48 Hours Kid Free

As a full time father of four it’s not often I can say that. It’s rare to have any time to myself let alone two full days. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to a quiet house, the sleeping in, the getting to do whatever I want to do.

By having ME time has allowed me to keep my sanity most of the time when confronted with the chaos of four kids. Or six kids back in the day, or in the seven kid chaos coming my way later this summer. I once had a 17 kid dinner in my house and I was the only parent. It was a dream of mine, as each kid asked if they could have there friends over I said yes and yes and yes and yes until I was making dinner for 17 kids. I have the video to prove it…

Although I can’t seem to find it at the moment, believe me it happened…

These weekends I use to recharge my batteries and do the things that I love. For example I am going to go for a nice long run down to the waterfront and back, it’s full of elevation changes and great scenery. I am going to stroll the flea market and do some window shopping, and I am even going to sleep in tomorrow. No five am gym session for this guy!

I consider having the best of both worlds, full time Dad by week and bachelor on the weekends. Yes I miss my children terribly but at the same time I enjoy the peace and quiet a Friday night with an empty house brings… I think I will go play a game of pool.

And if you haven’t seen the movie Dead Poets Society, go watch it and take some lessons from it. You will be glad you did, have a great night everyone!

Letting Your Inner Child Shine Through

IMG_4057.jpgI have been accused of being far too serious in life at times, it started I am sure with work as I would present a business/serious version of myself to my coworkers.  I was the boss and in order to get things done in a busy and often hectic kitchen there was no time to be personal, it was always business first.  I would often carry this look on my face throughout the course of a shift and not smile for hours on end.

I also didn’t share much of myself with those I worked with, instead presenting a professional version of Ed Dillon and wouldn’t really share any intimate details of my life, or if and when I did it was to a very few and select people.  As with a lot of things in my professional life, that would bleed into my personal life and I started to portrait these characteristics at home as well.

I would take everything seriously, I wouldn’t laugh smile or take the enjoyment in all the little things in life that make is so worth living.

I was too busy being serious.

What a sobering thought to have, too busy being serious to actually enjoy life.  I guess being a full time father of four children you need to take life seriously in order to get everything done that needs to get done.  There is no divide and conquer in my world… laundry that’s me, groceries ditto, clean the house? Ed your up, dinner, baths, budgets, driving kids around, cutting the grass, going to the doctors, the list goes on and on and on…

When I would do things for fun, I would unfortunately adopt this principle and at times make these activities not fun, I was being too serious.  Far too serious where it would suck the enjoyment from others, and that was never a good thing.

So last night I spent the night playing pool, and then later my x-wing miniatures games, these are two things where a short while ago I would take things very seriously.  If I missed a shot I would get angry and upset, if I was defeated on the field of battle I would slink away with my tail between my legs and let those negative emotions ruin the rest of the evening.

I found that last night I was able to let my inner child shine brightly and had such a fun evening.  I enjoyed playing pool as I was making some difficult shots and letting out giant Ric Flair woooooooooooooooo.

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When I would miss a shot I started to laugh and give the ball shit, getting close and personal and letting (#7 in particular) that I was coming for you… and oh I certainly did, banging those balls into pockets with such gusto the table shaked a bit.  I am only slightly exaggerating but to my point I was having a blast.

With regards to X-Wing, I went a little crazy on boxing day and bought myself a decent fleet but with no one to play with, it isn’t always fun just playing with yourself.  I mean you know exactly what your opponents moves are going to be because you are the opponent.  Last night Kristi and I sat there for a couple of hours flying our ships around the board and the whole time (while I blowing her off the table 🙂 ) I was making Star Wars sound effects, quoting lines from the movies and being a little kid again.  It brought me back to so many great memories of my childhood playing Dungeons and Dragons.

It was just a fantastic night of fun, and a very important lesson for me to learn about not taking things too seriously.  Have fun, enjoy the moment, be a kid.  Life is far too short not to!  Have a great day everyone, I’m off to go for another run!

