A Little Shared Chaos…

Being a parent can be challenging on many different levels. For the most part, you’re dealing with a tiny, drunken version of yourself that does stupid shit and has just enough smarts to get into trouble but not enough logic to recognize said trouble to keep from accidentally offing themselves. If you’re lucky, and you put in JUST enough effort, you can potentially guide them to adulthood where they’ll potentially become a productive member of modern society. Yeah, right… I don’t know what my parents actually imagined for me when I was growing up, except to be healthy and happy. I’m not the former (thanks, Type-1 Diabetes) and I’m rarely the latter, despite my best efforts.

Anyway, sometimes it can be easy to forget that as a parent, we’re not alone. Parenting is by far not a new thing and all the issues we deal with are shared by other parents, as well. This reality slapped me in the face on Friday night when my wife and I attempted to visit my son’s school for his class’ Christmas concert. Picture this: dozens and dozens of families, all with several kids and everyone running around, different rooms with different activities and the main “gym” space holding just about enough chairs for one-third of the people in attendance. Throw in a dash of overheating from packing everyone in like sardines and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a PTSD flare-up.

On top of that, is my 3-year boy who neither understands or cares to follow direction and watch his big brother perform instead of trying to tear the school down by its foundation (and he could do it, too!). It made for a rough and chaotic hour and a half for the sake of Nathan singing for about four minutes. He was so happy and proud of his performance and I was a bit surprised at how quiet and well-behaved he was while on stage. Getting both boys back into their boots and heading home was a challenge in and of itself but we made it home relatively unscathed, despite the fact I was emotionally drained and had to crash almost immediately thereafter.

Interestingly enough, I noticed that there were plenty of exasperated parents and noisy, disobedient children. I noticed that all of those families were dealing with the same challenges and problems that i was seeing. Oddly enough, most of them didn’t really seem to give a shit about it all, as much as I did. But it did make me realize that most families deal with children in a public place in ways that I do. Just a little bit of shared chaos… Kids sure as shit make life interesting. ☯️

A Little Break In The Routine…

Last Thursday was a bit of a gong show for me but offered an interesting take on the day. First, my agency had it’s staff Christmas party. Now, I’m sure we’ve all watched sitcoms or comedy movies where they have the sad little get-together in the conference room with dollar-store chips and cardboard hats, taking an hour to “celebrate” before trudging back to their work terminals to finish out the day. This is often reminiscent of the US version of “The Office,” where the manager would frequently throw parties on a whim.

Luckily, my agency chose to go a bit higher class than that. We actually booked a section of a local pool hall, catered in some food and provided the opportunity for staff to obtain extras at their own cost, should they choose. The only caveat is it happened during the afternoon when many staff felt their time would be better served getting work done as opposed to hobnobbing over a pool cue. Although I can somewhat agree with this sentiment, I also feel that one needs to appreciate the opportunity to let one‘‘S hair down for a few hours and chat with co-workers, especially about matters that aren’t work-related.

It was a good time, with good food and good people. The tables shared a lot of laughs and I had the opportunity to shoot a few games of pool with some of my staff, which was a nice change. It also ran for four hours and my team and I basically shut the event down. It was a nice change from the weekly routine, despite the fact that the work continued to accumulate in my absence. Such is life. Whether I would have gone or not, the work would have continued to accumulate, so it makes very little difference in that regard. If the work will always gather, it makes taking these little breaks all the more important.

While navigating the hectic highways of the everyday rat race, we often forget that each of us is an individual person with beliefs, interests and personalities that rarely get explored in the workplace. Staff functions can be a wonderful way to allow people to get to know each other and spend a bit of time on a social level and get to know each other. This can often allow for better and more amicable work relationships on the job. Food for thought…☯️

Just Because You’re Not On The Path Alone, Doesn’t Mean You Surrender The Wheel…

I’ve always found it interesting how it’s often the ones who have no stake, experience or actual knowledge of something that will be the first to comment or question choices that one makes. This is especially true if you have Type-1 Diabetes. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had someone comment on something related to my condition or its treatment without also having it, being a doctor or having some firsthand knowledge of what they’re talking about.

I’ve never had a problem with people who ask questions because they’re genuinely curious or they want to know more about Diabetes. There’s nothing wrong with that and in some instances, it’s an important aspect to my overall health and safety. For example, one of the first things I’ve always done when starting a new job is to let everyone know that I have Type-1 Diabetes and what to do if they find me in a compromising situation because of it. I find this takes the awkwardness out and gives them important information that could potentially save my life.

