane and to Haines Alaska. Kluane was beautiful, windy and cold. All at the same time. We saw a couple of bears in the park and got some good photos of the one guy who was not interested in us at all. He just tried his best to ignore us and carry on his way.

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Mr. Black Bear above and Kathleen Lake,Kluane National Park

 

 

 

On our way home, we stopped at Haines Junction at their famous little bakery and we both had a drink and I added a cinnamon bun before we made the trek back to Whitehorse. I was leaving for Calgary the next day and the thought came to mind as to why so many people want to drive the Alaska Highway each summer. It’s been added to my list of things to accomplish. I had a great time and great time hanging out with Olivia.

 

Whitehorse is a pretty nice little city and I have always loved the north. I’ll be back.

 

Finished the Willie Nelson autobiography this week and I’m a little disappointed in it.Compared to the Gregg Allman autobiography and Stephen King memoirs I’ve recently read, I felt like Willie glossed over a lot of things that did or might have happened that I would have been interested in. It was very clean. Not one story from the bus! I felt like he wrote it and was far too careful not to offend an ex wife or a friend and it seemed like he possibly was hiding things from his adult children.That being said,it was Willie Nelson and it was still an interesting story.

 

The song this week is from Bonnie Raitt who Lori and I saw on Friday the 16th. 

She is as good today as she was 40 years ago! This is her singing one of my favorite songs  written by John Prine, another favorite.

 

 

 

The quote this week is from Howard Zinn.

“The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

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

 

Week 21, Long Weekends and Richard Rohr

The sun was shining every day of this past Victoria Day weekend and I can’t remember the last time that happened. We usually prepare for a spring snowfall on this May long weekend but not so this year. Every day was a beautiful,sunny and warm day. I pressure washed the outside of the house, the deck, the patio, the garage and the parking pad and cleaned off a couple shelves in the garage too.  Lori did a lot of work in the garden and yard. I also went through an old trunk of mine that is full of “stuff”. Mostly it’s all knickknacks’ and pictures from the past. These are things that only have sentimental value, which I want my kids to have, later. You know, when I’m gone. Ha-ha.  There’s crayon coloured placemats and tickets from concerts and sporting events that we attended. It’s just a bunch of “stuff”. I got caught up in it though.

Saturday night we met Samir and Kim at Aladdin’s Casbah .We had a fantastic supper and a visit that matched. Aladdin’s is a must if you’re from Calgary. Its south on MacLeod Trail at Avenida and worth the drive. This is not just the best Lebanese food in town this clearly some of the best food I’ve had in Calgary. If you’re not sure what to have I recommend starting with the tabouli and baba ganoush for appetizers and then order the mixed grill for a main course. If you go on Saturday night the belly dancer starts around 830-9 and you definitely want to be there for that! The food, the staff and the restaurant will have you planning your next visit to Aladdin’s .

I have a spot by some framed jerseys that needed some chairs but they had to be the right chairs to fit in with the sports jerseys. I said to Lori that I thought a couple of leather chairs would be the right fit. She got on Facebook ,checked into Calgary buy and Sell and immediately found two, brown distressed leather chairs that fit perfectly and I won’t say the price because it was such a good deal I almost feel guilty.

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This picture of me and the kids is from 1996. I found this while cleaning the garage on the weekend. Pure gold! It looks like we’re at Elbow Falls

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one of the pictures I found cleaning the garage. Emma,Me,Liam and Olivia

 

I’m presently taking a 9 week course from the Center for Action and Contemplation  . The course is “Breathing Underwater” and it’s to enhance the book by Father Richard Rohr titled Breathing Under Water ; Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. It’s been a great course and it’s given me a considerable amount of spiritual goods to reflect on. This is the second time this year I will have read this book. It’s been well worth my time.

I’m also reading Stephen King’s book , On Writing , Wayne Gretzky’s book Stories of the Game and I’m dabbling in a book of poetry my sister Nancy gave me for my birthday 2 weeks ago. It’s a book of poetry all based on Canada’s game, hockey! It’s called Hero of the Play I’ll get the first three finished by the first week of June and I’ll continue to dabble in the poetry book.

