Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009. The End.

Some of those we lost this year ...

Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul and Mary)
Patrick Swayze
Farrah Fawcett
Michael Jackson
Senator Edward Kennedy
Ed McMahon
Bea Arthur
Walter Cronkite
Andrew Wyeth
Karl Malden
Dom Deluise
Robert McNamara
William Safire
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Corazon Aquino
Oral Roberts
Les Paul
Louis Belson
Ricardo Montalban
Soupy Sales
Paul Harvey
Don Hewitt
Dominic Dunne

Wow!

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I look on 2009 with fondness and look forward to 2010

that I don't regret the past (year)

for opportunities in 2010

"Just living isn't enough," said the butterfly, "one must also have freedom, sunshine, and a little flower."
- Hans Christian Anderson


Free funerals for drink-drivers

A US funeral parlour is offering free burials to people who plan to drink and drive on New Year's Eve.
McGuire, Jennings and Miller Funeral Home says drivers must sign a contract stating they plan to drink or use drugs and drive on December 31.
If they are then killed in a crash while driving on New Year's Eve, the funeral home, of Rome, Georgia, will bury them for free.
The free funeral will cover the preparation of the body, a coffin, a grave and a hearse.
A spokesman for the firm said its 'Operation Stop and Think' promotion was designed to save lives by making people think before they act.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not feeling well today

video


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I no longer have to/need to take a 6-pack of my favorite beer whenever I go visit someone

that I can post this much this morning; I'm sick, so this is all you get


It's the things in common that make relationships enjoyable, but its the little differences that make them interesting.
- Todd Ruthman

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

being more aware




This would be a grand way to tour the country.





todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm sober this morning, just like I was yesterday (except I have more sober experience)

that being sober gives me the unexpected opportunity to become more aware of myself and my surroundings

for people who step up to the plate when asked

that I have more than I will ever need, although my mind occasionally tells me differently

that I have no major regrets in the way my life has happened

Good habits are as easy to form as bad ones.
- Tim McCarver


Monday, December 28, 2009

wrapping it up

If you have any doubts about the competence of some national journalists, maybe this sentence (in red) will erase those doubts.

By LARRY MARGASAK and COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writers Larry Margasak And Corey Williams, Associated Press Writers –

DETROIT – The U.S. government tightened airline security as it searches for answers to how a 23-year-old Nigerian man eluded extensive systems intended to prevent attacks like his botched Christmas Day effort to blow up a Northwest flight from overseas.

The suspect who claimed ties to al-Qaida was charged Saturday with trying to destroy a Detroit-bound airliner, just a month after his father warned U.S. officials of concerns about his son's religious beliefs.

Airports worldwide tightened security a day after the passenger tried to detonate a device that contained a high explosive on a flight into Detroit. After that attack, passengers have had to contend with extra pat-downs before boarding, staying in their seats without blankets or pillows for the last hour of the flight and more bomb-sniffing dogs.

Aides to President Barack Obama are pondering how terror watch-lists are used after the botched attack, according to officials who described the discussions Saturday on the condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt possible official announcements.

My question is ... What does their anonymity in regards to leaking information about inside discussions have to do with official announcements? Why would a self-respecting journalist even write such a thing?


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I was picked to chair the 12:15pm Christmas Day meeting @ Lambda Center which was followed by a wonderful pot luck dinner

that we celebrated the annual sobriety birthdays of 34 alcoholics at Lambda on Saturday

for the fun and fellowship of sober Christmas and New Year's Eve parties

Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.
- William A. Ward



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Feliz Navidad

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukka' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukka!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'”
Dave Barry


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for my 7th consecutive holiday season without drinking alcohol -- this is so different than the "good old days" when I would stay as f***ked up as possible.

that my Mom has been on my mind a lot during the past week -- she died in August 2008, so it's still seems a little different that she's not here during Christmas. I'm OK with that though. I talked to her last night about that for a short time.

for the many and varied friendships I have made since stopping drinking

for the new line of thinking being offered to me in my Al Anon program


Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else's life.
- Kobi Yamada

Thursday, December 24, 2009

light stuff today



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for memories of what this night (Christmas Eve) entailed was when I was a kid; life was great!

that life today is great!