Ironically and despite anything you may have heard to the contrary, there’s really only two scenarios when dealing with someone with Diabetes who may be experiencing an extreme low or high. If they’re conscious and able to speak, they’ll either administer treatment themselves or let you know what they need. If they’re unconscious, call 911! I know there are some who would say the opposite but you should never try to feed something to an unconscious person. There’s a believe out there that if you give them sugared juice while waiting for an ambulance, they can treat the high rather than the other way around. That’s fuckin’ bullshit! Unless you’re able to test my blood glucose and confirm I’m suffering a low, don’t feed me shit! But that’s just me…

But it can be really hard in general when dealing with people who believe they know better than you. Little quips, such as “Should you really be eating that?” Or “I thought Diabetics couldn’t have sugar…” really grind my gears. And I swear to the light, if I have one more person suggest this book they saw at their local pharmacy that boasts a diet that can reverse Diabetes, my Zen calm will shatter! Although there could be dietary applications for folks with Type-2, that shit just doesn’t apply to me.

in these situations, I’m always reminded of one of my favourite quotes by Theodore Roosevelt, where he says, “It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.” The quote goes on to say that it’s the person in the arena, facing the adversity, who is owed the credit. The same concept can be applied here. Just because you can’t see certain aspects of my condition or even for the aspects you can, I’m the one in the fight. I’m the one in the arena. The critics can check their opinions at the door. ☯️

Merry Whatever And Happy Whatnot…

We’ve kind of reached that time of the year when people start thinking and planning ahead for the Christmas season. This time of year can be pleasant but also quite hectic for some and awkward for many as the prospect of affording gifts for all of our loved ones becomes a concern that lingers well into the new year. For myself, Christmas was never a very celebrated time, Although, my family did trim a tree and place gifts.

My father used to do shift work and whether he’d be home on Christmas or not was always up for question. Given the nature of our household and the fact that my brother and I were both sick children, any holiday season spent outside the hospital was really all we wanted/needed. And believe me when I say, there were Christmases where I spent the holiday lying in a hospital bed. But I digress…

With the coming of the holiday season also comes the opportunity for many to focus on their own agendas. In recent years, saying something classic and genuine like “Merry Christmas” has become a faux pas, considered by many to be offensive to those who don’t celebrate Christmas. This essentially makes zero sense and doesn’t jive with me. Although I inherently have no issue with saying “Happy Holidays,” I don’t believe wishing someone a Merry Christmas should be construed as offensive or insensitive, whether the recipient observes the holiday or not. After all, I don’t celebrate Hanukkah but if someone wished me a Happy Hanukkah during that specific holiday, I would simply say thank you.

This is a trend that seems to permeate and infest the holiday season, with public locations being forced to change directions and in some cases even forego decorating in favour of not “offending” someone. Here’s the reality: people will have different beliefs and faith backgrounds. And that’s okay. All those differences is what makes Canada unique. We are home to a perpetual rainbow of people and cultures. But respecting each of those cultures without taking offence of those we aren’t a part of is key. This is what’s referred to as tolerance.

The holidays are already a busy time and somewhat hectic for people, dealing with work schedules, finances and potentially hosting family. And there is already enough intolerance in the world at the best of times. Let’s be sure this holiday season, to appreciate when someone wishes us well, regardless of what terminology they use. There’s no need to be offended is someone says Merry Christmas. By that same token, there’s also no reason to be offended if someone says something different, or nothing at all, in return. Let’s learnt o be more accepting and tolerant. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean we need more snowflakes. Food for thought…☯️

Testing One’s Medal…

I think I’ve gone overboard… A couple of years ago, I signed up for an app called the Conqueror Challenges. In short, you pay a marathon entry fee, which is pretty standard when you enter a marathon, and you perform a “virtual marathon,” completed a certain amount of distance in a certain amount NPF time. It’s a neat concept and the money you pay goes to planting trees or cleaning up plastic on the oceans. All in all, it’s pretty neat as a concept.

I started seeing advertisements for this thing on facebook and as I am with all things, I was a bit sceptical. After all, we now live in a world where almost EVERY advertisement for a downloadable game fails to accurately reflect what the actualmy is. For that reason, I sought out the guidance of others. I had a Facebook contact who often shared their link, so I asked him if he’d participated and/or ever received any medals. He said that he hadn’t participated himself but that one of his coworkers had, and he had physically seen the medals.

