Information Overload

It seems as though the world is slowly going to hell and is doing so in a very poorly constructed hand basket. Or at least it APPEARS that is is… I know that recent events right here in Saskatchewan have had a ripple effect on the population and have woken some folks up to the fact that even the “quiet” corners of the country have their fair share of noise, if there really is any such thing as a “quiet” part of the world….

The state of the world can often seem overwhelming, especially to those who spend the majority of their time online or following the news. Although I would be the last person to ever suggest simply nurturing one’s head in the sand, I think it’s worth noting that the entire world’s information is available at the average person’s fingertips, unlike a couple of decades ago where you would depend on your local news to deliver the majority of major happening to you.

And let’s be clear; unless that major happening was in fact, major and directly impacted the area where the news was being broadcast, it would often go unheard. These days, a remote village in a country thousands of miles away may make your news feed and deliver information about what’s happening in their neck of the woods. For the most part, I think most people would agree that this is a good thing and the younger generations certainly don’t know any better.

But despite public opinion, how good is it ACTUALLY that all of this information is freely and readily available at the world’s fingertips? I’m sure the high school student who needs to write a paper about some arcane and little-known philosopher from centuries ago considers Wikipedia to be a blessing and a god-send but I mostly mean in general. People are more connected than ever before, weighing in on issues that just a number of years ago, they would never even have heard of.

For the most part, there’s nothing wrong with the receipt and absorbing of information. The trick is to have the understanding that not all pieces of information should consume your attention, ad nauseam. If I were to give an example, a good one would be the current military conflicts taking place overseas. The world is shocked and appalled that this is happening, as well they should be. The availability of all this information has made that conflict a public matter. But it might surprise many t know that there have been over a hundred conflicts of this nature in the world since the end of World War II; they’ve simply never heard about them.

The advent and growth of the online environment has led to people becoming more brazen and often inappropriate in their interactions with other people. After all, how easy is it to mouth off to someone through a computer monitor as opposed to in person? The online environment has also caused a majority of the population to become armchair experts in law enforcement, medical professions and politics. Light help the world…

As with all things in life, nothing is inherently bad or good. It’s how we choose to absorb and use what we’re given that defines how it’s perceived and accepted. The world has never changed. There has always been crime, controversy, famine, war, poverty and medical epidemics. We simply have the benefit of knowing it all immediately as opposed to reading it in the history books. I don’t know if the world is going to hell or not but I’m thinking we may have been in the hand basket longer than we previously assumed. Food for thought… ☯️

Sounds To Soothe The Savage Heart…

Music has a way of altering one’s mood, temperament and overall situation. After all, how many times have you had a bad day where a catchy song started playing on the radio and you either started grooving to it, singing to it or both? Before you knew it, your mood had drastically improved and the issue that frustrated you no longer seemed quite as bad. This actually happens far more than we know, which is why relaxation music can be beneficial in helping you unwind during a massage or in an elevator. And I’ve often written about the benefits of white noise and its varieties, signalling that sound in general has the ability to alter a person’s mood and overall health.

So just imagine the kind of effect you can have if you actually play the music yourself? If listening to a certain song can alter your mood, imagine the kind of effect you can have if you create and play the music yourself, using an instrument of your choice. Honestly, I think we’ve all suffered through the cheap-ass music lessons we all received in elementary school. Although the basic lessons were sound and would ACTUALLY lead to an honest to goodness knowledge of music, none of us cared and none of us wanted to play “Mary had a little lamb” on a fucking recorder! That’s a flute, for those of you who may not know. Are music lessons in school even still a thing?

One of the only existing photos of me, playing the guitar sometime in 2005

Personally, I’ve always been partial to the violin. Classical music has always held an important place in my heart and I absolutely LOVE the sound of a symphony orchestra. The violin always seemed like a reasonable option to me, since it’s portable enough to bring anywhere but beautiful enough to be appreciated by all. Given that I grew up in a small town in northern new Brunswick, the availability of solid music lessons were scarce. Getting my parents’ help in that endeavour was unlikely since they were little busy keeping my brother and I alive through our various illnesses.

