DO ALL THE THINGS: Monthly Wrap-Up — Marchin’ to the Beat of My Own Drum / April Showers

Jeez — has it already been two months since I did a “monthly” wrap-up post? Makes sense: time’s something that means a lot less once you become a parent — everything’s just one big blur.

I’ve struggled with this post for a while now. I’ll look at my life, wondering why anyone would want to read about the things I do — people think I live some glamorous “blogger life”, but I spend most of it at home or work, throwing in time for food, sleep, hygiene and commuting. After blogging for so long, sure I’ve started working with brands to introduce themselves to new audiences, but don’t get it twisted — there’s no one rolling out the red carpet when I sit down at home to get my blog on.

Sarah recently pointed out that I hadn’t taken a break since the two weeks I took off right after our son was born, and six months later — while I deny being burnt out — I definitely feel it. I can feel my annoyance with people I’d usually just ignore. I feel my mind scrambling to finish everything now, nowNOW as I do well with the beginnings and endings of journeys, but I loathe being stuck in the middle. I feel like everything’s in transition, and I can’t wait to make it to the other side with a better idea of the work I’m called to do.

Though it’s a smidge late for my monthly wrap-up, I’ve kept busy both on- and offline, making the most of my life despite an unappreciative work culture and the challenges of parenthood. I entered Tobago’s Division of Tourism and Transportation’s 60 Days in Paradise contest, hoping for some time in the sun and a change of  pace from Toronto’s constant grind. I taught photography fundamentals to up-and-coming women in the fashion and beauty industries, taking a first step toward teaching and public speaking, two things I’ve wanted to grow in for a long time now. I’ve made sandwiches, reclaimed some of my ancient past from my parents’ place and dedicated my son in his first step of being part of our church and the community that comes with it.

Because Easter cards are delicious.

All things considered, I’ve started Spring off in a good place, huddled indoors avoiding The Winter that Would Not End, and if you’re anything like my fellow Torontonians and I, you know that winter sorely overstayed its welcome! But here on the other end of Gore-Tex boots and thermal underwear, my teeth stopped chattering and fingers thawed long enough to tell you what mischief I did get into those 61 days….

Hanging with Team Trolling

Oftentimes, I can’t believe it’s only been 2 years since I started hanging out with these guys. If there’s a constant in my life outside of my home, taxes and a workload that just won’t quit, it’s the Trolls. Chatting daily on numerous platforms, we’re always up to something.

In March and April, the shenanigans happened at three places….

Cel’s Birthday at Pauper’s Pub

Unlike #SavvyMoney or #DoomzDay, we never came up with a good hashtag for Marcel’s birthday. That should be his gift next year!

The birthday boy, stylin’ and profilin’ as per usual!

Notable Events:

  • Marcel’s girlfriend and her roommate convinced me to give Sons of Anarchy another chance after its first 5 seasons left me feeling lukewarm. Glad I did, because Season 6 is ah-may-zing!!!
  • Obtained yet another illicit roti delivery courtesy of Justin and Marie — part of Team Trolling’s Western Division — and all I had to do in exchange was pick some cables up from Infinite Cables. I’d make that trade any day.
  • Val didn’t wind up with credit card fraud on this visit to Pauper’s, which is always a bonus!

The Trolls Hit Pizzeria Libretto, aka Casey’s Favourite Pizza Joint in All of Toronto

If you came here for a food review, might I direct you to Justin’s blog on the matter — I was there to take photos and enjoy the company. But no word of a lie — I haven’t found a pizza in this city yet that can trump Libretto’s Nduja Sausage pizza, and trust me — I eat a lot of pizza!

We managed to use our social media swagger to secure their semi-private room in the basement (sorry, table we bumped — feel free to holla at us if you want to tell us how you really feel), and with our special guest JennJenn of AwesomeJennJenn notoriety fame, it made for an excellent night.

Notable Events:

  • By far the oddest server ever, who not only served us with style, but may have eaten the last piece of Marie’s delicious lemon meringue pie (thus coining what will only be called the “Catchphrase of the Year”), and convinced me to have another beer in the most unexpected way possible when I thought I was already covered!
  • Somehow getting JennJenn’s leftover proscuitto pizza switched with Lily’s… questionable white anchovy pizza. Sadly, neither pizza was eaten, with Lily throwing JennJenn’s out and Sarah throwing Lily’s out after it sat for days. It was probably for the best.

