Confessions from a Cubicle

Confessions from a CubicleI don’t do these very often anymore. Quite frankly, I haven’t been working out of a cubicle in well over a year so it simply doesn’t make any sense to write about thoughts from my cublicle…y’know?

And while I still don’t have a cubicle (it’s an interior, open-top office space…ahem), I thought that I might as well write down a few thoughts while I had some down-time on a Friday afternoon to post on a Tuesday morning…

  • Caleb JohnsonAmerican Idol’s finale was last week. Thankfully, the right person won the competition…though that might not necessarily be a good thing. Why? Well…who won last year? Okay…how many Idol winners have gone on to become platinum-selling superstars? I can tell you my answers to those two questions are “I have no freakin’ clue” and “about a handful”. Caleb Johnson has one of the greatest rock voices I’ve heard in years, and where he’s still relatively young, he’s got a ton of potential to have a great career (Daughtry still can have a good career, too, beyond that first album if he starts churning out better music). My concern is that Idol will try to shape and mold him to release an album that isn’t really “him”. You can tell from the lead-off single that they’ve “Top 40-fied” the song to have less raunchy guitars that it probably should have. My only hope is that his voice and talent help him rise to the top in spite of the “Idol winner” label he has now. He was far and away better than anybody else on the show. It wasn’t even close, really.
  • Harry Potter weddingI’m as big a fan of Harry Potter as the next guy. In fact, I’m already salivating at the soon-to-be-opened portion of Universal Orlando’s “Wizarding World of Harry Potter”, Diagon Alley! Having said that, however, I couldn’t imagine having my wedding while dressed as a wizard. As much as Sunshine and I had a great time together with our relaxed, care-free wedding…I simply couldn’t imagine having a Harry Potter theme. Apparently, there are people who do.
  • Tony Survivor winnerSurvivor was last week, as well. It seemed like everybody and their dog was under the impression that Tony was going to win the whole thing as we entered the finale. As I was watching things unfold, I was flabbergasted when Woo took Tony to the finals with him. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand and respect his decision based on honor, respect, and “wanting to beat the best player”. But Survivor isn’t tae kwon do. You take people to the end that you think you have a chance at beating…that’s part of the strategy. I feel bad for the guy, but Tony deserved to win. He was the “new age Russell Hantz” with at least SOME modesty, humbleness, and apologies at the end…which is why Tony won money but Russell didn’t.
  • I’m a big Mark Cuban fan, so it dismayed me to read about how he made some “racist” remarks recently in an interview. After only a couple of minutes of checking, however, I quickly found that the quotes were taken completely out of context and made to appear a certain way. Eventually the story was modified from flat-out calling the man a racist to simply insinuating it…but Cuban had to go on Twitter and defend himself from quotes taken out of context all morning last Thursday. Other “journalists” even wrote their own stories based upon the quotes and NOT about the actual interview itself. This grinds my gears to no end. We’re living in such a paranoid, maniacal, “get ‘em!!” society that all points and thoughts and theories are lost to sound bites. Journalists are so damn lazy that they’re quoting other articles and calling it their own. It’s pathetic.
  • It’s hard being the only Canadian to not give a monkey’s anus about the NHL playoffs, even WITH a Canadian team playing. I grew up in a non-sport home and the only sports I *DID* watch were (occasionally) baseball and NASCAR. I’m pretty much an NFL fan and that’s it. I don’t mind attending a live hockey game on occasion, but watching it on television or even following the standings has no appeal to me. I’m the odd one out on this, I think.
  • There aren’t a ton of movies I’m dying to go see this summer, but this is “THE ONE” for me…#GotGtrailer

Pebbles

  • Pebbles, my oldest daughter that I’ve only known for just over a year now, asked to get together with Sunshine and I last week. She even sent text messages telling the both of us to let us know that she was excited to get together. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Knowing that I wasn’t around for the first 15 years of her life and yet she’s still giving me this incredible opportunity to be there for her now is a blessing. In fact, to have both of my daughters contact me just to say “hi” is a blessing that I’m never, ever going to take for granted. I’ve been given a second chance with these two and I’m forever grateful.

