Thursday morning random thoughts…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

Dylan stage

  • Thank you Mr. Dylan for a great show…best you’ve done in years!!  The songs and lyrics were clearly recognizable…and you got me with Highway 61, that was awesome!!
  • Did I happen to mention that my grandson Ben is an absolute baseball freak!!  He’s 8 years old and can tell you who every player is, what team he is on and the position he plays…sounds like his Zaida Chuck!!
  • Bombers’ QB Matt Nichols needs a bounce back game tonight…big time!!  I’m a fan of his, but were he to have a second bad game in a row, the doubt would start creeping in for all fans.
  • Speaking of creep…Donald Trump, you bloated megalomanic, you gonna throw Don Jr. under the bus to take the rap for you…or will it be Jared Kushner!!  God knows that if you throw “that Jew” Kushner under the bus, your KKK base will be thrilled!!
  • Last summer it was Tavern United and the Tragically HIp with Carly and Matt, while last night we hit Tavern first and then enjoyed Bob Dylan together…doesn’t get much better than enjoying one of your music icons with your two grown kids!!
    Pic with Car and Matt
  • I couldn’t be more thrilled than to have bought an Aaron Judge jersey…while wearing it, the little kid in me comes out, imagining myself slugging home runs for my New York Yankees.  Watching him break Joe DiMaggio’s rookie season HR record and then watching him with the HR Derby with Laine and Ben…priceless, just priceless.

     

  • Geoff and I had a nice long chat about the Jets the other day…and the fact that our window to win is quite small; we are going to have to be putting out big money to Trouba, Morrisey, Laine and Ehlers; fitting that all under the salary cap is going to be tough.  Chicago hasn’t won anything since signing Toews and Kane to long term deals.  Winning is paramount this season…and that’s why Chevy is referring to “winning now” in his interviews.  Both he and Maurice know, now is the time to win.
  • Brian Pallister…you heartless, lying human being.
  • brian-pallister-nurse-001 (1)
  • Goldeyes seem to be getting on a role…but Forney better track down some rookies…that bench is looking very thin right now.
  • Bomber game tonight, then family parties Friday and Saturday night…one busy summer!!
  • There are times when you just need to move on from certain friends…they had a time and place in your life, but no longer are they a positive.  You let go and move on.
  • Thanks Jono for the long talk and caring.
  • So very cool watching True North Square coming up in the heart of downtown…what an exciting change it will be when completed.
    TNSquare
  • It’s sad when certain Americans move up to Canada and then try and impose their Donald Trump values upon us…you’re entitled to your opinion, but racist rhetoric belongs in your homeland with Herr Trump.
  • Thank you Carly and Matt…that was one great night together…love you both so very much and couldn’t be prouder of the adults you have grown into!!
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On the pitcher’s mound…life flashes by; by Chuck Duboff

pitcher's mound

 

© Chuck Duboff

Alone,
The pitcher’s mound
My solitude.

I lay there,
Deep in thought
50 years have passed.

In wonderment,
I attempt to process
A life.

A toddler,
Forever afraid
Baseball my escape.

Teenage years,
Lost, finding self
Batting averages…nirvana.

Suddenly married,
Self loathing
Billy and George entertain.

Two wonderful kids,
Yet, my programming sabotages…
With only baseball to hold onto.

Alone yet again,
Adventure, recklessness, anger
Muted by the Core Four.

The pitcher’s mound,
Chuck, Matthew and Ben…
Slowly I find myself.

Ben pitches and I smile,
Matthew shoots pics and it feels good…
Baseball, my life

Ben pitching.

 

Saturday morning random thoughts…from elevators to Goldeyes training camp to Aaron Judge; by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

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  • 12 Freakin days with no elevator service…seriously, 12 days!!  Well done Towers Realty, well done!!  8 flights of stairs, 2, 3, 4 times a day…for 12 freakin days!!
  • Forecast for this week looks awesome!!
  • One week from today the Winnipeg Goldeyes start training camp!!  Sweeet!!
    Goldeyes 2
  • 12 Freakin days Towers Realty, 12 freakin days!!!
  • Today marks 100 days of the Trump Gong Show…if somebody had made this administration as a movie…nobody would have believed it!!  You’ve gotta watch this Simpsons preview for Sunday nights show!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo3fT0xPeHs
  • Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is the real deal; when he crushes one, it is a reminder of the Mick himself; the kid is humble, talented and will be a fixture in right field for years to come!!
  • Not sure who will be playing SS this season for the Goldeyes…key position…or perhaps it’ll be Casio Grider or Wes Darvill
  • Left half my groceries in the car yesterday afternoon…all the perishables…thinking I’d have elevators to bring them up with today.   12 Freakin Days Towers Realty.
  • Feels great helping your kids out…indescribable…Love you Carly and Matt…so very much.
  • Workouts have been fantastic lately…have started a new circuit the last few weeks…treadmill, then elliptical, then bike, then rowing machine…followed with weights for about 20 minutes.
  • Chevy sits idly by and Carolina pulls off a trade getting Scott Darling from the Black Hawks…when will we ever see a bold move Chevy?
  • It’s so great having MLB TV…I think I’ve only missed two Yankees games this year…and when they have a day off or I’m just in the mood for a ballgame…I have 15 other ones to choose from…Technology today is amazing.
  • 12 Freakin Days!!!!  ….don’t tell me to chill…try hauling groceries…first a long walk from the car to the stairs…and then it’s up 8 flights of stairs with groceries.
  • I think Goldeyes mgr Rick Forney has put together a great starting pitching staff…will be interesting to see what our bullpen looks like.
    forney
  • Going to head down soon for another great workout…and with this great weather may head out for a nice, long hike this afternoon.
  • …and so they say…we only go through this journey called life one time…try new things…gets tedious and kinda boring…and you miss out on so much…love the look of this guy…and so, I’m going to try and get this look…see how it turns out..nothing to lose…what’s the worst that could happen…I look twenty years older…LOL
    FullSizeRender (15)

