My Dad’s Wedding

It was an interesting weekend, to say the least.

As some of you may know, my father got re-married on Saturday. It was an extremely bittersweet situation for me and more than just a bit uncomfortable for a number of reasons. At the end of the day, though, things didn’t turn out too badly.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was really hurt because my dad picked my younger brother to be the best man. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but still…it hurt. As I saw the venue and realized how the wedding was progressing, it didn’t quite bother me so much. It just didn’t seem…I dunno…real to me. It was inside of a restaurant and everything looked a bit cheesy. I was almost glad to be sitting on the sidelines. So did it bother me leading up to the wedding? Yeah…it absolutely did. Am I alright with not being included? Yeah…I absolutely am.

It was also very surreal to see my dad marry someone who wasn’t my mom. Obviously, I want my dad to be happy. From the day my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I’ve barely seen a day where my dad smiled or laughed. His new wife is a great person…someone who makes him genuinely happy and helps to put a smile on his face all of the time. They’re really great together and I’m super happy for them. It was just odd to see the whole thing happen in front of me.

I’ve thought about this and I think that mom would be very happy with what’s going on. She would be happy that he has found someone that makes him smile again. So if I think that she would be happen for him, then I’m totally happy for him, too.

Dad`s wedding

Once the wedding was over, we all head back to my dad’s house for some mingling. I sat at the kitchen table with Sunshine, my new stepbrother, and my new stepsister & her boyfriend. I gotta say…I really like this other side of the family!

What I like about them the most is that they, apparently, grew up with very similar views of their mom as I do of my dad. They weren’t afraid to tell stories of parenting fails, which was odd to me considering the situation. But in the end, it really helped me identify with them. We turned out differently (my stepbrother is a 39-year-old punker who is also a social worker), but we have a lot in common. We talked and drank and talked and drank for the rest of the evening. It was a helluva great time and really helped me move past the awkwardness of the wedding ceremony itself.

In the end, both Sunshine and I carried a 2-day hangover…but I felt as though I shed a lot of pent-up emotion about it all. I’m still not 100% excited about how the wedding went down, but I’m okay with how it ended up. My dad’s happy…and that’s all that really matters to me.

Muppets Most Wanted – movie review

muppets-most-wantedThe entire family was looking forward to the Muppet sequel. We loved The Muppets so much that we bought the blu-ray and have watched it repeatedly over the past couple of years. Songs from the soundtrack have been played in the home and in the car for family trips. Everything about the movie starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams was fantastic.

We decided to wait on watching Muppets Most Wanted. Neither myself or Sunshine are much for crowds, much less crowds full of screaming children. So we decided to wait until the long Easter weekend before venturing out to catch a matinee with the kids. Thankfully, there were very few people in the theatre so we were able to not worry about distractions.

Because I had heard that the movie hadn’t done very well in theatres, my expectations were lowered quite a bit going in. I sat back and did my best to make sure what I had heard and read didn’t affect my enjoyment of the flick.

The movie actually started with a Monsters University short, Party Central, which was pretty entertaining. I love the synergy between Pixar, the Muppets, and Disney. I think there are a myriad of options and possibilities for numerous forms of entertainment using those properties down the road.

Muppets Most Wanted was about how an agent, Dominic Badguy (played to perfection by Ricky Gervais) wanted to sign the Muppets immediately following the first film. The agent, however, was actually an evil mastermind who was Dominic Badguyworking for the most dangerous frog in the world, Constantine. Apparently, the only way to tell Constantine apart from Kermit was a mole on Constantine’s face. Other than that, the two frogs were identical and Badguy was looking to kidnap Kermit after breaking Constantine out of jail so that the two could switch places and they could be master thieves on the run! Or something like that…

It’s the Muppets, folks…you need to suspend disbelief on a number of things.

There are a lot of inside jokes and humour that only parents may catch or understand. That’s okay, though, because the Muppets have always been like that. It’s actually one of the best things about their old television show and what has helped them endure over the years.

Jean Pierre NapoleonAlong the way, we’re introduced to numerous entertaining characters including Tina Fey in a really fun role as Nadya the GULAG prison guard and the brilliant Ty Burrell as Jean Pierre Napoleon, a French Interpol officer who ends up working with Sam the Eagle (who now apparently works for the CIA). I not only really enjoyed their characters, but was impressed by the singing in their two “solo songs” in the movie.

