The Beetles Were Wrong…

Falling in love is one of the great gifts of life. When you finally find that special someone that completes your life, it can be overwhelming and all-encompassing. It can also bring a level of happiness and joy that’s rarely matched by anything else you may experience in life. In fact, the good things in life become better when you have that special someone to share it with. Ultimately, love heals and the world could certainly use a little more love than most of what’s spewed out in society, even at the present moment.

But love is also conditional on one’s ability to understand that unlike the Beetles’ song, you do, in fact, need much more than love. This is one of those times where I should throw up a quick sentence or two explaining that I’m not an expert in relationships and my advice should be taken with grain of salt. Especially since I’ve had enough failed relationships in my younger years to write a digest. But failure in name isn’t always failure in fact. And these failed relationships have taught what’s necessary in order to make a relationship work. But since this post has been flagged as my “opinion,” we should be good to go.

A good, strong relationship takes much more than love. It takes patience, communication, understanding and just enough similarities to mesh well, together while having enough difference to challenge and help each other grow. There are a bunch of other things that are necessary, as well. But what am I, a couple’s therapist? Definitely not. Like many people in modern society, I’ve been married more than once. It’s not something that I talk about much, but that failed marriage taught me the important aspects that I carried over into future relationships and ultimately into the relationship that will last me well into my next life. Let’s examine a few of these aspects in greater detail…

Patience is the biggest one and the first in my list. Without patience, there can be nothing else. The reasoning behind this is quite simple. No matter how much you love someone and how much you may or may not have in common, patience is needed in order to pave the way for the other relationship virtues I named above. If one is not patient with one’s partner, it can leave the relationship open to unnecessary conflict and hostility, which is never healthy for any relationship. I know many sources will say that it’s good to occasionally open the spigot and let the pent-up aggression out and that it can actually help make the relationship stronger. Maybe. But that’s a BIG maybe. I prefer to think that if one communicates properly, one can avoid the trappings of aggression and conflict, which leads me to the next virtuous aspect…

Communication is an integral part of living among a population of people, whether you happen to be involved with them intimately or not. Those who find themselves unable or unwilling to communicate effectively will usually face a host of issues with the other parties involved and this is no different with personal and intimate relationships. You need to be able to talk things out, discuss important topics and be willing to compromise and concede the point. You can love the other person with every fibre in your soul but if you can’t communicate, the relationship will inevitably falter.

And to be clear, good communication doesn’t just mean telling the other party what you want/feel and expecting them to accommodate you. It also involves hearing what the other person is saying and be willing to compromise on key points. For example, what’s their stance on finances? Do they want children? Even political positions can have a bearing and consequences on how well and how long the relationship may last. But if you have open and willing communication between two people and they’re willing to compromise and meet in the middle on key issues, it will make life and love all the easier and smoother.

Lastly, understanding is the result of patience and good communication. Sensei used to tell me that I was born with two ears and only one mouth, which means I should listen twice as much as I talk. granted, I think that saying was coined elsewhere but the lesson is sound. Understanding is part of the foundation of a solid relationship. It isn’t enough to listen and HEAR something from your partner. you need to understand the message they’re trying to impart, bearing in mind that you deserve all these same things, as well.

Loving someone is an important part of a relationship. You should never tether yourself to another person is love isn’t there. But love isn’t enough. You need to be able to communicate with that person effectively. You need to be understanding and not make demands of that person, nor should they be demanding things of you. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Love is patient, love is kind…” But you and your partner are the ones who need to be patient with each other. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest with each other, talk to each other and compromise on key points. Contrary to what you may have read, don’t be afraid to go to bed angry. If nothing else, you’ll both have the opportunity to cool off and think things through before saying something that you’ll both regret. There’s my two cents on relationships. Food for thought… ☯️

No Good Deed…

They say that no good deed goes unpunished…. I’m not sure I agree but some of the experiences I’ve lived through in the past three years would certainly seem to suggest this. But I was raised to believe that it’s important to help others if you can. In fact, my grandfather used to say that if you COULD help someone, you essentially have a responsibility to do so. For the majority of my life, that lesson has rattled around in my head every time I see someone struggling to carry something heavy, someone who needs help in a more ambulatory sense.

