Monday, December 23, 2013

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse.

Even the kitties
Were snug in their beds,
With visions of Santa Paws
Visiting in their heads.

The ice storm outside
Over the past couple of days,
Couldn't dampen the spirits
Of the Cooks, or dismay.

Alexandra was busy
Wrapping all kinds of gifts,
Mike and Janice were shoveling
To get rid of snow drifts.

Robax was the rule
To remedy their sore backs,
A shot of Bailey's or two
Before hitting the sack.

The post office and stores
Where they worked were aflutter,
With last minute shoppers
All grumpy and a'mutter.

This December's been cold
With much ice and much snow,
More so than years past
Our sore backs, they should know!

But the happiest times
Of the season lie ahead,
Full bellies in their future
Long sleeps in their beds.

Presents wait to be opened
Strewn under the tree,
Even Crocky and Marbles
Wait in curiousity.

God knows we're all thankful
For all blessings bestowed,
By our reason for the season
Through the whole year, we know.

And may blessings be yours
Friends and family tonight,
Merry Christmas to all
And to all a good night!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Judgment Daze

I'm one of those folks that has a bit of a tough time with the holiday season.  I fell into quite a funk over the past week or so, actually.  I certainly won't point fingers at even one single person, because I've determined that it's me who's messed up more than anything.

But, I think I'm a victim of what many others are, too, as well: the dreaded Seasonal Affective Disorder (or, appropriately abbreviated, SAD).  This, compounded with the fact that I've got depressive issues, likely for life.  Poor me, eh?

There's a great show that was on HBO a few years ago called "Six Feet Under".  It ran for a too-short five seasons, and ages remarkably well upon repeat viewings over the years.  There's a character on it named Billy, with whom I see some parallels with myself.  Over the past little while, HBO has been airing all the "Six Feet Under" series chronologically on one of its channels, and on-demand on another one.  On the random channel, I re-watched a couple of episodes from the stellar second season, the best season in my opinion, and became enthralled with Jeremy Sisto's "Billy" character more than when I first viewed it.  I think because I can relate a lot more.

In the first season when Billy is introduced, he seems like this flippant, off-kilter character that you would sense is ultimately going to wind up being one of the chief antagonists on the show.  As season one churns on, he indeed does become the main concern for arguably the program's main protagonist, Nate Fisher Jr. (or just Nate).  Nate hooked up with Billy's sister, Brenda, immediately in the grab-you-by-the-throat premiere episode.  Once Billy is introduced, you ask yourself all kinds of questions, and make assumptions about him that are inevitable; that you don't question until you see him return in season two.  It's at this time, in the second season, that I found myself relating to him.  In season one, he came off his 'meds', and was wildly unpredictable.  He preferred to take action first and ask questions later, most of the time not asking questions at all, regardless of the impact of his actions.  At the end of season one, he unravelled and hit the bottom, and was admitted to psychiatric care, apparently even enduring electro shock therapy, as the dialogue hints: "They've pumped enough electricity through me to light up the eastern seaboard."

But this Billy we see in season two is significantly more grounded.  Ultimately, we see him when he's on his meds, and when he's not.  By his own admission, he's sick, always will be, and those are the cards he was dealt.

I sat watching it and thinking of my own self, when I came off my own meds.  I realized my judgment was quite off compared to when I was on them.  When I first started taking meds in '96, it wasn't long before I realized that the person I'd just become is radically different from the person I was.  Oddly enough, I felt 'normal'.  Could this be?  How could I be normal if I take pills that obviously changes who I naturally was?

You hear a whole lot about contact sports these days, and the ramifications of when thing get too out of hand, namely regarding concussions.  Football being the biggest example.  Hockey being the next.  MMA really concerns me.  Boxing is completely frowned upon these days, for good reason.  When someone sustains a concussion, the brain is permanently compromised.  A person's head will not work quite the same way as it did prior to sustaining one of these injuries.

This doesn't mean you're screwed if you wind up with a concussion.  I've had probably half a dozen of them in my life, three of them major.  I was in a coma twice.  The worst of them came when I was in my formative years, just after my father died when I was 12.  The others I wound up with were almost all self inflicted.  The last one being only about ten years ago, at a time when I was off my meds.

But I'm a great believer in that your body is an amazing machine that goes to great lengths to heal itself, if it can.  I've read that the brain is able to make alternate neural connections to get things done the way it used to when it sustains injury.  I do believe something like this takes time.  But the brain is far, far more complex than any man-made intelligence.  I doubt we will ever fully understand to the extent of what it's capable of.

I think that I'm in the bracket of people who have mental and emotional difficulty who have suffered any brain injuries over the years.  The so-called "depression" that I deal with is a permanent, dare I say it, disability.  I'm fine with knowing that.  I'm actually thankful.  Things could have ended up a whole lot worse, after my face had been blackened after being slammed into the pavement from being hit by a car on the very same rainy December night that John Lennon was murdered.  I could have died, or worse, become vegetative.  So yeah, I'll take this little bit of flakyness that peppers my personality from time to time.  I admit to my own eccentricities.  I embrace a lot of them, in fact.

