Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Orange you glad ..........

todAAy is scAry


I'm so glad I'm sober.

I'll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween. 
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

another new experience

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I had the honor of doing something unique last night.  I was asked to chair an AA meeting which is 3 hours long.  It consisted of qualifying myself followed by some interactive instruction of the first 3 steps.  My audience was 32 men who are fresh out of rehab and back out amongst the population.  almost all were on parole or probation, from alcohol and drug use to assault and robbery.

I prepared by making copies of material I use to work with sponsees.  Mainly questions designed to make one think.  I think it went well.  As far as I know, none of us had anything to drink for that whole 3 hours, except water.

I continue to experience new things as a sober man.

Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.  If you're alive, it isn't. 
~Richard Bach

Monday, October 29, 2012

Unconditional ....

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for unconditonal serenity.  I heard this term over the weekend and love it.  That should be my constant goal.  I actually experience it much of the time.

for unconditonal happiness.  This one totally depends on me and my attitude.

for unconditonal sobriety.  My own participation in my sobriety coupled with the acceptance of my Higher Power assures this.

for unconditonal acceptance.  This is a work in progress.  Always.

Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. 
~Hans Christian Andersen

Sunday, October 28, 2012

more new stuff


Laser Scissors Cutting a straight line has never been easier. Just aim the pin-point laser and follow the line. The scissor blades are stainless steel and cut very clean with a micro edge.


'Who left the Toilet Seat up?' The Peace Maker will end the battle of the toilet seat. Merely step on the pedal to activate the lifting mechanism. When finished, remove your foot from the pedal and the seat gently comes to a rest where it started.


Do you get up at night to drink water, go to the toilet... Do you wish you could see in the dark? Remarkably bright LED lights are triggered by your footsteps and light up the floor 30 feet in front of you; ultra-soft plush style are extra comfortable and cozy warm.


If you are traveling a lot and don't always know the language of the country you are visiting, then this T-shirt is for you. It has a phrase book printed on it so just point a finger at the pictogram you need and then point it twice at the question mark, which means, 'Where is it?' and in no time you have found what you were looking for... Or not. (Another possibility for the foreign language impaired)


Whether you want to sit in the sun or in the shade, near the river or under the tree... Now you have your movable bench, to sit wherever you like.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

new stuff

You love toast, but you always burn it? Then, this invention is for you. This transparent toaster allows you to see the bread while it is toasting so you just have to take it out when the color is right. This idea is based on a transparent heating glass technology.


One Click Butter Cutter controls your portion as an important part of staying healthy. This ingenious butter cutter delivers one standard pat with each click of the handle.


What day is today? You don't know? Then you need a Day Clock. It's uniquely designed to keep track of weekly events like your golf day, card night, movie night, and so much more. It's ideal for vacations and cruises when it's easy to lose track of the day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Go ahead. Take the weekend off.

pizza warmer

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm a rule follower

that I'm gonna wear my sobriety today like a loose garment

for a full weekend of fellowship comin' up

for the music of the 50's, 60's and 70's.  I watched a Smithsonian Channel documentary last night on The Doors and Jim Morrison.  Fabulous!

I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol. 
~Author Unknown

Thursday, October 25, 2012


for Syd

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the slow changes that take place in me.  Sometimes, they are very apparent, sometimes I don't notice when they're happening.  And they run the gamut -- physical changes, mental and emotional changes and most of all, spiritual change.

that I really enjoy learning, but only stuff that interests me.  I must work on this.

for humor in sobriety/recovery.  Tradition 4 in the Twelve and Twelve reminds us not to takes ourselves too damn seriously.  However, I take my sobriety very, very serious.  Just not myself.

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.
 ~Doug Larson

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Theories that work .......

Martin Luther King and Marlon Brando

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for hope and faith.  When I entered into recovery, I began hearing the thing about "everything will work out the way it is supposed to."  Believe it or not, I had NEVER heard that before.  But today I'm a big believer in that theory.  Time and time again, I see it to be true.  I can look back over the timeline of my life and see how it works.

"It takes what it takes."  Whoever came up with that knew what they were talking about.  It's so damn obvious.

"I'd rather be happy than right."  This has been a life changer for me.

The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side. 
~Margaret Carty

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hello. How are you today?

