July 22 – U

363/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Wow, only 3 more gratitude posts left including this one!!  When I started this journey a year ago, I was a little nervous as to if I would have 365 people to thank.  I didn’t want it to come down to posts such as thanking my mailman for the flyers he delivers in that they were the ones that led me on to some awesome deal!! ; )  Early on in these posts, I started hearing from friends that so and so had made “the list”.  I didn’t understand what that was until I was told that it was my “gratitude list”.  That put some pressure on me to say the least as there was now a “list”.  I didn’t want it to be a list and I didn’t want it to be some type of contest.  Then I heard that some people mentioned they were in the 80s and others were in the 200s!  I do have to make it clear that I haven’t had an order as to who I thank and thus whatever number gratitude post it was has no relation to ranking.  Most posts are the night before or a couple of days before.  Yes, I saved my dad for his birthday as I did with my children for theirs, my mom was first because well she is my mom but save for them and the final two gratitude posts, no one had a day or a number.  The list by the end of Sunday is far from complete.  I could thank another 365 people who got me to where I am today and this is what today’s gratitude post is about – to all of the people I didn’t name and there are hundreds of you that have impacted me!  So many former students, co-workers past and present, family members, inlaws, bosses, professors, fellow students, random strangers, neighbours past and present, friends, backhanded gratitudees (bullies and the like), service providers, celebrities etc, etc – just so many people who have made me who I am and to all of you un-named in this past year, you are part of this gratitude journey just because you were not personally mentioned here doesn’t mean you weren’t recognized by me.  To all the new people that will come in to my life, thanking you in advance as some of you will change and influence me in new ways.  Thank you to all of you who came along with me on this 365 day journey as well.  Your encouragement and support has gotten me to this end point.

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March 7 – the first time

226/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again tonight, for some odd reason, I can and do get along rather easily with people decades (yes decades) my junior. I could never have fathomed in my late 20s/early 30s having something to talk about, let alone hanging out and socializing, with someone in their late 40s/just turned 50 yet it happens and I’m the 50 year old. About 15 years ago, I met Lindsay at the school I was teaching at. She was the PE/Home Ec teacher – fresh and new to teaching. I saw a kindred spirit and got to talking with her in the lunchroom. The first year, it was just superficial talk – reality tv (Top Model viewing parties), teaching woes, and just jokes with other staff members. Over the next year, I really got to know Lindsay and became good friends with her. I was the first co-worker that she shared her “truth” with on a walk one afternoon. I was honoured that she felt comfortable to tell me about her self. I shared other firsts with her over the years. I got to know her well enough to be able to let go and do my first keg-stand at a party at her place. I got my first tattoos with her one afternoon when we decided to mark monumental events by marking our bodies. I remember my first foray into Facebook all because of Lindsay – she was on it and introduced me to it so I guess you know who to blame!!! 😉 I felt honoured when Lindsay and her partner Michelle invited my wife and I to her wedding – and I remember that night because there were jello shots and free flowing wine and I couldn’t partake as I was on yet another 30 day withdrawal challenge! Lindsay has been a great friend over the years regardless of the age difference and yes, life does get in the way of connecting as we age and move on to other chapters of our lives but I am glad that through Facebook, I can keep in touch with her and get together on the odd time that our lives allow us to. Thank you Lindsay for all the firsts I have shared with you over the years!!

February 17 – I’m a Survivor

208/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I absolutely love reality tv – not the Kardashian Krap type but competition reality. I used to watch American Idol and The Voice. I am a fan of The Amazing Race and loved Top Model. I watched a couple of one season shows as well but the king of all competition reality is Survivor. I would like to say that I watched it right from the get-go and to a certain degree, I did. The show came on in 2000 and the first season was repeated immediately after it aired and because I heard so much about it, I watched the re-airing and fell in love with the premise and the characters and the entire concept of sole Survivor. Thus, technically I have been watching it from the first season and I have not missed an episode since! Here we are into season 36 I believe and I am just as excited! Being not very athletic, I get to be arm-chair athlete! Being a very social being, I also get to watch the players’ social games and analyze them. I basically live vicariously for an hour through these players. I have been told many times that my persona would be ideal for reality tv and yes, they are all personas – the players are cast for entertainment. I haven’t applied because perhaps on some level I think I would be cast and I don’t know how I would be “edited” – probably the dumb guy!! I have said that if I ever do get on, I will be first voted out or make it all the way to the end 😉 Now the other thing that has made my Survivor viewing interesting and probably that much more enjoyable which is the real purpose of tonight’s blog is to thank the many staff members who have joined in on the Survivor (and other reality) pools that I have organized. I started them way back when I taught at Burnett as a way of getting some staff socialness going on and it took off from there. I came to McNair as a newbie and did the same thing and the staff also came on board. Yes, I may have arm-twisted a few to join but what better or easier way to participate in the work place social atmosphere than throw a $5 bill, get a random player and see if you get a $100 win. The camaraderie that has developed with staff members has been amazing and I have gotten to know staff members that I wouldn’t normally have had a chance of conversing with and it just makes for my Survivor viewing all that much more exciting and pleasurable when you are now talking about staff member players and you have someone to route for right away. Also, I love writing my reviews – some are wine-infused and I let loose a little too much but hopefully they are enjoyable to read 😉 Once again, I want to thank every single person who has participated in the pools – without you, my entertainment on Wednesday night’s would be solely a one way activity but because of you, it has become multi-faceted and much more enjoyable. Here’s to your player winning!!