I mean, I had to keep my karate lessons a secret for a number of years, for fuck sakes. Granted, violin lessons may have elicited less of a reaction out of them. But the bottom line is that I was limited to only listening to music. That is, until autumn of 1995… I had a shitty, red 1987 Toyota Tercel hatchback, which I purchased myself. I was driving down the side of the mountain where my high school was located when I came upon someone walking down the hill. It turned out to be Guillaume, Sensei’s son. I came to a stop and picked him up and he asked if I’d be willing to drive him to Bathurst to pick up guitar strings.

My “ax,” which was bought for me by my loving wife.

I was curious and hadn’t yet ventured to far out of my home town in my car so I was more than willing to drive him. When we reached the music shop in Bathurst, it felt like I fell into a musical slice of heaven. I could smell the fresh wood of the instruments, the tinny brass from the wind instruments and the overall muted quality of the walls inside the shop. There were dozens of guitars, acoustic and electric alike. I was in awe. Guillaume saw the look on my face and asked if I knew how to play. My response would end up shaping the proceeding years of my life…

We made our way back to his house, where we sat in a tiny entrance alcove that the family didn’t use. In it, he had his electric guitar, his amplifier, his acoustic guitar and music books, as well as a small stool that he sat on. He dragged in a second stool for me and he explained that he would teach me the basics of guitar playing if I agreed to listen to him and follow his direction with the same level of discipline as I did his father when learning karate. Funny guy, that Guillaume. he did teach me all my basic chords, which in turn allowed me to play some very basic tunes and songs. I had started my musical journey.

My late Aunt Iris’ acoustic guitar, which she gifted me on one of my last visits

Over the decades, I’ve owned over a dozen guitars of varying models and types, including an Epiphone Les Paul Special Edition, Epiphone PR-350 and even an Epiphone SG Standard. yes, I have a bit of a crush on Epiphones. What can I say? I have a type. The PR-350 was by far my favourite acoustic, sound-wise, and got the most mileage before I sold it due to bad life decisions. But the acoustic pictured above is near and dear to my heart. Back in early 2013, I travelled from Kindersley, Saskatchewan to Edmonton, Alberta to visit my Aunt Iris. I hadn’t seen her in almost twenty years.

I was in Edmonton overnight and while I was visiting with my aunt, she showed me her guitar. I tuned it up and played a few bars, which apparently made an impression on her. I returned to my hotel room that night and picked her up for lunch the following day. After lunch, we returned to her apartment and discussed the elephant in the room; she had cancer and it was terminal. She convinced me to take the guitar and make use of it, whether that meant to play it or sell it. I agreed to take it on one condition: she had to sign her name on the back so that it could never be sold and would forever stay in our family. She agreed…

My Aunt’s signature…

I don’t play guitar nearly as much as I would like, nowadays. Of course, trying to play something that’s as delicate and tuned as an acoustic guitar around young children is problematic at best. I remember nights of jamming out tune after tune with some of my friends… Good times. The memories are still there, though. pretty sure I still have a video of me playing with my friend Aaron, towards the beginning of the early 2000’s. I wish I had some way of uploading that footage, it would be amazing to share.

Music has the power to heal. It has the power to add a little something to one’s overall life. playing music can provide that, tenfold. Do I still dream of playing the violin? You fuckin’ right, I do. is it too late? Maybe. The ability to learn an intricate new skill at my age is unlikely but not impossible. Either way, I’ll always have those chilly nights by a fire on the beach, a sudden jam session in a bowling alley between games and the pleasure of learning a new song that I didn’t assume that I would. I’ve always focused on martial arts, because I always believed music couldn’t save my life. or could it? Food for thought… ☯️

Back To School, The Parent Edition…

Yesterday, I wrote about Nathan’s reluctant return to the classroom as, like most children, he started a new school year. Then it dawned on me that I’ll be enjoying something of a return to school, myself. Albeit on a more leisurely level. This coming week, the dojo re-opens for karate class and I intend to be there; front and centre.

