July 18 – Pokemon Go indeed!

359/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  This post was never supposed to happen.  I rarely play tablet/phone games except for Trivia Crack and Songplay.  They are fine.  They have not consumed my life.  I didn’t get the intrigue of any type of gaming apps until last week.  I downloaded Pokemon Go.  Actually, I didn’t.  We didn’t have it here in Canada.  I just put a random query as to how to get it and my grade 12 graduate of this year, Sam, sent me the link.  I got on and I got hooked.  I have never connected with random strangers in person as I have with this app.  First of all, I actually want to go and walk my dog.  Before this, I would hope that my children or my wife had walked him.  In the last week, I have taken him – and sometimes on two walks!!  I have gone up to places and when I realized that there were teenagers there Pokemon-ing, I pretended to text while in fact I’m catching one!  Today was surreal.  I was at elementary preschool and the little kids figured out very quickly what I was doing while waiting to let them into the school.  I had a swarm around me giving me advice and what to do and what not to do.  The instant connection.  I have seen them for the last two weeks but this Pokemon Go phenomenon just brought me down to a relatable level for them.  Then, this afternoon, I am walking through Steveston Park (with my dog Shadow) and a few teenagers are on a bench.  As I approach them cell phone in hand, they immediately ask – “Pokemon Go?!”  and I look up and smile and a conversation happens.  This would never have happened if not for this game.  I would just have passed them and they wouldn’t ever have acknowledged me but here it is – generations connecting.  Plus, as alluded to earlier, I want to be out and about.  On the weekend, sitting with a friend beering and I am Pokemoning and the server is all enthralled and I keep her updated as to how many Pokemons I have caught (13 in a 90 minute stint at that table!!!).  Yes, this gratitude post was never on my horizon but in one week, I am sparking conversations with random strangers of all ages (okay, all ages below mine) as are they with me.  Thank you Pokemon Go creators for a game that allows me to be active and interactive inter-generationally with others at my age of almost 51!

Advertisements

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.

June 11 – Queesborough queens

322/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Do you remember much about elementary school?  Especially the early years?  I was born in the royal city – New Westminster.  My parents moved to Queensborough where I went to school from Kindergarten to grade 3.  With no one to take me to school, my mom had arranged it so that two girls in the neighbourhood on Lawrence Avenue would walk me to and from school with them.  I, with a few of these gratitude honorees, do not recall their first names but do remember their last name – Kandola.  One of the girls would have been a year or two older than me and the other one would have been at least 5 or so years older.  It was very comforting for me to have these older “sisters” to watch over me and many times, I would stay at their place until my mom could come and get me.  I don’t recall where my sister was during this time (as she wouldn’t have been in school).  The Kandola girls showed me what kindness was and this was the safest of my times as a child as no bullying happened to me until we moved to Richmond in grade 4.  I didn’t realize how great I had it and have reflected upon it several times.  I remember being in my mid 30s or so being at a reception party and the older of the sisters coming up to my mom and giving her a hug.  I didn’t know who it was and when my mom pointed me out, she was in shock but came in for a big hug like a long lost adopted sibling.  It was surreal as I do kind of remember her but it was also very heartwarming as she felt like I was her little brother.  We reminisced for a short while and although, at that time, I wasn’t able to express to her how safe she had made me felt and how it was nice to have older, caring kids in the neighbourhood, I feel that she probably had an inkling.  Thank you Kandola girls for giving me peace and tranquility in my younger years before the eye of the storm would eventually make it my way – perhaps I needed the comfort and care of you two sisters and the memory of it to get through all the tough times.  Here’s to you both!

June 7 – 50 shades of grey

318/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I’m a bit vain.  Yes, I said a bit 😉  It took a lot and a long time to get there but yeah, obsessed with my appearance as an adult is all I can remember.  I definitely know it’s because of the ugly duckling syndrome that I endured as a child and I’m definitely not complaining these days – aren’t I subtle about being the swan today? LOL  But seriously, I have always worried about how I present myself to others and anything to draw a little attention to myself as an adult – in a good way – I did as I was used to drawing attention as a child for the wrong reasons.  Just before the new millennium, I decided to go blonde.  Those of you who know me witnessed that look for a good decade and a half.  I was nervous in the beginning – caramel skinned brown guy going blonde but I went for it and well, strangely it worked for me!  I changed shades – sometimes silver (well before it was a thing), sometimes platinum, sometimes ash – but I kept the blonde as my signature look.  In my 49th year (just under two years ago), I got tired of the trips to the hairdresser for maintenance.  I don’t recall making a conscious effort but just thought I’d let it grow out to see what it looked like.  I cut it short to help the process.  I hated it.  I thought it aged me.  I was forgetting that chronologically, I had already aged.  I remember to this day when the last bit of blonde was cut off the tips and I was fully grey.  Yes, I had gotten used to the grey but I wasn’t happy to have to give up on my wilder ways – I supposed I thought grey meant maturing in personality too, thankfully it didn’t mean that!  The people around me though were great for my ego.  Not a single person told me that grey did not suit me.  I received and still do to this day how my grey flatters me and I need this as on a subconscious level, I wanted to be accepted by others for my appearance and I can admit that. Presently, I have grown out my hair on a dare and have a full on man-bun or a mess of grey curls – sometimes looking like that crazy uncle, or that eccentric, crazy man down the block so I can’t wait to shear it down but I have to thank each and every person who has complimented me on this grey mane.  I know they say that men can rock the grey but I think you also have to accept the grey.  Each of you has made me accept it and allowed me to move into my 50s with dignity and not trying to look like I was desperately trying to hang on to my youth by continuing to dye it blonde.  Thanks for the love!

