Grace & Frankie

NetflixWhen Netflix Canada suggested I try a new comedy, I was a little hesitant. I mean, I haven’t seen a really good regular comedy series in quite some time. The wife and I love Orange Is The New Black, but it’s not really JUST a comedy, so I don’t know if it counts. We recently completed the entire ten seasons of Friends on Netflix, but we just don’t watch a lot of comedies these days…which is odd since we love to laugh. Grace & FrankieBut I thought I’d at least give Grace and Frankie a try.

Netflix’s new original comedy was released earlier this month. It’s an older cast featuring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston. Really, the show is described as an example of how today’s families can shift, rearrange, and blend in unexpected ways.  In a month where I’ve been blogging about “modern families”, this certainly fit the bill. The plot of the show goes like this:

“When Grace and Frankie’s husbands leave them after 40 years of marriage—to be with each other—the women find themselves facing a change they never expected. They shift their perspective to get through it together, with the support of their new blended family and, of course, a sense of humour.”

For an exclusive sneak peek, check out the trailer below.

At first,  both Sunshine and I weren’t overly keen on giving it a shot, but we both decided to be open-minded. We’re glad we did.

There’s just something about Jane Fonda dropping an F-bomb that makes me smile. I wouldn’t say that this is the best comedy we’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly entertaining. We’re about five episodes into the show and we certainly don’t hate it (there are thirteen episodes altogether).  I’m not sure if I completely buy the gay relationship between the two husbands (Sheen and Waterston), but I’m enjoying the slow progression of everybody being adversaries to slowly becoming friends.  The supporting cast is quirky and fun and helps show how crazy today’s families can be. 

We’ll probably finish out the season just to see how things progress and end. If you’re looking for something a little different, this might be the comedy for you.

The Kaleidoscope of Today’s Modern Family

It’s weird…as I was growing up, I thought that I had the perfect nuclear family. A happily married mother and father, a little sister, a cute little dog, and a white picket fence.

As I grew older I quickly realized that our family wasn’t perfect. In fact, it was far from it.

Spousal infidelity that almost split the family apart. An adopted little sister who had a child at age 16 that my parents had to get full custody of. Then I had a couple of out-of-wedlock children. Then my sister had a couple more.  Dogs turned into cats. Day turned into night. Up turned down.

Now I’m on my second marriage and couldn’t be happier with my life. Between the two of us, there are FIVE children in our family; none of whom live with us full-time.  I have three half-siblings and my wife has two daughters, so to say we’re a happy kaleidoscope would be a fair statement to make.

Thankfully, we all get along and have a great time when we’re all together. Even when we can only get three of the five together at once, it’s usually a great time. I never thought that I wanted kids, but now I couldn’t imagine my life without any of them!Netflix

We’re a television family, too, which is why I’m very excited to have joined forced with Netflix Canada to provide blog content based around what we watch.  We already had a Netflix account, so the partnership simply made sense.

Fresh PrinceOne of the fun “modern family” shows that we’ve introduced to the two youngest daughters (aged 10 and 12) is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Like many of you, my wife and I grew up loving that show and thought it would be a great family program to show the girls. I mean, Will Smith when he was the smart-ass “Fresh Prince” and Alfonso Ribeiro dancing to Tom Jones: what else do you need to know?.

Some of the clothing and musical references are dated, as to be expected. Some of the acting is completely over-the-top, also to be expected with a comedy series. But the great thing that we all enjoy is the laughter and fun that Uncle Phil and the rest of his family had at the end of the day. Sure, every episode was built around conflict…but this family still loved each other and did whatever they could to gel and come together as a unit.

Gilmore GirlsMy wife is now introducing Gilmore Girls to her own girls on the weekends I’m away visiting my son. I remember watching that show when it came out (c’mon…what guy in his early 20’s didn’t have a crush on Lorelai Gilmore??) and even though it was described as a “chick show”, I really enjoyed the witty banter back and forth between everybody. And again, it’s a story about a family who has their fair share of conflict and problems…both between the main character and her parents (because she had a child out of wedlock at a young age and didn’t want to rely on them to become an independent, strong, single mother) and between her and her daughter (who is growing up just like her, which results in a lot more witty banter and conflict).

I think it’s important that we watch shows like this because, as we prove, life isn’t perfect and neither is every family. Just because their parents aren’t together doesn’t mean that their life is any better or worse than anybody else’s.

I think it’s important that the kids see dysfunction in settings outside of their own family; whether it’s in a serious setting or in a comedic one. The modern family is one that includes all shapes and sizes and situations. Being a family like that ourselves, we can not only relate but can learn and grow.

Our Sixth “Second” Anniversary

Sunshine & CBGSunshine and I had a two-month break in early 2009.  Of course, that “break” was us actually breaking up.

I’m not going to re-hash things because the bottom line is that we both needed this time away.  We didn’t realize it at the time, but this time apart was absolutely necessary for us to truly understand and appreciate what we had together. We needed to be apart to understand what we were missing during that time period.

