My 2011 “Date Wishes” Update

Back in January, I came up with ten “date wishes” for myself and Sunshine in 2011.  I figure now is as good a time as any to see how we did over the course of the year…

  1. Go to the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market at least once every two months. Happy to say that this was easily met. One of the highlights of our weekends together is going to the market. We love strolling around, meeting new people, and enjoying life as a couple. It’s one of those “simple pleasures” that makes life worth living.
  2. Attend a local “Tweet-up” as a couple. Well…this didn’t quite work out the way we wanted it to. In fact, I’m not sure if we met anybody in “real life” through Twitter in 2011. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing…it’s just that we didn’t get out to “meet and greet” anybody. Now that I look back, I wonder if a “Tweet-up” is as lame as it sounds?  Hmmm…
  3. Spend a weekend in Prince Edward Island. Mission TOTALLY accomplished!! While things didn’t end up quite as planned, we did spend a weekend on PEI (well…an overnight stay, anyway) as Sunshine ran a half-marathon. I was so very, very proud of her for not only beating her own expectations, but by shattering them.
  4. Walk along the waterfront in Halifax AND Saint John on sunny days. Well…we never got to get back to Saint John again during 2011, but we certainly enjoyed some amazing walks along the Halifax Waterfront on some gorgeous days. Just taking our time and strolling along hand-in-hand is one of the great joys of visiting her in Halifax during the summer. It’s the little things, I guess.
  5. Attend one night of the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival. This didn’t happen. Moving on…
  6. Attend a live play or musical. This didn’t happen, either.
  7. Attend a concert together. Okay…I’m totally going to cheat and say that of COURSE we did this. Mind you, I was actually in the concert…
  8. Fly to Toronto for an extended weekend. Nope. Missed out on this one, too.
  9. Go to at least five restaurants that neither one of us have ever been to. I think we ended up accomplishing this goal by mid-year! Very happy to have experienced new places and (in some cases) new foods with Sunshine. Definitely a fun year in terms of food.
  10. Go camping more than one night together…in the woods. It’s funny…we were camping this summer, but it was in my dad’s trailer while we were on vacation.  I had also said that I was “absolutely willing to go to Keji or some other provincial park or campground”, but while we ended up going to Keji, we ended up staying in a cabin as opposed to tenting in the woods somewhere. Does that count?

So all in all, not a horrible year in terms of accomplishing our “date wishes”. I think we’ll both have to come up with some more to see how we can accomplish them in 2012.

What I’d like for Christmas…

Y’know, I told Sunshine straight-up not to get me anything this year for Christmas. Financial times are tight and there’s more important things that we could be spending money on than each other. I mean, we’ll be waking up in each other’s arms on Christmas morning…what else could we possibly ask for?

Well…I decided to come up with a few things:

1. A light show like this for my own house!

Okay…that might be asking a little too much. I mean, the lights alone would cost a small fortune…not to mention the computer software required to match it all up with the music.  Oh…and my neighbors may not be overly thrilled about it, either.

Hmmm…what else could Sunshine get me for Christmas?

2. Assistance in becoming a champion!!

Wow…maybe not. While I may be an expert in the field, becoming a “champion” is just REALLY creepy.

Okay, how about…

3. A Lamborghini!!!  Well maybe not a brand new one, but I hear that there could be a deal on this particular model.  No?  That’s fine. I was thinking about getting a new computer monitor anyway. Just don’t send it via FedEx…

Wait…I’ve got it!!

4. A bedazzled toilet brush.

I mean…why not? I could use a bit more color in the bathroom.

But there’s gotta be something else that would be easy to get for me…

5. A penguin that brings me the newspaper every day.

What…too much hassle to train? 

Sigh…

6. Ummm…okay. I’ve found the perfect Christmas gift and it won’t cost you a single penny, Sunshine.  The only problem is it’s a bit awkward to come right out and blog about it.  So without saying anything else, how about I let the song speak for itself:

🙂  Have a great Christmas everybody!!

A Health Update

Last month I participated in Movember, which wasn’t just an excuse to grow facial hair in a strange way but a way to promote awareness of prostate cancer in men.  Y’see, men apparently have a difficult time getting check-ups and physicals and a lot of the time never realize there is anything wrong with them until it’s too late.

In addition to it being Movember, a dietician had visited my workplace to discuss weight loss and general health issues associated with being overweight. I actually got scared after realizing just how unhealthy I had the potential to be…and where I was in terms of risk.

I’ve never had a physical in my life. I grew up not caring what I did to my body.  But I turn 40 next year, my mother passed away earlier this year, and I hope to soon be officially part of Sunshine’s family (meaning I’d be a step-father to her awesome girls)…so I figured as though I now had even more reasons to start taking care of myself.

While I still don’t have a family physician and I haven’t had a physical done, I did have an appointment scheduled with that same dietician to get an overall cholesterol test done. The results were not only good, but quite encouraging.

