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 Monday afternoon to post on a Tuesday morning…

    • I feel bad that Sunshine and I didn’t stay up to watch the VMA’s this past Sunday. We normally like to make fun of celebrities on Twitter and, may I add, are quite witty with our comments and banter. From what I saw the next day, though, we didn’t miss very much. We missed a bunch of Nicki Minaj’s ass showing Miley Cyrus how it’s done, but I can just watch her video to see that.
  • I’m really excited about the upcoming football season. I’ve joined four different fantasy football leagues and I might join one or two more just for shits ‘n’ gigs. In fact, I’m even part of a league with Random Esquire…and I look forward to kickin’ some major ass when the season is all said and done. Maybe there needs to be an individual wager between the two of us?
  • Platinum Blonde2014 has turned into the “Musical year of Sunshine”. It kicked off with us seeing Platinum Blonde, who she was a MAJOR fan of (I have to admit…I enjoyed the concert a lot more than I expected). She then got tickets for September to see Jann Arden, who she is a MAJOR fan of. Now we’ve got tickets in October to see her #1 childhood dream, Richard Marx. I won’t lie…I’m looking forward to that concert, too, as I’m a fan. The question, though, is when is an artist that I want to see going to make their way through Halifax? I guess this would be Sunshine getting retribution for making her go to the KISS concert five years ago (lol).
  • guardians-galaxy1Finally got to see “Guardians of the Galaxy” this past weekend with my son. What an incredible movie! When they initially released the poster, I had no idea what the movie was about as I had never read the comics. I thought it was ridiculous to think that they could make a realistic gun-toting raccoon and a walking tree and then incorporate it all into a good movie. I couldn’t be happier to be more wrong! This is probably now in my Top 10 all-time favourite movies, it was that good. I’d pay to see it again and can’t wait to pick up the Blu-Ray when it’s available.
  • My work is full of hills and valleys. One week I could be all-out non-stop crazy busy and the next week I could be sitting here desperate for inspiration to smack me on the head so I can write more blog posts. Guess where I’m at this week?
  • The summer seemed to speed by faster than any other I can remember. I can’t believe it’s almost September already. Sometimes I wish life would just slow down a bit, y’know?
  • CBG & Sunshine on Navy PierSunshine and I are still thinking about possibilities for an October long-weekend drive somewhere. We want to get out of the city for a few days but aren’t sure where to go. Montreal and Boston are suggestions, but we’re just not sold on each as of yet. We need to get away, though…just the two of us. Hell, we haven’t even had a proper honeymoon yet!! I mean, sure…we flew to Chicago to hang with Random Esquire for a few days (which was AWESOME), but we didn’t…y’know…“do honeymoon things” while we were there. That would just be rude. Anyway…we need to get away for a few days on a budget. We just need inspiration on where to go.
  • Ugh…I’m 42 soon.

My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…sort of

So I was tagged on Facebook Sunday afternoon. I saw my notification and clicked to see what the deal was. It was a friend of mine dumping a small bowl of water over his head and challenging me to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

I had 24 hours, apparently. Sigh.

Y’see, I was half hoping to not be challenged and half hoping TO be challenged. I mean, I’m glad that I’ve got a friend who wants to include me in all of this silliness…so I think it’s good in that sense that I was challenged. On the other hand, I don’t feel like I should be pressured into doing something that I don’t really want to do.

Here’s the thing…if it was simply an “ice bucket challenge” where you dumped water on your head AND donated to your favourite charity, I might be more on board. At this point, though, it’s such a huge meme that I feel like most people are doing it simply to show off on social media…dumping ice water on themselves while not even knowing what ALS even stands for. There are a million different charitable organizations out there…I don’t think I should be pressured into donating to one in particular.

So here’s the thing…I’m NOT doing it. Instead, I’ve come up with my own twist…

As mentioned above, I’m now registered for the Relay For Life in June to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. I’m doing it because it’s a charity I believe in and because I want to honour my mother and keep her memory alive.

Here’s the link to my Relay team, Marilyn’s Marauders.

Once you click the link, you can donate to my team or you can join my team and raise some money on your own. No, you don’t have to actually be in Canada to join the team; you can join from anywhere. In the end, it’s all about actually raising money for a great cause…and after having lost two members of my family to cancer, this is the cause I want to get behind.

So MY challenge to all of YOU is to click the link and donate. You don’t have to pour ice water on yourself. You don’t have to donate very much as there isn’t any $100 minimum. You don’t have to verify or prove you did anything via social media. You don’t even have to tell me that you did it.

