The Year In Review

Categories: Uncategorized

109679_noisemaker5Aaaand it’s just about the end of the year.  That means I have to start thinking about what my resolutions for next year are going to be, as well as doing taxes.

Let’s start with resolutions.  This year I wanted to get in shape, to read more, and to spend more time on my hobbies.  Did I accomplish any of those?  Well, I did work out more this year than previous years.  In fact, I did quite a bit of running this year, I feel better, and I lost a little bit of fat.  It’s amazing how good working out makes you feel.  Sometimes I’ll go for a run in the morning and I feel great for the rest of the day.  It’s like it gets me started for the day, kind of like what most people rely on coffee for.

Next up was reading.  Did I read more this year?  No (unless you include reading forums online, in which case, yes, I absolutely read a lot this year, lol).  But I still have a bookcase full of books that I bought with the intention of reading, but haven’t read most of yet.  They’re almost all non-fiction books, ranging from finance to art to foreign language.  I will go to bookstores and pick up books that I totally plan on reading, and then end up not reading them.  I also buy a lot of used books on Amazon and do the same thing with them.

And next up is hobbies.  Did I spend more time on my hobbies?  No.  Why?  Mostly cuz I was working a lot, so I guess that’s a legit excuse, right?  Except it’s not, really.  I recently took an interest in painting and have been wanting to learn how to paint.  I’m really not very good, but I do enjoy it.

So my resolutions for next year: keep exercising, actually read some of the books I have, and try to paint a few days each week.

On to taxes.  I always do my taxes myself to try and save money and I always wonder if I’m leaving money on the table.  It also seems that each year my taxes get more an more complicated.  It was easy when I was just working and that was it.  Then I started investing and had to pay taxes on dividends and capital gains.  Then I bought a house and a mortgage made everything more complicated.  My best friend keeps telling me to just hire an accountant.  He uses a chartered accountant Five Dock and says he just drops everything off and it all gets taken care of.  I may actually have to give that a try, seeing as how I spend hours and hours on mine and I’m still not sure if I’m getting all the money back that I could be.


Things You Shouldn’t Talk About

Categories: Uncategorized

speak-no-evilIt seems that everyone will come across a few topics here and there that are difficult to discuss with other people.  Everyone always hears that you shouldn’t discuss politics, religion, or money with people, which, by the way, is good advice.  People have really strong political beliefs and finding out that the person you’re talking to believes the opposite of what you believe can create a huge rift of awkwardness.  I think this is because one’s political beliefs tie into the core of who that person is, and so when someone has beliefs that aren’t compatible with yours, you might assume that person isn’t compatible with you, either.

Obviously religion is an even bigger hot topic issue which I don’t even need to explain here.

And then you’ve got money.  It’s not people’s beliefs about money that cause the issue, but rather it’s how much of it they have (or make).  It causes jealousy, bitterness, and resentment.  Take two friends who are about the same age.  Then one day they find out that one friend makes $80,000 and the other friend makes $30,000.  Do you think things are going to be the same between them anymore?

I’ve found another topic that can cause people to become just as heated as the above topics, and that is guns.  People tend to have very strong beliefs about gun control, ranging from the extreme “give everyone a firearm” to the opposite extreme “take all firearms away,” to everything in the middle.

And I’ve found that personally, unlike with politics, it’s been much harder for me to decide where I fall in the gun control issue.  Do I think that keeping firearms away from criminals and the mentally unstable is a good idea?  Yes.  Do I think that Americans should be able to have guns to defend themselves?  Yes.  Do I think that making guns illegal is going to prevent criminals from getting them?  Of course not.  It didn’t work in Chicago, and I don’t think it’s going to work anywhere else.

I think that owing a firearm is a privilege and not a right.  Only responsible people should be allowed to have guns, and they should be required to have the appropriate gun safe accessories to go with it.  Obviously no system is going to be perfect, however.  Oh, and no high powered assault weapons.  Seriously.  You don’t need to be able to spray 500 rounds per minute.  Sure, they might be cool if you’re a gun nut, but you don’t need one.  Military fighter jets are also cool if you’re a plane nut but that doesn’t mean you can go buy an F-16 and keep it in your backyard.


