It Was Bound To Happen

Almost four years ago, I first wrote about possibly starting an exercise regimen. I mean, really…that was the original plan. I went on a 5K walk with Sunshine and thought that was the beginning of my “road to walking a half marathon”.

Best laid plansRealistically speaking, taking a year to “get ready” to walk a half marathon probably wasn’t such a realistic idea. Well…it’s not easy, but it’s certainly do-able. Unfortunately, I was on the 2-year plan and wasn’t able to complete my half until 2013. 

WEIGHT LOSS - September 24But still…it’s pretty crazy to look back and realize that I’ve been trying (on and off) to get myself into better shape for four years now. It’s been a continuing battle, but one that I seemed bound to win eventually. Right now, I feel like I’m finally winning my battles against laziness and the couch itself (at least for the most part). In fact, I’ve actually lost 20 pounds in the past two months! GOAL - September 24

Earlier this year I thought that running a half-marathon was easily within reach. As I’ve learned over the past couple of months, that task may be a bit more difficult than I had originally anticipated. Thankfully, I feel like if I continue at the pace I am with my workouts that running a half-marathon will eventually be no problem within the next year or so…which is insane to think about realistically. 

So until I reach that particular goal, I’ll keep chugging along as best I can. Fingers crossed, I can make the most of my opportunities and run that half marathon at some point between now and the end of next year.

Fighting the Frustration

I’ve now been out of work now for about two months.

I’ll be honest…the first month wasn’t too bad at all. It was August and I had a couple of interviews. It was almost like a paid vacation because I ended up getting six weeks’ severance from my previous employer (they liked me…just not THAT much to keep me employed). I was staying positive and confident in my abilities and my skills, something that I always had a tough time dealing with before my ADHD was diagnosed.

This past month, though, has been a little bit tougher. The girls went back to school so I was alone every day. The interviews didn’t result in any job offers and the phone hasn’t been ringing since. That’s been a little tough to handle…as it begins to eat away at your ego after awhile.

So now I’m officially collecting unemployment insurance and that’s even a bigger hit to my ego. I realize that I pay for it while I’m working and so it’s there to help me in situations like this, but it’s not something that I enjoy taking. I don’t want to sit home and collect money from the government…that’s NOT what I want to do with my life.

I really felt as though I was firing on all cylinders at one point, but right now I’m feeling as though my life has all come crashing down on me. At least sometimes.

Most of the time I’m doing my best to make sure that I don’t let negativity creep into my mind. It’s tough, though. All I can do is just keep myself busy and believe that I will come out on the other side of this experience in a much better position than I started two months ago.

Throwback Thursday – The Cabot Trail

Sunshine mentioned to me yesterday that it had been five years this week since we had driven the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The road is widely considered one of the most interesting and fun to drive in the entire country, and even though we’ve lived in Nova Scotia the majority of our lives we had never driven the trail.

So we decided to do a weekend drive around the trail (due to it’s location, it was going to take more than a full day to drive around it). It was one of the first long road trips we had ever taken together, and helped to cement the fact that we’re GREAT on long road trips. 

Sigh…we’d love to do this again sometime.028029

Running Through The Pain – September 23

From the running diary…

I Got Off The Couch

On Monday I went out and decided to do something a little different. I made sure my music had only “running tunes” and I set-up the voice cues on my FitBit tracking app to only give me the distance and NOT give me any times. 

Y’see, I’ve been finding that I’ve been thinking more about the split times and the average pace times than concentrating on my running. So I don’t want to worry about times or whether or not I’m faster today than I was yesterday. 

The bottom line is that I want to just get out there and run. THAT’S the only important thing right now. Times and distances really don’t matter. I need to listen to my body and see what the end result is.

Monday saw my body really respond well and I ended up with the fastest times I can remember having! 09-21-2015 6-58 AMI can’t remember…

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My Birthday Recap

I turned 43 last week, which really isn’t that big of a deal. Because of my recent employment troubles, money is at a minimum right now so I insisted that I didn’t need anything in terms of gifts from my wife or kids. All I wanted was to be able to sit around and hang out with them. I have spent too many birthdays alone during my life to worry about getting gifts. Family is THE most important thing to me.

