Monday, December 11, 2017

I Said Something Crazy...



So I said something crazy to my wife last week.

I said, "Hey let's go vegan for a week!"

After she came out of shock, she was really excited about the idea.

Here's the thing though, we had to plan this.

Can you believe actually planning what you are going to eat?

Usually these decisions are made for me by the large corporations that crank out meals in boxes with professional photos on them with names like, President's Choice, Ziggy's and Chunky!

There's even a plain yellow box with the non-creative cop-out label "no-name".

I typically like my food in a pre-cooked format that heats easily in the oven or microwave.

I like food that respects my time!

Vegetable have no regard for all the things I need to do in a day!

So we had to plan on what vegetables to buy and not only that, what day to eat them!

We went to the grocery store and ended up with a buggy full of clear plastic bags, filled with all the colors of the rainbow.  (The Skittles one.).

We finished our shopping and went to the check out and began putting our bounty on the belt to be "checked-out" and I realized something in that moment.

There's no labels on all this stuff!  There's nothing to say how fantastic this product of the earth is!

There is no way to impress someone else by buying a cauliflower.

Boxed chicken wings come in several varieties and many brands, and frozen pizza owns a whole aisle!

When you set down the box of chicken wings on the belt, many people unconsciously are making judgments about you.

"Check this guy out...PINTY'S! Big time high roller! Must be nice to live in that world!"

If you buy no-name wings in the yellow box, they might think..."Poor fellow. I wish there was something I could do. I hope things turn around for him. Hey, we all gotta make sacrifices. It's a tough economy!"

It's not the same when you put a potato on the belt. No one makes brand judgement when you scan a broccoli.

"Check this guy out, Beakman Farms...what a yahoo! Those guys don't know how to farm!"

That wouldn't really happen. (I don't think.)

Veggies come from the ground. 

The only organization that can maybe take credit for a tomato is a GMO company producing those crazy cloned zombie versions.

Even then, the original idea for the tomato didn't originate with them!

Gotta go back to original gardener for that!

Well, the first week of going veggie worked out OK.  I'm not gonna lie, I felt hungry sometimes.

I also felt great!  No headaches and I even lost some of my residual flab around the belly region!

Should I go two weeks?  OK, gonna do it!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Star Wars Spoilers


There are none here.

I just used the title to get you to read this.

There is a new Star Wars film out this Christmas.

I am trying to avoid any spoilers.

I want to go in fresh with no expectations.

It's hard.

There is a giant marketing machine running Star Wars now called Disney.

They know what they are doing.

Movies are not just movies anymore, they are vehicles for a multitude of other things.

T-shirts, figures, toys, games, replicas, contests, conventions and the list goes on.

I just want to ENJOY a movie.

What if a movie studio released a movie without any advanced notice?

Just once a year, a surprise.

I'd like that, and I think others would to!

I know they have to have budgets and profit/loss predictions, but hey, take a chance!

Wouldn't it be cool to just sit in a theater, let the lights go down and have NO EXPECTATIONS at all?

Would you still pay the admission?

I'm willing to give it a shot on one condition...I need to know the rating, that's it.

Are you listening Hollywood?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fail Hard, Succeed Harder. (With bonus feature!)







































I just recently went through something that was really hard.

I thought it would be something that would change the direction of my life.

As some of you know, I do stand-up comedy in order to have an outlet for my silliness, and also to keep me on my toes for being on the radio.

I was recently on a tour of Southern Ontario and I had an opening spot at a show in Sarnia.

I had written my set and practiced it, and felt prepared to say what I thought was HILARIOUS!

I did not excpect what happened next.

After each line, I was waiting for a laugh, there were none.  Not even a giggle.

I may have heard a pin drop on a cricket.  It was so quiet!

I didn't know how to handle this.  I decided to just keep going and get through it.

I was so glad to get off that stage.

I went to a back room and sulked a bit.

Usually, I ask my wife how I did, and she will be really honest.

She thought I did great!

It seems the audience was not on the same level as my references, so they fell flat.

I heard the noise when they fell!  It was a silent sonic boom!

In the moments after that experience I wondered if I really had what it took to continue in doing comedy.

Should I just stop?

Had I come to the end of what I was capable of?

It was a real thought for the rest of the night.

I parked myself at the door at the end of the night, just to shake hands with everyone I could and thank them for coming out.

Amazingly, some said they got the jokes I was doing.  They just didn't react!

Odd, but a bit encouraging!

I spent the day re-writing the set along with the help of another comedian.

I was way happier with the result, but would it work the next night?

The next show was in Chatham.

I brought my revised set and a backup bit.  I did not know what I would do yet.

Right up until a few minutes before I went on, I was undecided.  No one wants to fail twice!