Type in any Christmas song and see what the little puppets do. Also, type in any non-Christmas song and you'll get a kick out of the response. One of the funniest I typed in was Jingle Bell Rock... they forget the words half way through.
CLICK HERE

for only minor damage when a strong weather front blew through about 3:30am (it actually tore off my American flag from the house)

More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying them.
- Harold J. Smith


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

more recovery stuff


I washed my car a couple of days ago and this lovely little SWAT vehicle was next to me. Look at the size of the cop compared to the rear tire.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Lambda Center, where everybody knows my name

that "My life is filled with honesty today. Every action, word, prayer, and Twelfth Step call is an investment in my spiritual freedom and fulfillment."
Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, page 469

that one of my sponsees will tell his story today at the 12:15pm meeting

CLICK HERE for a short recovery story


All we have to decide is what to do with the time we are given.
- Gandalf to Frodo, The Fellowship of the Ring (movie)



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sometimes, it IS all about me



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my happiness doesn't depend on you. Or you or you or you or them or us.

that my sobriety depends on my surrendering to my HP; my recovery depends on my willingness to participate in my program

for all the help I've had getting to this point

we went to see 2012 (the movie) lat night; most thoughts of reality had to be put aside in order for me to enjoy it


Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.
- Tao Te Ching


Monday, December 21, 2009

Dawn



I snapped this picture yesterday whilst standing in front of my kitchen sink.

It's the Houston skyline at sunrise on a crisp, cool morning.


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful


when a sponsee and I have the time to sit down and read together from the Big Book; that seems very special to me

for a whole lotta sober fun and fellowship Saturday night

that I want to always strive to be more compassionate and less judgemental

that Hayden's newly-married brother and sister-in-law are staying with us until after Christmas

that today is the shortest day of the year

Love means to love that which is unlovable, or it is no virtue at all; forgiving means to pardon that which is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all.
- G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Make your own movie

CLICK HERE and follow the directions.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas quotes

“The one thing women don't want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.”
Joan Rivers

“Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas.”
Johnny Carson

“Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Holiday Season, that very special time of year when we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as trying to find a parking space at the mall. We traditionally do this in my family by driving around the parking lot until we see a shopper emerge from the mall, then we follow her, in very much the same spirit as the Three Wise Men, who 2,000 years ago followed a star, week after week, until it led them to a parking space.”
Dave Barry

“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”
Shirley Temple

“What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? Claustrophobic.”
Anonymous

“Christmas is a time when everybody wants his past forgotten and his present remembered. What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.”
Phyllis Diller

“The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.”
Jay Leno

“Why is Christmas just like a day at the office? You do all the work and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit.”
Anonymous

Friday, December 18, 2009

for this Friday morning ...

It is near the Christmas break of the school year. The students have turned in all their work and there is really nothing more to do. All the children are restless and the teacher decides to have an early dismissal.

Teacher: "Whoever answers the questions I ask, first and correctly can leave early today."
Little Johnny says to himself "Good, I want to get outta here. I'm smart and will answer the question."


Teacher: "Who said 'Four Score and Seven Years Ago'?"

Before Johnny can open his mouth, Susie says, "Abraham Lincoln."

Teacher: "That's right Susie, you can go home."

Johnny is mad that Susie answered the question first.


Teacher: "Who said 'I Have a Dream'?"

Before Johnny can open his mouth, Mary says, "Martin Luther King."

Teacher: "That's right Mary, you can go."

Johnny is even madder than before.


Teacher: "Who said 'Ask not, what your country can do for you'?"

Before Johnny can open his mouth, Nancy says, "John F. Kennedy."

Teacher: "That's right Nancy , you may also leave."

Johnny is boiling mad that he has not been able to answer to any of the questions.

When the teacher turns her back Johnny says, "I wish these bitches would keep their mouths shut!"

The teacher turns around: "NOW WHO SAID THAT?"