2017 Top 10 ~ My First Trip to Wrigley (#2)

I am a huge baseball fan, HUGE.  It started when I was a kid and my parents would take me to old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto to watch the Blue Jays play before they moved to the Skydome, now named the Rogers Center.  I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing some magical things over the years (much like some of my WWF wrestling experiences).  One of earliest memories was watching Dave Stewart throw a no hitter vs the Blue Jays back in 1990 in one of the first games in the new stadium.

I also had the pleasure of seeing the first World Series game played in Toronto in 1992, Game 3 vs the Atlanta Braves, and I was there (yes I really was in section 542) when Joe Carter hit his shot heard round the world at the end of Game 6 to win back to back World Series Championships for the Blue Jays.  I lost touch with baseball for awhile after the 1994 strike which cancelled the World Series that year as I found it hard to relate to squabbling millionaires who could agree on how many millions of dollars each would make.  And it wasn’t until several years later and a World Series between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks that sparked my interest once again as each game went into extra innings and was on the edge of your seat exciting.

Fast forward to 2015 when the Blue Jays finally made the playoffs once again and I had the privilege of seeing that first game and the Texas Rangers and game 5 of that series with the ridiculous 7th inning that culminated with the Jose Bautista bat flip.  I honestly think I am one of a handful of people that saw in person the Joe Carter home run and the Jose bautista Bat flip…  Two summers ago I had one of the best days of my life when Joe Carter came into my Keg after his charity golf tournament, and I was able to cook him dinner and sit down afterwards and share a beer and several stories.  (Definitely a post for another day!)

Up until this past summer I had only ever seen a Toronto Blue Jay home game, and a few days after my 45th birthday and 2017 Top 10 ~ Canada Day, My 45th Birthday (#6) my friends and I set off an the first leg of my Summer Road trip down to Wrigley Field in Chicago, this would be followed up by a trip to St. Louis and Busch Stadium as well.  There are times when my friends don’t make things easy on me, and the start of this trip was no exception.  One of the guys along for the ride, Adam needed to pick up his passport on the morning that we were leaving, literally from the office.  Fun stuff!

Let’s backtrack a bit first shall we?  When I first got the idea of a road trip I knew that one of the things on my bucket list to do was see a baseball game at Wrigley Field.  So this was always a center point of the trip to which all things were eventually planned around.  The first task was to pick the game we wanted to see and in turn get the best tickets possible, prices being in US dollars the tickets were going to be the most expensive part of the trip.  With this in mind I decided to turn this into a camping trip, as a KOA campground outside of the city would only cost about $40 for all of us and a great way to save money.  After all I already had all the camping supplies needed, which I picked up earlier in the year from Wal-mart.

Taking a look at the baseball schedule and the distance from Chicago, St. Louis was picked as the other city we would visit on this trip.  We decided to stay at a hotel in St. Louis that was right beside Busch Stadium, literally.  So within a few days I had planned a great four day trip to both cities, and with Jeep in hand we were all set to have a great time.  The weather on this trip couldn’t have been more perfect it was sunny and warm the entire trip and when we left Vaughan and headed out the roof on the Jeep was screaming to be taken off.

Along for the ride were my Keg friends Ryan, Jason and Adam all big baseball fans, and all in our Keg fantasy baseball league.  Passport issue aside we were on our way and the first stop was of course at the duty free where we loaded up on supplies, crossed the border and continued on towards Chicago. As soon as we crossed the border, the roof was peeled back and we continued on our way with the wind blasing on our hair and great tunes on the radio.

This was my first real chance to fly down the interstate with the roof down for an extended amount of time. At first it was great and if I had been alone it would have been perfect, but with a group of guys and the radio blasting and trying to have conversations well it made things a bit challenge since I could hardly hear things with the wind blasting around. Not to mention the sun beating down as well! We had no issues on our drive down into Chicago and arrived at our campground with plenty of sunlight left in the late afternoon.