May 12 – my sisters-in-law

292/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I have no brothers, thus I have no sisters-in-law from my side of the family; however, I have two brothers-in-law (my wife’s brothers) and they both have wives and thus I have two sisters-in-law that way.  I will just start with the fact that it has been over two years since I have spoken to either of them and through no fault of theirs and can’t say that it is my fault either.  Since my separation, it is totally understandable that there are implied loyalties but this post has nothing to do with the last two years and all about the two plus decades prior.  My sisters-in-laws Keren and Palo are two of the funnest and funniest in-laws I have.  From day one, they made me feel at home and we’ve had instant chemistry and a bond.  Palo, a year my senior, who looks several years my junior, is the person I watched be a mother to her child well before we had our own.  Her calmness amazes me with how nothing flusters her.  Her friendliness is other-worldly – she puts everyone else’s needs before hers.  Her genuineness is just that – she cares about how you feel and takes interest in things that are going on with you.  Keren, the Colombian hottie, cracks me up every time we get together.  Our wine drinking adventures are legendary.  Our heart to heart conversations are meaningful.  Her taste in music schools me!  Her authentic Spanish/Mexican/Colombian meals are to die for.  What these two ladies have is a love for life that I share and that’s why I think we had instant connections.  Although in time, I think we may reconnect and rekindle our in-law bonds, rest assured ladies that you had an awesome influence on me over the last 25 or so years and I couldn’t have asked for two more amazing sisters-in-laws!

May 11 – the debbies and nellys

291/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I’ma say it – I can’t handle Negative Nellys or Debbie Downers.  Yup, I’ve aged myself and I don’t know the Millenial/hip term for these types of people but you know them – all they do is whine and complain.  There are some people on my staff that I see and I then quickly try to turn away from or strike a conversation with someone else lest I be drawn into their drama about how horrible their life is.  There are people on my Facebook that have post after post about the woes in their life but in cryptic status updates – no, I don’t care and nor am I going to read the replies to your “Oh not again” plus crying face emoticon!  I love all the happy go lucky people who make me feel good about life.  I love the great status updates about fun times and frivolity.  That’s exactly how I choose to express my life.  I can’t avoid the negativity of life – believe me the last few years were the toughest but I didn’t burden others with the realities of my life – l lived it and shared it with those who asked (the operative word).  For everyone else, I still kept it light and carefree.  Yes, there are times when one must vent – I so understand that and I have done that but selectively.  This gratitude post is for all the people who cross my path and make me smile.  Crack me up with jokes.  Understand that everyone has shit.  Put on a happy face for the majority but express their sorrow to the ones who matter.  I need your humour and lightness in my life.  I need the joy you bring me when my own life might be all topsy-turvy.  I will give you all that in return.  Yes, the entire world is your oyster but it ain’t your audience and you have learned that and I so appreciate you for not bringing yourself down (or me).  The negativity is not directed at anyone in particular but the positivity is to all of you who get me through my days with smiles and laughs.

May 8 – to all moms

288/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.    My very first gratitude post 287 posts ago on my birthday was about my mother.  Today being Mother’s Day, I just wanted to recognize all the “moms” who’ve had an effect on me but also all moms in general as well.  Moms can be biological.  Moms can be adoptive.  Moms can be dads.  Moms can be single.  Moms can be aunts.  Moms can be grandmothers.  Moms can be family friends.  Moms can be in heaven.  Moms can be trying.  Moms can be loving.  Moms can be teens.  Moms can be older.  Moms are all sorts of things.  Moms are whomever you share that bond with.  My mom fits several categories.  My aunts have acted as surrogate moms.  My grandma has been a mother figure at times. My wife is a great mom to our kids.  I am the first to admit that the bond between mother and child(ren) is much more important than the bond between father and child and it will always be that way for most people – hey, there’s a reason why it’s the second biggest gift giving day (after Christmas) because our mothers are important.  Moms sacrifice careers, deal with tears, have fears and will get cheers but also jeers.  Moms are the true superheroes in my opinion – from my own mom, to my cousins, my wife, my sisters, my aunts, my friends, my grandma – I’ve seen how much moms do.  Today, I will go visit my mother but also my grandmother – yes, it shouldn’t be about one day but if not for today, I might keep putting it off (especially in my grandmother’s case).  To all the moms as defined above, thank you for all that you do as the ripple effect of your hard work, care and love are felt by countless others unbeknownst to you!