Back to my original intent of the subject... here I am, four days removed from Christmas of 2013,  trying to justify to myself why sometimes I come home when no one's around yet, and I go to bed a cry a little while.  I think back on Christmases past, when my whole family was together.  Mom and Dad were alive, and everyone converged on 136 Emmerson Street where we grew up to celebrate the holidays as a complete unit.  Even after Dad died, we still came together there at Mom's house, where I lived until she was relocated to a nursing home.  There was a genuine Christmas spirit in the air that was palpable to all of us.  We were a family of nine before Dad passed, and we all loved each other, and showed it the most during the holidays.

Mom's gone now.  We lost her in '98 after a lengthy battle with disease.  That hit us all pretty hard.  I won't say I felt it the worst, because everyone deals in their own way.  Speaking for myself, though, I live with a lot of regret, in part because of this damning depression-like condition I have to wake up with and confront every day; regret that I could have done more for Mom than I did, way more.  I can't go home to see her now.  Being the youngest of seven, I get to have the least amount of time in my life to have been with her, and thus, less time to make up for any wrong I've done.

However, I'm a dad now, married to the mother of my own little girl.  This is my chance to make things right with Mom.  I've screwed up an awful lot along the way, but I learn every day, too.  I take a lot from my own mom in how I treat Alexandra.  The good that's in me today is because it was instilled in me from my own mother.

Now it's up to me, with Janice, to make sure Alexandra has the same great childhood memories that I was treated to.  With no concussions, though.  So far, it's just been a very broken arm, during a time that was a tad bit scary.  But, so far, so good.

The medicated Billy would be proud, I think.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Random Thoughts: Tales from the bedside

Sore backs can be tough.  Really sore backs that keep you home from work are even tougher, so here I am with a RT blog for Ragnar.

There's a whole lot about Miley Cyrus in the media these days.  While her MTV performance left most of us a bit, well, disgusted -- I'm a whole lot more sickened that this Robin Thicke creep played along with it and shoulders no responsibility for his creepiness in the matter than with Miley herself.  And for the record, her 'Wrecking Ball' video is beautiful to me.  I don't see a slutty girl licking a phallic symbol.  I see a sad girl baring her soul after hurting from a deep relationship.  The timing after the MTV thing is just a little tragic, but people will think the worst sometimes.

I try not to comment on U.S. politics online as much as I used to, because I have a lot of American friends who disagree with my views, and I find my own comments to be a little soap-boxy.  I don't think it's my place to tell friends in another country what they should think about how their country is run.  But, it's hard to hold back sometimes.

Doesn't anybody stay together anymore?  Not just talking about celebrities.  I see people all around me breaking apart from their significant others after long relationships.  It saddens me, truly, that people have such a hard time finding happiness.

As I write this, my Red Sox are on the verge of winning their first World Series at home since 1918.  I got to see Fenway Park with my family this past summer, a dream come true for me after a lifetime of being a Sox fan.  The little boy in me came out in full force, and made me feel thankful for all of the blessings in my life especially this year.  I thank God every day for all I have.

It seems my wife is turning a corner on some major health issues these days, one of those many things I'm thankful for.  It was discovered recently she has IBS, and is being very successfully treated accordingly.  This makes her very happy, and concurrently makes me happy too.

How could I not have tuned in to 'Breaking Bad' sooner than I did?  One of the best shows to ever grace television.  Solid acting and writing and production value throughout the series.  It's refreshing to see a show bow out while still at the top of its game rather than fade into obscurity.  The success of 'BB', I believe, just may revolutionize how TV shows and even movies are written.  This is the first drama I've seen in a long time with such respect to the intelligence of its audience.

After a maddeningly disappointing few seasons of 'The Walking Dead', or all of them since the stellar first season, it seems that there is hope for the show after all.  This season is finally showing that there actually can be substance underneath all the style.  All they had to do is let the actors show their depth, rather than just do constant gross-outs with no meaning whatsoever. 

I do like watching pro wrestling, but WWE is probably the worst it's been in a long time these days.  It's become so dumbed-down that it's kind of insulting to watch.  I long for the old Bret The Hitman Hart days where the lines between fantasy and reality were much more blurry.  TNA has self destructed under the weight of Eric Bischoff's ego and mismanagement.

I love where I live and my province in my country, but it's just about unrecognizable under the 'leadership' of premier David Alward and his equally inept provincial goveernment.  I knew this all would happen too, as did many of us.  Skyrocketing taxes, cuts to health care, ballooning deficit, and minus population growth have quickly made New Brunswick the tin cup territory of the country.  An election to get these buffoons out of office can't come soon enough.