Powering Through The Shame

It was an interesting weekend. So much, in fact, that I’ve had to sit on some thoughts over the past couple of days just to process it all. I’ll try to not make this story too wordy.

Both Sunshine and I had the kids over the past weekend and decided, since it was a long weekend here in Canada (Victoria Day was our holiday on Monday), that we would try to get the kids together one more time and see if we could manage to all get along…especially important after our difficult weekend this past Easter.

Since her girls hadn’t seen my dad since before he went to Florida to live in retirement last November, we decided to all have a family weekend at my dad’s place. He loves the girls and Sunshine as if they were his own flesh and blood, not just because they’re related by marriage.

So let me say right up front that Sunshine and I worked GREAT together. She was able to relax a little bit (not one of her strong suits) and I was able to not stress over every little detail and interact with the kids in a more positive way (not one of my strong suits). We were on the same page almost all weekend and had a great time with our children.

The time spent with my dad, however, was less than ideal.

Pretty much on a consistent basis all weekend, my dad put me down and made “jabs” at me in front of my family. Whether it was making fun of my weight, bringing up something that I did when I was younger that had nothing to do with the conversation at hand, or simply talking down to me…it was an extremely uncomfortable weekend. Primarily, it was uncomfortable because my wife had to experience it all.

Y’see, I’m kind of used to being treated this way. I don’t expect my dad to change any time soon, so I just take it in stride and try to let it all slide off my back. Sure it bothers me, but he’s an old leopard; he isn’t changing his spots any time soon.

Sunshine, however, isn’t used to seeing the constant barrage of negativity. She understands me completely (better than I understand myself, in fact) and realizes that I have the issues that I have because of my upbringing. She sees my continual struggles as an adult be exacerbated by how my father continues to treat me.

She can probably explain the fine details much better than I can, but she was NOT happy when the weekend was over. In fact, she told me on Monday morning that it would be a VERY long time before she would even consider staying at my dad’s again…especially with the kids.

She doesn’t want her girls to think it is okay to treat somebody that way. My son sees it, obviously, but dad doesn’t lay into me as much when it’s just my son and I visiting (I guess having a 7-year-old isn’t the greatest audience in the world) so he (hopefully) only sees how I treat him instead. I do my best to treat my son differently than the way I’m treated…so my hope is that he grows up feeling strong and empowered and confident in whoever he is and whatever he chooses to do.

There were more than one occasion that words my father spoke actually hurt me, and Sunshine could see that. She doesn’t want to see me go through that again.

I love my father. I really do. I know he isn’t purposely trying to cut me down or make me feel inferior. In his eyes, those biting comments are supposed to spark some kind of fire within me to make me do what he sees as being the right thing.

So when he comments about my weight, he feels as though shaming me in front of my family will make me want to do something about it and suddenly drop 20-30 pounds.  When he brings up an embarrassing story from my past for no reason other than to shame me in front of my wife and kids…well, I guess I don’t really know what he’s trying to accomplish other than make himself feel superior in some way.

Regardless of the reasons behind it, my weekend with Sunshine was great because our family was close-knit and had a great time together. If anything, my dad helped our marriage grow a little bit stronger…so I guess I should be a bit more appreciative.

It’s tough to work through these issues when, after 41 years, the root of the problem is still in full effect.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it…probably nothing. I do know, however, that I need to ensure I never take my internal anger out of my family. They are the root of my happiness and are my reason for living. If ever I need anything, I just have to turn to my wife and she’s there for me.

It’s just a shame I can’t say the same thing for my dad.

Fun Music Flashback Friday – You Give Love A Bad Name

I’ve decided to do something a little different with my “Fun Music Fridays”. If you’re like me, you’ve got a song that…when you hear it…instantly transports you back in time to when you were younger. I’ve got quite a few of these songs in my head, so I plan on writing about these “flashbacks” over the coming weeks.  Here is the second entry…

I was on some kind of youth group trip back in 1985. A couple of rooms had been rented at the local Wandlyn Inn so that the guys and the girls in the group could get changed and then take advantage of the heated pool facilities (pretty much the only pool available in the town at the time).

I remember that the Much Music countdown was on the television in the guys’ room. We had all been swimming for a couple of hours and had just finished changing back into our street clothes.

All of a sudden, this video came on.