It was one of those “moments”…filled with joy; playing catch with Ben…by Chuck Duboff

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Playing catch with Ben.

One hour of playing catch with my grandson Ben.  He asked me questions about pitching and I explained to him: “extend your left leg, look at the glove you’re throwing to, slow your pitching motion down” and he soaked it all in.  With every pitch his accuracy got better and the pop in the glove was crisp and loud

It seemed like mere moments ago that Matthew and I were doing the same thing; playing catch, pitching, enjoying our team winning a championship.

It felt like five minutes ago that I was pitching on the “Giants” little league team; throwing a no hitter, playing short stop and my only ability as a hitter, being able to drop down a great bunt.

Not sure where all the time went, but I know I’m blessed to be able to go out and play catch with Ben…and him so deeply engrossed in learning the nuances of the game.  After about an hour of throwing, I said to him:  “You’d do this all night, wouldn’t you?”  His response was simple and to the point: “Yes”  He sure got the baseball gene from his dad Chris and from his Zaida Chuck…

I spoke earlier in the week about those “moments” in life that fill your heart with joy…that answer the question: “what’s it all about?”  Well, for one hour yesterday the answer was right in front of me…the sheer joy of playing catch with Ben, that’s what it’s all about!!

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“I have to slow my pitching motion down like Aaron Sanchez does Zaida.”

Those moments…awareness prevails. By Chuck Duboff

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© Chuck Duboff

Those Moments…Awareness Prevails

What does it all mean?
What’s the point?
When will we understand?

It’s in the moments
That fill your soul
With a joy
Unexplained.

The warmth of a hug,
A genuine smile,
Kindness expressed,
Love shared.

It’s a child…
Holding you tight;
The grass…
A lush, brilliant green;
A song…
Perfect in every way.

There’s no book,
Course,
Tutorial,
Lecture…
To explain those moments.

When your soul
Is overcome
With a happiness,
Real and profound…

That’s what it’s all about,
No grand announcement,
No cataclysmic event.

It’s being aware,
Genuinely alive…
To the here…
To the now…

That my friend
Is what it’s all about.

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Saturday Morning Random Thoughts; by Chuck Duboff

VACATION TRAVEL BEST OF THE MIDWEST

“Is this heaven, no it’s Iowa.”  Field of Dreams.

© Chuck Duboff

  • It’s March, the month in which Manitobans can experience all four seasons in one day!!!
  • Big shout out to the Winnipeg Jets for the support they gave to Tyler Myers and his family during a very difficult time.  If you haven’t seen this video, take a few minutes…it’s a reminder of what is important in life:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKAzXhxc1zk
  • Moments of clarity are fleeting; yesterday afternoon and evening provided me with a peacefulness and understanding rarely felt; it was tangible and quite a new feeling.  Grateful for those moments.
  • Though the Jets won’t make the playoffs this season, wins at any time of the year are part of the growth process…I would like to see Roslavic and Conner called up for the balance of the season in order to get a feel for hockey at the next level.Ros
  • So Brian Pallister takes two month winter holidays to Costa Rica; took a 20% pay increase last year…and now he is gutting and slashing every program in Manitoba. Hope everybody is enjoying the PST going down from 8% to 7%!!!  NOT!!
  • What a very special night it was on Thursday evening watching the Jets game with Laine and Ben; non stop commentary, hi jinks, cuddling and just having a great time!!  #grateful.

    Ben, Laine and I playing

    This picture was from the spring the Jets came back to Wpg; 6 years ago and still having fun together!!