While I do love my baseball, I have equal disdain for bloodsport these days.  It's hard to watch things like UFC, football and hockey, which seem to thrive on destructive practices against fellow human beings.  My views toward a lot of these things have changed since becoming a father 17 years ago.  But, it seems only that it's all become worse as time goes by.  At least the violent nature of these 'sports' is beginning to get more spotlight coverage via their consequences, so that perhaps in due time, measures can be taken to restore the sporting aspect to these activities.

How about that Pope Francis?  This man may very well bring the masses back to the Catholic church, at least to some degree.  I'm happy to see the Catholic leader finally ween the spotlight off of topics like gay issues and abortion and shine more on suffering and poverty.  Not that abortion isn't deserving of its notoriety.  But there needs to be more attention focused on the poor and unfortunate.

I'm almost distressed at how little I care about music these days.  Rock and roll truly is dead, and has been for a long time now.  We're left with great music of the distant past to fall back on, because great music isn't really being made anymore.  In this era of karaoke singing contest TV shows and artists that have to 'feature' other artists in their songs to get sales, there seems to be little to no hope for music in general.

It's been a pretty good year for movies.  I've seen more shows this year in theatres than I have in a long time.  After seeing 'Gravity' here in town, we ventured out to Halifax to see it in IMAX 3D, where we've heard the experience is intensified.  We found this to be very true.  The movie is front-loaded with how-the-hell-did-they-do-that effects, and documentary style storytelling that left me gasping for breath at times for the two characters.  I don't want to spoil anything, but there is a Nolan-ish question about the movie's ending that begs debate not unlike 'Inception'.

It's going to be interesting to see where the Canadian senate scandal takes the nationally governing conservatives, with said party splintering apart with lie after lie being exposed from our prime minister.  This government has been so secretive and underhanded over the years that it's become scary.  Every single government has its scandals, make no mistake.  But this one is the worst I've seen in my lifetime.  We'll see how good the memories of Canadians are in the next election.  The trick is, is there a party competent enough to take over the reigns?  I don't see one single party in Canada right now that shows promise for our future.  Not one.

I guess that's enough tales from the bedside for now.  Chime in on comments if there's discussion to be had.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dr. Feelgood

Hello there.

I did make an attempt a few days ago at this particular blog, but I'm re-doing it, as I found it was something I'd kind of already done.  It needs a different kind of slant on things.  And since I'm home after calling in sick from work from the onset of a migraine at 3 in the morning, and I'm here kind of waiting for it to completely pass (it's not near as bad at this moment), what better time?

I'm going to go through my facebook friend list and find something nice to say about each and every one of them.  Along with a few others that aren't on fb.  I recognized recently how un-complimentary the world is these days, I'm not sure why that is.  But I've always been me; I've always given a kind word where it's due, or needed.  Most cases, where it's indeed needed, because people so very, very seldom hear it.  So, Dr. Feelgood is in the house.

Sam SF:  That's her facebook handle, anyway.  She's a beautiful-on-a-world-scale Iranian woman with a heart of gold who never has an unkind word uttered from her.  I remark to her every time I see a new picture of her how grateful I am to actually look at her, and know her.  She's quite amazing.

Melissa Naseem Riley:  She's a woman who's dealt with a lot of harsh blows in life that just keep coming, occasionally falls down, but gets right back up to kick ass.  Gorgeous and tough with an infectious smile and beautiful colorful tattoos coloring her lovely body.  I'm lucky to have her.

Darren Myers:  One of my most enduring friends.  I've always admired Darren since I was around 5, but more so now than ever.  He's won a lot of battles life has thrown at him and come out as one of my own life's inspirational characters.  I couldn't be more proud of the guy, and grateful to still be his friend.

Alyson Showell:  Talking about inspirations... Aly's got it all.  Smarts, willpower, beauty, and compassion most of all.  Through the years I've seen her get knocked down, but never not get back up.  And today she's thriving in the face of all that's happened to her.  Also has a lovely family.

Patty Kali:  For some reason, I get from Patty that she doesn't get near the amount of compliments she should, like a lot of us.  She's a southerner with a drop dead gorgeous smile that loves a good time, and loves to share it with others.  We share a lot of laughs, and that's SO important in life.

Natalie Parent:  She's been an undying friend of mine since early '87.  Certainly had her share of ups and downs, but never stays down too long.  She's resilient.  She's loving and caring, absolutely beautiful, a wonderful mother, and a very adept wrestler.  :)  And lips to die for!

Tonya Miller:  This is one of those people that you never hear an unkind word from, like, ever.  At least I haven't, and I doubt this is exclusive to just me.  She's always praising and complimenting, always ready to offer a smile to brighten a day, and always sensitive to others.  So very sweet.

Patcy Williams:  Ah, Patcy... I need a whole other blog to write about her!  She's one of the people I'm most proud of, ever.  I don't think I've ever personally known anyone more resilient than her.  Tough as nails, brave, faithful, and one of the most beautiful women on earth.  And one of my best friends ever. 

Donna Wood:  Ohhh, Donna!  So lovely, so smart, such a wonderful, wonderful mother.  I don't know many other people more full of love than Donna.  She's got that look that'll freeze a guy in his tracks.  And that's a good thing.  It definitely must come in handy!