I took a 10 Year Coronary Disease Risk Assessment, which would basically tell me if I was in a high, medium, or low risk category for some form of heart disease. Because of my general state of unhealth, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be doing this. Each category was assigned points and then, in the end, the points would be added up to tell me my 10-year risk percentage.

The first thing to discuss was my blood pressure. I wasn’t too concerned about it because (1) Sunshine and I had taken our blood pressure together once before to see “whose was better” (I called it a tie as we both had good results) and (2) I just gave blood last week, and in order to donate you need to have good blood pressure.  So while not optimal, my results were 133/78 and 127/81. These results were considered average, so that was a good first start.

The next thing I did was get my blood tested. It was a simple prick of the finger and took about five minutes or so for their little machine to analyze the results.

My total cholesterol was 4.5.  Cholesterol results come from two types: HDL and LDL. As described to me, HDL is the “healthy” cholesterol and LDL is the “lousy” cholesterol. You want results of greater than 1.0 in your HDL test results, and then at that point you can determine what you want your LDL results to be (as one number affects the other in terms of what you want your TOTAL cholesterol to be).

My HDL was 0.85, which was lower than what I want it to be. The good news is that all I need to do is to increase some Omega 3 in my diet (preferably by fatty fish like salmon and trout) and that number should increase. My LDL was 3.14, which was below the recommended high number of 5.0…so in the end my overall cholesterol total of 4.5 was only slightly above the recommended 4.1 total. So while the “healthy” cholesterol isn’t as high as it should be, the “lousy” cholesterol is low enough as to not be accumulating and clogging my arteries.

This was a HUGE relief to me because I really didn’t know what my cholesterol was going to look like.

The next test was for glucose (i.e. sugar) in my blood. I was scheduled for a diabetes test a couple of weeks ago, but due to timing and scheduling I was unable to get it done. Turns out yesterday’s test did that for me.  My glucose level was at 5.44, which was a tad on the high side but not over the “red line number” of 5.60…so that meant I’m NOT diabetic!

Again, this was another HUGE relief to me because I’m certainly at risk due to my height and weight.

There were also points assigned for age and whether or not I smoked (I quit almost eight years ago).  Here is how the points broke down…

  • Being between 35-39 ended up giving me 2 points (below 35 was 0, the next age group of 40-44 was 5 points…which is a huge jump).
  • Being a non-smoker gave me 0 points (it would be 4 points if I smoked).
  • My total cholesterol result of 4.5 gave me 1 point (less than 4.1 would have given me 0 points, with the next step up being results of 5.2 to 6.2 giving 2 points).
  • Not being diabetic gave me 0 points (being diabetic would have added 3 points).
  • My HDL levels were at 0.85, which is too high and gave me the maximum 2 points. Ideally, I want to be over 1.6 (-2 points!) but at this point any improvement is going to be a good thing going forward.
  • My blood pressure results were good, so it resulted in me getting 0 points.

Add it all up and I ended with 5 points. On their 10-year risk assessment chart, 5 points equals a 3.9% chance  of getting a coronary heart disease sometime within the next ten years…which is a LOW result (less than 10% is low, 10%-19% is medium, and anything 20% or over is considered a high risk for heart disease).

All in all, I was really stoked to receive this news. I honestly was scared going into the test, and once I got the results I almost felt like crying right there in the doctor’s office.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that I slack off. What this means is that with me entering another risk category next year just by turning 40 (which would have given me a result of 6.7% risk if the results were the same a year from now), now is the time to make the changes that I need to make in order to stay as healthy as I possibly can.

I’ve got four children I want to see grow up. I’ve got an amazing woman in my life that I want to grow old with. In order to achieve those two things, I need to stay healthy.

So my New Year’s Resolution is already set in stone. I need to improve on these numbers as best I can so that in a year from now, when I take the test again, I won’t only have a similar result but a better one.

Next up in January is my body-weight assessment, which is the primary reason I scheduled an appointment with the dietician to begin with. I could very well be at risk for other health issues, so meeting with her again and getting this assessment done will be the next step towards a leaner and healthier CBG.

My Fantasy Football Team: Week 15

The dream is over for yet another season.

I came close,  but the Broncos v Patriots game ended up ruining my visions of a fantasy football championship for yet another year.

Y’see, Brady ended up doing what he’s been doing all season…throw for touchdowns and yardage and get me over 20 points in a game (he got 27, actually). The problem is that his number one target all season long, tight end Rob Gronkowski, broke the record for touchdowns in a season last weekend and I assume they just wanted to spread around the love a bit more.

So tight end #2 for the Patriots, Aaron Hernandez, ended up getting over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown on Sunday…where Gronkowski only ended up with 53 yards.

I guess none of this would have been so horrible if my opponent hadn’t started Hernandez for his own team.

BAH!!

And to add insult to injury, Willis McGahee ended up injuring his hamstring and only ended up with 70 yards.

Put all of that together, and you have me losing in the semi-finals.