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My tent literally takes two minutes to set up which is awesome, and we missions into the nearby town for a WalMart run to collect a few needed items. Everything in the states is either big or extra large as evident by the giant bag of ice we got. Ridiculously big. Back to the campsite Ryan had started a nice fire and I set off to make dinner. Before leaving that morning I prepared several foil packets of vegetables and brought alone Keg steaks to roast over the open flame. I have to say this meal was absolutely delicious and the first time that I cooked steaks on an open flame.

That night it was songs by the campfire and lots of drinking. God bless the duty free shop, however the bottle of Honey Jack that was passed around turned out to be a bad idea for a few of the group. On a personal note I tried to be Dad at one point in the evening or should I say the few early hours of the morning. We basically stayed up all night and saw an amazing electrical storm at about 4am off in the distance. Shortly after that I went to bed while the other stayed up, after all I had been driving all day and was exhausted and I knew we had a big day planned for Wrigley the next day. I said as much to my group about winding it down and getting some rest and those words of advice fell on deaf ears so as best I could I tried to get some sleep. Next time I will remember ear plugs and a sleep masks for the early morning sun…

At some point in the morning I awoke and restarted the fire to get breakfast going. Bacon cooked over the fire along with scrambled eggs and coffee was mandatory. I had concerns about how best to make coffee at a campground… and my solution ended up being a large thermos and the two pots of coffee I brewed the day before and brought along. I simply reheated them in a pot over the fire the next morning and things were absolutely perfect. Especially with a little Baileys mixed in.

The stadium was about an hour away from our campground as it was situated on the outskirts of town and on the closer side to St Louis as we need to be up early the next day and head out for the late afternoon game in St Louis. Driving in to downtown Fhicago was amazing, the visuals of that city are so beautiful and I would highly recommend a visit to this great US city to any traveller. Cubs game are a very popular thing and all of the folks in and around the stadium are always ready for game day. For example the local Newspaper Taco Bell shut down their drive thru operations and sells all of there parking spaces to Cuba fans as does almost every local business. We parked at a gas station in a little tiny space for $20 bucks it was great. Have Jeep can park anywhere…

We joined the throng of people walking down towards the stadium and almost every single house along the way was decorated with some Cub flag or merchandise especially from the World Series victory the previous year. Updated n seeing the stadium for the first time was magical even just from the outside. There was an electricity and atmosphere in the air that was second to none. I have goosebumps even writing about it now six months later.

As you can see from my video walking down the walkway and up the stairs and taking in the visual of the stadium for the first time I will never forget. They have done a terrific job of renovations over the past few years yet at the same time maintaining the feel feel of an old school ballpark. The ivy on the walls, the brick work throughout the stadium and how close the seats are to the field of play are absolutely breathtaking.

We had great seats down the left field line in the second row, along with an aisle seat which is always mandatory being six foot five inches and needing the leg room. The Cubs were playing the Pittsburg Pirates on the afternoon and we had done our research on the starting left fielder for Pittsburg, John Jaso who rocks the worst hair in baseball, full length dreadlocks.  Jason has always been a big baseball heckler, verbally launching into the opposing players in a clean but very humorous way.  The goal is to taunt the player so much that it affects his performance on the field and today we sure did.  It was the first time I’ve joined in on the fun, and a few times Jaso pointing in our direction as to say are you the guys riding me?  He mis-tossed balls into the crowd and made some questionable plays in the outfield as well.  I have also seen this backfire first hand in Toronto when the player Jason was heckling hit a home run and his manager promptly removed him from the game so he couldn’t get yelled at anymore.  Most players don’t react but when you can get them to crack a smile, acknowledge your taunts, or the ultimate affect their play, mission accomplished.

When the game was over, many bears had been consumed (I wasn’t driving back) and the Cubs had won the game, each home win is followed by the playing of Go Cubs Go and it was epic to listen to 40,000 fans sign along.

