About mike82355

Dreamer, learner, kayaker, walker, runner, hiker, photographer.

University Life

There are a lot of good events that occur here at university. Yesterday evening I was able to hear a talk by Tom Mulchair about the state of democracy in the world today. At sixty-three years of age I know I wasn’t part of his target audience. Out of the group of forty people about twenty-five per cent were senior citizens. Mr. Mulcair’s messages were pertinent to all of the audience.

He spoke about democracy under attack. His example was personal democracy and he used the new premier of Québec as an example. The CAQ has promised to not allow “religious symbols” to be worn by persons working in the public sector. Of course the examples chosen by this new premier are hijabs and other items worn primarily by Muslim women. Mr. Mulcair was very clear that the intent of democracy is not to protect the majority from the minority, its intent is to protect the minority from the majority. Of particular concern are the groups in society that choose to engage in Islamaphobia.

Mr. Mulchair also spoke about climate change and how the federal and provincial governments in Canada are are either abolishing or ignoring commitments to address this dire problem.

Lastly, he reminded us how acts of goodness and/or conscience have always made the world a better place. He reminded us how people like Mandela or Ghandi rose from obscurity and prejudice to perform major change without resorting to war.

Even though Tom has “hung up his skates” he continues to work for good in this province, country and the world.

He inspired me in my own situation.


Do It! Whatever It Is! Do It!

There comes a time when one must stand for the truth, for what is right, no matter the personal cost or sacrifice. We are not all Nelson Mandelas or Mahatma Ghandis as far as fame or intensity of struggle is concerned. I am not a Martin Luther King or a somebody like that who changed the course of history, or a great nation in order to make something right.

There weren’t any guarantees for Mr. Mandela that after nearly three decades in prison he would emancipate a nation in bondage and become an admired and loved leader of the human race.

Those that I think of today are the ones that I have never heard of, or heard of the good that they did. These good people silent or famous have helped many of us whether we are aware of it or not. Indeed, a number of those good people have insisted in anonymity so that the focus would stay aimed at the cause, the goal.

Mother Theresa didn’t live with the diseased in slums to become honoured and famous, she did it for her love of people, for her love of humanity. She did it for a promise she had made or an oath that she had sworn.

People of that high calibre adhere to their principals, they stay true to the character values that hey have developed in themselves. Those are the examples that inspire me. The example of those good people can be applied to my life. I do not have to re-invent the wheel to become a good person. I need to choose the right heroes and apply their good habits to mine.

The struggle they endured was not treated as a struggle by by them. I believe they didn’t do it for heroism, fame or martyrdom. From where their inspiration came, I cannot say exactly. For sure, I think we are all capable of incredible acts just like those whom we honour.

Then there are the wrongly convicted. Those that are deprived of their freedom due to a combination of incorrect behaviours by the judge, witnesses and/or police. How frustrating and painful it must be to be wrongly convicted and incarcerated.

Of course, there is a litany of girls and women that are kidnapped and abused for years or decades at a time, yet they survive. It all takes me back to Viktor E. Frankl and his writings. The self psychology of survival in extremely adverse conditions.

Smile, breathe, believe. But above all, survive.


Another Wonderful Day

Yes, it is a wonderful day, a fantastic morning! I woke up this morning. I did. The last scene of the dream was fading away as I gently, peacefully was awakened by my brain. That beautiful brain, the gift of life, handed back control to me of mind and body. The bathroom. Maybe it was my bladder that welcomed me back to the conscious world, not my brain. But I am glad to be alive. I am glad to choose the way I will enjoy my life today. There is still work to do but there are choices. That’s what life is … choices.

