The Tattoo

I’ve wanted a tattoo my entire life. For whatever reason, I could never really wrap my head around what to get or taking the time/money to sit down in a chair and actually get one done. 

When I was in my 20’s, I really didn’t care about tattoo that much. As I entered my 30’s, I thought that I had the perfect design in mind. It would be a blend of my over-the-top personality while still telling the story that I had finally gotten what I had wanted for so long in my life. It was something in my mind that was very close to this…

A little silly, I know. But to me it showed that after years and years of trying, Wile E. Coyote FINALLY captured the Road Runner…and screw anybody that was every going to doubt him again. Of course, using the cartoon approach would be my way of still being myself.

As time went on and I separated from my wife, I realized that I hadn’t, in fact, captured the Road Runner. I was still the coyote, but I was still using ACME products in an continuing losing effort to get what I wanted out of life. It took me a long time to straighten myself out and focus on all of the good that life has to offer.

Today, as I approach my 45th birthday in a couple of months (ugh), I’ve decided that now is the time for getting a tattoo. My wife is getting her first one this weekend and she has inspired me to finally do what I always wanted to do but was too afraid to actually do it.

 No, I have zero plans to get the Wile E. Coyote cartoon tattoo that I wanted years ago. Instead, I have something in mind that has been with me for a very long time, but only now seems appropriate: 

To me, at this point in my life, I honestly feel as though I have broken the chains that have prevented me from finding true happiness…both internally and externally. Let me explain…

I have a good job with a bright future. Without going into much detail, I’ve finally found a job that is everything I’ve ever really wanted. It blends a combination of sales, account management, personal and professional growth, spreadsheets, reports, helping others, and the freedom to not be micro-managed on a daily basis. Add to that a decent pay structure and I’m one happy, nerdy camper! 

In addition, I have a blended family with five amazing children, three of which I’m having a fantastic time helping to raise. Long time readers already know that I wasn’t around in the beginning to help raise Rugrat (who just graduated from high school and is 18 years old now!). We have a good relationship, but I feel as though I missed out on a lot with her. My oldest daughter (Pebbles, who I only met for the first time four years ago) is almost 21 and is definitely her mother’s daughter. Thankfully, I’m having a hand in raising the three youngest kids — my 10 year old son (Ankle Biter, who is almost 11) and my two awesome stepdaughters (Lil’ Mo – age 12 – and Kiddo – age 14). I never wanted to have children when I was in my 20’s, but now I couldn’t imagine my life without them in it every single day.

Of course, I have an incredible wife who is everything I could have ever asked for in a partner. She is beautiful and, quite frankly, way out of my league. Because we initially met online, we’ve been able to focus our relationship on personalities and really getting to know each other. As we approach our fourth wedding anniversary (WOW!!), I realize that we’ve been together for almost nine years and I don’t ever want to be away from her. She’s my best friend, my soulmate, and the most incredible woman I’ve ever met in my life.

SIDE STORY: I never had a girlfriend in high school. Well, I dated a girl for a week once…but that was about it. Seriously. From eighth grade thru twelfth grade, I never had a girlfriend. I had a ton of girl friends, but was always the guy that was in the “friend zone”. I didn’t hate it, but it certainly made my high school years tough at times. I remember a conversation that I had with a female friend of mine while at a party close to graduation time. She told me that one day I’d find a beautiful woman who would love me for who I was. Little did I realize just how true those words were. 

Finally, I feel as though I’ve made some personal breakthroughs recently that have helped me grow as a person. Without getting into too much detail, I have gotten out from under a thumb that has been on top of me my entire life…even when I didn’t realize it was there. I have finally come to realize why I have certain shortcomings and am trying to work my way through them. This new “freedom” has helped me realize that I’m entering the second half of my life with renewed purpose. It’s like I’m getting the chance to live life all over again, only this time I just happen to be a bit older than the first time I lived. 

So the chains mean a lot to me. I firmly believe that I’ve broken the chains that have held me back for so long so I can now move forward in life without anything holding me down. 

I’m not looking for a massive tattoo or anything; I just want the chains to be on my upper left shoulder on my bicep area. The only question I’m having, though, is what chain photo I should actually get. This is where I need YOUR help.

I’ve got my top 5 choices for a chain tattoo. Which one should I get??

 

1. 

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

Our Groovy Kinda Love

Well…it’s now official. Our video blog is now up and running. The first video is now up and the hope is that we have at least one video up every other day. 

picThanks for the ideas, but we’re going to go with Our Groovy Kinda Love. Since our first few choices were already out in the social networking universe, we found one that was close to us because it’s named after a Phil Collins song…OUR song…that was played at our wedding ceremony.

