Happy birthday, mom. RIP.

Tomorrow would have been my mother’s birthday.

I’ve been trying to not think about it all week, but it’s been kinda forced upon me. My mind simply won’t let it go…and that’s probably a good thing.

I went into a bit of a funk after mom died and it’s been a bit of a battle to get back to a place where I feel like I can be myself again. It’s been a battle because as soon as I felt a bit better about the situation, my father went and started dating somebody. Less than two months later, she moved into the house with him.

She’s a nice lady and all, but whenever I’m with them I just don’t see the connection. I just do not see what dad sees…but that’s okay. She makes him happy and she’s helping him move on with his life, so I’m absolutely happy for him.  And this is not just me saying the words, I’m actually feeling that way.  I’m becoming more comfortable with the entire situation.

At least I was until this week.

I’m going to stop by mom’s gravesite tomorrow on the way to Sunshine’s and lay a flower by her headstone. I don’t know how else to honor her memory as this is something totally new and unusual for me.

I’m still not over her death. And just when I think I am, something else comes up to remind me that she’s no longer here. I want to be able to move on like dad has, but it just doesn’t feel right to me. I’m certainly not holding it against him or anything because we all grieve differently and maybe I’m holding onto these feelings longer than I should.

I don’t know. All I know is that I’m very grateful that I’ll be able to spend the day with Sunshine. She’s always my backbone and the one who I rely on to help me through difficult times.

So mom, just know that I love you and I’m still thinking about you all the time. I miss you and will always do whatever I can to honor your memory.

Happy birthday, mom.

xo

The Light Vanished

If you’re like me, you absolutely LOVE the fall.  I mean, autumn is my favorite time of the year. The foliage, the colours, the crisp air when you first walk outside in the morning…all of it combines to equal my absolute most enjoyed season.

But there’s a downside. This downside is affecting me more than it probably should, too…and it’s starting to get on my nerves.

Like Sunshine, I am a HUGE morning person. I love waking up with my alarm at 6am and having the room already bathed in light. There’s just something extra special about the feeling of enjoying a full day by getting up with the sun.

The only problem these days is that the light has vanished from my room at 6am.

Lately, I’ve found myself having a very difficult time not only to wake up around 6am, but even to get out of bed by 6:30am or sometimes 7am!  Now for those of you who aren’t “morning people”, this may not be that big of a deal. For me, though, it’s very bizarre and not something I’m used to.

At one point yesterday morning, I actually felt as though I was drunk when I got out of bed. It was the most surreal experience. I woke up with the alarm, dragged myself out of bed, and stumbled to the hallway. I actually staggered and stumbled and almost crashed into the door before giving myself a chuckle and trying to focus a little bit more.

I need my light. I miss my sun. It’s nice that I’m already awake for the daily sunrise, but it’s 7am or later by the time that happens. I feel as though part of my day has already finished!

I’m sure I’m not alone here. I know there are people out there (…ahem…Sunshine…ahem…) who dislike autumn because (1) it’s immediately followed by winter and (2) the days are shorter. I’m a guy who LOVES this time of year but HATES that my sunlight isn’t there with me when I wake up.

My light vanished. And now I have to wait about six months before it comes back.

Hopefully I can wake myself up without it..

What To Watch

So the new television season is in full swing, yet I find myself unexcited and uninterested. I mean, do I really want to watch a show about airline stewardesses or Playboy bunnies? Do I really care if a transgendered person is dancing with a hottie to horrific cover versions of songs I used to enjoy? Do I really care if Ashton Kutcher took over for Charlie Sheen on a show I’ve never, ever seen before?

Sigh…

But there are definitely some shows on my radar.  For better or worse, these are the shows that I will go out of my way to watch this season…and I think you should, too.

1. Dexter – This is the best show on television, bar none. Going into its sixth season, Dexter is the story of a serial killer with morals, making his way through life always trying to do the right thing but somehow always getting into trouble.  Okay…that’s a REALLY lame description of the show and trust me when I say it’s sooooo much deeper than that.  There’s a very good reason why people rave about this show. Michael C. Hall is absolutely incredible in the role, having been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor four years in a row.  When people tell me that they haven’t watched Dexter because it’s about a serial killer, I try to explain to them how it’s so much more than that; how that serial killer has morals and is constantly conflicted over the entire concept of “good vs evil”.  It’s simply the best-written show on television.

2. Survivor – I know, I know…why in the world is this on my list?  In fact, there were a number of seasons where I didn’t watch at all (I had no idea who Ozzie was this season, even though he had apparently played twice before).  I love that the game itself has evolved and hasn’t stayed complacent.  I love the hidden immunity idols and Redemption Island and returning players mixed-in with new players. These changes have made the show more interesting.  And, as always, it’s all about the people they choose to play. It seems like it’s always a blend of “crazy” and “normal” with a dash of “really?’ mixed in for good measure. And hey…if Random Esquire can be a fan, then that’s good enough for me.