Last Thursday, I was at a retail location in the city and was walking to my car when I saw a small, silver Honda Civic sitting halfway out of a parking space and appeared to be spinning in place. Two guys appeared to be pushing at the front of the car and I thought to myself, Okay, they got this. I’ll just get myself home… Then I heard one of the guys say, “You’re hung up bad, dude. We can’t get you out.” And both guys walked away. What? you push once, car doesn’t move so you walk away from this guy who’s by himself? That dog won’t hunt, monseigneur!

I walked over to find a skinny, young guy trying to shovel himself out with a small shovel and appeared despondent. I offered to push while he gave the car small bursts of acceleration. I instructed him to cut his wheels a particular direction, but there was a significant language barrier and he basically just floored the accelerator and waited while I struggled against the vehicle. Now, I’m not an Olympian by any standard but I’m also not the smallest guy around. And a Honda Civic is a pretty small and light vehicle. That’s why it was hung up; it didn’t have enough weight to touch ground through the snow.

I heaved, pushing and lifting with my legs and giving it all my strength. My back popped and cracked and groaned in protest but the car started moving. trying to make the driver understand to allow the vehicle to rock back and forth to help get it out of its rut, but that wasn’t happening. He had me take the wheel, citing that I’d likely know how better to drive. not sure where THAT came from, but I gave it a try. When that didn’t work, I went back to trying to push.

The big problem is that he was blocking an entire travel lane for the parking lot and people were sliding around, trying to avoid his rear bumper and nearly colliding with other, oncoming vehicles. I felt I couldn’t just leave this guy to deal with all this alone. I also recognized that if it were my wife stuck in this situation, I’d want someone coming to help her if I wasn’t there.

Two other people finally came and helped me push and the driver’s vehicle finally got out. But the damage was done. My back flared and I could already feel a tightness beginning that I knew I would be paying for later. When i got home and explained to my wife what had happened , she quickly gave me some anti-inflammatory caplets. But the pain persisted and worsened as the evening progressed. The worst came when I bent over to hug my toddler and the pain flared like a bright light behind my eyes, to the point where tears started rolling down.

My wife asked if I needed a hospital visit. Not in today’s climate, thank you very much! Besides, I didn’t have four to six hours to wait in a triage room for the staff to send me home with ibuprofen. My back wasn’t broken, I likely just pulled something. It feels alright at the moment but I’ve certainly been taking it easy, the past few days. Winter has just started and this isn’t the time to be out of commission, considering that snow won’t remove itself.

Do I regret helping that person? Would I have reconsidered, had I known I would injure myself? In retrospect, it’s easy to say no but I likely would have altered how I would have given that help in order to prevent injury. But this taught me two things: I’m no longer young as springtime and my body has no compunctions against letting me know. It also shows that strength isn’t everything. Even if one is strong enough to do a thing, it won’t necessarily mean you SHOULD do a thing. But helping another human being is important, and definitely felt good despite the pain. Worth it. Food for thought…☯️

True Strength…

Found this online and I like it. So, I’m sharing it. That is all! Have a great one, everybody! ☯️

I Need Help With Movember…

For those who may not be aware, the month of November is known as “Movember,” where men from all over channel their inner 80’s porn star and piss off their respective partners by growing out their moustaches to help raise funds for prostate and testicular cancer, as well as suicide prevention and general men’s health. I’ve participated every year for more years than i can recall, but this year I decided to go in a different direction and established a team among my staff. We’ve all participated and made donations, setting a modest goal of $500 for the month.

My team and I have already managed to raise $290 in donations, but there’s only ten days left to the month! I’ve posted to Facebook and Snapchat as well, and it’s my hope that some of my followers can help by pitching in $5 or $10 dollars to help us cross the finish line. As a general rule, I never use my blog as a platform to solicit for things. But I could really use your help. Times are tough for everyone but every little bit helps. If you can find it within yourself to spare a couple of dollars, you can find my team’s Movember page by visiting the Movember Home Page, clicking on “Donate,” select “give to a person or team and search for me by name (Shawn Cook).

