Friday, September 30, 2011

Here's to a lovely weekend ...


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that the high road is a lot less bumpy than the alternatives

that I won't sit at my home bar today from 10am - 2pm and again from 5pm - midnight. 
That was a typical Friday, back in the day.

for those times when my behavior matches my good intentions

that we actually got a little rain yesterday; probably the most since last January

Personally, I'm always ready to learn,
although I do not always like being taught.
- Winston Churchill

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Letting Go (sometimes)


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I can enjoy life today as it happens! 
I often enjoyed my life when I was drinking, but if something, anything, bad happened, my day or week was ruined.  It always took me a long time to let go of anything, if I let go at all.

Today, I have learned how to restart my day at anytime I need to, as many times as I need to.
Today, I have learned how to let things go.  Most things aren't important enough to hang on to.

My friend Cisco C. used to write a blog entitled "Let No One Steal Your Peace."
I often try to focus on this phrase.  It works.  When I remember to use it.

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it.
- Mary Wilson Little

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Four Simple Words


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

One of the most profound/significant things I've ever heard in an AA meeting was from a woman celebrating 25 years of sobriety.  She said that if she has not learned anything else in her 25 years,
it is this thing about whatever is going on in her life ........

This Too Shall Pass.

So if you're having a problem today or this week or this month and feel totally overwhelmed by it, please remember those 4 simple words.

Being defeated is often a temporary condition.
Giving up is what makes it permanent.

- Marilyn vos Savant

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some stuff I like



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I have more opportunities today

that I get to share my experience with friends and acquaintances

that I can be flexible enough to change my plans when someone needs me AND do it without regret

that this whole concept about not taking things personally is really, really working well so far!

The world is not out to get you. It is very seldom that anyone intends to harm you. When the mail-order company sends you the wrong product, or your friend doesn't return your phone call, it is very unlikely to be malice. People are usually just doing the best they can - in their own fallible human way.

Monday, September 26, 2011

thinking



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got to celebrate my September AA birthday with 29 other September birthday people on Saturday.

for an active imagination; it's both a gift and a curse.  LOL

that I know -- it's an absolute fact -- that I could never have gotten sober without a Higher Power to surrender my drinking to.  I have no doubt that this same HP is the reason I stay sober.  I love the fellowship of AA, I love the steps and the Big Book.  But without that HP, I'd be drunk.  Or dead.

that I get to have fun and I get to witness to others

How much pain they have cost us,
the evils which have never happened.
- Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More choices ...

Choose Your Habits, Choose Your Life - 5 Secrets For Breaking Your Bad Habits
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

By nature, we are all creatures of habit. We instinctively adopt familiar routines for most activities. We eat about the same number of meals each day - at more or less the same times. We have a regular pattern of sleeping - unless it is perturbed by illness or shift work. Most everything we do is habitual.

You probably eat three meals each day, but why? Why not two or five? There is nothing particularly "natural" about our pattern of eating three meals each day - it is just a habit that we share with most of those around us. Actually, a number of studies indicate that eating five smaller meals is more satisfying and healthier than eating three large ones.

You will always have habits - things you do regularly and without conscious thought - but you do have the ability to CHOOSE your habits. Here's how...

1. Begin to pay attention to WHAT you do, WHEN you do it, and WHY you do it. One of the bad habits I fell into was eating a large dish of ice cream in the late evening. Obviously, "ice cream" was the "what," but the "when" was more than just "in the evening." "When" was times I felt stressed, hadn't had a satisfying dinner, or was bored. "Why" was mouth sensation, having something to do with my hands, and sometimes hunger.

2. Keep a journal of the "what", "when," and "why." Make an entry whenever you find yourself doing something that isn't really your choice. You will find that you gain better insight into the "when's" and "why's" as you get more entries in your journal. Soon a pattern will emerge that can enable you to find healthy habits to replace the harmful ones.

3. Look for other activities that would satisfy the "when" and "why." A hot bath for stress, hard candy for mouth sensation, a good book for activity, a warm bowl of soup for real hunger.

4. Make the undesirable activity difficult. Don't keep the cigarettes or ice cream in the house. When ice cream was in my own freezer, it was hard to resist, but when eating a dish of super chocolate chunk required a trip to the convenience store, it was much easier to turn my attention to other activities and a low calorie snack - if any snack at all.

5. Begin new habits not only because you need them to replace unhealthy ones, but also because they are the things you always wanted to do, but couldn't find the time or money. That book club or yoga class makes a great substitute for the eating or smoking, and you can more than pay for your health club membership with what you save on cigarettes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pay it Forward

Pay It Forward - as an Expression of Universal Gratitude
While many of us recognize the expression "Pay It Forward" from the 2000 movie of that name, the concept is an ancient one. Benjamin Franklin described the process:
I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro' many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.
The actual words "pay it forward" are used to describe this sequence by Robert Heinlein in a 1951 novel - perhaps the first use of this phrase.