All Star Wings and Ribs

Finally, we made our way to the northern Mississaugan reaches to catch Game 5 of the Raptors’ ill-fated first round playoff series. It’s hard to take photos of the food when your fingers are slathered in wing sauce, but I can tell you that the food, friends, “F Brooklyn” tee that Jo had thoughtfully provided, and a heart-stopping basketball game made for a very fulfilling night.

If only the traffic out of Toronto hadn’t been so horrible.

Notable Events:

  • Most notable, other than keeping our server very amused with our antics, was the game and going H.A.M. as the Raptors blew our minds… and then disappointed… and then got lucky. JEEZ, Raps.
  • Oh, and schooners. Way too much beer in my life, people.

#FordMustang50

Held in King West Village’s 99 Sudbury, Ford threw a bash to celebrate 50 years of the Ford Mustang, a muscle car journeying through cinematic time from 1964’s Goldfinger from the James Bond film series all the way to 2014’s Need for Speed (starring the likes of Aaron Paul and Scott Mescudi).

For me, #FordMustang50 was an excellent case study in what happens when you make yourself scarce, suddenly reappearing after a bit of a hiatus.

Okay, not exactly true — I popped in at ReGiftTO, I managed to hit the Canadian International Auto Show, but it’s all different now. Any time I go out, it’s like I’m trying to make up for all this social time I missed in one big bang. I still need to learn a lesson about taking things in stride, but I’m not there yet.

Since 2013’s Blue Party, Ford’s helped me grow my appreciation for vehicles — but for me, the night wound up being less about the cars and more about reconnecting with the friends I’d seldom seen since my son made his début, and meeting new people who had all sorts of stories to share! I talked frugality and storytelling with an elementary school teacher; discussed the relatively new trend of urbanites who see no value in having a driver’s license; and even did okay in the trivia they held to award prizes (despite knowing almost none of the answers!) For a better look at the night’s events, I recommend hitting Christine’s blog on the matter 🙂


The 2014 100: Updates

Life isn’t simply some template for you to slot your experiences into — life evolves along with your relationships, environment and personality. With that in mind, maybe it’s foolish to compile a 100-item list of things to accomplish when a year’s barely begun — it’s good to have goals, but over a year, our interests and opinions can change. Much like I said last year, while the list won’t change by the year’s end, the person behind it definitely will.

All things considered, I did knock a few more items off of the list in the last bit….

6 – Open an RESP for DoomzToo


The maximum annual RESP contribution that the federal government will top-up is $2,500, which may seem like a lot, but between gifts, tax refunds and Universal Child Care Benefits, you can make it work. I won’t go over the rules and regulations behind them, but when you get a kid, it’s smart to get on this as soon as possible to take advantage of the magic of compound interest.

So with Sarah’s help, we got an RESP open, and in another couple of decades, hopefully we’ll see a return from the investment 😉

STATUS: Finito!

26 – Guest blog more often

Sometimes my ambition extends beyond my ability, and that conundrum presented itself repeatedly throughout March and April!

In 2014 alone, I’ve picked up gigs writing for:

As a general rule, if you’re already struggling with content for your site, perhaps you shouldn’t be writing for others.

But despite that two-month slump, I’m coming back swinging for the rest of the year, ready to tell the world exactly what’s on my mind.

Get ready.

47 – Finish the family tree to the best of my ability

Thousands of entries and hours of research later, the family tree’s as far as it’ll get without going to Jamaica for more information. I remember struggling with making one when I was young, as much of my family history wasn’t documented or too muddled by generations of assumption and oral history. Perhaps it’s that feeling of frustration that drives me, never wanting my son to experience the same and giving him everything he needs to know about where he came from.

I’d love to eventually take this a step further and dig up some church records from all over the Caribbean, but until free time and a whole heap of money intersect paths in my life, I think I’ll consider this one done.

STATUS: Finito!

74 – See a doctor about the mysterious pain in my side

The mysterious pain in my side’s been solved — turns out when you’re unaccustomed to bending over to grab your kid from his crib, your body can react in unexpected ways.

When I pick things up, I bend with my knees — I’m better off with a bum knee than a bad back, after all! That, though, is not an option when grabbing a baby from a crib, as I’d often do with our son in the earlier days before sleep training.

The more I got him, the less it bothered me, until the pain had gone. Also, carrying a 20-pound baby around makes you stronger, like it or not. Yeah, I think my physical can wait ’til 2015.

STATUS: Finito!


So I did it — I finally did it. I wrote this post without putting too many people to sleep! It’s over a week into May, and things aren’t getting any quieter. The summer’s the busiest season for all the social activities in Toronto, and even with a baby, I have a feeling that this one’s will be a year to remember!