How can you say no to this majestic ‘stache?

I’m a firm believer in asking when you need help. If you can’t donate, no worries. No harm, no foul. Just scroll on by and tomorrow will be a new post with actual content. My word on it. But if you can/do donate, thank you. My grandfather had prostate cancer and several members of my family have had SOME form of cancer. We all know someone who does. Peace. ☯️

Dojos Shouldn’t Be Built In Glass Houses…

Those who know me well are aware that in some ways, a lot of ways, I’m a bit of an old dog. And we all know what they say about the aching us new tricks. I’ve been studying Okinawan karate for over 30 years and as such, I’m a bit set in my ways as it relates to adaptability. This sucks, because variety is the spice of life and one should never be bogged down or restricted by only one style.

With that in mind, I started training with a local karate dojo located in Regina, back in 2016. Although it’s a different style with significantly different techniques and ways of doing things than I’m used to, the camaraderie and ambiance have been just what the doctor ordered to keep me motivated and practicing. What’s nice is that there’s been some exchange of knowledge between our respective styles, so everyone learns.

However, as with most things nowadays, COVID-19 stuck a needle in my eye by closing down the dojo. We were having virtual classes for a while and then even those stopped. When conditions lifted in Saskatchewan last September, everyone was overjoyed to return to the dojo in person and get some training in. Then conditions and health regulations changed once again at the end of September, leading the dojo to close its doors again. this was mostly due to the requirements imposed by the martial arts association it’s a part of. but I digress…

With nowhere to train and my martial arts muscles twitching, I sought out different schools in order to find someplace new to get my kicks (pun fully intended). Last Monday, I visited a local school, here in Regina. Since perspective is extremely important in the martial arts and all of this is strictly my opinion, I won’t name the school or even the style. Suffice it to say it would have been something completely new for me.

Considering how long I’ve been doing this, i have a particular set of expectations when it comes to dojos and martial arts schools. Not everyone agrees with them and it often restricts me in the sense that I’m viewing this place with that narrow lens instead of considering what I could learn. This is the issue I faced last Monday evening when I attended this new school.

Class was scheduled for 7:00 pm and was only for an hour. This is my first red flag. Class minimum was always two hours when I trained back home and even then, we had difficulties walking out without showering Sensei with questions and asking about techniques for at least twenty minutes afterwards. It’s pretty hard to truly get into in-depth training with only an hour to work with. But in the interest of having an open mind, I reserved my opinion in favour of seeing what they’d offer in only sixty minutes.

I walked in at 6:45 and was greeted at the entrance by a few students who were standing there waiting. This took me aback a bit, as it’s important to stretch and warm up before training. Everyone was very friendly, introduced themselves and asked me what I knew about their style. I was told that the lead instructor was providing a private session and that class would start promptly at 7. Prior to class start, the students as well as the instructor tried their best to have me join in as opposed to watching. I politely declined, stating I wanted to observe a class first.

I couldn’t help but notice that the lead instructor was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap. I thought maybe this was just for the private session and he’d change into something appropriate before class started, but that didn’t happen. He was also wearing rings and a metal bracelet, which is frowned upon in most martial arts schools as you can injure yourself or others while training.

The class started and one of the students led the class in about 20 to 30 minutes worth of stretches and warm-up, which should have been done independently by the students prior to start of class. But again, this is simply an opinion. At the halfway point, everyone paired off and started practicing techniques. It should be noted that the instructor has done nothing at this point, other than walking around the group. Techniques were practiced in a cursory manner, with no precision or correction and EVERYONE was chatting while they trained. Not about the material, moons you. They were chatting about personal matters.

At the end of the hour, everyone bowed out and immediately started exiting. No follow up, no questions and most importantly, no one had broken a sweat and the instructor had not participated. He was extremely polite and invited me back to start taking lessons. I thanked him for his time and said some goodbyes to the students I had met and made my way home. I haven’t returned.