The ride back to the campgrounds was festive, we had a great dinner of burgers cooked on the campfire and the party continued to the wee hours of the morning.  And after a few hours of sleep, we packed up our campsite and headed off to St. Louis…

While the weather the last two days had been just perfect, hot and sunny.  We got a little sunburnt at Wrigley with all the sun and the outdoor stadium, the Saturday was even hotter.  I believe it got as high as 36 degrees that day, as we got closer to St. Louis we could see the arch from miles out and passed right by it on our way to the stadium.  It was a much different feel to this ballgame than in Chicago.  I think based on where the stadium is placed, the fact that it was Saturday and there was no downtown traffic or feel to the place, maybe it was because we were two hours before the game started and most people hadn’t arrived yet.

I parked beside another Jeep in the parking lot and marvelled at the difference of the two, mine had 5000 km’s of road trip on it covered in bugs and life, the one beside us looked exactly like mine did after it rolled off the assembly line (brand new…)  We took our time as we headed over to the stadium, commenting on how HOT it actually was and no of us looked forward to another day sitting out baking in the sun.  As fate (and my good planning) would have it turned out not to be the case.  I had gotten tickets in the outfield of Busch Stadium in what was referred to as Club seating.  The only thing I knew for sure is that is came with a pregame buffet.  It was a five hour drive from our campground to St. Louis and we were all looking forward to the spread.

What we ended up with was way better than I could have ever imagined.  Turns out we had our own private box!  When constructing the stadium they put in an entire strip of boxes lining the outfield, each with it’s own buffet, private bathrooms AIR CONDITIONING common room where they served the food, and COMPLEMENTARY Bud and Bud Light on tap.  We were all in heaven.  We dig in like it was out last meal and it was absolutely delicious!  Even the flat Bud was tasty but the bet part was the Air Conditioned room you could sit and eat, before headed down to your seats.  Each box had about 15 seats in the outfield and they were all out of the sun.  It was perfect and if I ever go back to St. Louis to see games again I would sit in this section, hands down.  It was cheaper by about $100 than the Wrigley ticket and added so much more.

We were all inten on heckling the New York Mets players in the outfield and talked about possible chants on the way down… ha ha.  It was going to epic, that is until we found out we sitting right behind 5000 New York Mets fan!  I am not kidding, bus loads of fans had come down for this game and covered three or four sections right in front of us.  And they were ready!  They had chants for all there home players and based on numbers and well organized to be loud and proud.

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We quickly realized that we were vastly outnumbered, but the four of us remained undaunted and took on those 5000 Mets fans.  We piggybacked there calls adding our own twists, we tried to heckly the players (and were often quickly shut down) by louder more numerous voices.  We had an ace up our sleeve as the baseball gods decided that St. Louis would take the day and nothing quiets a crowd more than when your team loses.  Mets fans had nothing to cheer about as the game windied down as they were losing.  There most popular chants was when there were two strikes on the batter, and they would have shaked their arms in the air with a low but growing….. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, STRIKE HIM OUT!!! chant.  Well we stole that and in the ninth inning the four of us were repeating that chant as the Mets batters struck out to end the game.  Countless Mets fans were looking up at us in both amusement and disgust, and I kid you not far too many St. Louis fan asked us to stop thinking the throng of Mets fans were going to climb the barricade to get us.

I almost forgot to mention, that after the first inning Ryan comes back with a large can of beer, not draft but a real can.  I ask where he got it, and his replay was like Dude, there is a complimentary bar outside.  Everything is free.  Open bar?  What?  Throwing singles at the bartenders I was out there every inning trying another tasty creation.  Just off the hook amazing, and amazing what liquid courage will do for you when taking on 5000 mets fans.  Smart move booking a hotel that was right beside the stadium as we were able to walk home after the game.  St, Louis won, and many a Mets fan talked to us on the way out commenting on our Moxie and the fact we went toe to toe with them all.  They had to hang their heads in shame and have a long losing bus ride back to NY, we were in celebratory party mode as the home team won again.