Cheers to the Nashville Predators for getting past Anaheim to be the first team in the Stanley Cup Final this year. This is their first ever appearance in a cup final in the 19 years they have been in the NHL. I’m really happy for the city and their fans and hope they do well. They now await the winner of game 7 between Ottawa and Pittsburgh. I would think if Ottawa ended up in the final it would be a nightmare for the NHL since Nashville and Ottawa are both small market teams and I can’t imagine there would be quite the TV interest that you might see in a NY Rangers versus Los Angeles Kings final. So I’m pulling for Ottawa and maybe we’ll see these two small market teams play for the Stanley Cup. Ottawa has won a Stanley Cup before but their last win was in 1927, long before the modern era.

 

The song this week is from the band Deer Tick and is titled Song About a Man

 

 

The quote this week is something I have had stored away in my file and I have no idea where I got it. But I like it.

If you had $86,400 in your account and someone stole $10 from you, would you be upset and throw the remaining amount $86,390 away at the person who took your $10? Of course not! The same way we have 86,400 seconds each day. Don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds ruin the remaining 86,390 seconds of your day.

 

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

 

 

 

Week 16 & A New Pair of Shoes

This week a friend of mine is telling a little of his story . I met Mike R. in 2004 when he came into a meeting in McKenzie Towne. He was new and I liked him from the start. I think of him back then , when he had just moved out of his car, to today where he owns his own place,his own business and is a great father to a beautiful little girl.He’s a solid friend and we have done a lot of things together over the years and we’ve had a lot of laughs. One night Mike took me to see Robin William’s at the Jubilee. Man did we laugh! Mike is an avid fisherman and can be found on the Bow River most days. Mike is also a fishing guide on the Bow River and his website is Bow River Blog and I can assure you he will provide you with a great and fun day or 1/2 day on the river and it’s very affordable and most of all it’s well worth it. The laughter alone , that Mike guarantee’s,is worth it.

 

 

A new pair of shoes

 

Walking the red road into a new way of life.

My shoes took me into deep dark places before I found A.A and recovery. Places where normal people are scared to enter. From crack houses to the local bar, the end was close for me on many occasions. My shoes were worn out and tired, deflated and ready to retire. They had stories to tell, mostly of where not to walk in life’s journey. They were cracked and torn, laces broken, very parallel to my life lived deep in the throes of full blown addiction. I would show up on old friends door steps, only for the door to slam closed in my face and the words uttered sternly “don’t come around here no more, you are NOT welcome”. Shame and humiliation kept me away mostly, but sometimes my shoes would take me back to borrow money to fuel the addiction that burned deep within, only to be rejected again and again! It was lonely in those shoes and I was tired of the places they took me, but for some reason I would always end up in the same situations, baffled as to why I was back at the start once again? An old song comes to mind when I think of those days, “these boots are made for walking… and that’s just what they’ll do, cause one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you”.

Addiction walked all over me, and everything I once loved or held dear to my heart. It crushed all my hopes and all my dreams into a million pieces. When I was young I had aspirations of becoming a hockey player, as well as a professional golf pro. I was good at sports, but really good at these two particularly.  I remember many hockey dads telling my mother, he is a star and he will make the NHL if he keeps playing. My mother could not keep up with the cost of hockey, being a single mother of two, and I hung up the skates around the age of twelve and the golf clubs went to the pawn shop around the age of eighteen. At the ripe old age of nineteen I was a full on pot head, using drugs on a daily basis, and by twenty one I discovered the wonderful drug Cocaine. By the time I was twenty three I had discovered the powerful and highly addictive drug, crack cocaine. Addiction never ran in my family, it galloped.

I can recount at least eight different incidents where I should have died from drug or alcohol related incidents, but for some reason the good Lord never wanted me to go early. One day while at work, I got a call from a friend who wanted me to come over and have lunch and “smoke a joint” before going back to work. My shoes were on and I went running. I ran across the street in front of my work and got ploughed down by a car doing 60 kilometers an hour. My head bounced off his roof and my shoulder went through the front windshield, I still have the scars to prove it! I spent a week in the local hospital but was lucky I had no broken bones and came out with a huge lump on my head, some stitches to my neck and a very badly bruised leg. You think that would have been the “turning point” they say we stood at, but unfortunately it was not.

