Happy 81st Birthday Grandma – An Open Letter

Happy Birthday Grandma - An Open Letter

Dear Grandma,

I know of your love of receiving letters, so on your 81st birthday I thought it’d be fitting to send you something which would be more at home in the 19th & 20th centuries.

As I sit thinking of what to write I am reminded of some of the great times we’ve had. Our week in Italy comes to mind, walks down by the water, as well as our always eventful trips to the dump. Although many of the earlier times you’ll remember more vividly than I do, I’m more than aware that there are almost too many to recount or keep track of. As I reflect back on life as a young child, my earliest memories of visiting “Grandma & Grand-dad’s” are dominated by Grand-dad. It wasn’t until his passing that I believe we really started to develop our own individual relationship.

I remember that the first couple times I visited you on my own after granddad’s death, the experience was much different than to that which I had been accustomed. You and Granddad were as different as you were alike. While he would keep Erika and I occupied with activities such as woodworking, board games, and outdoor activities, your interests were reading, walking, and cooking; things that at a young age is hard for a rambunctious child to understand, let alone enjoy. I was young and it took me a while to understand that visiting my grandparents was now actually visiting you. We had a couple years where I didn’t visit as much and in some ways, we drifted apart. During those years I wasn’t able to come to terms with the fact that you were not Grand-dad and you would not be able to play with me and occupy me in the same way he had.

The second phase of our relationship began when I was in highschool. Initially, it began as a visit in the summer for the Canada day long weekend. It became a time each year that I looked forward to with much anticipation and excitement. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, it could have been your liberal attitude towards beer or the freedom you allowed my friends and I. I can say with utmost certainty it was the first time I felt as if I was treated like a young adult, fully capable of using my own judgement to make decisions. You did not smother nor did you lecture. I found it to be a very refreshing pace from what I was used to at home.

Since then I believe we have developed a very special relationship, one I don’t believe many other people share with someone almost 60 years their senior. I don’t know of many people who would willingly spend Reading Week with a grandparent let alone 3 of them in 3 consecutive years. Our relationship has turned into something where we speak with each other every couple days, and I look forward to hearing how you are and sharing what has been going on in my life. In recent years some of my most favourite times have been sitting across from you in the front room talking about this, that and the other thing. That having been said, some of my least favourite times in the last few years have been when we’ve selected either a risqué movie to watch or when you decide to use words like dildo or lust during our conversations…it’s just deeply disturbing and slightly awkward. But it’s times like these that really show the strength of our friendship and I don’t hesitate in listing you as one of my best friends.

From the bottom of my heart I want you to know I love you deeply and that there are days just talking to you makes me feel better. I wish you all the best in this your 82nd year and look forward to many many more years of visits and hundreds of phone calls. Happy Birthday, have a great day, and see you soon.



New Years Resolution

As we are well into 2013, I have decided to undertake the challenge of making New Year’s Resolutions.  The origin of the New Years Resolution can be traced all the way back to the ancient Romans who began each new year by making promises to the God Janus, after which the month of January is named. My promises however are not to a Roman god but to myself. I’ve come up with a number of different goals for myself this year that have one underlining theme: they are all designed to make me a better, more well-rounded individual by the end of 2013.

In no particular order, they are as follows:

1 – Live a Healthier Lifestyle

I’m looking to continue and improve upon the progress I have made in the last few months of 2012 to live a healthier lifestyle. I plan on continuing daily attendance at Limitless Performance, while doing an additional 30 minutes of cardio throughout each day.  I have begun a daily food journal to help track what and when I eat as to help me target healthier habits with regards to eating. Lastly, the most important thing I want to do this year with regards to my healthier life style, is to stop snacking and eating after dinner.

2 – Read 12 Books

Walter Dean Myers tells us: “Reading is not optional”. Thus in 2013, I have decided to follow his advice. I have determined a dozen books that I myself would like to read this year. The last time I read book after book consecutively would have been in highschool. It’s something I got away from while in University and something I want to get back to.  The 12 books I’ve selected are, in one form or another, literary classics. As I finish each book I’ll post a small review and my opinion of it.  I’m currently working my way through Ernest Hemmingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Below is a list of the 12 books which I have determined are a part of my literary reading goal for the year.