  • Watching the World Baseball Classic, it sure makes you appreciate the talent of the players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuala and Puerto Rico; those lineups are power laden…would be interesting to see what would happen if the Mike Trouts and Bryce Harpers of the USA decided to compete.  I think it would take the tournament to another level!!
  • Celebrating mom’s 92nd birthday tomorrow…her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will all be here!!
    family
  • This brief moment of clarity, in a life so filled with angst and confusion, has given an incredible insight into so much of what I have to be grateful for; though always aware of the good fortune I have in life…there is a real sense today of what all that means.
  • In all my years of being a New York Yankees fan, I have never seen them have a good spring training…I would attribute that to George Steinbrenner and his boys signing star players in their 30’s who take their time to get ready for the season and the Yankees ending up with a poor spring training record.  I looked at the exhibition game standing yesterday, and low and behold there are the Yankees with the best record.  With so many young kids in the lineup trying to prove themselves: Sanchez, Byrd, Judge, etc, suddenly the Yankees are winning games and shining a light on a bright future.  If the Yankees had more depth at starting pitching, they might compete this upcoming season!!
    yankees-spring-training
  • Once again, I love the team that Goldeyes skipper Rick Forney is putting together; I’ve mentioned this a few times, but with each season, it seems like Rick is signing higher calibre players.  I’m sure his connections to organizations have increased dramatically over the years and he is able to sign the type of player that he is looking for…training camp can’t start soon enough!!
  • Doofus head meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel; she with a PHD in Physics, he just finishing reading Dick and Jane; the misogynistic, serial liar makes more unfounded claims about wiretapping, but ups it one more by claiming that Merkel was also wiretapped; she looks at the media with a “who the fuck is this bozo?” kinda look:
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  • There is always one benefit to the Jets not making the playoffs; I budget money all season for possible playoff tickets.  Once it became clear that playoffs were not in the picture for this spring…I went ahead and booked “my cabin” in Falcon lake for five days in May…filled with such gratitude that I am in a position to take another holiday this spring:

Straps and demeaning words leave life long scars…by Chuck Duboff

©Chuck Duboff

I was always afraid.  My mom would finish her wooden spoon ritual, a few more nails broken on my fingers and then she’d utter the words “wait until your father gets home…” Try going to school feeling fear all day; try concentrating on the provinces and their capitals, while at the same time worrying about getting the strap from dad.  What was it this time? I only got a B+ on a subject rather than an A…that certainly warranted the wrath of the strap.

I was always afraid.  “Do you think money grows on trees?  Who do you think you are going out with girls and spending money?”  Nothing I ever did was deemed acceptable.  School not good enough.  “you’re too fat, we have to buy you special clothes.”  Too fat, too “stupid”, waster of money, “you’ll eat that food the way it’s made, I don’t care what you like”

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I’d escape into baseball.  I’d read magazines, create my own games and leagues.  It was my temporary escape from the insanity of my house.  I’d be the shortstop for the New York Yankees for a few hours; I’d be the starting pitcher in the World Series.  Baseball helped me to escape.  My body would be in horror “waiting for your father to get home.” while I dreamed of being Mickey Mantle.

When he’d get home, I’d hide in terror in my room.  Sometimes under the blankets, other times just lying staring at the ceiling waiting once again for the punishment.  Some nights he’d be too tired to come in and destroy me, while other nights he’d enter and unleash his frustrations and failures upon me.  I cried for hours and hours and hours.  There never seemed to be an end to it.

Fast forward five decades; “now you know why I am so fucked up Carly”  To this day I feel the pain, the hurt, the worthlessness of those terror filled nights; those demeaning hurtful comments which are seared into my soul. “you’ll drive me to Selkirk”  I walk around aimlessly filled with the question: “Why, what did I ever do…” I always tried to behave, to be the good son, but even today it doesn’t matter what I do.  I am still begrudged any happiness…”why would your student get up at 3 in the morning and drive you to the airport?”  Maybe because my students saw the good side of me that you and dad never did mom.

Your straps and mean words forever scared me…and I still live with that pain today.

Not a baseball story, but rather, a Winnipeg baseball fan courageously shares a very painful part of his life…by Josh Alen.

© Chuck Duboff

Editor’s Note: I have known Josh from a distance at Goldeyes games; he has always seemed like a very devoted fan…yet, I didn’t really know him.
Josh regularly reads my Goldeyes blogs and leaves commentary.  I was very impressed with this young man, yet still, I didn’t know his story.  Little pieces would come out, but it was still a puzzle.
Recently Josh posted some very personal thoughts on Facebook about the challenges he has faced in life.  I reached out to him and asked if he’d like to share his story on the blog…I sensed at first some hesitation, but with time and thought, Josh eagerly agreed to share his story.
What follows is the story of a transgender youth trying to find himself.
Well done Josh…very proud of you for having the courage to write this.  I know Luis Alen is proud of you also…as are all your friends and Goldeyes family.

 

© Josh Alen

Sometime in the spring of 2007, my local indy-league baseball team brought a rookie bat catcher onto the roster, a little guy from South America with decent numbers. His name was Luis Alen, and I guess that’s where this story starts.