No word of exaggeration, I literally thought it was the greatest song I had ever heard in my entire life.  I thought that the heavens had opened up and provided the world with a rock song that had a killer hook.

I remember being mesmerized. This song (and to a certain extent the video, too) single-handedly made me a Bon Jovi fan for life. It also single-handedly changed my 80’s musical tastes from the sounds of Twisted Sister and Quiet Riot to Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and Poison. Not a huge serve, mind you, but still…that song influenced me tremendously.

Of course, looking back now it’s Livin’ On A Prayer that’s most fondly remembered. At a close second is Wanted Dead Or Alive. This particular song…the one that had my jaw hitting the floor for its awsesomeness…is memorably, but falls in behind the other two.

Was there a song that had a similar effect on you?

The 40th (I mean 30-tenth) Birthday

Today is Sunshine’s 40th birthday. Sorry…let me correct myself: her 30-tenth birthday. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been going insane trying to make it memorable for her.

I mean, I’ve been working on a couple of projects for a couple of months now. Nothing crazy, but definitely sentimental and things I’m hoping she loves because they were made with time, care, and love. I’ve never been good with buying lavish gifts, but I think I’ve got a knack for finding things that actually MEAN something (I once spent a solid couple of weeks making a “relationship scrapbook” for her, which she ended up loving).

Much to her surprise, I took today off of work. I played it up all morning as I showered, got dressed, and drove her into the office. The surprise came when I didn’t park the car and, instead, stopped in front of the building to let her out.

“Sorry…but I’ve got plans today!!”

I’ve got a few errands to run. I’ve got a house to prepare. I’ve got a meal to organize. I’ve got things to do that are time-consuming and simply couldn’t be done if I hadn’t taken the day off of work.

This also means that I get to pick up the girls from school (they’re with us tonight, too, which is pretty awesome for one’s thirty-10th birthday). They’ll be able to come back to the house with me and assist with the final preparations.

What I am hoping from all of this is that she appreciates the little things tonight when all is said and done. I’m hoping she sees that I haven’t just been putting her birthday on the backburner, but instead have been working on this for awhile.

I guess I’ll find out later. In the meantime, please make Sunshine feel like a million bucks by wishing her a happy THIRTY-TENTH birthday!! If you could, I would appreciate anybody using Twitter to forward birthday wishes to use the hashtag #ThirtyTenth, just so we can track all of the responses.

If you’re not a Twitter person, check her out on Facebook and use the same hashtag.

Hopefully, at the end of the day, Sunshine will have a fantastic birthday and one that she’ll remember for awhile.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUNSHINE!!!

Hey gang!

Whether you know her or not…whether you read her blog or not…whether you follow her on Twitter or not…whether you “like” her on Facebook or not…PLEASE do me a favor and drop a quick comment or tweet to Sunshine on her birthday today.

Sunshine On My Shoulder

Twitter

If you could, I would appreciate anybody using Twitter to forward birthday wishes to use the hashtag #ThirtyTenth, just so we can track all of the responses.

If you’re not a Twitter person, check her out on Facebook and use the same hashtag.

Facebook

Sunshine, you are the love of my life and I couldn’t be happier to be married to you. I will do whatever I can to make you the happiest woman in the world. I love you.

The proposal

CBG-SUNSHINEI am the luckiest man alive.

Happy birthday, baby.

Day 65 – 7:06am

I’m entering Week 9 of my Couch-to-5K app training. I’m tackling my first 5K next month. The end is near…

I Got Off The Couch

No, I didn’t disappear. I did take a few days off, however.

My weekend didn’t quite turn out as expected, so no runs to report. I didn’t go running yesterday morning because I ended up walking to work (1st time ever!!), which garnered me over 5,000 steps and almost 5km.

This morning, though, I was ready to tackle WEEK 9 of the Couch-to-5K app. I didn’t feel like doing it…I suppose multiple days away from running can do that to a person if they’re not motivated to do it. Once I was out there, I felt like I couldn’t wait for it to be finished. My right knee hurt. My left shin hurt. I felt like I was going to throw up a couple of times. I felt like I was pushing myself by going faster than I had been going.

BUT I DID IT!!

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In terms of full disclosure…

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