Michelle Arsenault:  Michelle falls under the 'most proud of' category in my books.  She's a go-getter, takes no shit from anyone or anything and will not compromise her beliefs or desires if it means 'settling'.  One look in her eyes will send a straight man into a trance.  Probably even a gay one.  One of my most loyal friends.

Rose Piedad:  A lovely ladyfriend from the Phillipines, who everyday teaches me the value of faith with her postings on facebook.  She tends to look at life from the sunnier side, even in the face of turmoil.  She calls me her 'fave'.  I often wonder why, but am beyond thankful that she does!

Joan Makela:  Ah, my dear Joan.  I've witnessed her go through so very much in her life in the time I've known her, and she's demonstrated to me how super tough she is.  An amazing mother, wife, and friend, her love knows no bounds.  Her beauty is a bright shining light in the universe of life, as is her determination. 

Nina Santos:  Something that I so love to see when I sign into facebook is how close Nina is with her family over in the Phillipines, and how devoted to her faith she is.  And she's so lovely.  She often calls me her 'pillow', imagining her pillow as me when she squeezes it.  How sweet is that!

Sue Mahoney:  Sue's our neighbour across the street, a very sweet woman who's raised a smart young man, and is ultra kind to those around her.  I don't think she knows how pretty she is.  Or how lovely and curvy her calves are!  :)  Well, she does now! 

Michele LePage:  I've known this woman long enough to know this is another fiercely resilient babe.  Raising a child on her own, enduring not exactly the best of what the male species has to offer, I'm proud to see her not just endure, but fight back at the shit thrown at her.  I love tough girls like this.

Ann Skacha:  I've had a friendship with Ann for a few years now, and slowly learned to adjust to the language barrier with her Thai homeland.  A smart, massively beautiful woman with an equally kind heart.  It seems evident that she's happy just to make her friends smile as much as she can.

Jenny Spence:  My friendship with Jenny is an odd one in that I've come to know her more in her physical absence through facebook than when she worked just up the street with my wife.  I've learned she's whip-smart, compassionate and funny!  And HOT, whether she knows it or not.

Amy Van Curen:  Amy is so lovely.  When you look in her eyes, you can see she's been through a lot, but you can also see that it hasn't changed her outlook any or how she sees the world.  She's another southerner I'm proud to know, and more than happy to see every day on facebook.

Cindy Elward:  Another one of my more enduring friends.  Cindy is an example of what a devoted mother could be modeled after.  She's sensitive with a soft, kind heart, and with beauty I have no problem looking upon.  I've often told her one of her pictures is among the best I've ever seen!

Steve Kokic:  Steve and me go back to our teen years.  He's one guy who's barely changed at all, and that's only meant as a nice thing from me.  He's my go-to guy for geek talk, be it about politics, conspiracy theories, music or anything else.  And fellow KISS fan extraordinaire.  A brilliant guy.

Sue Matthews:  Quite possibly the purest soul of a friend that I know.  We don't see each other a lot, but we do converse at least on fb from time to time, and her heart is always, always in the right place.  There's a lot of good in the world merely because she's in it.

Diane Sherman:  A friend from back in the sub shop days (those who know me will get that), Diane's a very young spirit who just happens to have been around a little longer.  She's a sucker for a good time and only wants others to be happy with her.  A sweet, caring and attractive lady.

Lisa Eisener:  Here's another great example of what a mother should be like.  Talk about devoted.  She protects her kids without being overprotective, and has no problems amping up the fun factor.  She's taken the hurt in her life and turned it into building blocks for better times.  A hot mama!

Isabelle Couture:  I don't think she knows it, but Isabelle is very visually pleasing to me.  No doubt to most guys, too.  Her genorousity and kind spirit and wicked sense of humor are laughing gas to the world around her, spreading smiles in all the places it's needed.  I'm happy she's my friend.

Jason Richard:  One of the smartest guys I know, with a heart just as big as his brain (that's kinda big).  Jason came into my life through Sara, whom he married and changed her life 100% for the best, which I'm ultra grateful for, because she deserves him, and he deserves her.  A very giving, gentle soul.

Valerie Robichaud:  In the short time I've known this insanely attractive woman, I've seen her endure a lot.  Too much, in fact.  But she held out hope that things would turn around, and it appears they have.  She deserves the best life can give her.  A wicked and sexy sense of humor!

Danny Auffrey:  I got to know this guy through my work, merchandising Lay's chips.  I've seen a number of guys do his job, and none as good as he does.  Partly I think because he's such a nice friggin' guy.  A sensitive and gentle fella with a compassionate ear, and an endearing sense of humor.

Doriane Howell:  My buddy Pete's wife.  Like many others, Doriane's been dealt several punishing blows in life over the years, but will not compromise her sweetness in the face of it.   A lovely woman with a heart of gold.  And a husband who's a swell guy too.

