Giving Thanks

This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving.  I don’t know the history of it, but pretty sure Google could help me in that matter.  Moving on from not knowing the original history of it, my history of Thanksgiving has been a time of sharing with friends.

Mmmm food stuffed inside other food.

Almost every year since my wife and I met, we would have a large turkey dinner on either the Sunday or Monday and invited some friends over.  I love dinner parties.  They make me feel all warm inside when I see the joy on people’s faces as they eat our food.  Those who have come over in the past have wanted to return in the years that followed. 

I plan on hating myself this Sunday.

The fact that our friends eat so much and we hardly speak during the meal- means we have done something right.  We make a glorious turkey dinner.  Oh yes, I am serious and may be slightly bragging with this fact.  We eat until we are immobile.

Not in my home!

We don’t have family over.  My mother and sister live far away, and my wife’s family often does an uncomfortable dinner at her sister’s home.  Ours is usually just friends who need a place to eat because their family is elsewhere or they don’t have a commitment for the weekend.  It makes for a more joyous occasion with lots of food and drinks.

The perfect Nuclear Family.

This year, we haven’t invited anybody over yet.  It’ll just be myself, my wife and our three children.  It’s actually because we have been extremely busy in our lives and pretty much forgot to invite anyone.  We are still having a large turkey and all the same size portions for our meal just in case anyone still needs a place to eat.  

Our table is open this Sunday.  I’m planning on getting as stuffed as the bird does.

Messed Around with Gender Roles.

Line my eyes and call me pretty.

Crystal Pepsi, Ace Ventura, and purple hair. This was this past summer, not the 90’s.

I love changing my hair color.  I’ve been doing it more frequently this year than in the past.  It’s one of the few things that defines who I am.  It adds flair to my already eccentric personality.  A couple years ago, you could have caught me wearing red contact lenses or spiderweb lenses.  But I found they irritated my allergies more than they were worth.  Nothing worse than burning eyes and a hatred for yourself for implementing self torture.

At our tenth wedding anniversary. Love the jacket and hat.

I don’t usually care what others think of me.  So I find myself acting more courageous than most.  I’m eager to put on a top hat and steampunk clothes just to head into work.  Or wear my pajamas and housecoat to go grocery shopping in the afternoon on a Sunday.  

A truly outrageous look.

I put on a dress in order to embarrass my children, but that doesn’t work- they just get angry because I’m taking too long to get ready.  I’ll throw on dress pants, tie and suit jacket to go out for a walk with the dog.  Last Friday, I went to a funeral wearing a Spider-Man Hawaiian style shirt because the person who had passed away wanted people to wear bright colors.    All that being said, I really love my t-shirts and jeans, which you will often find me wearing on a regular basis.

Just a regular day of being awesome.

I don’t wear much in the way of jewelry (although it is more than my wife).  A wedding ring, a cheap watch, tongue ring, and a pair of diamond earrings in my left ear is all I ever really adorn.  Being comfortable in my own skin is an important lesson I learned at a young age.    Not everyone is going to be kind to you.  Many people will even try and force their ideals about how you should look or act.  Go out and be yourself.  You’ll be much happier when you do.

Dr. Seuss said it best: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

That time I met Howie Mandel while I was in my pjs.

Questioning Friendship

I enjoy reflecting on my life.  I also enjoy pondering more serious issues.  Today, because of events this past weekend, I thought about the strange thing called “Friendship” and where it comes from, what it means, why is it so complicated?

How do friends choose one another? What draws people close, even if just for a brief moment? What pulls people apart? Is it a misunderstanding or something deeper? Why have I lost friends one day, but gained some another? Is it a personality thing?

How many friends will be there to the end?  How many would gladly give up knowing me if I make a mistake in life or disagree with their point of view?  Which friends are the ones that can forget to call for months at a time but then they will be there exactly when needed?

How many friends are more concerned about what someone has to offer in the friendship than what they could offer them in return?  I know one person who feels if they aren’t getting anything from the friendship (gifts, freebies, things of monetary value), then there’s no point in being a friend.  Which friends would quickly cancel commitments just because it may inconvenience them that day?  What if one chooses to stop being a friend one day, but realizes they need that person the next?