The moment came to decide and I knew what to do.  I stuck with my plan.

I went up and did the thing I wrote and it did well!  Whew!

Another show as coming up in Guelph.  Would it work again?  It did!

The final night in Brantford, I would do it again, but for some reason I was really nervous.

I was like, gotta go to the bathroom, nervous.  I almost didn't go on.

In that moment, I thought, this is the time when people either step up or melt.

This is the time you read about where someone does something courageous.

It's a make or break time.

I'm not talking about going out and maybe failing again, I'm talking about, making the decision to go out not knowing what's going to happen!

I wanted to be SURE I would succeed again.  That's never a sure thing.

I went to the bathroom (Just in case!) and went out and did it!

It was good again!  What a relief, but even more, I was proud of myself for learning something.

The other comics on the tour were also very helpful.  They had loads of advice, because they all had been there before.

I was reminded of the scripture in John 6 where some of the people that were following Jesus, found it harder than they thought and turned away.

We never find out their names.  Who knows what good could have come from their lives?

When life gets hard, I think if we stick to it, the opportunities to learn are well worth the temporary pain we might encounter!

Stick to it!

++BONUS FEATURE!++

Here is the original comedy set I wrote for the tour.

Rose and I wrote it while driving to Lindsey for our anniversary dinner.

It started out like this...


Then got written out like this...

Upstanding Comedy Nov 21-25, 2017

Headliner – Mark Christopher Lawrence

Todd Gale Set

I am excited because my wife and I have just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.
Our love has remained constant over the years, she still loves me and I still love me to.

I think a big key to our relationship lasting this long is a book I read called “Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus”
I read other books, but this one appealed to me because honestly it sounded like science fiction!

Two planets, space, conflict...it’s all there!

I’m into that. I’m sort of a nerd, so I think that frame of reference made sense.
Some couples say “I married my best friend” or “I married my soul mate.”
After reading that book, I say “I married...an ALIEN.”

That gave me a very clear picture of how to understand our relationship.
We are both aliens, but we’re different aliens and we need help to be together.

That’s why when you get married there’s always one of those men in black involved.
As a matter of fact all the men are in black!
There’s a whole row of them, that’s how much help we need!

No wonder couples don’t remember much of their wedding day. It’s like the do a mind wipe on you during the pictures! Snap, snap, snap...it’s all a blur!

My alien wife is one of the good aliens.
She’s like one of those aliens you see from like Close Encounters. Gentle, kind, peace loving.
(Talk with their hands a lot, nice big eyes, never anything to wear, drives the spaceship erratically...)

I’m like the Predator alien. The alien you don’t see, I try to hide all the time, I’m cloaked!
I have an agenda.

I think that’s alien men in general. We don’t land softly, or come in peace...we invade!
We cause chaos. We destroy things. We make a mess. We’re ugly.

We like to shoot guns, hunt things, take trophy's and live in the woods. We’re wild!
That’s what those crop circles are, just alien guys doing donuts in the corn field with the spaceship!

When you have kids, they are like the ET aliens.
Cute and ugly all at the same time.
They get into trouble and need to be rescued, they touch everything with their fingers.
Ouch, ouch, ouch! (And they eat a lot of candy...)

Another thing you should do to help your alien relationship is go to couples retreats.
That’s like going to Area 51. All the secrets are there!

At a retreat they teach you how to have a fight...oops, I mean a discussion.
They want you to be able to share your feelings.

For the man, having a talk with your wife about your emotions is like...an alien abduction.

Your captured. You have no escape.
You are asked probing questions like “What do mean by that?” until you are curled up in a corner, shivering and traumatized. “Did it really happen?”

Of course the biggest obstacle to any relationship between alien races is communication.
Men and women speak very different dialects.

To the man alien, women speak in a cryptic form of vocal Sudoku.
It seems easy, but the more you examine it, the more complex it is, and harder to solve.

To the women alien, men just speak Klingon.
Just grunts and growls coming out of our ugly face.

But they pick up quick on the translation, it’s not difficult.
It’s either, hey I’m hungry, let’s eat, or I’m going out with the guys to make crop circles with the guys…

Thanks! See ya!





Monday, November 20, 2017

Who Do You Blame?

Here's the headline...

Man forgets where he parked car, finds it 20 years later


I thought this was funny at first.  A guy was absent minded and  lost a pretty big item!

Here's the story...

Back in 1997 in the German city of Frankfurt, a man reported his car as stolen to the police. 
Twenty years later, the authorities tracked down the missing vehicle, only to discover that the man who owned it had in fact, just forgotten where he’d parked the car and had assumed it had been stolen. 

The vehicle was found in a garage in an old industrial building that is due to be demolished. 