I had started with a local school of Shotokan last year and despite some injuries I sustained early this year, I quite enjoyed it. They closed out for the summer break, which is apparently pretty standard for schools out here. When I was back in New Brunswick, Sensei would never have contemplated shutting down simply because it’s summertime. In fact, I used to be the black sheep of my friends since I would quite literally pack up and leave fun afternoons of swimming in the woods in favour of attending a class. But I digress…

My point is that stopping for the summer has never really been my thing but it happens a fair bit, out here. I recently discovered that the Kempo school I used to train with never re-opened its doors. Although sad to hear, it made me feel a little bit better about never being contacted over the past two years about class. But Shotokan has been quite good. The dojo is a mere five minutes from my home and their style is similar in many ways to my own Uechi-Ryu.

This year, I look forward to continuing my martial arts education and adding new forms, techniques and lessons to my overall karate toolbox. It’s important to keep an open mind when training in a dojo whose style differs from yours. It can be a difficult journey and I acknowledge that I’m no longer what I used to be. But with some overall steps to ensure that other negative factors in my life are lessened and the room for growth is permitted, I’m sure it’ll be a great year.

So I guess that much like my son Nathan, this coming week will see me going back to school… Karate school, that is! I’m looking forward to it and it should be a nice addition to an otherwise stagnant fitness routine. Stay tuned… ☯️

Back To School…

Like most parents, I had the bittersweet pleasure of sending my oldest off to school, a few days ago. No children were harmed in the completion of this first “week” of school, and I’m sure Nathan appreciated the returned use of his devices last night, since we don’t generally allow him to use them during school nights. Last Wednesday, he walk to school with his mother during the early evening to meet his teacher, drop off his excess school equipment and enjoy a free hotdog.

During this time, I got to visit Costco with my toddler, who provided endless entertainment for the other patrons. It was all good though, with Nathan independently choosing to walk by himself to his first day of school. He has the same teacher as he did the previous year, which is a good thing since he demonstrated certain difficulties that his teacher will at least be able to recognize and understand from her time with him last year.

Although like most children, he didn’t seem keen on having to go back to school, I think it’ll be nice for him to reconnect with kids his age and get to play, learn and see what accomplishments he can set for himself during the school year. We’ve all been there, right? And we all got through it and so will he. As the old saying goes, dis line is not the enemy of enthusiasm. Plus, it gives parents the opportunity to enjoy some kid-free time during the day. Definitely important. ☯️

Heatwave…🎶

It’s funny sometimes how I recognize that I’ve become dependent on things that I never had during my youth. Air conditioning is a good example… As a child, I have NEVER lived in a residence that had site conditioning. In fact, I remember one particularly hot summer where my bedroom was located in the upstairs of a small house. It was one of those upper floors that included angled walls because you were right against the roof. This means you also had the sun’s mighty gaze bearing down right above your head as you played in your room.

I often think about how more comfortable I might have been and how my blood sugar control may have been tighter during my childhood if I had the refuge of a cooler environment during the summer months. Although total temperature rarely gets beyond the high 20’s (Celsius) in Northern New Brunswick, the humidity adds an extra level of hell to the mix. But I digress…

The sun er heat can have a significant impact on a person’s overall health, especially as it involves Type-1 Diabetes because, well… EVERYTHING affects Type-1 Diabetes. But rather than be facetious, I should probably explain the how’s and why’s behind that statement. After all, this is a hot issue… See what I did there…? Summer heat? Hot issue? Alright, carrying on…

It’s been a bit of a hellish week in Regina, Saskatchewan, with daily heat reaching the mid-30’s and making the possibility of spending any time outdoors without my cut off jean shorts (I believe the kids call them “jorts,” now) an impossibility. Stepping outside during the day brings about difficulties breathing, sweating and a general sense of discomfort that most people don’t enjoy. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll definitely take hot, sunny weather any day over the cold of winter and shovelling snow. I’m not complaining, here…

I have the benefit of having an individually climate-controlled office, which allows me to work through my day in the relative comfort that I’ve come to enjoy in my older years. I also have a brand new air conditioner at home, which we had installed last fall. Although my basement is sometimes a bit on the icy side, I have the benefit of maintaining a cool living space in the upstairs, which is a benefit that my children have that I didn’t get to experience as a child.

Although the summer is winding down, it’s a great time to provide a reminder that being out in the heat brings about a certain number of issues as we work out or deal with Diabetes. For one, extreme heat will expose us to the possibility of dehydration, which is not only dangerous but can cause rises in blood sugar. Working out for prolongued periods in the heat can bring about dangers of heat stroke and exhaustion, both of which can be quite dangerous if one does not recognize the signs and grab some shade to rest.