Alright, I was reasonably certain this wasn’t a scam and could be something worth trying. Considering the total cost was under $40 Canadian, I was willing to risk the loss if it fell through. Considering I’m not a big fan of large crowds and mass public gatherings at the best of times, this suited me perfectly. I downloaded the app and signed up for my first challenge. If memory serves me correctly, it was a “Marathon to Athens” and was 42.2 kilometres in distance and was to be completed over 3 weeks.

The collection… a few are missing, sitting at home.

The beauty part about these challenges is that you get to set your own pace, set your own timeline and you can include any of your fitness workouts that involve distance. Cycling, running, elliptical, even swimming! When I started doing these, I focused primarily on cycling but I started incorporating my walks, as well. Since I was measuring on a daily basis, it became an interesting challenge to see how far I actually walked in the course of a day. On average, I was putting in about 6 to 8 kilometres of walking, just around the office and going on breaks. That didn’t even include going to the grocery store or running errands after work!

When the summer ended this year, I decided to back it off a notch. At about $40 a piece, there’s a whole lotta money sitting on that wall. Plus, my summer was somewhat tame in terms of how much I cycled, compared to last year. That’s why I opened by saying I think I’ve overdone it a bit. But the medals are definitely gorgeous and if you’re looking for something to spice up your fitness routine, this will definitely do it. I don’t have any link to share but if you Google “Conqueror Challenge,” you’ll find it. If you’re an iPhone user, the app is also available through the App Store. ☯️

Across The Finish Line…

November 1st marks the end of “Movember” and my fund-raising efforts have come to an end. Movember was a bit difficult this year, as the team I participated with last year was less motivated this year. This might have resulted from the fact that last year, the team approached me to set it up. This year, I kind of just assumed we were doing it again and threw it at everyone. Not the best way to approach fund-raising but most of them were good enough to donate, although not everyone participated.

Before…

Charitable fund-raising is one of those odd creatures that hold a strange place within modern society. Although the motivation and reasons behind fund-raising are usually noble and altruistic, people will be hesitant to participate and/or donate, especially in light of rising costs on just about everything. It can be difficult for some, as they tend to take it personally when someone they’ve approached doesn’t donate. I was somewhat guilty of this, myself. Although a good number of friends, associates and coworkers provided donations throughout the month, I felt that unnecessary little pang of frustration when some would decline. I needed to learn to let that shit go, which led to a learning lesson as a positive.

After…

Ultimately, we managed to scrape across the finish line and achieved our $500 goal, thanks to some last-minute donations from an associate of mine as well as well as my loving wife. Although last year saw me raise more money, it was no easy task so I should have recognized that it would be a bit more difficult this year, given the current state of the world. But we made it.

I like to do my part. Even when i was younger, I would find a way to donate a couple of hundred dollars to charities or foundations that focused on Diabetes. Given that members of my family have suffered from prostate cancer, Movember landed on my radar doing my time with the Force and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s good to contribute and help out where we can. But I think that in the years to come, I may make my donation as an individual and leave the team-building to others… ☯️

Quality Over Quantity

One of the more complicated things with being a content creator of any kind, whether it’s a blog or one of the other, stupider forms of content creation (I swear I’m not bitter) is that the online world has more than its fair share of artificial people and fake followers. You know the ones; people who comment on posts even if it would be easier and simpler to just scroll on by and not comment at all. Or the ones that like to incite arguments and troll people from the safety and comfort of their keyboard. Such is the way of the world, these days. I don’t always agree with other people’s perspectives and opinions and the light knows I hate this stupid TikTok trend that everyone is on, but I keep that shit to myself. For the most part.

The bigger problem is when people shop for likes. What I mean is people who will click like on a post or an article or even follow someone’s account in the hopes that it’ll be reciprocated. My follower-ship has grown significantly in recent years. It’s a slow process and I’ve come to appreciate all my followers and the people who take the time to read my content. But I always find it interesting when a post goes live and someone will like it almost the same moment as its posted. For those of you who have noticed, I usually put up my daily posts between 6 to 7 am, so depending on what time zone one happens to be in, it’s FAIRLY unlikely that someone will have read some of my lengthy shit within a minute.