I didn’t know the first thing about baseball back then. I followed the Winnipeg Goldeyes casually, solely because they were the hometown ball club. That changed pretty quickly after that signing.

You know that feeling when something happens, and you feel a click, as if to say this is going to be important? That’s the feeling I got, reading that press release.
It would end up being six years before I got to see that kid from Venezuela play a game in person, but man, was it ever worth the wait.

I went to my first Goldeyes game on March 18th of 2008, my first words? “Where’s Alen?”
“Oh, he doesn’t play for us anymore.” I was told.
Needless to say, that was a disappointing summer. I didn’t end up going back for a while, but the reasons were unrelated.

In May of 2012, I was reeling from years’ of mental illnesses, abuse trauma, and a couple failed suicide attempts.
I didn’t want to live anymore, let alone go to a baseball game. I did anyway.
It was the 30th, just days before my nineteenth birthday. The night was warm, the breeze was perfect, and the sunset was one of the more beautiful ones I’d seen in a while. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would end up being the first day of the rest of my life.

“Just one game” I’d said.
That “one game” ended up being close to fifteen or twenty by the time September rolled around, and turned into becoming a season ticket holder by age twenty-one.
I don’t remember much about the 2012 season,
I remember that first game though. I remember finally seeing Luis in person, I remember seeing him interact with fans, how kind and sweet he was, how genuine he seemed, I remember watching him walk up to bat. It was like being a kid on Christmas morning again. I remember watching him hit, hit after hit, after hit…it’d be a while before I saw him strike out. He was a genius behind the plate too, called the game like few others.
That game set the stage for the coming years. I don’t remember if we won or not, it wasn’t important. I remember feeling, a certain safety, a sense of home (there was that click again).
I’d continue to feel that throughout the rest of the year, as I became more familiar with the team that was quite quickly becoming mine.


Everything was so new, and so fun, getting to know some regular fans, some of the staff, and some of the players themselves.
It was refreshing to have something to look forward to, something exciting, that was bringing me out of my shell after so long; the championship run that fall certainly didn’t hurt either.
Still, the best part of that first summer was watching, awe-struck every time #18 walked past, or went up to the plate.


That would be the case every year. I’ll never know exactly why, but nothing else ever seemed to matter quite as much. Maybe it was simply how good he was on the field. Maybe it was how he carried himself as a professional athlete, or how humble he was. Though it could have been that in getting to know him I’d come to find that the kind, gentle soul I’d seen interacting with kids on that night in May wasn’t the same act that most athletes put on to impress; but in fact just who he was. It was likely a combination of all those things, mixed with a little of the world’s best hugs.

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Whatever it was, it kept me coming back, not just in 2012; but every year that followed.
Life didn’t just magically get better after one summer, no. That has been a lengthy process that has lasted up until this day, and will continue for as long as I live.
There has been hurt, there has been heartache, there have been more mental illnesses, there have been my first steps in the world as a transgender male, there has been loss, so, much loss.
Though, no matter the mud that I’ve been dragged through, no matter how far past rock bottom I’ve sank, there has always been a light at the end of the tunnel, I’ve always had my boys. Even when I didn’t have “my” boys, even when every other player I’d liked had left for whatever reasons, when a large portion of the friends I’d made in years past had decided to not return; there was always, my catcher. That was what got me through even the darkest nights and back through the doors of my beloved ballpark every spring.

Until one day, he wasn’t anymore.

That’s when it became real.
That was the point which I had to sit back, and reflect on the years I’d spent telling myself that this one, amazing player had kept me coming back long enough to love a team that I kept claiming saved my life. I came to a crossroads at which I was forced to look at whether or not those claims were true, or if they were just the rugs under which I’d been sweeping my problems.
It was agonizing, to say the very least.
I was convinced that I didn’t have a chance in hell at recovering from the loss of the person who’d been there from the very beginning, who was the catalyst for all the friendships, all the happy memories, the person who none of this could be at all without.
I did have a chance though, after months of self-destruction and doubt I overcame, and I conquered with such tenacity that even as I write this a year later, I still cannot fathom.
I spent the last three hundred and sixty five plus days moving one of the most enormous mountains that life has ever dropped in front of me.
I didn’t do it alone though, not for a single second.

On a frigid, January morning the safe, familiar home that I’d built for myself burst into flames, and burned to the ground; leaving me buried so far beneath the rubble that I was rendered virtually unrecognizable. At the time I was thought that everything I’d come to know was over, when in reality it was just beginning. Slowly, everything that I had gained from the interest in baseball that a catcher had sparked a decade prior started to unfold everywhere I looked. All the happiness that reminded me of why I started this chapter to begin with, the memories that I’d miss making, the love that would be left over with nowhere to go should I make good on my “resignation” from my Goldeyes, the friendships that I’d come to cherish that would likely be lost.
That last one was the most important, and ultimately what has gotten me to the place I am in right now.