The car was in the way of the demolition so it was reported to the police who then investigated who the owner was. The man, now 76-years-old, was driven by the police with his daughter to be reunited with the car. 

Unfortunately the car was no longer functional and had to be scrapped.

I thought about it a bit, and I saw something important.  

For 20 years this guy blamed someone else for his lack of a car. 

 It was his fault all along! 

What do we have in our lives that we blame others for, that might just be OUR fault? 

Would it be anger over a failed relationship?  (You were really the selfish one.)

Would it be bitterness about being broke?  (You spent wildly and never saved.)

How about resentment for losing a job?  (You were on YouTube instead of working.)

Over the years those issues, if not claimed and dealt with, get rusty and immobile.

On the day you discover it was YOU all along, what will you say?  Oops, sorry?

Deal with it NOW!  Don't let the "authorities" make you claim your piece of junk.

Own it.

Scrap it.

http://www.euronews.com/2017/11/17/dude-where-s-your-car-man-forgets-where-he-parked-car-finds-with-is-20-years

Saturday, November 18, 2017

30th Anniversary Dinner



We wanted to do something awesome to celebrate our 30th Anniversary.

There were discussions of jetting off to Europe, but that was not going to happen.  

We wanted to maybe fly to somewhere sunny, but again, no dice.

It has to be something good because, you know, even numbers, three decades, we're still here!

We like to watch Netflix on a tablet while we have supper sometimes.  

I know that Rose likes shows that feature creativity and home design.  

I was on the hunt for a show that she would like that we could binge-watch for a week or so during meals.

I found on called "A Taste of the Country" and I knew she would love it!  

Here is the description of the show:

The reality series Taste of the Country spotlights Danielle French, her team and her family as they work together to create magical events at the farm. Will rain ruin a wedding? Will the judges like South Pond’s creative butter tarts? Take a behind-the-scenes look at the stress, laughter and love that go into everything at South Pond Farms.


That sounded fun! 

We took a chance on the show and she took to it right away!  
She even predicted what the host would do in a situation, based on her own tastes!  
It was a bit freaky!

During one of the episodes, the host mentioned the town of Lindsay.  I thought, wait a minute, is that the same Lindsay that's just down the road?
It was!  This place that was the subject of this show my wife was connecting with was in the neighborhood! 

I jumped on the world wide web and sought out the place and discovered they were holding event like they featured in the show...on the weekend of our anniversary.

I love a no-brainer decision!

I clicked the mouse and the reservations were made!

We were going to a 6 course food tasting event, limited to 12 people and prepared by a professional chef!

Cool!
The gang for the night!
The menu.

So here's what happened.

We arrived and were greeted by the host, Danielle French.  She introduced the Chef and we headed out to the open bonfire.  It was dark, so you couldn't see much but it was intimate and welcoming.
The Grill was hot and there were starter finger type foods that involved small pieces of bread and what I thought was caviar.  Turns out the official word is canapes.  There ya go, you learned something.

Next, we went inside and started the courses.

#1 Fire Roasted Corn Farm Potage
This stuff was tasty, because of the bacon!  Apparently these pigs are fed only with the leftover mash from a brewery in the area.  It's got potatoes and cold pressed garlic oil on top.  Great start!

#2 Harvest Salad
Then came the salad.  It looks like "some assembly required".  I found out it's called "deconstructed" salad.  There you learned something else.  (You're on a roll, stick around!)

#3 Linwood Farms Trout Chorizo
This one was a favorite.  It's a sausage made from trout.  It had a nice texture to it and came with chick peas and tomato butter.  

#4 Hunter's Stew
Now we're getting serious!  This was a huge chunk of Bison, cooked and smoked on the outside charcoal grill!  It was tasty, like a prime rib, but more smokey.  I ate mine and some of Rose's!  There were also meat balls made from wild boar.  It was in a mushroom broth along with pickled garlic.

#5 Celebration of Ontario Cheese
The bread was sooooo good!
 Chef McKenna explained all the dishes to us before we ate, and for this one he stressed he only gets local cheese.  The blue cheese was tangy, the cheddar was sharp and the roasted walnuts were a nice touch to!
#6 Bethany "Smores"
Dessert time!  This was a version of a s'more!  You've got the chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers all served up in a unique way.  Tasty!  Bring on the coffee!
Quick selfie before the coffee!

Chef McKenna!
This meal was very special.  The staff makes sure you feel at home and they let you know the night is all about you!  I even got to DJ the music!  It's all served in a dry-shed converted to a kitchen/dining room.
Unique lighting!

Old style charm.
Rose liked the night so much, she's going back!  There's a bread making workshop she will be doing with some of the ladies she met at the event!

Here's some links if you want to check it out.  South Pond FarmsWorkshops.  Tasting Nights.