We have reason to have infinite gratitude to the Universe for everything we have and everything we are, yet we cannot repay the Universe. We have gratitude for our distant ancestors, yet cannot repay them. We have gratitude to our parents for our very life, and to our parents or other caregivers for our nurture, yet we cannot repay them in kind. We may have many other gratitudes that, for one reason or another, cannot be repaid to those who were so generous to us.

Pay It Forward. Gift future generations in proportion to our gratitude. The nature of life is that we pay forward our biological creation and nurture. Our parents gift us with life and nurture, and we gift our children with life and nurture. While this much is essential to continued human existence, choose to take "pay it forward" farther - much farther.

Consider making "pay it forward" a way of life. As we have observed many times, expectation (demand) is always a cause of suffering. Rather than "expecting" to be repaid when we "loan" something to someone, consider the "loans" we make to be forward payments for the "loans" we received from our ancestors, nurturers and others. Request that any "loan" that we make be repaid FORWARD, when the recipient is able, and then completely forget about the "loan." It is no longer our business if, when, or how the "loan" is repaid - or is not repaid.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bye Bye Mr Summer


There.  It's fixed.


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful


for new ways re-acting to domestic strife.  Something happened yesterday that previously, I would have gone crazy.  This time, I only went nuts.  And then got over it.

that it's finally autumn.  This has been the hottest year on record in Houston and Texas.  We've had less than half the normal rainfall since last October and there are millions of dead trees just in and around Houston. 
It's sad to see.

that I went to see Midnight in Paris.  There are a few parallels to aspects of recovery in this movie.

To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first. 
- William Shakespeare

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Staying Fit


There.  It's fixed.


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I realized only yesterday that I experienced major behavioral changes after I had completed my 9th step.  In addition, as I learn more about the 10th step and keep it in practice, I automatically monitor my own behavior and keep those changes in place.

for faith and hope, without which I have ...  fear

for the ease with which I seem to make friends in my recovery world.  That never rarely happened in my drinking life.

that it no longer matters which side of the bed I wake up on.  What matters is what I do when I get out of bed.

The best way to gain self-confidence
is to do what you are afraid to do.
- Anonymous

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's all about Attitude


There.  It's fixed.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for my little mantra about having and keeping a positive attitude.  Find it on the top of the right-hand column.  It has served me well and I think it is important to show newcomers that it's possible to be Happy, Joyous and Free in sobriety.  This doesn't mean that I'm always having a Doris Day, but when I'm in our AA clubhouse, I do my best.

that my problems are so much smaller than most of the people with whom I am in contact.  However, they are still problems and they are still mine!

for solutions (I like to include this often)

for the simple fact that I'm still writing some sort of a gratitude list after 8 years of sobriety

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.
- Zig Ziglar

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

just thinkin'

There. It's fixed.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that there's laughter in the rooms (I bet you know what I mean)

that we're only 2 months from the Houston Roundup (a weekend AA/Al Anon convention for the local GLBT community).  I am co-chair this year and have been working actively on this event since February.  If you're interested in more detail, go to www.houstonroundup.org

for more opportunities to let no one steal my peace

that things happen the way they do for a reason.  Before recovery, I never knew this.  I wish I had known.

** notice to Carol at Three Routes ---  try as I have, I am not able to post a comment on your blog.  Glad you're back though.  

The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.
- William James

Monday, September 19, 2011

Observations


There.  It's fixed.


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for restraint of tongue and pen and keyboard (most of the time)

that my best usually includes paying attention rather than getting attention

that I love to have fun in sobriety.  On Saturday, nine of us went on a "sober river float".  It was a 6 mile stretch of the Colorado River (west of Houston) and we took 5 1/2 hours to float that stretch.  Lotsa fun and I am quite sunburned.  Fellowship.  It's vital for this recovering alkie. 

that we finally! had some real rain; some on Saturday and some heavy rain right now!
To acquire knowledge, one must study;
but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.
- Marilyn vos Savant

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Trying to prevent anger ...