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The friends that I had made and continue to make, the people who found the multiple feet of rubble, and chipped away to find me at the bottom. The people who pulled me out, and dusted me off, the people who held me up and showed me not only how to stand again, but how to walk on my own; those who stood on all sides of me, and picked me up every time I fell, every time I still fall. The people who believed in me, who loved me until I could be myself again, the people who ended up showing me what it meant to belong, and to be truly accepted.
The people who I would never have met, had it not been for the love I developed for that rookie catcher from Venezuela, who I’ve now come to call My King.

I will not forget the bad that came with this last year.
The sheer terror on that morning, the devastation I felt when walking away seemed like the best and only option, or the weeks I spent lying awake at night, most of the time fairly intoxicated.
However, I will also not forget the good.
The leaps and bounds I made towards recovery after so many years, the obstacles that I laughed in the face of, as I surmounted them.
The night before my twenty-third birthday; on which I summoned the courage to tell the man that started this all, a watered-down version of this story. The same night that I asked him for his blessing to take his last name as my own (I should mention that he said yes, and I’ve never been more proud of anything in my all my years).
The new people I met along the way that help each and every day to shape me into the man that I hope to eventually become.
Oh, and the championship run at the end of this season wasn’t too shabby either.

14424708_258700601196799_3623375460493997764_oI have learned so much about the mental strength that I did not know I possessed, about perseverance, and resiliency. I’ve learned what it means to truly love, and to be truly loved.
I’ve learned about taking risks, and making the most of every precious moment you’re given, how not a single one of those moments should be taken for granted, and making damn sure that you tell the ones you love that you love them while you still have the chance.

I’ve had proven to me the meaning of fate, and destiny. I learned to trust that click, to trust the feeling of this was meant to be. If something screams “this is your purpose, this is what you were meant to find” for a decade, you should probably stop being stubborn and just listen.

I am finally on a road to a real, and long-lasting recovery after over a decade of suffering, I am on a path to becoming the most authentic me I can possibly be; none of which could be possible without the environment that a small sports organization in downtown Winnipeg creates for their fans

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Sometime in the spring of 2007, my local independent-league baseball club signed a soft-spoken, catcher, with a heart of gold, and one of the most beautiful souls this world will ever know. His name was Luis Alen; and he, along with his team changed my life forever.

Aura & Ancient Steps…new poetry by Geoff Brookes

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© Geoff Brookes

Aura

Ambling bobs with short right steps,

Courtney’s weight rests on her left,

Lagging, like a spirit’s quest,

Her sister, brother, more adept.

Her father traces close beside. 

Eyes follow source of restful sound,

Where waters over boulders slide.

Upstream, boats rest over ground.

The kayaks’ colours fade in glare,

Casting light, absorbing heat,

Their aura beckons like a dare,

Challenging to hero’s feat.

Omega dog to water leaps,

Splashing in the shallow shade.

Alpha fiddles with the keys.

In border sand, the vessels laid.

Courtney smiles at sister’s chants – 

Cheerful rhymes of never-land.

Forgetful of her fearful chance,

Strides gunwhale, with her father’s hand.

He slips the kayak, floating now, 

And angles hips along the stern.

Mother smiles and shoves the prow.

Drifting back, he pauses, turns,

And waits, while swimmers navigate

This place where lake and creek repose.

Mom launches next while “Hils” creates

A commentary Courtney knows.

To peals of laughter, Sean partakes

With paddling pet pulled into boat.

He hugs, retreats, as canine shakes.

He pulls the oar – already soaked.

The trio work to gather pace

Against the flow. Courtney yells 

“We’re beating you!”, her gleeful face

A conqueror’s, with joy unveiled.

They set a course for central isle,

With landing rock for boats and crew.

The loons appear, all still awhile –

Silently, their souls renew.

Chastened, scouting isle from lee,

Searching for the landing stone,

Guiding from their memories – 

Patterned legends they have known.

Securing kayak as he can, 

Dad rests it close beside the rock.

Courtney struggles there to stand .

The other boats approach to dock.

Soon all begin again on foot,

Their journey now a shorter trek.

They pick their way through fallen wood.

Sean finds himself a walking stick.

Their destination manifests

In desolated cabin frame.

Opening the broken chests,

They search for clues, or just a name.

And in the bedroom, mirror found,

Old and speckled like a tree.

Courtney gazes, turns around,

Glimpses her eternity.

As they travel back to shore,

Yawns and speeches floating free,

Courtney’s mirror is no more.

Her aura now is plain to see.

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© Geoff Brookes

Ancient steps  

Welcome walk down ancient steps

Crossing craggy cliffs, 

Visit paths so lightly tread,

Descendants of the hills.

Stones underfoot, and formed to walls,

Artfully adjoined,

Spaces small, but still permit

The greenery to flow.