Johnny: "TIGER WOODS. CAN I GO NOW?"




todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

from page 31 of the Big Book, "Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic."
I would never want to be a normal drinker. That would take all the fun out of it.

to remember how sensitive I am and not to over-react to most of my perceptions

for the oh, so many times that my recovery program seems to work me

that my magnifying mind has settled down a bit from "the good old days"

Ingenuity plus courage plus work equals miracles.
- Bob Richards

Thursday, December 17, 2009

peek-a-BOO!




todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the unexpected tidbits of wisdom that come from the most unusual places

for those who show me the path

for the suggested program of recovery

that I don't feel a need to change the program that works for so many

that attraction rather than promotion helps to keep my huge ego in check

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
- Elbert Hubbard


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

no foolin'




todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

the we read "SAFE HAVEN" yesterday from the Big Book;
... that the process of discovering who he really was began with knowing who he didn't want to be

for being rigorously honest -- those little white lies I used to tell you just don't work anymore

that a few of us (4, actually) took an AA meeting to a Chicago friend who's here for cancer treatment. Actually, he had a stem cell transplant a few weeks ago and is not allowed to spend much time in public yet. He's still very susceptible to infection. It was special to all of us and I know he appreciated it very much.

that my friend Jamie R. celebrates 1000 days of continuous sobriety today!

Let us so live that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry.
- Mark Twain

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gift Idea

video


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I don't know what today will bring -- I enjoy the surprises

for those who teach me by example

that I remain teachable (most of the time)

that my friend Mary Christine celebrates another birthday today -- I'm glad!

that we're having winter weather without the cold temps. I guess that would make it Autumn, or Spring. Never mind.


To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.
- Johannes A. Gaertner

Monday, December 14, 2009

some things are not as they seem


"Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever.Great stories. But two things made me take it down.

First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.

Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard."

(this was sent to me; it's not my actual experience)

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the seemingly endless numbers of fellow humans who show me the the right paths to take, and the wrong paths to stay away from

for so many chances to be me

for the courage I see in others which inspires me to be true to myself

that we went to a little Christmas party at a new 7500 sq ft home; Scott W has pictures hanging there!

for the gift of 4 free tickets to see our Houston Texans (NFL); it was the first time I've seen a football game sober and the first-ever games for Hayden and his visiting brother

There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.
- Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maxine's Health Care Program






So you're a senior citizen and the government says no health care for you, what do you do?

Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets. Your are allowed to shoot 2 senators and 2 representatives.

Of Course, this means you will be sent to prison.

There you will get 3 meals a day, a roof over your head, and all the health care you need!

New teeth, no problem. Need glasses, great. New hip, knees, kidney, lungs, heart? All covered.

And who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you that you are too old for health care.

Plus, because you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any income taxes anymore.

IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY OR WHAT???

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Good Things

Man's Best Friend



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that (so far) I have been able to separate my sobriety from everything else in my life

for the unity I observe in AA groups (see Tradition One)

that my thinking continues to change, even without my asking (could this be a returning to sanity?)

that any reports about Tiger Woods and me being together are mostly inaccurate, so far

Courtesy is the one coin you can never have too much of or be stingy with.
- John Wanamaker


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Requisites for becoming sober





todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm accountable

that a little over 6 years ago, I became willing to try the program of AA

that I wish to be rigorously honest and tolerant

that I was ready to confess my faults and make restitution for harm done

that I developed an inkling of a concept of a Higher Power

that I was, and am, willing to sacrifice the time and energy in trying to carry the message of AA

that I still haven't had an affair with Tiger Woods, yet

If you are good, be better.
~~ anonymous

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

on getting calibrated



todAAy i AAM grAAAteful & thAAnkful

that I use the 6:30am meeting each day to recalibrate myself -- that is a word I've been searching for (subconciously) for several years; a word to describe what I get from most of the AA meetings I attend

for a good reminder of how I felt for decades -- that "alcohol was my friend and I would follow it to the ends of the earth." Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, page 448