Happiness is a choice. Deciding what moods are healthy for me are choices. Free to choose how I respond to the situations that will be my day, be my life for this day. It makes me think of those wonderful quotes by Viktor E. Frankl.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
He states it so clearly. It makes so much sense. It is helpful to me. To the choices I make to keep this life good. A good life. Growth.
I didn’t get as much accomplished yesterday as I would have preferred; I have now. I can do it now. Today has already offered me a choice. “Are you a writer?”. I am writing. I am a writer. For me, To write is to think.
The saxophone player was in the station yesterday. I had change, but not much. Last time I only had a five dollar bill so that is what I tossed into his case last time. I imagine that he puts the money collected in a jar. For musical expenditures. Or perhaps asthma medication so he can keep playing. I don’t know why he plays in the subway station, but I enjoy tones, the tunes. Happiness is all around me just waiting for me to enjoy it.
I have had a light breakfast. The floor has been swept and two windows washed. A little every day.
Even in the mundane patterns of living there is pleasure. The freedom to choose.

Fun For All In Montréal!

Every day is a fun day! Today is always the funnest day, lol.
Yesterday was a long day. Thank goodness I had that hour long nap at the EnRoute service centre on the 401. Yes, up at four in the morning and then to bed at quarter to one this morning.
The things got done in spite of the long drive from Montréal to Napanee and then Perth to Ottawa and back to Montréal. Because of the low volume of traffic I was able to figure out the detour at the west end of the Ville-Marie Tunnel, finally!

I watched seven hours of DVD’s. Sworn statements from the four witnesses. I nominate them all for the creative writing award. And a lot of driving.

One assignment due tomorrow at midnight, another midnight Monday, an exam Tuesday evening, and be in court 9 am sharp Wednesday morning after a 4 hour drive to get there. I still have to do the questions for the cross-examination and my closing argument. My first case to boot!

I sincerely enjoy it! I mean it! Well, I have stuff to do.

Keep well.

Destination Life

Good news! I woke up! After a good solid sleep.

Both of my babies, now in their thirties, texted yesterday. We are all well.

Yesterday was my fifth day at university. I do enjoy using that word, university. July was a month of intensive French study. August was more intense Latin than French. Now it is Latin and Linguistics. I have both classes today. That is exciting. Life is exciting. This mission called “life”.

The fifteen years of recovery have served me well. My adherence to the program, to the healing, has been life changing. In terms of recovery, fifteen years is not a long time. My “new” therapy is formal learning, school. The structure and processes are my recovery roadway now.

There is time in the day for plenty. My goal is to spend seven to nine hours at school on the five none class days. I will spend about the same amount of time  on class days, but will go in later and return likewise. The structure of formal classes has increased my learning productivity. Good value for time invested.

Latin clearly is a “language”. So is Linguistics. Linguistics is more about learning how “language is learned”. It is possible to be an expert in Linguistics without knowing a second language, although highly unlikely. Most practitioners of linguistics do learn second or multiple languages out of general interest in languages. We will study “Second Language Acquisition” as a subject. Clearly, the experience of personally acquiring a second language is useful, specifically for a Linguistics Practitioner. A polyglot, in spite of knowing at least five languages, is not familiar with the subject of Linguistics necessarily. Linguistics is the study of the process of learning, not specifically what is learned. Knowledge of Linguistics is not needed in order to learn a second language. Enough of that rant, lol.

An update to the peanut butter discussion from yesterday. My roommate did explain his reason for using my peanut butter. He used it when he got home from work at four o’clock in the morning. Enough said.

The walk last night was overdue. It was an enjoyable walk. Now that I am all settled in with my new life, I will walk everyday again. Tuesday and Thursday’s are Tai-Chi days. Now I have a locker at school that will be convenient for exercise stuff.

Well, I need to go and embrace the lessons that life is providing for me.

Peace, love and happiness.

Life Is Fleeting

Life is fleeting! I have always liked that mischievous Burt Reynolds dude. He was funny. He was an unknown bit actor for the first fourteen years of his career. I recall an interview with Tina Turner, another favourite. The interviewer, I forget the gentleman’s name, asked her how it felt to be an overnight success and enjoy such achievement out of nowhere? Tina wryly smiled, and with good humour she said, “Yes, after 25 years in the music business, I’m finally an overnight success!”

