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Author Topic: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!  (Read 14852 times)

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Offline CalvinC

  • Member
  • Posts: 143
Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« on: August 20, 2006, 10:26:18 PM »
Hi all

I just got back to Toronto and I know that most people are still in Montreal.

It was such a pleasure to have met so many of you, even briefly. (I was unable to attend much of the goings-on as I did not stay at the hotel but with a friend whom I didn't want to wholly ignore.) Thanks so much to the organizers who put together the various events and especially the very warm and wonderful Friday meet-and-greet. So many smiling faces I can now match to names!

Andrew

Dan J.

  • Guest
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2006, 11:59:56 AM »
Hi Andrew! It was a pleasure meeting you in Montreal. You handsome devil! ;D

Just being able to look into the eyes, hear the voices and actually touch the members of this forum was the single most important thing for me. We really have some amazing individuals  here. But everyone knew that already. We all may have HIV but it does not define who we are as a group or as individuals. It is the true love and compassion that we have for one another. I am so glad I was able to be a part of this experience. It is something I will never forget.

Going to the Chapel Of Hope for the candle light service was a powerful and emotional experience for me. Thank You Jan & Alan for arranging that. Your hard work on that event is very much appreciated.

Our wonderful event coordinator Rocky. Thank you for everything you did. Without your organization and patience this gathering would have not ran a smoothly as it did.

Jody, Trish and Joe thank you for all you did.

A BIG THANK YOU goes to Claude.

Dan J

All of my time in Montreal was spent with Herman. We took long walks during the day holding hands & hugging one another. Meeting up with the group for what ever evening function that was planned. We rarely went out at night & I can't say I know what Skybar is like on a Saturday night. I could have easily drank myself into a coma each night, but that isn't why I was there. Spending quality time with Lisa & Herman making memories that will last a life time was more important than being a party boy.  I remember the laughter in Lisa  & Jerry's hotel room. Ask Jerry what the phrase "The Toothless One Has Spoken". Going to the little grocery store and getting bread, cheese,  & snack foods & just sitting around and talking. Those are the memories I will never forget. Eating breakfast with Anne & Hermie and the nice couple from New Jersey.

 
« Last Edit: August 28, 2006, 06:32:05 PM by Dan J. »

Offline terpie82

  • Member
  • Posts: 97
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2006, 11:11:25 AM »
I got back home safely here in MD/DC, and I look back and think about what I’ll miss most about this trip to Montreal and the many new “blood" relatives I finally got to meet.

I will miss:
Andy’s astute words
Bailey’s “bonsoirs”
Claude’s companionship
Cliff’s charisma
Creighton’s compassion
Danny’s dubious nature
Jerry’s jumbo…umm, stature
Jody’s jovial character
Lisa’s laughter
Loreen’s love
Moffie’s moving words
Ric & Thom’s true affection towards each other
Rocky’s rhetorics
Robert’s realism
John & Trish’s tete-a-tetes

And to those I didn’t have time to list, I’ll miss your warmth, love, inspiration, spirit and the contributions you have given to make this year’s AMG ’06 a successful and enjoyable experience for me and the rest of our AMG family.

I’ll definitely miss the laughs, the tears, the joys and fears…especially when shared over a nice cold glass of beer.
I’ll definitely miss the saddening but necessary visit to the church…which peeled away and opened me up like the skin on a birch.
I’ll definitely miss the group walks to the restaurant and bars…walking amongst those you love is better than walking alone by far.
I’ll definitely miss the hugs, kisses and love…and to be given this wonderful opportunity, I give thanks to him from above.
I’ll definitely miss our large consortium…may there be many more to come.
Diagnosed in 2003
UD since 2004 and >35% (with one blip)

Offline Razorbill

  • Member
  • Posts: 622
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2006, 03:49:53 PM »
Hey guys,
   Thanks to all for a great time.  I appreciate your welcoming in a "stranger to the forums".  I had a blast and the warmth and companionship of all was very sweet.  My thanks to Rocky and Claude for the work they did herding us and taking care of us.  I look forward to talking to folks online and seeing you all again. Love and kisses,
Ernie

Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2006, 06:32:23 PM »
We made it home around 5:00 today and already miss Montreal and all the group!  We had a blast.  I can't imagine a more friendly, compassionate, interesting, and fun group.  We had never met anybody from the forum prior to the Gathering, and I was a (very) little apprehensive about it.  When we pulled up in front of the hotel, it was so nice to see a group standing there.  There was no doubt about it; we could tell ... that group on the sidewalk was our group!  Thanks to everybody for a truly memorable event.  I'd especially like to thank all those that helped to organize this Gathering.  I hope everybody that attended had as much fun as we did and will have the opportunity to be at a future gathering.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline david25luvit

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  • Posts: 1,409
  • Member since March 2005
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2006, 06:52:56 PM »
Hello Andrew...

                     You handsome devil.  I didn't have a chance to talk with you much but I sure dig that accent.   It was nice to put a face and personality to an icon.  Indeed I did enjoy my Montreal experience...most of the members who attended were very nice...(modified to correct my mistake)  Thanks to EVERYONE!

                       Ric, Thom, Zephyr, Dingo, Shane, Lisa, Tim, Jonathan, Claude, Gary, Rocky, Jan, Emerald, Jannie,Creighton, Dan, Ernie, Andrew, Tim Horn, SAE, Cliff, Marc, David NC & David and yourself made the trip a memorable success...  The City, the Village was simply fabulous...the beautiful Chapel, the wedding, the great view from my hotel room and  the beautiful Canadian strippers who danced so  naked & erect (and such big boys too) for the pleasure of us homo's and particularly Tim Horn's presentation.  All in all...I enjoyed my trip and I certainly won't be a stranger to Montreal.  I'll be coming back soon.  Although I'd like to learn a little French before I do...  Who knows maybe old dogs can learn new tricks.

                         Canada seems like a great place to live....certainly for those who wish to enjoy life (homo's & hetro's alike).  The number of homeless people was a little disturbing but then I suppose most larger metropolitan cities share that sad fact in common.  I thank you, Sae and Claude for your hospitality and for all the hard work the others contributed to make this GATHERINGS a roaring success.  Rocky, Dingo Tim Horn and Andy...Thank You!  It's a weekend I'll never forget.

MONTREAL WAS FABULOUS....MONTREAL ROCKS.....MONTREAL 2006
                       
« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 10:59:30 AM by david25luvit »
In Memory of
Raymond David McRae III
Nov. 25, 1972- Oct. 15, 2004
I miss him terribly..........

Offline CalvinC

  • Member
  • Posts: 143
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2006, 09:35:10 PM »
Thanks David for your kind comments.