Stop Anger Before It Stops You - 7 Secrets
- jonathan lockwood huie
Being angry is as close as a human being can come to experiencing hell on earth.
- jonathan lockwood huie
Anger is something that each one of us has experienced - some of us only occasionally, some almost daily. Can we eliminate all anger? Probably not. We will always have expectations, and those expectations will often be unmet. Disappointment is the principle cause of anger. When we are disappointed, we look for someone to blame. Declaring someone to be at fault is the nature of anger. Anger is always directed at someone - possibly God or the non-specific they, but some animate entity.
You've told yourself a hundred times that you aren't going to get angry - really angry - ever again, but wham, you start to feel that telltale heat, locked shoulders, clenched jaw, shallow breathing. Someone has just done something really awful and you are angry at them. What now?
Here are my 7 Secrets to Stop Anger before It Stops You:

1. Recognize when you are angry: It may not immediately occur to you that you are angry. You know that you have been wronged, and you can see everyone around you take a step back, but especially if you are really angry, it may take a while to gain the clarity to acknowledge your anger. Anger clouds perception and thinking, so make a special effort to spot it early and put it into words, "I am angry."

2. Breathe deeply: Concentrate on taking slow deep breaths. Sometimes this is all it takes to break out of anger and gain clarity on the issue. At other times, breathing deeply is just a beginning, but it paves the way for the rest of the secrets.

3. Focus your anger: Get clear what you are angry about and who you are angry at. Talk to yourself, "I am angry at Joe because he ..." Don't let your anger expand onto innocent bystanders, especially those trying to help calm you down. Don't refocus your anger onto everything that Joe has ever done or failed to do.

4. Remember that you are in charge: Anger is an expression of frustration and helplessness. Remember that you always have options - you can design your own life. No one can steal your happiness - unless you let them.

5. Look for the silver lining: There is a silver lining to every disappointment. Your boss fired you and you are furious. Probably it was a blessing. Now you have the opportunity to get a better job that you really enjoy.

6. Consider forgiveness: Angry and happy don't mix. Flush out the angry, and the happy has a place to put down roots. Forgive everyone for everything in order to give anger and resentment a chance to fade. Forgive and you can become happy. Forgiving is not a gift to someone else - Forgiving is our gift to ourselves - a great gift - the gift of happiness.

7. Accept that Life is NOT "Supposed to be Fair": Know that there is no single way that life is "supposed" to be. Demanding that life meet our expectations is a sure fire recipe for a miserable existence. Life is a game with no rules. Life just happens to us regardless of our best intentions. To choose happiness, be open to receiving whatever life throws at you - with Gratitude. Have NO expectations of life.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Step 10


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my sponsees teach me so much.  A discussion from yesterday included ...

"This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along.  We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past.  We have entered the world of the Spirit.  Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness.  This is not an overnight matter.  It should continue for our lifetime.  Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.  When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them."
Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, page 84

I rarely ask God (or my HP) to remove them.  At this point in my recovery, I have become aware when these crop up, but I deal with them and just move on.  More work for me.

An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.
- Lao Tzu

Thursday, September 15, 2011

And now,


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that my health and financial situation allow me to enjoy doing the things I enjoy doing; these include yard work (at home and at my recovery center), attending recovery meetings during the day (every day), working with others and having fun with my cars.  This could change tomorrow.  But today, it's my reality.  It's quite a life.  Just ask Syd.  LOL

for a really good Al Anon meeting last night that focused on Tradition One - group unity

that keeping life simple is important to me but sometimes seems like a full-time job
for personal commitments

A good example is the best sermon.
- Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Fear of Change


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that yesterday, I had the opportunity to lead a meeting I've never attended.  It is a discussion meeting.  If you ar enot familiar with that format, the leader initiates a topic for discussion and members talk about their experience with that topic (hopefully).

So I spoke about the fear of change.  I felt confident that most, if not all, of the people in the meeting would have some type of experience with the fear of change.  Certainly, at least with some type of fear.
I talked briefly about my fear of stopping drinking.  How I finally became more afraid to continue drinking that to stop drinking.  I mentioned the role of my Higher Power in that scenario.
Then I also brought up my experience with stopping smoking cigarettes.  I surely had to overcome some fears about stopping smoking!  What would I do after eating?  How would I keep my hands busy?  And so on.

So tell me.  What is a fear you have overcome/changed and how have you done it?

The full measure of a man is
not to be found in the man himself,
but in the colors and textures that
come alive in others because of him.
- Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More IS revealed



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for those of you who like the 12 steps.  Here's something that was brought to our attention yesterday at a meeting about Step 4.  It's found on pages 66/67 of the Big Book.
We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick.  Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too.  We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.  When a person offended we said to ourselves, "This is a sick man.  How can I be helpful to him?  God save me from being angry.  Thy will be done."

As many times as I have read this and countless times talked about it with others, I never noticed the question, "How can I be helpful to him?"

Damn, I have so much work to do on me!


