Saturday, September 30, 2006

at random ...

a few pictures from my recent trip to the Big Apple with Rodney

I have more.

Maybe I'll post them soon.

On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.
-Aldous Huxley

Friday, September 29, 2006

Back to Abnormal

Ceiling Mural in a Smoker's Lounge

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that when it's not all about me, I feel pretty damn good

for Step 11 of alcoholics Anonymous

that today is Boston's first AA birthday, drop by and say howdy and congrats!

that although Hayden leaves this morning, he will be back

that I slept in today instead of going to my regular 6:30am meeting; I think it was genuinely justifiable today and I will make up for it later today

that I don't take forever to pack 2 suitcases; I consider myself a professional traveller

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
-Yogi Berra

Thursday, September 28, 2006

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

Hayden, my own personal Angel, returns to his home country of Trinidad & Tobago tomorrow. He's taking some university courses which begin the next day.

Don't get me wrong, he has many flaws too, but he's not an alcoholic (yet) and he initiated my entrance into the rooms of AA. He literally saved my life twice.

Current plans are for him to return early next year. For a much longer stay than one month.
(his face does not really look like this; he asked for a little anonymity)

see more HNT-ers here

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I attend a daily AA meeting at 6:30am where I can be brutally honest and feel safe about it

that we visited my Mom yesterday; she's not doing very well, but continues to hang in there

to hear an AA story (qualification) of a very dysfunctional family gone functional

for the beautiful weather we've had this week

that I've been to NYC twice in 3 months and have yet to walk inside a bar; in my previous life, I would have drank in at least 10 bars, probably many more

that my leg problems associated with Peripheral Artery Disease have improved greatly over the past 6 weeks; I only had 1 flareup while walking all those miles around Manhattan

that my very good friend Kenny (recovery road) is staying sober and as upbeat as possible despite some serious eyesight problems. I don't know what my HP's plan is for Kenny, but I must trust that there is a reason.

I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.
-Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

12 Things that Rock!

Rodney and I recently stayed at
The New Yorker Hotel.
34th Streeet @ 8th Avenue.

Built in 1931, it has seen its share of the famous and not so famous, including Muhammed Ali, Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb.
Maybe Barney Fife too.
Who knows?

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to get back in the swing of my meetings @ Lambda

to see so many of my recovery friends and to meet Bill, Hayden's new friend, still drinking but going to some meetings (reminds me of me, just 1117 days ago)

for a new topic on Sobriety Society
that tomorrow is hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

(an idea I stole from Motorcycle Mike)

1. sobriety
2. recovery
3. my Higher Power and his/her compassion, love and sense of humor
4. my Mom, my sister, my sponsor
5. Hayden
6. almost every one of my recovery friends and acquaintances
7. chicken fried steaks and big, juicy hamburgers
8. freeways with little or no traffic
9. The Astros
10. my cats
11. blogging
12. sobriety (this is where it all starts and ends)

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
-Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Open For Business

Rodney standing on the

(Rockefeller Center observation deck)

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

to be home (again)

for 2 very easy and safe flights; both times we were bumped up to an earlier flight because we were at the airport early enough

for the lovely people we met in NYC; people both in recovery and not (including, of course, Mr. H.K.) We must have walked at least 30 miles in Midtown, Hell's Kitchen, Chelsea and Greenwich Village.

for the 6 AA meetings that Rodney and I attended in NYC over the past 5 days; meetings are done a little differently in NYC than here

for Lambda Center, right here in H-town

for getting a little bit out of my comfort zone and going to 2 (count 'em) two Broadway shows; The Lion King and Momma Mia!

that Hayden is still here with me because he decided to remain an extra week

that he has embraced Lambda Center and has actually participated in some 12-step work although he is not an alcoholic

that I am getting closer to the day of stopping smoking; I am doing this very methodically and preparing myself psychologically so I can quit cold turkey and not look back

Dreams are but thoughts until their effects be tried.
-William Shakespeare

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Image Hosting by

I'm in New York City for a few days R&R.
The numbers on this map show the different AA meetings for gay men and women in Manhattan. I hope to get to most of them while there.