New Years in Indonesia

Categories: Uncategorized

1370377_mountainI got some exciting news today.  My brother and his family invited me to come celebrate New Years with them in Indonesia!  I enjoy traveling but haven’t really been able to do much recently, and I think he knew that I was getting the urge to go somewhere again, plus I haven’t seen him since he got married, so it must’ve seemed like a good reason to invite me.

So am I going to go?  Of course!  I’ve already started reading about the different islands and seeing everything that is available to do.  I know my brother and his family probably have some specific things in mind that they want to show me, too.  One thing that is nice about this arrangement is that I can stay with them, which means I don’t have to spend money on a hotel.

My brother moved to Indonesia a few years ago because of his work, and he is always talking about how nice it is.  He actually got another job there with a different company, and I remember when he was telling me that he wasn’t really sure he was happy at his then current job, and I asked him if he was planning on moving back home to America and he laughed and said no, he wanted to stay in Indonesia.  And I remember when he called me to say he had found another job and was going to be staying there.

I have to admit, it does look nice from the pictures I’ve seen.  Growing up in the north, we’ve never had tropical weather or beaches or anything like that.  That’s the kind of thing I think of when I think of a vacation, but he lives there.  It almost seems like another world to me.

Speaking of things that are different, my brother was explaining to me that Indonesia is actually a bunch of different islands, so it’s not like in the US when you can just drive wherever you want to go.  If you want to from, say, Jakarta to Bali, you’d have to fly or take a boat.  That seems so strange coming from a country that is pretty much all connected by land.  But he said there are some local airlines like Garuda Indonesia and tickets are really cheap (by US standards).  When I first heard that you have to fly to get around like that I figured it would be expensive like it is here.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to it.  My brother says I’m going to fall in love with the country and want to stay there like he did.  Considering it’s like 30 degrees Fahrenheit here today, he might be right!


Getting Back Into Shape

Categories: Uncategorized

This year is the year that I finally decide to get in shape. I have a really good friend who started running last year and his results have been impressive to say the least. He started out completely out of shape and barely able to run, and after a little over a year he can run a 5K race with a pretty good time.

I was in shape in high school. I was actually in really good shape. Life happened after high school, though. I stopped playing sports and I started college. College life was a little too “good” to me, and I gained around ten kilograms. Then, I graduated college, got married and started working in an office environment. Not to anyone’s surprise, I actually packed on another 15 kilos. Well, I’ve noticed that I’ve been having issues doing tasks that should be relatively simple lately, so I’ve made the commitment to start getting into shape.

My friend, the runner, is going to help me do this. I started on my own about a week ago, but after trying to run on the treadmill for a few minutes, my legs felt like they were on fire. I talked to my buddy and he told me that I needed better equipment for the job. One of the first things I need to do is go to a decent shoe place and get a nice set of trainers from The problems I had with my ankles and calves, according to my friend, are because my shoes are not designed for running at all and I need to address this before I move on.

When I was younger, I’m sure having the best equipment didn’t matter as much, but now that I’m older and seem to break easier for lack of a better phrase, it makes sense that I should invest in  some quality trainers to protect myself from injury. I’ve did some research online and I think I’m going to end up going to get fitted for the perfect shoes next weekend. I honestly didn’t realize exactly how many options there were nor did I realize how many different measurements / variables there are in correctly choosing a pair of trainers.

I’m hoping that through my own willpower and the help of my friend that I’m able to at least finish a 5k in six months and in one year, I’d like to be able to finish within a couple of minutes of him. I know that’s quite a goal because he is a beast when it comes to running but I have no doubt in my mind that I can do this as long as I stay on track.


