What Makes You Happy?

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What Makes You Happy

 

I haven’t written in a long time, part of me felt like it was maybe because I’ve been doing better. I haven’t been feeling as depressed. My life had seemingly come together, even if just the slightest. I always told myself that when hockey ended, I was going to become an author, a literary wizard; I was going to write every day now that I had a bit more time. Well, hockey’s been over for about six weeks, and I am just starting to write at 10:56PM Easter Sunday.

Sure, I’ve been busy with things in the meantime, but if anyone knows me, busy, is not an excuse. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the means to do it. Busy doesn’t exist in my world. It’s not because I don’t ever do anything, in fact, that’s probably quite the opposite. I probably have more going on than most folk. Actually, I could almost guarantee that. I just don’t feel the need to let everyone know how I preoccupied I am. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. It makes me sick when people say they are too busy.

Why? I remember years ago, my sister tried to chat with me through Facebook, through simple Internet chat… and, I recall looking at the messages, the message read something along the lines of hey, call me when you got some time, want to know how college is going. I looked at it, thought, meh; I’ll call her later… I am busy. I never called her. And, I don’t know if I ever talked to her again. She committed suicide a couple of months after, and I’ve never been too busy since.   So when people tell me, they are too busy. It doesn’t sit well. At all.

So, to say that I haven’t been writing, because I have been doing well, or because I have been doing poorly… I don’t even know the answer. Sometimes life has a tendency to just happen, and just leave me trapped in the motions that I just can’t comprehend the appropriate emotions, and feelings.

I know that writing provides me with the single most joyous experiences of my life. So, you would think it’s easier to do so. But… for some reason, it’s been getting more difficult, and for the first time, I feel like my writing is actually good. In the past, all I did was write about how I felt. That’s it. There was no scientific method to it; there was no English specialty behind it. Simply, just how I felt. I have such a difficult time re-reading my pieces, for a variety of reasons… mainly because I feel such a huge disconnect with the person who wrote that very piece, but also because… I think it’s shit. I looked earlier, and I have posted 47 entries to GAB. This being 48. I can honestly say that 1 was of quality, Your Move Chief. So, as much gratification as writing brings me… I don’t know if it’s from the actual writing, or the feedback. As pathetic as this may be, I seek so much approval, and accreditation, from… whomever, predominantly from my mom, and from my fiancé…. It’s pathetic, if I don’t hear anything within a day or so, I am texting those two asking what they thought… It drives me crazy that I do this. But… I do. And, I can probably recap every single compliment, or piece of positive feedback I have received from my blog. There is truly nothing, and I mean NOTHING more gratifying than when I hear about people who have read my blog, and find comfort from reading. Whether, I know them or not. I spend so much time wanting to write, then I spend such little time actually writing, and I conclude with spending even more time looking for approval on my writing. From, my family… my fiancé… my best friends… my friends… strangers… When, I receive this, it’s pure happiness. Joy. Elation. You know that feeling where you just can’t wipe that smile off your face. This is the only time I’ll feel it. So you’d think I’d write more, with this being the case. But, truth is… I think I have become a bit scared. My unrelenting life standards have once again trapped me with failure. Where, I need simple accolades. However, that’s slowed down significantly. I don’t know if it’s because my writing has gotten stale, or the content has. Or maybe, I am just without the random viewers from Europe. Or, perhaps, the people who have already graciously patted my back don’t feel like they need to tell me good job every single fucking time. Though they shouldn’t. However, I feel like, unless I get that… I am failing. I want to know what every single person thinks of my writing, even if they think it’s complete crap. I just want to know… because; I think it is too, I can’t even find myself appreciative, and satisfied with my own work.

So, in getting to the point of this entry… the great folks at Mind Your Mind proposed the question, what makes you happy? I thought about it for a long, long time. There are so many things that I enjoy, so many. But, to label them as something that makes me completely happy would likely be false. I think at any point, doing makes me happy. Regardless, of what it is that I am doing. I think sometimes you can find temporary joy in that, and I do. But, I tried to really think of something that makes me truly happy. True joy. I almost couldn’t think of anything, till I thought about writing, then I thought about all of the positive feedback I have received over the two years, and the people I have been able to help, if even just to help them temporarily. This has brought me pure joy, and continues to do so. It’s the only thing that allows me to feel self-pride, and self worth. Regardless, of the success I have at work, or in coaching sports, or my daily life even. I always seem to be stuck wanting more, and eventually get a place where good just isn’t good enough. But, with writing, that’s different. Even, if I receive two notes about my latest post, to me it was a success, and it provides that feeling. That feeling where I can’t stop but smiling, even if it’s a random stranger at an arena that says, “hey, you’re the guy that writes that mental health blog” … Yes, I guess so. These are the things that keep me ticking, and continue to remind me just what it is to feel joy, and to feel good.