Lisa Cormier:  Another lady friend married to a pal of mine from way back quite a ways.  Lisa's quite a hot chickie, has been all along and doesn't seem to change.  She's another tough one, staring down life's issues as they come at her one at a time, or several even.  I've always enjoyed her and Alan's friendship.

Loretta Knarr:  The distinction about my friendship with Loretta is her association with her man, Keith Pskowski (I hope that's spelled right), who's been a friend since wayyy back.  It's good to see that those two look happy to be together and that all is well where they are.  Keith's always been a great guy.

Karin Hould:  I got to know Karin through jamming with a friend of mine a couple of years ago.  A beautiful woman with eyes you have to see to believe how stunning they are.  She's a sweetheart and a kind and caring soul that no one could credibly dispute.

Shirley Splude:  Shirley and I kind of got together way back in the early 90's and never lost touch.  She's a smart and generous woman with a heart of gold whose kindness knows no bounds.  And, back in those early days I learned, can kick some wrestling ass herself!  Ah, the good old days.

Michelle Dormer:  I could go on a long time about sweet Michelle.  Now a mother of two and a resident of Halifax, she's arguably the funniest girl I've ever known.  Her dad is one of my all time best friends.  Michelle and me were high school sweethearts who wound up growing apart, but found our paths cross once again via facebook.  We've remained great friends, but have yet to have our long anticipated 'rematch'!  :)  I'm glad we're both in happy stable places now.

Jessica Jones:  We met through my wife's work, and developed a friendship with all of us here at the house through the years following.  One of the smartest women I know, and most beautiful.  She's learning about life one step at a time.  As well as I CAN kick her ass.  :)  (I had to say that!)

Sara Richard:  Sara's one of this family's most enduring friends.  Talk about loving a good time.  I think Sara laughs more than anyone I know, and that's what helps make her so attractive.  Married to Jason, she's on the right track, and back in our picture.  A former record holder.  (She knows!)

Kim Melanson:  An old flame from '86 who's a good friend today still.  Kim's a brave woman, not afraid to try anything once it seems (like roller derby...OUCH).  What she does for a living demonstrates what her heart is made of, helping the handicapped.  She has a vibrance to her whenever I see her.

Linda Myers:  Don't really know much about Linda yet, except that she's Darren's wife and a fellow Words of Wonder player on facebook.  But the few interactions we've had have been endearing ones.  It's easy to see why Darren chose her as a life mate.  She's a sweetheart.

Sharon Akiko:  She's a bit of a mystery to me.  Met this girl via Words of Wonder on facebook through a friend request she sent, and far be it from me to turn that down.  She seems like a nice girl.

Mary Louise McGivney:  Known her for years, but not real well; still, every time she's around, all I get from her is a pleasurable presence.  She actually alerted me to a job opening to a place I worked at when I couldn't find work at one point.  In other words, she's very thoughtful.  And pretty.

Alan Cormier:  Another one of those people who seem to never change, and again, I mean that as a good thing.  Al's always been the kind of guy who'd offer a hand to someone who needed it.  Just an all around light hearted, humorous, non judgmental guywith his heart in the right place.

Wendy MacNeill:  Wendy and me go all the way back to grade 1!  We obviously lost touch about halfway through elementary school, but reconnected through facebook.  It's been tough for her, but she never gave up and pushed forward, and is now living the life she's always wanted.  As a kid I always thought she was hot.  She still is!

Pauwlina McGrath:  My former boss.  I kind of decided to not allow co-workers on my facebook, but she's the exception.  Absolutely brilliant, absolutely beautiful (I can say that now!), and has a fierce determination to help those around her and improve their lives.  She's often given me an ego boost from her pep talks, and that's beyond valuable to me.

Pam Tidd:  I've known her as long as Kim Melanson.  She's one of the smartest people I know, and one of the most attractive.  She's actually scarily smart.  The fact that she chooses to make a living helping people clearly speaks volumes about her heart.  And yep, another killer wrestler!

Kelly Verriere:  Kelly makes her living making people smile and lead healthy lives.  I think she gets a high off of making people happy, and she's addicted to that rush, obviously not a bad thing.  She's got an eternally youthful look and desire to have fun, and bring others along with her for the ride.

Holly Haynie:  My California girl!  I've known her from way back when I was an AOL customer.  She's got those Caifornia Girl good looks and bright personality to match, and is one of the very first people I got to know online.  Another babe with a wicked sense of humor.

Philip O'Neill:  The husband of my old friend Debby McGraw.  This guy's a success story if there ever was one.  He's gone from having very little to being a husband, father, grandfather and successful in his work life.  Along the way, he hasn't changed at all, being the same generous kind guy he always has been.

Nicole Renee Brun:  I know Nicole through Sara, and she's very much the way Sara is.  Talk about beautiful.  Movie star good looks to go along with a sweet demeanor that you'd wish everyone had.  I don't see her much, but when I do, I'm thankful that there's no change in what I just described.

And then there are a couple of honorable mentions......