We were happy customers and would recommend this for a fun and unique night out!



Thursday, November 16, 2017

More Wisdom From 30 Years of Marriage.



Previously on "The ToddBlog"...

Our hero shared some of his wisdom on the blessed sacrament.  But he wasn't quite finished.

As they say on TV,,,

"But wait, there's more!"

Here's some bonus thoughts on being married 30 years.

I thought I should mention some things about communication.

I suck at it.

There, I said it.

People with my personality type, live in their heads. 

It's good to think, but once in a while, those thoughts need to translate into actual words that exit the mouth so they can be heard and be understood. 

Then appropriate responses can be rendered like "What?"

Learn to talk.

If you're not good at it, make grunting noises until they become coherent sentences.

And when you DO talk, be kind and gentle. 

It's not the end of the world if you took the wrong turn to get somewhere.  Chill!

Laugh about it.

Some homes have a general sense of anger and frustration lingering in the air.

It's evident in the tone of voice and comments made.  Clear the air of that.  It stinks anyway.

WISDOM NUGGET:  If you say something, think about your endgame.

Think, "Am I saying this just to be the one who wins the argument?"

Is it THAT important for you to parade around the "Won An Argument Award"?

Try this instead...

Respond in a way that makes the other person feel safe and loved, not belittled and embarrassed.. 

Mic drop.

**I've been doing all the sharing, so how about you?  What's something YOU have learned?**


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Things I've Learned Being Married for 30 Years


Rose and I were married on November 8th 1987 at The Potter's House Church on Trout Lake Road in North Bay.

Neither of us understood what we were doing.  Me, more so.

Now that I am in my 50's, I joke that NOW I'm ready to get married and raise kids!

I know how to do it now!

I have a lot of respect for, Rose because in hindsight I would not have picked me for a suitable partner for marriage.

I was emotionally immature, selfish, delusional about my future and lacking any relationships skills.

Wait a second, I'm still those things!  Maybe less so, I hope!

I have now been married for an even 30 years and I have picked up a few tidbits of intelligence along the way.

I still believe in the institution of marriage.  It's popular these days to live together, without all the formal pageantry or legal documents, but in my opinion, the relationship two people can have is worth the investment in making the "official declaration".  In the end, relationships is all we really take from this life, they are the only impression we leave on the world, the only thing really worth anything at all.  In a way, relationships are priceless.
So, no matter what form or tradition it involves, I believe settling the "you and only you" question with a degree of ceremony and honor is a good and lasting thing.

We all like lists, so here we go...

1.  Few marriages are perfect, so get qualified help when you need it.  There is a danger in keeping things "in house".  It creates isolation and shuts down communication.  If you can't talk about it, it won't get solved.  In a marriage there are often opposite personalities at work, one is a talker the other internalizes.  A third party who understands the dynamics can assist the channels of communication open up.  I must stress that any help you get must be QUALIFIED!  We once sought help from a couple who were really heavy on the spiritual side of things, and not very knowledgeable about the mechanics and psychology of relationships.  It wasn't very helpful in the end. (And kind of weird.)

2.  Decide how you will handle training the kids and stick to it.  I always tried to call discipline "training".  I wanted my kids to understand that if they were going to suffer consequences for their actions, it was not because they had angered me or Rose.  The times they may have done something amiss, yes, I was disappointed and a little angry, but punishment was a way to prepare them for the real world.  I really made an effort to help them understand this.  It's easy to punish kids just for our own satisfaction, but we have to remember they are tiny humans who will one day be part of groups of other humans.
I once had to take something away from my son that I gave him.  It was a BIG thing that I took great joy in giving him, but he did something unwise with it and I had to do something.  It broke my heart.  It still hurts, but I felt it was necessary.  Rose supported me and we got through it.
Even things like telling them to keep their room clean was not because we were anal about cleanliness, it was because it's a good idea and good practice to care for your things.

3.  Do the Love Language Test.  Click here NOW to take it!   I think the 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman should be part of the bible.  I really do.  It's THAT helpful.  I was amazed to discover my Love Language was "Quality Time".  I always thought that was the "feminine" one!  I was wrong!  It helps to understand how your partner receives love.  If you want to fill their "Love Tank" you have to know when it's empty.  If you are wrong, you're wasting time!  If people are giving you gifts, and you really would like to just talk, there's no love transaction gonna happen!  Give it a try!

4.  Let whoever does the money better, handle the finances, but agree on where they go.

5.  Have adventures together,  Take a different road.  Visit odd places.

6.  Hugs.

7.  It's not that important to be right.

8.  Be patient.  It's a fruit of the spirit, so trust God you have it and let it grow.

9.  Have fun.

There's more to add, but for now, that's enough!

Thank you Rose for not giving up on me!