And isn’t life just like that. Another interview with an unknown, wise, elderly, woman. When she was asked for advice on living to a ripe old age, the lady commented, “You have to endure. If you are lucky enough to wake up every day, just keep going. And be ever so grateful no matter what your life is.”

My roommate of one week finished off my peanut butter and left the empty jar in my cupboard. I knew when I viewed place that he is a hard luck story. No shock about the peanut butter. I may take him out to dinner. Or buy him a jar of peanut butter. I hope he used my share of the rent money for rent. I am looking for another place, room. The sooner the better. It was cheap and available because of what he is. I have received the pro’s and now that I’m in, I have to live with the con’s … ever so graciously and quietly. And kindly, in an appropriate way. I have to stick to my path, my destiny. With mind wide open in awareness. The eyes open too. The place is filthy. I do an hour every day of cleaning. I’ll be living in a clean alternative situation before I ever get the place spotless. I like the location. It is a hard scrabble complex I’m in now, so I’ll look for something a little tidier nearby. I am mostly at school. I was at school for  9 hours yesterday; studied for nearly eight hours.

I aced my first very easy, very short Latin quiz. It was done early. They allot 48 hours to do it. I had it completed in just over 11 hours.

My sleep was for just over 7 hours last night. The days are full. Sleep comes to me immediately. Sweet sleep.

Yesterday I was sitting in a quiet area without any opaque dividers between my seat at the long desk and the other side. If someone sits opposite you, then you are 5 feet away and you can look the opposing person in the eyes. I made sure I was in a very out of the way section without anybody nearby. I am here to study. So guess where that beautiful, young woman chose to place herself? Yup! Right in front of little old me!  I fell victim to distraction. I kept my head and eyes down for a long time. Life tests each of us. Especially our weaknesses. Well, mine anyway! I did initiate a few brief, limited chats and she was very charming. Occasionally, her eyes would meet mine as I glanced at hers. I would smile lightly and she would beam back. As she gathered her things to leave I initiated a very comfortable goodbye to her. I also asked her if she would like my card. I left it in my wallet in my back pocket when I made the offer. She hesitated for three seconds before she declined my kind offer. I am grateful that that is all it amounted to. Today I am at a silent study area on the opposite side of the building sitting in a small wing off of the main part of the room. If she finds me here I will ask her out for dinner right away and when she says no, I will smile and leave immediately. She won’t stumble across me here. Maybe she met an appropriate fellow last night. Promise myself the next time that happens, I will subtly and naturally leave, move. I promise myself.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Five Nights Gone By

This is a bit of a life blog for me.

Yesterday was significant in this journey I call life.

It was my first day of attending university. This semester I am studying Latin 1, an Introduction to Latin, and Introduction to Linguistics. Both professors are women. Of course, they are both many years younger than myself.

Concordia University is a downtown Montréal campus! It is a twenty minute subway ride, or as we say in Montréal, métro. This whole project was possible because Concordia designed this Seniors Non-Credit Program so correctly.

If you are a Canadian citizen 50 years old or older and you can re-locate to Montréal, Québec you are eligible to attend university for a very minimal amount of money.

I am retired with a somewhat good pension. I was living a happy, good life in eastern Ontario. In a pretty town of 6,000 people. And then opportunity came knocking. Thank goodness I was ready for a fantastic adventure.

You know what? Today counts. Today matters. The positives mean everything. There will be inconveniences ahead. If you want to experience an inconvenience, come to Montréal for a winter. Lol! I spent five years from 2011 until 2015 working outdoors in the winter here. There is a reason that many Montréaler’s wear winter coats that go down below the knees. But this will be the first winter that I will spend the entire winter here. I am looking forward to it. I am grateful that I will not be driving my car this winter. I will walk in the fresh air, the four blocks to the métro, and ride the eight stations to Guy/Concordia station. When I get off the train there I am inside the building where I attend class.

Well, it is time to get going. Time to go and live the life I was blogging about. I hope you all have a good day, a day that is full. There are some gifts, challenges and a superb life that require my undivided attention.

Peace, love and happiness!