Unbroken for the ages past,

But suddenly a fall –

The path truncated, walls collapsed, 

Narrow steps withal.

Proceeding by the rubble round,

Resuming settled ways,

Chaos charging wonderment – 

The order that remains.

Saturday Morning Random Thoughts (with several important Thank You’s included); by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

  • Thank you to Clara Hughes…while laid up in a hospital bed after surgery, she took the time to encourage me through a difficult week.  You are a champion in so many ways Clara…most importantly, you are an inspiration to all of us who face the daily challenge of Depression.  Your being so open about the challenges you face with Mental Health Issues…you make it easier for all of us.clara huges
  • Al and Geoff…thank you for last Monday afternoon.  Thank you.
  • Completed watching Breaking Bad, all 5 seasons, for the third time.  Walter White and Jessie…daymn, it doesn’t get much better.
  • As I said yesterday:  “Winnipeg, where you get up in the morning and check the wind chill, -29, and you go: YES!!…now that’s better.”
    blizzard
  • I say this to friends and family of those who suffer with Depression; it must be difficult to watch someone you love struggle and make decisions which seem irrational; but, I would ask you to ask yourself this question: “Would someone like Chuck, a supposedly educated man, consciously choose to go through what he went through last week.”  The next time you get frustrated, upset, angry with them for doing something which you can’t understand…ask yourself that question.
  • Given all the injuries the Jets faced in November…and the heavy schedule they were given…it’s amazing they are still at.500…playoffs may be tough…but, I think, if they could beat Buffalo today, making it 3 in a row, they could go on a roll.
  • Think about this: Scheifele, Ehlers and Laine…just those three, 51 GOALS!!!!!
  • The beaches of Puerto Vallarta, the ocean, the mountains, the hot sun…are now within my getting excited time!!!  Two weeks away from this frozen city!!!
  • In the midst of a very difficult birthday on January 1st, the birthday wishes kept pouring in on Facebook…don’t have the words to express what that day felt like, but I do want to thank those that took the time to send their birthday wishes.
  • The Russians, Vladamir Putin, manipulating the American election, is beyond believable…if a direct link to Trump’s campaign is exposed…Trump should be tried for treason and there should be a re-election.  Woodward and Bernstein…go get ’em boys!!
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  • These two leaders are destroying the very foundation of Democracy.
  • Watched the Secret Life of Pets with Laine and Ben; man did I ever enjoy that!!
  • Bell Lets Talk…January 25…a day of discussion and understanding about Mental Health Issues…leaders like Clara Hughes and Michael Landsberg, who face the daily challenges, have been courageous in bringing this debilitating medical issue to light.
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  • Thursday evening, December 29th, I went to the Jets game with Laine; we had a fantastic time; came home in a great mood.  Woke up Friday morning, December 30th; within minutes, I knew!!  I felt it!!  Ten minutes later I wrote this blog; reading it now, it just blows my mind how the Devil (Depression) can take hold and not let go.  https://chuckduboff.com/2016/12/30/the-devils-death-grip-by-chuck-duboff/
  • Brian Pallister, hope you’re having fun down in Costa Rica plotting more ways you can cut jobs, salaries, services in Manitoba.
  • Been in a Led Zeppelin headspace for weeks now…Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham!!led-zeppelin-ii-1400175028
  • Thank you Al; thank you Geoff; thank you Clara.  I’m writing today, because the three of you took the time to be there for me.
  • Al inscribed the copy of his book, Saskatchewan Farm Boy, that he gave me; some important words were said: … “the best and longest of friends are those who accept each other for what they are.”
  • This is classic, couldn’t resist:esl

Saturday Morning, pre-blizzard, random thoughts; by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