My awesome wife, though, decided to make it a “birthday weekend” with a few special dates. On Friday night, we had a date where she made shrimp scampi and got me some Garrison Red to sip on. We then watched one of our favourite movies, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and had a really great evening.

Birthday Weekend 1On Saturday morning we went to the Halifax Farmers Seaport Market (i.e. the place where we got married two years ago) and I had one of my favourite breakfast guilty pleasures, a Humble Pie. What is a Humble Pie, you ask? It’s a homemade meat pie that is unlike any other I’ve ever had. There are various different types to choose from (some include Steak & Cheese, Beef & Bacon Stroganoff, Chicken Cranberry Camembert, Feta & Spinach Roll), so I picked the Steak & Cheese and enjoyed every second of my breakfast. 052Sunshine and I then spent the rest of the day together, walking and enjoying each other’s company. There is nothing I enjoy more than spending time with my wife. She really is awesome.

That evening she set-up another date night with me. She wanted it to be a themed date based upon one of our favourite movies, so she based it upon 50 First Dates. Get this…she dressed-up in a flowered sarong, put leis around both of our necks, then made a meal of fried Spam and eggs!! We even had Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups for dessert!! If you don’t understand the references, you need to re-watch the movie. For me, this was incredibly thoughtful and so much better than any purchased gift she could get me. 118We decided to have a relaxing day on Sunday doing nothing at all. We did go out for an ice cream date, though, which was awesome. It’s a shame that ice cream is so unhealthy. I mean, I could eat this every day… 009On my birthday, Sunshine took the day off so we could spend it together. The first order of business was her taking me out to lunch. I had a peanut-butter burger (which was AWESOME) and she wore a KISS t-shirt just for me. It was a great date.  Birthday date 2That evening, my birthday dinner was do-it-yourself pizza, cupcakes made by Lil’ Mo (with Nutella frosting and Reece’s Pieces), and some cinnamon ice cream. What made things even better were the home-made birthday cards that my stepdaughters made for me. It was unbelievably sweet and brought a tear to my eye. It really was a fantastic night all-around. 027
Sunshine even went so far as to make a recipe that I hadn’t seen in years. Y’see, my mom had two recipe boxes that she left behind when she passed away. One of the items was a dessert that she made for me from the time I was a young boy all the way to being a young adult. They were called “Tweed Squares” and were basically a cake, an icing, and a chocolate layer on top. I never thought I would be able to enjoy one again until Sunshine made the recipe for my birthday. 

I almost broke down in tears…legitimately. Seeing the dessert brought me as close to my mom as I have been since she passed away. It’s hard to believe that something so small and insignificant could mean so much to me. Tweed SquaresAll-in-all, my birthday only went to prove that it’s not how much you spend on gifts but what you actually give (and why) that really counts. Is it a cheesy saying? Sure, but it’s totally true: it’s the thought that counts.

My wife is incredibly amazing…and I am truly the luckiest man in the world to have her by my side.058 

Fall Family Movie Night Netflix Recommendations

September is here and it’s time for the kids to head back to school, the days begin to get shorter, the mornings have a crisp feeling in the air, and the leaves begin turning colour. If you’re like my family, after a fun-filled summer it can be difficult to settle into a routine with school, work, and extra-curricular activities. It’s probably a good time to find ways to settle into a family routine at this point.

My family does that by settling into a “Fall Family Movie Night” routine once a week. Thankfully, September has brought along new releases on Netflix to help us with our viewing choices!

As such, I thought I’d provide a few recommendations that my family will be watching this month.

Meet The RobinsonsMeet the Robinsons is a tremendously under-rated family flick that doesn’t get nearly the attention it should get. While a Walt Disney Pictures release, I guess not being a Pixar release meant that it didn’t accumulate the following it probably should have. Lewis is an orphan who is also a brilliant inventor who has created a machine that can see your memories. One day he meets a mysterious stranger named Wilbur Robinson, who whisks Lewis away in a time machine as they attempt to find Bowler Hat Guy. Really, the plot seems a little weird, but the comedy and the originality of this film (not to mention the inspired reasons for the existence of a character named “Bowler Hat Guy”) really make it stand out as a “must-watch” for us.