Remember to stay hydrated, take shelter and take breaks and don’t be afraid to switch up your fitness routine to accommodate exercise in an air conditioned environment. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been on my bike. I sure do miss being out and about on it, but it’s a fair price for pay to maintain my health. Check your blood sugars often and drink plenty of fluids (no, beer and coffee don’t count!). Even if it’s a bit cloudy out, be sure to apply sunscreen as the su’s UV rays will still reach you. Enjoy the heat, but safely. ☯️

Hotly Debated, Universally Hated…

If there’s one thing I can say is universally hated by people, it’s bullies. Bullies have gotten the full-court press in movies, television shows and various media platforms, usually with the protagonist somehow “winning the day” in a very David a& Goliath kind of way and putting the bully in his (or her) place. It’s the kind of scenario that gives most people a warm, fuzzy feeling of justice being served and seeing karma in action. However, bullying scenarios in real life very rarely play out this way.

In school, I was bullied. And I don’t mean the run-of-the-mill snowflake definition of bullying that we often see these days. I mean several members of my school’s hockey team cornering me and taking turns throwing shots into my rib cage until I was curled in a ball on the floor crying. I got some of the former, as well but for the most part, it was mostly the latter. Classrooms were mostly safe, with the operative word being “mostly,” but I would usually hustle to my locker and back with a constant eye over my shoulder.

Arriving and leaving from school would require stealth on my part so that I wouldn’t be spotted by one of the many aggressors. Don’t even get me started on what began happening when I purchased my first car and started driving it to school. It made it difficult to genuinely focus on my studies and schooling and I often wonder how much better my grades would have been and what doors that could have unlocked for me, had I been permitted to study, unhindered. But I digress…

I know some of my close friends from my youth were subjected to bullying, as well. I never really understood the WHY behind it. It always seemed as though it lacked a certain logic or reasoning. After all, bullying really serves no practical purpose. In order to understand the WHY, let’s start by being very clear on what a bully actually is. A bully is someone who tries to harm, intimidate or coerce someone they perceive as being weaker than them.

In my experience, and I unfortunately have a significant amount of it, bullies will usually attack their victims for a few key reasons:

1. They’re going through something themselves and are lashing out against their victims because it’s a situation they can’t control. this can include being bullied themselves or suffering abuse at home;
2. They think it makes them look cool. Humans are pack animals and the societal hierarchy can sometimes be difficult to navigate for people. If you find yourself in a group that will revere you for pushing around someone else, some would see that as an opportunity;
3. There’s something about their victim that they revere, themselves. It can be hard seeing someone else in a situation you feel that you’d rather be in. Maybe their household is better off, financially. Maybe they have more friends, have someone they’re dating… Who knows? This can lead some bullies to feel that they need to lash out because of those factors.

No matter what the reason, the firm agreement that I think we should all have is that there is no valid reason for one person to bully another. It can be frustrating, especially when such a thing is happening to our children. I say it that way because, believe it or not, there is a significant amount of bullying that occurs within the adult realm, as well. Although some movies and shows would suggest the best route is to simply pop the main bully once and everyone will leave you alone, this is very rarely the case.

Given the current state of society, there’s a much more significant spotlight on bullying and its effects than there was during my generation. The bottom line is that if someone is being bullied, they should come forward and talk about it. Although there can often be a feeling of embarrassment, it’s important to recognize that everyone is deserving of a harassment-free environment and we all need help, sometimes, to achieve that goal. Whether that means discussing with one’s parents or teachers if you’re a minor or speaking with law enforcement or hopefully the individuals themselves, if you’re an adult.

