Throwback Thursday

On this day seven years ago, I had flown down to Houston, Texas for the final two weeks of a four-week training session for my job at the time. What was important about this time is that I had just finished spending a weekend at my house as a little “break”.

I had arranged this weekend a couple of months earlier, as everyone who was training in Houston had the option of staying or coming back home. The problem is that my wife and I had split up about a week before I initially left for my training.

I came home to an empty house. Literally…I had a bed, a television, about half of the DVDs that I had bought over the years, the washer & dryer, and my computer.  I had actually called my parents to say “hi” and see how they were. I’ll never forget my mom asking me why it was “so echo-y” on the phone. I tried explaining to her that the house was literally empty, so my voice was echoing off of the walls with nothing in the room to buffer the sound.

I had an incredible time in Houston, though. It was one of those memorable trips that you never forget. Obviously, I wish I wasn’t in such a negative headspace at the time, but I tried to make the most of it.

For my Throwback Thursday, here are some of my favourite moments from my month long stay in the awesome city of Houston, Texas.

The Downtown Aquarium  - Houston
The Downtown Aquarium
Downtown Houston
Downtown Houston
Fogo de Chao - Houston
My favourite restaurant ever, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao!!
Cheesecake Factory - Houston
My first time eating at the Cheesecake Factory was awesome. I would love to eat there again.
Hard Rock Cafe - Houston
I was pumped to see the KISS guitar inside. Every Hard Rock Cafe has something interesting for the music fan.
Joe's Crab Shack - Kemeh Boardwalk
Got to visit the Kemeh Boardwalk, which is 30 miles outside of Houston. This place was fantastic, as was the meal at Joe’s Crab Shack.
Johnson Space Center - Houston
So lucky to have visited the Johnson Space Center. Got a tour of the entire area and was able to see some very interesting space-related stuff up close and personal.
Houston Zoo
LOVED the Houston Zoo! It was my first time seeing a giraffe live and in person! I also saw a monkey masturbating, but that’s a whole other blog post…
Ruggles - Houston
I’m not sure if the restaurant is still there or not, but had a wonderful meal at Ruggles on my last night in Houston.
Minute Maid Park - Houston
Beer and baseball. Picture was taken in the right outfield bleachers of Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros.

The Mini-Vacation

For the past couple of years, both Sunshine and I have pined to get away from the city for a much needed vacation. Heck, we haven’t even had an official honeymoon yet! We had planned on driving to Ottawa, Ontario this past weekend to meet up with one of her friends from high school, but finances dictated that not happen. 

What we decided to do, however, was find something closer that could still help us get out of the city and away from everything…the work, the financial issues, the kids, the cats…and concentrate on us, Obviously, with my issues over the past year or so, wanting to spend some time together was pretty important to both of us. 

So we drove 90 minutes down to the South Shore of Nova Scotia to a tiny fishing village called Port Mouton. Here we stayed in a great spot that we stayed at a few years ago: Port Mouton Bay Cottages. There was a 3 nights-for-2 nights off-season special and we jumped at the opportunity.  I mean, we had two bedrooms, a 4-piece bathroom, a fully stocked kitchen, an electric BBQ, satellite television, dvd player, a propane fireplace, a seaside view, and complimentary WiFi. What else could we possibly want??Port Mouton Bay Cottages

We packed the car with clothes and food and left on Friday morning. We didn’t actually do anything the rest of the day once we arrived. We just sat back and relaxed the entire afternoon/evening. It was weird to not have any cats jumping on us or whining at 3 o’clock in the morning, so we slept extremely soundly that night.

On Saturday morning, we each went out for some exercise. Sunshine ran and I walked, but we both got out there. After breakfast, we jumped in the car and drove a couple of hours to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The reason was that there was a lighthouse there that was supposed to be the #1 attraction in the area. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. Cape Forchu

We went to Cape Forchu and were told that there was a webcam set up for and situated ourselves exactly where we could be seen: in the giant chair.

Yes...that's us in the big yellow chair.
Yes…that’s us in the big yellow chair.

We walked around the area and thought it was spectacularly beautiful. Cape Forchu Cape Forchu Cape Forchu

Once finished, we head to downtown Yarmouth to see if there was anything worth seeing. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much there but we did find a fantastic antique store called The Wooden Buoy. If you’ve ever seen American Pickers (or Canadian Pickers), then this would be THE PLACE for you.The Wooden Buoy

Almost picked up this Happy Days lunchbox but thought $45 was a little much, considering the weathered condition of a lot of the paint.Happy Days Lunchbox

We made our way back to the cottages, weaving in an out of the small villages and towns along the way (such as Shelburne and Lockeport). Once back, we had dinner and watched a movie before turning in early (*wink wink*). 

Sunday morning brought us both heading out again for exercise. It was a gorgeous morning with the sun beaming down on us. Roadside home in Port Mouton, NSPort Mouton, Nova Scotia

After lunch we decided to check out the Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct, another place we had visited a few years ago when I wasn’t very interested in walking anywhere. It’s a 4km round-trip walk to the shore and back, and on our previous trip I hated every second of it. Even though I’m heavier now, I quite enjoyed the exercise and had no complaints at all about the walk.Kejimkujik Seaside AdjunctKejimkujik Seaside AdjunctKejimkujik Seaside Adjunct Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct

On the way back to the cottage, we hit up Carter’s Beach; a tiny white-sand beach that is hidden from the main roads and only has a dirt path through the trees to the beach. But once there, wow.

How beautiful and white is this sand??
How beautiful and white is this sand??