See ya soon ...

... and, they're off

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that Hayden and I have had the opportunity to not only heal our relationship which I severely damaged during my last drinking days, but have renewed it, nourished it and deepened it beyond any level I might have imagined. I don't know what the future holds, so stay tuned.

that Rodney and I are off to NYC today. I will be back early next week and don't plan on accessing this blog until then. It's a vacation, damnit!

The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.
-Dr. Wayne Dyer

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us...Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.

-Mother Teresa

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Winding down before winding up

perspective 3
todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a day with a smile on my face;

now that I think about it, the entire day was spent with Hayden as he began winding up his visit

to be with someone who really knows me better than I know myself

that we had dinner with my sponsor and Scott

for the recovery program that is offered by Alcoholics Anonymous;

It works, it really does!

that I have still attended my regular AA meetings during Hayden's visit and he's gone to a number of them with me

that I will be off to NYC tomorrow with Rodney

that all you guys keep visiting me each day although I have had little time to get around to visit you (this is rare for me)

All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin.

-Lord Byron

Monday, September 18, 2006

Thinking out loud ...

perspective 5
todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that Houston Roundup had a fun and successful auction Friday night

for a productive Lambda Board meeting on Saturday

that Sonny is back at Lambda after 5 weeks recuperating from heart-bypass surgery and its complications

for a rain-shortened visit to the Houston Zoo on Friday

that we went to visit 3 of Houston's top museums Sunday; I have lived in Houston for most of my 52 years and this was my first time to visit

that Hayden and I can always work out our differences, of which there are many

for this week's topic on Sobriety Society - stop by and give us some input

Age is all imagination. Ignore years and they'll ignore you.

-Ella Wheeler-Wilcox

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Paris Hilton

On our way to Austin last Sunday, we stopped at a small, mom and pop gasoline station for a quick restroom break. This was the view from my car.

The picture has nothing to do with the title of this post, which is only a cheap, unadulterated attempt at getting more blog-hits today.
Because I too am a whore.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Leaving the City of Regret

~ a short story ~

I had not planned on taking a trip this time of year and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good could come out of it. I’m talking about my annual guilt trip.
I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had Airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check as I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with thousands of memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people all over the world come to this dismal town.
As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel I noticed they would be hosting the year’s most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion! Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.
First there would be the Done family. You know, Should Of, Could Of and Would Of. Then came the I Had family, you probably know of Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present-- Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterdays, there are too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.
Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance and It’s Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in their life, and each story would be applauded by Don’t Blame Me and I Couldn’t Help It.
Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that no real benefit would come of it and as usual I became very depressed. As I thought about all the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent pity party could be canceled by me. I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there, I didn’t have to be depressed. One thing kept going through my mind - ‘I CANT CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY’. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for my mistakes I’ve made in the past? Yes, but there is no physical way to undo them.
So if you’re planning a trip back to the City of Regret please cancel your reservations. Instead take a trip to a place called Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have taken up residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myself’s and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. God bless you in finding this great town. If you can’t find it, it’s in your heart.
Please look me up, I live on I Can Do It Street.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Continuing Inventory


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a really good meeting about Step 10 and self-restraint -- some life-changing tools to keep handy throughout the day