The unfortunate reality is that there have ALWAYS been bullies. Despite new laws and society’s focus on the topic, there’s no sign of that going away anytime soon. It’s how we choose to deal with it and rectify the situation that defines us as a people. And to all the bullies out there, shame on you! There’s enough suffering in the world without you adding to it. Find some other release valve for your negative emotions and leave others in peace. You may be fortunate enough to find a little slice of peace yourself, if you do… ☯️

Channeling One’s Inner Eddie Rabbitt…

Some of my best memories from childhood include storm chasing and watching with my father. People in general have this propensity to dislike thunderstorms and rain, often for good reason. But back home in the Maritimes, my father and I would enjoy that weather and use it as an opportunity for enjoyment. Having grown up on the shores of an actual bay feeding out to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, we were subjected to some doozies. During the best of times, we could clearly see storm front coming towards the shore and had plenty of time to prepare and watch the big show. Sometimes we’d jump into the car and go park at the light house and just watch the storm approach and hit.

Besides providing much-needed air moisture, refilling water beds and replenishing vegetation, rain has shown to have benefits in helping a person relax and calm themselves. Watching the falling rain through a window from the comfort of one’s home is therapeutic. My father and I would take it up a notch by intentionally chasing the rain. I’ve lost track of the number of times during my youth when we jumped in the car and drove after heavy rains to see where they’d peter out (pun fully intended, my father’s name is Peter!). To some, it seems ridiculous but to me, it was valuable time with my father and fed my interest in weather and science.

Last Friday, I got home from work and discussed plans with my son Nathan to have a “camp-out.” This is something Nathan enjoys doing where he builds up a blanket fort on a small mattress, usually in the basement, with the intention of snacking and sleeping downstairs. I spend the night on the queen bed we have for guests. I don’t get what the appeal of the activity is, but I get to spend time with my first-born and he gets to enjoy an indoor activity that doesn’t involve antagonizing his baby brother. How is that not a win-win?

When I got home from work, we started to discuss the evening and we had a family outing planned that required Nathan’s best behaviour. Although I understand that most modern households adhere to the whole concept that parents should stop treating children’s behaviour as acting out or being bad and accept that it’s because they lack the communication skills to express what they’re feeling. However, fuck that. When we’re out in public, my expectation is NOT the destruction of everything in sight and running around like the world’s biggest disaster cut loose in public.

By the time we had gotten home, some of his behaviour out in public had me questioning whether he deserved his “camp-out.” I decided to vent my frustrations in one of the only ways that I typically know how: by working out. I got a good burn, listened to some awesome music and when I was done, sat comfortably in my garage with a decent cigar (I say decent because if I bought great cigars, I’d probably be bankrupt) and blew my cares away in a puff of blue smoke and random YouTube videos. After some time, Nathan came out to see what I was doing and sat with me in the garage.

A huge, dark cloud formation rolled in over Regina and the rumblings of a storm were coming towards us. Nathan became fixated on watching for the occasional flash of lightning and giggling at the fact that thunder and lightning “never happens together.” In anticipation of the power going out and a heavy downpour of rain, I suggested that we move the party inside. Much to my surprise, Nathan wanted to stay outside and watch the storm from the garage. he turned on the interior lights and sat comfortably, watching the sky for what was coming. I was struck with a wave of nostalgia, remembering the occasions where my father and I would do this very thing. It’s true what they say; some of the best things in life are free.

In the end, the rain that fell was barely a trickle but we had the opportunity to enjoy repetitive flashes of lightning and booming thunder. It was fun to sit out there and enjoy the weather with my child, who seemed as interested in it as I was. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most fun. We made out way inside and to the basement, where we discussed deep, philosophical topics, such as Star Wars, Mario Kart racing and various “how it’s made” videos on YouTube. The rain began falling harder once we were inside but we had our fun. Sometimes you have to take time to enjoy the simpler things in life. ☯️

What Would You Say To Your Younger Self?

Regret and self-doubt are insidious things and can cause a ridiculous level of unnecessary suffering in one’s own life. That’s why it is SO important to accept life as it’s been presented to you without the concept of regret in your heart and mind. Now bear in mind, I’m not suggesting you just lay back and let whatever happens direct your life. If you want to see change, you need to make change. But my point is that every choice, decision and incident (good or bad) that’s happened in your life has brought you to the here and now and has minded you into the person you are today.

Unless you’re a complete piece of shit, it should be difficult or impossible to regret the steps in your life that have brought you to your current state. From there, it should be a completely separate battle to forge your CURRENT existence into something other than what it is, if you so choose. That’s why I get some serious entertainment from the many social media posts I see these days where people ask the question: “What would say to the younger version of yourself?”