So while I had high hopes at the beginning of the season, it all boiled down to one game. Oh well…I guess I have the chance to finish third with a “consolation” match next weekend.  Still…I’m going to hear it from my boss at work, who was the team I lost to.

Here’s to next season…

Fun Music Friday

Yesterday was a pretty brutal day.  I need to find a way to enjoy today.

The plan is to take the afternoon off (I’ve got one half-day left at work and it doesn’t fit into my schedule for the rest of the month, so I’m taking it today), send out Rugrat’s Christmas gifts via courier to Ontario, finish doing some laundry, wrap some gifts, and then pick up Ankle Biter for a great weekend together.

To help kick off my “planned good day”, I’ve decided to turn to what almost always seems to help lift my spirits…music.

I’ll start off with a song that, for the past few years, has given me great joy during the holidays. It’s a rockin’ take on a Christmas classic…

Do you remember Aqua? That whole “Barbie Girl” song from 10 or 12 years ago? Well…they’re back this year. Being a former DJ who used to really enjoy their music, I just had to check them out. While the video’s a little bizarre, I’ve found that the song has been played repeatedly on my iPod as of late. Close your eyes and see if you agree…

As some of you may know, I’ve been watching both the US version of X-Factor and the original UK version at the same time. Recently, a former contestant (Olly Murs, a runner-up in 2009/2010) debuted a new single alongside the Muppets to promote both the song and their movie. As much as I enjoyed their performance, I think I like the video a bit more. It’s not the rock I normally listen to, but it’s the guy’s fourth #1 single in the UK and I think it’s catchy as all get-out…

Here’s the backstory on the band of this last video: The lead singer was on Canadian Idol in its second season and ended up third (he had been my pick to win it all). The show was only on the air six seasons before it was canceled for low ratings and I don’t know of any other contestant (or winner, for that matter) who has done anything of note since it started in 2003 (actual Canadian album sales of the contestants here).

But Jacob Hoggard immediately went and created a band called Hedley once the show was over. In the years since, I’d dare say that Hedley has become the number one Canadian band over the past five years or so (Nickelback excluded). If I had to make an American comparison, I’d say probably Good Charlotte without the pretentiousness.

Anyway, this last video gets to me for some reason (probably because I’m a big softy). It’s one of those “inspirational” type videos, but it’s done quite well. Check it out…

That’s all I got today. Hopefully, if these songs didn’t make you smile then I hope you can find happiness in whatever music you decide to listen to. Just make sure you find the time to smile today…you’ll thank yourself for doing so.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

His First Christmas Concert

My son started kindergarten this year. I’ve been swelling with pride since September because I’ve been watching him learn and grow and experience life as he’s never seen it before. I can’t even describe how amazing it feels to watch this happen, especially where I was unable to experience the same things with my daughter as she grew up.

I’ve been able to experience things like his first day of school (pictured at left), his first parent-teacher interview (of course it was a glowing review…lol), and even a meeting with the school’s occupational therapist (I learned some great tips on helping his motor skills develop).

Last night was his very first school Christmas concert. I didn’t know what to expect, but didn’t really care. Little did I realize that it was going to be even more cute than I could possibly imagine.

But don’t take my word for it…see for yourself!

To say that I was beaming with pride after this performance would be an understatement.

I love this little guy.

Father & Son: post-concert photo op

The Bad Parenting Night

Ever have one of those nights where everything involving your parenting skills seems to go wrong?  Yeah…I had one of those nights last night.  It was absolutely brutal.

  • I was late to pick up Ankle Biter for supper.
  • I didn’t have anything to eat in the house (or anything that he wanted, anyway).
  • He wanted to watch a movie but my dvd decided to stop working.
  • He was excited to play a new XBox game that I got at work from a “Secret Santa”, but as soon as I turned it on it froze and didn’t work.

It just seemed like it was one thing after another. None of the items were any big deal on their own, but it just seemed like it was one thing after another.

Where I’ve been battling some inner demons lately, I’m constantly questioning my relationship with my son and his feelings towards me. I’m financially unable to provide him with all of the things that his mom is able to, and at the age of five those shiny little toys can make one home a bit more appealing than the other.

She’s also got a dog that Ankle Biter has had since Easter. If you’ve got a kid and a pet, you can totally understand and appreciate the bond that they have. Needless to say, after he’s picked up from the babysitter he’s not quite overjoyed to come to dad’s house when he’d rather play with his best friend.

So anyway, to see him lay on the couch…tired and bored…and having to apologize for how the evening visit was going was just a big kick to the gut. I felt like I had failed him.

I realize that I’m too quick to find a reason to hate myself, but last night was brutal for me. I should have been better prepared for a visit and I wasn’t. I need to not be so hard on myself, but it’s situations like last night that make it all too easy.

It was just a bad night that I’m sure every parent has. It just seems exponentially worse because I’m a single dad who only wants to make his son happy when they’re together. It’s really tough when that doesn’t happen.