Canada IS a great place to live. Montreal, as you may have noticed, is, though, one of the poorest cities in North America, believe it or not; but in that it's such a cheap place to live and that social programs, especially in Quebec, are generous, poverty is not dire. Many of the people you saw in the park across the street are the usual rag-tag gathering of punks etc, and a lot of the street people target the Village, not sure why.

If you want to see a "perfect" city, visit Ottawa. Immaculate. Excellent museums, and much to do, for a city of about 1 million.

Failing that, come visit Toronto! I'd be happy to show you all around.

Andrew

Offline kypozguy

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  • Posts: 37
  • Kentucky Poz Guy
    • My group website
EVERYBODY that attended AMG06
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2006, 09:59:45 PM »
Hello everybody,

I can't single out a group of people that made my trip perfect because "everybody" there made my trip AWESOME.  Everybody that attending contributed something to make OUR weekend rememberable.  Since I am pretty shy, I didn't get a chance to speak with several of the members as much as I would have liked.  I'm sorry that I am not as aggressive or outspoken as other individuals in the group.  With that said, here are some things I will definitely remember from the weekend:

Infectious smiles & hugs, Patience with fellow members, hugs and tears of joy and remembrance, group dinners and conversations, true spoken commitments of love and devotion, caring leaders with overflowing love and patience, dedication to fellow survivors living with this disease, personal stories of individual struggles and joys, Tim's AMG '06 presentation, and of course those wonderful strippers ;D

I am honored to be able to call each and everyone of you my friend! Thank you for making my 1st (but not last) AIDSMeds Gathering special.  See you in '07 if not sooner!

Cheers
Marc
See you at AMG 06--Montreal Quebec Canada--August 17 - 21, 2006

Diagnosed Oct 05, 1985

Organizer and Moderator of the Louisville Poz Buddies Social group in Louisville Kentucky USA.

Offline livingpositively

  • Member
  • Posts: 369
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2006, 01:54:45 AM »
Ok, I made it home.   :'(  I so hated to leave today.  It felt like leaving summer camp when I was a kid.  I had the best time.  Thank you EVERYONE for making this a simply fantastic time.  I would not trade a single moment of it.

I have a special moment/quote/whatever from each and every person.  It was wonderful.

Definitely a 5-star (long) weekend.

Hugs

Shane
4/6/07   CD4 450, % 23, No VL
2/19/07 CD4 487, % 26, VL 47,500
1/4/07   CD4 357, % 27, No VL
10/3/06 CD4 500, % 26, VL 18,000
7/6/06   CD4 530, % 29, VL 83,800
4/6/06   CD4 555, % 28, VL 13,000

Offline Basquo

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  • Posts: 3,254
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2006, 02:48:45 AM »
What a trip!  I made it home safe and even early.  My suitcase is in Memphis (???) but arriving tomorrow, even so I had my camera and lots of little bits of Montreal in my carryons, enough to share with my my friend who picked me up, and we're just going to have another gathering tomorrow when the rest of the souvenirs arrive (including the pizza I packed in my case, eep!)

I have to thank everyone, even at this late hour, for the wonderful time I had; as I've said before, it was a much-deserved vacation but even more it was a dream come true for me.  Once the Grants Committee let me know I was going, everything fell into place financially, and I'm confident I can discipline myself to make sure I can afford the trip on my own next year.

I'm so tired, yet still "up" from the experience of meeting you all in person, hugging and kissing and even letting this (so-called) ice cube of a heart shed some tears. I especially thank RAB for his cat-herdmanship, and The Canuck and SAE for their ambassadorship, and Minh for dealing with my snoring, and Danny for his decoy snoring, and Shane for the great trip to Detroit, and Joe and Stephen and Jan and Zeph for representing us all to the world. There's so many more thanks to come...

I also want to add that my "hippy chick" friend that I mentioned to many of you admitted to me tonight that she has been so impressed by my bonding with you that she has decided to get tested, knowing that if a loner like me can have friends such as you, she can deal with the result, whatever it may be.  I told her first of all she needs to shave that hairy ass of hers.

I'm sure I'll be gushing about this to you for the next several weeks, and to my family and other friends for years, and to some of everyone the rest of my life.

iViva AMG!

Creighton

Offline Andy Velez

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 24,554
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2006, 10:10:25 AM »
It was great meeting all of you in person. Would only have liked to have had more conversations with some, but gotta take what ya get and enjoy it, which I do and did.

Safe trip to all those who are still traveling.

Cheers,
Andy Velez

Offline Cliff

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,645
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2006, 04:32:44 PM »
I made it home this morning.  The Montreal experience was wonderful.  I am still putting together my thoughts.  I hope everyone makes it home safely.

Cliff

Offline Lou-ah-vull

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  • Posts: 944
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2006, 05:09:12 PM »
Cliff,

Glad to see you made it home safely.  I assume Will did too.  I really enjoyed meeting both of you this past week.  Remember, no more Apple-tinis!

Gary
Diagnosed Oct. 2005
10/05:  367 (26.2%), 24556 VL
01/06:  344 (24.6%), 86299 VL
04/06:  374 (22.0%), 87657 VL
05/06:  Began HAART 05/15/06, Combivir/Kaletra
07/06:  361 (27.8%), 1299 VL
10/06:  454 (32.4%), 55 VL
01/07:  499 (38.4%), UD
02/07:  Switched to Atripla 2/8/07
04/07:  566 (37.7%), UD
08/07:  761 (42.3%), UD
06/08:  659 (47.1%), UD
01/09:  613 (43.8%), UD
07/09:  616 (47.4%), UD
01/10:  530 (44.2%), UD
07/10:  636 (48.9%), UD
01/11:  627 (48.2%), UD
07/11:  840 (52.5%), UD
01/12:  920 (51.1%), UD
07/12:  857 (50.4%), 40
10/12:  UD
01/13:  710 (47.3%), UD
07/13:  886 (49.2%), UD
01/14:  985 (46.9%), UD
06/14:  823 (47.2%), UD

Offline heartforyou

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,103
  • I must be a survivor in many ways...
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2006, 05:45:30 PM »
I only have one feeling that has been popping up ever since I set foot in Canada :

I CAME HOME.

As I said more then once meeting eye to eye makes a huge difference.

Well, you may all remember my little quarrel with Cliff, A LONG TIME AGO.
He turned out to be the sweetest person when I met him.
His laughter still echos in my ears. .
Cliff,  I can so much better understand you now. Your enthousiasm is infective.
You are a wonderful person.
Paper and cyber are so misleading sometimes.

Thank you all for being there. Just as you are.

oh yes, .... one more thing.
I think, no I am so sure that we all are so very strong. Yes, mighty strong, but at the same time so softhearted. And that makes me love you all.