I carried on for many years later and finally coming to that ultimate place of defeat. I woke up one morning, after parking on crown land near a golf course in the back seat of an old 50.00 beater I bought from a guy at work just before I lost another job. That was where I lived for a month before finally admitting defeat and driving to the local detox center for help. I was coming down off a five day binge and kept driving around the block where the detox center was located. I circled the block at least six times. I had the windows of the car rolled up tight and as I rounded the block one more time, debating to go into the detox center or leave and never go back, I saw a lady and her young son doing some yard work. I made eye contact with the young boy, who was about five years old. As soon as our eyes met I could hear him say, with the windows rolled up tightly, “mommy, mommy that man is in trouble”. I could hear his voice as if he were standing right next to me. I proceeded to park in the detox parking lot and go inside, never to drink or drug another day again. I spent three months in a long term treatment center and never looked back, never putting on the old shoes again. I walked out of that treatment center a changed man and then went straight into Alcoholics Anonymous. It took me approximately three months of hard work with a sponsor, to acquire a new pair of shoes. After landing my first job in many months, I went out and got myself a new pair of Nike’s and a new way of living that works, if you work it.

We still joke around about my first new pair of shoes to this day. That was the first sign I was going to “make it”. I have had many blessings in my life, both the people, as well as the material gifts I have been freely given as a result of those new shoes I slipped on back in 2004. There is hope for guys like me, who went all the way to the bottom, and decided to climb out with the hand of A.A to pull me up. There is a light at the end of that dark tunnel. If you want proof of that, step into the rooms of A.A and take a look around. There you will find many bright lights burning, and you will probably see a few with a new pair of shoes just like mine.

Sincerely,

A grateful member of Alcoholics Anonymous,

Mike Robertson.

 

The song this week is from Glen Campbell. Campbell is presently in a long term care facility in Nashville and in the final throes of Alzheimer disease . He played his last show in November 2012 and his daughter was in the band and by his side every show of his last tour, to care for her father who carried out the tour while early alzheimers was taking hold.

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1967

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2012

 

 

The quote this week is also from Glen Campbell.

“You’ve got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness Just shine your light for everyone to see. And if you try a little kindness, Then you’ll overlook the blindness Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.”

 

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’ll check it out again next week……

Week 10 & God

 

If you forget everything but God you have remembered everything that matters

 

from Mitch Teemley

 

My daughter Olivia has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in the Faculty of Social Work for September 2017 at University of Calgary and I am very proud of her and happy for her!

Lori and I were at the Jubilee Auditorium last Thursday to take in Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, for not just an evening of great music but one that included a great deal of banter between the two which was often very funny,but always entertaining. They have turned their travelling music show into theater

The song this week is White Boy Lost in the Blues , by Lovett and Hiatt.

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Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt

The quote this week is the following from Mother Teresa.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you’ll check it out again next week! Have a great day and week ahead……….

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………..

Putting Recovery First and Week 43

I was talking with a very good friend of mine yesterday and he too is a member of the 12 step fellowship I belong to. He told me how busy life was with work and family and he wasn’t as involved in the program as he would prefer to be. His program has fallen off to make more time for his business which is not only thriving but it is growing and he also has a very active family. But my friend felt that something was not right in his world. In the fellowship/program we learn, over time, to trust another and to share our situational problems so that we may solve them, with the help of our friends, much more quickly than trying to do it all alone. This is a very big contrast to how we used to be, holding everything inside and not telling anyone what we were or are going through. So my friend continued to share with me that lately, he was sometimes impatient and short with family and co-workers. He didn’t have the time for the fellowship that he wanted because he was so busy with work and needed to “control” what was going on in his business. I shared some experiences too and we had a great conversation that lasted 30 minutes. By his own admittance he has great people working for him that are very capable of looking after things and getting the job done, properly. Maybe they would do it differently, but they still do it properly. He just needed to let them do it. And my friend realized this. One of the greatest gifts of the 12 step program is the learned ability to be self aware, introspective, recognize shortcomings and be willing to make the adjustments in ourselves or our life to be better and to live better. What makes this conversation fun is that we have both been around the program for awhile and we know what needs to be done. Life is rarely as over-whelming as at times we might think it is. Most times we just need to talk it out and talk it through with another human being that might challenge us to confront our own perception. In 1984 , Chuck C. Of Laguna California wrote a book with the fitting title, A New Pair of Glasses. Most of us get into a recovery program find in short order that things got better but the world didn’t change, it was our perception of the world that changed. Often when I find myself in a difficult situation that seems to be too much it’s simply my perception of the situation or problem that needs to change. And so it was with my good friend. I will call him next week to see if he has added 12 step meetings back to his schedule as he had resolved to do. We can get so clean and sober that we don’t need the things that got us clean and sober; or so we think. If this happens just wait for Father Time and you’ll hear the crash of life falling inwards. I have an abundance of good in my life today as a result of the 12 steps and I need to continually practice these 12 steps in all of my affairs. Anything I put before the program of recovery and anything I put before my relationship with God, I am bound to lose. How do I know this? I know this because I go to meetings on a regular basis and I get to see what happens to the people that put “things” before their recovery. It’s never pretty. Every one of us, whether you’re in recovery or not, need to have an emotional and spiritual balance to our lives or we risk losing all that is precious to us.