This is where my opening comment about being an old dog comes in. Where I was trained, the student was responsible for arriving a minimum of 15 minutes before start of class and stretching appropriately so that everyone was ready to jump into it once class started. There’s also an expectation that everyone works hard and everyone sweats. The expression is “blood, sweat and tears,” not “tea time and socializing.” There’s a time and place for students to come together and chat, but during class time is not it.

Another issue is the instructor’s lack of involvement. This is a red flag, as the instructor SHOULD be involved in training, as much if not more than the students. I’ve heard of some styles that believe that “black belts don’t sweat,” but that’s utter bullshit. A true martial artist’s training never ends, so there needs to be an active involvement.

I left the school that night a little sad and disappointed. As I said earlier, I haven’t returned. But on the other hand, the school may have great value to its students for what THEY need. The takeaway is that it simply wasn’t for me. And this is an important lesson. Martial arts is very subjective thing and the style and habits of the school are integral to ensuring the student and/or practitioners are getting what they seek from their training.

As it stands, the search for a place to train continues. And that’s fine. Considering how much I train on my own and the fact there are over three dozen schools in Regina alone, I’m sure I’ll find something. Persistence is key. But for all of you trying to find a place to train, make sure you know what you want to get out of your training. Be honest with yourself and with the instructor about what you want and what you expect. This will save significant amount of unwanted difficulty later on. ☯️

I Can “Sense” It…

It’s been about a week since I ran out of CGM sensors and transitioned back to Freestyle Libre. To provide some context, I recently found out that the health benefits at my new work only covers $1,000 worth of Diabetes equipment. Prescribed medications seem to be fine, but tangible “equipment” seems to have a cap on it. Imagine my surprise, when I got to the pharmacy to pick up my $360 worth of sensors only to be told I had to pay for them. I shouldn’t complain TOO much, since I know many people don’t have the benefit of, well… benefits!

My recently placed FreeStyle Libre

I remember the long-gone days of having absolutely no coverage and living by manually injecting two different types of insulin using pens and re-using the needles ad nauseam because I couldn’t afford to buy fresh ones. Don’t even get me started on how often I used a finger lancet before I changed it. Those were dark days, considering I had months where I couldn’t afford to insure my car because I had to choose between a vehicle or paying for Diabetes supplies.

Considering my posts over the past two days have been a bit on the morose side, I don’t want to necessarily focus on the negative. Once I joined the Force, I was blessed to have complete coverage without ever needing to worry about paying for something. The only exception was my eye injections, which required me to pay up front and be reimbursed later on. No big deal, right? My new coverage plan apparently has some limitations. Unfortunately, given the cost of pump supplies, this coverage maximum only provides for about three to four months of coverage.

I’m currently doing research to ascertain if I can obtain some type of external coverage to supplement these costs or else I may face the prospect of coming off pump therapy. This would be detrimental to my health, considering how well I’ve been doing and how nice my A1C’s have been. The only saving grace is that my benefits start back up at the beginning of the calendar year. So I really only need to make it through until January in order to get some coverage, albeit for only a few months.

My sensor glucose, first-thing in the morning

As seen from the image above, using a Freestyle Libre has some benefits and disadvantages. Unlike CGM, it requires my active involvement to read sensor glucose. The CGM would read glucose on its own every five minutes. The Libre lacks some precision where the CGM would provide much more precise readings and tether with the pump so that it can provide micro-boluses to accommodate rising blood sugars. Luckily, a free app that can be downloaded to my iPhone allows me to take readings without paying the approximately $65 for a reader that does the excat same thing.

Some of the benefits include the fact that unlike CGM, the Libre lasts for 14 days instead of 7. As to why CGM hasn’t caught up with that trend is beyond me, since it’s supposed to be more advanced. The other benefits is that a 1-month supply of Freestyle Libre is far cheaper than CGM (almost half the cost, in fact), making it easier for me to get by and pay out of pocket. The nice thing is that once I had switched to CGM I stock-piled some of the Freestyle Libres I had coming in, so I have more than enough to get me through until January.