In fact, other than the initial song about sequels (ugh), the majority of the music was catchy and entertaining…especially “I’m Number One”, “I’ll Get You What You Want”, “The Big House”, and the really unique “Interrogation Song” (I didn’t even realize they were singing at first…just a really well-done number). While not as good as the first movie, the songs were still entertaining enough for me to have downloaded the soundtrack once I got home.

Throw in some crazy-fun cameo appearances (a singing Danny Trejo? Really?) and a ton of references to their original series and you’ve got a pretty fun movie from beginning to end.

Two frogsThe problem, though, is living up to the expectations set by the last film. They even note in the opening number that sequels aren’t normally very good (not a great sign when you’re starting to watch a movie). But The Muppets was such a fantastic movie, there simply wasn’t any way that Muppets Most Wanted would ever live up to the hype.

And it’s a shame, too, because the movie…on its own…is quite good. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it’s entertaining. Is it great? No, but it’s still better than the majority of “adult comedies” that are out there right now.

If you haven’t seen it yet and are worried because of the poor box office, then you’re missing out on some fun. Just don’t expect it to be nearly as good as the first movie and you’ll be fine!

Muppets Most Wanted

Anger Management – part two

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to see what I can do to fix these anger management issues that I seem to have. I do my best to remain in a positive head space, but I still end up grumpy and then angry at little things that end up escalating until I blow.

Ain’t nobody got time for that nonsense.

So I’m going to make a pact right now to follow this action plan and try to become that person I want to become; the person that I thought I was already becoming but am apparently not quite there yet.

  1. I need to be aware that I’m not perfect. It’s one of those things that I know that I’m not perfect, yet I’m always striving for perfection…thus I’m upset when I don’t fulfill my self-appointed goals. I’ve got such an innate desire to impress people that I end up making mistakes or not doing what I thought I was going to do, thus not impressing people the way I thought and subsequently getting upset at myself for not doing what I thought I could do. I know where this comes from…it’s a problem I’ve had since I was a kid. I’ve never been able to impress my father so I try to impress everybody else in my life as a way to increase my self-esteem. The problem is that when I don’t achieve perfection, it makes things even worse.
  2. I need to stop being overly defensive. This is my biggest problem. I totally recognize this issue hurts me more at home than it does at work…but it affects everyone I know. I’m constantly thinking that someone is trying to put me down or make me feel stupid, another childhood problem that I’ve brought forth to adulthood. It’s not just my wife, either…I’ve actually thought that my stepdaughters, at different times, were trying to make me feel stupid or tell me how I was supposed to think. How ridiculous is that? They’re 9 and 11. Yet I’ve had times when I was a little less-than-pleasant with them because I felt defensive about something. People aren’t always out to get me or to make fun of me. I simply have to stop that way of thinking.
  3. I need to think before I speak. I realized this during the argument I had with Sunshine on Sunday. I couldn’t think of the right things to say or come up with a point relevant enough to the conversation, so I told her that she was “mean and cold-hearted”. I sometimes have a horrific time trying to say the right thing at the BEST of times, so I certainly shouldn’t have expected to come up with the right thing to say during an argument. I have to realize that what I say affects others, including the girls. So even though the tone in my head isn’t negative in nature, I have to recognize that my words can still do damage…as my stepdaughters have come to realize. I’m simply too quick with a snide comment or with my innermost feeling…and I need to just sit on it and think about it before I say something.
  4. I need to realize that the “old me” isn’t the “current me”. It’s difficult to look back and think of how much I’ve changed in the past decade. I mean, I went from a chain-smoking leather-jacket-wearing smart ass to an overweight depressed dumb ass to the person I am today. I am NOT either of those guys anymore. I’m a better person. I’m constantly evolving. I need to give myself a frickin’ break and stop beating myself up for the man I used to be, and instead start giving myself credit for the man I am today.
  5. I need to recognize when I’m angry. Once I’ve done that, I can take just a bit of time to figure out WHY I’m angry. This, of course, will result in me attempting to better handle this anger. Am I really mad at what my wife just said or does it anger me because it rings true? This is the type of response I need to think over in my mind whenever I feel tension mounting.
  6. I need to be more open with all of my children. I’ve said it before: I’m not a hugger. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s also not great. I need to realize that just “being there” isn’t enough. I need to BE THERE for my kids…talk with them, read with them, and really listen to them. Even though I’ve got some decent relationships with my children and stepchildren, those relationships could be a LOT better if I just put in that extra effort. Why beat myself up over not being a better father? Why just continue down the same path? I need to set an example of how a father should be. My dad was absent with me. I don’t want to appear absent to my own.
  7. I need to take my time to notice the tiny details, both at home and at the office. I’m scheduled to have a meeting with my boss later this morning to discuss how I can improve in this area. And it’s weird, because details have never been an issue with me before. But now I find myself getting angry on a daily basis because I’m making small, stupid mistakes…then I rush to fix them and rush to finish something else, resulting in more small mistakes.  I’ve been given a massive opportunity with this job…I can’t afford to blow it now because I’m not paying close enough attention to the little things. It’s the same thing at home. I need to start doing more of the little things to help around the house; not being asked to do something when I know I should just offer to do it.
  8. I need to forgive myself and stop laying blame. I’m responsible for how I act. Only me. Regardless of the reasons behind it, my anger management issues are mine and mine alone. I need to stop beating myself up for all of my failures and start reveling in the successes that I now have in my life.
  9. I need to communicate more. This is primarily for my wife. She needs to know what I’m thinking. She needs to be able to communicate with me without me getting upset. She needs to trust that we can talk about more than just silly, fun things in our lives. I hate it when we blow up at each other because it’s primarily due to me not talking about issues to begin with or her not being comfortable enough to talk to me about things. That needs to change.
  10. I need to stick to these suggestions. This can’t just be a blog post. This needs to be a daily affirmation if it’s going to succeed.