You just hope that somehow you can find a way to enjoy, accept and appreciate your own bravery and work. Sometimes there is just far too much pressure on writing purely for the audience, and hoping to help them find joy, and hope. I need to find my own first.

Rest easy, and rest happily Max. I hope you can still find some time to read my blog, and I hope that you’ve found true joy.   I know you and Jen are hanging out as we speak. Listening to music, watching over us, and laughing at us.

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It’s May 7th. It’s 5 years. Time For Something Different – Cheers Jen.

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The world’s stopping but we keep going

And we’re ruthless and we’re cunning
And I’m heir to it all

Days like these you’ve gotta find it in some other way
It’s all or nothing baby

Avalanche, start inside of me
Avalanche, down through the trees
Avalanche, start inside of me
Avalanche, hell down through the trees

– Matthew Good –

The day that I have feared for… well, since last May 7th, has arrived.  But, in particular the day that I have loathed for the last few weeks.  5 years since Jen found peace.  It’s been a weird few weeks.  Last time I wrote in this blog, I wasn’t doing well.  Whatsoever.  It didn’t look like I was going to make it this far to be completely honest.  It’s almost like completing a marathon when you do actually get here.  It feels like a mental accomplishment, you’re relieved and you’re exhausted.  But, in the days and week following when I last wrote in the blog, things got better.  Much better.  I felt true happiness, for the first time in a long time.  I felt a lot of things I never have before. Things I didn’t know were possible for me to even feel again, as I was quite sure I had gone completely numb.  It was weird.  It was like Jen knew where I was and just reinstalled all these emotions and feelings back into me. Everything that I was pretty sure I had become incapable of.  Making me feel like a human again.  I think she knew there was no way I was going to get through the next few weeks on my own. She was probably right.  Just the people that have been put into my life, the opportunities I’ve had, and the good friends and family I have been able to spend some time with over the last few weeks that have really helped me get to here in one piece.  Even if it were just for a short while, it was a longing impact.  I’m quite sure all of it was her lending yet another hand to push me through another difficult time.  The playoffs & weather don’t hurt either.  Thanks Jen.  Can you help MA Fleury make a save now, please? Haha.

I’ve spent the last few weeks gearing up for May 7th, and now that we’ve arrived to this day.  It’s… kind of a bittersweet day.  There is nothing sweet about it.  But, you’ve thought about this very day for the last 30, and you’ve made it.  Like I said, it’s as if I just finished a marathon of sorts.  An emotional marathon, if you will.  But now what? Well, if I ever can shut my brain off and go to sleep…  I am going to drive to Edmonton to spend time with my mom, and some other friends and family and just have a few Stella beers, and celebrate a life that was of Jennifer’s.  It’s been 5 years.  And that’s not to say it’s time to get over it.  Because I never will, but the last 5 years I’ve been miserable, and have been completely sad on the couple weeks leading up to, and May 7th and the day itself.  But, this year… I wanted to try something different, gather a group of people and head to the pub where I last had a beer with my mom and Jen, and just enjoy the day.  Enjoy the sun. Enjoy the company. Enjoy the memories, and just enjoy Jen’s legacy.  Last time I was at O’Byrnes, it was my mom, Jen and myself crushing beers in the sun.  I am ready to do the same tomorrow, with the same 2 people and the rest of our supporting cast.

I am fearful, and nervous that I won’t be able to handle this tomorrow, and that it will be a heartbreaking experience.  And, I am sure it will.  But, its time we do what Jen would want on May 7th.  Celebrate her life. Stop crying, stop lamenting and just have a fucking beer with her.

Plus, I owe her one after she helped get me to this day.

See you at O’Byrnes @ 2:00 pm Jen!