... and then a good meeting about Tradition 3 -- the chairperson shared that they were ashamed that this was their 4th attempt at staying sober in the rooms of AA -- I chimed in that they should instead be proud that they Keep Coming Back

that I pretty much practice Step 10 on a constant basis throughout each day

that I turned over the temporary reigns of helping to operate Lambda Center

that Sonny is home (out of the hospital after 4 1/2 weeks) and will celebrate his 24th AA birthday today at the noon meeting (I wouldn't miss this for the world)

for quality time with you-know-who (starts with an H and ends with an N)

that Hayden finally got a professional massage yesterday - his back is was terribly knotted up from working out at the gym

that we have 5 days remaining together and way too many things on the list of to-do's

for the Silent Auction fundraiser tonight to which Scott and I have donated several paintings

that I'm off to NYC next week with another really good friend

It may be that those who do most, dream most.
-Stephen Leacock

Thursday, September 14, 2006

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

Hayden wore this shirt last weekend. Nuff said. LOL

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for getting somewhat back to my normal daily routine; I think many of "us" are routine-oriented. YES? NO?

to see my Lambda Center friends - being gone 3 days seemed like a long time

for the benefits I receive as a result of working the 12 Steps with interested parties sponsees; I am currently studying Steps 2, 6 and 9 with them

that I'm still keeping stopping smoking as a conscious thought

"One thing you can't recycle is wasted time."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back home ...


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that there ain't no place like home

that Mom's doctor gave her a new prescription for her depression

that I went 3 days without an AA meeting and am still sober and relatively sane; Hayden only had to smack me upside the head for a couple of hours on Day 2

that prayer plays such an important part in my life each day

for a late lunch at my sisters house in the country

for a great 3-day getaway with Hayden -- we went to Austin and San Antonio, Texas

that I don't particularly enjoy hanging out in bars anymore but can do it with no desire to have an alcoholic drink

that I don't have to get naked just because everyone else is - CLICK HERE

that I can still play pool and handle a cue stick with authority after 3 years of not playing

You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.
-Leo Aikman

Monday, September 11, 2006

Nine Eleven

Five years ago today ...

I was in my office in London.

Three days later, I travelled to Dakar, Senegal to work on a 2 month project. Senegal is primarily a Muslim country. Having been there many times, I was not worried about backlash. Instead, I witnessed respect and compassion for The United States and its values.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I may not have an awful lot of knowledge, but I do have a lot of experience and common sense

that my problems are high-class problems and most of those are only in my head

that although some character defects reared their ugly heads over the weekend, by talking them out and praying, I was able to get over them

that the USA has not experienced a terrorist attack inside our borders in 5 years

The important thing is to learn a lesson every time you lose.
-John McEnroe

NOTE: I posted this early because Hayden and I went out of town and I won't be around a computer. I felt it necessary to post something on this memorable day in history. If you don't like it, don't read it.
ooooops, too late!

Sunday, September 10, 2006


The Class of 2010:

Members of the class of 2010, the freshmen entering college this fall, were mostly born in 1988.
For them ...

... the Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
...They have known only two presidents.
... U.S. airlines have always been bankrupt.
... There has always been only one Germany.
... They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.
... They are wireless, yet always connected.
... Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
... Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
... They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
... DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
... They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
... They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
... "Google" has always been a verb.
... Text messaging is their email.
... Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
... Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
... Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.
... Young women's fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
... They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
... Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
... "So" as in "That is sooooo New York," has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else.
... They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
... Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
... Small white holiday lights have always been in style.
... They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
... They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
... There have always been live organ donors.
... They have always had access to their own credit cards.
... They have never put their money in a "Savings & Loan."
... Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
... Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
... Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
... Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
... Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
... Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
... They have always "dissed" what they don't like.
... The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
... Richard M. Daley has always been the Mayor of Chicago.
... They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.
... Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Things to remember

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."
3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
5. You should not confuse your career with your life.
6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
7. Never lick a steak knife.
8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 21.
12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic back-ground, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.
13. A person who is nice to you, but rude to a waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
14. Your friends love you anyway.
15. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
16. Men are like fine wine . . . they start out as grapes, and it's up to the women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Binge Benefits