Anger Management – part one

Not sure what’s going on with me. I’m a jumble of nerves and uneasiness lately.  I’m also just full of anger, too…and I’m not sure if I can pinpoint a reason why.

The fight that my wife and I had on Sunday escalated again yesterday. My own fault, I admit…I did something stupid yet again. I’m now staring at the wall in my office wondering what I can do to fix things. I can only work on myself, so how can I work on being a better person? How can I deal with these anger issues and why am I grumpy all of the time?

So many questions…

In reality, I should be happy every frickin’ day. I can even list the reasons:

  • I’m newly married to the woman of my dreams.
  • After many years of messing up, I’ve got pretty decent relationships with my three children.
  • Even though I’m not their ideal stepdad, I think I’ve got a fairly decent relationship with my stepdaughters.
  • For the first time in my life, I’ve got a solid job with a solid income. It’s the best I’ve ever had, actually.
  • I’m out jogging at least three times every week, doing a Couch-to-5K program. I’m all ready to start Week 7 and I’m looking forward to signing-up for my first 5K sometime in June.
  • Up until this past weekend, I’ve been doing pretty good in terms of not snacking at night or having dessert after supper. I’ve been eating better and trying to do what’s best for me so I can become a healthier “me”.

There are just so many good things going on with my life. Why, then, can I only seem to focus on the negative?

  • I’d rather stick my face into my laptop at the end of the day instead of hanging out with my stepdaughters and talking with them.
  • I’m always finding any little reason to get grumpy at something…regardless of how big or small the situation may be.
  • I’m upset that my knees and my heart are both giving me a hard time with this exercise thing I’m doing. I mean, if my body doesn’t want to cooperate, then why even bother?
  • I’m messing up little things at work. Nothing major, but I’ve always prided myself on being a stickler for details…and yet at this job it’s the careless mistakes that are coming back to bite me on a daily frickin’ basis.  Am I simply unable to concentrate or am I just careless?
  • I’ve had weeks to prepare music and a speech for my dad’s wedding this weekend. But because I wasn’t named his best man (my little brother was), I’ve just stopping caring at all about the whole thing.
  • No matter how I look, whenever I see myself in the mirror I’m disgusted by what looks back at me.

So why am I concentrating so much on the negative when there is so much good in my life?

