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Well, January has come and gone. Snow and cold are still with us. It’s been about a week since my last post, and I’m finding it more difficult to know what to say. Generally, blogs have a specific point or topic, appeal to a certain demographic. Mine seems more out of place, not quite set in any particular stone yet. I’m hoping the more I write, or force myself to, the more clear and continuous the content will be.
Last week was a fairly busy week. Between the workload, the evenings with my son, and celebrating my buddy’s 31st birthday, it was pretty full. On top of that, I had to find new and creative ways to stretch whatever funds I had. As long as there’s a roof over our heads and food in our tummies, I’d say we’re doing alright though. I’m hoping that come Spring, there will be more gigs available for my musical acts. Winter is always a slow, tough time to get through in many ways.
I actually don’t recall anything that was eaten last week, though I’m sure it was delicious. Last night however, as I have my son Tuesday nights every week, regardless of who’s week with him it is, he and I baked some chocolate chip cookies. He was really eager to help, even knew how to crack an egg (albeit there may be some pieces of shell in the cookies). We did our best to keep the flour mess to a minimum. Later that night Andrea and I enjoyed her homemade Seafood Pasta, which really hit the spot.
The next couple days are going to be pretty busy; two band practices this week, plus a gig in downtown Fredericton on Saturday. I may not have much time to prepare any fancy meals, but I’ll be sure to keep myself fed/hydrated. And I always have something delicious from work during lunchtime.
Today’s musical treat is something most wouldn’t expect from me: Miley Cyrus. I’ve actually quite enjoyed her version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. Take a listen to a stripped version here:
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It’s been a couple of fairly quiet days, and no real fancy foods to post about. I also generally don’t go online as often when my son is home with me, so this may or may not be a bit of a quieter week post-wise. We’ll see! #thereisnoquietonlypawpatrol
Sunday was a blast. He came home a bit earlier than usual, so we were able to take full advantage of the nice weather (+2 celsius for us Canadians is like springtime). Met up with our friends and their younger little guy and enjoyed the skating rink downtown (albeit without skates… I should probably get mine sharpened soon). You know you live in a pretty cool city when they take an entire “park” (Officers’ Square) and turn it into a free-to-use skating rink during the winter. My son had a blast getting pulled around in a little sled and kept wanting to choose which direction to go!
Following that, we all dined at the Snooty Fox, which never fails to be delicious.
I started out the week as suggested in my Breakfast post, and I hope some of you did too – Two big glasses of water, and my first breakfast of the week may have been small (two pieces of toast), but it was more than it usually is. Going to keep it up this week with the earlier rise and adding to the breakfasts. One day at a time!
Today’s musical choice is a live version of Shinedown’s “Second Chance”:
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You may have heard this line before: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And if you’re anything like me, you’ve heard it a million times and take it for granted, continuously. I am guilty of not eating breakfast almost every single day. When I wake up in the morning, I usually value a bit of extra sleep over starting the day out with a meal. At the time it seems like a good idea… but it’s not.
I’m writing this as I’m eating my breakfast at nearly one in the afternoon. No, I didn’t sleep away the day. I was up bright and early with my son, watched a few cartoons and gave him and the animals their breakfasts. Plus the normal routine of (excuse the expression) shit, shower & shaving.
Yesterday and today, I’ve basically had breakfast for lunch. Eggs Benedict (my personal favourite) yesterday. Today’s is a more traditional Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Toast, Orange Juice kind of breakfast. Both equally delicious and both borderline unhealthy.
“Hey, didn’t you say breakfast was important?” …yes, yes I did. Thank you for getting me back on track.
Consider this; During the day, you’re awake, active, pretending to be a normal human being, and generally you’d be eating several meals and snacks. But come nighttime, when you shut your body down and sleep, you’re basically fasting for however long you sleep. Your body goes anywhere between 6-10 hours without any sustenance whatsoever. If you’re like me, and don’t usually make time or feel like eating breakfast right away in the morning, working until lunchtime hits when you’re suddenly starving, you’re adding several more hours to the length of time your body has gone without its most basic need: Food.