The name just made sense.

So please join us on our journey as we try to show you what our fun life is like. In a world of Millennials, hipsters, and gamers on YouTube, won’t it be nice to have a married couple in their early 40’s simply being real, honest, AND entertaining?

You can find us at the following links:

  • Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/OurGroovyKindaLove/ 
  • Twitter – https://twitter.com/OurGroovyLove
  • Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ourgroovykindalove/
  • Email – OurGroovyKindaLove@gmail.com

And of course, everything will feed into our new YouTube channel…

Where My Shoes Have Taken Me – Prince Edward Island

Continuing my blog series of telling my stories through photographs, my most recent business trip took me to Prince Edward Island. It was during the “off season”, but it was still an absolutely gorgeous day…which made the drive all the more enjoyable.

I was fortunate enough to be able to wear my new
I was fortunate enough to be able to wear my new SKECHERS on this particular trip. These are my brown Mark Nason Foxhill shoes. These shoes are unbelievably comfortable and (no word of lie) sometimes I forget I’m wearing dress shoes, which is probably because of the memory foam lux insoles. And really, forgetting that I’m even wearing dress shoes is probably the best compliment that I can give dress shoes.
Because of the amount of driving that I was scheduled to be doing over the coming days, I decided to rent a car. Luckily for me, they gave me a free upgrade and I ended up driving around a Chrysler 300. Gotta tell you...it was one helluva smooth ride.
Because of the amount of driving that I was scheduled to be doing over the coming days, I decided to rent a car. Luckily for me, they gave me a free upgrade and I ended up driving around a Chrysler 300. Gotta tell you…it was one helluva smooth ride.
No matter how many times I head to Prince Edward Island, it's always very cool to approach the Confederation Bridge. The 12.9 kilometer (8 mile) long bridge cost $1.3 billion to build and is simply one of the coolest man-made structures in the world.
No matter how many times I head to Prince Edward Island, it’s always very cool to approach the Confederation Bridge. The 12.9 kilometer (8 mile) long bridge cost $1.3 billion to build and is simply one of the coolest man-made structures in the world.
While the super-busy summer tourist season was over, the beauty of the early fall was apparent at every turn.
While the super-busy summer tourist season was over, the beauty of the early fall was apparent at every turn.
The large farming fields of green were everywhere. Whether it was corn or potatoes, the fields were simply stunning in the autumn sun.
The large farming fields of green were everywhere. Whether it was corn or potatoes, the fields were simply stunning in the autumn sun.
The freshly-plowed fields were in stark contrast with the green grass surrounding them.
The freshly-plowed fields were in stark contrast with the green grass surrounding them.
Corn fields at every turn. How awesome is that?
Corn fields at every turn. How awesome is that?
On this day I was traveling to Dalvay By The Sea, a stunningly beautiful beachfront resort at the northernmost tip of the island.
On this day I was traveling to Dalvay By The Sea, a stunningly beautiful beachfront resort at the northernmost tip of the island.
The views from the front of the Dalvay were spectacular. Imagine waking up pre-sunrise and sitting in one of those chairs next to the water as the sun rises over the horizon.
The views from the front of the Dalvay were spectacular. Imagine waking up pre-sunrise and sitting in one of those chairs next to the water as the sun rises over the horizon.
It was fortunate enough to be able to be here on a sunny day, which helped make every colour around me pop.
It was fortunate enough to be able to be here on a sunny day, which helped make every colour around me pop.
On my way back to the mainland, Google Maps decided to take me on a tour of every back road that wasn't a primary highway. This meant, yes, driving down a dirt road at one point. I can't complain, though...there was no traffic anywhere and I got from one tip of the island to the other in relatively short time.
On my way back to the mainland, Google Maps decided to take me on a tour of every back road that wasn’t a primary highway. This meant, yes, driving down a dirt road at one point. I can’t complain, though…there was no traffic anywhere and I got from one tip of the island to the other in relatively short time.
One of the very cool things about entering/leaving Prince Edward Island is the tourist information centre located at the entrance/exit of the Confederation Bridge.
One of the very cool things about entering/leaving Prince Edward Island is the tourist information centre located at Gateway Village, which is at the entrance/exit of the Confederation Bridge.
More of Gateway Village in Bordon Carleton, PEI.
More of Gateway Village in Bordon Carleton, PEI.
More of Gateway Village in Bordon Carleton, PEI.
More of Gateway Village in Bordon Carleton, PEI.
More of Gateway Village in Bordon Carleton, PEI.
More of Gateway Village in Bordon Carleton, PEI.
The drive home was just as awesome as the drive there. The Confederation Bridge is truly an incredibly awe-inspiring structure and very fun to drive across.
The drive home was just as awesome as the drive there. The Confederation Bridge is truly an incredibly awe-inspiring structure and very fun to drive across.
This is where my shoes took me this time. I wonder where they'll take me next?
This is where my shoes took me this time. I wonder where they’ll take me next?