I make a point that I don’t like someone’s post unless I’ve taken the time to read it completely. That’s a point of pride for me. Wanna know what another point of pride is? Knowing that people are actually reading what I post. This blog started a few years ago as a way to keep my writing skills sharp and to allow me to share decades of experience about Diabetes, martial arts and health & fitness. I’ve enjoyed it and its become an integral part of my life and my weekly routine. In a few weeks in fact, I should strike 1,000 posts in a row. That’ll be a milestone for me. Can’t wait. ☯️

From The Least Likely Sources…

I kinda like this. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that Robert Downey Jr. has been involved in movies for decades before the MCU “made him famous.” Personally, I thought he was great in Sherlock Holmes and Tropic Thunder. But from an 80’s standpoint, Johnny Be Good, Weird Science and The Pick-up Artist comes to mind. A great actor. But the thought provided above does get one thinking. Depending on who you’re dealing with, sometimes there’s no winning and you’ll just have to forge your own path regardless of what others think. ☯️

There’s No Gym Like Home…

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a certain level of fitness within my own home. Over time, I accumulated enough equipment that I could get a decent sweat going in my home. Due to different circumstances at different times, my workout areas have been taken apart and dismantled. A few years ago when my basement shifted and I had to have it demolished and braced, i moved my workout area to the garage. That was okay for a while, but colder weather made it problematic. Plus, everything that was in the basement had to be stored somewhere.

When the basement was completely braced and secure, I bought a bunch of floor matting and created a makeshift dojo in my basement. Once again, when the time came to renovate and rebuild the basement (it was down to bare concrete) I had to pack up the floor mats and I lost my workout area once again. Given that I was stuck at home and contemplating a job back in New Brunswick, I sold off most of my equipment in anticipation of moving away. When that didn’t happen, I found myself in a position where I didn’t have many options at home. Body weight workouts will only get you so far.

Last year, I learned that one of the benefits of my job is a flex benefit that can be used on anything fitness or health related. Although I used that flex benefit on my karate tuition last year, I didn’t need it for that this time around. Instead, I chose to use it to purchase a bunch of fitness equipment for my newly-renovated basement. As you can from the photo above, we have new flooring, newly-drywalled walls and a drop ceiling with recessed lighting. A full bathroom with a standup shower is included. Listen to me, I sound like I’m advertising my basement for rent.

I started with a simple curling bar and some weight plates. From there, I got the bench, straight bar and more plates. The half bosu is useful for lunges, squats and developing balance. 10-pound ankle weights, a weighted vest and a set of kettlebells completed the set-up. I also grabbed some heavier dumbbells as the ones I had were starting to lack a certain, shall we say, challenge. Combining all of this has given me the opportunity for a number of different workouts while keeping everything fresh and new. The small table in the corner holds my phone cradle that allows me to play music while I exercise.

I don’t think I need to stress the importance of exercise and proper fitness to someone who lives with Type-1 Diabetes. Proper diet and blood sugar control aren’t enough. You gotta keep that engine revving. It’s like the simple formula of life that I discovered, decades ago. Life brings movement. Movement brings energy. Energy brings life. Eliminate any of those three and it’s a recipe to end one’s life. Good movement is integral to good health. And working out at home is awesome! There’s no better gym than the one you create for yourself. Food for thought… ☯️

Remembrance Day

Today is near and dear in my heart. Not only because my grandfather is, at least to my eyes, a significant hero in that he helped to keep his family and country safe but because several if not all of the family members at my mother’s branch of the family has served in some branch of the military. Even several of my cousins have served, with my cousin Jason tragically dying in an accident on route back to his Air Force base. Now being a veteran myself, although not of the military, Remembrance Day has come to carry even more meaning, as I take the time and opportunity to recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice to guarantee the rights and freedoms of the modern world.

Today should be important to everyone, not only to remember those who fell in the line of duty but as a reminder of the horrible consequences when war ensues, a fact that more relevant than ever, in today’s climate. It’s easy to sit in a comfortable chair and state that war is never the answer without ever having experienced it. But I have fond memories of spending time with my grandfather as he would share stories of the things he suffered through oversees during World War II. Although I treasured the time with him, I always had a deep appreciation that none of what he suffered through should ever be felt by anyone else, even if many still are even as I write.

My grandfather, Lionel, in military uniform

Let’s make sure we take the time today to observe a moment of silence. We may not have been there and we may not have experienced war, but we have THEM to thank for that. We may not even understand why this day is observed, and that’s okay. One does not need to understand in order to show proper respect. If you value your rights and freedoms as you have them today and believe that we should never surrender when faced with tyranny, thank a veteran. And take the time to observe a moment of silence today. On the 11th hour of the 11th day, we will remember them. ☯️