June 17 – bender helpers

328/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  With a lot of these gratitude posts, I’ve been pretty raw and at times self-deprecating.  No one can accuse me of not being honest within these gratitude posts.  In writing this post, I have to once again be honest with myself and not put myself in a great light.  Every couple of years, because of some special event and being with friends, I will imbibe much more than my fair share.  In the moment, I am enjoying life and then Freudian psychology comes into play – my Id dominates my Superego and bullies my Ego and I give in to the indulgences of whatever might be the drink du jour.  I’m glad though that this happens only rarely (perhaps once every two to four years) or else Freud would be having a field day analyzing me 😉  I am also glad that my Id (hidden but true nature) when it comes out is a loving, happy-go-lucky guy rather than what some are – mean, angry drunks.   But what is more important is all the people who have had my back when I’ve had way too much.  Any number of them could just turn their backs as I am an adult male but time and time again, I have made it home safely because of the caring people that I surround myself with who go out of their ways to get me on my way.  Yes, I sometimes cringe when I recall some of those nights but it’s important to do so.  As I said, fortunately, I don’t have to regret any of my actions towards others on those occasions as I am a good guy at heart but some of my antics, however, humorous are embarrassing when they are relayed to me but hey, if I can provide a little entertainment at my own expense, I guess I can’t complain because that’s the least I can do for all of those that care enough to get me back home in one piece and make sure I am okay.  Yes, you have to unwind (maybe not to that extent) but it’s so nice to know that all my life I’ve had people looking out for me when I have.  Thank you all (you know who you are) for being my bender helpers and getting this guy home in one piece and safely – so very much appreciated.

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June 3 – bottoms up

314/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. If you know me personally, contrary to what you may think, I did not start drinking alcohol until my early to mid 20s – yes, surprise, surprise! It just never interested me. My dad rarely drank and my mom never did. Yes, I had uncles who did but their love of Crown Royal and Johnny Walker did not filter on down to me. Thus during family parties, I never drank as I was not fond of the drinks of choice and I absolutely hated the taste of beer. When I did imbibe, it was usually sweet drinks such as coolers but those weren’t even on the radar of my relatives. Fast forward to my mid 30s and friends introduced me to the fact that you could make amazing drinks called cocktails and martinis and alcohol didn’t have to taste bitter! I still didn’t like getting drunk for the sake of getting drunk – yes, it would happen on the odd occasion but that was and has never been my intention.   Jump into my early 40s and because of my wife’s work parties, and the fact that I had a few female teacher friends, I was introduced to the world of wine.   At first, I just drank Merlots. Then I took a course on wine-tasting and then another and the gentleman running it introduced me on how to properly enjoy wine. I now know what I do like and what I don’t all under $20!! Finally, in my late 40s, I discovered craft beer. It wasn’t very much to my liking initially but I soldiered on. Three years later and I am a connoisseur – I know my IBUS, I know the different from a sessional and a saison, I know what a small batch is – I feel cultured 😉 All thanks to some really cool male friends. As I enter into my 50s, who knows who will influence my choice of beverages but if I was a betting man, I think I will be introduced to the world of Scotches and Bourbons. Thank you to all the people who have refined my palate to be a sophisticated drinker rather than one who drinks just for the sake of it! Cheers to you!