Hermie :-*
Diagnosed in 1987 and still kicking
Viread, Kivexa (Epzicom),Viramune once daily

Happiness is the freedom of breathing fresh air every day.

Offline AlanBama

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,613
  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2006, 09:34:38 PM »
I'm still pretty emotional this evening, especially in recounting the story of our visit to the Chapel of Hope and looking at the photos.  But I'm going to try to say a few things, so here goes:

A year ago, I did not think a trip like this was possible for me, financially, physically or emotionally.  But it is true, the Universe works in mysterious ways...I was involved in an automobile accident last December, which was very upsetting.....but thanks to the generosity of State Farm, I had an unexpected little windfall that allowed me to come to Montreal.   Still, I am not in the best position financially.  We have so many wonderful, caring and GENEROUS people.
I can't possibly thank everyone for everything they did for me, but just have to mention a few that 'stick out' in my memory:

Sue, my guardian angel, who was standing there waiting for Jerry and me when we got through customs Hell (no I am NOT a terrorist).  No one has ever looked so good to me!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  She picked us up in her car and would not even allow us to pay the parking, even after she had waited on us for a quite a long time.

Jody, the best roommate I could have possibly had.  He made sure I got back to the airport safely and on time (and at his expense).  He is one of the most unselfish people I have ever known.  Thank you for being a 'drama free' roomie!

Cliff, who is more handsome than I ever imagined.....a benefactor to me and many others who did not have funds as 'freely flowing' for partying and merriment.  Thank you, dear man.   Your generosity was most appreciated.

Rocky, a dear friend who kept my spirits up when I was 'slipping over to the dark side' as I sometimes do....you made me cry as soon as I saw you, I was crying when I left you....you hold a special place in my heart, always.

Jan and Jen, my 'gambling buddies' and Quebec City companions...they paid my way more than once or twice, and I can honestly say I have never enjoyed being around anyone as much in my life.  Your joy is infectious, your spirits are always high, and I think we are on the same 'plane' on many levels, especially spriritually.  I love you Jan.  Some people are really angels masquerading as humans.   Jan is one of them.

Jerry, my flying companion from Charlotte to Montreal...thank you for sticking with me even though I drug you through a nightmare at customs!  It was very fitting that my first friend from Nashville was also my first friend in Montreal.

David25, like Cliff is a very generous and loving man.   Thank you my friend for the times you 'treated me'.

Tim, who let me ride on his scooter when I didn't think I could take another step!  Also, you did a wonderful job driving us back and forth to Quebec City.
It is an honor and a pleasure to know you.

Mark, I enjoyed meeting you so very much.  You are a wonderful guy.  Thank you for creating some wonderful memories for me.

Ric & Thom, our grooms.....thank you SO MUCH for sharing your wedding with us all, I am so happy for both of you.   A loving couple, with so much love to give to others.

And to all the rest of you, Lisa, Trish, John, Loreen, Claude, Stephen, Joe, Marc, Gary, Herman, Dan, Andy (who tells the BEST stories!), Bailey and Jen,
Shane (you positivelyliving angel!), Creighton, Ernie, David_NC and David, Anne,
Minh, Danny, Robert (who gave me a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird !), and to Jonathan, my Atlanta friend who is a treasure to be around!  Thank all of you for making this a wonderful trip...am I forgetting anyone?  Lord I hope not.
I am so thankful so many of you had cameras, so let's get to sharing those photos!

Love always --

Alan

PS - also many thanks to Tim Horn for taking the time to come and make a presentation to us.  It was wonderful to listen to you!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2006, 09:36:53 PM by AlanBama »
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline jkinatl2

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  • Posts: 6,007
  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2006, 09:38:58 PM »
Alan, hugging you was like touching gold. You are precious and rare. THANK you for being true to yourself. And i owe you a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Now seriously, people. About those photos!!

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Robert

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,644
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2006, 09:53:19 PM »
Well my trip home was as eventful as the flight out.  All I can say, is that's is a long haul from one coast to the other. 

Some firsts for me:

I.  High-tech.  I saw my first "IPOD".  Ok, so it wasn't really an IPOD...something called a "ZEN" but close enough.

II.  Finesse and Savoir Faire.  One member came up to me and said I looked "..great for someone who is almost 60.".  And I thought I was the one with the foot-in-the-mouth disease.

III.  Ok, it's not a first but I managed to spill wine on Jerry and beer on Bailey.  But it would have been a first had I NOT spilled anything on anyone.

IV.  I've seen boys on poles in their underware but that was always as far as it went.  This time, everything goes.
That's a first.

V.  Temptation.  Everytime I walked by the bath house, I was lured by the sultry sirens but I resisted.  That's a first. 

VI. I made it a point to introduce myself to everyone there.  And I mean everyone, whether it was just passing in the lobby or sitting next to them at bar or dinner,   Just wish I had more time for everyone. 


VII. I've never met so many Southerners in my life.  I was truly outnumbered and boy did it feel good.  That southern drawl is just as sweet as molasses.  And now I know, first hand, why Virginia's  state motto is "VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS".  :)

Thank you all.  It was a great time.

robert
..........

Offline aztecan

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  • Posts: 5,394
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2006, 11:05:20 PM »
My experience in Montreal. Hmmmmm.

Well, it goes like this. I was rather nervous when I first arrived. I didn't have any real expectations, but I didn't know what to expect from these people whom I have corresponded with but never met in the flesh.

So, its about 9 p.m. Aug. 17. I am dragging the queen mary, aka my suitcase, from the bus depot where the shuttle deposited me. I am trudging toward what I hope is the hotel.

Suddenly, I hear, "There's Mark," said with a delicious French accent. It is our own Canuck. Next came Rocky and then I spot Dame Jan.

For me, it was instant. I felt at home, comfortable and very happy to be with these very special people.

Let me tell you a little secret about Claude. He and I have a lot in common. He is a very special man who, I can honestly say, has exquisite taste. I am very glad he is part of my family.

Rocky. Well, what can I say. He's one of the most energetic people I know. He is also a lot of fun, is great to "hang" with and even more fun to pick on. ;D One of his greatest attributes is herding cats and blushing at just the right time.

Dame Jan. The name and well-deserved title say it all. What a lady.

These were the first three of the nearly 40 people I met. They set the tone for the entire trip. It was, in a word, wonderful.

As for the others, I started to write something on each and every one. All have left indelible marks on my soul.

To prevent this from becoming a tome, I will just say this:
My world is a much better place today because I had the privilege of sharing this time with you.