3. The Walking Dead – I’m fascinated by the whole “zombie apocalypse” idea. Whether it be a viral infection of some sort or just an unexplainable turn of events, zombies are intriguing to think about because there’s just enough semblance of realism in the back story on how they come to be; the body is alive though the mind is gone.  And I’m no fan of gore, either…so I haven’t seen most of the zombie movies out there. So I was hesitant when initially watching The Walking Dead, but I read some really great things about it before it debuted last season so I gave it a shot.  I’m so glad I did!!  This isn’t so much a show about zombies (although there are a lot of them and they die in some pretty gruesome ways) as it is about how people survive in a zombie apocalypse. Where do you go? What do you eat? How do you fend for yourself? How do you react to others reacting to the apocalypse?  It’s really a fantastic view of the human psyche.  Seriously.

4. The X-Factor – This is the show that started it all…and the fact that it hasn’t been marketed that way is probably a reason people aren’t jumping all over it like they should be. American Idol came from this. America’s Got Talent came from this. The Voice came from this.  The X-Factor is a blend of all those shows (a singing competition with live auditions where the judges turn into mentors throughout the competition) and, at least in the U.K. version, does it better than the rest. Now having said all that, the first two episodes didn’t blow me away last week.  When I first heard that this show was coming to North America, I watched the most recent season of the U.K. version to see what it was like and was blown away…not only by the unique talent on display, but the uniqueness and heart and talent of the show itself.  Last week’s U.S. version didn’t really have a ton of talent and the “heart” seemed forced, but that’s all about the editing choices and can be easily remedied.  I don’t know about you, but I want to see the best of the best and I want some great stories that I can get into (like how the most recent America’s Got Talent winner was washing cars before the season started!). Give this show a chance…I think you’ll end up being pleasantly surprised and quite entertained.

5. The Biggest Loser – I’ll admit to being “late to the party” on this one, but this is definitely one of the more inspiring shows on television. To see what these people can do to change their bodies and change their lives helps me believe that anything is possible.  Of course, if I had two or three months off from work to do nothing but work out all day and eat veggies on somebody else’s dime, I might be able to lose the weight, too.  Regardless, it’s not like what they do is easy…and it’s amazing to see some of the transformations. This year will be really weird because Jillian Hall is gone and Anna Kournikova is her replacement (at least she’s not Cara Castronuova…who was BRUTAL last season). But in the end, it’s all about the stories and the people and their struggle with food addiction. Year and year, it’s a great show to get into.

*****

So what am I missing?  What shows are just SOOOO good that I absolutely need to watch them?

Here I go again

God…I’ve told myself that I was ready to ‘start over’ repeated times over the past few years. I can’t begin to tell you how many false starts I’ve actually had, though.  Needless to say, it must have been every one of them because I’m still in a position where I feel like I need to do something.

Every time I try to diet, I fail. Every time I try to make a lifestyle change instead of diet, I fail. Every time I simply try to eat better, it works for a little while before I fail. Every time I feel like “tomorrow will be the day I exercise”, I fail. Every time I tell myself that I won’t sit in front of the laptop all night after work and I’ll actually do something around the house instead, I fail.

I realize that I have internal issues.  These issues somehow have me convinced that I’m never truly happy unless I’m actually UNhappy. What’s weird to me is that I have this realization and I’m acutely aware of the situation, yet I constantly have trouble with trying to fix it or overcome it.

So here I go again.  I’m starting today as if it’s a new day…as if I haven’t failed a million times already.

I’m starting today with a new exercise regimen…nothing too crazy because I don’t want to get turned off by it after a week, but something that I can at least get started on and work from.

I’m starting with new eating habits because I’m so effin’ tired of being unhappy with myself on a daily basis. I eat certain things and can’t believe I’ve eaten them, yet the next week I’m doing it all again. That’s GOT to end.

I’m starting today with the knowledge that even though I’ve lost ten pounds in a few weeks, that DOESN’T mean I can “slack off” like I’ve won something and am finished with my self-improvement.

I’m starting tonight with a new attitude towards life. I’m tired of sitting in my chair in front of the tv or the laptop every single night. NOTHING gets accomplished and life just seems to slowly drift on by. 

I deserve more than what I’m currently providing myself. I deserve a life that’s worth living…not just a life I’m going through the motions on.

I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page this morning and it really hit me like a ton of bricks:

I realize that I’M the one who makes me feel like I don’t deserve what I want…and I’m done believing that. 

I’m a 39 year old man who not only wants to believe that I’m just now half-way through my life, but I also want to enjoy the years I’ve got left.  I want to be happy at 40…at 50…at 70.  I want to be healthy and full of life.  I want to never look back and say that I could have done something to change but didn’t.