This is the equivalent of trying to start your car when the tank is on empty. Your cognitive functions, social skills, basic brain power and all of your physical energy don’t have any fuel. Your body and mind are basically deprived of the basic requirements to keep you alive. So in a sense, every day that you go without breakfast, and you wonder why you feel like you’re dying in the mornings… Well, you basically are.
I am going to give this a try, and I urge whoever is following this to give it a shot as well. And I’m suggesting we start this on Monday, because we all know where our Sundays go (especially if you are out the night before, as I will be, playing a gig). So Monday morning, to start the day off right, let’s get up 1 hour earlier than we normally do. Set your alarm and put it across the room, so you HAVE to get out of bed even just to hit the snooze button.
Immediately after waking up, drink 2 tall glasses of water. You may not feel like eating right away, but give it a few minutes. The water is restoring you immediately after consuming. You’re going to feel more awake, more full of energy, almost right away. Your body is hydrating after being dehydrated all night.
Now, once the water’s done its thing, give breakfast a try. Start out small at first if you need to. A bowl of oatmeal. A banana, toast and OJ. A couple eggs. It really doesn’t matter what it is, just get some food into you!
Now here’s the tricky part. Let’s do this all week. You’d be surprised at how you feel towards the end of the week. Sleep will come easier. You will feel more energetic. And the crazy part? You may actually even lose a bit of weight! Research shows, people who eat breakfast in the mornings are less likely to be overweight. Because you’re not only jumpstarting your system, you’re jumpstarting your metabolism for the day.
Chyea! That is my “do as I say, not as I do” moment. But I’ll be giving this a try this week as well. In the meantime, let’s give a listen to my song pick of the day: “Safety Pin” by a band called The Mascara Story. They’ve not been a group in quite some time, and I don’t recall how I even stumbled upon them. But I dig the song writing. Here’s the song posted on youtube:
I’d highly suggest also taking a listen to “Conquer You” and “This Is Not a Bruise”.
Happy Weekend Everyone!
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Wine is a great side to almost any meal. There are plenty of connoisseurs out there who would be more specific to what-wine-goes-with-what-food… But I like to live dangerously. My formula for wine-purchasing is equivalent to a college girl’s wine-purchasing formula – Is it cheap & is it a big bottle? Done. Generally I prefer to stick with white wine however. I find red wine is a bit heavy, and the headache that follows the next day is brutal.
…unless you drink a whole 2L bottle to yourself. Then your (my) headache the next day is just as bad. I now have a massive craving for McDonald’s.
Last night’s supper was made from scratch once again by my girlfriend (her cooking skills make me look like a child) – Italian Wedding Soup. Such a classic, tasty, and incredibly filling meal. One bowl was enough for me! She referenced having to grate the onions (I’ve never done this before) and how badly it made her eyes water. Sometimes blood, sweat and tears literally are the extra ingredients in a meal.
Today’s song of choice is a newer release by a long-running band called Saosin. I was pretty excited to find out that they’d reconnected with their original vocalist (and Circa Survive frontman) Anthony Green. The band returned to the sound that I’d been missing the past couple years. Take a listen to The Silver String and air drum while doing office work. Booya.
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It’s probably quite apparent that I love food. I find great enjoyment out of trying new things, creating new things. I especially enjoy the process of creating dishes. There’s something equally calming and exciting about taking a whole bunch of ingredients and blending them into something delicious.
Yesterday’s supper was one of those moments. While boiling spaghetti & steaming broccoli, I chopped some boneless, skinless chicken breast into little slices, and fried them in a pan with butter, garlic, parmesan, mushrooms, onion, a bit of seasoning and worcestershire. This combination was tossed in a giant pot and mixed with the broccoli and spaghetti noodles, and then smothered with a garlic alfredo, cream of mushroom, herb & garlic mozzarella cheese sauce with just the right amount of milk.
It was delicious.
This week seems to have a mushroom & mozzarella theme to it, and you’ll hear no complaints from me. Though it may be good to change it up for today’s lunch. We’ll see.
The animals of the household are driving me a little nutty this week. Two of the cats are basically in heat, despite being fixed, so they’re just rolling around the house, whining, meowing, pissing off the giant 25-pound male cat of the house, who’s resorted to making sounds equivalent to Megamind’s robots (if you don’t understand that reference, check out this video) and occasionally shitting OUTSIDE the litter box. What a bastard.