Oh, and a special note to Moffie: Thanks for remembering. You blew me away, and I loved it!  ;D

HUGS,

Mark
« Last Edit: August 23, 2006, 11:09:46 PM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline AlanBama

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2006, 11:21:06 PM »
Jonathan, I had completely forgotten about your offer of that bottle of J.D....

honey, it's a good thing you DID NOT give it to me!  My brain is mush now....

you know how that stuff says something like "aged 7 years in wood?" if it was aged in metal it would eat through it.....
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline manchesteruk

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2006, 04:25:48 PM »
I knew I was missing a great trip, glad to see you all had a great time and try and keep me away next year!
Diagnosed 11/05

"Life is too important to be taken seriously" Oscar Wilde

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2006, 12:34:45 AM »
I AMGlad I went to Montreal. It was a special trip and I appreciated having the opportunity to meet so many people whose posts I've read. To have added at least two days would have been grand. There were many more conversations I would have enjoyed. I look forward to AMG 2007 and thank all of you for your good planning, thoughtful gifts, incredible humor, warm hugs and, oh yes, dancing!

Offline DingoBoi

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2006, 07:53:24 PM »
especially leash dancing  ::)

Offline zephyr

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2006, 02:37:15 PM »
To My AMAZING Forums Family,

It would be my dream to buy a plot of land to create an AMG garden. I would select a tree to dedicate for each one of you, to watch it thrive in the sun and span it's canopy across the sky.

You have filled my heart with wonders, your spirits bright and shining, eyes full of recognition and love like no others.

I carry you with me as I enter a new life, and thank you all for everything you gave to me.

With love,

Zephyr :-*
"It is character that communicates most eloquently."

Offline Joe K

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2006, 07:26:37 PM »
Dear Friends,

Let me start by saying that overall Montreal was one of the most powerful experiences in my life.  The people were great as was Montreal and I know that everyone had a good time.

We arrived on the Wednesday before the gathering started and after dinner we all went to the Sky Bar for drinks.  While I understand that the drinks were somewhat weak, I was still stunned by the number of people who were literally downing drinks, often every day.  A couple of drinks per hour is drinking, four drinks or more per hour is binge drinking and there seemed to be an awful lot of it going on.  It’s one of the reasons that we rarely stayed after an event had ended, so we could avoid much of the excessive drinking that seemed to follow.

I am not judging anyone and you can do what you want, but sometimes you need to think of how your actions will affect others.  Often I found that some people became so drunk, that conversation was all but impossible, unless you wanted to provide a shoulder to cry on.  Unfortunately, that’s not why I went to Montreal.  I went to enjoy myself, reconnect with dear friends and meet so many more.  We already provide so much support here and I just didn’t have much more energy to expend overcoming the effects of alcohol.

Throughout the four days there were too many instances of people making poor decisions regarding their health and treatment.  I suppose that since I have had to fight so hard to stay alive and have lost way too many friends and then to see some of my current friends, repeating those behaviors was sometimes just a little overwhelming for me.  Again, no judgment just some food for thought.

It’s that expending of emotions that got to me and why I also support doing either a gathering or a conference, but not both.  Friday was all but impossible in terms of the emotional roller coaster that had me crashing hard by the end of the Meet and Greet.  We started the day at the Chapel, which was beautiful and very emotional.  It was like the Toronto AIDS Memorial to the tenth power.  Having barely recovered from that, when we returned to the hotel, CBC called and wanted to do an interview about our gathering… in about 45 minutes.

So we did the interview until almost 3 pm and while I’m doing the interview I am becoming just so depressed, because I’m saying the same old shit we’ve been saying for 25 years and they still don’t get it.  After that assault we then rush for the wedding at 4.  We make it on time and even though I thought I was prepared, I was not and the power of that marriage just consumed me.

I was behind Ric so I could only see Thom and through his expressions and Rics booming voice, I witnessed the love and bond that these two very special men share.  I found myself once again at the top of the coaster, soaring for a while on another fantastic high.  In one day we had witnessed the true “Circle of Life”, from mourning our dead to celebrating the union of friends.  We barely had breathing time, between the end of the Wedding and the Reception and the Meet and Greet.

The Reception was beautiful and other than a little hot, the setting was perfect.  I got to meet so many more people and I really loved it but I was blind-sided by some of the receptions that I received.  Nothing negative at all, on the contrary, some of you just tore at my heart.  I understand my place on these forums and I know how important it is for some to meet long-term survivors, I just didn’t account for the difference of meeting some of you in person.  Words on a page will never compare to the beauty in many of your eyes.

I am very grateful for all the kind sentiments; they really lifted my spirit, until my emotions just overloaded.  The day had almost killed me emotionally, so by the end of the dinner, I was toast and found myself crying alone on a balcony.  It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it drained what little energy I had left.  I knew it was time to go home, so we just walked for a while and then returned to the hotel.

We missed the presentation the next morning, because I just could not do HIV for another two hours.  I’ve lived HIV for decades and I spend enough of my time on that subject, so it was not meant as any disrespect to Tim and Andy, rather it was what I had to do to protect myself.  I’m still battling my own demons and it was simply too much input over too little time and I over-loaded.

Montreal represented an overview of the world of HIV in all of its shades.  To gather with all of you was a real pleasure and I regret that I did not get to spend as much time with everyone as I would have liked but emotionally I just could not do it.  I share this to simply illustrate that we are all at a different place in our journey and sometimes things don’t always work out as we would like.

Offline Razorbill

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2006, 07:51:03 PM »
hey killie  I agree about making choices that are good for health.  I thought the group was fun, even tho some were tipsy.  What did floor me was the amount of smoking! My first meal with everyone was a lunch.  There had to have been 15 of us, then I looked up and there were 4 of us sitting alone at this huge table - the rest were on the sidewalk smoking.  It was actually funny.  Seriously tho, smoking will take you out poz or not.  I wish anyone well in the real desire to quit.

Offline RAB

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2006, 11:54:13 PM »
I checked my ticket to make sure.

Yep, I definitely was in Montreal.

I looked at my hotel bill.

Yep, I was certainly staying at the Hotel Gouverneur Place Dupuis.

O.K., so far so good.

At least I know that I truly was in the same city and experiencing the same gathering as everyone else.

Now, just for the record, because these criteria are obviously important considering the tone established by many larger than life members, let me make the following confessions.

1.  I did not exchange bodily fluids with anyone else the entire time I was there.  (I did however go to the liquor store, but apparently those fluids don't count--how convenient if you ask me)

2.   The only crying I did, is when I saw two members embrace with pure, honest, loving emotion.  (Does that constitute a crying jag?  Someone please clarify that point for me.)

3.  I did engage in destructive behaviour (Canadian spelling) if that includes smoking (cigarettes--not pot  a distinction I suspect some may find relevant others may find inconvenient)
 
4.  No one came to this gathering because of anyone else's notoriety.

(That's the best I can do to qualify my credentials in responding to this thread.  I hope it passes muster.)