– Cheers –

 

 


The Devil in Details

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Hi Everyone!

Sorry it’s been such a long time since I last wrote in this blog.  I am going to avoid the saying “I was too busy” as that is one my biggest pet peeve’s people say is, “I’m too busy” Bullshit, If you want something enough.  You will find time to do it, and will cut the excuses.  And, the something I want out of this is of course, as mentioned, to help myself and others.  However, I did buy a new truck, and that had consumed my mind for quite a few days!  Still, nonetheless. I did fall back into a little lull, where I was just in the biggest meh sort of moods.  I remember my last entry was about momentum’s of mental illness, and I was afraid I was on the edge of falling into those lulls.  Well, I did get into a small one, and I think that had a lot to do with me putting this blog off and off.  I just kinda sat there and did nothing.  Other than buy a new unit. Haha, but really.  When you’re in these “lulls” and some are big, some are small, its tough to do anything.  You know you have these things you need to accomplish, you have your to-do lists.  But, its tough to get through those lists, cause its so easy to just lay on the couch, turn on TV, or have a nap, or play Xbox, and just say I’ll do it later.  I find when I am in my lulls, this is what I do.  Nothing off the “to-do” list gets done.  And, of course, you’re avoidant of these lulls, so the top priority on the “to-do” list should be… get the hell out of this.  But, of course, it’s so tough to see that.  Its difficult to admit this to yourself, so you continue to just lull around and go through an episode and life continues to zip right past you while you don’t seem to progress anywhere.

Then, suddenly… you wake up one day, and you feel better, or you feel something better.  Maybe something happened to help pick your head up, and its sometimes like the snap of a finger, you’ve left the lull you were in, hopeful to never go through one again.  But, struggling with depression…  Its par for the course.  You undoubtedly will.  Just try your best to minimize the opportunity to fall back into a lull, or an episode, and minimize the time you spend in that hole.  But, again, I really think the best thing to get out of these lulls, is admitting to yourself that’s where you are.. And, thats ok. Force it upon yourself to take care of things, go do something active, call someone, talk to someone, don’t continue to the things you would while in an episode. Dont put getting better off.  Whatever mechanisms of avoidance you so too choose.  Denial is not depressions friend, as much as it is an instigator, and an agitator.

Denial is something that I have lived with for so long, way too long.  And it was significantly worse after my sister passed away.  I honestly think it took 4 years before I finally started to accept that she was really gone.  I know they say it’s a typical stage of grieving.  But, for 4 years ? It can’t be.  But, almost the worst thing about denial, is that, sometimes you know your in denial, but, you accept it cause you don’t feel anything. You feel empty.  And, when you feel empty. Sometimes that’s better that feeling sad.  So, you kind of just accept that and move on.  But, it’s a trick. Its not better to feel empty at all.  It’s like taking all the feelings you think you should feel, and you cap them into a bottle.  And leave it there.  Ignore them. And I did that for about 10 years with my depression as it was, and then once I lost Jen, I threw everything and more into that bottle, and closed the lid.  I didn’t allow myself to feel anything for the longest time, and let me tell you, I could not have choosen a more terrible way to deal with things.  I think this had a lot to do with me really hitting rock bottom not long ago.  It just became way too much, and I had no more room left in my bottle, and had nowhere else to put anything.  And, I lost it.  Maybe this is what happened to Jen, I don’t know. I wish I did.  but, I know that when this happened to me, she picked me up, and kicked me in the teeth and told me to get my fucking shit together. Now. For my family, for my relationship, for my friends, and for myself and her.   I think the biggest thing she did was tell me this denial is not going to work anymore for me.  And boy, was she right.  Thus, became the creation of goneawayboys.  Somewhere to put my feelings.  Instead of in the bottle.  Out into the open they go. Where, they belong.  Where they make me feel better, and hopefully others too.  So, while I try to begin and accept my sister’s death 4 years later, and start over, grieving in the proper, more healthier, beneficial way.  I really try to watch out for that bastard that is denial.  But, every now and then, when I land into a slump, lull or episode, whatever you want too call it.  I feel that shitty little thing again.  Denial.  And, it is not only an instigator, agitator, but it is misleading and tricky too.  Like I said, you just accept it, cause in denial, you feel nothing, you feel empty.  And that is sometimes that feels better than feeling sad.  But, No. It’s not. Because, it all builds up, and builds up, and eventually.  It explodes.  And what happens then can be truly tragic and devastating.