Should I be asking these questions or just let friendships flourish?  Am I probing too intensely into something that just happens naturally?  This is what I think friends are for: 

  • To make memories with.
  • To share stories, experiences, goals and ideas.  
  • To help us grow emotionally and/or intellectually.
  • To laugh with, cry with, get angry with.

Friends are much more than just people you know.  They are the ones who matter.  They are the ones who cross your mind, even if just for a fleeting thought.  Friends are needed.  I need my friends.  Not every moment of every day mind you.  I need to know that they are out there enjoying living their lives.

Talking to myself

Listen, I don’t often talk out loud to myself.  If I am speaking out loud to myself, it’s usually just to vent some frustration or contempt to a situation.  I have even had back and forth arguments pretending to be the other person involved, just so I don’t actually end up in an argument.  I have done this numerous times in front of my wife in order to avoid confrontation with her.

Usually the voices remain inside my head.  I’ll have full on conversations that last a few minutes.  It sounds crazy, but I find it’s the best way to work things out.  These types of conversations most often happen while I’m driving by myself.  I also use this time to figure out my daily blog posts.  Ah, the musings of a crazy man, eventually brought to life.

I have even been known to monologue.  Especially to my children.  Sometimes it turns into a rant, but more often than not its just a bunch of words strung together. My children are a captive audience that zone out pretty quick.  As I notice their attention span waning, I’ll throw in something completely random just to see if they are listening.  It usually involves a treat or money.  That brings them back to reality.

It’s probably pretty normal to talk to oneself.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  And I agree completely Josef.

Fundraising Date Night

If you have children, then you understand the fact that there is always something to raise money towards.  Books for the school, new playground equipment, camps, or an arts program.  Outside of school, you are already spending money on scouts, hockey, dance, or in our case: speed skating and cheerleading- but they still require more money via fundraising.

Scary but true…

Last night, my wife and I attended a Pub Night fundraiser for the local high school.  It’s not the school that our children attend nor is it the one they will be attending, but it is a school that our friends have children attending.  They were fundraising for the musical theater department. I am always willing to support “The Arts” because that is often the best way for children to discover hidden talents.

The old adage of “It takes a village to raise a child” fits perfectly here.  I am a huge supporter of a good education.  Even if I didn’t have children, I’d still be ok with my tax dollars going towards education.  To me education isn’t just attending school, but rather learning skills and exploring talents.  

Last night’s fundraiser was also a great excuse for my wife and I to go on a dinner date.  Spending some one-on-one time with my wife lately has been fantastic.  We have finally been able to leave our children at home and come back to the house still standing.  It’s nice that they are growing more responsible these days, but it also means they aren’t our little babies anymore…

October is here!

October 1st means three things: Halloween decorations come out, I can wear my Halloween shirts more frequently (sorry Star Wars shirts- you get back burner this month), and we get to have bonfires to burn dead branches for the entire month!

Our first Halloween decoration of the year.

  1. I’m excited about decorating, as mentioned here: Decorating Rules.  But I will wait until tomorrow to get really into it.
  2. I love my Nightmare Before Christmas shirts.  I’ve always loved that film… I should blog about my NBX obsession soon.
  3. Burning stuff is awesome!

Autumn is the best.  The freshness of the air, the leaves changing colors, and the chance to burn stuff?  Yes, campfires are great when camping but they often get banned towards the end of summer because it’s too dry out.  Backyard fire pits also get banned for the same reason.  Or they aren’t even permitted at all in some communities.  We are in the country so we don’t have the same restrictions.  

We also have a wood burning fireplace in our home- which is great in the winter and really heats up our house.  That ambience is great for bringing in the Christmas Spirit.  But having a bonfire on a cool October afternoon with a hint of rain is just plain satisfying.

We have an acre with lots of trees.  The windstorms throughout the year means we also get a lot of debris.  We gather it up throughout late spring and summer and get a nice big pile ready to burn when October hits.  The dry branches burn nice and cleanly giving off heat and flames.  Limited smoke occurs as long as I keep the leaves off.

Watching the embers as they burn down is mesmerizing.  But an afternoon of hauling branches over and putting them on the fire is exhausting.  The end of the day had me getting rained on as I poked around the ashes to make sure everything was out before I returned to the inside of our home and prepared for a quiet evening.