Another Day Off…

Sometimes I get a little cheeky in my writing because you have to admit, there are a lot of weird and strange holidays out there… When you consider things like National Hugging Day, Donut Day and as much as I get a kick out of the gimmick of it, Star Wars Day (May the 4th), it’s easy to see how holidays have become a bit of a staple of society. Social media posts are always filled with tons of posts about these holidays. But once in a while you get one that’s official and it usually isn’t as recognized as some of the goofy ones.

Today is Victoria Day in Canada. For those if you from elsewhere who may not be familiar with the monarchy that oversees Canada, Queen Victoria was the grandmother of King George V, who was subsequently the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II, the current reigning monarch. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 until her death in 1901. In 1845, Queen Victoria’s birthday was declared a national holiday in Canada. Upon her death 1901, an act of parliament declared it as a legal holiday. In modern days, it’s used as an excuse to go away for a long weekend.

Having a three-day weekend is always a catch-22 for me… Although it’s great to have an added day off to kick back, relax and do whatever, it’s also an added day of work to catch up on, once I return to the office. Plus, it makes the remainder of the work-week shorter, meaning there’s less time to get certain tasks done. This pretty much undoes any of the relaxation I may get from being off today. But that kind of sounds like a “tomorrow me” problem… For now, time for some caffeine and to actually enjoy the added day. Hope everyone got to do something pleasant for their long weekend! ☯️

Humming Boyz II Men…

Despite how loud and outspoken I tend to project myself as, I’ve never really been a social butterfly and I rarely keep an increased social circle within my personal life. This isn’t because I don’t WANT friends… Far from it, in fact. But the nature of how I live my life, mixed with familial and home obligations, doesn’t make for much free time to hang out and spend time with friends. And that’s fine. I have a handful of people whom I call “friend,” they know who they are and I get to see them when our respective lives allow us to.

With that in mind, it’s a normal thing for people to come in and out of our lives. Sometimes it happens organically and doesn’t really change a great deal. I have people that I spent TONS of time with, twenty years ago and somehow life carried us in different directions and life has progressed all without the sense of loss that should normally come with that lost connection. However, once in a while a person may make an impact on one’s life that makes it a little bit harder to accept their departure when fate deems it necessary for them to step away.

We usually navigate our own lives oblivious to the direct impact we have on other individuals. And that impact can be either negative or positive but the reality is that any given person will ALWAYS have an impact on others. When you meet someone genuine, someone who is helpful, a teacher, guide, mentor and friend, that impact is all the more measurable and important. It’s made all the more special by the fact that these people often don’t assume or consider how much of that impact they’re responsible for. And that’s kind of what makes it special… If a person did all these things with the purpose of being recognize and considered as a genuine, impactful person, I think it would lose a little something.

In some cases, many cases, we are oblivious of the importance of such people until we’re at risk of losing them. And that loss can come in many forms, whether illness, death, falling out and misunderstandings, moving away to a new location or simply unavoidable circumstances of life. Once they’re gone, it leaves a significant gap and sense of loss and one can suddenly regret that the requirements and rigours of life prevented more time spent with these individuals. But, such is life! That’s why it’s important to value and appreciate the important people in your life while you have them. Because you never know when someone who impacted your life significantly will have to leave. ☯️

May The 4th be With You!

Happy Star Wars Day! One of the big things I love about Star Wars (besides the science fiction aspect) is how its transcended generations. I know it isn’t the most popular view, but I love how the new trilogy has brought out all the nostalgia, the excitement and the wonder that the original trilogy elicited. Since I’m still kind of nursing my wounds, perhaps tonight will need to be an evening of a couple of Star Wars movies…☯️

Weekend Family Chronicles, Volume 1

My son Alexander was born just a short period of time before the world shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, he was sadly born during the few days that I was in southern New Brunswick for a job interview. Not only did I miss his birth, I also didn’t get the job. Life, eh? My point is, the majority of Alexander’s existence has been contained within the confines of our house and back yard. We’ve brought him to a couple of parks and to my place of work on a couple of occasions, but he hasn’t been out to experience the outside world, despite pandemic conditions being recently lifted.

We recently started picking out one activity every weekend to do with our two sons. Last weekend, we brought them to an indoor play structure in a local mall. It was good times; we were able to get coffees and sit while the boys played and socialized with other children. They were quite happy and made a bunch of friends. The best part is Alexander passes right out for an excellent nap that mommy and daddy end up partaking in… But I digress… This weekend, we thought we would shake things up by bringing the boys to a restaurant. Not a fast-food restaurant, mind you; an actual, sit-down and eat restaurant with a menu that didn’t includes toys or a play structure.