This is actually an interesting question and one that I’ve contemplated several times when spotting these entertainment posts. On the one hand and in keeping with my opening statements about no regret, I think it would be hard for me to try and say anything to my younger self that could potentially alter the course of my life. For example, although it would make sense for me to speak a 4-year old me and tell him to start karate right away instead of waiting until the age of 10 and it would seem to be something that could help, those actions could likely cause effects that would seriously alter and disrupt life as I’ve come to know it. I can hear Doc Brown screaming, already!

In all seriousness, I had a lot going on when I was 4-years old. I was diagnosed as a Type-1 Diabetic, my health and life were in jeopardy and our household was still in the throes of constant hospital visits and travel for my brother. I can’t see my being able to attend karate through all of that and since my mother all but hauled me out by my shirt tails from the precursor to Boy Scouts BECAUSE I was diagnosed as Diabetic, I don’t believe she would have allowed me to join and stay, in karate.

But martial arts aside, the question was what I would say to my younger self, which is a loaded and difficult question. After all, even something seemingly innocent and without future information could be damaging. If one were to tell a younger self “it gets better,” this could still prompt a lack of caution or laziness on the part of one’s past self. That being said, I often reflect on some of the joyful experiences I had in my younger years and I think that if nothing else, it might be pleasant to watch those experiences play out through my current eyes. Often in life, we don’t appreciate how easy we may have had it or how good things were and can only realize the same through reflection.

I guess the moral of the story is I, personally, wouldn’t say anything to my younger self. And you shouldn’t want to, either. Although people are likely tired of hearing that everything happens for a reason, even if you aren’t in the best place right now, NOW is when you need to make the change; not 20 years ago. Reflection and self-realization are the tools necessary for a happier life with less suffering. Food for thought… ☯️

No “Thank You…”

I encountered a strange situation last week that I can honestly say I’ve never experienced before. I was making my way to work early in the morning and as I like doing on the odd occasion, I decided to go through a local eatery for a take-out coffee. For the most part, I’m partial to chugging a quick energy drink in the morning and no, don’t feel the need to fill my comments section on that! Who am I kidding? No one EVER fills my comment section. But I digress…

Since I start my morning with a can and actually have my own coffee machine at the office, I usually don’t indulge in take out coffee. Since I don’t like getting sued and I don’t need it reaching the wrong ears, I won’t name the location I attended but will simply point out that it’s a place whose primary focus is coffee. ‘Nuff said. As I mentioned, I only do this once a month or so when I’m feeling that my morning could use an added pick-me-up to get me started.

I pulled up to the drive-thru lane and was extremely pleased to see that there was only one other vehicle at the speaker. I didn’t see a line-up at the window, inciting me to believe I would have a quick, seamless experience and be able to make my way to the office without incident. Although very little that happens in the world surprises me anymore, I have to admit that the interaction with the speaker employee that ensued left me a bit taken aback.

I placed my order, which is about as simple as it gets. I ordered a medium coffee with two sweeteners. The employee’s response was to provide the total and to ask me to “Please drive up!” I loudly and clearly said thank you, as is my habit and custom. Politeness and respect cost nothing, and thanking someone who is serving you your beverage can usually go a long way towards potentially adding a bit of positivity in their day. Except in this case. In this case, it had the opposite effect.

The employee came back on the speaker and asked if I needed to order something else. I had started rolling by that point and jammed the brakes and explained that no, I was simply saying thank you. This person went on to say that it wasn’t necessary to say thank you and that speaking AFTER they say “please drive up” triggers them to assume the next order is at the speaker. I’m not sure I understood that logic, either when it happened or even now. Since I had him on the speaker, I explained that I was simply trying to be polite and showing respect to someone working towards providing me with my beverage.

I got no response to that, so I drove up to the window. I was perplexed. Confused beyond reason. I started looking around for television cameras because I assumed I was on some sort of prank show… I have occasionally been called out for neglecting to say thank you when I likely should have. Never in my LIFE have I had someone take me to take on actually SAYING thank you. Not wanting to create unnecessary conflicts and simply wanting my coffee, I didn’t plan on addressing this issue at the window. After all, I don‘t know this person. Perhaps they’re having a bad morning, themselves. Maybe it’s simply their personality. Maybe, just maybe, they subscribe to an abstract belief that having someone thank them is offensive. Who knows? It’s 2022, people!