 But I am certain of one thing:

I BELIEVE IN THESE GATHERINGS WITH ALL MY HEART AND SOUL

For me, PERSONALLY, I had a great time. 

I laughed, I felt free to hug (something that doesn't come easy for me), I got my nipples pinched (repeatedly I might add and I LIKED it!  I liked it a lot--but I digress   :-[)

 I drew amazing strength from the presense of everyone I encountered.

But most importantly, I took advantage of the opportunity to look each and every attendee in the eyes and feel the power of our group connection. 

There were times I felt uneasy that's certainly true.  But I did not let those times define my overall experience. 

This gathering was a product of what I made it. 

I could have easily been distracted by others needs.

I could have easily walked away and withdrew.

I could easily make a laundry list of  "how it didn't meet my expectations".

Notice the word easy.

I think that David NC's analogy about a banquet table is particularly true.  Each of us had the opportunity to put what we wanted on our plate. 

For me, I gained 40 pounds because of what my plate was filled with.

With love, respect, and complete awe of all who came to Montreal,

RAB




Offline Cliff

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2006, 09:03:49 AM »
I feel blessed having been a part of AMG 06.  I think Rocky's and David's perspective sums up my feelings on the success of the event.  For me, this was about meeting people who I've only had the opportunity to see online, (well some via the phone/Skype).  It was about finally getting to spend some quality time with people who have been here for me for almost 3 years now (gosh time flies).  It was also about meeting new people.  I had never really spoken to Mingh, Shane or Creighton (Mariah) in the forums/PM before and yet it felt like hanging with old friends right from the start.

The gathering was also a place to be inspired and to learn.  But inspiration comes in some many forms, you just have to be open to it.  Whether it was Tim's presentation (I only wish there was more time to have those important discussions), or having coffee with Anne while discussing personal HIV matters, or going on the QC road trip with Shane and Andy (Will/Robert sleeping in the back) talking about everything under the sun, AMG was the right place and the right format for me. 

I also saw first hand how this disease and the meds have impacted the lives of many of our forum members.  I don't think I can ever be as cavalier about HIV (or the meds) as I was prior to taking the trip.  But more than that, I saw people who refused to let their medical problems, meds, status, work, drama, financial issues, etc.. get in the way of having a great time.  That to me was the spirit of AMG.

David, (who I wish I had more time to meet with), had this to say in another thread...
Quote
I guess I feel that a lot of these types of gatherings require input and involvement from the attendees.  I think that's good.  Too many people need to discuss issues and don't have an opportunity to do so face-to-face locally.  I can see that if somebody is not very outgoing, they would miss out on a lot.  It's one of those times where one has to put into the group to get much out of it.
...and I couldn't agree more.  Sometimes in life you just have to grab the bull by the horns and make the best of a situation.  I missed out on AMG05 because of my own anxieties and hang ups.  This time around I refused to let that happen again.  And because of it, I've gained so much by it.  So we all should pat ourselves on the back for taking a risk and putting ourselves out there.  It's not easy but the rewards were sweet.

I have no complaints.  None, whatsoever.  Those who planned the gathering did a bang up job.  What may or may not have happened that may have made me (or someone else) uneasy, was just background noise to me.  I was there to have a good time and dammit I did.  And then some.

I hate naming names because there were too many people that I had special moments with to discuss here.  Those moments are for my memories, but I would like to say thanks to everyone for being there.  You made it very special for me and for Will.

Cliff

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2006, 10:52:16 AM »
Quote

Now, just for the record, because these criteria are obviously important considering the tone established by many larger than life members, let me make the following confessions.

Rab, that's not fair. Larger than life members?

I am distressed at the tone of this thread towards anyone who mentions the few, but absolutely valid, problems during the trip. Is this like Fight Club, where the first rule is, don't talk about fight club?

Seriously.

I have had the chance to mull over my experiences in Montreal. And I came there with an open mind and heart. I met some wonderful people and had some connections I will never, ever forget.

But I also saw people trying really hard to kill themselves with booze. I was also subjected to loud and nasty sex in my hotel room while I tried to sleep. That's not "taking from the buffet what you will." That's "having someone shovel crap you didn't want on your plate." And as "white noise" goes, I really prefer the hum of an air conditioner.

I do not presume to speak for Joe. But I am hypersensitive enough so that the sadness, the despair of others has a direct and real impact on me. It's hard for me to tune out the suffering of others and have a great time, or even a good one. And I saw some people in real, gigantic, overwhelming pain in Montreal. I do them, and my memories of my trip, a real disservice to pretend otherwise for the sake of group decorum.

Will I let those moments, those incidents contaminate the good and valuable stuff I got in Montreal? No way. Meeting the people I did, having the truly astonishing connection I did, sitting at the top of Bourbon making new best friends, those were more than worth the awkward, the dramatic, the tragic moments. But to imply that none of those moments existed simply because it's inconvenient to do so, or to imply that those who experienced some not-so-good moments are arrogant bloated naysayers who brought it upon themselves, is both unrealistic and unkind.

I should not have to feel defensive, posting my perspective on the trip. But here, I do. And that's sad because THAT is an expectation I assuredly did NOT have.


"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline RAB

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2006, 11:03:03 AM »
JK

You are absolutely right.  My comment crossed a line, it was insensitive, and totally "unfair".

I regret that deeply. 

I'm offering you my sincerest apology and hope you'll accept it and forgive my foolish swipe.  Obviously you experienced some things I wasn't aware of too, so that makes it even more clear that I wasn't being fair in what I said.  I'm sorry for that too.

Forgive?

   :'(

RAB


Offline david25luvit

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2006, 11:23:29 AM »
Jonathan's response brought up another issue for me.  I do not drink that much anymore...God knows I did at one time but
those who did drink heavily made no difference in my experience...Hell, I had a hard time just getting up and down the stairs sober...of course I didn't have to go back to my hotel room and endure what Jonathan did...  Marc was the perfect roomie.

However it does concern me that some who would not have been able to attend if not for the generosity of those unknown contributors would complain....  Would make excuses why they couldn't attend certain functions or why they couldn't participate with the group at large. 

Joe says he's not judging these people...those who drank excessive or who smoked and I do smoke...by the way...but then he makes issue of it.  Despite my neuropathy and the difficulty I had getting up and down the stairs for some of these events...I was honored to be with my family irregardless of their individual "bad" habits. 

I do agree however...that those who wanted to get to know one another{{ better }}  should have done so in private.

Just my two cents worth.......
In Memory of
Raymond David McRae III
Nov. 25, 1972- Oct. 15, 2004
I miss him terribly..........

