Sunday, November 30, 2008

Zen Thoughts

A Few Zen Thoughts For Those Who Take Life Too Seriously:

Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

A day without sunshine is like, night.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

I feel like I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

Honk if you love peace and quiet.

Remember, half the people you know are below average.

He who laughs last thinks slowest.

Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

Support bacteria. They’re the only culture some people have.

Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7 of your life.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

Get a new car for your spouse. It’ll be a great trade!

Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.

Always try to be modest, and be proud of it!

If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

How many of you believe in telekinesis?

Raise my hand...OK, so what’s the speed of dark?

How do you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlookedsomething.

When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

Everyone has a photographic memory; Some just don’t have film.

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened.

Enjoy your day!!!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why men don't write advice columns

Dear Walter:

I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't gone more than a mile down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband's help.

When I got home, I couldn't believe my eyes. He was in the bedroom with a neighbor lady. I am 32, my husband is 34 and we have been married for twelve years. When I confronted him, he broke down and admitted that he'd been having an affair for the past six months. I told him to stop or I would leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant.

I don't feel I can get through to him anymore.

Can you please help?


Mrs. Lisa XXXX

Dear Lisa:
A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes onto the inlet manifold. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber.

I hope this helps.


Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a fun-filled day of recovery yesterday just as I anticipated it would be

for the Al-Anon and AA speakers I got to hear last night

that Mary Christine will join us today at the Houston Roundup

that the play I have been in rehearsal for will all be over by 11pm tonight

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
-Walter Bagehot

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Much Thanks

A group of alumni, all highly established in their respective careers, got together for a visit with their old university professor.

The conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress of work and life in general.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen and soon returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal - some plain, some expensive, some quite exquisite. Quietly he told them to help themselves to some fresh coffee.

When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the old professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address the small gathering. ''You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones. While it is only natural for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is actually the source of much of your stress-related problems."

He continued ''Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink. What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively went for the best cups. Then you began eyeing each other's cups.''

''Now consider this:
Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the Life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee that God has provided us. God brews the coffee, but he does not supply the cups. Enjoy your coffee!''

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have So please remember: Live simply. Love generously. Care Deeply. Speak Kindly. Leave the Rest to God.

And remember - the richest person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I am sober today and have many friends and acquaintenances to celebrate this special day with

that I've been sober for 1910 days

for the 12:15pm Gratitude meeting today at Lambda; it's the single, largest AA meeting annually there and I get to co-chair it this year alongside Bob S.

for the 2008 Houston Roundup which begins this afternoon and runs until noon Sunday

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A changing life

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that for the last 5+ years, I've been making changes in my life; sometimes slower than I might like, but at least I've made those changes

for the story we read yesterday in the Big Book --- "A Late Start" --- which reminds me that A.A. is not just a project but an opportunity to improve the quality of my life

for small miracles

for the anticipation of great fellowship at our Houston Roundup which begins tomorrow afternoon

Anger or hatred is like a fisherman's hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.
-Dalai Lama

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

no quick fix

Two fishermen were in a boat by the lake, when one of them stood to catch a fish in a net. As he scooped up the carp, his wallet fell out of his back pocket. As the seemingly doomed billfold started to sink to the lake bottom, the carp slipped out of the net and swam after it, re-emerging with it on his nose.
However, instead of returning it, he tossed it to one of his fish buddies, who balanced it on his nose. More and more fish-buddies emerged from the water, and all of them played this strange game of keep-away with the man’s billfold.
The first man watched, slackjawed. He said to the other “Have you ever seen anything like this before?”
The second man answered “Sure I have. Haven’t you heard of carp-to-carp walleting?”

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Step 12 and the infinite number of ways to give back to this program

for a clever concept that is new to me -- when I pray to my HP, I am NOT reminding him/her/it of the things I want done or people I want helped. I am reminding myself.

that the next right thing just sorta happens these days with little thought on my part

that I play by the rules

that I am one lucky SOB

Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway.
-Harper Lee

Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey week

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for commitments and consistency toward those commitments

that we had another wonderful AA birthday celebration night at Lambda Center, including the 5-year presentation to our own Scott W.
However, I'll have all of you know, he didn't mention one of you!

that we (I) are ready to perform our one-hour play this Friday night at the Houston Roundup. We've been rehearsing for 3 months.

for more absolutely gorgeous weather

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

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Drug Problem

I didn't write this but I sure appreciate it.

The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a Methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, ''Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?"

I replied: "I had a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to Church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.

I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profane four-letter word. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds and Cockleburs out of dad's fields. I was drug to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood; and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins; and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place."