Oh, I Got You Something

Categories: Uncategorized

mgySXCmWhat’s the deal with giving people gifts?  Sorry, I’m not trying to sound like Jerry Seinfeld here.  But really.  The way I see it, there are 3 possible situations in which people give gifts:

1) to try and get in someone’s good graces/make them like you

2) obligation (like your friend’s birthday)

3) because you see something you think the person would like/were thinking of the person

Alright, number one up there is a bunch of nonsense.  I know that people do that all the time, whether they’re supplicating to someone they’re dating or trying to butter someone up at work, or even trying to bribe someone, but it’s still nonsense.  If you think about a high value person, they’re not really going to change their opinion of you based on if you give them a present or not (although if you disagree, you are welcome to send me presents…)

Number 2.  Social convention.  This is the one that gives me issues.  When I give my friends gifts, it’s more because of reason 3 than this one.  I know you’re supposed to give a gift on someone’s birthday, but I do it because I want to.  Do you see the difference?  Although I have a love/hate relationship with this custom because sometimes I can find some really cool gifts, but other times I just can’t think of anything and have to get my gift ideas from the internet.

The third reason up there is the best.  Looking back, the best gifts I have been given were gifts that people got me just because, not because they felt like they had to.  Not only does that take the pressure off of everything, but you also know you’re getting the gift for the right reason, because someone saw something and it reminded them of you, or they were like “hey, I know who would love this!”  That’s the way to do it.

I have some friends who give gifts all the time, and honestly I love my friends, but it’s just like hey, you don’t really have to do this.  I’ll still like you even if you don’t get me stuff.  Plus, then it’s like what, are you expecting me to get you stuff all the time, too?  Cuz I’m probably not going to.  No offense, it’s just not how I am.

And then you’ve got the people who actually do expect gifts.  I dated someone like that once.  They thought that if I didn’t get them things that I didn’t like them.  It was like giving gifts was the only expression of love they understood.  You may have guessed that relationship didn’t last.


Everyone Loves Their Phones

Categories: Uncategorized

I was just thinking early today about how much time I spend on my phone each day. We were talking about it during lunch at work, too, because we were all sitting at a table in the cafe eating and one of my coworkers made the comment that every few minutes someone pulled their phone out to check something.  She was right!  We all started to laugh every time it happened after that.  We looked around at the other people (who didn’t know they were being observed) and people were indeed checking their phones every few minutes.  Some people even had their phones out on the table in case they got an important text or whatever.

I’m guilty of doing the same thing, though, so I can’t really judge, I can just laugh along with it.  What did we all do 15 years ago before we all had cell phones?  Or if we did have a phone, it was a huge Zack Morris phone that cost $2/min to use and didn’t have any games?

Speaking of games, cell phone games are awesome.  I’m not even kidding when I say that probably half of the time I spend on my phone is not doing work or talking to someone, but playing games.  In the last 24 hours I have played Words With Friends (basically like Scrabble) with my sister, who always beats me.  She’s younger than me by a few years so you would assume that I would win, right?  Pssh!  She crushes me.  In the game we’re playing right now, there are 8 words on the board and I’m already losing by 30 points.  I can’t leave out Angry Birds, which was the first game that got me into cell phone games.  I remember when I downloaded it and ended up going to be an hour late because I was playing it.  I kept telling myself “ok, just one more round.”  Ha, that didn’t work very well.  Recently I found a site with Angry Birds walkthrough videos, so when I can’t beat a level, I can see the solution.  I also have a chess game.  I’m terrible at chess but I like it and want to get better.  Fortunately, this game has like 10 difficulty settings.  I usually leave it on the easiest, and even then sometimes I still lose.  And then I have Draw Something, which is my new obsession.   Half the time when I check my phone, I’m looking to see if someone has sent me a drawing yet.  The only thing I don’t like about that game are the ads that force you to watch a video between turns, and the fact that sometimes the drawings I send don’t go through.


Distracted at work

Categories: Uncategorized

I can’t believe it’s already 3pm.  I even got to work early today and I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done yet.  I haven’t even eaten lunch yet!  We actually have a cafeteria in our building which is pretty cool because you can just run downstairs and get lunch.  Sometimes there are long lines, but at least you don’t have to go anywhere, and if it’s a day that you happen to be really busy, you can just bring your lunch back upstairs and eat it at your desk.  My problem right now is that the cafeteria closes at 3pm and it’s 3:11pm right now, so that means I’m gonna have to order a pizza or something.