Offline Cliff

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2006, 11:32:55 AM »
But I also saw people trying really hard to kill themselves with booze. I was also subjected to loud and nasty sex in my hotel room while I tried to sleep. That's not "taking from the buffet what you will." That's "having someone shovel crap you didn't want on your plate." And as "white noise" goes, I really prefer the hum of an air conditioner.
It's not that those moments did not exist or are being downplayed, it's that they were not experienced by everyone else (or even known by everyone else).  There was no one particular experience in Montreal, there were probably 40.

When I started working with the firm, they sent all new hires from all of the country to one location for a couple of weeks of training.  There were hundreds of folks from all walks of life and yes there were different experiences.  Some chose to partake in sex and excessive drinking (not anything different from AMG).  Some chose to keep to themselves.  But the majority chose to play the cards that they were dealt and went out and had a good time (on their terms).  I suspect this is what you can generally expect anytime you have a mass group of people together.  So to that extent, for me, yes much of it becomes background noise because I can't allow the mistakes/poor judgment of others to always dictate my life experiences.

I don't believe anyone should assume that just because the vast majority of folks went out and had a good time, that they were not sensitive to the "suffering" of others or that they were blind to the issues that some participants were dealing with.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

It's important that everyone is allowed the opportunity to speak their mind about AMG, even if it goes contrary to our own experiences.

Cliff

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2006, 11:38:32 AM »
Quote

However it does concern me that some who would not have been able to attend if not for the generosity of those unknown contributors would complain....  Would make excuses why they couldn't attend certain functions or why they couldn't participate with the group at large. 


I am honestly not sure what you mean by this. I for one was not even aware, unless someone brought it up, whether any given participant was self-funded or grant-funded. I honestly could not tell you who was what, and don't care to know.

But if I am reading you right, it seems to imply that those fortunate enough to be helped out financially should be grateful for the experience without reservation, and should not, out of decorum or appreciation, mention any negative aspects that impacted their experience. And while I can understand the expectation of gratitude, I hope you did not mean to imply that these people were stratified by their financial obligation to the group.


PS:

Rocky, I really appreciate your clarification. And while no apology is ever, ever needed, I appreciate your gesture. I was amazed at the work you did, the work you do, fo rthis experience. And I hope that next year is even bigger, even better. You helped create a profound moment for me, and I cannot articulate my gratitude for that. I run out of superlatives.



"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline The Canuck

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2006, 11:41:01 AM »
Quote
or to imply that those who experienced some not-so-good moments are arrogant bloated naysayers who brought it upon themselves, is both unrealistic and unkind.

I should not have to feel defensive, posting my perspective on the trip. But here, I do. And that's sad because THAT is an expectation I assuredly did NOT have.

Jonathan,

You shouldn't feel defensive for posting whatever you want and feel about the AMG 06 in Montreal. With such a large group there were as well a large broad of expectations. I'm sure some met theirs at 100% while others in a lower range spectra. I'm afraid it can't be otherwise for any events like that no matter where will be the venue, that is if the group is large.

I know you didn't meet ALL your expectations in Montreal as you told me so, and you mentioned it here as well. I really wished from the start EVERYONE would enjoy themselves but it was really an utopia to think EVERYTHING will go smoothly and perfect for all the attendees. Obviously all attendees weren't aware of everything happening behind closed doors, and certainly not you had such a large banquet buffet in your room so-to-speak.

I think in the future it'll be very important for anyone to attend such gathering, especially if growing bigger, to determine what are their expectations concerning the event before getting into it.

Overall in my case I met my main expectation. My main goal was to meet several people from this forum and get to know them better. I certainly meet this criteria although I never had the time to know everyone attending. I was also on vacation and wanted to be in a '' smooth mode '' with the whole crowd, and this is basically what I did.

For a next AMG I'll certainly expect to see some of the people I got to know this year but I guess I'll determine other expectations according to when I know where ? when ? how many ? Until then I'm retaining the positive part of this ( always doing this in my day to day life anyway ) and learning as well from the negative sides.

Regards,

Claude  former Ambassador  :o

P.S. Thanks SAE !  ;D
« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 11:52:40 AM by The Canuck »

Offline Sae

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2006, 11:48:43 AM »
Claude darlink,

That's former Ambassador.... ;).  Ex is a has been....and you aren't ever that. 

Perhaps its a translation thing....heehee.

Sae
Meh.

Offline The Canuck

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2006, 11:53:24 AM »
Thanks Suzette ! I modified it...as I don't feel like a '' has been '' yet.  ;D

Regards,

Claude

Offline david25luvit

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2006, 11:55:24 AM »
Jonathan...I wasn't referring to you sweetheart.  Calm down.
In Memory of
Raymond David McRae III
Nov. 25, 1972- Oct. 15, 2004
I miss him terribly..........

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2006, 12:00:39 PM »
Jonathan...I wasn't referring to you sweetheart.  Calm down.

Ok, then it WAS a swipe. Just not at me. Well, thank goodness I have no loyalty nor affection towards anyone else :)

 I honestly did not know how to interpret you there. But how totally cool to out me as a grant beneficiary! Yay to be me.



"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Cliff

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2006, 12:06:34 PM »
Claude darlink,

That's former Ambassador.... ;).  Ex is a has been....and you aren't ever that.
Yes!  Like a President.  Once a President, Always a President.

Offline david25luvit

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2006, 12:09:35 PM »
No Jonathan...not a swipe.  An observation.  My two cents worth.  You don't have to agree nor feel defensive
for someone else.  As you're famous for saying...I'm just saying!
In Memory of
Raymond David McRae III
Nov. 25, 1972- Oct. 15, 2004
I miss him terribly..........

Offline Joe K

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2006, 12:35:52 PM »
Obviously for some, the afterglow of Montreal must have disappeared upon their return home.  My post was meant to reflect my experience at the gathering and part of that experience was seeing some people continuing to make poor choices regarding their health and treatment.  I referenced alcohol only because it prevented me from really getting to know some people and for some they admitted that it was a problem.  Again these are my experiences and not criticism.

Sometimes this forum just frustrates me to no end.  The thread asked for personal experience, which I provided, but rather than concentrating on all the positive things I said, some of you just have to jump on my negative comments.  Personally, I don't really care, but other posters may not be inclined to share their truth if they suspect that any non-positive comments will be shot down in flames.

As I said, I've lived with HIV for a few decades and I've known too many people, who by making bad choices (myself included) have seriously jeopardized their health.  I'm not slamming anyone, I'm just trying to do my part as one of this group, to maybe help others see where they might need to concentrate on helping themselves.  Unfortunately, I believe some of my references will come back to haunt this forum, because while the gathering boosted everyone who attended, some still went home even more confused than when they arrived.

Experience includes both the good and not so good and I will repeat that I had an excellent time in Montreal and the one who held me back the most, was myself, because I just couldn't handle all the emotions.  This is not a good nor bad thing, it is simply my truth.  Remember, the one you asked me for?