We had planned a fun evening out and around St. Louis hat turned out not to be the case, the cumulative effect of the Honey Jack the night before and open bar of today, well we almost lost Ryan that night.  I’ve never seen someone as sick as he was and he was a write off and truthfully most of the next day.  Having stomach issues and the mix of all the fun we were having was a bit too much, I’d lost my driving partner and was now looking at a 13 hour solo mission behind the wheel the next day to get back to Canada.

It didn’t help that our hotel was double booked our room and instead of the two king sized bed I had booked months before we ended up with double beds and a crappy view of another building instead of the stadium view I had also booked.  I guess we should have checked in when we first got to St. Louis as opposed to waiting until after the game.  Lesson learned.  We were offered a $150 tab for food at the hotel and we went to town and had a feast in our room that night.  We all crashed early as it was going to be a long ride back the next day, and I had the lofty goal of rolling out right at 8am.

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The Dad instinct in me took over and I was up at 7am, waking up the rest of the crew and getting the car packed to head out right around 8am.  And we were rolling back to Canada, there was some talk of stopping in Detroit on our way home to see them play Cleveland, and had Ryan not been out of commision were most likely would have seen a third game….  we did have a few adventures on this drive home as well.  The first thing that comes to mind was the symmetrical endless rows of corn that we saw, and I mean they were identical for miles and miles and miles.  Each stalk was exactly the same size, the same colour, the same height it was rather creepy to be honest.  Genetic energeneriier had clearly come up with a super strain of corn and it was planted forever to maximize growth and yield, this led to conversations about allergies, about how the body only needed to digest and process one strain of corn as opposed to countless varieties back when this was naturally grown.  It warmed my heart to later see in Canada corn fields that were in all shapes and sizes…

Mis adventures number two came when we stopped for gas in the middle of the drive home, I had a magnetic phone case that held both my phone on one side and credit cards, driver licence (and passport) on the other.  During this gas stop I used my phone and tossed the case onto the hood of my car where it stuck.  We piled back into the Jeep and I promptly forgot it was there, and there it stayed for about 2 miles before the force of wind and the speed we were going lifted it off and across the interstate behind us.  Quickly slowing down from 70 miles an hour in a Jeep on a gravelly shoulder was interesting as that car shimmies and shakes coming to a stop.  And then watching three guys run a mile backwards looking for all my documents that had been scattered to the wind.  This added about 30 minutes to our time as it was quite the hike to get back to where the phone case was, to find everything which luckily we did.  It was a scene right from the movie Vacation…

Even with the long drive, the border crossing and the drive back into Canada I was able to meet my older girls in Vaughan for pickup at 9:30pm after setting off from St. Louis at 8am that morning.  I did every second behind the wheel, the Jeep was a perfect road trip car and I was proud of not only getting everyone home safe, but for planning and executing the trip of a lifetime.  I sit here now with a big smile on my face, looking forward to planning this summer’s trip.  I imagine a few cars headed somewhere caravan style, a larger campground for us all and some great comandare and male bonding time.  I have been so fortunate to have some amazing experiences in my 45 years on this planet, and this road trip ranks right up there with the best of them.

Thanks for reading, it was my pleasure to write.

2017 Top 10 ~ The Endless Summer of Golf (#5)

Last summer I rediscovered my love for the game of golf, and I had forgotten just how much fun it really was.  My parents introduced me to the game in my teen years, and I played a lot of golf in my twenties.  Golf in those days was and is much different than the game I played this past spring, summer and fall.  As a young man, these games would often get super competitive and would often also be for braggin rights and often money.  Rules were strictly enforced, and at times feeling got hurt.

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Golfing 10 years ago.

These afternoons in and around my Oakville Keg days were enjoyable, but were just a bit too aggressive for my tastes.  I will always be a player that will move their ball out of the woods, use the foot wedge if I am behind a tree and don’t really concern myself with every single rule that golf has to offer.  My goal this summer was to improve my game in all areas and to have fun, as much fun as possible.