Last Saturday Lori and I went to the Strathcona Community Hall to listen to Amy LaVere who had been brought to town by the Bow Valley Music Club. She was even better than I had expected. Not only does she have a great voice and a special knack for creating stories, she has a terrific stage presence and a great sense of humour. She reminded me very much of John Prine. It was a Saturday night well spent.

I love hockey. I love the game, the people and the culture. Here’s a video that only takes 2 minutes to watch. Just to set it up for you I’ll tell you that Craig Anderson missed the game the night before this game and all the announcers said was that it was for personal reasons. It turns out he had gone home to be with his wife who had just found out she had cancer. But then the back-up goalie got injured and Anderson’s wife, Nicholle, urged her husband to go back and be with his team, the Ottawa Senators for their next game. That night, in Edmonton, Craig Anderson played an emotional and stellar game stopping all 37 shots he faced and as a result he was selected first star of the game. Second star of the game was Cam Talbot, goalie for the Edmonton Oilers. Talbot chose to stay out and applaud his counterpart from the other team rather than do a quick wave to the fans and return to his dressing room as would be the usual. And the fans in Edmonton stood and showed their respect for a great performance under adverse conditions. Something greater than the game itself had taken place.

 

Here’s a link to a story about Anderson and his wife , from the Ottawa Citizen
Congrats to the Chicago Cubs for their World Series Win. The last time they won the world series it was 1908 and I do believe that after 108 years they deserved another. Last nights game was one of the best baseball games I have ever watched with such a battle at bat and on the mound. This game also capped a Cubs comeback from a 3-1 deficit. Great game

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MLB World Series Trophy

The song this week is from Jason Isbell and its titled Flagship. Jason Isbell is from Alabama and since 2012 has been in a recovery program too.

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Jason Isbell

The quote this week is :
“A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober. An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all. You can’t predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before.”
Raymond Chandler– from The Long Goodbye

 

Thanks for dropping by and taking time from your day to read my blog ; I appreciate it and I hope to see you next week……

 

Sobriety,Family and Week 39

At the risk of sounding like maybe every day isn’t a great day this past week has been a very good week. But being successful at this recovery gig, for 24 years, and having contradicted my doctors’ opinion on my longevity, I am grateful for every day. So yes it’s been a great week. It really got kicked off on Sunday when we celebrated Lori’s birthday. We being Lori and I, 4 kids and two of their significant others. It started at noon at the Locked Room. The Locked Room is a company that sells escape adventures for adults. You’re locked in a room and you have 60 minutes to get out. There are puzzles and clues and multiple rooms and that’s it. Figure it out. We did one in August and we kicked ass. We did one on Sunday and got our ass kicked. There were 8 of us in an escape room and we could have used about 15 more minutes. Regardless of the outcome it’s a great time and I highly recommend it.

From there we went bowling for Lori’s Annual Birthday Bowling Extravaganza. This was actually the first Birthday Bowling Extravaganza but Annual sounded good. It sounded good when we had it engraved on the trophies too. That’s right we had trophies! There were 3 trophies to give out. There was one for top male bowler, one for top female bowler and of course we had one for the bowler with the greatest opportunity to improve. For this person we had a horses’ butt trophy and a book of jokes.