Johnny Cash & Ray Charles

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'm not a politician, period.

that it's incumbent on me to carry the message, not the mess (see above)  LOL

that I am going to live this day without taking my (very important) self too seriously

that I don't jump (to conclusions) as far as I used to

No one can whistle a symphony.  It takes a whole orchestra to play it. 
~H.E. Luccock

Monday, October 22, 2012

Focus on Sobriety

Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I get to experience another day as a sober alcoholic; few alkies can say this

that, as a sober alcoholic, I am finally a functional alcoholic

that my life seems to go so much better when I focus on my own honesty integrity

that I have a whole of of improvement to do on not taking others' inventory

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem. 
~David Carradine

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Achieving Peace of Mind

1. Talk It Out. Confide your worry to a level-headed  person.

2. Escape For A While. Sleep, read, draw, etc. Be prepared to come back and deal with the problem.

3. Work Off Your Anger. Do something physical. It will help intellectually.

4. Give In Occasionally. Everyone has to be on top sometime. Yield. Others will too.

5. Do Something For Others. It will give you a better  feeling.

6. Take One Thing at A Time. While under pressure, an ordinary workload IS
    painful. Take one task at a time. Don't overestimate the importance of things, or of your own importance.

7. Shun The Superman Urge. Perfection is an invitation to failure. Decide the things you do well and put major effort into them. Give other tasks the best of your ability BUT don't take yourself down if perfection isn't reached.

8. Go Easy With Criticism. Some people expect too much of others, then feel let down, disappointed, frustrated when another person doesn't measure up. Each person has a right to develop as an individual. People who feel let down by the shortcomings (real or otherwise) of others are really let down about THEMSELVES.

9. Give The Other Fellow A Break. People under tension feel they have to get there first no matter how trivial the goal. Everything becomes a race. Competition is contagious but so is cooperation. Give the other fellow a break, then you won't be a threat to him, nor him to you.

10.   Make Yourself Available. Many people feel left out, slighted, neglected.
 Often it is imagined. Instead of withdrawing. It is healthier and more practical to  
 make overtures. There is middle ground.

11. Schedule Recreation. If it's hard to take time out, put it on a schedule and throw yourself into it forgetting all work.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Put this on your to-do list .........

Star gazers will want to be looking upward this weekend: The Orionid meteor shower is one of the best meteor showers of the year and should not be missed.
According to NASA's website: "Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, (the) source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Forecasters expect 25 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Oct. 21."
The best part of this cosmic display: No telescope required—but you may need an alarm clock. According to L.A.'s Griffith Observatory, the brightest displays will fall between 11 p.m. Saturday and 5:40 a.m. Sunday, Pacific time.
Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, noted in a statement, "With no Moon to spoil the show, observing conditions should be ideal." He added, "The Orionid meteor shower isn't the strongest, but it is one of the most beautiful showers of the year."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Are you happy now?

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I've always been a pretty happy person, although a bit moody.  Since I stopped drinking 9 years ago, my mood changes are much less often and not as dramatic.  I seem to possess an ability to let life happen without having to over-react.  It's a process.

for Step 9 -- "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."  After I had completed this step under the direction of my sponsor, my life changed.  A weight was lifted from my shoulders, a weight I never knew was there.  I shared this in a meeting recently and a person actually commented that he thought this step was totally unnecessary and in fact, insane.  Of course, this person has never worked the steps with a sponsor nor ever been sober for more than a couple of months at a time.   He happens to be a guest of the local court system.  God bless him.  LOL

It's pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness.  Poverty and wealth have both failed. 
~Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Good ways to live today

Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger - 1969

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for improvement on the non-practice of some of my character defects

for hope and faith that right action = right results

that I try to leave a place at least as nice as I found it; sometimes even nicer

for some of the things I've never done

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.  
~William James

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

and I quote ........

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Here's a bit of it .........

"A.A. is not a plan for recovery that can be finished and done with.  It is a way of life, and the challenge contained in its principles is great enough to keep any human being striving for as long as he lives.  We do not, cannot, outgrow this plan."

"A complete change takes place in our approach to life.  Where we used to run from responsibility, we find ourselves accepting it with gratitude that we can successfully shoulder it."

"Now there is a sense of belonging, of being wanted and needed and loved.  In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the Keys of the Kingdom."

Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad. 
~Norm Papernick

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Things that go unnoticed

Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the little things that are part of life every day that go unnoticed.  Things I take for granted, like ...

hot water and other plumbing
a working automobile
money to buy gasoline
food and the money to buy it

Happiness is always a by-product.  It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular.  But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness. 
~Robertson Davies

Monday, October 15, 2012

awareness (an oft-used title)

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a fabulous weekend.  Nothing out of the ordinary; it was just my attitude that made the difference.

when slippers/relapsers return.  I often ask them, one-on-one, what happened.  I want to know so that I can make sure to be weary of situations in my own life.  Also, I think it helps them to talk about it.

The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself. 
~Author unknown

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Life is a choice ...

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it!  You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or .. you can choose to be in a bad mood.  I choose to be in a good mood."
Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life." 

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the tower industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.
After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
I saw him about six months after the accident.
When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.
He continued, "..the paramedics were great.  They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'."
Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead." 

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Two for the Price of One .....

A man appears before St. Peter at the pearly gates.

”Have you ever done anything of particular merit?” St. Peter asks.

”Well, I can think of one thing,” the man offers.  “Once, on a trip to the Black Hills, out in South Dakota, I came upon a gang of high-testosterone bikers who were threatening a young woman.  I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t listen.  So I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker.  I smacked him on the head, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring and threw it on the ground, and told him, ‘Leave her alone now or you’ll answer to me.’”

St. Peter was impressed.  “When did this happen?”

”Just a couple of minutes ago.”

A rabbi and a priest get into a car accident and it’s a bad one. Both cars are totally demolished, but, amazingly, neither of the clerics is hurt. After they crawl out of their cars, the rabbi sees the priest’s collar and says, ”So you’re a priest. I’m a rabbi. Just look at our cars. There’s nothing left, but we are unhurt. This must be a sign from God. God must have meant that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace the rest of our days.”

The priest replies, “I agree with you completely. This must be a sign from God.”

The rabbi continues, “And look at this. Here’s another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle of Mogen David wine didn’t break. Surely God wants us to
drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune.” Then he hands the bottle to the priest.

The priest agrees, takes a few big swigs, and hands the bottle back to the rabbi. The rabbi takes the bottle, immediately puts the cap on, and hands it back to the priest. The priest asks, “Aren’t you having any?”

The rabbi replies, “No...I think I’ll wait for the police.” 

Friday, October 12, 2012

easier and softer

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for another Friday.  I wonder how many I have left.

that I'm a lot more willing to accept change than I used to be.  But I'd prefer that everything stay the same.

that I'm sober, relatively healthy, happy and free.  Joyous though?  Not sure about that.

Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion.  You must set yourself on fire. 
~Arnold H. Glasow

Thursday, October 11, 2012

brain no work

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a good attitude

I'm drawing a blank this morning.  I'm not going to wrack my brain trying to think of something to type, so I'll leave you with this .......

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. 
~T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No more smoking .......

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the removal of the obsession to get as drunk as possible every night; I also don't feel a need to stay stoned on marijuana any more.  For decades, I wanted to be stoned whenever I was awake.  I thought no one would know.  

for the way the universe works.  A friend, Jim from Chicago with 29 years sobriety, attended the 6:30am meeting yesterday.  He was in town for 2 days of medical check-ups and tests.  He came to that meeting before going to the hospital.  Since it was Tuesday, we were reading the Big Book and the story we read was "He Sold Himself Short" on page 258 (4th edition).  That story just happens to be the tale of the first AA member in Chicago, the guy who got meetings started there.  

that I stopped smoking on October 10, 2006.  Six years ago.  I have not had any temptation to light up since after 36 years of smoking 3 packs/day.  But I'm positive if I were to have one cigarette, I'd be back on 3 packs/day before the end of the week.

Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible. 
~Doug Larson

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Step Ten

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for A.A. literature, especially Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.  The following words come from that book.

"the emotional hangover, the direct result of yesterday's and sometimes today's excesses of negative emotion --- anger, fear, jealousy and the like."  I sure see a lot of this on Facebook these days.

"It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us."  Damn!

"We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it."  But, but ...

"Our first objective will be the development of self-restraint."  Boys and girls, practicing this has changed my life.

I could go on and one, but I think you get the idea.  Step Ten is my daily (and hourly) monitor of my own behavior.  When I'm upset, I have to take a spot-check inventory to make a quick course correction.  