Offline ademas

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2006, 12:46:46 PM »
This thread makes me want to drink heavily.
xox

Offline David_CA

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2006, 01:01:34 PM »
Ok guys... maybe we didn't see all the bad that went on at AMG '06.  Here is a list of what went wrong (for David and I):
  1) our toilet was slow
  2) the elevators often took a really long time
  3) the service was slow at some of the restaurants
  4) it rained on Sunday
  5) we didn't get to spend as much time with others as we would have liked

Come on people, this is life.  How different do we expect it to be just because we're in a different city?  Some people need their own space.  Some people don't do well with crowds.  Some people need their own hotel room.  Hell, some people need to live alone, too. If there's a problem in somebody's hotel room, who should be the one to try to remedy it?

When I said that it was like a buffet, I wasn't only referring to taking what we WANT; I was also referring to NOT putting on our plate what we don't like.  I'm often amazed how folks let such small things ruin the big picture.  When I was young, I remember my mom telling me "... to get over it and move on.  Things you don't like will always happen.  Don't let them ruin your day." 

Maybe we can try something.  Maybe, when we tell what we DIDN'T like about AMG, or about what bothered us, we can think of a solution to prevent it from happening again.  This way, it'll be a constructive post instead of just a complaint. 

My list of bitches (above) really didn't bother me.  They were real and weren't ideal, but they in no way interfered with my trip.  I guess I just have a VERY selective memory!  There is one thing that really did bother me about this Gathering, however.  I hate that so many people didn't have a good a time as David and I did.  I don't know of a solution to this.  Not only was it fun, but I got to meet a lot of really great people who went WAY out of their way to insure that things ran smoothly for most of the group.  I got to see the wide variety of folks affected by AIDS / HIV.  I got to talk to and hear people's experiences with HIV and life in general.   

Cliff's last post sums up what I feel about another aspect.
 "I don't believe anyone should assume that just because the vast majority of folks went out and had a good time, that they were not sensitive to the "suffering" of others or that they were blind to the issues that some participants were dealing with.  Nothing could be further from the truth."

I know that David and I will do our best to be at the next AMG.  I hope that everybody who got some good out of this one will, too, as will folks who didn't have the opportunity to attend this one.   I hope that people who attend will bring an open mind with the only expectation  being to have a positive experience.  I think we would all do well to leave the drama and negativity at home, or lose it entirely.  Take care.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
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05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
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11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
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05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline david25luvit

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2006, 01:06:26 PM »
I just checked the mirror (and NO.  It didn't break) and I'm still GLOWING!
In Memory of
Raymond David McRae III
Nov. 25, 1972- Oct. 15, 2004
I miss him terribly..........

Offline David_CA

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2006, 01:21:37 PM »
I just checked the mirror (and NO.  It didn't break) and I'm still GLOWING!

And so you should be!  Hopefully, for most of us, that glow will last until (and after) the next gathering.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline AlanBama

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2006, 01:34:36 PM »
I enjoyed everything I did in Montreal.  Sure, some of it was hard on me, as it was on several of us.  My ankles made Nancy Reagan's look 'sleek'.....I came close to falling out a couple of times (when you're as skinny as me, and feeling weak, and you need to eat, you need to eat RIGHT THEN).

Would I do it all over again?  You better believe I would.

I love David's analogy of a banquet or buffet table.   Except when I go to a buffet I usually eat at about 5, rather than 9 or 10...... ;D   Give me a break, I'm old (ish).

If anyone had told me, back in the early 90's when I was so desperately ill, that I would visit Montreal and WALK all over the city in 2006, I would have laughed in their face.   I am so thankful for this opportunity, there are no words for me to use to express my gratitude.   So I'll just simply say "Thank You" to all of you.

Love,
Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline Robert

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2006, 03:20:35 PM »
Well, my 2 bits worth again.  I had a wonderful, an absolutely wonderful time.  I'm one of those who shy away in crowds and need a good shot or two to get me into the groove.  Well, I just checked out the list of arrivals and I can say I met everyone.  Maybe not all of them for long or in depth, but, hey, still better than what I get here on line.  On Saturday morning I was coming back from breakfast (by myself...don't know where everybody was but didn't matter) and saw Jonathan sitting in the lobby getting ready for Tim's presentation.  He was looking at his laptop which, of course, is a convenient way to pretend your busy.  And I'm not saying that's what Jonathan was doing but it wouldn't have mattered to me if he was.  It was a chance to talk to him, if only for a few minutes and if only for a most benign introduction.  So I sat down and we talked for just a minute or two.  And that was my "fix" for Jonathan for the  weekend.  I could have used more, certainly, but I had "...miles to go before I sleep."  And that's just about what I got with everyone else.   Another example.  I wanted so much to talk to cliff and I had a great opportunity on the drive to Quebec.  What did I do?  I slept.  Oh well.  Just knowing I was in the same van with him and Shane and Andy and Will, made me comfortable enough to sit back and relax and enjoy the ride.  I listened to them talk and laugh as the van methodically made its way down the road and it just lulled me to sleep. 

Just like D_NC's banquet analogy, you can say I went along for the ride and had a great time.  Maybe I drank too much that first night, spilling glassses of wine, going from table to table taking pictures like a fool, making Danny sing for his supper and yes, maybe it did take the rest of the weekend trying to make up for it but on the whole, I think all of us can come away from that experience with our heads help high.  No regrets, that's for sure.

I can't wait for the next go-around.

robert
..........

Offline naftalim

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2006, 11:27:17 PM »
Ok, lots and lots of lengthy posts, but dd anyone go to Schwartez for smoked meat?

Naftalim

Offline Lou-ah-vull

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #47 on: August 28, 2006, 12:42:06 AM »
My goodness!  It almost sounds like I went to the AMG in a parallel universe.  While the trip was far from perfect (what trip except the one we take to Heaven is?) I prefer to dwell on the good aspects of the gathering:

1.  While I did not get to know everyone well (again given the size of the group, this was impossible), I did meet everyone and by the end (the very end) finally got the names and faces correct.  More importantly for me, this is the most number of HIV+ people I have ever met at one time and it had the desired effect of making me feel normal for the first time since I have been diagosed.  I cannot emphasize enough how important that has been for me.

2.  I witnessed my first gay mariage and then learned about a second one.  Oh how I would have loved to have been married to my partner who died twelve years ago (it still seems like yesterday to me.)  Witnessing these two couples brought some amazing healing and comfort.

3.  For me, Tim Horn's presentation was the first time I heard some honest up-to-date information on HIV that I didn't read on the internet or hear from my doctor.  Since this is all still so new to me, just hearing this information and knowing how available it is, gives me more confidence in the face of a still very frightening, even if manageable, disease.