  • Get ready Winnipeg, it looks like we are in for one whopper of a blizzard.  If it’s going to hit us, don’t be a half assed blizzard…shut the city down for a few days.  Now that’s a blizzard.
  • That being said…February 15th can’t come fast enough for me.
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  • It has been fascinating seeing the computer models tracking this storm for almost a week and they pretty much have nailed it.
  • Wishing all my friends in Winnipeg, across Canada, the US, Mexico, Cuba, Spain and anywhere else I’ve missed…a very Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas.
  • Congratulations to my friend Al Bryski, who sold out the initial  printing of his just released first book: Saskatchewan Farm Boy.  A second printing is underway and copies will be available for purchase at McNally Robinson.
  • Watching Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine and Nik Ehlers play together, takes me back to the days of Hull, Hedberg and Nillson…Ehlers first goal Thursday reminded me so very much of Hedberg flying down the right wing and scoring on a fabulous wrist shot:      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbUd2VNpgs0
  • Nice being able to help out former students in whatever way possible.
  • Interesting to see discussions which occur following the publishing of a blog; it’s pretty easy by now to tell which readers will respond and what their attitudes will be.
  • Donald Trump: taking the United States back to the 1950’s.
  • Please explain to me the love affair with a despot like Vladamir Putin.
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  • Kind of surreal that I have a daughter who is now 39 years old; hard to process…but so very blessed to have her in my life.
  • Really enjoying reading the Bryan Cranston autobiography; what an interesting man.
  • 2016…you have royally sucked!!!!  Leave Carrie Fischer alone…get well soon Ms. Fischer.
  • As I have said to many…the last 21 minutes of the Jets win over Vancouver this past Thursday evening…that team could beat anybody!!  The young guns taking over the team; think about this…the Jets first goal of the game:  Trouba passes to Scheif who passes to Ehlers who passes to Laine for another electric goal.  Those are four first round picks by the Jets folks…how exciting is that.  Now if Coach Maurice could just find a way to get the team to play 60 minute hockey.  We need a long winning streak to get the confidence to another level.
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  • The Miriam-Webster Dictionary definition of megalomaniaa delusional mental disorder that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur.  If this doesn’t describe Donald Trump, I don’t know what does.  Watching what is unfolding right now with Trump and Putin is so very reminiscent of the 1930’s…it’s time for the world to wake up.
  • Pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 15th.
  • Though it causes one to pause, at times we must purge people from our lives…those who contribute nothing and only bring you down…bye, bye.  I’d rather have a small strong circle of friends, than a flimsy circle of inconvenient acquaintances.
  • Time to head down to the gym for 45 minutes weights and 45 on treadmill!!
  • INVITATION: January 1st, New Year’s Day…my birthday; it is a tradition on this day to have family and friends over for birthday cake…I’d like to extend an invitation to any of my wonderful friends to join us that afternoon at my condo…let me know and i can get you my address; I know my friend Al and I will be toasting the New Year with a shot of some special Tequila I brought home last winter.  Look forward to seeing you next Sunday…and saying goodbye to the nightmare that was: 2016!!happy-new-year-party-banner-2017

Saturday Morning Frigid Random Thoughts; by Chuck Duboff

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© Chuck Duboff

  • Waking up to a Wind Chill of -41 freakin degrees!!
  • Why mom, oh why, when escaping Russia in the early 1900’s did some of your family go to Philadelphia, while for some inexplicable reason, the rest of the family moved to Winnipeg!!!  Then again, we’d be looking forward to President Trump…I guess handling -41 wind chill is more tolerable than the thought of Herr Trump.
  • Had just a great time with Carly, our Laine and Ben at the Jets Skills Competition last night!!  What a fun time…and seeing the expressions on the kids faces is pricelss.
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  • That kid Laine…hit all four corners of the accuracy shooting in just over 8 seconds…he makes everything looks so easy.
  • That would be 11 now…hard work, but getting to the goal!!
  • Well, Matha Ticklebottom got me again…
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  • I guess Trumps idea of draining the swamp in Washington meant to fill all his cabinet positions with billionaire white men whose philosophies are right out of the 1950’s.
  • Vladamir Putin has Trump so deep in his pocket that he will be calling all the shots on American policy around the world.
  • MRI results on Wednesday…what a relief, blessing, lesson.  The lesson which the Big Guy has now tried to teach me in powerful ways twice this year…2016…living in the moment and not dwelling on what was and what will be.  The anticipation of the results from the MRI had me imagining every possible outcome…relief and blessed.
  • Nice first signing by the Goldeyes.  Wes Darvill, a Canadian boy from BC, played a solid 3B last season and his bat only got better as the season went along.
  • It’s a Beatles, Jethro Tull music listening season…always has been.
  • Breaking Bad…Walter White and Jesse Pinkman…my all time favourite show; watching the full series for the third time now!!  Great writing, plot, character development, setting..
  • Congrats to my pal Al Bryski on the publishing of his first book, Saskatchewan Farm Boy.  You can pick up a copy of his book at McNally Robinson Book Store for $19.95
  • Nice to see the Goldeyes and Jets making life just a little better for those less fortunate…I know the Bombers are also great at helping out around the city.
  •  The provincial NDP is in such a mess…making Brian Pallister look good.
  • Watch out for Kevin O’Leary folks…watch out…it can happen here too.
  • Nice chat with Winnipeg Goldeyes ace from last season, Kevin McGovern.
  • A Very Special Thank You to Clara Hughes who is very open is talking about the struggles she faces with Depression.  An Olympic champion and inspiration for so many…she has given me the strength and courage to talk about the effect that Depression has on my life.  Thank you Clara…have a peaceful day.
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  • 66, 520 views of this Blog since its inception almost three years ago; and 1,244 followers who receive this blog everyday in their e-mail.  So very humbling, but also very inspiring.
  • Workouts have been fantastic the last few weeks…first 30-40 minutes on the weights and then 30-40 minutes on either treadmill or bike.
  • So very sad about Alan Thicke…really enjoyed pretty much everything he did.
  • The Goldeyes players, management and staff all received their championship rings this past week…what a great season the team had.
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Three very special hours…grateful and very blessed; by Chuck Duboff

Thank you for all of the wonderful feedback on this blog…this truly will be a day that will be remembered for a very long time; if you haven’t read this blog yet, I invite you to share in the joy I had with my family this past Saturday.