~ reprinted without anybody's permission ~

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Are you smarter than a Lufthansa pilot?
See how much attention you paid to your High School Geography Teacher.

Click HERE to find out.

My best score (so far) is 21445. How 'bout you?

Friday, November 21, 2008

But seriously, folks,

the dessert table from our housewarming party

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that we discussd Tradition 4 yesterday and I was reminded of its profund effect on me when I wrote about Rule #62 -- "Don't take yourself too damn seriously." About 2 1/2 years ago, my sponsor gave me the assignment to do that writing. Little did I know that the resulting paragraphs would prompt some actions that would change my life.

for two 1st-time newcomers at the noon meeting yesterday -- at Lambda Center AA meetings, it is tradition to have a 1st step meeting when there's a newcomer. I probably love those meetings more than any others.

that I live in Houston. Boys & Girls, this is a big city and is a very easy place to live. I have spent a lot of time in many big cities throughout Europe, Africa and Central/South America. Houston is the place to live for the best overall quality of life (in my humble opinion).

that I've done a majority of my Christmas shopping and won't have to deal with big crowds unless I choose to

If you're already in a hole, it's no use to continue digging.
-Roy W. Walters

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nothing awesome here, but ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the plethora of recent meetings in which spirituality was the main topic

that I don't have to be perfect today no matter how much I may want to be

for Steps 6 & 7 and their potential in my life

that God could and would if he were sought

for the following words ...

One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody, everything, every night before you go to bed.
-Bernard M. Baruch

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

just hangin' round

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that these days I surround myself with sober people just like I used to surround myself with heavy drinkers

for this journey

that every day is different and they can't be repeated

that I'm going to my doctor today to discuss the results of my recent physical exam (I know my cholesterol levels are out of range, damnit!)

Don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.
-General George S. Patton

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beam us up, Scotty ...

todAAy is the 5th A.A. Sobriety Anniversary of Scott W., my first close friend in recovery.

Partially through his blog and daily gratitude lists, Scott teaches me about attitude. But mainly, he shows me about attitude because I see him several days each week. After some exhausting searching, I found a video of Scott when he was young. It's self-explanatory.

And I found this little writing that I will dedicate to Scott today, his special day.


The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes. . . . than what other people think. . . . . or say. . . . . . . . or do.

It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home.

The remarkable thing is ….. that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day.

We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do is play the one string we have … our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. And so it is with you.
We are in charge of our attitudes!


Monday, November 17, 2008

a late start

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that for most of my life, I've recieved mercy instead of justice

to see the return of a guy to the rooms of recovery, a guy who started this sobriety thing about the same time I did and now he has 2 days sober (again)

but for the grace of God ...

that I got this much written this morning -- I'm running late!

He does not believe who does not live according to his belief.
-Thomas Fuller

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Who needs pockets?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Here's lookin' at ya ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for the revelations I got when I first completed my 4th step

that I have saved so much recovery material on my computer -- it comes in very handy for friends and sponsees

my new sponsee expressed concern about staying sober during the holidays; I printed and gave him 7 pages of material I collected at an AA seminar on the subject

that I don't have hate in my life -- this guy does (click here)

that one of my kitties is OK; she was coughing incessantly for over a day and when I took her to the vet yesterday, she suddenly stopped and has not coughed since - LOL

I have accepted fear as part of life--specifically the fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says turn back.
-Erica Jong

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Global Gratitude

If you like geography, CLICK HERE
If you don't like geography, do it anyway.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a morning meeting (yesterday) about serenity and acceptance -- just what I needed!

that we got to hear a small portion of Robin's 30 year AA story yesterday

for the conscious contact I keep with my HP -- who'd of thunk it?

that I looked outside my kitchen window last night and saw a great, big full moon

for the years I spent in foreign lands, which makes being home in Houston even more special

that I got a really cool back massager that fits sungly in the chair in which I currently sit while testing it out

Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back.
-Babe Ruth

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Drunk Returneth

This picture has nothing to do with anything, but I kinda liked it and wanted to share it with you.