My readings look a bit more chaotic when compared over 24 hours

My whole reason for upgrading to the Medtronic 670G was because of its supposed amazing sensor usage and SmartGuard technology. Despite the fact that there was nothing wrong with my previous pump (besides being over five years old and off warranty) I decided to try it and I wasn’t disappointed. Sometime last summer, I was slapped in the face with the lowest A1C reading I’ve had in decades: 6.9! My last one, which would have been in September, had crept back up to 7.4, but this was mainly attributed to the stresses associated with starting a new job and overseeing renovations of my basement.

Am I pleased to have dropped down to using Freestyle Libre again? No. Could it be worse? I hate it when people tell me this, but yes. Yes, it could be much, much worse. I still have control over my blood sugars, albeit with a little more effort. I’ll still maintaining my health and taking active steps to ensure that I manage myself properly. Hopefully when the dust settles and I manage to figure this out, it’ll be back to business as usual. Until then, I just have to appreciate what I have as opposed to complaining about what I don’t. ☯️

All The Colours Of The Alphabet, Part 2

Alright, so this is a continuation of yesterday’s post. If you haven’t read that one, I highly recommend that you do before reading this one. Should you choose not to, it can easily stand on its own as an individual post. But just to provide some context, in the past thirty years I’ve been diagnosed with ADD, OCD and PTSD. The difficulties and complications I’ve faced as a result of these letters attached to my name have been plentiful. When combined with Type-1 Diabetes, it pretty much means I won the bullshit lottery of life. But as most would agree, there are worse things in life.

I’ve often written about some of the worst things that you can say to someone with Type-1 and even type-2 Diabetes about their condition. And trust me, there a lot of things you shouldn’t ask or tell someone with Diabetes, although educating these folks is the key. But it recently dawned on me that there are a number of things that people have told me over the years that absolutely grates on my nerves, as it relates to ADD, OCD and PTSD. I thought it would be productive to provide the top five things you should never say or ask to someone with ANY of the conditions I’ve named herein:

  1. Can’t You Just Sit Still? No, asshole! I can’t! Next question… Seriously though, this one is the top of the list because it drives me absolutely nuts. If I could sit still, don’t you think I could? If I could sit without constantly clicking my nails, playing with the hem of my jeans or constantly surveying the room I’m in and needing to have my back against a wall, I would. But I can’t, by virtue of ADD and OCD but forced upon me by PTSD. Moving on…
  2. It’s All In your Head… Umm, yeah. No shit! This one is actually correct, although not in the context that it’s intended. All of my acronyms are part of who I am and are, in fact, in my head. PTSD has been proven to alter one’s brain activity and causes a measurable injury to one’s brain. ADD and OCD can cause severe anxiety in the involved person, as well it feeling as though it’s beyond our physical capability to stop doing certain things that we do, including but not limited to trying to live in a clean and neat environment, compulsively repeating certain behaviours as well as dealing with the recurring trauma by inadvertent triggers in the general public. These things aren’t anyone’s fault but still cause damage and makes a sufferer’s life all the more difficult.
  3. Maybe You Should Just Let It Go… Oh, this one is like the shit that has nuts in it! Picture holding someone in your arms as they die and you’re the last thing they see as the light of light extinguishes from their eyes. Picture spending HOURS searching for a victim’s leg on the snowy highway before a coroner will allow the body to be removed. Picture staying by a man in his 20’s bedside for several hours because he attempted suicide and failed, leaving him with no face, no ears and no mouth and you’re the only one at his bedside as he faces death with no contact to the outside world. It took him over six hours to finally die… These are not things one can let go. And they are NOT something one can forget. And they are NOT things that any human should have to suffer through or witness.
  4. It’s Just Their Excuse To Drink… Mmmm, no! Unfortunately, since there’s no cure for PTSD, it’s left a lot of sufferers trying to find solace in things like alcohol or elicit drugs. Although these aren’t ideal, they’re often the only recourses for someone stuck in a serious funk because of their condition. War veterans who have historically and recently found themselves without work, seeming to suffer from mental health disorders and alcoholism suffer from PTSD and are usually misjudged by the public. They aren’t lazy, unwilling to work or trying to live a hobo life. They’re simply so deep into their condition that they can’t find a way out. At least not on their own.
  5. It’s No Excuse… Maybe not. And this one hits close to home for me, because I’ve always made a point of trying NOT to use my conditions as an excuse for anything I do. But for some people, a lot of people, they can’t help the compulsions they feel and have to act one. When someone suffers from extreme PTSD and succumbs to it, they can harm not only themselves but others. This is where it becomes important to recognize those signs and be able to remove themselves from that scenario, especially for family members.