"I thought I would die with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other" -- me, 2009

that I haven't had an affair with Tiger Woods, yet

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.
- Lyndon B. Johnson


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

no matter what happens



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for my recovery tools

that I can be happy and serene today, no matter what happens

that I don't have to drink today, no matter what happens

that I have friends today, no matter what happens

that I'll tell the truth about Tiger Woods and myself, no matter what happens


Whether you and I and a few others will renew the world some day remains to be seen. But within ourselves we must renew it each day.
- Herman Hesse


Monday, December 07, 2009

Yo!




todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I was present to listen to my friend Sharon F. tell her story of experience, strength and hope. A woman with multiple God-given talents.

that I make sure that I am accountable to others for various parts of my life

that Hayden returned home after a 6-month stay in Europe

that I love to listen to Christmas holiday music and had the opportunity to do so at various times over the weekend, especially in a televised hour of music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

The greater part of our happiness depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.
- Martha Washington


Sunday, December 06, 2009

My first blog

December 6, 2004


Still trying to get this blog stuff down. Scott did his and he ain't no more computer literate than me so I know I have a chance. LOL Maybe I will even figger out how to get some pictures on here.

I am waiting for word about a potential job in Nigeria. May come today or this week. I just don't know, but am trying to let it go.

Feeling quite spiritual today after 3 str8 AA meetings of spirituality. This is all so new to me and is an interesting thing to go through. I never liked the term "reborn" but now understand it completely. The only spirit I knew before September 5, 2003 came in a bottle of rum.


Scott W. noted his 5th year of blogging yesterday; today is mine. Obviously, this is a reprint of my first attempt. Today, writing and posting a short blog is part of my daily recovery, just like going to meetings, praying to my HP, reading and discussing AA literature, talking with my sponsor and working with others.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Cops crash car





Italian police officers wrote off a $350,000 supercar given to them by Lamborghini when it smashed into a row of parked cars.
The 202mph Gallardo coupe was one of two donated to police by the luxury motor manufacturer to help with high speed pursuits.
Witnesses say the police car had accelerated massively just before another car pulled out of a petrol station and forced it off the road in Cremona, northern Italy.
Embarrassed cops tried to confiscate phone cameras from witnesses but abandoned the plan when hundreds turned up to gawp at the smash.
"They are supposed to be elite drivers but even the best can have an off day," said one colleague.

Friday, December 04, 2009

aim high



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for all the little tools in my recovery tool box

for my 3 AA meetings Friday's (that's terrible grammar, but so what)

that we're gonna see some wintry weather later today -- this may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but down here on the Gulf Coast, we rarely see snow or ice. It will be hilarious to see the news stories of people trying to drive with snow on their windscreens and trying to do other things that people from northern climes take for granted.

for the 20'x20' tarp that I have covered a lot of my expensive, tender, tropical landscaping with


Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
- John Wooden


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Powerless?



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

it only gets better (and better, and better ...)

that my friend Gary B. from Los Angeles visited us again this Thanksgiving and was able to tell his AA story of Experience, Strength and Hope yesterday before he returns home

for the not-so-comfortable memoreis that working Step 1 can bring up

that I don't regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it; memories of my past are what helps keep me willing to stay sober today

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
- Socrates


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

the end of the tunnel




todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my life has taken on a new meaning when I look at where I was 6 years ago, 3 years ago, 1 year ago and even last week

that I have frequent contact with newcomers

for a rather emotional AA meeting about which we spoke of the grief of losing so many friends to AIDS (yesterday was World Aids Day)

that no matter what happens in my life or to those I know, I don't need to drink over it

that I actually worked out twice yesterday at the gym -- at 8am and 5pm but the 2nd time I didn't last very long (but my best effort was there)

Fortune and love befriend the bold.
- Ovid


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

World Aids Day 2009


I know many people who are living with HIV/AIDS. Some of them have been infected for over 20 years. This is no accident. It's taken countless dollars of research and many have died while waiting for a cure. I have also lost over 40 personal friends to this disease.
If you have time, explore THIS website.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I have remained HIV negative, even after decades of irresponsible behavior

that doing my best is good enough for me; if it's not good enough for you, call your sponsor

for the lessons I can learn just by watching others

that my significant other will be home in just 5 days (it's been 6 long months)

that it would appear that winter has finally arrived here in Houston; we've been patiently waiting


