I hate to admit it…

…but as much as I love having Sunshine visit me here in my city, I think we end up having more fun in HER city.

I mean, I absolutely LOVE where I live. I feel like it’s a great city and has so much to offer.  Yet this past weekend Sunshine came to visit me and I felt…dare I say…a little bored.

And it had nothing to do with Sunshine and I. It was totally the situation and the lack of options.

Downtown Moncton farmer's market.

We hit two of the local farmer’s markets…and both of them were boring. They weren’t that busy and there was no “excitement” or “hustle-n-bustle” feeling to either one of them. And if you weren’t into bread/pastries (or weren’t hungry for food from around the world), there wasn’t a whole lot there to look at. And heaven forbid you make eye contact with somebody…yeesh. RUN!!

Honestly, they both paled in comparison to not only the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market that we usually go to, but also the Harborview Weekend Market in Dartmouth that we get a kick out of. So Saturday morning was kind of a bust.

Meh

There’s nothing really to see or do in the downtown area, so where we may normally take in the sites and sounds of the downtown/waterfront area of Halifax just for something to do, it wasn’t the same in Moncton.

We went out for dinner and drinks with friends on Saturday night…only to find that the food was too expensive and the options for drinks afterwards was brutal. Either the place wasn’t welcoming or the place was dead or the drinks were simply over-priced.

The highlight of the evening involved a bachelor party. They showed up that we were having dinner and were drinking and rowdy and just out for a good time. They all had matching shirts but the bachelor’s shirt had a list of things he was supposed to get done before the night was over…

Yeah...

Sunshine was more than willing to help fulfill one of the items on this shirt. So guess what she ended up doing?  Well…unfortunately there weren’t any women around for her to make out with (that would have been my personal preference…lol), but she was all too eager to take off the guy’s belt and whip his ass in front of the entire bar.

And she did…

Yes...the guy is wearing a thong. Yes...his ass cheek is a bit more red than it should be. Yes...this is more male nudity than I expected to see on this particular evening.

Needless to say, visiting my dad on Sunday was a nice distraction.  I do enjoy visiting him with Sunshine because they get along so well.  But when we went to visit my aunt and uncle, we found that they weren’t there…so we went to the local coffee shop and sat there a bit uncomfortably drinking iced cappucinos.

When Sunshine left on Sunday evening, I really wished that I could have given her MORE of a weekend.  I felt as though the money she spent to visit me was a bit wasted on the lack of fun that we normally would have if I were in her city.

So for now, I guess, I’m not going to nag her or poke fun at her for not visiting me here nearly as often as I’d like her to…because quite frankly, I don’t think it’s the better option.

We’ve got two weekends left in our “five-weekends-in-a-row” stretch, and I’m going to do my best to make the most of them.

Way out…

Sunshine is (finally) coming to my city this weekend for a visit.  There are a few reasons why she doesn’t visit here more often, primarily financial and work-related…but I’m always excited to have her spend time with me in the city that I live in and have grown to call home over the past ten years.

My city is only around 100,000 people, so it’s small enough that it has a small-town feel yet large enough to provide you with anything you’d like to do as any major city would (without the high crime rates!).

We’ve got a lot of things scheduled for the weekend, but nothing huge. We’re hitting the farmer’s markets tomorrow morning, going on a “double date” with a co-worker of mine tomorrow night, and then visiting my family again on Sunday.

It’s the third weekend of a five-weekend stretch where we’re fortunate enough to be able to see each other without a break.  It’s gonna be pretty tough to get back to an “every other weekend” schedule once this is done because I gotta be honest…I could really get used to this.

So if you’re in a relationship and you live in the same city as them, do me a favor this weekend and tell your partner how much you really appreciate them.  Let them know that you don’t take what the two of your share for granted.  And then be thankful that you don’t have to drive three hours to see the person you love.

And if you’re not in a relationship, please don’t get too discouraged.  It’s out there…it CAN happen…you just need patience. I have found that the relationships I went through in my 20’s and early 30’s have not only helped me grow as a person, but have definitely prepared me for the relationship I’m in now. As you mature, you not only recognize what you’re looking for but are able to better work through any obstacles that may be placed in your way because you’ve been there, you’ve done that, and you know how to make it work.

So to kick off the weekend, I’m posting the newest video by one of my all-time favorite pop bands, Roxette (yes…they’re back!). It’s cheesy, it’s catchy, and it’s a bit “rock-y”…just the way I remember them.

I’m posting the video because at the end of the day, much like the song says, I didn’t mean to fall in love…but sometimes you just don’t decide for yourself. Sometime the Universe decides for you…and THAT is when you know it’s right.