Where My Shoes Have Taken Me – Saint John, New Brunswick

Continuing my blog series of telling my stories through photographs, my most recent business trip took me to the historic city of Saint John, New Brunswick. I actually lived close to Saint John when I was a kid, out in the Gondola Point area (which is now considered part of Quispamsis).

While I wasn’t able to do a ton of sight-seeing, I still did the most to make the trip memorable…

These are my new Skechers: the Mark Nason Vesper shoe. I was a little concerned about the fit at first, primarily because they felt a little snug along the sides even though there was plenty of room near the toes. I can tell you that after two days on my feet, these shoes were FANTASTIC! The Memory Foam Lux insole made me feel as though I was walking on cushions the entire time. No word of lie...these shoes are awesome!
These are my new SKECHERS: the Mark Nason Vesper shoe. I was a little concerned about the fit at first, primarily because they felt a little snug along the sides even though there was plenty of room near the toes. I can tell you that after two days on my feet, these shoes were FANTASTIC! The Memory Foam Lux insole made me feel as though I was walking on cushions the entire time. No word of lie…these shoes are awesome!
I left the office at 1:30pm. It is a 4 1/2 hour trip from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick. Thankfully, it was a gorgeous summer day and the drive went by rather quickly.
I left the office at 1:30pm. It is a 4 1/2 hour trip from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick. Thankfully, it was a gorgeous summer day and the drive went by rather quickly.
My home for the next couple of days. This chain was recommended to me and, as of today anyway, its been a good choice. I never have issues staying here...and no, that is NOT a paid endorsement.
My home for the next couple of days. This chain was recommended to me and, as of today anyway, its been a good choice. I never have issues staying here…and no, that is NOT a paid endorsement.
The first stop in the city was to eat, so I went down to Market Square along the waterfront. I love this part of the city, as its very open and includes not only shopping, but also the local library and the New Brunswick Museum.
The first stop in the city was to eat, so I went down to Market Square along the waterfront. I love this part of the city, as its very open and includes not only shopping, but also the public library and the New Brunswick Museum.
I had heard very good things about Ryan Duffys, which is a surf-n-turf restaurant located in Market Square. I was famished and it had already been a long week, so I was very much looking forward to a great meal.
I had heard very good things about Ryan Duffys, which is a surf-n-turf restaurant located in Market Square. I was famished and it had already been a long week, so I was very much looking forward to a great meal.
I asked my server for a local red and was given Picaroons, which is made in nearby Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was okay...a little too dark of a red for my personal tastes. Still...I'm all about supporting local.
I asked my server for a local red and was given Picaroons, which is made in nearby Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was okay…a little too dark of a red for my personal tastes. Still…I’m all about supporting local.
This was my meal: an 8-ounce, Alberta AAA wet-aged filet mignon and a side of lobster mac & cheese.
This was my meal: an 8-ounce, Alberta AAA wet-aged filet mignon and a side of lobster mac & cheese. Trust me…you do NOT want to know how much I paid for this.
I have to be 100% honest here...the filet was a little too blackened on the outside for my tastes (the bottom was worse than the top; pictured here). The inside was my requested medium rare, but the majority of my bites were flavourless because any seasoning that was on the meat initially was seared off or lost in the crunching of black pieces of meat. It wasn't bad by any stretch, but I have had a LOT better.
I have to be 100% honest here…the filet was a little too blackened on the outside. The inside was my requested medium rare, but the majority of my bites were flavourless because any seasoning that was on the meat initially was seared off or lost in the crunching of black pieces of meat. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but I have had a LOT better.
This is Ryan Duffy's take on Lobster Mac & Cheese, which consists of Atlantic lobster, macaroni, spinach, tomatoes (which I asked to have removed), and a three cheese sauce all under a corn chip crust. If you look closely, you'll see there isn't any crust on the dish at all. Not inside...not outside. And it really could've been "mac & cheese soup" for how watery it was. The flavours were okay and lobster is never bad, but I'd rather make a batch of Kraft Dinner and throw some lobster in it myself. Hmmmm...that actually sounds REALLY good.
This is Ryan Duffy’s take on Lobster Mac & Cheese, which consists of Atlantic lobster, macaroni, spinach, tomatoes (which I asked to have removed), and a three cheese sauce all under a corn chip crust. If you look closely, you’ll see there isn’t any crust on the dish at all. Not inside…not outside. And it really could’ve been “mac & cheese soup” for how watery it was. The flavours were okay and lobster is never bad, but I’d rather make a batch of Kraft Dinner and throw some lobster in it myself. Hmmmm…that actually sounds REALLY good.
I took a quick walk around Market Square before heading back to the hotel for the evening. One of the beautiful things about Saint John is the historic architecture, as you'll find buildings that are over a century old.
I took a quick walk around Market Square before heading back to the hotel for the evening. One of the beautiful things about Saint John is the historic architecture, as you’ll find buildings that are over a century old.
Something to keep in mind if you're ever in Saint john is that it was Canada's first incorporated city way back in 1785, so the history of the city has always been something locals are proud of...and rightly so!
Something to keep in mind if you’re ever in Saint john is that it was Canada’s first incorporated city way back in 1785, so the history of the city has always been something locals are proud of…and rightly so!
After a good night's sleep, I woke to a gorgeous sunrise out of my room's window. It was a great way to start the day!
After a good night’s sleep, I woke to a gorgeous sunrise out of my room’s window. It was a great way to start the day!
After a couple of nights in this historic city, I was ready to head back home...but not before going to the best location in the entire city: The Saint John City Market!
After a couple of nights in this historic city, I was ready to head back home…but not before going to the best location in the entire city: the Saint John City Market!
Open year-round, Monday to Saturday, the Saint John City Market offers a unique shopping experience for locals and visitors alike. Nowhere else in Saint John can you experience a traditional "farmers market" while shopping for such a wide selection of local goods and imported foods.
Open year-round, Monday to Saturday, the Saint John City Market offers a unique shopping experience for locals and visitors alike. Nowhere else in Saint John can you experience a traditional “farmers market” while shopping for such a wide selection of local goods and imported foods.