So anyway, I got distracted this morning because I’ve been looking for a new truck recently, and when I got to work this morning I was the only one on my team in the office, so I decided before I started my work, I was going to look around on Neo Trucks while I had my coffee.  Well, that turned into like 2 hours and before I knew it, everyone was here.  Whoops.

My current truck has around 180,000 miles on it and it’s just starting to have one issue after another now.  I feel like it’s been in the shop more than it’s been in my garage over the last few months.  I figure 180,000 miles if decent and it’s time to start thinking about a replacement.

I never buy new vehicles, though.  You know the old saying about how they lose 15% of their value as soon as you drive them off the lot or whatever.  I prefer to buy them with between 10,000-40,000 miles on them so they’re still relatively “new” but don’t carry the price tag of a new vehicle.  I know some people like getting a new vehicle so that they’re the only owner, but it’s worth it to me to save a few thousand dollars.

I also can’t believe I’ve had this much time to write this post right now.  I’m waiting for this job to finish running in Mainframe (yes, we still use Mainframe) and it’s taking its time.  Anyway, I should finish this up so I can go order my pizza.  I want to hurry up and get my work done so I can go home and spend the rest of the evening looking at used trucks.  I’d like to have purchased one before winter gets here.


More Reponses to “Moving Past…”

Categories: Uncategorized

This seems to be a strong topic!  Here is some more input that people had:

I am against it, putting your emotions in the hands of the wrong people is always wrong regardless whether they are family or not. I also had this black hole family syndrome, were id be getting sucked up in the drama of the family of my fathers side, stuff started as kids, my mother got denied by my grandmother, she even held separate santa party’s for one side of the family and us.

We just stopped going there, and when my grandmother died i didn’t even attend her funeral, why the heck should i ? I don’t consider them as family, albeit your situation is worse because your mother is the crazy one in this, but the principle is the same.

You shouldn’t consider them as family anymore, screw them and their problems. The thing is you feel ‘ involved ‘ because you are her son, and feel a ‘natural’ responsibility to take care blah blah blah. But to hell with it, she chased you out of your life , and now you are gone forever, you shouldn’t even debate about it, just don’t consider her as family anymore, don’t answer her or your family calls, goodbye and good riddance.

This because these people only added misery to your life, and you need to choose to add only good things in your life. You are an adult and you don’t need her anymore in your life, and she’s supposed to be old enough to understand the consequences of her own actions, you stay out of it, just consider her and the others as strangers and not as family anymore, detach and start living your own life.

You need to know where to draw the lines in your life, think about it ‘you aren’t the one who made her mad, she herself caused this mess to begin with, and not everything is your responsibility in your life, but because its family you ‘feel its got something to do with you’, which leads to you being sucked into a sickening psychological black hole, thru a game that your mother is playing with your heart, well guess what , you aint buying it, you have to protect yourself against the wrong people in this life, even if they are family,even if it is your mother, it doesn’t automatically mean that these people have the ‘best’ of interest in their children, does the alcoholic father who beats up his children do that because he loves them? , no because he’s a sick psycho who belongs in jail and get psychiatric treatment as well as a treatment to get rid of his alcohol addiction, you think a child should stay with such a person? Now that you are an adult you’d say ‘NO WAY IN HELL’, but for you its the same principle, except its a more subtle form of emotional abuse.

“you were a kid, no one including yourself will or should hold it against you for not being able to understand this and no one could expect a kid to ‘deal’ with this’ , therefore you should leave that in peace, and be at peace with the thought that you finally made the right decision in your life when you had the opportunity, which was to throw this sicko out of your life. You aren’t the appointed person to ‘fix’ the parent, its not a childs job to mentally correct their parents, its the psychiatrists job to do that. So distanceyourself, and just let the doctors do the work instead, and don’t worry about it anymore.

You draw a line because you also have your limits as a human being, and you just happily live your own life forever, case closed end of it.


Responses to “Moving Past…”

Categories: Uncategorized

Well you have to become like steel to it.

It does not seem appropriate to avoid the funeral. You have to be a gentleman, to respect your grandmother and show her your respects and so forth.

However to open yourself up over and over again to someone who hurts you is torturous and pointless. The reason this is so difficult is because it is your mother and in that sense you will never be able to totally become like steel towards her.