Besides getting the boys out of the house and being out in the world, they had the option of choosing their own meal, including drink, main, side and a free sundae. Nathan absolutely loved the option of choosing his own meal. Much to our surprise, both boys were extremely well behaved and ate their meals with gusto. I enjoyed a deli sandwich with fries and my wife had a chicken burger with bacon and dill sauce. It looked amazing.

There were some mild leftovers to be brought with us but that’s okay! They both enjoyed their mutual mini-sundaes and we left the restaurant with a calm feeling of success as we introduced our toddler to a restaurant without any behaviour issues or having to raise our voices. It went so well, that we decided to reward them by bringing them to a local outdoor park. Despite the wind, they were pretty game to play and there were some kids there for them to socialize with.

Despite all the other kids to play with, Nathan and Alexander couldn’t help but cling to each other and stick to each other’s hip as they played. Nathan filled his role as big brother with aplomb and helped Alexander make his way up the obstacles and joined him down the slides. It was fun to just sit and watch them play. My wife and I stayed off our smart phones (except to take these photos, of course) and just soaked in the fresh air and watch the kids have fun. It was incredibly soothing.

After about half an hour, the looming clouds chose that moment to join in unison against humanity and start drizzling their unnecessary dampness on everyone’s head. We loaded the kids back into the family vehicle, which Alexander chose to voice his displeasure by pouring a torrent of verbal diarrhea and screaming combined with hot tears. By the time we got home, it became quite clear that we were overdue for a nap time. Alexander was put in his crib and passed out within minutes. My wife and I joined and found some enjoyment in a small, two-hour nap. Unexpected sleep is the best.

Despite my current torso injury, I napped quite nicely and awoke with renewed energy. Once our naps were over, Nathan was allowed to go outside and join one of his neighbourhood friends at the park contained in his school yard, which is only five minutes around the corner. Last night involved mommy and daddy time of watching “Bad Boys For Life,” so I could relive some of the glory days (policing is NOTHING like what’s seen in those movies, but it’s fun nonetheless). We also binged a few Grey’s Anatomy episodes. Looking forward to what today may bring. Weekends with family are best. ☯️

Paying It Forward…

Considering the bitch-fest I’ve been writing about in recent weeks, I thought I would write about how nice yesterday kicked off after I posted about my doctor’s visit. When I got ready for work, I suddenly realized that not only was it Friday but the sun was shining and he weather was great. It was geared up to be a great day and I had actually gotten some actual sleep by virtue of the stronger muscle relaxants I had been prescribed the previous day after that shitty doctor’s appointment.

Since I wanted to keep the positivity going, I was crooning along to some music as I headed south towards the office when I decided I should get some donuts for my staff. There were a few of them sill working from home, but I knew there would at least be a handful that could take advantage. So I popped by my local retail coffee chain (y’all know where Im talking about). I ordered a dozen donuts but got myself a medium coffee as well. My usual habit is to make a Keurig coffee at work but I thought, what the hell? May as well treat myself as well, right?

I pull up to the drive thru window and had something happen that I had, until that moment, only read about… Someone “paid it forward” and paid for my coffee and donuts! I was floored! I often read stories about people paying it forward in drive thrus like that but I had never had it happen to me. I was elated and was asked if I wanted to keep it going by paying it forward to the next customer behind me. I agreed and pulled my debit card out. Then, a thought hit me… What if the person behind me was ordering breakfast foods for his entire crew or something like that? I assumed the risk that comes with paying it forward and kept my mouth shut.

The person behind me only ordered a coffee and I drove off feeling happy and satisfied. I got to work and sent out an internal email to the staff I assumed would be working on site that day. Then, I ironically sat down and ate the two hard-boiled eggs I brought, since I couldn’t justify the increased amount of carbohydrates that early in the morning. It only took a few minutes for me to recognize that at least four of the ten people I assumed would be working at the office were either working from home or had the day off. brutal. I offered some donuts to the on site staff. I still had seven or eight donuts left.

I walked the other two floors of office and offered the remainders up to all the other staff. I got to make a few people’s day and met some of the staff that I’ve somehow managed NOT to meet over the past year due to working from home as a result of the pandemic and some who have been recently hired. Besides the fact that I got to do some wicked networking within my own organization, I created some positivity not only in my own day but for others, as well. It was a great way to cap off the week, especially in light of how rough it’s been with the pain and the lack of sleep. Next week has a lot to do to make up for yesterday. ☯️

Memories In The Making…

Yesterday was our eighth wedding anniversary. No, I didn’t forget to post about it yesterday, wise asses! We just hadn’t enjoyed our expected festivities yet and writing about something well before it happens is not without its pitfalls. For example, if our plans changed or got cancelled, I’d have a post going live describing things that never happened. The entire point of a blog is to write about one’s knowledge and experiences.