"Never mistake motion for action."—Ernest Hemingway

Monday, September 12, 2011

Alive & Kickin'

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a really nice weekend, except for the weather (way too hot and dry)

for more chances to practice what I preach talk about

for boundaries in action

that I'm still alive.  The past month has seen a lot of death in my recovery environment.  Five people I know have died; (1) one [sober for 21 years] was murdered while on vacation in Australia (2) one [sober for 35 years] died of natural causes (3) one [sober for 27 years] died of leukemia (4) one [sober for 1 month] died from a fall at home
(5) one [not sober] died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound because he couldn't get sober. 
This morning, I'm going to the funeral of number 5.


Just stop it. Seriously.
Whatever it is. Just stop it.
If only for an hour, a day, a week.
Stop doing it long enough to get a glimpse
of what the change would actually look like.
- Mary Anne Radmacher



Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Four Agreements



The Four Agreements
from the Toltec Teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz

1. Be Impeccable with your Word.

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself- or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment.  It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstance simply do your best - and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Everything we do is based on agreements we have made - agreements with ourselves - agreements with other people - agreements with God - agreements with life.

But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are — how to behave - what is possible - and what is impossible.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9-10-11

My Faithlessness: The atheist way through AA

Editor's note: Marya Hornbacher's latest book "Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power" explores what spirituality can mean to the recovering person who does not believe in God.
By Marya Hornbacher, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Kicked back with his boots on the table at the head of the smoke-dense room, the meeting's leader banged his fist and bellowed, “By the grace of this program and the blood of Jesus Christ, I’m sober today!”
I blinked.
This was not an auspicious beginning for the project of getting my vaguely atheistic, very alcoholic self off the sauce.
I wondered if perhaps I’d wandered into the wrong room. I thought maybe I’d wound up in Alcoholics Anonymous for crown-of-thorn Christians, and in the next room might find AA for lapsed Catholics, and downstairs a group for AA Hare Krishnas and one for AA Ukrainian Jews.
But a decade later, I’ve become aware that 12-step programs are home to people from every religion, denomination, sect, cult, political tilt, gender identity, sexual preference, economic strata, racial and ethnic background, believers in gun rights and abortion rights and the right to home schooling, drinkers of coffee and tea, whiskey and mouthwash, people who sleep on their sides or their stomachs or sidewalks.
Anyone who cares to sober up, in other words, can give it a shot the 12-step way. The official preamble Alcoholics Anonymous states: "The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
And millions of people want that and find a way to do it in this program. I’m one of them. I was, not to put too fine a point on it, a raging drunk. Now I’m not.
It wasn’t magic; it was brutally hard work to get from point A to B. I do believe I’d be dead without the help of the people and the structure of the steps in AA.
But I don’t believe in God.
And this can be something of a sticking point when you’re sitting in a meeting room, desperate for almost any route out of hell, and someone cites “the blood of Jesus” as the only way to go. Or when you realize that six of AA's 12 steps explicitly refer to God, a Higher Power, or He.
But this shouldn't be a deal breaker. I’m going to make a lot of old-style AA’s cranky with this, but it’s perfectly possible to sober up, sans belief in God.
At first that wasn’t clear to me. It’s unclear to most people because AA has a reputation as a cult, a religion unto itself, a bunch of blathering self-helpers, a herd of lemmings, or morons, and it isn’t those things either. It’s a pretty straightforward series of steps, based on spiritual principles, that helps people clean up their lives in a whole lot of ways.
But if you are of an atheistic or strongly agnostic mindset, chances are you’ll walk into a meeting, see the steps hanging on the wall, and want to scream, laugh, or walk back out.
I tried another tack: I made a valiant attempt to believe. I figured a) these people were funny, kind, and not plastered; b) they believed that some kind of higher power had helped them get sober; c) they knew something I did not.
So I did research. I read every word of AA literature I could find. I read up on the history of half a dozen important religions and a wide variety of frou-frou nonsense. I earnestly discussed my lack of belief with priests, rabbis, fanatics and my father.
People told me their stories — of God, the divine, the power of love, an intelligent creator. Something that made all this. Some origin, some end.
I told them I believed in math. Chaos, I said. Infinity. That sort of thing.
They looked at me in despair.
And not infrequently, they said, “So you think you’re the biggest, most important thing in the universe?”
On the contrary. I think I am among the smallest. Cosmically speaking, I barely exist.
Like anything else, I came into being by the chance, consist mostly of water, am composed of cells that can be reduced and reduced, down to the quarks and leptons and so forth, that make up matter and force. If you broke down all matter, the atom or my body, you’d arrive at the same thing: what scientists call one strange quark, with its half-integer spin.
And I find that not only fascinating, but wondrous, awe-inspiring, and humbling.
I believe that the most important spiritual principle of AA is humility. The recognition that we are flawed, that we can and must change and that our purpose not only in sobriety but in life is to be of service to others.
I believe that I exist at random, but I do not exist alone; and that as long as my quarks cohere, my entire function on this hurtling planet is to give what I can to the other extant things.
That keeps me sober. Amen.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Marya Hornbacher.