I BBQ’d some steak for supper and Sunshine took the time to have a bubble bath while I wrote this blog post. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this has been one of the more awesome trips away that we’ve had together. We both concentrated on being happy, and that really made the weekend for us. 

We’ve been through our share of ups and downs over the past year, but now that we’re both in a much better head space life is presenting itself in a whole new way. This is the way we should have been feeling from the moment we got married.

At one point over the weekend, I said that I felt like a brand new man. Sunshine stopped me and said that I was the CBG that she originally met and fell in love with. So whatever changes these anti-depressants are making is TOTALLY fine with me.

Life is as good as it’s ever been. I’m more in love today than I was on Friday.  

Returning To Form

I know I’ve been MIA for a week, but last week I got hit by a cold: HARD. I was feeling good on Sunday morning, having completed Week 3: Day 1 of the Couch-to-5K app. On Sunday evening, though, I felt my throat getting sore. Sure enough, I woke up on Monday morning like a Mack truck had run me over.

I didn’t go to work on Monday, but wasn’t able to rest much as I worked from home. I was coughing and hacking and sneezing and everything seemed to be non-stop pretty much all day.

I didn’t go to work on Tuesday, either. My youngest stepdaughter, Lil’ Mo, was also sick so we stayed home together. She sat on one side of the couch and watched movies while I sat on the other side of the couch doing more work (thank goodness I can work remotely when I’m not in the office).

On Wednesday, I dragged my sorry butt to work. For whatever reason, I felt nauseated around 11am and rushed to the restroom. Thankfully, the janitor had just finished cleaning as my head hit the bowl. SIX TIMES. Unbelieveable. When I walked back to the office, between throwing up and my non-stop coughing for three days I had pain in muscles I didn’t even know I had.

I was pretty much shot for the rest of the week. No running…no blogging…nothing.

Yesterday I tried to re-do my Week 3: Day 1 exercise, but had to stop halfway through the workout after my 3-minute stretch because I was coughing and hacking so much. I walked back to the house dejected as I realized that I wasn’t as healthy as I hoped I was.

Still battling… #CouchTo5K #fitness

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But that’s not going to stop me. I plan on going out every single morning that I can. When I’m not running, I want to go walking. I need to step up my game here…and the only way to do that is to actually do something and not simply wait to feel better.

My weight is now at 241lbs, so I’ve still got a very long way to go (last week’s inactivity certainly didn’t help). Instead of getting dejected and depressed about my inability to run the way I want to or losing weight like they appear to do on TV, I’m just going to take a deep breath and keep on truckin’ on.

No one is in charge of your happiness except you

Wasted Talents?

On Tuesday I was sent a message from my daughter in Ontario (Rugrat). She had sent me a great pic of some art that she had designed herself. I love looking at her artwork.

Y’see, Rugrat is a really good artist and has been for awhile now. She had dreams of going to art college after high school (she’s 16 and graduates next year), but has now changed her mind. She still loves to draw and the photo below is from a glass pen that Sunshine and I gave her for Christmas.

Rugrat art

She doesn’t want to go to art college anymore. She doesn’t like being told what to draw and thinks she wouldn’t enjoy herself. She only draws animé and pretty much refuses to do anything else.

She now wants to become a hair stylist; not so much someone who works at the local Super Cuts, but someone who designs hair and does whatever styles she wants to do.

I’ll support her in whatever she wants to do, but it almost seems a shame to see her waste her artistic talents.

Throwback Thursday

While I was out running yesterday morning, I was looking out at the beautiful morning and thinking back to a time when I really loved running. It’s weird…I never thought I would love running, but I’ve become a person who does enjoy it. Maybe not all the time, but I certainly like it or else I wouldn’t do it at all.

Anyway, so I told Sunshine that I was thinking back four years ago to our last real vacation. On the morning we were to transfer from the hotel to the cruise ship, we were up at 6am and out behind the Holiday Inn Tampa in their beautiful pond/walking path area. I felt like a million dollars, so I went running around the path.

I was training for a race at that point, so I didn’t really have a plan or anything. I was just running until I had to slow down to catch my breath. It was beautiful, it was sunny, and I felt great.

I want those feelings back once all this snow finally disappears. I’m looking forward to tackling my half-marathon goal for later this year.

Throwback Thursday

Why Do I Love Entertainment So Much?

As you may know by reading my blog over the past five+ years, I’m a big fan of all things “entertainment”.  I’ve written about movies and television series and music and celebrities numerous times. It was only last week that I realized why.

National EnquirerWhile listening to the local morning radio show, Sunshine and I overheard the hosts talk about how their parents used to read The National Enquirer when they were younger. I’m said, “My mom used to buy the National Enquirer and Star Magazine every single week.”

Sunshine replied with, “Well now you know why you’re so crazy about entertainment.”

I had never really thought about it before, but she was right (she loves hearing me say that, too). Finally, at 42 years of age I realized why I was so bloody interested in all things Hollywood when I have zero connection to the entertainment business at all: my mom!

feedlyI mean, my feedly playlist has some sports and local news and blogs thrown in for good measure. But it’s almost 75% entertainment stuff from Buzzfeed or Screen Rant or WWTDD or TMZ. I used to watch shows like Entertainment Tonight religiously when I was younger (i.e. pre-internet). Now it all makes sense.

It’s silly, really. I guess that makes me no better than the ladies that gather around my aunt’s table to gossip about the people of my hometown, only it’s me interested in the gossip of celebrities and people I don’t know at all.

Hey…there are certainly worse things that could have been passed down to me from my mom.   🙂