Peter Cook:  A faithful Ragnar reader and elder statesman of the Cook clan.  Pete sets the standard of how to age gracefully and how to compose oneself at any age, really.  He's the one brother I can communicate with about music and movies and other lighter fare and have meaningful conversation about it.  Then there's politics!  Just a fun guy to talk with.

Tim Churchill:  Very smart, very thoughtful, very engaging and an all around wonderful guy and enduring friend.  It's always a blast being around him even if it's just to chat.  I take responsibility for his KISS Army recruitment, and for seeking out new junk food in new civilizations.  If there was a Heart of Gold Award, he'd be one of my first choices.

Last but certainly not least......

Alexandra Cook:  At a time when I needed God to give me a sign that I meant something in this world, he sent Alexandra to Janice and me.  Wow... when I think back of how I was before she came along, and who I am now, they're two different people altogether.  I actually grew up without sacrificing the 'big kid' in me.  I needed that growing up to survive, and be a man for my wife.  Watching her grow up... really, 'having' watch her grow up... has opened my eyes to how I could have been a much better son to my own mom.  I think that happens to all of us, if we're lucky enough.  Alexandra has beauty, brains, and the conduct that it takes to be successful in life just the way I had always hoped.  If there was ever any doubt that I could do anything right, I need look no further than her.  Perhaps Janice and I raised her, but she taught us how to be the people we needed to be.

Janice Cook:  The one person that came along that made sure I kept living and contributing to this planet, and still does.  There is a person who is the most perfect to each of us, and mine is Janice.  She's the one who stills the waters when my ship is getting rocked by waves; the one who reassures me when I'm unsure; and restores confidence when there is doubt.  She's not just smart, she's brilliant, and knows what it takes to get something done.  She provides the stern hand with our daughter where I can't, or won't, when it's needed the most.  She is the reason this house we live in still shelters us, and is made more of a home every year.  When I'm not feeling well, I don't need to say anything.  She knows, because she knows me.  She knows when someone or something has hurt me, and goes straight into fix-it mode until it's repaired.  It seems she will spare no expense at making and keeping me happy, to the point I even feel guilty sometimes.  Her beautiful long, blonde hair, gentle eyes, heartwarming smile and sweet voice are always there when I need her.  And when I need a good ass kicking, her muscles are always there to deliver it too!  No one could possibly be more perfect in my eyes.  She is the one person on this earth that was meant for me, and I for her.

Now, I do hope that if you're one of those that I've discussed here in this lengthy blog entry, that you take everything I said to heart, and that I meant every word of it.  People don't get enough compliments these days, and I do know that you definitely are deserving of it.  Yes, YOU.  Go forth and multiply, if you can.  Except you, Alexandra, not yet, k?

Thanks for reading, and for being my friend.  And for letting me be yours.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Random Thoughts, July 20, 2013

Been a while since I did a RT, hasn't it?  No not a re-tweet.

Speaking of which, I have joined Twitter.  Again.  I won't leave this time, though I probably won't go on it every day.  To this point, at least, I haven't.  Just now and then.  I find it a bit dull, but that's just me.

Anxiously awaiting vacation, starting next Friday after work, during which time we will be attending two KISS shows here in the maritimes, the first of which we're bringing my old buddy Darren to see his first KISS concert.  And it'll be a doozy.  From what I've seen, the most creative stage since the Hot in the Shade tour, which was just flat out awesome.

Glad to see my Red Sox are kings of the hill for the time being.  But the drag of being a Sox fan is watching the team suck out loud after the all-star break.  I'm hoping that won't happen for once.

Still going to the gym.  At least twice a week.  With the workouts I'm doing, that's all it calls for because it makes you fuggin' sore for awhile afterwards.  No pain no gain.  Good workouts.  I feel the results, don't necessarily see them, but I'm likely my own worst critic.

The reports coming out of San Diego Comic Con about the RoboCop remake are good.  Can't wait to see it.  It's supposed to be a fresh take on Officer Alex Murphy's story, with the satire intact.  But it's hard to remake a Paul Verhoeven movie (see:  Total Recall).

Speaking of movies, one that I've taken to absolutely adore is "Moon", directed by Duncan Jones - David Bowie's kid.  He did "Source Code" as a follow-up, which is also awesome.  I've watched "Moon" probably ten times now after I got the blu-ray.  It's hard to talk about without giving away the most major plot point, but suffice to say, after you've seen it you most likely will want to watch it again.  I say Duncan Jones could well be the next Chris Nolan.

Also speaking of Nolan, looking forward to his next, "Interstellar", though it's only going to be out Christmas 2014.  Quite the cast lineup he has for it too.

If there's one thing I'm tired of in movies, though, that'd have to be the whole alien invasion/end of the world angle.  Enough already.  "Moon", for the record, is alien-less, and actually shows hope for the future.  That doesn't make it happy-go-lucky though.