May 3 – (gym) friends

283/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I am that guy who has a monthly $5 Fitness World membership.  Yes, I got it way back when I was 19 years old and it has never increased in dues.  I am also that guy who had not gone to Fitness World in a good 4 years because I joined another gym/dojo and can’t give up the $5 membership.  Yup, I am that guy!!  Today, after 5 months (due to an injury), I ended up back at Makifit.  I needed to as I have packed on the pounds.  For the past week or so, I have been dreading coming back as I have always been in decent shape working out at Makifit but not this time.  But one thing I have at the gym is so many supporters.  I got messages and posts psyching me up for today from fellow members.  As soon as I got there, gym friends recent and long-time – actually let’s just call them friends because that is what they have become – gave me hugs and high fives and welcomed me back.  All of them supporting me.  Owner and the class trainer also giving me props for returning and getting my fitness back on.  During the workout, my friends kept motivating me and telling me that I can finish.  Yes, I stopped several times during many of the exercises as I couldn’t complete the required number or my back or thighs hurt and that bothered me as I don’t usually give up but I persevered and got through the class.   I am not happy with the shape I am in at present but I am going to get back on track and I know it will take me time but with the support and motivation of my friends at the gym,  I know I can once again be me.  I am glad not only to have these people around while I work out but many of them have become social companions and I am even happier to have that bond.  Thank you to all the people I work out with for the laughs, the support, the motivation, the commiserating, but most importantly the friendship!  Glad to be back!

April 10 – my siblings

260/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  So today is siblings day.  Sad because as I have aged, my siblings and I have grown apart over the years rather than closer.  So apart that I don’t speak to either of my sisters over issues that really are petty but because emotions and pride are involved, no one wants to admit they were wrong and I’ll be the first to admit it.  I can now reflect on it and see that both sides are at fault when it comes to a disagreement and that acknowledging perspectives does not lower one to agree with said perspectives.   I did make the first move to mend fences with one of my sisters through a gratitude post on New Years’ Day but here we are in April and I have yet to hear anything from her although the post made it to her.  Regardless of where we are in our relationship today, I am glad that I had them in my life growing up.  I can say that I wasn’t a perfect brother especially to my younger sister (we are 14 years apart) as I had my own issues to deal with being bullied, not having my dad around, trying to get good grades so I could be something and move out; however, I tried to spend a lot of time with her in her younger, formative years which she probably wouldn’t remember.  Yes, as she got older, I’m sure she would have wanted what she saw in tv and movies as an older brother but as we grew up, the age difference didn’t help as at 19 when I wanted to go out or hang at university, she was a mere 5 years of age.  I did learn how to change diapers and feed a baby and all sorts of other things that come with parenting as my other sister and I became surrogate parents while my mom worked.  I have great memories of the good times with both my sisters and perhaps that is what I can focus on this Siblings Day and take pride in the fact that my own two kids get along well given their 7 years in age difference.  Here’s hoping that one day me and my sisters can let bygones be bygones and mend our bonds.

March 29 – nod ya head

248/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  After 4 months of no exercise whatsoever due to broken ribs and a punctured and then collapsed lung, I finally ventured out for my first form of cardio – a run, no wait, jog, no wait, let’s be honest – it was a trudge.  But even before beginning, I came down the stairs and my daughter asked if I was going out dressed like that.  Yes, a stuffed sausage has nothing on me in my running shirt now that I’ve packed on a good 10+ pounds but that wasn’t what she was referring to.  I queried – shirt too tight, man-bun not on fleek, too bright shoes???  Then my son jumped in and said “it’s your stripper shorts”!!  I was quite taken aback – they were mid too low thigh on the mannequin but they were well above on me.  My 6’3” son offered me his basketball-type shorts and I came down in them and both of them laughed and remarked that even those on me were above my knees and I was wearing them well low on my hips.  Yes, surprisingly 5’10” of me is all long limbs but a very short torso 😦  So with my ego not so intact, I make my way outside and was about to quit for the second time.  Even though it was sunny, it was deceivingly chilly around 7pm; however, I mustered the courage and head out.  The 5 km that had in the past taken me about 20 – 25 minutes tonight took an hour and for the third time, I was ready to just turn back into the first ½ km.  But that’s when it happened – the nod and smile.  It’s some kind of greeting code between runners that I had no clue about until well into my 3rd or 4th year of running – I mean, the first time it happened to me, I thought the person knew me and so I stopped and turned around to engage but they kept running.  The second time it happened (and okay, let’s be honest, a couple of subsequent times), I thought I was being hit on – damn, I could really be into this running thing!  LOL  Then I realized that almost everyone who was a solitary runner gave some form of that “nod and smile greeting” be it a wink and nod (hey, that definitely looks like flirting LOL) or a wave and nod.  So tonight, just as I was about to quit – my breathing would have been the envy of any Lamaze coach – a female runner going in the opposite direction gave me all the encouragement I needed:  the nod and smile.  No, I did not pick up my speed.  Yes, I did stop a couple of times for rest breaks.  No, I did not make the lights – on purpose.  Yes, an older guy passed me as did the kid on his tricycle.  But that runners greeting that has been getting me through about 2 decades of jogging/running worked its wonders again.  Thank you to my fellow runners for giving me the fortitude to get through my run not only tonight but each and every time I go out.  I nod and smile back at you!