To admit you were wrong is to declare you are wiser now than before.
- Unknown

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Joy of Living



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for all of the opportunities available to me as a 55 year-old man in recovery with a lot of time on his hands

for 4 intense days of recovery, from the morning of Thanksgiving to Sunday evening

for the wonderful AA speakers I got to hear over the past few days, including Don N. (Hollywood), Theresa F. (Los Angeles), Artis G. (Tulsa) -- there were more and they were all good to listen to, but these were my personal favorites

that my sponsor will co-chair the 2010 Houston Roundup

If I have seen farther than other men it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
- Isaac Newton


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The New Edsel for 1958




The Edsel was the original Yugo. It was the colossal failure to which all future failures would be compared.

But the car wasn’t just a lemon. It was also a catastrophe of marketing. “Despite several features that were not necessarily innovations — a vertical grille, self-adjusting brakes, Teletouch transmission buttons on the steering wheel and a floating speedometer that glowed when a preset speed was reached — the Edsel was panned by the public,” wrote Dave Kinney in The New York Times two years ago.

“Among other things, it was derided for having a grille that looked like a toilet seat. Time magazine popularized the wisecrack that it looked like an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon.” That distinguishing feature was more affectionately known as the horse collar grille.


The Edsel was introduced on Sept. 4, 1957, or E-Day. Based on the standard Ford body, the Edsel was a big car that could seat six people in comfort and guzzle gas with similar ease. The Edsel was styled to portray more of an upscale look. “They’ll know you’ve arrived when you drive up in a 1958 Edsel,” declared the narrator in the first Edsel television commercial. Yes, there was truth to that advertising.

Ford originally intended to create a standalone Edsel division with 1,300 independent dealers, and the company promoted the car with a television special, “The Edsel Show,” hosted by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

The problem, according to historians, was that the United States was entering a recession, and the public’s appetite for conspicuous luxury was on the wane. The Edsel was a failure from the start, and Ford knew it. After the first year, the automaker drastically reduced its marketing budget for the car. By 1959, the Edsel was on its last legs. Ford made fewer than 3,000 1960 models, including about 70 convertibles, before the final Edsel came off the assembly line in November.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's all about recovery

Cats can be soooooooo dramatic!



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful


that we're on Day 2 of the Houston Roundup.

that I'm a little pressed for time this morning; so many meetings to be at. Love it!

that I co-chair a Step 1 workshop this morning.

that I had the honor of co-chairing Lambda Center's largest AA meeting of the year yesterday at 12:15pm. It was, of course, all about gratitude. And there were about 200 people in attendance.


What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.
- Ellen Burstyn

Thursday, November 26, 2009

turkeys galore



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful


for today and all of its possibilities


A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
- Chinese Proverb


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grateful for Beautiful Music

Taps

You may never have heard the full rendition of Il Silenzioa, otherwise known as "Taps". This is a beautiful rendition. The girl's name is Melissa Venema and is playing with maestro Andre Rieu from Masstricht in the Netherlands . Don't know her age -- looks like early teens, but says she has been performing for years. At this performance in 2008, city officials sealed off the town square and closed everything down so they get perfect noise control!

video


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful


from a story we read yesterday -- "WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY"

... "I realize how true it is that one of the primary differences between alcoholics and nonalcoholics is that nonalcoholics change their behavior to meet their goals and alcoholics change their goals to meet their behavior." I pretty much had no goals other than to party. I did enough to keep my job(s), but not a lot more.

... "One definition of a bottom is the point when the last thing you lost or the next thing you are about to lose is more important to you than booze. That point is different for everyone, and some of us die before we get there." First I lost my partner and then I lost my mind. My soul was just about gone too.

that I no longer have any DNA in my system (Drugs, Narcotics and Alcohol)

that I use Tradition 12 as a guideline to a lot of my behavior

that I got lots of little things accomplished yesterday


Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
- Anne Frank

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a different perspective

This is not Houston in the winter.