ADD, OCD and PTSD are still widely misunderstood and often misdiagnosed conditions, even in modern times. The latter is probably the most prominent in my life and causes me issues and challenges t overcome on a daily basis. It’s at times like this that I’m grateful for martial arts as well as Buddhist and meditative training. they’ve gone a long way towards helping me to maintain myself and prevent issues within my own life. But it isn’t without challenge. Loud and constant noise, such as that created by my children for example, tend to create a static inside my head that I can’t fight off.

If you question or doubt someone’s personal situation on the basis of some mental health related, be sure you know what you’re talking about before you comment. Even though you may be commenting from a place of concern or maybe even exasperation, your comments can have damaging repercussions. Asking why they AREN’T doing something can be far worse than asking what YOU can do. Sometimes it can mean just leaving the person be. Sometimes, they may actually need help with something. Everyone is facing a battle others won’t know about. At the end of the day, helping and healing should take precedence over questions and judgments. Food for thought… ☯

All The Colours Of the Alphabet, Part 1

To say that my childhood had an interesting variety of bullshit would be an understatement. On the one side, I got to spend the majority of my childhood in various hospitals for both myself and my brother. Being there for myself was better. When I was there for my brother, I got to face the potential that we were there because he would die. I learned from a young age to sit still, be quiet and wait for the storm to pass. Having learned to sit still is a bit of an irony…

From a young age I seemed to find myself unable to sit still for extended periods of time, my mind would drift away from the matter at hand and I was always living life with my head in the clouds and preferred not to pay attention to the realities of life. This made sense when you factored in my health complications and my brothers. A world of make-believe was obviously better than dealing with the multiple comas I suffered through due to Diabetes or the constant threat of death my brother faced due to the multiple health conditions he faced.

But soon after my seventh birthday, I attended a doctor’s appointment that changed my life. I thought I was getting a check-up because of my Diabetes, which I had learned to zone out and let the adults talk. Turns out that was part of the problem; this appointment was the day I was diagnosed with ADD. ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder, is usually diagnosed when a child’s school work begins to suffer as a result of lack of attention, impulsive behaviour and hyperactivity. That last one never really applied to me but I found myself frequently unable to sit still for longer than a few seconds at a time (a problem I still face as an adult).

Being the stubborn French-Acadian woman that she is, my mother refused to allow the doctor to prescribe any mood-altering medications often associated with ADD by virtu of the fact she had to watch my older brother shovel a dozen different prescriptions down his throat every day. She felt the risk of how new meds would affect my blood sugars far outweighed the benefit of “calming me down.” I’m grateful to her for that, but it still made for a difficult childhood and even my teens years. It would get WORSE once I hit my teens…

Worse, you say? How could it possibly get worse? Well, my attention issues became compounded by certain compulsive behaviours. On their own, one wouldn’t think much of them. As a combined totality, I was soon diagnosed with OCD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviour. Contrary to what most people believe, OCD doesn’t just involve a compulsive need to clean things. It can involve annoying and intrusive obsessions, repetitive behaviours and strict routines that can cause wicked anxiety if they aren’t adhered to.

One good example is my inability to purchase only ONE of something, when the special indicates that you can get two for the price of something. The urge is stronger than I can overcome. I do have some cleaning and neatness compulsions that piggy-back on my many ticks and compulsions. That doesn’t make it better. I’m jus’ sayin’… Even though OCD isn’t genetically inherent, it’s a good time to point out that my mother has full-blown signs of OCD, cleaning and neatness compulsions. My grandmother was so bad that she’d walk by sliding on two squares of paper towel for a full week after cleaning her floor.