Conspiracy theories.  How many people like them?  A lot.  Too many.  Unless you're whip smart and objective about the subject matter, though, I think clamming up is your best option lest you look like a loon.  I enjoy the odd CT.  But I don't know how a person can constantly live day to day suspicious of everyone and everything like that.  Want to change the world?  Hold the door open for someone.  Offer a smile, especially when it's unexpected.  Give a compliment.  Thank God for what you have, and think about it.  Empathize.  That's how you change the world. 

My wife makes the best wine around.  Especially killer is her strawberry stuff.  Drop in for a glass.

I will put it out there, that I'm not a real good guy I don't think.  I've alienated a lot of people in the last few years.  I've become somewhat of a hermit even.  But life is a learning experience, and the more experience you get, the better at it you become.  Hopefully.  But it's to the point I almost fear people.  Not people I don't know, but people I do know.  I've disappointed so many that I'm afraid of who's next, so I just take the detour.

There are also those who've disappointed me though.  People who say they care or are concerned, but then pull disappearing acts.  I am so through with that.  I am, regrettably, an over-sensitive guy and I can't change that, though I have hardened over the years.  I guess the way I deal with it is disassociation.  But I'm scared to death of letting anyone get too close anymore.  If you're reading this and you're one of the ones feeling ignored, now you know, it's not ignorance.  It's me.  And these days it's a lot harder for me to believe you're genuine.  That doesn't mean you aren't!

August 8 will be the anniversary of my mom's passing.  It'll be 15 years.  I have dreams about Mom just about every night.  I am a momma's boy.  Just because she's not with us anymore doesn't change that.  All that is good about me is because of her.

One of Janice's colleagues passed away recently.  The wife of another friend died suddenly too.  Events like that leave you wondering, what does anything really even mean?  Should they mean anything?  You don't know how you're going to feel about someone's death until they're gone, no matter what you think you know.  Then comes the regret:  How you've thought about them, the things you've done and said, etc.  Was it all worth it?  Anyone's funeral could be a week from today. 

I have to shake my head at the gun problems they have down south of us.  Ultimately, it's none of our business though.  Unless their guns cross our border and begin firing off, which actually often happens.  But it's like Afghanistan or Syria.  Outsiders can try to change how things are there, but the change has to come from within, if they want it enough.

Loblaws is taking over Shoppers Drug Mart.  The wife and I have shares in SDM, not many, but they went up a lot after that takeover.  Time will tell whether this is a good thing or not, but I just hope SDM isn't going to be run the way Loblaws runs its supermarkets around here.  The frequent recalls on their products and reports of lacklustre customer service makes me uneasy about this turn of events.

I guess that's all there is to say for the time being.  God bless and see you next post.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A speck in the light

I wasn't really sure whether to keep the blog thing going or not, but since on a day like this, a Thursday, I have so much free time on my hands, why not.  I don't know what I'm going to say at this point in time but let's see where it takes us.

It's been since before Christmas that I've posted, that's quite a while.  Well, Christmas was good.  Very quiet, but good.  We didn't have a lot to spend on each other for sure, but we had each other here and that was enough.  The winter was long and hard.  Quite a fair amount of snow and lots of cold temperatures, and the positive side of that is that it makes you appreciate spring and summer a lot more.

The year got off to a bit of a rough start.  Our little guy Crocky the cat was profusely sick, throwing up all the time and losing a crazy amount of weight.  After bringing him to the vet, we were referred to an animal hospital in Riverview where they kept him for a night hooked up on an I.V. to get his fluids back.  Long story short, it fixed him up, $700 later.  We were already broke, so we opted for a financing thing called PetCard, which we'll be paying on for the next couple of years.  Bottom line is, we have our boy back and all is well again in the Cook household.  It was interesting when we brought him home, because his brother Marbles kept a watchful eye over him the whole time.  It was sweet and sad at the same time to see.  We realized how engrained Crocky is to the household during that very short time when he was gone.  Janice and me couldn't sleep, and we never talked.  Not because we were mad or upset with each other, but because we missed our little guy and were so worried.  You have to see Crocky snuggled up to Janice to actually understand the momma/son bond that they have, he gives her head-butt kisses and lays on her belly, and just totally soaks up the love she gives him.  He loves laying on my lap to watch TV and does his 'Swiffer Kitty' routine, in which he lays on the floor and tosses and turns for our amusement, knowing the entertainer that he is.  When we brought him to the hospital, once we left without him Janice broke down.  I wanted to, but one of us needs to be strong.  She had visions of him not coming home, I think.  But it was a happy time when we picked him up the next morning and brought him into the house again.

Our little girl is doing just fine these days, doing well in school and excelling in her construction classes.  She's a shining light in her class dominated by boys, showing a lot of them how it's really done, which is exactly how I expected it to be.  She has aspirations at this point of getting into a sheet metal trade when she graduates, while doing the cosmetician thing at work in the meantime.  She's been doing the Maritime Idol thing, which seems to have stalled, but I don't regard it with very much credibility anymore.  She continues to sing and is showing a lot more interest in guitar now, which I'm real glad about.  In this age of autotune and multi-singer 'bands', I'd sooner see her forge her own path.  She has a friend named Sarah who also plays guitar, whom she met up with at Maritime Idol, and as it turns out Sarah's dad is a very old friend of mine I've known since I was about 5.  Darren and I caught up on things a little bit, and it's amazing the things that can happen in life that shape your path.  It's really good being in touch with him again.