You have to kind of strengthen against her defects and negativity though. She seems to be a record player, so you know what to expect. Go to the funeral hoping the best, do not be surprised when she behaves the way she does. Anyone who knows your family will know what she is like so you need not feel embarrassed. Anyone who doesn’t will get to know your family a little better.

I mean you should be able to do that without getting personally involved. If your mother feels that she needs to go over her psychological song every time she sees you, let her enjoy her misery. It serves as a good test for you, to see if you’ve truly moved on or if you’re just saying you are. How you behave at this point is critical. “Don’t be like that mom”. Just be sweet and patient with her, thus by doing so you become a good son.

Regardless, you have to meet your duties as a man. Which is, attending funerals, social functions where your presence is expected, etc… a bad relationship with an individual, no matter whom it may be, does not excuse the gentleman from such functions, unfortunately.

A response from the original author:

I think I would be able to say my goodbyes and be cordial with everyone, aside from my mother. But I still truly feel people will try to get me to talk to her, or be very awkward toward me. In which this is the case, I am forced to leave.

My mother has told that entire side of the family complete lies about me to pamper her feelings of resentment toward me. So I know looking at all of them, none of them know the true story of what happened to my brother and I and why we have distanced ourselves the way we have. I want to write a full page editorial in the newspaper in their town to expose everyone to the truth.

I’m of the opinion I am there (the funeral) to support everyone there who is grieving and accept the loss that has happened. To remember her life in the most positive way I can. Then move on with life after I say goodbye. But why would I be supporting people who have not been supportive of me or care about me? My grandma was really never there for me either.

As of now, she is not dead, but I know this day will come soon, and ultimately the day my mother dies. When that happens, I will be very torn on what to do. Even though I find myself owing nothing to her because of how much she has taken from me, the majority of people think I and my brother, are responsible. I keep telling myself i’ll let my aunt handle it. Who knows though.

These are just the thoughts roaming my brain at the moment. I know I am man enough to approach it and be at the wake. The burial, I don’t feel I am a part of that family anymore and I am not welcome.


Moving Past Bad Familiy Relationships

Categories: Uncategorized

Here is an inspirational story about overcoming an emotionally dysfunctional family.

Brief overview.

I grew up with a toxic, emotionally abusive, selfishly dependent mother who is in AA/NA and turned to Jesus in the last 10 years. Never encouraged me through HS, College, or my work life. Never once made an effort to get to know my wife. Everything was always about her or what I never did for her. Always my fault.

Fast forward through years of BS and guilt for my deciding to live my life and not coddle her anymore.

After my wedding last June where I made the choice to dance with my stepmother first (because she was the one who raised me and kicked my butt into shape along with my dad) I then secondly danced with my mother, it was the last straw for me when my mother once again RAN OFF crying, leaving me up there alone and embarrassed as the DJ called her to dance, at my wedding. Eventually she came back after 5 awkward minutes of crying in the corner (as I stare into the eyes of my mortified friends and family). She complained to me the entire time during the dance about how much I hurt her. I then find out later on she tells my brother he is “her favorite son.” So again, all about her. Way to make my brother feel pretty upset, too. Even he wants nothing to do with her.

I called things off with her shortly after the wedding and told her I never wanted to see her again. I had been fed up with the years of abuse and guilt from that woman. She still does not understand why I don’t want to have anything to do with her. She thinks it’s was the comment she made about my brother being her favorite son. Does not understand everything else and the thousands of horrible memories I have of her hurting me.

I have had my aunt intervene trying to get me to talk to her, but I refuse. It’s been about 10 months now and I feel very good most days and proud of the steps I have taken with my life without her stepping in with her BS to screw it up. Things are good. I can concentrate on my life with my wife and my work. Closing on a new home. Ready for a great summer. But just as things are great…

Grandma is in the hospital and I’m guessing is not going to make it very long.

I now feel as if I must look at my mother and the rest of her side of the family that does not really support what I do with my life (even though I accept who they are). My immediate cousins are cool, but really nobody else gives a care about me and they don’t talk to me.