So here I go again. Wish me luck.

Slipping

I’m not sure exactly what’s wrong with me lately. I feel like I was doing so well with how I was living my life that I’m surprised at how I’ve been slipping as of late.

For example, I haven’t talked to Rugrat much since she went back home. We’ve exchanged a couple of emails, but that’s about it. Our relationship appears to be back to how it was before her trip…which wasn’t that great. It could very well be that I’m still a bit hurt that she didn’t call on my birthday. I told her before she left that all I wanted on my birthday was a phone call. Heck…Sunshine even told me that she even sent Rugrat a message on Facebook reminding her.  Instead, I got an email wishing me  a happy belated birthday. It shouldn’t bother me but it does.

In addition, I haven’t talked to dad hardly at all over the past few weeks. He doesn’t seem to have much free time lately as he’s got his live-in girlfriend with him at all times. Maybe I’m being petty and jealous, but talking to him every couple of days really made me feel good about our relationship. Mom’s passing brought us really close together.  Now? I don’t know if the relationship is any worse, but I know that we’re not nearly as close as we were two months ago.

I haven’t been taking care of myself, either.  I haven’t been eating properly, sleeping properly, or living life the way I should be…healthy and happy.  My walks have stopped and my junk food intake is well above what it was even two weeks ago.

I’m not sure what, exactly, is going on. It’s like I’m in a “funk” of sorts when it comes to myself…just letting things go as if I was depressed about something.  Yet, I don’t know if I feel depressed.  At least nothing seems to jump out at me. 

And what makes things really weird is that there are some REALLY great things going on in my life.

I started a fantastic new side project with Sunshine. I don’t know if she wants me to mention it in the blog, but it’s been a blast creating this with her. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.

I’ve also been having a great time with Ankle Biter lately. He’s at a perfect age right now and we’ve really been bonding as a strong father/son unit.

So what seems to be the problem with me? Why do I constantly find the need to not care about myself? Why is it that whenever I reach a point where I’m beginning to feel truly happy, that I decide it’s “good enough” and then slip back to where I was previously?  It’s as if I’m never truly happy unless I’m UNhappy…and that really sucks.

I don’t want to slip any further. I don’t want to let this side of me rule my life. I don’t want to have to constantly battle for happiness within myself.

I just wish I knew how to convince myself that I’m allowed to have goodness in my life; that I’m allowed to be happy.

I’m a work in progress.  The problem is that I just don’t know where to start the repairs.

There is something about a sunrise…

Slowly the sun rises and helps the night melt into day.

The earth provides just enough breeze for flags to fly against the brilliant backdrop.

As the sun rises on the horizon over Halifax, its first light burns.

To watch the dawn of a new day can be breathtaking.

The colors glow in fiery hues, reminiscent of my love for you.

******

Sigh…I’m no poet. At least I tried.

Conquering fear one zipline at a time

Yeah…THIS happened!!

This was my birthday gift from Sunshine: ziplining!! I am deathly afraid of heights so this was going to be very interesting. We made an (almost) two-hour drive to get to this place, but in the end it was well worth it!
You can't really tell, but my stomach was doing some MAJOR butterflies when this picture was taken. I really didn't know if I'd be able to go through with it. It looked like fun, for sure...but it also looked scary as hell.
This was a pic taken just moments before launching ourselves onto the first zipline. Obviously, the safety helmet was NOT working for me and my massive dome (sigh).
As you would expect, I made Sunshine go first (lol). I just didn't have it in me to step off that platform first and hover over 240 feet above the ground.
AND SHE'S OFF!! Yeah...this is Sunshine about to cross a 1,100-foot zipline over 240 feet above the ground. Her lack of fear gave me the strength to want to go next.
If you squint, you can still see her high above the trees below.
This was my look after completing the first zipline. My heart was pounding and I was literally weak in the knees. I was in a state of disbelief because I couldn't believe that I had stepped off that platform and into the abyss...floating over air. I was terrified, but had overcome my fear. Looking back now, I still can't believe I did it.
If you squint, you can see me making my way down the second zipline. This one was steeper and faster (zipping down nine stories!), but it wasn't nearly as scary for me. In fact, this one was incredibly fun.
I look at this picture and can barely believe that's me...ENJOYING the experience of ziplining down this huge hill. At this point, all I wanted to do was enjoy the moment as much as possible because I wanted Sunshine to be proud of me, doing my best to overcome and conquere my fears. Knowing she was at the bottom waiting for me made all the difference in the world.
Trust me...this thumbs up was a lot more genuine that the first one. I was happy and excited and thrilled to have been able to accomplish something like this. I think "stoked" might have been the word for this picture.
I never in a million years would have done something like this with anybody other than Sunshine. She inspires me on a daily basis and truly helps me become a better person.