It seems that I’m just not happy unless I’m UNhappy. I can’t seem to let myself enjoy what’s right in front of me because I’m only content when I’m actually miserable. I’m sure Dr. Freud would have a field day trying to analyse my issues and why, in spite of trying to live a happy live, I’ve got such a quick temper that affects those around me and why I can’t seem to allow myself to be happy. I don’t know what to do about it all.

I’m going to tackle this again tomorrow and see if it’s something I can work through. I almost lost a job once because of my anger management issues a few years ago…I don’t want to lose my marriage because of it.

I need to work this out somehow.

A CBG Family Easter

I had done a 5-hour round trip on Friday morning to pick up my son for the weekend and bring him back to my home with Sunshine and her girls. We didn’t have a ton of things planned to do over the ensuing 48 hours, but we were looking to have fun as a family and he was pretty excited about it all.

Thumbs up!

We had a big Easter turkey dinner on Friday. Sunshine had done a ton of work preparing while I was out picking up Ankle Biter. The meal was, as usual, fantastic.

Dinner time

The kids and I all had our fill of turkey and ended the night watching Hop.

On Saturday we decided to lay low for the morning. Sunshine and I both went out for runs at separate times, and we head out the door around 11am to get a bit of shopping done before going to the movies.

I gotta say, I’m NOT a fan of heavy crowds. They turn a good mood sour in a heartbeat. So when we were shocked by the hundreds of cars lined-up waiting to enter the shopping district of the city, my mood changed. We parked at Costco and walked in with the ten thousand other customers. OMFG…I immediately regretted the decision and couldn’t wait to leave. I mean, the kids were fine…it was just wall-to-wall people and carts and frickin’ traffic jams in the aisles. INSANE.

We picked up some movie tickets for the kids (along with a few other items) and left as quickly as possible. To avoid being caught in crowds and being late for the movie, we got there about 40 minutes early and sat in a near -empty theatre instead. The kids didn’t complain…Muppets Most Wanted was a movie we had all wanted to see for a very long time. Thankfully, because of lowered expectations (the movie hasn’t done overly well at the box office), we were all really entertained by the movie. It was quite good, actually.

Movie time

We played some Yahtzee and some Quirkle to wrap-up the day. We take pride in trying to do as many family-oriented activities as possible. Sunshine, especially, doesn’t like the kids being addicted to technology, so we didn’t sit in front of the television on a Saturday night or let them be iPod-zombies. We had a family games night, instead. No complaints from me.

We ended the night with me trying to top 11,000 steps on my pedometer, so we threw on a couple of songs and all ended up dancing around the living room to “Ice Ice Baby”. Good times with great kids!


Sunday morning found that the Easter bunny had visited all three kids. They were quite happy with their various hauls of chocolate, t-shirts, and games.

Sunshine and I had gone outside before 7am to set-up a backyard Easter egg hunt. This turned out to be only three minutes long, but it was a fun three minutes that the kids were thankful for. They suggested we do this every year. If you’re so inclined, the hunt in it’s entirety is here:

So yeah…the kids were excited once all was said and done.

After a fantastic pancake breakfast, we cleaned up, packed up, and dropped the girls off with their dad. Sunshine and I then took Ankle Biter back home to his mom’s before having dinner with my dad and his fiance on the way back home.

We finished our weekend by hiding Easter eggs at our office for this morning’s office egg hunt. Yeah…we did that.

And that was our weekend. How was yours?

Fun Music Friday

I’m getting ready to head out on a 5-hour round trip to pick up my son and bring him back to spend Easter weekend with his step-family, so I thought I’d have a little 90’s fun in honour of the playlist I’ll have going on in my car for the journey…

All nite – Big House

These guys had a Canada-wide hit on their hands with a song called “Dollar In My Pocket”. Then came this as single #2. BOOM~!! This song was everything I loved about “hair metal” from the 80’s (this album came out in 1990). They had one more single with “Baby Doll” and then POOF~!! Along came the Seattle sound and this type of music was immediately discarded by the masses. It got so bad that they tried taking new country band Big House to court in order to keep their name. The judge declined because they were such a non-factor in music outside of 1990 in Canada. Oh well…this song still deserves to get cranked up.