Catch you on the flip side,

–case p.

Education, Exercise and some Effervescence for Ingenuity | The 2013 100 Wrap-Up 61-70:

Never expect to get anything done if you’re not giving yourself the time you need to do it.

That’s the theme I see in my wrap-up of The 2013 100.

Though my list was ambitious anyway, there are things I could’ve done a little less to make way for some things on this list.

Some of my less admirable accomplishments in 2013 include:

  • making it to level 465 in The Candy Crush Saga
  • followed by making it to level 145 in Jelly Splash
  • watching all of The Office, Friday Night Lights and the first five seasons of Mad Men on Netflix
  • easily playing 200+ games of Words With Friends
  • reading The Hunger Games Trilogy
  • surviving the Batman trilogy upon the release of The Dark Knight Returns in a room of the smelliest, sleepiest fans you could ever imagine

…maybe DoomzToo distracting me from my habits isn’t such a bad thing.

On to the list!

DO ALL THE THINGS: The 2013 100 Wrap-Up 51-60: Tradition, Tailoring and Tilling My Land

What’s struck me so far as I write these year-end wrap-ups is that I’m dealing with the list of a maniac. At 100 items, that’s 3.65 days to get each item done, or 8,760 hours.

But if I sleep 6 hours a night, that’s suddenly 6,570 hours.

And with a 40-hour work week (not including my 3 weeks of vacation), that brings us down to 4,610.

Put in a couple of hours per day to eat, shower and other essentials and you’re suddenly down to 3,880 hours, or a mere 161$latex \frac{2}{3}$ days worth of time (or perhaps, a mere 8 hours per weekday, with the hope that the weekends don’t find themselves suddenly overloaded) to do 100 things. And that’s, of course, on top of going out with friends, being a good family man, and perhaps finding time to do things that were never on the list in the first place.

Unless you’ve somehow bought yourself the luxury of unlimited time, a list of 100 goals is best achieved when attainable. You can’t be everywhere at once or do everything at once — sometimes we need humility and a reminder that there’s simply only one of us!

It’s what we do with that one that makes all the difference.

So let’s chalk this up to a learning experience. Let’s figure out what really matters, what’d be nice to do, and what’d be inane to expect with a wife and kid at home, needing me to play my role as a father.

Once more unto the breach!

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXVII: Taking Care of Self

Logically, we all know that we need to take care of ourselves to get the most out of life. if we’re sick, we won’t have the strength to do the things we normally do; if we’re exhausted, we won’t be able to learn anything new. We’ll only get worse unless we make the decision to make ourselves better.

But you can’t just talk the talk — having a desire to improve yourself without putting the effort out to make some real change in your life is as bad as not caring.
Let me tell you a little tale about how I knew it was time for me to change my act.

The 2K11 24/7 CCCVII: A Slave to Addiction

“Why everything that’s supposed to be bad make me feel so good?
Everything they told me not to is exactly what I would
Man I tried to stop man I tried the best I could
But (You make me smile)”
–Kanye West, “Addiction”
I’d say I have a bit of an obsessive personality at times — it operates in short spurts; I latch on to something for a little bit, thinking that it’s the best thing ever, but my short attention span will have me move on to the next thing as soon as I get bored of it. It’s probably part of the reason why I have bits and pieces of so many different kinds of projects scattered all over my office. I get so addicted to one thing at a time that I neglect all the other things that I could — or should — be looking after!
If there’s one thing that can vastly change who you are, how you act and think, and the things that drive you day in and day out, it’s an addiction. We throw the word “addiction” around so casually nowadays that it leaves one wondering if anyone knows what it really means. To quote from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an addict is someone who will”devote or surrender to something habitually or obsessively”.If we break that down further to observe the definitions for obsessions and habits…

ob·ses·sion

noun äb-ˈse-shən, əb- 
Definition of OBSESSION
1: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly : compelling motivation <an obsession with profits>

1hab·it

noun ˈha-bət  
Definition of HABIT
7a : a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance 
  7b : an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary <got up early from force of habit> 
  7c : addiction <a drug habit>

So in looking at these, what can we learn about an addiction?

  • One is ruled by an addiction
  • One does not act when they are addicted, instead they carry out actions as governed by their addiction

How do you battle an addiction When you simply can’t help yourself — when your actions feel less and less like they’re your own and more like an unseen force is guiding you to do things — even though you might get less and less enjoyment from them as time passes — what can you do to regain control of your life?