4.  Like Jonathan so eloquently described Tim's presentation that day.... I'm hot for teacher!  Wow!

5.  The trip to Quebec City allowed me to get to know Moffie, Jody, Alan, Dan and Hermie much better.  Alan and I took a delightfully scandalous trip down memory lane (let me put it to you this way...General Sherman wasn't the only one who torched his way through Atlanta!)  While in Quebec City, I got to spend the afternoon with Andy, Jody, Cliff, Will, and Robert, not to mention a delightful and delectable waiter at a little dessert stop.

6.  Two wonderful meals at Donatella's in Montreal.  One enabled me to get to know Andy much better; the other permitted me some quality time with Rocky.  Both are extraordinary guys and my dinners with them were a real highlight. 

7.  I got to have several great conversations with Robert.  He and Alan both gave me such inspiration with their courageous rise from serious illness.  Just hearing their witness made the whole trip worthwhile.

Yes, some people probably drink too much and some definitely smoke too much.  One look at me... I eat too much (and now my waist has expanded too much.)  In a group our size, there will be a wide variety of behaviors.  Since we refer to AM as "family" perhaps it's best to remember what Katherine Hepburn's character said about her dysfunctional family in "The Lion in Winter:"  "every family has its ups and downs!"

I do think there is something to be gained about making positive suggestions about the next AMG.  Lets keep in mind that it is impossible to please everyone and impossible to plan the perfect gathering.  I would like to think that just gathering the family together (and accepting each other warts and all) is important to all of us. My positive suggestions:

1.  I for one would like some structured opportunities for storytelling and getting to know each other without having to do so on a public sidewalk or lobby or in a noisy restaurant or bar. 

2.  Name tags!

3.  The memorial service was so touching.  There should always be one at each gathering.

4.  Someone should forcibly remove danish pastry from me, even if...especially if it is already in my mouth.

My concern is that we will scare future attendees away from AMG.  So, lets discuss how to improve things, but try not to overly emphasize what we disliked or we found disappointing.   

Still had a memorable and great time in Montreal,

Gary  :D
Diagnosed Oct. 2005
10/05:  367 (26.2%), 24556 VL
01/06:  344 (24.6%), 86299 VL
04/06:  374 (22.0%), 87657 VL
05/06:  Began HAART 05/15/06, Combivir/Kaletra
07/06:  361 (27.8%), 1299 VL
10/06:  454 (32.4%), 55 VL
01/07:  499 (38.4%), UD
02/07:  Switched to Atripla 2/8/07
04/07:  566 (37.7%), UD
08/07:  761 (42.3%), UD
06/08:  659 (47.1%), UD
01/09:  613 (43.8%), UD
07/09:  616 (47.4%), UD
01/10:  530 (44.2%), UD
07/10:  636 (48.9%), UD
01/11:  627 (48.2%), UD
07/11:  840 (52.5%), UD
01/12:  920 (51.1%), UD
07/12:  857 (50.4%), 40
10/12:  UD
01/13:  710 (47.3%), UD
07/13:  886 (49.2%), UD
01/14:  985 (46.9%), UD
06/14:  823 (47.2%), UD

Offline DancerBoy

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #48 on: August 28, 2006, 01:14:55 AM »
My Montreal experience.

I will begin by saying how wonderful it was to finally meet and feel the warm hugs of the many wonderful people that have supported me and lifted me up so many times this past year.

I loved sitting and chatting with Andy Velez forever about the theatre and the performers we like... He was totally indulging me...

Yes, Tim Horn is beautiful.

Montreal for me was a big wake up call.  I was one of the ones that was out of control.  My behavior is not something that I'm proud of.  My actions not only managed to lose someone whom I've long considered one of my best friends, but I also managed to lose the respect of everyone that was there to hear the whispers.

It was a wake up call because losing friendships has made me aware that I have some issues with alcohol that I need to deal with. Sooner rather than later.  No, I'm not a functioning alcoholic or anything like that, but when I get upset, I turn to alcohol and don't know when to stop and in turn do things that I regret.  It's not the first time my drunken actions have caused me to lose a friend, and quite frankly I am tired of apologizing for the things that I do when I drink, and I'm sure people are tired of hearing the apologies.

Thank You to the Grants Committee and especially to Rocky (for being the amazing person that you are.)  I had a wonderful opportunity to be a part of this beautiful thing, but I didn't add anything to this event.  I'm sorry to those that I have disappointed.  Most of all I'm sorry that I let this wonderful opportunity pass me by.

This will be the last time I will ever make apologies for drunken behavior.
 
Boys are Stupid

Offline Jerry71

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Re: Your Montreal experience: please post (here)!
« Reply #49 on: August 28, 2006, 04:03:27 AM »
Ok my turn in line. I just want to say that I'm a very shy person when it comes to meeting people for the first time. This time around was much better since I had already met Alan, Lisa, Jody. Also Alan was the first person I got to meet in Nashville and the first I got to meet in Montreal. ;D

Lisa was like a big sister to me on this trip just wish my own family could accept the way I am just like she and many others did. It felt so good to be around people just like me. My living conditions at the moment suck and living in a small area like I live in now is ever harder to accept the fact that Im HIV+ around here people just like to know that you have Cancer and having HIV is a wrong thing to discuss in this area. So to what friends I do have here in this area they only know that I was diagnosed with having Cancer. >:(

It was great to finally get to meet so many of you for the first time even though my time there was short, I still had the best time of my life. I will always have the memories of the trip in my heart always. I got so much from this trip and needed to get away from the area I call home. Which deep down inside my true family is all of you. I know I tended to stay quite and in my corner and had a good cry with a few of you because I really did not want to come back here to this place. :'(

My roomies at Montreal were a blast even though certain people have a huge snoring problem but I made it through and wish I was still in that room laughing and having a great time. Although I was told that while I would take my naps in the daytime I too snore and talk in my sleep according to what Lisa says anyway. ???

Claude was a great Amassador on our get together and for the short time we got the chance to talk he is such a great person to talk too and he will listen to your problems and in return I listened to his. SAE aka Sue she was a knight in shinning armor at the airport from hell just seeing her face was like a angel accending from the storm. Thanks for her meeting and talking me and Alan back to the hotel was a god send. Then seeing all of my true family out front to meet and greet us. Guys it felt like I was and others were really wanted a big Hug for the AMG family. We had a great time there just wish it could have lasted longer. Too bad we all could not have had the chance to be locked up in the same room like we had in Brians home in Nashville so we could have had a talk about each others feelings. Oh well maybe next time. ;)

Just wanted to say I had a great time and you all will be in my heart always. :'(

So one big thank you to the Grants Commitee for not for this I would have been stuck right here in Virginia.

THANK YOU

 


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