Just donate and help me raise some money to help the battle against cancer in the ongoing efforts to eradicate this unforgiving disease from the world.

At the end of the day, that’s what this is really all about…isn’t it?

Fun Music Flashback Friday – Touch Me

Summertime music. It always seems to have a special place in my memory bank…much more than music released any other time of the year. It was during the summer that I was initially introduced to the spectacle that was Samantha Fox.

I’ll be the first to admit that Samantha Fox wasn’t the most talented singer in the world. I’ll also freely admit that I wasn’t a super-huge fan of her music just because of her incredible vocals or insightful lyrics.

And I’ll TOTALLY  fully admit to initially becoming a fan of Samantha Fox because of this 45 single album cover:

Samantha Fox - Touch me

Huh…remember the 45 single?

I remember the summer of 1986 when this single was released. The song itself was not overly memorable. In fact, it epitomized the cheesiness that was the 80’s. Still…it was a hit in spite of its “ode to fromage” and scandalous lyrics, suggestiveness, and moans (Miley Cyrus could learn a thing or two from Samantha Fox).

For me, this particular song takes me back to a summer of discovery and fun. A number of us were friends with Nadine, a great girl who just happened to have a kick-ass swimming pool and a love for her friends…so we were always under an ‘open invitation’ to come out and hang out for the day.

I remember going out in the morning to hang with everybody, then driving into work for lunch (I was a waiter working lunch and supper rush hours). After my shift, I’d head out for the afternoon to hang and then drive back to the restaurant for the evening crowds. Sometimes we’d go out in the evening, but most of the time it was a daytime thing (her parents weren’t normally around during the day).

A number of us would bring music to listen to. Sometimes we’d play a mix-tape, other times we’d throw a 45 on the record player. I remember this song getting lots of play, even though I’m pretty sure very few other people enjoyed it as much as I did.

Do YOU have a song that takes you back? Any “summer tunes” that immediately help you remember a certain time in your life?

Searching For Savings & A Lack Of Family Trips

The family trip is off.

Sad faceIt sucks to even write that down…but it’s been off for a couple of weeks now. We had gotten to the point where we thought that we would be able to save up enough money for this awesome family vacation in Florida…Disney & Universal, specifically…but then we were hit with a financial blow a couple of weeks ago that pretty much killed any chance we had of going this year.

So what it boils down to is that we need to be better at saving. I, in particular, have never been great at saving anything other than pennies over the years. That being said, I’m finally at a job that pays me what I’ve always wanted to be paid…yet I’m still having a difficult time saving. I’m not drowning in debt or anything, but I’m not saving the way I thought I would.

As of Sunday, our week-long “family staycation” ended, so in the next few days I think Sunshine and I will be seriously looking at how to manage our finances better. With the money we make and the bills that we have, we should be able to save a lot more than we are at the moment.  We want to be in a position where an unexpected financial hit doesn’t cripple us. We also want to make sure that if we are hit unexpectedly by something, that it doesn’t completely derail our trip plans.

My attempt to get sponsored to write blog posts about Florida went without any offers, so I guess we’re pretty much stuck at home for the foreseeable future (only half kidding, by the way). As bad as I feel for Sunshine and I, the worst part about it all is that I feel really bad for the kids. They never really get to go anywhere and, with the exception of my daughter Rugrat, none of them have ever been on a plane before. 

It’s going to be a long year without going anywhere, though. Maybe Sunshine and I can sneak away for a long weekend drive somewhere like Boston or Montreal. Hmmm…let’s ponder this for a little bit.

Life Is What You Make Of It

Alright…a few weeks into this new lifestyle change and I think I’m on the right track. I’ve been counting my calories every day, drinking my 8 glasses of water, cutting back on my snacking, and going out for runs and walks when I’d normally be happy to sit on the couch at home.

Unfortunately, that didn’t result in much of a change on the scales when I stepped on it last week.

I’d been down this road before, though. I’d seen a lack of movement on the scale and it had ruined my whole day. In fact, there have been times when I’d seen a higher number and then just said, “F*ck it” before going on an eating binge for the next week or two.

Not this time.

Not this timeY’see, I realize that my life isn’t dictated by my weight. I’m not obese, by any stretch. I mean, how many obese people can run a 5K in under 40 minutes? So yes, I totally realize that I’m in a much better place physically today than I was a few short months ago. It just sucked that my body didn’t seem to want to work with me when it came to appearance.