I had someone different at the window and as I mentioned, I had no plans on addressing the matter. I simply paid for my coffee and went on my way. It left me with a strange feeling. I try to start my mornings off on a positive note so that it sets the tone for the remainder. This doesn’t always work, but politeness and respect plays a role in that. But if someone had told me that this type of response COULD happen, I likely would have laughed at the absurdity of it. telling someone NOT to say thank you? Strange, indeed. But in a world where people eat laundry detergent pods and snort condoms on a dare, I suppose I really should stop being surprised at the things I see. ☯️

Sweatin’ In The Weeds…

I had an interesting Sunday, last weekend. Although I usually make a reasonable attempt at pushing myself, I can admit that there are almost as many times where I succumb to flopping down in a comfy chair with a cigar on the weekends as opposed to getting at some of the things I should be accomplishing, like, oh, I don’t know… WORKING OUT! But when we arrived from our trip to the East Coast almost two weeks ago, I was taken aback at the state of my back yard.

The back yard is where the majority of our daily sunlight strikes, with very little impacting the front yard. This means that growth, both for lawns and weeds, is at least two-fold in the back yard. It can make weekends challenging, since I usually prefer my Sundays to be a time of relaxation before getting back into the work week with maybe a workout thrown in. Since I was kind enough to ignore the yard the previous weekend, I knew I would have to attack it last weekend or face some significant difficulties in bring the weeds a and lawn growth under control before the autumn struck.

Cue last Sunday morning. My well-meaning intentions included waking at 5 or 6 so that I could get started on the yard before the Sun rose high enough to turn it into a proverbial frying pan. Given that my toddler had us up at about 4:45 a.m. on Saturday morning, my body fiercely objected to waking at such an hour. So I rolls out of bed just shy before 9:00 a.m. Okay, not such a great start. I started my morning by sitting down with some caffeine and watching an episode of Star Wars: obi-Wan Kenobi. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it.

I stepped outside in the morning heat and my oldest son, Nathan decided to join me. He actually wanted to help, so I had him grab his gardening gloves and gave him a weed-pulling job on the promise of letting him use the weed whacked later on. I started by mowing all the overgrown grass while Nathan plucked all then weeds from the Stoney path we have on the west side of the back yard. by the time I had mowed the lawn, he had finished pulling every weed. I mean, that area was immaculate. I was reasonably impressed and a deal is a deal, so he got the weed whacked out and I instructed him on where and how he was to use it. he went to work.

I wound up weeding the large, concrete circle planter that used to house an actual tree while Nathan finished whacking the weeds, as it were. He worked hard and followed instructions. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was quite impressed at the work acumen he was showing this morning. Once he had been using the weed whacked for a while, he asked to take a break and go inside, which made sense since the Sun was starting to make things unbearable. I was soaked myself, having toiled in the back yard for about two hours at that point.

He went inside and I soon discovered WHY he wanted to take a break… he had used the weed whacked too close to his play structure and busted both sides of the cord the weed whacked uses. And easy fix but to a 7-year old, he was likely done because it would trim weeds anymore. It was a good idea for him to cool off and get some water in him at that point anyway. I finished up what I was doing, followed by a 1-litre bottle of cold water, some fruit/veggie juice and a nice cigar. My Sunday had finally arrived…

I decided to spare all of you from the dampness showing through the lower part of that Superman shirt but as you can clearly see from the damp sheen on my forehead, it took quite a while for me to cool down and in fact, it didn’t happen until I got back inside. I performed a quick, 30-minute marine workout and once I cleaned myself up, I had to run to the grocery store to grab a few essentials And spent the rest of my day inside the cool sanctuary of my home while doing start-of-week laundry.

The only unfortunate part is that between the heat, the yard work, the workout and everything else, my blood sugars played a fun game they like to call “roller coaster.” I bounced low and high a number of times throughout the day, proving yet again that just about everything affects blood sugars. I had it under control by the time I crashed into bed, but it added to the overall exhaustion. Looking forward to the coming weekend to see what activities can potentially be done with the kids instead of focused on yard work. ☯️