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I have everything I need and much more than I can use

that I got to substitute as chair of the noon meeting yesterday -- it was all about Step 1

that there's more than one way to get sober;
I think I picked the best one

that I no longer begin my day with a cigarette and a joint; that I no longer begin drinking alcohol before noon

that there's more than one way to skin a cat;
if you know more than one way, stop it now!!



If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.
- Doug Larson


Monday, November 23, 2009

back to business



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I attended a very spiritual (IMHO) AA birthday night @ Lambda Center. Here we celebrate annual milestones once monthly as a Center. Lambda is host to about 40 AA meetings each week. This month, my friend Scott W (Attitude of Gratitude) celebrated his sixth year of continuous sobriety. I paid him handsomely to give yours truly a big shout-out during his short acceptance talk. NOT!!

that I had the honor and privilege to listen to a sponsee's 5th Step over the weekend. It never ceases to amaze me what a moving experience this can be.

that I am on the Houston Roundup Committee and had the privilege to preview the annual play that will be performed next weekend in front of about 300 recovery peeps.


When one teaches, two learn.
- Robert Half


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A seasonal quip

First Christmas Joke

Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

'In honor of this holy season' Saint Peter said, 'You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.'

The first man fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. 'It represents a candle', he said.

'You may pass through the pearly gates' Saint Peter said.

The second man reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, 'They're bells.'

Saint Peter said 'You may pass through the pearly gates'.

The third man started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.

St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, 'And just what do those symbolize?'

The man replied, 'These are Carols.'

Friday, November 20, 2009

Welcome to Friday



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I was asked to help a friend through the AA steps; this will be good for both of us

for a reminder from Mary Christine of how much I always felt at home whenever and wherever I walked into a bar.
And I've been in thousands of them.

that I've studied the AA traditions with my sponsor and in meetings as well. Knowledge of how the traditions came to be what they are today is pretty good AA history, for those who are interested. This is for sure though; without those traditions in place, Alcoholics Anonymous would not exist.
We would have imploded decades ago.

that I still take interest in Lambda Center fundraising and service work in general


Experience is not what happens to a man.
It is what a man does with what happens to him.
- Aldous Huxley

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All the world's a stage ...



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I had the pleasure of attending 2 very powerful AA meetings yesterday AND a very good Al-Anon meeting as well

that I belong

that Scott W stayed sober another day

that we read Acceptance Was the Answer (a story from page 407 of the 4th edition of the Big Book) in the 6:30am AA meeting.
Here are a few excerpts ...

... "If you had my responsibilities, if you needed the sleep like I do, you'd drink too."
... "The pep pills affected my hearing at times: I couldn't listen fast enough to hear what I was saying."
... "In the hospital, I hung on to the idea I'd had most of my life: that if I could just control the external environment, the internal environment would then become comfortable."
... "To this day, I am amazed at how many of my problems -- most of which had nothing to do with drinking, I believed -- have become manageable or have simply disappeared since I quit drinking."
... "And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment."

OK. I'll stop here.


Self-discipline is when your conscience tells you to do something and you don't talk back.
- W.K. Hope

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scott is SIX !!!!!!


Today, my friend SCOTT W celebrates his sixth consecutive year of remaining sober. But Scott's not just sober, he's well into his recovery from alcohol and the thinking that goes with drinking way too much.
Drop by and say howdy to SCOTT W, (click here) whose picture I have modified to protect his innocence anonymity.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for those I've gotten to know in sobriety who are still there; I realize that the longer I stay sober, the fewer will be around who were here when I got here

that I try to pace myself through life rather than run as fast as I can (usually)

that I've always lived by the mantra that I'd rather work smart than hard (this works for me, but not for others, apparently)

that we read the story on page 407 of the 4th edition of the Big Book yesterday -- I'll wait until tomorrow to comment on the good stuff


Nothing makes you like other human beings so much as doing things for them.
- Zora Neale Hurston


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Omniscient NOT!



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for reminders how just the littlest thing can make a difference to someone; this may be something I share in a meeting or just a greeting at the door to an AA meeting. The moral to this story is that I just need to continue to be the best I can be -- at all times.

that Step Twelve reminds me to practice these principle in ALL my affairs

that I will substitute-chair an AA meeting this morning -- as a group, we will read, then discuss several pages of the Big Book

that I don't know what may happen today, but I'm pretty sure what won't happen.


Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.
- Mark Twain


Monday, November 16, 2009

into the unknown



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that early on in my life of AA meetings, I heard that God made the Earth round so that we wouldn't know what's around the corner.
This statement helped me get over the hump I had been facing in accepting a Higher Power. Not long after I heard this, I was able to surrender my drinking life over to my new concept of a HP. If you know someone who is having trouble with Step 2, you might want to mention it to them.

for another peaceful, serene weekend

that a friend I made 6 years ago when I first began going to AA meetings has returned. I had not seen him since I was about 4 months sober. Today, he has 6 days clean and sober and I hope he's ready to do whatever it takes. Somehow though, I have my doubts. We've had a couple of long talks over the weekend about getting sober -- and staying sober!!


Faith and doubt both are needed, not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.
- Lillian Smith


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Overshooting the airport

I love Dean Martin and his old show.
Not only did he have a beautiful singing voice but was a fine comedian as well.


video

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ring a bell?

video

Update at 7:05am CST...........

Ron Claiborne of ABC News/GMA Weekend just reported that the massive storm (the remnants of Hurricane Ida) has "killed nearly 6 people" so far.

This non-understanding of the English language is so damn typical of journalism these days.

As you may notice, this is one of my pet peeves.

Friday, November 13, 2009

F the 13th





todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the not-so-hidden messages in Step 7 of Alcoholics Anonymous -- "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."

... we now clearly see that we have been making unreasonable demands upon ourselves, upon others, and upon God.

... the chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear -- primarily fear that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded.

... Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration.

It tells us that we need to try humility in seeking the removal of our other shortcomings. If I can find the same degree of humility that enabled me to find the grace by which such a deadly obsession (my drinking) could be banished, then there must be hope of the same result respecting any other problem I (we) could possibly have.

What an order! But I can go through with it.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
- John Quincy Adams

Thursday, November 12, 2009

orange



todAAy i AAM grAAteful & thAAnkful

that Bob R. shared a little bit of his experience in the AA program yesterday

that my manipulation and control of others has lessened since I got sober and even more since I began Al-Anon meetings

that I can help others even when I don't intend to; but I can also damage others, so I must be careful

that I can usually be as productive as I wish to be


Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.
- Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

it's another Wednesday

too funny ...





todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that things are going so smoothly in my life right now, there's not much to spur my gratitude over an individual event or situation. I'm just working on some of my less damaging character defects, trying not to practice them over and over and over. Mixed results.

I continue to work my program as I've done the past few years. Why change it if it's working?

However, I know the importance of improving my conscious contact with my HP, so that never stops or remains dormant.

On another note ... I want to offer my gratitude to all veterans of the U.S. military forces. Without them, we would not be free to do the things we do.

Maturity is the ability to do a job whether or not you are supervised, to carry money without spending it, and to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.
- Ann Landers

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

hot idea

A friend sent me some pictures of old, used bumper cars that have been restored as street-legal vehicles;
I'll share a few photos this week.



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm nothing special in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, neither superior nor inferior. Just another sober drunk.

for another Step 11 meeting -- I guess during November, we'll see a lot of them and I like that

for Gratitude meetings as well

to see Pam writing to us again and sounding purty darn normal (for Pam) LOL

I bought my 2009 Murano one year ago today and it had about 15 miles on it -- it now has 7650 miles on the odometer


We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.
- Charles C. West

Monday, November 09, 2009

not feeling crabby today



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got to listen to the AA story of someone who has been around AA for 39 years

for all the "We of the program" meetings lately

that I have all these reminders about how I could not get sober or (most likely) stay sober by myself

that we've had our last 2009 Houston Roundup Committee meeting -- I was secretary again this year and won't miss doing all the minutes and reports

that I'm still alive after all the damn cookies I ate this weekend


All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others.
- Michael Carr

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

knowing the difference


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm not what I was, but I can be better than I am now

that I have no power over the way my HP makes things happen but I do have control over how I react to those things

that I chose to react differently yesterday to a situation that once would have caused me to explode in a public tantrum; yesterday, I just walked away from a volatile situation

for my sponsees; they keep me grounded when I feel like flying


To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
- Bertrand Russell

Thursday, November 05, 2009

onward


one of the winners in a sand castle competition




todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Step 11 improvement -- when I look at where I was 6 years ago when I stopped drinking, I am amazed at the evolution of my own spirituality. I also know that this must continue, and it will as long as I keep doing what I'm doing.