And while people may roll their eyes at this, both Sunshine and I truly believe that fate…or the universe…brought us back together.  We talked online and that conversation quickly escalated to the point where I went to go visit her again to see what could possibly happen next.

I’m so glad I did.

That weekend (May 22-24, 2009) was quickly deemed “The Best Weekend Ever“. It was a re-launch of our relationship…one that has grown and matured over time. 

Obviously…six years later…it’s easy to see that it was the right decision to make. I moved to Halifax to be with her, we lived together, and then we eventually got married. So on our sixth “Best Weekend Ever” anniversary, please take a few minutes and click the links below.  I recapped our original reunion in four separate blog posts, and I’m hopeful that you’ll be able to feel our happiness from reading my words and by viewing our pictures.

Happy 6th anniversary, Sunshine. We made it and I am thankful for that weekend every single day.

Best Weekend Ever: Part One

Best Weekend Ever: Part Two

Best Weekend Ever: Part Three

Best Weekend Ever: The Conclusion

Throwback Thursday

If you have never been to Newfoundland, it’s a trip that I highly recommend.

Back in 2000, I moved to “the rock” on my own for a year as a traveling salesman. I lived for six months in Grand Falls and then the other six months in Paradise (a suburb of St. John’s). It was one of the most memorable times in my entire life.

I drove from one end of that island to the other; from the tip of St. Anthony (and yes, I saw icebergs in the water during the summertime) down to the scenic (but fairly desolate) seaside town of Harbour Breton back up to the tip of the province at Fogo Island. The scenery was spectacular and the driving never bothered me at all.

It’s been 15 years since I made that journey, and I stumbled upon a couple of pictures that reminded me of that incredible year.



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



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.071

The proposal

CBG-SUNSHINEI am the luckiest man alive.

Happy birthday, baby.

It’s Only Getting Better

This past weekend was a really great weekend. It was one of those weekends where I’ll one day look back on pictures and say, “Yeah…that was really special.”

Fun in the back seatIt started on Friday when I picked up my son, Ankle Biter, and drove him to Halifax. We had supper together at McDonalds first, then jumped in the car for a 2.5 hour drive. He’s normally really good in the backseat. He plays his iPod or looks out the window, daydreaming about whatever it is he daydreams about. I try to play music I know he likes because I know it can be boring after awhile in the backseat of a car. He never complains, though…he’s awesome like that.

It was 9pm by the time we got home so Sunshine and I let him hang out with the girls (Kiddo & Lil’ Mo) for a little bit before sending them off to bed. After pancakes the next morning, we hit up a new local farmers’ market before visiting Pebbles at 11am.

The hedgehogThe girls get to see Pebbles on a semi-regular basis. Ankle Biter hadn’t seen his older half-sister since our wedding a year and a half ago. Needless to say, the two siblings were quite excited to see each other.

We hung out at a DQ and Pebbles brought along her pet hedgehog for all of us to swoon over. It was at this point that she said that she didn’t have any plans for the afternoon. I immediately asked her if she wanted to hang out with Ankle Biter and I as we were going ot the local museum while the girls went to a birthday party. She said “YES!” and we arranged to meet-up later.

002So here I was…with my oldest and my youngest…and we were at the Museum of Natural History, checking out the traveling dinosaur exhibit and “woodland creatures” exhibits. It was so much fun…just watching the two of them getting along (despite their 9-year age difference) and then laughing and talking with me…I felt like a million dollars. Obviously, I would have loved to see my middle child there, too (i.e. Rugrat), but this was something really special.

Once we were done, we went for a quick mid-afternoon snack so we could chat some more and hang out. It truly was a magical afternoon for me.

Ankle Biter in his WWE t-shirtWe said our goodbyes to Pebbles and head back home to meet the girls for supper. I BBQ’d some burgers before taking Ankle Biter to a WWE Live Event (his first live wrestling show).

I know it may seem silly to some, but this was an incredible bonding event for the two of us. I’m a life-long fan and since introducing him to the “sport”, he’s fallen in love with it, too. And because we’re now in a PG-rated era, it’s safe for kids of his age to watch. We had a GREAT time.  We laughed, we chanted, we clapped…it really was a lot of fun. Half of my fun was watching HIM have fun.

Point Pleasant ParkOn Sunday, Sunshine and I dragged the stepdaughters and Ankle Biter to a local park that used to be a naval base. Hey had a wonderful time in the sun, running around and playing games. It was nice to get outside and spend time together as a family.

I had to drive him 2 ½ hours back to his mom that afternoon, so we left by 2pm. On the way there, I reminded him that the new Avengers movie opened. He was super-excited to see it. I told him that if he wanted to see it, his mom could totally take him so he didn’t have to wait two weeks. He shrugged that off and said that he wanted to see it with me and would gladly wait the two weeks.

THIS is the type of relationship I never had with my dad and we lived under the same damn roof! I’m so glad that I’m being able to experience fatherhood like this. Who would have thought that life truly would get better with age?