Then I decided I need to do my part for the world and train to protect others. As a result, I spent thirteen years working as a police officer. The population as a whole have a love/hate relationship with the police. Some see them as an important part of keeping our society safe. Others see them as part of the problem. No matter which side of the balance you happen to find yourself, I shouldn’t need to explain that we’re often subjected to situations that can cause severe damage to a person’s psych. that’s where the next acronym comes in: PTSD.

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is defined differently depending on the source you read. For the most part, it involves having a person exposed to traumatic events, sustained violence or threats of injury or death. Although a bit biased, I would say that policing puts one in this context, easily. I won’t get into some of the situations I’ve lived through during my policing career, as reminding myself of them is problematic. But some of the things I’ve seen and experienced haunt me years later, cause nightmares and trigger me at the worse possible times. Like the way being in a crowded restaurant sets my brain on fire. But I digress…

Over the years, I’ve been “blessed” with having all these acronyms attached to who I am as a person. They’ve provided significant challenge and combining the three has made a fantastic milkshake of difficulty and complications that I struggle with from week to week. It makes it difficult to sleep, difficult to deal with large public masses of people and exceptionally difficult to want to do anything outside the house (with some exceptions).

Before I get too maudlin here and spoil the mood (if I haven’t already), the reason I bring all of these up is that the last ten years or so have seen some fantastic strides in recognizing these conditions as something genuine and not just “all in one’s head.” ADHD, OCD and PTSD have come to be acknowledged as actual conditions and not just something that one needs to treat by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. Despite these strides, there’s still a lot of stigma and misunderstanding associated with these acronyms. It makes one’s life difficult, in work, leisure and home life. How it’s perceived by public carries a lot of weight to how society chooses to understand these conditions. Food for thought and more to come… ☯

My New Basement…

It’s been a long, winding road for my basement… It started over a year ago, when our foundation shifted and allowed a bunch of ground water to seep into the open area of our living space. It damaged a bunch of personal property and basically rendered the basement unliveable, which really sucked since I had my workout area AND my home office in our basement. This would have come in handy for the months where my current organization allowed for work-from-home conditions. Your can see the original basement and some of the progress in a previous post entitled Home Is Where The Cost Is. But I digress…

This short video shows the finished (basically) product of our basement renovations. Not only do I have a second, functional bathroom once again but the completed renovations will also allow me to once again have a home office from which I can occasionally work. I’m quite impressed with the work that’s been done and I have to give a shoutout to Grasshopper Construction for all their hard work and skill. ☯

My Suit Won’t Stop Me From Changing The Trash…

After about thirteen years of wearing a uniform, it’s been a blessed change to go to work in a suit every day. A number of my colleagues and coworkers don’t adopt this practice, preferring to spend their work days in more casual attire, including khakis and polo shirts. But I don’t know, I kind of love wearing a suit. When one considers the broad selection of shirts and ties one can choose from, it allows for a certain level of creativity in one’s daily look that can’t be achieved when wearing an issued uniform.

That being said, I’ve noticed an interesting trend in the months that I’ve been in public while wearing a suit. Perception is everything to the average person (if there truly is such a thing as “average”), and I’ve noticed that people’s behaviour and reactions are different around me when I’m walking in public in a suit. People will be quicker to move out of my way, hold doors open for me and address me as “sir.” In some respects, it’s rather nice. In others, it speaks to a blind perception that society has about status and misinterpretation.

I can walk through the same environment wearing faded jeans and my favourite karate jacket and the responses I’ll get will be radically different. This blind perception is interesting, since I was raised that holding the door for someone is a sign of respect and politeness as opposed to being done as a result of believing the person you’re doing it for is of a “higher status” than you.

I call it a blind perception because that person wearing a suit may be on their way to a wedding, funeral or a job interview. Maybe they just like wearing suits. It doesn’t speak to status, wealth or social level like it used to in previous generations. you can still refer to someone as “sir” or “ma’am” as a show of respect and politeness without necessarily thinking they’re “entitled” to it.

I’m not sure where I’m going with today’s post. I think it’s mostly just dumping out my thoughts since it’s something I’ve noticed over recent months. Keep in mind that politeness and general respect for others should be the standard, not the exception. And certainly not dependent on what someone may be wearing or one’s biased perspective. Food for thought…☯️