Night at the Museum - Secret of the TombNight at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is the third and (probably) final in the Ben Stiller trilogy. Is it as good as the previous two? Well…it’s probably as good if not better than the second NatM, so let’s just be happy for that. In this episode, Larry has found that the magical tablet that brings all of the exhibits to life at night is beginning to corrode…meaning that the magic could end at any time. This movie introduces new characters from a new museum and a fun co-starring role by Rebel Wilson. It’s also, sadly, one of the final movies of the late Robin Williams. If the family liked the first two, it’ll like this one!

Lilo & StitchLilo & Stitch, to me, is another vastly under-rated film from Disney. Not as popular as the iconic Lion King and not Pixar-d like Toy Story, this unusual story about a nasty alien trouble-maker who finds true friendship from a couple of Hawaiian sisters is one of my favourite Disney movies. The family-friendly morals in the film are provided with genuinely emotional scenes that don’t necessarily “preach” to you, but rather provide them in various ways…from sadness to laugh-out-loud moments that parents and kids alike will enjoy. And the Hawaiian music is a nice change of pace from what you listen to on the radio these days.

The MuppetsFinally, Disney’s The Muppets is one of the greatest movies of the past decade. I was happy to know that the Muppet franchise was being “rebooted” with this film, but I was even happier to find out just how incredibly entertaining this movie ended up becoming. All of the Muppets are back, along with some new ones that you will end up loving. The story of how the old gang gets back together is believable, the music is so good that you’ll find yourself humming the songs to yourself for days afterwards, the acting is a nice blend of realistic and over-the-top, the comedy is spot-on, and the occasional breaking of the “4th wall” means that the Muppets know that we’re all in on the joke together. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I don’t know if I can recommend it enough.

But these are just my recommendations based on what is on Netflix in September. Do you have any family friendly recommendations to share?

Birthday Thoughts

So today is my birthday and I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about where I’m at in my life and where things seem to be going. This is what has been going through my head…

  • 096I’m 43 years old. It’s weird to say that because most of the time I don’t feel 43 years old. I still feel 33 and then I look in the mirror and wonder just what in the world happened to that fun-loving young guy? I guess I’ve come to realize that the fun-loving guy is still there, just in an older package. 
  • I’m battling my internal feelings over being unemployed. It’s been six weeks now and while I got close to one job with a second interview, there’s been a severe lack of phone ringing in my home. I know that I’ve got a really good resume and I’m going to get something else soon…it’s just a tough pill to swallow when you’re out of work. 
  • 058I’ve got the most incredible wife. Even though we’re trying to really manage our funds due to my working situation, she still found a way to make this past weekend (i.e. my “birthday weekend”) a LOT of fun. From movie-themed dates to an evening watching 80’s videos on YouTube, she found ways for the two of us to laugh and love. I’m truly the luckiest man alive to be with such an incredible person.
  • My kids are pretty awesome. All five kids/stepkids have great personalities and are all growing into really well-rounded people. I see how other kids behave and I hear horror stories about behaviour issues…but I don’t have that with my kids. Whether it’s my 9-year-old son or my 18-year-old daughter, I really believe they’ll grow up being responsible adults.  Both Sunshine and I are fortunate this way.
  • I’ve lost almost 20 pounds over the last couple of months. While I’m still heavier than I was a few years back, I’m the most physically fit I’ve ever been in my entire life. I ran a 10K last week and I’m running another 10K (or more) today to celebrate my birthday. I can’t imagine “old CBG” even considering something like that ten years ago…unless I was being chased by zombies.
  • I’ve got a ton of great things in my future. Whether it’s my new job, my relationship with Sunshine, or simply the personal development that will come after finally being diagnosed with ADHD…there is just more positives than negatives for me to look forward to. THAT is a very good thing.

So all in all, I’ve got no complains about my life. Sure, I could be working right now but the other parts of my life could be a LOT worse. At this point, I’m all about looking positively into my 43rd year because it’s important to realize just how much better off I am now than I could be.