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that Hayden and my Mom get along so well; he's been to visit her 3 times in the 10 days he's been here (it's a 40 minute drive there)

that I recognized a brainfart when I had one yesterday in a meeting when asked to share - I just shut-up and passed it on (no visuals, please)

for the privilege of watching people I really care about progress in their recovery

for the many gifts of the AA program -- it's true for this drunk that I never had a clue how many benefits there could be

that it's just a little bit easier to face people (my biggest fear)

that it's Friday and I will binge on 3 AA meetings before lunch;
each with their own personality

Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving about three or four things a day unsaid.
-Harlan Miller

Thursday, September 07, 2006

hAAlf nAAked thursdAAy

My new Crocs. I got 2 pair. VISIT THE OTHERS

todAAy i AAm grAAteful and thAAnkful

for a meeting where we dissected the meaning of The Serenity Prayer

for a slow, relaxing, laid back morning of bumming around the house with Hayden, then went for lunch and then a movie before he went to the gym (I needed the rest after that all-day, all-night cyber party you guys gave me)

that we're planning a short trip to Austin this weekend

that Phil posted a couple of days ago

that I live in Montrose (a very eclectic area of Houston near downtown)

Good manners will often take people where neither money nor education will take them.

-Fanny Jackson Coppin

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Journey onward

I was born on St. Patrick's Day. A few years ago. The last decade of my drinking, my birthday was celebrated at Griff's, which has a HUGE Paddy's Day party. I always said that 5000 of my closest friends attended my birthday party. Of course, during most of those celebrations, I was too drunk to really remember them, much less appreciate them.
Today, my most cherished birthday celebration is that of my years as a sober, recovering alocholic. I can remember and appreciate these sober years.
And that is a miracle, my friends.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for all the wonderful gifts and comments from you guys in bloggerland

for my buds at the Eyes Wide Shut group of Alcoholics Anonymous who showed up for my little birthday yesterday

for the wonderful gestures from the folks at the 12:15pm Unity Group yesterday -- I was asked to share about my 3-year milestone and completely lost it (I snivelled and slobbered for a few seconds) when I acknowledged that Jesse (a great friend with whom I worked and drank) and Hayden (who I lived with and drank) were present in the room and had watched my incomprehensible demoralization first-hand, but they stuck with me through it all

that these days, I sometimes experience incomprehensible serenity

for the special 3-year chip given to me by my bestest friend Scott

that we have a full complement of volunteers to work the coffee bar @ Lambda for the next 12 days

that I discovered where to find reruns of GREEN ACRES at 6:30pm

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
-Albert Einstein

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I have been sober for 1095 days

that I comprehend the word serenity and usually know peace

that my experience can benefit others

that my feelings of uselessness and self-pity often disappear

that I sometimes lose interest in selfish things

that self-seeking sometimes slips away

that my whole attitude and outlook upon life has changed

that my fear of people and economic insecurity has lessened

that I intuitively know how to handle some situations which used to baffle me

that God does for me what I cannot do for myself

Are these extravagant changes in my life?


They have materialized because I have worked for them.

Monday, September 04, 2006

There are no coincidences

We lived together for over a year. My last year of drinking. As I spiralled downward towards my alcoholic bottom, much of my time was spent in bars. As a result, we didn't do a lot of fun things together or go very many places. No movies, fun parks, rarely even ate out together, except at my bar.

While Hayden is here this month, I have vowed to make up for that. Saturday night at 9:30pm, we actually went to Starbuck's and sat outside enjoying non-alcoholic drinks at night. First time I've done that with him. Or anyone else, for that matter.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I'll be working the coffee bar @ Lambda today -- the place will be packed for meetings because of the holiday

that when my mind goes to very uncomfortable places, my mouth doesn't always follow

that sometimes I actually remember to do the things I've been taught to do when I need to do them

that I no longer depend on anybody to make me happy or to keep me happy

that I got dressed to go workout this morning at 5am, then remembered that the gym is closed today, for Labor Day. At least I made the effort. Progress. LOL

for the Courage to tell a friend of Hayden's that he's in town and wants to say howdy to him; the Courage part is that we have a mutual dislike for each other. I ran into this guy at Starbuck's while coffee-ing with Matt. He gave me his phone number and said to tell Hayden to call him. Had I not let this guy know that Hayden is in town, I would have owed Hayden an amends. Now, I don't have to feel guilty. Wow! I love this program called recovery!!

for my new Crocs

"If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies."
-Moshe Dayan

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Certainly not perfection

It happened.