Friday, September 09, 2011

911 stories



Where were you and what were you doing when you heard the news?  Did it have any effect on your alcoholism?
Be concise.









todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful
for simplicity

in everything


When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters.
One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.

- John F. Kennedy

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Perspective




todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful
when I can remember that most things that happend during the course of a day aren't nearly as important as I try to make them

to remember that I see things as I want them to be, not as they always are

to know that I am almost always biased in my thinking

that I look differently from space, or from a helicopter, or from a 2nd story building, or face-to-face

When one door closes, another opens.
But often we look so long, so regretfully,
upon the closed door,
that we fail to see the one that is opened for us.
- Helen Keller

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

OK. Hear me out.



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got to get out of my little comfort zone yesterday and attend a meeting that I've never been to before.  I went specifically to hear a sponsee tell his story of recovery. 
One more notch on my recovery belt.

that I'm a fan of the Traditions of A.A. and attend a meeting that discusses them.  I also attended an excellent workshop this past weekend where small breakout groups of 2 or 3 went through each tradition thoroughly.  It was sponsored by our local District 20.  It saddens me to witness so many people (especially on Facebook) routinely violate the very traditions that have saved our lives.  Some of these people seem to think that "they know better" and have actually cursed (as recently as last night) at me for trying to uphold different traditions.  That does not stop me from being true to A.A. and myself, however.
Rant complete.

that I don't have to use 2 hands to hold a cup of coffee anymore (during my last years of drinking, that was common)
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.- Anonymous

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

OK. Back to work.









todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm on a good course of recovery.  My cats agree.

for awareness and acceptance of some things I've rarely given much creedence until now.  I guess this means I have an open mind (sometimes).

for all the well-wishes yesterday from you guys on here and on Facebook too

that I'm a ham and I know it. I love attention yet I shy away from it. Comprehend?


There are nine requisites for contented living:
HEALTH enough to make work a pleasure;
WEALTH enough to support your needs;
STRENGTH enough to battle with difficulties and forsake them;
GRACE enough to confess your sins and overcome them;
PATIENCE enough to toil until some good is accomplished;
CHARITY enough to see some good in your neighbor;
LOVE enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others;
FAITH enough to make real the things of God;
HOPE enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, September 05, 2011

Just another miracle


I'm still amazed.

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous made my present life possible.

I was a hopeless drunk and had just about given up on life.  I didn't realize that my life could completely turn around with just a change in my thinking and attitude.

But the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous made my present life possible.

I'm still amazed.


What is necessary to change a person is
to change his awareness of himself.

- Abraham Maslow

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Riddle

What if this was the only question on the exam to pass your college English course and earn your degree.  Would you graduate?

What nine letter word in the English language is still a word when eight letters are removed one by one?

Take a few minutes to try to come up with a nine letter word that fits the bill, then watch the attached video for the startling results.

video

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Colonoscopy Diary

ABOUT THE WRITER
Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

Colonoscopy Journal:

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.

A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.

I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'

I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America's enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.

Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.

Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-gallon plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result.'

This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.

The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.
At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.

Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.

There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate.

'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me.

'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.

Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Don't worry, I'm awake


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for another day of waking up sober and the opportunity to make the most of it

for my health & beauty

for my perceptions which I allow to be constantly scrutinized and altered

that I'm willing to make the effort to adjust to the new Blogger format

that I went to see The Help yesterday -- it was OK, a B+ (imho)


The success of love is in the loving -
it is not in the result of loving.
Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.
- Mother Teresa


Thursday, September 01, 2011

THURS



todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the concept of spirituality.  I went to a meeting yesterday where we discussed what we feel it means.  Very interesting. 
For this alcoholic, my spirituality is incompatible with drinking.  For me to remain sober, I am sure that I must have a Higher Power, whatever I wish to call it/him/her.  Having said that, secondly, I must do my very best to adhere to some spiritual principles.  ie: honesty (on all levels), faith in my HP, willingness, integrity, discipline, compassion for others and most certainly, service to others.

So, today, I put the question to you.  Leave a reply or comment if you can.

What is spirituality to you?

If I try to be like him, who will be like me?
- Yiddish proverb