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got home safely after travelling 2568 miles in 5 hours and 2 minutes. I drove straight from the airport to the cafeteria where many of us eat lunch after the noon AA meeting at Lambda. I had lunch with 3 recovering friends.

that I am back home where I belong

that it's time to reinvigorate myself with my recovery program

that my cats get along OK at the kennel but love to get back home too

that we're getting some much needed rain here in Houston

I know God promises not to give me more than I can handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much.
-Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Comin' home

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that even though I have not attended an official AA meeting since leaving Houston, I feel serene and at ease with myself and my sobriety. I have prayed more than usual and have tried harder than usual to practice the Steps, especially Steps 3 & 11. I also brought AA literature, although I left it with someone who wanted to read it since I can replace it easy enough.

that I leave Trinidad this morning, headed back to Houston and home!

that Hayden and I stayed in a small hotel last night where we stayed 6 1/2 years ago when we first met; it's at a marina and is very peaceful

that I have learned (sometimes the hard way) that the grass is not always greener on the other side. It always has to be mowed.

for hotel buffet breakfasts --- I've always enjoyed them

One of the oldest human needs is having someone wonder where you are when you don't come home at night.
-Margaret Mead

Monday, November 10, 2008

Good morning...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that as my recovery grows, my dependence on others for my serenity, lessens

that I'm still learning how to live with another person; I guess this will always be part of my life?

that after reading ALKYSELTZER'S blog, I called my sponsor to let him know I was out of the country

that I strive for a laid-back, no-drama life
(well, it's a nice thought)

that I attended Hayden's university graduation Saturday. Some very good speakers (professors and valedictorian's). One of the graduates who spoke told of his gratitude to be sober the past 9 years after a 20-year addiction to drugs. His family attended the ceremony and were cheering him on with glee, understandably.

that I had a battery of physical exam-type tests run here in Trinidad because it's a whole lot less expensive and the doctors are just as good as in Houston; apparently, I'm still kinda healthy. The lobotomy has been postponed.

They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing.
-Hindu Proverb

*** The picture is one I took last year in Hayden's Mom's front yard. That is not me in the picture!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

SUNDAY Life in the 1500's (part 2)

Part 1 was posted last Sunday, November 1.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, 'Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.'

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could 'bring home the bacon.' They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and 'chew the fat.'

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or 'upper crust.'

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a 'wake.'

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a 'bone-house' and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the 'graveyard shift') to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be 'saved by the bell' or was considered a 'dead ringer.'

Enjoy your day. Please.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A man's game

I am a fan of both soccer and rugby, although I've never played either sport.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday morning laugh

The title of this video might be ...
"Don't raise your baby with a parrot in the house"

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for Tradition 3 -- AA can't lower its standards much more than that

that I got to Trinidad in one piece

You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that Daniel G. told us a bit of his early AA story yesterday; he's really passionate about his program

for the awareness I get from prayer (sometimes)

that I learn every day
that I forget every day
that I learn again, everyday

that I'm off to Trinidad later today; I should be able to post from there, but if not, see ya next week

that I'll get to find a meeting or two in Port of Spain (the capital of Trinidad

that my cats get to stay in the Fat Cat Flats (a cat kennel)

Men stumble over pebbles, never over mountains.
-Emilie Cady

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After ...

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that it's over

The miracle is this--the more we share, the more we have.
-Leonard Nimoy

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Today, it's one or the other

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

for a really insightful meeting on Step 9 yesterday

that I was amazed before I was halfway through

that my sponsor was so thorough with me as we worked our way through the twelve steps back in 2003/2004

that home is where the heart is

that unless there's a very serious screwup, the election is finally over!

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.
-Elizabeth Foley

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday morning

todAAy i AAm grAAteful & thAAnkful

that I got to hear Eric C. on Saturday night -- he has 16 years of sobriety and had never told his story at this forum, and he did a great job!

that I saw Pam's daughter at that meeting

that I (we) seem to be experiencing history in the making although I think I have electile dysfunction
pun courtesy of Creighton

that 730,000 Harris County (Houston) citizens participated in the early voting for tomorrow's election

that Hayden made it safely to Trinidad & Tobago. He'll be there for about 6 weeks. His university graduation ceremony is this weekend and I will fly down to attend it also but will only be there for 5 days. To be very honest, I will embrace this time alone here in our new home. I'm that way, ya know.

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

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Life in the 1500's (part 1)

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, 'Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.'

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip off the roof. Hence the saying 'It's raining cats and dogs.'

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying 'dirt poor.'

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a 'thresh hold.'

... more next Sunday


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Post # 2000

A father passing by his son's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then, he saw an envelope,propped up prominently on the pillow.
It was addressed, 'Dad.'
With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope and, with trembling hands, read the letter...'Dear, Dad. It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mum and you. I've been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercings, tattoos, her tight motorcycle clothes, and because she is so much older than I am. But it's not only the passion, Dad. She's pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods, and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves, and trading it with the other people in the commune for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS, so Stacy can get better. She sure deserves it! Don't worry Dad. I'm 15 and I know how to take care of myself. Someday, I'm sure we'll be back to visit, so you can get to know your many grandchildren.

Love, your son, Joshua
PS. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Jason's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the school report that's on the kitchen table. Call me when it is safe for me to come home.