Towards the end of my first marriage I had given up the game almost entirely, only playing once a year in the annual Keg manager’s golf tournament, and maybe another best ball tournament at some point in the year.  In other words, not much at all.  I discovered the sport of triathlon in my late 30’s and golf became something of the past, that once a year I would dust off my clubs, have a lot to drink and hope I didn’t end of crashing the cart somewhere along the way.

This spring I started playing at an executive course in Barrie called The Wilds.  It is a par 62 executive course with no hole longer than 250 yards, and no par 5’s in sight.  The price was also excellent, having a fall special of a round and cart for $30, and if you wanted to walk then $17 for the round.  There is a strong possibility of getting a membership there next summer, but perhaps it is time to graduate to a larger course…

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Always liked to be the first one on the course, just as the sun was rising.

This course also turned a blind eye if you wanted to have some extra fun while out of the course, and it was never busy at all.  A nice little family owned operation on the outskirts of Barrie, that if you didn’t know where the course was you might never know there is a golf course there at all as there is another public golf course right in front of it.

If I had to guess, I’d say I played between 40 and 50 rounds on that course over the last nine months and every single time was an adventure.  My golf partner of choice was my buddy Ryan, and over the summer we had some deep theological discussions about life, and the changes that we wanted to see happen in the future.  We played almost religiously every Wednesday afternoon and would often find ourselves back in my recreation room afterwards for several rounds of pool.

A few memorable rounds on the year included the time I challenged Ryan to a bowl a hole, back when I was stick smoking marijuana.  We made it to the 15th hole before we had run out but both of us managed to survive the round, and even played a little better on the last few holes.  The cab ride home that day was a lot of fun indeed!  It’s a shame that our pool games were quite off that night.

Another favorite round of the summer was actually two rounds I played back to back, you see I’ve learned this summer that Ryan keeps his own timetable.  I especially learned this lesson on this particular day, as I grew tired of waiting for Ryan and decided to head out for a round as I had gotten to the course early that day and after a few holes I ran into an elderly gentlemen we had met earlier in the summer.  He had offered us some tips during that meeting and suggested we play a round together at some point.

When I saw him that afternoon I skipped over a few holes and asked to join him.  We spent the next few hours talking about life and I learned a lot from Stu that afternoon.  He basically told me his life story, talked about his kids, his trouble with alcohol and overcoming his addictive and what his retirement plans where.  He played golf there almost everyday weather permitting and when the round was finished I said to myself if I could be in my 70’s still playing golf on a daily basis then I had done something right.

Ryan’s timing was excellent as just as I was finishing up he arrived for our round, and off we went.  We caught up to another old timer, Len in his 80’s at the 4th hole and we politely asked if we may play through, and he surprised us by asking if he could join us.  Ha ha, so for the second time today I played a round of golf with a complete stranger.  Len wasn’t as talkative as Stu had been but also shared his views on life and golf throughout the afternoon.  By the time I had finished my two rounds for the day I realized that I had been very blessed that day as it taught me a very valuable lesson.

I would always fear going to social events, and not having anyone to talk with.  These rounds of golf with two relative strangers taught me that I could do just that.  Both of their outlooks on life, and the fact they were still playing golf into their retirement years was great to see.  Both gentlemen had a great outlook on life, and generally nice positive men.  I felt very lucky that afternoon.

Another great thing I really enjoyed about The Wilds golf course was both the beauty of the course, especially first thing in the morning.  There was always flowers in bloom throughout the year and we were quite surprised to see Trilliums early in the season, and almost every round Ryan and I would go turtle hunting.  Often finding the little guys laying out on logs floating in the water warming themselves in the sun.  Above is perhaps the largest turtle we found on the course, and the picture doesn’t quite do it justice.

Towards the end of the summer and into the fall seasons, I didn’t have my younger kids on the weekends.  I started to play on Saturday and Sunday mornings as soon as the sun would rise making sure that I was the first one on the course and would generally end of playing two rounds in a row for several weeks.  My goal towards the end of the season was to break 70 on that course, and I was never quite able to do it.  I scored a 71 on three separate occasions and the goal will be to crack 70 at some point next year.