April 19 – bro-in-law 1

269/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I have four brothers-in-law:  two married to my sisters and two brothers of my wife.  One of my sisters was married before me and I have known her husband/my brother-in-law Kam for just a few months shy of 30 years!!  That’s a long time!  British accent and soccer aficionado and big beer drinker, I didn’t really have anything in common back then except for my sister.  We always had a brother-in-law relationship with each other rooted in civility – not much to converse about as we had a world of differences.  The only time in 30 years that we ever had an argument sticks in my mind LOL – the four of us (me, wife, sister and Kam) decided to road trip to California (or was it Mexico??) from Vancouver.  In a small car.  With no air conditioning.  In summer!  Yes, if that is not a set-up to lose it with another person, I don’t know what is.  And lose it we did.  Basically not speaking for a couple of days probably because of some small insignificant thing that heated up literally and figuratively.  I totally understand it in retrospect and the good thing is we were back to our civil ways before the end of the trip.  I can’t say we have a friendship in the traditional respect of the word but we have respect for each other and mine comes from the fact that he takes great care of my mother’s needs.  He is always there for her when she needs things fixed, picked up, arranged, organized whatever it may and he is my mom’s go-to guy as she has gotten so used to that she now neglects to ask me for assistance (which might be a good thing as I probably wouldn’t know what to do).  He may complain in secret but has never said anything to me or my mom and just helps out with anything and for that, you have had a great impact on me as you are taking care of my mom more like a son than a son-in-law.  Sadly we haven’t seen each other (due to an estrangement with my sister) except when we happened to be at the same soccer game and even then he asked how I was doing and told me to take care of myself – once again, cordiality at its best.  Thanks Kam for being my first brother-in-law and being there for mom – always!

February 20 – defy aging

211/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s very strange to me that almost all of my friends and acquaintances are younger than me and not by just a coupe of years. I could probably count on one hand those that are older than me. If I dared analyze why this is the way it is – which I’m about to do – it’s probably because of my late personal development. I didn’t really come into who I was much later than most people. I often get asked what I think of 70s music? When did I start drinking? Partying? Dating? Which movies I watched back in the day? I didn’t experience any of it. Because of a combinations of things – bullying based on my appearance and my dad institutionalized for most of my late childhood and early to mid teens, I wasn’t asked/invited/introduced to such things and we wouldn’t have had the money to afford some of these extravagances. I was expected to be a good boy and be home after school, study to get into university and to get a part time job. I worked every summer. I finally experienced my own freedom around 17/18 years of age. This was my entrance into my teen years – almost ¾ of a decade later. I have been often told that I don’t look or act like 50 or 40 or whatever age I was at the time – initially, I’m revelling in the compliment but then I get a bit out of sorts as the people I’m with are late 20s, mid 30s, late 30s, early 40s and I start to consciously think about why they are hanging with me and why I am hanging with them. I know that I offer something to them as they do to me to validate and continue our friendships but I’m the first to go to the age defense mechanism to protect myself but not once has that ever been a hindrance on their part and I guess what this reveals to me is that perhaps I’m the one who has a bit of an ageist bent; whereas, all these “young” people don’t judge me on a number but on who I am and what I bring to our friendships. To all of you who have been, are and will be in my life through friendships, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for accepting me for me even when I am constantly challenged by my own age. You keep this 50 year old young in mind, body and spirit – cheers to each and every one of you!

December 18 – end of the weekers

147/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s Friday, It’s Friday! No, not channeling that god awful song – just stating the awesome observance that it’s the weekend. I like celebrating any occasion and if you work, many of you end your Fridays off with a few beverages with the work crew before moving on to your weekend. I have been very fortunate in that this has been a regular occurrence (every couple of weeks) for me to participate in for several decades. First, as a teacher at my first school, we would hit the Flying Beaver – a beautiful pub situated on the water offering amazing views of the sun and of the float planes landing and taking off. Add to that a great crew of eclectic ever-changing people just to unwind with made the start of the weekend even that much more special. While working at UBC, less so with the faculty for drinks – actually, can’t even recall that happening but going out for a beer with my students was the norm. Before you go get all excited and report me, my students were adults ranging from their mid 20s to their mid 50s so it was above board 😉 This also allowed me to see them in a different light and vice versa which I thought was an important part of mutual respect for each other. Finally, here I am now teaching at another school. Smaller factions going out for drinks here and there and I have ended up with a crew comprised of members of two different schools who were friends and co-workers to begin with. I appreciate being brought into the fold and meeting different people that I wouldn’t have normally met. These Friday ventures allow socializing outside of teaching as one is often isolated from adult interaction during the day. To my new Friday beer crew of regulars (Matt and Mark) and recurring players (so many to name) – thanks so much for including me into a tradition that is so important to well-being and unwinding before turning attention to friends and family for the weekend. I look forward to many more Friday beer afternoons with y’all. Cheers (lookin’ you in the eye while I say that) 🙂