For Whom the Bell Tolls Lolita Paris to the Moon The Spy who Came in from the Cold
Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1984 Dubliners Tuesday with Morrie
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn In Cold Blood Sun Also Rises Animal Farm

3 – Get back to playing organized sports

It’s been around a year and a half since I was a part of any organized weekly sporting team. I’m looking to start back up playing both pickup hockey and soccer in 2013. Although I’m still looking for a hockey league, I have found a pick-up soccer game that runs every Friday at RIM Park.

4 – Learn to speak Conversational Italian

Learning to speak conversational Italian has been on my list of things to do since I first visited Italy in 2006. Although I speak and understand basic Italian I can not hold my own in a conversation that doesn’t revolve around the price of something or the location of the nearest bathroom. I’m planning on accomplishing this either through Italian classes or through using Rosetta Stone.

5 – Take a Cooking Course

It may have been because I recently watched Julie & Julia but I want to enroll in a cooking course this year. I want to learn the basics of how to work in the kitchen and learn more about cooking.

6 – Write

a)      Journal

As a way to get back into writing regularly I’ve started to journal in 2013. I find it a sobering period during the week where I can sit alone and reflect and be honest with myself about what’s been going on lately and things for which I am happy and not happy.

b)      Book

Perhaps one of the loftliest goals I have this year is to write a book. I’m not yet sure exactly what type of book, be it a fiction novel or non-fiction, or a collection of short stories, but by the end of 2013 I want to have written a book. I’ve already started to get back into writing by doing daily writing prompts.

c)       Blog

Lastly, I want to do a better job at blogging by maintaining this blog.

So to everyone I want to say Happy New Year and I hope this has helped you think about your own resolutions and maybe convinced you it’s worth making your own or stealing one of mine.

Breaking the Monotony of Job Hunting with Diabetes

Job hunting is perhaps one of the least rewarding activities one can take part in. You spend all day busting your hump viewing job boards, writing cover letters, and applying to jobs with little to nothing to show at the end for all the hard work. In all honesty, it really sucks and over time it slowly works away at one’s morale and spirit.

A few weeks ago I decided that I was tired of devoting a full day to searching for a job and wanted to instead spend a portion of my day doing something rewarding that would help someone else. I knew I wanted to help to increase awareness about the effects of Diabetes before World Diabetes Day on November 14th. I decided the best way to do this was by raising money to send a child with Type 1 Diabetes to a special D-camp where they learn to self-manage their condition.

As some of you may know my father was a diabetic for 30 years. I know first hand how difficult it is for someone living with diabetes and those difficulties are compounded when that someone is an 8 or 9 year old. From the moment a child is first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes their entire world changes. Where their parents were once able to simply prepare meals for the family, they now must consider glucose levels, count carbohydrates, adjust basal and bolus levels. Simple things like heading out for a family bike ride now involve remembering to pack snacks, juice boxes,  and test strips. D-Camps are able to empower these children and help make that reality easier to manage.

D-Camps allow kids the opportunity to indulge in their sense of fun and adventure in a diabetes-friendly environment. They meet and connect with other kids who share the same experiences and get a better understand of what diabetes is. They also get to participate in outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, and canoeing that help promote personal growth. Finally, these kids learn how to self-manage their diabetes in a supportive, nurturing environment. Kids return from camp less reliant on their parents and better able to manage day-to-day hurdles.

November is Diabetes Month. It’s a month devoted to raising awareness about Diabetes and helping educate the general public about the disease and prevention. Be sure to check out the links below as they will help you gain a better understanding about what diabetes is and about why it is one of the most serious problems facing this generation of children.

My father was one of the lucky ones. He has been insulin free for 9 years thanks to a pancreas transplant, but he lives everyday with the reminder of diabetes. Not only did he lose the sight out of his right eye but also experienced kidney failure. He spent nearly 2 years on dialysis, three times a week, five hours at a time before his sister generously donated one to him. Managing diabetes is hard because if you don’t, there are consequences you’ll have to deal with for the rest of your life.

Together we can help raise the level of discussion in this country about diabetes while making the life of a child struggling with diabetes better. Remember, a small donation goes a long way in making a big difference.

Leaving Diabetes Behind: Pancreas Transplant Gives Waterloo Man New Lease On Life
Enjoying His Freedom: Despite The Anti-Rejection Medication
Waterloo Man Raising Money To Send Diabetic Child To Special Camp