I’m Not Wearing Any Pants

The world is a crazy place…

Scotty McCreery

– So Scotty won American Idol last night.  Meh…I guess I could see that coming.  I mean, it’s not like the guy sucks or anything…he’s a very good country crooner and will have a great career as time goes on.  I guess my problem is that I really didn’t think he was the best performer/singer/artist out of the Top 10 that they had this year.  The season certainly wasn’t without it’s controversies (all that positivity, Tyler’s cursing/creepy glares, J-Lo’s improbable musical comeback), but I gotta tell you that I stopped watching entirely once Pia got voted out.

Pia Toscano

I realize that AI is more of a popularity contest instead of a singing competition, but when Pia got voted out as early as she did I just didn’t care about the show anymore because (to me, at least) all credibility in the competition was lost (and I know Random Esquire was also quite upset in learning she was gone…if that tells you anything). In addition, with James gone I didn’t even care about the final three at all…he was my second choice to win the whole thing.  So yeah…thanks, American Idol. I couldn’t care less.

– I am watching The Voice, however.  Do I think the singing is better?  Well…it’s still really too early to tell. I’m intrigued by the gimmicky nature of the show, but I don’t know if fans will tune in once the gimmicks are done (the blind auditions, the “battle” rounds). I didn’t think I’d like the combination of judges that they had, regardless of their fame.  However, I’m enjoying their banter and think all four of them not only have chemistry but have something that AI didn’t have this season with their judges: honesty in their reviews even if it’s not positive.

– Why in the blue hell do people post their lives on Facebook for the world to see?  We’re not talking anonymous blog posts and I’m not talking about pictures or where you are or things of that nature.  But things like this:

Is there such thing as TOO much information?  I mean, do you really need to tell the world that your kid shit on the floor? Do you REALLY need to tell the world that you’re a fuck-up in a blatant attempt to garner sympathy from your friends?

And what’s worse…why are people LIKING these status updates??? What are they liking?  And what’s worse…these are from my sister.  And what’s worse…she’s even more annoying than her status updates in person.

** shudder **

– Remember Chyna?  Wrestling fans should…reality fans might, as well.  It’s kinda sad but once she left wrestling she just couldn’t find any other avenue with her life.  She got into drugs/alcohol, she ended up making a sex tape (doesn’t everybody in Hollywood these days?), she changed her name legally from Joanie Laurer to Chyna just so she could continue to exploit her fleeting fame from her days as a wrestler, and kinda drifted in and around Hollywood doing nothing (she even OD’d on sleeping pills last year).

Oh dear god...

Well…her lust for fame and fortune have resulted in an announcement that’s really five-to-ten years too late: she’s officially getting into porn at age 40. I had the extreme misfortune to have watched her last video, and that really did not scream out “sequel” to me.  However, apparently Vivid has already helped her make a new video called “Backdoor into Chyna” that…ummm…excuse me…I just threw up in my mouth a little and need to go to another topic quickly.  Yikes.

The new cast of Two & a Half Men

– I’m hesitant to admit this, but I might actually try watching Two & A Half Men now that Ashton Kutcher is replacing Charlie Sheen. I doubt I’ll like it, but I’m intrigued enough to give it a shot.  And as for Charlie?  I dunno…I hope the guy can recover his career somehow. He had a sweet gig and now it’s gone.  And because he’s in Hollywood, whatever millions he had in the bank are also probably gone because actors always think money will flow into their lives easily so they spend more than they make.  You’re still winning in my book, Charlie…just don’t go off the deep end again.  On second thought, that’s when you were the most entertaining.  Never mind…get batshit insane again.

– I’m “superhero’d” out and I haven’t seen any bloody movies yet.  I mean, I’ll be the first to say I’ve always enjoyed superhero movies of the “new era”…from X-Men to Daredevil (yes…Daredevil) to The Dark Knight. But as I get ready to see Thor tonight I’m already tiring of the superhero movies coming out this summer.  Next on the agenda is X-Men: First Class, which just looks unnecessary to me. I’m sure it’ll be a great movie and all but I’ve got zero desire to watch it.  Then it’s Captain America, which looks good but I’m still a little wary of it.  Can they really make the transition of this character to the big screen and then realistically have him “frozen” so that he’s available for next year’s Avengers movie?  Yikes.  

But then the biggest question mark of them all: Green Lantern. I’m a big Ryan Reynolds fan so I think this movie should be great in terms of the Hal Jordan character, but there is just SOOOOO much special effect work that it’s really going to be a hit-or-miss situation. Will you tire of the special effects after 20 minutes? Will the story be as confusing as it looks?  I dunno…but with another Batman movie being made, a “reboot” of Spiderman, yet another “reboot” of Superman, and then the Avengers movie all coming out within the next year or so I think I’ll just about have my fill of superheroes.