I think this is also a factor in why people avoid talking about their depression.  Sometimes they just feel empty, and feel nothing cause they can’t admit to themselves they struggle with depression. Since society has attached such a negative connotation to the word “depression” “suicide” “bi-polar disorder“…etc.  no one wants to have it, cause they feel they are going to be judged.  So, they can’t admit it to themselves.  But, If you’re someone who struggles with the same illness I do, or something of the like.  Be honest with yourself, and let someone help you.  But, you need to help yourself understand first.  and, No. It is nothing to be ashamed of.  As I have mentioned before, It is an actually disease of the brain. It’s not something we can just “get over” or “toughen up”. It’s different.  So please, throw denial the big “eff off” and work towards getting better.

It’s damn hard, trust me. I am trying it now, and I still fall into my little lulls, and have a heck of a time getting out.. But, the best part of coming out about my depression, and my families past and tragedies, is, it allows me to feel better, it allows me to see that light everyone talks about, so I know that better is coming.  Whatever better is. Maybe its only temporary, who knows.  But, I will take temporary, over rarely.  So, I am going to work on it, and this is it, talking.  Not by taking 400 mg of wellbutrin, xanax, or zoloft or whatever other medication you’ve been told to try.  I have been struggling with depression for 10 years myself, and have been on medication for probably 7 of those years.  And, I still have depression.  Maybe I always will. Maybe it’s not something that truly ever goes away.  It’s only something you can have temporary relief from.  But, like I said. I will take temporary. But, I believe that in doing the right therapy, I will beat this.  And, its not taking the same little pill every morning after breakfast I have been taking, just because some doctor shrugged me off and wrote a prescription before he asked me hey, how do you really feel.  Nope.  Depression ? Oh, here up your wellbutrin dosage and try that young fella!  Ok. Thanks doc. You’re a real help.

Talking about it, blogging about it, making it normal conversation, getting out of denial, starting over, has been the best source of medication I have ever taken.  And, I hope you decide to join me in this remedy.  It’s difficult to get out of that denial stage, and admit to yourself that you may suffer from mental illness.  But, it’s much better when that little dosage of denial is not sitting in your pocket, feeling sad, or down is better than feeling empty.  Feeling empty is the worst thing we can do.  Denial, avoidance.  Thats the enemy.  We can’t feel that.  We need to feel.
That’s all for tonight.  I already feel much better just having wrote this entry. I am really excited for everyone to get back to reading my blog. Again, I can not stress enough how flattered I am, and honored that this has reached so many people.  It’s been amazing. I hope that everyone continues to read.  And, I will do my best to regularly write.  I am thinking about writing a tribute entry about my sister.  But, that is going to take a full day of strength, incense, and probably some atavan.  But, I think it will be good for me.  so look for that on the weekend. I will need a full day of preparation to write that.  But, I think it’s important, and everyone will get the chance to learn more about her. She was amazing, and still is as I feel her helping me through mud all the time. Today.

Also, If, I am taking awhile to put in another entry, give me a shot and tell me to get back at it. I had a couple friends kick my ass back into gear over the weekend, and get me back here.  It’s been nice.  Thanks.

Thanks again everyone.

Keep in touch. Tell someone.

-Take Care,

-Blair – goneawayboys

Fun & Active – Someone with depressions dream

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Up again, down again, out of your head.

Happy friday kids!

I’m happy to be back here writing. I gotta get some consistency going again.  I went to the Edson Slo-Pitch tournament last weekend with the boys.  And, if you have ever been to Edson, you’ll understand quite quickly why it took me so long to get it going again.  We left Edson monday at about 9 am. It took me till yesterday at noon till get back to feeling normal.  Whatever normal is for me.  But, physically, you know.

Edson Slo-Pitch is this massive tournament of 270+ teams.  Goes Fri-Mon – We usually show up thurs night to get the extra night in.  But, you camp in a field where your neighbours are maybe 6 inches to your other side. Its tight. We have a big 13 man tent where we throw about 8 of us to pass out.  Its quite funnny too see actually.  Just an assembly line of bodies.  Then, once you’ve gone to bed at probably 5 am after going to the “Hangar” (absolutely massive beer gardens) You’re up at 730 am to play ball, or to listen to everyone else getting up to play. And once you’re up. You’re up. Its hot out. And there’s 200 cold bud lights ready for work. so its on. Early.