I’m very torn on what to do, how to think about this situation with the impending funeral and what I should even do. I’ve made tremendous progress in my personal life. I know either way, if I go people will look at me like “What the F  is he doing here?” and if I don’t go people will say “Why the F did he not show up?”

Potentially, my being at the funeral may even start a scene with my mother (not by my hand, but out of her insane insecurities with me). My aunt basically asked me to not show up to thanksgiving so there would not be a scene if that tells you anything. It’s just pure awkwardness.

I’m not being paranoid. It’s how things are. I’ve been the black sheep of the family because I actually have goals, am successful and don’t want to be a part of that small town narrow minded mentality and buried in Jesus scripture with no real world view. The last funeral I went to for this side of the family, I found out that grandmother gave EVERY KID (2nd, 3rd nephews, cousins, even my direct cousins who in relation to her, were the same as my brother and I) college tuition. Lots of it too. Even to those who did not go to college. They all got tuition and were so thankful for it in the eulogy. My brother and I looked at one another like, “Who the F are we?” because we never got a freaking dime. Not that we expected it, but that’s what we meant to this side.

I know what I’m going to do in this situation.  What would you do?


Support From Real Friends

Categories: Uncategorized

The following messages were sent in support of the last post about cutting out bad friends.

This makes me happy 🙂

She sounds selfish and the relationship was one sided. I think life is too short to waste time and effort on people who don’t care. It sucks and it hurts, but I think from what you have said it’s better to cut her out of your life, or at least remove ‘friend’ status from her.

Selfish friends aren’t friends. I want to just give you a hug because it hurts.

Everyone is different and some people require more effort and some people put in more effort. If you and a friend have a lop sided relationship, but it works and both people are happy then it’s not a problem.

If you’re feeling used and like you’re putting in all the effort, then regardless of how much they do or don’t do, it’s unhealthy and it either needs to be cut out or changed.

I have a friend who withdraws a lot. I feel like I am the one who always checks in with her and asks her to do things. But when we see each other it’s like nothing happened and I’m okay with that because I accept she’s not as full on as me and we all have our own issues. I don’t feel used by her and I know, if I was to ring her at 3am in the morning she would be there for me and that’s what matters.


Planning a Trip Down Under

Categories: Uncategorized

1412985_harbour_bridgeOne of my friends from from middle school just accepted a job offer in Australia!  Of course, I found out through Facebook (isn’t that how most people keep in touch now, anyway?), but that’s still awesome.  We go way back.  I remember in middle school (this was in the mid 90s) we were both into the band Nirvana, and I was learning to play guitar and he was in choir, and so sometimes we’d get together and I’d play some Nirvana songs and he would sing.  It was awesome!  We were all like “we should start a band!”  Of course, in the 90s it wasn’t like now where everyone plays an instrument.  Outside of school band, there were only a few people who played instruments.  A couple times we joined up with a bass player and had some jam sessions, but nothing ever really became of it.

We still kept in touch during high school but then went away to different colleges.  A few years after we graduated when Facebook got all popular we reconnected again, found that we were living in the same city, and hung out a few times (no jam sessions, though).  It’s always really interesting to catch up with old friends.  He was working for a small startup company here that kind of wasn’t really going anywhere, and in the meantime he got an offer to go work in Australia, so he took it.  He’s super excited.  He said once he’s all settled in he’s going to throw a party and invite all his friends from back in the states.  The thing is, I live in an area where it’s very cold this time of year (it’s single digits today!), and Australia is really hot, right?  So I’ll probably have to find some cheap online clothing stores in Australia to get some appropriate clothing.  Australians love going to the beach, don’t they?  I don’t even think I own a pair of shorts.  So that may be an issue.

I’m kinda hoping he can get me a job there, too.  I have a job right now but I’m not really enjoying it that much and I don’t really see much room for growth.  And it’s not like people are just giving away jobs right now.  I mean, I’m very happy I have a job, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not what I see myself doing 2 or 3 years from now.  So eventually I’ll start looking for something else, anyway, and moving somewhere else sounds exciting!  I’d also love to move to England, although that could just be because I watch a lot of BBC and am assuming that’s how everything is over there.

1 2 3