– The Hangover 2 has a lot of male genitalia, apparently.  Will that prevent me from watching it?  No, because the first one was really funny an this one looks halfway decent.  But at least you can consider yourself better prepared for all the penis you will see if you go to the movie. I, for one, feel better now that I have provided this public service announcement.

– Anna Kournikova is now a trainer on The Biggest Loser.  Really??

– Sunshine is coming to visit me this weekend.  I don’t think she’s been in my city since January, so this will be quite the special event.  Although having said that, my house is a PIG STY and I need to do some major cleaning in the next 24 hours.  We don’t have any huge plans, but it’ll end up being a pretty busy weekend with the local farmer’s markets on Saturday morning, a double-date with a co-worker and his wife on Saturday night, and then visiting my family again this Sunday afternoon (they LOVE her).  When we’re not running the roads, I’m hoping we can just sit back and enjoy each other’s company, as it was a little hectic last weekend with the kids and it’ll be hectic again next weekend with the kids (but in a GOOD way!).  We definitely appreciate the downtime together.

– I hit my online Relay for Life donation goal!  Thanks to some awesome people I was able to raise $500 online for my team.  At this point, my team has raised almost $3,000!!!  I gotta say that this is pretty awesome.  I’m really proud of the team and I’m very much looking forward to doing this again next year.  For those of you who read this blog and donated, I really do appreciate it.  Thank you so very, very much.

– Oh…for those wondering…no, I’m not wearing any pants as I write this post.  You’re welcome.

I’m Alright (Don’t Nobody Worry ‘Bout Me)

The past few months have taken a lot out of me. At the end of last week I felt like I had been in a 12-round boxing match where my opponent wasn’t trying to knock me out, but rather just trying to toy with me and pummel me for all 12 rounds.  But after this past weekend, I feel energized and ready to move on in a way I haven’t felt since Christmas.

Mo, Ankle Biter, & Kiddo try out some new looks.

I feel like I’m finally ready to move on with my life. I feel like I want to get my life back…and I haven’t felt like this in awhile. I don’t know if I can fully explain the “why” behind it all, but last Thursday’s nasty email argument with Sunshine helped put a lot of things into perspective. Add to that a fantastic weekend with my dad, Sunshine, and our kids and I simply felt invigorated.

I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you that I’m fine, though.  I’m not…I’m still a bit broken and not yet at 100%. But I’m tired of having that defeat me on a daily basis.  I’m tired of not laughing or smiling day-to-day. I think I’m finally going through the grieving process and am ready to tackle the world again.

Just three reasons to be happy. Pure joy.

The other thing I’m doing my best to not only tell myself but to actually believe is that I’m deserving of the happiness that’s in my life. I’ve been telling Sunshine for over two years now that she deserves to be happy, all the while not fully believing it myself. Whether it was because of being bullied as a child or always trying to live up to my father’s expectations, I never felt like I deserved happiness because I never quite could please the people I wanted to please…thus feeling like the bullying was deserved and that I was always letting my dad down, regardless of whether or not these were actually true.

I’m a good person. I’ve got a good heart. I’ve worked very hard to become the person that I believe I want to be.  I’m not quite there yet, but I’m definitely on my way.

Here's one reason for me to LIVE life.

So with these realizations on my self-worth, I want to  do my best to parlay that into my day-t0-day life. I want to stop moping at home every night feeling sorry for myself and actually LIVE. I want to stop leaving my house the shell I left it in when I moved in simply because I’m afraid to get too comfortable.  I want to go back to being the man that helped bring joy to others.

The goal: sustained happiness.

So after a mini-break from blogging, I find myself wide awake at 5:39am on a Wednesday morning ready to tackle the world. With each passing day I find myself stronger and stronger and more prepared to be myself again. And at the end of the day, I guess that’s what I truly want more than anything else…to simply be myself again. For whatever reason (there are quite a few, actually) I’ve been unable to do that in recent months. That’s all about to change.

I was down for a bit and I’ll be down again when the Relay for Life comes around in a couple of weeks (I’m only $25 away from my online goal if you’d like to donate!!), but I’m doing alright. The battle isn’t yet over.

Moving Forward

Yesterday was horrible.

I had to bury my mother’s ashes, which was extremely difficult. It wasn’t just difficult to finally say “goodbye”, but to see the pain my dad was going through was really tough for me. Tears were shed, words were spoken, and then we jumped in dad’s truck and went off to the local coffee shop for some java.

It was a bit surreal; just sitting there drinking coffee and trying to have a normal conversation after burying mom. But at the end of it all, we just wanted to move forward with our lives as best we could.