I believe that the recent mental clarity I’ve found will be the last piece of the puzzle to putting it all together.  Today marks 40 days since I last smoked marijuana and over the past few weeks I’ve have noticed a remarkable improvement in my pool game, and I suspect that I will find similar results the next time that I play golf.

Golf is a game that I look forward to introducing my children to, any of them that show any interest towards it.  I really hope that Austin becomes a fan as I can envision many great father and son games over the years.  I will take no mercy on him just like my own father would do when we played together.  It too many tries and many years to finally beat my Dad but that is a story for another time.

2017 Top 10 ~ Survivor Series Dinner (#9)

I’ve had the idea of making a special meal all made with love for several years now, in fact I’ve dreamed about it on several occasions.  To every single detail I knew exactly how this meal would go.  And while it took several years, and the right timing to actually get around to making it I don’t believe it could have gone off any better.

It was actually perfect…

The preparation for the event started on Saturday with all the baking that needed to be done, first off it was two different types of cookies, a banana bread and my first all love Apple Pie.  My goal is always to make sure that items made with love, actually taste good, not to know that even love exists in the product.  Home runs were hit with this baking my friends.

On Sunday’s menu was a full Turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Again never having made a turkey dinner filled with love before, I was slightly concerned about the deadly combination of tryptophan and love knocking out all my guests.  It turns out I would be partially correct with this assumption.

The stuffing was loaded with love butter, more crumbled on top and underneath the bacon layer.  As this would all melt into the turkey and help form the base of the gravy that was still to come.  This whole meal was done on the dreams and thoughts I had over the past few years, I didn’t consult a single recipe and just whatever felt natural to me.

The gravy came out perfect with the pan drippings of the turkey, plus a roux made of love and might have been the most potent item on the menu that evening.  The vegetables were sauteed in love oil, and the mashed potatoes turned out better than I could have imagined.  The whole meal from top to bottom was perfect…

We lost Corey early on, almost right after we finished dinner.  Patrick also needed a short winter’s nap and Ryan and I were the sole survivors.  There were a lot more friends that joined after they finished working to help with the leftovers and to enjoy the warm out of the oven Apple Pie and coffee sweetened with love honey to end the night.

I could feel the after effects of this meal for a few days afterwards, perhaps I was just basking in the glow of a job very well.  Ryan won the wrestling challenge that night as we always try and predict who wins each match and got to walk out with the ceremonial title belt.  I was able to cross something off my bucket list of things that I always wanted to do.  This meal also marked the last time that love was ever a part of my life, and it was a great way to close that chapter for ever.

2017 Top 10 ~ Monday Night Raw (#10)

I have decided to write about my Top Ten highlights from 2017, the things that really stood out for me on a personal level.  From the very tough start that was the early months of the year, I knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  With the sale of my house and some financial security it provided me, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity this past summer and did some pretty amazing things.

I called this The Summer of George and from the idea of making the absolute most of my situation, I decided to cut loose and experience some of the best things that life had to offer.  For one summer at least.  Having been the king of #SixKidChaos for a number of years, the household finances dictated that when I needed new socks, it was a needle and thread to the rescue.  More often than not I would get practical gifts at Christmas, birthdays, etc..  So if I was going to do something this summer, I was going to do it right!

#10 ~ Monday Night Raw, Monday August 7th, 2017

I have always been a lifelong wrestling fan, and in the course of my life I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing some incredible things.  Any wrestling fan should be so lucky, the highlights for me include: Hogan vs Warrior WM6, Hogan vs Rock WM18, Hogan vs Michaels SS2005, and the Montreal Screw Job in 1997.  There have been many more, and its a love and passion that I now share with my son as we wrestle around the house on a daily basis.

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He wears Hanes boxers!