But yes, yesterday was eight years that my wife and I have been married, nine years years together in total. It’s been a wild and fantastic ride, with the purchase and ownership of a couple of houses, the arrival of both our sons and getting through some of the darkest and most difficult periods of my life together. Somehow, I still wake up every morning and she’s still by my side. I consider anyone strong enough to put up with my bullshit for this many years without running away screaming to be a keeper!

Although we do occasionally enjoy a night out, we’re both a bit more on the homebody side, preferring to binge watch some of our favourite shows while the boys play in their respective ways. So, it’s all the more fun when we get to go out for a special occasion, such as last night. Our evening started with my wife picking me up from work and we went to a local restaurant that we’ve both been wanting to try. We had a fantastic meal and enjoyed ourselves before I decided to do a little something different…

They say that the gift for eight years of marriage is brass, so I started by getting my wife a small, brass heart pendant. I also got her some hardware for her phone to help it operate more smoothly. But for the past year or two, we’ve been playing with the idea of doing something akin to renewing our vows at our 10-year anniversary. With that concept in mind and assuming it would potentially take a year or two to plan anything pertinent, I got her a new wedding ring and proposed again!

She said yes again, so I must be doing something right! My boss was teasing me that if I propose again, I’m giving her an out and I need to be prepared for a different answer than I’m expecting. I was glad to see he was wrong. We capped off our evening by going to the book store. Of course, we did. It was a fantastic evening, loaded with joy and good company. With all the negative that happens in the world, it’s always important to take time to appreciate these special moments. They come and go in an instant but the memories last forever. ☯️

Just For Laughs…

I’ve been complaining about my back quite a bit in recent posts. Nobody likes a crybaby and I have to admit that I’m starting to get some mobility back and the pain is lessening more and more as the days are passing. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a quick clip that illustrates the comedy of the moment… please bear in mind that I hold no rights to this video whatsoever and I simply copied and shared from YouTube. Get a laugh and enjoy! ☯️

Get A KICK Out Of This Story…

Sometimes I look back on my younger years and I become nostalgic for the past. During my youth, I never travelled much or wandered far from the comforting confines of Northern New Brunswick but it continues to surprise me how full a life one can have, even living in such a small environment. And no environment could have given me as much as my home. Here’s one of the memories drifting to the surface of my psych. Buckle up…

This story takes me all the way back to 1989. I was 11-years old and my older brother had another two years of life ahead of him. My health was waning and life wasn’t going so well for me. Increased insulin-resistance and the development of ulcers in my stomach saw me hospitalized almost as much as my brother. in fact, we often shared a hospital room together. I’ll let you decide whether that’s cool or just a little bit sad. But I digress…

I was in 7th grade and we had oral presentation to give in class on a topic of our choosing. As was usually my choice, I spoke about Type-1 Diabetes, its causes and how it’s treated. Because of the number of students, we had two separate 7th grade classes; 7A and 7B. I was in 7A. Didn’t mean I was smarter or further ahead. I think it went by alphabetical order. Anyway, on the third day of presentations when we were all done, the teacher announced that someone from 7B would be sharing his presentation with us.

In walked my friend Guillaume. My Sensei’s son. Friend and adoptive brother. He was asked by the teacher to share the same presentation as he had to his class in exchange for bonus points. Considering she found the presentation worthy enough to share with another class, I had difficulty grasping WHY he would need bonus points, but whatever kept me from doing actual work was fine by me, back then.

Guillaume went on to give a presentation about Uechi Ryu karate, how long he had been practicing it and the benefits it provided him in life, thus far. He capped off his presentation with a demonstration of a form, or kata, which I now know as well. While the rest of the class was busy snickering at the movement and making fun of him, I was captivated by what I was seeing. The flow, the movement, the gracefulness… My eyes were open to the potential of what I was seeing.

It was at this point that I had called Guillaume at home and asked about class times and location. I joined the same month. I had tried other styles and attempted different things, but none struck quite as deep in my soul as Uechi Ryu did. I would go on to study Uechi for the next 33 years. It would ultimately save my life and help forge me into the person I am today. All of that from a simple ten-minute presentation in class. Nice.

Our instincts provide for more than we usually assume. And as the old saying goes, we often find our destiny on the road we least thought to travel. All things happen for a reason. If the teacher hadn’t asked Guillaume to share his presentation with out class, I might have never been exposed to Uechi Ryu. I likely never would have joined. And my health may have continued to deteriorate to an uncorrectable level. Who knows? I certainly don’t. I just know to appreciate life as it’s been offered and continue to live life with no regrets. ☯️

Guilt No More…

I think it’s safe to say that Diabetes is one of those “invisible” illnesses. After all, if one were to see me walking down the street, one would never be able to KNOW that i have Diabetes. Contrary to what you may see joked about on mainstream media and in the movies, having Diabetes doesn’t unilaterally mean that one is obese, missing toes or eats too much candy and junk food. Granted there ARE some like that, but it isn’t the standard. Most people don’t see what’s happening below the surface and they don’t realize the effort and control it takes just to get through the day. Some of that has led to some extremely uncomfortable situations throughout my life.