Then I got home and decided to not go in to work. I just wasn’t in the best frame of mind. So I mowed my lawn (it’s been raining for a month straight now, so even with the sun I had a foot of wet grass to mow….NOT fun) and came back inside to an email from Sunshine.

What started off as a conversation about this weekend quickly escalated into an entire afternoon of arguing. Things were said that hurt both of us and, if I can be completely honest, I almost reached my breaking point and ended the relationship…that’s how sad and angry and upset I was feeling.

Thankfully, a very good online friend reached out and helped me to calm down a bit before making any rash decisions. She helped me immediately recognize that I was a LOT more sensitive than I normally would be considering the morning I had. Once I realized that I wasn’t thinking clearly, I then took a step back and tried to communicate with Sunshine in a way that (hopefully) didn’t sound confrontational.

Needless to say, our email miscommunication (and honestly, that’s how it all started) was addressed and issues were worked out. Obviously, one of the major road blocks to a long distance relationship is the inability to diffuse a situation in person before it escalates. You don’t always get what you’re looking for from an email…not all feelings can be expressed, not all inflections can be interpreted.

My take on yesterday is that couples fight…us being in an LDR doesn’t make us that different from anybody else, we’re just not in the same city when it happens. Once the fight has ended  you can either keep going on like nothing ever happened (which will probably lead to more fighting and resentful feelings) or you can learn from the argument, grow as a couple, and become even closer once everything is said and done.

I’m hoping that not only can we move forward with a weekend together (a family weekend with our kids, at that!), but we can move forward and grow closer as a couple after learning from the experience.

Moving forward. They’re not just words; they are actions that need to be taken in order for life to truly continue. I’m going to do my best to not only move forward, but to do so in a positive way that helps myself and my family.

I hope you all have a great weekend. And as for us?  I truly believe that when Monday rolls around that we’ll be smiling from experiencing a fun, love-filled family weekend together.

Ashes to ashes

This morning at 10am we will be burying my mom’s ashes.

Living in the northern part of North American means cold weather. It also means frost in the ground. It also means nobody can be buried until after the frost has left and it’s warm enough to dig a hole.

So while we had mom’s funeral back in February, we’re burying her today.

It’s been raining for two weeks straight. In the few odd moments that it hasn’t been raining, it’s been cloudy. When it hasn’t been cloudy, it’s been nighttime.

This morning the sun is out and beaming down upon us. I’m not a man of much faith, but I’m thinking that mom is looking down upon us today with a smile.

The view from outside my window this morning.

Mom was cremated, thus only a small urn will be placed in the ground. It will only be a 5-minute ceremony with about five of us involved.  No minister…no gathering…just loved ones saying ‘goodbye’ for the last time.

Dust to dust.

Humbled and Honored

I got the following message sent to me by my cousin yesterday:

“Hey sweets. The Relay for Life committee is wondering if you would light the first luminary in memory of your mom at the Luminary Ceremony. Let me know.”

I nearly broke down into tears as soon as I read the words (which would have been awkward as I was working at the time). I would think the rationale behind it was that my mom passed away very recently, but I don’t really care about the reason.  To be asked to light the first luminary (out of hundreds and hundreds) is a tremendous honor, and I’m extremely humbled that they thought of me to do it.

The luminaries I lit for my cousin & my mom at my first Relay in 2008.

Luminaries are candles that are placed in special bags that bear the names of cancer survivors and loved ones who have lost their battle with cancer. At each Relay For Life event, the luminaries are lit during (what is normally) a very moving ceremony at dusk. A luminary is meant to provide light and inspiration for the participants all night long as they walk around whatever track they are at.

There have been times over the past few months since mom passed away where I really thought I had been able to move on an remember mom in a very positive way. What I’m finding now, especially as Mother’s Day just passed and with her burial tomorrow morning and the Relay in a couple of weeks, is that I’m still struggling with the loss. 

I realize that there’s no set path to take.  I understand that everybody grieves differently. So I’m doing my best to not beat myself up too much over feeling the way I’m feeling.  I’m also doing my best to not allow the sadness to take over and keep me in this funk of mine.

Mom would not want me to think about her this much…she was overly selfless like that. Mom would want me to smile with memories of happier times and do whatever I needed to do in order to enjoy life to the fullest and be the man that I want to be.

So while I sit and reflect on this great honor that the Relay for Life committee has given me, I will also reflect on the great times I shared with mom over the course of my lifetime. I will use those happy memories to help get me out of whatever funk I’m in and back to being myself.  I owe it to mom, I owe it to Sunshine, I owe it to my children, I owe it to dad, and I owe it to myself.

I deserve to be happy. And I think this request, in a round-about way, has helped me to remember that.