Joyride – Roxette

Roxette is one of those bands that are on my “Concert Bucket List”. I know their lyrics are primarily nonsensical. I realize that they’re cheesy power-pop rock. I understand that I’m one of the few people who still listen to them on a regular basis. I don’t care. I love Roxette and I love this song.

Nu nu – Lidell Townsell

Want to impress me? Tell me the name of the song, “Nu nu”, after I told you the artist’s name without looking it up. This song was never the massive hit that it should have become and that’s a shame. It’s a fun, gradual build of a great pop/dance song.

Listen like thieves – Was (Not Was)

I absolutely love INXS and was very hesitant about initially liking this remake. But the more I listened to it, the more I appreciated it for what it was: a totally different interpretation of the song. You may like it, you may not…but this is one that I find quite enjoyable.

Mo money, mo problems – Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy & Mase

I remember how packed the dance floor would get every time I played this on a Saturday night. And I don’t care who you are, this song is still as catchy and as relevant today as it was 15 years ago.

Omobolasire – Prozzak

This band was comprised of two members of the Philosopher Kings who took on cartoon personas with British accents (you can’t make this stuff up, can you?). I still listen to this song on a regular basis as it’s on my running playlist. Check this out…you might end up as addicted to the song as I am.

That’s it for this week. I hope that, whatever you do, you end up having a great long weekend!

Running Into The Wall…Already.

I suppose this is the “dark before the light” or the “storm before the calm” or some other similar analogy. Over the last couple of days, I’ve been fighting with myself about this whole exercise thing. I’ve even had conversations with my wife because I’ve felt a little down about how it was going.

I mean, I’ve been running 3 times a week for over a month now. I’ve been eating healthier and cutting out afternoon and nightly snacking. I’m drinking a ton of water and I’m doing whatever I can to get over 10,000 steps on a daily basis.

So why don’t I feel any differently?

Physically, I guess I feel different. I did end up jogging for 20 straight minutes last week…so there is no doubt that I’m able to do something I couldn’t do two months ago (I could barely jog for ONE minute two months ago).  But I’m still winded when I go up and down one flight of stairs. Maybe not completely “winded”, but I can hear myself breathe heavier when I’m done.

I’m also having heart concerns. Twice in the past week, my heart rate shot up over 200 bpm before going back down and regulating itself over the remainder of a run. Even my normal running heart rate is about a 160 bpm average. Because of that my wife, my friend, and my friend’s medically-trained sibling have suggested I see a doctor just to make sure I’m not pushing myself too hard. I know it’s because I’m 41 and I’ve never done any physical activity for any extended period of time before…but it still sucks that I might be pushing myself too hard when I don’t think I’m even doing much at all to begin with.

I feel that I should be able to visibly notice changes when I look in a mirror. No, I’m not looking for six-pack abs or anything…but I don’t see any real change in my physical appearance at this point. I’m embarrassed when I look in the mirror, and I was hoping to be more comfortable with myself at this point.

I also feel like I shouldn’t have struggled to do a 10-minute session yesterday morning after completing a 20-minute one just a few days ago. In fact, I’m going to re-do the Week 6, Day 2 session just because I didn’t feel strong when I ran yesterday morning. I don’t want to move forward until I feel like I’ve conquered what’s already in front of me.

My whole life, though, I’ve found one excuse after another to NOT follow a healthy routine, an exercise schedule, or anything else that was deemed “good for me”. If I didn’t lose weight after a couple of weeks, I’d just quit and start chowing down all over again. If I struggled to run three minutes straight, I’d just say “eff it” and stop doing the program entirely.

I’m certainly not at THAT point again. I’m not going to quit any time soon. I’m just not feeling as strong as I feel I should after six weeks of the program.

So I guess I just need to remind myself that it’s normal to feel this way. Maybe it’s fear of succeeding…maybe it’s my body not quite ready to give all of itself over to healthier living…maybe it’s simply me having an “off day”.

Whatever it is, I need to shake it. I’ve come too far now to let any little excuse turn into a major setback. I’m running a damn 5K in June…come hell or high water.


FOLLOW UP – I wrote this before going on my run this morning. I re-did the two 10-minute sessions and felt really strong. One more obstacle tackled!