Chuck's Eclectic Blog.

© Chuck Duboff

I was looking forward to going to watch Ben’s hockey practice.  Going to the Jets game on Sunday with Laine, I wanted to make sure to get to see Ben play this weekend; additionally, since Laine was going to get an extra game and treats, I told Ben I’d take him to Boston Pizza after his practice.

So, with much anticipation, I headed out at around 1:30.  Having not driven for even one minute, I saw Matthew walking; I stopped to chat.  Matt had a giant smile on his face and said: “I got a call and I’m going to be shooting the Trews tonight at the Burton Cummings Threatre.  The guy who called me is in charge of photographers for True North…his other photographers were busy for tonight, so he called me to shoot the concert.”  The smile on is face was priceless; he looked so…

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Three very special hours…grateful and very blessed; by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

I was looking forward to going to watch Ben’s hockey practice.  Going to the Jets game on Sunday with Laine, I wanted to make sure to get to see Ben play this weekend; additionally, since Laine was going to get an extra game and treats, I told Ben I’d take him to Boston Pizza after his practice.

So, with much anticipation, I headed out at around 1:30.  Having not driven for even one minute, I saw Matthew walking; I stopped to chat.  Matt had a giant smile on his face and said: “I got a call and I’m going to be shooting the Trews tonight at the Burton Cummings Threatre.  The guy who called me is in charge of photographers for True North…his other photographers were busy for tonight, so he called me to shoot the concert.”  The smile on is face was priceless; he looked so happy, and when I said that he is becoming a “go to guy in the city” he just smiled.  It feels so great when you see your kids doing so very well…and so very happy.

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Driving in some beautiful late November weather, I was just so very happy for Matt.  It’s been a tough stretch finding his niche, but, between getting a full time job at the West End Cultural Centre and so many photography gigs around the city…well, I couldn’t be prouder.

Arriving at the West Kildonan Arena, I’m always reminded of when I was in high school and was the equipment manager for the West Kildonan North Stars…and this arena was just built; and here I am walking in to watch my grandson Ben play hockey.  Surreal folks, just surreal.

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It’s always so wonderful watching Ben heading out onto the ice in full gear; he enjoys it so very much!!  Carly, Laine and Chris joined me up in the stands to watch Big Ben practice…don’t often get to spend much alone time with Carly, so getting to sit together and talk for an hour is such a joy.  We both couldn’t stop commenting on how tall and mature Laine is getting (even though she is turning 10 January 4th, she still believes in the tooth fairy and Santa).  Chris was in one of his happy, kinda goofy moods, and that’s always so much fun.  Chris and Laine left early to go to Laine’s soccer game; Carly and I kept talking about what a great skater Ben is…the one sporty thing I was never any good at.  Once practice finished, Carly got Ben changed and off he and I went to Boston Pizza.

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“Zaida, have you been alive for all the Grey Cups?”  LOL…”no Ben, this is the 105th Grey Cup!!”  He burst out laughing…”oh, ok”  What a fabulous hour we had together; having just had a hard practice, Ben knocked off the kids sized pizza, fries, root beer and of course the ice cream treat.  There was non stop talk about sports: from Bo Levi Mitchell, to why Maurice benched the Jets top line, to “baseball is my favourite sport to go to Zaida”.  He was so well behaved, polite and happy.  I just cherished every minute we were together.

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Off to the new Garden City complex we went and caught the last ten minutes of Laine’s soccer game.  She has become such a good player and enjoys it so very much!!!  I know she really likes when I shout out “go Laine, go!!”  “I play harder when you shout that Zaida”
The kids are so very blessed to have two parents who are so involved in their lives; Chris coaches Ben’s hockey team and both Carly and Chris coach Laine’s soccer team…I couldn’t be prouder of both of them.

When Laine’s game was done, Chris and Ben came out first…big smiles and Chris commenting: “It never ends Chuck…lol”  Then Carly and Laine came out…several big hugs and thank you’s from both Laine and Ben.  As we walked to the car, Laine came running over one more time, gave me a hug and said “thank you Zaida”…I simply said: “see you at the Jets game tomorrow!!”

With so much bad news in the world today, finding out that a former student passed away, another former student had a stroke, two separate friends are getting divorced, Donald Trump is going to be president…

Being gifted with those three hours yesterday was beyond special.  Getting to see all the kids so happy, so successful, enjoying life so very much…just feeling very blessed and grateful.

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It all started with these three rockers:  Crash Test Dummies, Robert Plant and Bon Jovi!!