So here I am, eating baby carrots on a Monday afternoon after a vacation week where, as crazy as it sounds, I was actually down three pounds on my weigh-in day! And you know what else? I didn’t go crazy during my vacation week, either. Sure…I had some sweets and some snacks, but I didn’t go crazy like I normally would. I had an active week and it ended up finally showing on the scales to the point that I’m not worried or concerned about my weigh-in on Wednesday.

In addition to that, I’ve got my awesome wife doing whatever she can do to help motivate me and keep me on the right path. Two years ago I might have felt a bit resentful or even upset that she was “pushing this lifestyle” upon me. Today feels like a new day, though, so I am incredibly grateful for her motivation and assistance. She’s not only my best friend, she’s also my inspiration.

My good friend, Random Esquire, is continuing to help motivate me, as well. We send each other pictures of our food…all day, every day…in an effort to keep each other “in check”. Random’s going to the gym now while I’m still out there pounding the pavement in the mornings trying to run off the pounds. We’re hoping to integrate other workout routines and exercises into our daily schedules so we can continue to keep each other “in check”.

And for whatever reason, I’m still motivated to keep making these lifestyle changes. I mean, I know I’ve been here before and have failed multiple times…but it’s not about how many times you fail, it’s about how many times you get back up again. I failed four or five times at quitting smoking before I finally did it…cold turkey…and this year I celebrated 10 years smoke free. If I can conquer that, I can certainly conquer this.

So two weeks ago I only lost a half pound. Who cares? As Sunshine asked me at the time, what if I lost a half pound every week for an entire year? Would I not be happy to have lost 26 pounds? I’d almost be at my ultimate goal weight…so why get upset and throw everything out the window because the initial results aren’t exactly what I’m hoping for? It’s a marathon, not a sprint…and that’s how it felt last week when I saw the results of my hard work pay off.

As long as I keep going on the same path that I’ve been on for the past few weeks, I’ll eventually get to where I want to be.  In fact, I’m thinking about running a 10K in October.

** BLINK **

I shake my head as I write that because just a few months ago, I couldn’t imagine myself even running a 5K event much less a 10K. But here I am in August, two months removed from my first 5K and two months away from a potential 10K. I really think I can do this!

Life is what you make of it and right now, my life is good. And I’m at the point where I really want to make the most of the life I’ve got.

Don't give up

Plantar fasciitis

I’ve been training for my next 5K. I’m running three times per week and I’m taking steps to ensure I’m in better shape for this one than I was during my first run. I’m excited about my progress and I feel like I’m finally taking control because I want to, not just because I have to or because I’ve got a bet going on with somebody or because I feel obligated.

I want to do this!

And I understand that aches and pains are part of the process. My right knee has been a recurring issue since I began running back in April. The good thing, though, is that it seems to be doing a lot better. Running three times a week with breaks in between seems to help a lot, whereas I was running two to three days in a row before. That one or two days really does my knee good.

Which is why I was puzzled by the pain in my foot. It was a weird pain, too. Sometimes I would be sitting at the office for an hour and try to stand up, only to almost fall over because of the pain. I would wake up in the morning and hobble out of bed. Yet when I ran, everything felt fine.

What the heck???

I did a bit of research and found that I’ve probably got plantar fasciitis. Basically, that means that I’ve strained the plantar fascia (i.e. the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes) of my right foot. Thus, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated or inflamed. When I stand or walk, I get an intense pain shooting through my foot.



It’s common in middle-aged people (hellooooo 42nd birthday in September!) and is caused by a number of things that relate directly to me:

  • I walk, stand, or run for long periods of time on hard surfaces (i.e. the sidewalk).
  • I am overweight.
  • I wear shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out (probably a contributing factor).

plantarMost people have intense pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed or sit idle for a long time. Then, the stiffness and pain goes away after a few steps (or more, in my case).

Unfortunately, there is no single treatment for plantar fasciitis. I have to do stretches of my calf and my toes and with a towel as a first step. If those don’t work, I’ll probably need to get orthotic insoles and/or better shoes.

It just sucks. I’m finally in a good spot and this hits me. The good thing is that I don’t feel the pain very much when I’m running…so it won’t take anything away in that regard. What it’s doing, though, is taking away from my standard of living. The limping and the pain isn’t going away on its own. This is definitely something I need to take care of.

Sigh. I was healthier when I wasn’t doing anything healthy.