Those damn character defects. For days before Hayden came to visit almost a week ago, I was nervous about some of my worst behavioral thinking returning, not to mention poor behavior too. With 3 years of AA under my belt, those defects had pretty much disappeared, but nothing had happened during those 3 years to awaken them.

For the first 4 days all was great. I no longer felt jealous or possessive. I told him about those feelings and that I had no right to ever be possessive and no reason to be jealous. But that never stopped me before. Anyway, it seemed as if my HP might have actually removed them or at least stored them away where I couldn't bring 'em out.

But yesterday morning, control raised its ugly head. I wanted to control what Hayden did and when he did it. Who he saw and when he saw them. These thoughts came up before I could even see it. Just appeared on the scene. I was totally aware of the feelings and it made me very very very uncomfortable.

I lost my serenity.

I went to my regular 8:30am meeting and the topic (of course) was about serenity and how to regain it when we lose it. I listened. I listened very closely. There were a lot of very relevant things shared. I heard about acceptance. I began easing off on myself. I was reminded about being powerless over the actions of others. That made me feel a bit better. Someone said to Live and Let Live. Ahhh yes. Live and Let Live. Good one. Peggy shared (as if she were talking directly to me) about feelings of worthlessness. For no reason, I had these feelings. That they were only in my head; not real. How did she know?

I left the meeting feeling better. My sponsor called a few minutes after that meeting to say HI and I fessed up. I told him how I had felt; was feeling. He understood because he knows me so well. He understood because he's felt the same feelings too. I went home and I told Hayden the truth. Exactly how I was feeling and why. I told him how hard I was trying to be the best I could be, but it didn't always work that way. He listened and he understood. We hugged; I cried a few tears.

And it was gone.
Almost like it never happened.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ballet Dancer

The stereotype is, of course, that all ballet dancers are gay.
I don't think so.

Seeing Eye Dogs

Two women were out for a Saturday stroll. One had a Doberman and the other, a Chihuahua.
As they walked down the street, the one with the Doberman said to her friend, "Let's go over to that bar for a drink." The lady with the Chihuahua said, "We can't go in there. We've got dogs with us."

The one with the Doberman said, "Just watch, and do as I do." They walked over to the bar and the one with the Doberman put on a pair of dark glasses and started to walk in. The bouncer at the door said,"Sorry, lady, no pets allowed." The woman with the Doberman said, "You don't understand. This is my seeing-eye dog." The bouncer said, "a Doberman?" The woman said, "Yes, they're using them now. They're very good." The bouncer said, "OK, come on in."

The lady with the Chihuahua thought that convincing him that a Chihuahua was a seeing-eye dog may be a bit more difficult, but thought, "What the heck?," so she put on her dark glasses and started to walk in. Once again the bouncer said, "Sorry, lady, no pets allowed." The woman said, "You don't understand. This is my seeing-eye dog."

The bouncer said, "A Chihuahua?"
The woman with the Chihuahua said,
"A Chihuahua? They gave me a f--king Chihuahua?!"

Friday, September 01, 2006

As the world turns ...

Techno Cat

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I remembered to restart my day yesterday morning when I began getting stressed (for no reason) ... and it worked (again)!

that Hayden and my Mom got to see each other again -- she really loves the guy who saved my life

that when I look, others show me the right and the wrong paths

that we've got enough volunteers to serve coffee @ Lambda this weekend

for all of the great pictures and participation in HNT

that my kittens are 3 years old today (see below)

If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world.

-Robert Kaplan