for Fi. She's a most lovely woman from Dublin who occasionally visits Houston and comes to AA meetings at Lambda while here. She shared her experience yesterday with us before headin gfo rthe airport and then back home to Ireland. I hope that she and my significant other can connect later this month while he is in Dublin.

that I saw a PBS salute to Bill Cosby, winner of the Mark Twain Prize. It included performances by well-known comics and musicians. Great stuff! I first knew of Bill cosby back in 1966 when he was just getting started. I think I had his first album. I would have been about 12 years old.

that I know from my own recent experience that Pam will come through her current situation just fine; it just takes time

that another baseball season is done; I'm not a Yankees fan

Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked in his moccasins.
- Sioux Indian prayer


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Gifts


I snapped this photo across the street from my house.



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the rewards of being the best I can be

that I voted in another election, thus exercising a privilege that some don't have

that I got a new mobile phone, had trouble getting the settings right, didn't blow a gasket (my normal, old behavior)

Good and evil do not befall men without reason. Heaven sends them happiness or misery according to their conduct.
- Confucius


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

TUES






The Texas way to hunt




todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the multitude of ways that being accountable keeps my behavior in check, the least of which is Step 10

for some clarity of thought on a number of very minor issues

that my November calendar is filling up with busy stuff to do -- that's kinda new for me

that time changes have never had any effect on me; I don't even notice it, whether it's 1 hour or 10 hours (flying)


When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.
- Ernest Hemingway

Monday, November 02, 2009

I smile at such a sally

This may be the best costume I've seen.

video


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to see people recovering from active alcoholism

that yesterday we had a meeting about some of the paradoxes we hear in AA meetings; ie: you have to give it away to keep it. Do you have one? Let me know in the comment section.

for Rule 62 (if you dont' know what that is, look it up or ask your sponsor; if your sponsor doesn't know what it is, get a new sponsor)

to see all the great costumes at Lambda Center on Halloween

for perfect weather during the weekend


We cannot hold a torch to light another person’s path without brightening our own.
- Ben Sweetland

Sunday, November 01, 2009

and on another note ...

While watching GMA on ABC a few minutes ago ...

1) there was a 4 or 5 minute report on the High School gang rape in Richmond, California that happened during Prom Night last weekend. (up to 10 young men raped a girl while many more watched and some even took pictures).
ABC interviewed the superintendent of the school district and he talked about the need to review the security procedures. NOT ONCE was there any mention of the parents of any of those kids or of their responsibility. I think I see where some of the problem lies.

2) The next report on GMA on ABC was about the return of Brett Farve to the NFL after coming back from his multiple retirements. They talked about how he had "the audacity" to beat his old team, the Green Bay Packers. At no time was there any consideration whatsoever that his current team, the Minnesota Vikings, has other team members that may have taken part in that win over Green Bay. ABC seems to think Mr Farve is completely responsible for the wins of his team. Bullshit!!!!!

There. Now I feel better.

still growing

This is from page 29 of Courage to Change. I really identify with it and it's been a good aid in my recovery.

"Sometimes the only way I can determine whether I'm trying to control someone else or whether I'm simply expressing my feelings is by noticing how many times I say the same thing. If I mention something that is on my mind and then let it go no matter what the response I get, I am speaking sincerely. If I repeatedly make similar suggestions or ask prodding questions again and again, I am probably trying to control. If I am satisfied only when the other person responds in a way I consider desirable -- agrees with what I've said or takes my advice --- then I know I've lost my focus."

Gosh. Recovery ain't easy.
I hope your Halloween was good. And safe.