The WWF (as I will always refer to it as) was coming to Toronto for one of it’s main TV shows, Monday Night Raw and I knew I wanted to go.  Not only go, but sit in the best seats possible, with the thanks to Stub Hub that is exactly what we got!

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Ambrose incoming!

Part of this summer for me was to also pay it forward to my friends who had always been there for me over the years.  I invited my friend Corey and Ryan, both big wrestling fans as we had the time of our lives.  Sitting this close to the action, we literally had beads of sweat land on us as the action got the close to where we were sitting.  Dean Ambrose was literally dumped into the stands right in front of us, to the point where we could see the brand of underwear that he wears. (True story…)

Watching on TV my whole life, and I guess with all sports in general you have a forced perspective to watch.  You can only see what the camera wants you to see, being live and in person your eyesight, your natural curistoy is allowed to take hold and you can watch whatever you want.  I know this night I started to watch other people’s reaction to the action and mayhem that was surrounding us.

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Taken with my Iphone, and holds a place of honour in my  rec. room.

When we first arrived at the Air Canada Centre, you could feel the energy and excitement in the air, so much that you could cut it with a knife.  We entered the building and headed down the 100 level to the floor where our seats were, met by a nice elder gentlemen who looked at our tickets and then lead the way.   As we walked closer and closer towards the ring we all started t get giddy like a kid on Christmas morning, we were seated in the 2nd row right beside the time keeper and announcers table.

The card itself (in terms of matches) was rather unforgettable.  The main event featured a Last Man Standing match between Roman Reigns and Brawn Strowman, two HUGE men that had no issues throwing each other all around the ringside area.

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Staring holes into the crowd.

Being this close to the action you get a great perspective on just how big 6 foot 8 inches and 380 pounds really is.  That being Brawn Strowman who during one of the commercial breaks just glared a hole into the crowd, and in particular Ryan whom he made eye contact with.

The night went by far too quickly, as these nights often do.  We had such a blast that night and it gave new fresh perspective on an old favorite project of mine.  This same group of guys gets together a few times a year to watch the major WWF Pay per Views, the new one being the Royal Rumble in late January.

Up next on my list of highlights (#9) will be the Survivor Series dinner I had in November, as it might have been the best meal I’ve ever made… all laced with love!

Keep Dancing in the Light

There is a light burning in everyone. You see it in a child’s smile or the kind gesture of being told Merry Christmas by a complete stranger. I have come to a place in my life where I fervently look for this light in every situation I am placed in. There is always some good, one just needs to find it. And when I do, I never stop Dancing in the joy that is an optimistic mind, hoping for a better and brighter tomorrow.

I have started to share some of my favorite music recently, songs that inspire me or can instantly change my mood based on how I may be feeling.  I had some good feedback on the songs that I shared last week, so I am continue to share my favorites over the next few weeks.

Rachel-Platten-Better-Place

Better Place ~ Rachel Platten

I’ll tell the world, I’ll sing a song
It’s a better place since you came along
Since you came along
Your touch is sunlight through the trees
Your kisses are the ocean breeze
Everything’s alright when you’re with me
And I hold my favorite thing
I hold the love that you bring
But it feels like I’ve opened my eyes again
And the colors are golden and bright again
There’s a song in my heart, I feel like I belong
It’s a better place since you came along
It’s a better place since you came along
I see the whole world in your eyes
It’s like I’ve known you all my life
We just feel so right
So I pour my heart into your hands
It’s like you really understand
You love the way I am
And I hold my favorite thing
I hold the happiness you bring
But it feels like I’ve opened my eyes again
And the colors are golden and bright again
And the sun paints the skies and the wind sings our song
It’s a better place since you came along
It’s a better place since you came along
Now I’m alright
Now I’m alright
Everything’s alright
‘Cause it feels like I’ve opened my eyes again
And the colors are golden and bright again
There’s a song in my heart, I feel like I belong
It’s a better place since you came along
It’s a better place since you came along
Songwriters: Rachel Platten / Sally Seltmann
Better Place lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Songs Music Publishing