When you reach a certain age, you start to contemplate your life. And that isn’t a bad thing. Although I’ve grown to accept and acknowledge that I live my life without regret, contemplation is a completely different thing. My life is pretty awesome; I can’t deny that. To live with any regret means that I wouldn’t want my life being what it is now, and that just wouldn’t be true. But like anyone else, I’ve made some mistakes and have hurt people along the way with the choices I’ve made. And that’s what I’ve been contemplating.

For the most part, I was a pretty stubborn kid during my teen years. This cost me a lot, when i consider friendships, relationships and even experiences. Always a bit of a loner, I went it alone and dealt with the many ups and downs that Diabetes caused without ever sharing what I was going through with anyone. That includes my parents. Given the significant lack of control I had over my blood sugars, I tended to be cold, distant and a bit of an overall asshole. I know what you may be thinking: how is that different from how I am now? Well, first of all, fuck you! Second of all, I’m going to explain…

Wildly varying blood sugars can cause all sorts of behavioural issues, including fatigue, depression, mood swings and unprovoked anger. This didn’t bode well for friendships and relationships. And wouldn’t you know it, I just HAD to be going through it during my teen years when i was trying to be a typical teen… have friends, date girls and go out and have fun. None of that was conducive to good blood sugar control. I think back to the number of times I had to bail on friends and just stay home because In felt like absolute shit due to my Diabetes.

This doesn’t even begin to cover how much of a dick I was to girls I dated (NSFW pun fully intended). My mood swings and behavioural issues due to Diabetes made for some pretty harsh treatment from me. Couple that with the typical torrential wave of teenage hormones I was subjected to that just made all of it worse. This led to some pretty in-depth guilt, which cause some of the aforementioned depression. Unlike most teenagers of my generation, I never touched drugs or alcohol. In fact, as I’ve written in previous posts, I only had my first beer when i was 23 years old. So I had to ride the guilt wave with none of the safety or floatation devices that most people have.

Even now, knowing what I know and having the control that I do, my time is better preferred sitting at home relaxing with my wife than making plans and trying to leave the house. I keep a pretty tight reign on my Diabetes nowadays and since absolutely everything tends to affect blood sugars, I also keep a tight reign on how late I stay up and how I spend time outside my house. But I no longer feel the guilt that comes with the issues I faced during my teen years. As an adult, i recognize that my life and family come first. And there can be no guilt in that. The rest of the world will simply need to understand that. ☯️

Creamy Dill Dip…

Alright, so despite the fact I often harsh on the negative aspects of social media (despite the fact I operate on several platforms), I have to give credit where credit is due. Social media can be extremely useful in reconnecting with people from your past that you DIDN’T walk away from, intentionally. Enter: several of my high school classmates. In the past year, I’ve reconnected and friended several of the people I graduated from high school with.

One of those friends shared a meal that she prepared that included salmon and a homemade, creamy dill sauce. I’m a big fan of salmon and fish in general (Hello, Maritimer over here!) so I was taken. But what also caught my attention was the dill sauce. My entire household is a fan of dill. We have dill powder for our popcorn, we use dill-flavoured dill dip with our chips and include actual dill in many of our recipes. Not least of which is the fact that we eat dill pickles. Because, dill pickles. But I digress…

My successful dip

I was curious to the point where I asked her for her recipe, which she generously provided. I’m usually a bit leery about trying new recipes as I’m no Gordon Ramsay, by any means. But the recipe was super simple and only took about ten minutes. As it was shared with me, so shall I share it with you. Here we go:

  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise;
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream;
  • 3 tablespoons of dried dill;
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar;
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard;
  • garlic salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all those ingredients in non particular order into a small bowl, whisk until everything is combined and go to town! My friend made a point of mentioning that she doesn’t usually use actual measurements and eyeballs everything to taste. I don’t have that level of skill. One thing I will mention is that after two tablespoons of dill, I started to panic and think three would have been too much. It wouldn’t have been. It definitely could have used the added dill kick. But it was definitely delicious and I’ve used it with chips, wings and on fish. Absolutely delicious.

Like anything else someone with Type-1 Diabetes consumes, one should be mindful of portions, carbohydrate counts and proper monitoring of one’s blood sugars. But this dip is quite versatile and goes with SO many different foods. It’s definitely worth a try, if you’re looking for something new. Food for thought (pun fully intended)… ☯️