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Trophy for Top Male

 

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Lori,Olivia,Ryan,Liam,Me,Julia,Geoff and Emma

 

Emma won the trophy for top female and she was also the top overall bowler. Ryan, Olivia’s boyfriend won top male and Julia, Geoff’s girlfriend got the book of jokes! We had nachos, cheese sticks, ribs and cokes and beers for refreshments. There was plenty of trash talk and it was generally an awesome time! I’m already looking forward to the 2nd annual. Anytime I spend with my family is terrific. These are the moments that make me proud of my kids and my wife and that make me happy to be a father and a husband. Times like this can’t be beat!

I got sober so I could be a dad. I wanted to be a good father. I was very fortunate to meet and marry Lori along the journey. Sobriety has been very good to me in many ways but my greatest abundance of Grace is found in my home , with my family.

Well all that fun set the tone for the week and the week has been one of the busiest at work in months so that’s been good too.

 

On to some sports! Baseball has Toronto, Baltimore, Detroit and Seattle all still slugging it out for a wild card spot in the playoffs. I’ve watched 2 games this week, Toronto Blue Jays of course, and it’s been great ball.

In the World Cup of Hockey, we have Canada and Team Europe battling for the championship with Canada up 1-0 in the best of 3 game series. The surprises for me were the early departures of Team USA and Team Sweden. I’m not surprised at all to see Team Canada in the final but I am surprised of their opponent.

Week 4 of the NFL begins tonight with Miami at Cincinnati and the first 3 weeks have definitely been interesting with top stories for me being NE doing so well (3-0) with Tom Brady suspended, the excellent play of Denver with their new QB, the new QB with the Jets and sadly for me, the poor play so far of Seattle.

 

 

The song this week is an old gem, that for some reason really struck a chord with me today.The song is Fragile , by Sting

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It’s only a very awesome song

 

The quote this week is from a friend of mine who is also in a 12 step program.

“Courage is not having the strength to go on, it’s going on when you don’t have the strength”

Patricia D

 

Well once again I thank you for dropping in and by and I hope that you’ll check it out again next week……

 

But for the Grace of God-week 38

I can’t believe a year has passed since I started this blog and even more unbelievable to me is the fact I have posted a blog every week except for some vacation time. I’ve gone and fooled myself with this blog. I’m glad I was challenged by a friend to start a blog and super glad that I rose to the challenge. I have enjoyed writing blog much more than I had thought I would. Thanks to everyone who has been reading and following Disappearing From View.

Today I am going to re-blog my first post, from September 25,2015. It was within a few days of the anniversary of my nephew’s passing. I can’t get past this week without thinking of Iain, and other family members who have passed on. I think that this subject matter is important. Mostly it’s important to me. You see my nephew Iain was handicapped since birth but was one of the most significant family members in my life.

Iain Cullen Ramsay was born September 26,1987 and he passed, in his sleep, September 21, 2012.

 

From September 25 ,2015, week 1

Despite his handicap Iain could never fail to make me smile or laugh.  Iain blessed our lives for the time he was here with his simplicity and humility. He taught me how to be humbler, more appreciative of what I have and to be a kinder person. So I was a little saddened Monday by the memory but also very grateful to spend the day thinking of Iain, appreciate my emotions and reflect on some situations I am in today. It’s important to acknowledge our feelings and emotions. Take the time.

The phrase “There but for the Grace of God go I “no longer has a place in my vocabulary because of Iain. I hear this phrase used in regards to people who have perceived imperfections. Yet in my world it was God who created Iain. It was God’s Grace that allowed Iain to be such a centre of our family for 25 years. The phrase, to me if I use it, would mean that I was Graced by God but Iain wasn’t. How can that be? With the knowledge I have of my Creator it cannot be. Think very hard next time you go to use this phrase and ask yourself “does it pertain? Does it belong? Is it harmful? Am I being superior?”

 

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The song this week is from Lydia Loveless. Most of my friends know I am not a huge country music fan but I do love some of it. The more traditional or long hair it is the more likely I am to listen to it. This song is called Back on the Bottle. I hope you’ll enjoy the selection

 

 

 

The quote this week is from Criss Jami.

“The reality of loving God is loving him like he’s a Superhero who actually saved you from stuff rather than a Santa Claus who merely gave you some stuff”

 

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