January 12 – those Indian beauty queens

172/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Growing up, I really never saw any Indians represented in the media probably creating the guy you know today. I am not upset by it as I like who I am but I could have totally grown up to be a different man if I had which would be interesting. Today my kids have tonnes of Indo-Canadian entertainers that they can relate to and I do see the influence on them. My family did have a tradition of watching Miss Universe when I was growing up and even though you may think it’s sexist, outdated programing, back in the day it was a different world and beauty pageants were not negatively perceived. The show was the first instance of Indians on television I actually saw – Miss India. I recall seeing my parents being proud of their homegirl being called into the finals whenever it happened. This pride filtered down and I’d be very happy when the delegate from India would hit the catwalk. I kept watching the show over the years even after leaving home as it sort of became a tradition. I had no other connection to these Indian beauties other than that my ancestors came from the same mother country but that was enough for me to root for them. In the 90s, almost every year saw the Indian girl hit the finals with two taking the crown – that was a cool time seeing a sister being recognized albeit for her beauty rather than her brains but hey, she was a fellow Indian and that’s what mattered 😉 Thank you Indian beauty queens for making this Indian guy get his first glimpse of his kind in the media. No runnerups anywhere!

December 4 – you are no longer in the running…

133/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. I watch reality tv. I have no shame in it. I call it dumb tv for smart people. Okay, maybe I have a little shame in it 😉 I tend to think I am more highbrow in my reality tv watching – no Kardashians for me. Actually nothing that is on E! I like competition reality tv shows such as The Amazing Race or the original of all reality tv – Survivor. However, I have been watching my guilty pleasure of a reality show that combines the competition aspect but with backstage drama. Do I dare admit it – hell yes, I have admitted way more on these blogs and being judged on my taste in television – that’s a walk in a park – a well manicured, brightly lit, heavily made up park. Yup, I am a fan of America’s Next Top Model. Have been since its inception in 2003. Last night was the series’ finale episode. After 22 seasons – err, sorry cycles, the show came to an end. Sadly, the show didn’t know it was ending before filming so the production wasn’t as dramatic as it could have been but that’s not the real reason I watched. I didn’t even watch for the models as none of them would (nor have) lived up to the title albeit the photoshoots made for some pretty compelling television – underwater shoots, with bees and spiders, in drag, in maple syrup, in a freakshow, in a bloodfilled tub, in coffins – oh how I am going to miss the show. However, the biggest reason I watched the show was for the host – Tyra Banks. So over the top. So all about herself. So hilarious. I say this with much love and respect. She made the show for me. Coining terms or rather Tyra-ims such as Smize, Tooch, and Drektitude (okay, that one wasn’t really hers). Mentioning herself in every episode at least once about when she modeled back in the day (my friends and I had a drinking game – downing a shot each time she did this; let’s just say Thursday mornings weren’t that great). Bringing to the forefront and perhaps exploiting deafness, autism, extreme shyness, trans issues, single motherhood, anorexia, drug and alcohol issues, ethnicity, full figured models – the list went on. She herself provided me all the entertainment I needed from the show and that was the reason I tuned in. Yes, a bit ditzy and over the top at times but definitely a serious businesswoman and enterprising media mogul providing great escapist entertainment for the masses. Thank you TyTy for giving me hours of enjoyment over the last 12 years that was a great end to my week and start to my weekend. In your honour, I promise to continue to watch that occasional ANTM special that I know will make its inevitable appearance as will you 😉