June 13 – la bibliotheque

324/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Tonight’s gratitude post is not about a person but more about a place.  Yes, I know I’m changing the parameters but it does involve people who are in said place.  Growing up, my escape, my solace, my comfort zone was the library.  In the library, I found all sorts of geeks and freaks like me.  It was the Star Wars Cantina bar minus the alcohol and music.  This is where I felt comfortable and this is where I belonged.  The library was my go-to while most of the high schoolers were either out smoking or at the locals McDs.  I spent many a good lunch hour in the library reading books and completing assignments.  It was my refuge from the daily grind of high school.  I found similar souls in the library.  Yes, we didn’t converse much – after all, it was a library but I felt a sense of camaraderie with my people.  Most of us were on the outskirts and spent our time there – I’d like to think we were conscientious but it’s probably because we had no other place to go to.  As I moved onto university, pleasantly, my looks came and the library at UBC was more as a social hanging place but it was still a part of my life.  No, I didn’t spend a lot of time there academically except to get materials for coursework as it wasn’t called the Aloha Deck for scholarly purposes!!  As an adult, I have loved libraries – I love to people watch and am fascinated by the books people are reading.  I love the wide space and the possibility of escape both literally and figuratively.  It’s apropros that I am writing this post tonight as I am contemplating a move to become our school librarian.  As it stands, I am pretty much set against it but I have many people who think I should be the guy to take it on and there is a piece of me who says that I should give back to in that the library gave me a place to be me.  Damn you guilt ; )  All those things aside, thank you to the library and all the unique, quirky, left of center, withdrawn, geeky, nerdy, Randy Sangha people that were there that made that place a home for me.  I flip a page in your honour!

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January 10 – the power of coaching

170/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I’ve never played sports. I never had the body or skills for it as a child/teenager as well, my parents did not value sports – their focus was on my education. Given all this in my psyche, when I finally became fit and a young adult, I didn’t even consider taking up a sport as I had convinced myself that I am not athletic and to this day I have never attempted any physical activity other than working out. As a parent myself, perhaps on some subconscious level, I wanted to live out my sports dreams and I lucked out. My son who loves hockey – from street to ball to ice. I give him every opportunity and he takes it. This past weekend we were up in Hope for a tournament and had the opportunity to bond but he also had the opportunity to play but this is all due to the coaches he has had. As every person knows, coaches volunteer their time to give the players the opportunity to play. The teen players may not realize/appreciate the time and effort that the coaches put in but the parents do. My son has been fortunate that his coaches and their spouses arrange for great tournaments for the boys to play in and awesome social venues for the parents to bond with each other. As I mentioned in another blog entry for the fellow parents who have accepted me as a hockey dad, I am not the most hockey savvy fellow but I am so glad that the coaches can make up for my lack of knowledge and provide my son with an invaluable experience that he will reflect on as he become a young man and beyond. To my son’s coaches and all coaches in general, I drop a puck at center ice (I hope I said that right) in your honour!!

December 10 – quirky by nature

139/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I have looked back on high school several times over my life – I would never do it again if I were given the chance as my experiences (good and bad – more so the latter) made me who I am today, but damn, did I not look in a mirror to see what was looking back at me? LOL. Today, if others were to take a look at my pictures from back then, they would probably remark that I was quirky! That would be a fair statement if I was actually self-aware and going for that look. Now, I did have a friend back then who definitely did have a style of her own and perhaps it could be labeled quirky as she was left of center just like me but she was aware of it and made a conscious effort to be different and unique and I envied her for that! Julia, one year my junior in high school was this eccentric, funky, asymmetric hair style sportin’, eloquent girl who also worked with me at McDonald’s. We were both lucky enough to work at the front counter and on those rare occasions as host/hostess for children’s birthday parties. Julia would crack jokes, rock that polyster uniform and retain this uber-cool vibe. She was way ahead of her time – the alterna-girl: Commercial Street, vegan, yoga, unique girl (okay, maybe she isn’t all that but that’s the vibe I got from her). As high school ended, of course staying in touch is lost but with the advent of social media, specifically Facebook, I hunted high and low for her to no avail until one day her account appeared!! I took it upon myself to immediately contact her and we reconnected (although she was living about 600 kilometres away). Long story short, we made plans to reconnect on a drive I would be making and we met and there was Julia. I couldn’t imagine how she would look in her 40s based on her teenage years but when I saw her, all the pieces fell into place: lovely garden, flowing sundress, naturally silver locks freely cascading, funky coffee cup in hand, and that great pleasant voice. Julia was one of those girls who was nice to me back in the day when most people weren’t and for that I am very grateful. Because of that, we are still in touch today and meet up whenever she is in town and she is one of the reasons this blog that you are reading is in existence. Working in the publishing field, she suggested that I take this powerful message and share it via a blog and well, it has become what it has become through a lot of help from people such as Julia. For that too, I am grateful. Thank you Julia for being a friend back in the day but a better, wiser, funkier, stylish friend today! I embrace my greyness in your honour!