Janice is doing pretty well, still struggling with constant pain but coping with it better than probably 99% of how others would.  She has remnants of Bells Palsy that aren't all that obvious, but at least she got past that nuisance of a hurdle for the most part.  We train together at the gym with a cardio/weights program pretty faithfully, and it's a good thing for us to be doing in spite of the soreness that ensues after each workout.  She actually runs on a treadmill for 15 minutes before doing weights.  Normally our sessions last up to two hours, but seem a lot shorter because we do it together.  Sometimes we'll opt to do even more.  We do the gym thing two or three times a week, so we make it worth it when we actually go.  Janice is excelling at work, of course, getting recognition from the place it counts the most, Canada Post itself.  There are times that it proves stressful, but she's tougher than anybody else, so she just comes home and vents a bit and she's alright.  She does love her job.

As for me, it's steady as she goes.  I still deal with this depression thing, something I've come to terms with that I will always have, but I learn as I go.  The blessing about that is that I can help others by relating with them.  I make no bones about the fact of what I'm dealing with, because the stigma is just bullshit.  There's absolutely nothing to be gained by being ashamed of dealing with mental illness.  I know people talk, people will say things no matter what.  That isn't something I can control, but it is something I can make a choice of whether or not to care about, like everyone else like me.  That's probably the biggest enemy facing us depressives.  I know about the whole dial-a-mood labels that we get, and I actually understand it.  Janice has to live with me every day, and if I have a bad day at work or something, she has to deal with my behaviour until I can get over it.  There are flare-ups, and there always will be.  I have a four inch 'burn' mark on my left arm healing right now that I incurred myself from scratching along with a small cut over my right eye.  I'm not a danger to anyone else, but I can be to myself I guess.  It's why I'm in treatment.  Perhaps though, talk therapy is in order, because there are issues ongoing that I am not making any progress on, namely my fear of people in general and especially large gatherings.  I haven't even seen any of my own siblings in over a year.  I was keeping track of them on facebook, but decided to eliminate the account because of so much negativity, which doesn't exactly jibe with what I'm dealing with these days.

There was quite an episode that I dealt with recently that was a bit harrowing, in that I faced another round of intense nosebleeds.  I have septum issues that led to a perforation in my bridge, so I have to clean that hole out from time to time.  One night I wound up scraping a vein, I guess, and the blood came forth with a fury.  So bad, in fact, that in the bathroom, where I was pinching my nose waiting for it to clot, that it began coming out of my mouth.  It was vicious.  After a half hour of nearly choking on my own blood, I relented and we went to the hospital, where they eventually got it to stop.  It left me pretty dazed and out of it, for sure.  They didn't cauterize it though, which left me puzzled, so after several nosebleeds after that (waking up with them, having them start out of the blue, etc.), I made an appointment with my family doc to have my nose burnt, which did the trick.  That doesn't hurt, by the way.  The worst of it might be that sensation you have when pop goes up your nose, that kind of burning feeling, which makes you sneeze your ass off, which I can certainly live with.

But all is not dark and dreary.  I actually applied for disability benefits relating to my depression and got compensation dating back several years, which allowed us to do a lot of things around the house here that we wouldn't have otherwise gotten done, like replacing basement windows and the patio door; replacing carpet upstairs with fresh laminate flooring; getting plumbing taken care of, though not just yet, and getting our 3 year old never-used-yet dishwasher hooked up; getting a brand new barbecue for the summer; paying off some bills, and basically, just getting to the point where we're not living paycheck to paycheck anymore, at least for now.  There's so much more we want to get done, like drywall, tearing up and re-paving the driveway, new siding and a new roof, etc.  But all things in due time.  We want the curbside appeal of the house to go up next, so that sometime in our 50's, we might be able to sell and get that bungalow we've always dreamed of.  This house has gone through quite a drastic metamorphosis since we moved in.

So as you can see by the above paragraph, there's always light to temper the dark.  Or as I heard in a song once in a line ripped straight from the Bible, 'darkness is just a speck in the light'.  Before closing this out, I do want to give a shout-out to my longtime friend Tim, who's always been around and always keeps a watchful eye out for me, for God knows whatever reason, but I'm in debt to him for being there.  Outside of my wife and daughter, he's the one person who's been true-blue and unfailing.  I have to stop short of calling him a guardian angel, because of his and my history together, neither of us can get any kind of 'angelic' designation!  But he is certainly a brother from another mother.  If you're reading this, big fella, my thanks and gratitude to you for all you do.

And thanks for checking into my humble blog.  God bless and see you again soon.