Today’s music of choice – Steelheart – who provided the voice and several songs for the 2001 Rockstar movie featuring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston. Check out an unplugged, stripped version of “She’s Gone”, where you’ll witness one of the most insane vocals on a male… ever.
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Yesterday was Bell’s “Let’s Talk” day. Creating awareness for Mental Health and raising over 6 Million Dollars towards the cause. I was equally impressed and humbled by the amount of support for the cause I witnessed through social media. Nearly everyone sported the #bellletstalk hashtag, or the Bell profile picture, and at least half of those people also had a story to share. Whether it be your own, or someone else’s, there is absolutely no shame in suffering from a mental illness. Seeking help may be difficult, may even feel impossible or embarrassing to do so, but the world will come a long way if we learn to reach out when we need to. For those not inflicted by a mental illness, being supportive and understanding of those around you who are, makes all the difference in the world.
That being said, I also have a story to tell. Though I may not be brave enough to share every little detail, it doesn’t hurt to start somewhere.
For quite some time, I’d felt like something was wrong. It was a dark cloud, constantly sitting on my shoulder. It created a multitude of feelings that on any given day, didn’t seem to have a valid reason. It wouldn’t matter how beautiful a day, how easy of a week, or what amazing things could, or would, have happened – Every day felt like a chore, a struggle. Every morning, I’d wake up wishing to just stay asleep. Every interaction with people made me anxious, self conscious, tense. Every moment that should have been enjoyed with my whole heart, felt divided. Any less-than-ideal situation that transpired would be treated as though it was the worst possible outcome. I’d lost interest in things that used to be huge parts of my life. I spent each and every day feeling as if the world was out to get me. I felt alone, even when I wasn’t. I felt the depths of incredibly dark thoughts, and they weighed on me like a ton of bricks.
I felt embarrassed and ashamed of myself for how these thoughts and feelings consumed me. I was supposed to be a “man”. I was supposed to be strong, always. Provide. I was supposed to be happy-go-lucky all the time. “Men” don’t have issues, “men” don’t ask for help. So I did nothing. I let it eat away at me for too long. It reached a point where even when I thought I was projecting the image of a happy, satisfied individual, others could see the sadness and anger seeping out. It began affecting my relationships with everyone. I constantly felt misunderstood, unsupported, judged. Which in turn, just amplified the existing feelings buried in me, and worsened my relationships with people.
It wasn’t until I was hit with a collection of disheartening situations within the span of a year, that I finally broke. After several counts of abandonment and betrayal by “loved ones”, deaths in the family, financial hardship, and more, the weight of loss and struggle became too much. I broke. Like an old dam that had been holding in thousands of pounds of pressure, the waters filled with the deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings finally came crashing through to the surface. I stopped eating, stopped caring, stopped sleeping. My anxiety was so bad that I shook constantly. I could barely interact with society. And I no longer wanted to.
I wish I could say that I reached out for help right away, but it wouldn’t be honest. When you reach the bottom, there’s only one solution your brain can fathom – Ending your own existence. And I tried, more than once. Every minute, my thoughts were cluttered with “how can I do it”, “what’s the easiest way out”, “how do I escape”. It wasn’t until after several attempts, hospital stays and doctor visits that I finally knew, with the support of others, that I needed to get help. That I needed to ask for it.
So I did. And continue to ask for help when I need it. With the support of the ones who stayed in my life, with the support of the new people in my life, every day is a new day. There will always be a struggle, but it’s no longer a path walked alone or with an end. And I want to offer the same support to anyone who needs it.
Depression isn’t something that should be shrugged off or ignored. If you, or someone you know, is struggling from it, or exhibiting signs in any way, please don’t walk away. Don’t give up on a friend, a family member, a lover. More often than not, the people who seem to be pushing you away, are in fact the ones that could use the most love and support. An ear to listen and a voice to talk with makes all the difference in the world. Reach out, and you’d be surprised who reaches back.
So “Let’s Talk”. If you need someone to hear your story, your voice. I’m here and I’ll listen. And I’ll help in any way I can. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call me. Text me. Facebook message me. Let’s do this together.
Do you have a story you want to share here? Send it my way and I’ll post it for you, either anonymously or not, per your request.