If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. 
~Lawrence J. Peter

Monday, October 08, 2012


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for some lovely weekend weather in Houston, Texas

that I've rarely been a time-waster;  most of the things I do, I do for a reason (good or bad)

that I don't seem to get all riled up by being on the Board of Directors of my recovery center.  I know some people with many years of sobriety who have not been able to handle it.  I've now served 6 of the last 8 years on the Board.  

that I have chosen NOT to attend my high school's 40th reunion this coming weekend.  I don't feel comfortable around those people, so why submit myself to a situation where I'd be itching to get away?

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. 
~Henry Ford

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Saturday, October 06, 2012

It's not aging!

Always knew it was not me having a problem. Good to have shrinks to figure this out for us.

The following explains so much.

"Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was? Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses.

Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an event boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale."

It's not aging, it's the door!

Friday, October 05, 2012

no regrets

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I don't regret the past nor do I wish to shut the door on it

I have lived a blessed life.  I had 2 fine parents who raised me the best they knew how.  I went to excellent public schools and then a wonderful university.  I had a couple of jobs (teaching and office management) before I found my niche in the oil exploration industry.  I travelled to over 30 countries and lived and worked in more than 20 of them.    I got to meet and work with a wide variety of humans of various cultures.  But there was always something prevalent in my life -- alcohol and getting drunk.  I did that every day, without fail.  I did it with passion and for the most part, enjoyed every minute of it.
I can look back on those 33+ years of drinking and see a rather sad individual.  Lonely.  Afraid of people.  I lived a life with little purpose except to be more than adequate at my job and to stay as drunk as I could get away with.

And I don't regret it for one minute.

It got me to this point.

The one charm of the past is that it is the past. 
~Oscar Wilde

Thursday, October 04, 2012


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the way my recovery program "works" me.  Life is much easier when I don't have to stop and think about the next right thing to do.

that I absolutely love being sober.  I like everything about it.  I live it and breathe it.  I go to enough meetings that I am frequently reminded about those last days of my drinking.  I will do anything necessary to never go back there.  I hope you feel the same.  If you don't, keep at it.  Never give up.

We welcome passion, for the mind is briefly let off duty. 
~Mignon McLaughlin

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Bye bye National League

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the concept of a long, slow recovery

that the principles I am learning to practice in recovery apply to life.  All of it.

today is the end of the season and the end of a 51-year era for my beloved Houston Astros.  I've been an avid fan for most of those years, certainly since 1967.  This was their worst-ever season and next year they move to the American League.  They will be changing their look and logo and uniforms.  They are a young team in the middle of rebuilding.  They will have a new manager who has yet to manage in the big leagues.  But I tell you this from the bottom of my heart -- they're my team -- no matter what.

"Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded."
-- Yogi Berra

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Some of my thinking ........

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I rarely regret doing something or even not doing something.  I learn from it and move on. 
(I can't believe I'm saying this)

for my sponsor, who taught me about making an amends.  On step 8, he said that to be willing to make an amends meant that I'm ready to change my behavior.  Unless I'm ready and willing to change my behavior, there's no use in making an amends.  Thanks Robert.

that I have never been a violent person.  I did hit a guy once and he provoked me.  I think I was 18 or 19 years old.  And I hit a girl once too.  I have to be honest.  She was a prostitute in a small port town in Namibia (southwest Africa).  I was in a bar and getting drunk and she would not take NO! for an answer.  After a while, it seemed like the only way to get her off my back (figuratively) was to punctuate my NO! with a slap.  Sorry yall.  She was on my 4th step.  And part of my living amends.

Football combines the two worst things about America:  it is violence punctuated by committee meetings. 
~George F. Will

Monday, October 01, 2012

this is my life, today

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I get to witness so many young people change their lives

for my friend Phil S., who is now in hospice.  In the last month, he's deteriorated to the point where his body is rife with cancer in his bones and brain.  I got to visit him this weekend and he will probably die this week or next.  Phil was my choreographer in a play 3 years ago.  A nice guy who will be missed.  As I grow in sobriety and recovery, I am a little more comfortable in visiting hospitals and now hospices.  Until I got sober, I refused to do this. 

that I haven't lost my cell phone since I stopped drinking.  During that last year, I lost 4 company-provided phones.  They each went missing from bars while I was living in Morocco.

The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend. 
~Henry David Thoreau