Its easily the best weekend of the year, but its easily the biggest challenge, physically.  You have to be prepared for the toll you’re body takes.  And, like I said. Just now I am getting straightened away. Anyway, If you ever have the chance.  Check Edson out. Its a blast.

I am going to try something slightly different today, a little different pace.  After a pretty chill day at work today, came home, made myself a nice dinner; salmon and potatoes…. Unreal right!   But, I cheat. Big time. I bought salmon from Superstore that is already flavored, and already on the plank. So you throw it on the BBQ.  Haha. And potatoes, We got this “potatoe mitt” from Hawaii.  It looks like an oven mitt basically, and you cut little holes in your tate’s and then chuck them in this “mitt” throw it in the microwave and nuke the little suckers for about 7 minutes. So, no, my salmon dinner wasn’t amazing as you first thought. Haha, but for my standards. It was unreal.

I can’t cook worth a shit. literally. I can not cook. On the other hand, I have never really made a completely honest effort out of it either. I just don’t have the patience to do it. And, I think explaining the meal I just had today is evidence to that.  Whatever. I took the stuff out of the fridge/freezer and 20 minutes later was dummying it.  So take your extra half hour for a little more authenticity. Nah. I’ll take the extra half hour I saved, and write in my blog!

Next thing will be paper plates at home. Not kidding. Frig, I hate emptying that damn dishwasher.  I used to run it about 2 or 3 times before I’d empty it, and I’d make sure I ran it the second time when I knew I wasn’t going to be home for awhile, so depending on where I lived. My parents, roommates or girlfriend would do it.  Haha. If this is any of the people I listed that are reading this. You’re going Ah Ha! You little bastard.  The rest of you are thinking, wow.  Genius. And you’ll do it this week. Guaranteed.  But, be stealth.

Next thing I did today was rip over to buddies and grab my xbox controllers and the tiger woods game.  I thought I would do some gaming today, and buddies gone for the weekend so might as well get my stuff back and its the last night of me living bachelor life as the old lady gets home tomorrow.  But, on my way over there, I saw all these people riding there bikes with families, friends, etc and it just looked awesome. Smiles as wide as the street these kids had, parents too.  “Fun & active”.  A kid with depressions dream.  So, once I went to buddies, grabbed my gaming gear and headed home, I saw more of the same. Fun & Active. A depressive kids dream. And more of it. And as I got back into my community. More of it. Fun & Active. A depressive kids dream.  I parked underground, went upstairs, threw the stuff on the coffee table, and thought.. you know what.  No.  I’m not doing this. As much as I enjoy gaming, and so too does everyone. It’s different for me. It’s an avoidance mechanism.  Some people that struggle with depression, sleep all the time, some drink, do drugs, or whatever. Me, I game. And, I don’t even really enjoy it. I feel like such a slob after doing it and not having moved except to grab chips, or a beer. It’s fun gaming with buddies and stuff, that’s different.  But, for me to lay into 10 rounds of PGA Tour, not move, not talk to anyone. It’s me avoiding my problems. Sounds crazy. But that’s what I’d do. Sure, I could be doing worse things, like sleeping, drinking, having sex a million times, partying, whatever the hell else you can do so excessively its damaging, which pretty well anything. But, its the concept of it. I do it to avoid things, and not have to face reality.  Thus, in my self-realization week not long ago, around the birth of this blog. I promised not to do that to myself anymore.