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Its here that you can browse for Maritime crafts, imported items, and items hand-crafted by the City Market's own resident artists.
Its here that you can browse for Maritime crafts, imported items, and items hand-crafted by the City Market’s own resident artists.

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Saint John 19

Saint John 18

"The
The biggest reason for me going to the City Market, however, was to pick up a delicacy that isn’t available everywhere: DULSE. My wife was VERY happy to receive this gift when I got back home.
Do just what is dulse? It's a red alga that grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It looks like seaweed and is a well-known snack food.
Do just what is dulse? It’s a red alga that grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It’s a type of seaweed and is a well-known regional snack food.
Dulse is a good source of minerals and vitamins compared with other vegetables, contains all trace elements needed by humans, and has a high protein content. It is commonly found from June to September and can be picked by hand when the tide is out. When picked, small snails, shell pieces, and other small particles can be washed or shaken off and the plant then spread to dry. Some gatherers may turn it once and roll it into large bales to be packaged later. I think it's gross, but my wife LOVES the stuff.
Dulse is a good source of minerals and vitamins compared with other vegetables, contains all trace elements needed by humans, and has a high protein content. It is commonly found from June to September and can be picked by hand when the tide is out. When picked, small snails, shell pieces, and other small particles can be washed or shaken off and the plant then spread to dry. Some gatherers may turn it once and roll it into large bales to be packaged later. I think it’s gross, but my wife LOVES the stuff.
After two days and two nights, I made my way back home to Halifax. Thankfully, it was another beautiful day and the views between Saint John and Sussex, New Brunswick were phenomenal. But there was still one more stop I needed to make before getting back home...
After two days and two nights, I made my way back home to Halifax. Thankfully, it was another beautiful day and the views between Saint John and Sussex, New Brunswick were phenomenal. But there was still one more stop I needed to make before getting back home…
...I stopped by Moncton and surprised my son for lunch! I had spoken with his mom, who agreed it would be great for me to surprise him. It wasn't a long stop, but he'll always remember that his dad dropped by whenever he was passing by the area. When he's older, those types of memories will stay with him...and that's the kind of memory of me that I want him to have.
…I stopped by Moncton and surprised my son for lunch! I had spoken with his mom, who agreed it would be great for me to surprise him. It wasn’t a long stop, but he’ll always remember that his dad dropped by whenever he was passing by the area. When he’s older, those types of memories will stay with him…and that’s the kind of memory of me that I want him to have.