BACK TO THE STORY.  I looked on the deck, and saw this beautiful red “Specialized RockHopper Comp” mountain bike I purchased about 2 months ago…  for a thousand dollars. Yikes.  The first 10 days I had that bike, I rode it 15 times. I felt unreal. Fun & Active. I was doing it. Living the dream. Then, I just stopped for 6 weeks. I think part of it was work got busy, but a lot of it was me making excuses for myself, “ohh im tired” and I’d game, or do whatever and just feel shitty and be down.  So today. I saw that thing, and said fuck it.  I am doing what those kids were doing that I saw on my way. But, its more than just ripping a bike for me. for anyone that knows how I feel.  I truly think it was Jen saying to me.. Hey kid, heres a test. I know what you’re doing, but look what you could be doing.  Do the right thing.  Make yourself better.  Depressed & Lazy V. Fun & Active.  I really think it was her kicking me in the ass again. So I proceeded to take the old Ferrari for a spin.  Thew on the iPod and just went.  And, what an enjoyable time.  For any of you that struggle with depression, you know that being active is one of the most important things for us.  It’s great for the mind, and body just to try and have an active lifestyle.  But, at the same time, when you’re struggling with depression.  It’s so hard to get yourself to do these “active lifestyle” things.  You always feel like the tank is empty, you have no energy. None. So you really have to work yourself up to do things sometimes, and I think that’s when you get yourself in trouble, and it makes it all the more difficult to enjoy it.  You’ve worked yourself up so much to go for a run, or play football, bike ride, whatever it is.  That when its over, its like “meh whatever, wasn’t great” and you won’t do it again, cause it took so much of you to just find some energy.

Well, I am trying to change that for myself. Trying damn hard.  I live in probably one of the most beautiful communities in the entire city of Calgary in Discovery Ridge.  Hell, nevermind. One of the most beautiful in Alberta I’d say….   Wait, well, If its one of the most beautiful in Calgary, clearly it is in Alberta cause I can’t imagine much better in Edmonton, Ft. Mac, GP, Lethbridge… Etc.  (kidding edmonton friends, that was for you)  But, seriously.  There’s so much greenery, parks, and trails, and just seemingly happy folk. If anyone has ever been through Discovery Ridge. You know what I am talking about.  It’s unbelievable here.

Right behind our house is Griffith Woods Park, which is astounding, filled with multiple bike/walking trails weaving through the woods, with little creeks and running waters.  It’s gorgeous. Have I said that yet ?  So going for a bike ride in this place is truly breathtaking, and it speaks to the shape I was in to not be able to go for a bike ride for 6 weeks. Cause, I didn’t touch that bike once in 6 weeks. When you’re struggling with depression, it’s just hard to do these things. so hard.

Off I went through discovery ridge on my Ferrari, through Griffith woods, which, sometimes can be quite frightening.  There’s so many people walking, running, biking, rollerblading, whatever through there and the paths aren’t highway sized paved roads, through these trees, if even paved. There are a lot of sharp, immediate corners that you need to be careful about.  So that proposes one hazard, before you run someone over.

Second hazard, is there are cougars everywhere, all the time… Yes, even the fuzzy cat-like kind.  So you have to watch for both of those!  Today I was riding, and in the woods ahead, I saw the golden thing, and of course, I am always thinking I am gonna see a cougar…(cat kind) so here’s this golden figure, I see. But, I am far away, so for all I know it could be a broken off tree base.  I get closer, the fucking thing moves! OMG I am shitting myself. I have finally seen this damn cougar! I instantly hammer the brakes, look for my phone… too take a picture haha.  realize, shit I left my phone at the condo.  No one is gonna believe this!  So I said screw it. I am gonna fly by this thing. I gotta see it.  So, I zoom by…….  It’s some damn golden retriever playing fetch with his/her owner.  Are you kidding me.  My heart is racing 9,000,000 beats per minute for Air Bud?  Come on.  One day, I will see the cougar.

Anyways.  It was nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air, and be active again.  The last 7 weeks I have been so up and down.  And when I was down, boy was I down.  But, now I am starting to feel better, and I think today was evidence of that.  I took the ferrari out, and enjoyed myself. I was able to enjoy “Fun & Active“, and like I said, that’s a mental heath-struggling kids dream.  And, even if it were something as simple as a hour long bike ride.  when you struggle with your brain like I do, and lot more of us.  You’ll understand.  Thats a lot. Its part of this start to “better-hood”

Tonight… Was a good night.

Thank you everyone!

Hope you enjoyed this read. I know it was a little different, and I hope you still read its entirety and had some smiles. And, if you’re ever through discovery ridge, let me know and we’ll go for one of those serene bike rides and hunt these cougars.  Either kind!

-Have a good weekend folks

Blair

“Ain’t it good to be back home” MG