Kill The Wasps!

Today I did a lot of yardwork. From mowing the lawn to weeding the flower beds to fertilizing the garden. I felt accomplished. So I sat down on our front porch to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Right above my head was a newly formed wasp nest. Seriously?!? I hate those insects with a passion. I have been stung so many times in my life from just being near them.

Thank goodness I had bought some RAID last season. Time to rid my house of another nest. Spraying the nest and watching the bugs drop dead makes me happy. Wasps are jerks.

Telestrations

This afternoon my wife and I picked up our two youngest kids from school and headed out for an early dinner. As I have mentioned previously, I like to support local and small businesses. Tonight we took the kids to The Raving Gamer.

My wife and I have been to The Raving Gamer a few times ourselves. We enjoy the atmosphere of eating and playing board games. It always gave us a chance to try some games before purchasing them.

Tonight, we were the only people at the Raving Gamer. That is mostly because of the COVID restrictions in British Columbia. No indoor dining permitted. Outside in the parking lot of The Raving Gamer is only one table for four and a few tables for two. Not exactly a “Patio” compared to mainstream restaurants. But it serves its purpose allowing patrons to still enjoy a meal. As you can see, the food was appetizing and tasty.

Just before our early dinner, we played a game called Telestrations. Where you get given a word and have a minute to draw it out, then the next person guess the word, the next person draws the word and the person afterwards has to write what they think the word is and so on until it gets back to the original player. Like a game hybrid of telephone and Pictionary.

The game was fun for the four of us. I would like to see how much more creative it would turn out to be for up to twelve people playing. During the few rounds we did play, we laughed pretty hard. We all wanted to play more of the game, but know that it would be a fun party game with more players.

It was definitely a game we would recommend for larger groups. Obviously once Covid restrictions are lifted.

Are you supporting small businesses these days? Or perhaps playing games during the pandemic? Send me some recommendations for either of those. I want to still enjoy life and share experiences with others.

Find The Spiritual Side

Today is 4/20. A day that many people indulge in marijuana and just chill out. I think it’s great- even though I am not a pot smoker. I say it’s great because smoking a bit of pot tends to allow people to reach a different level of enlightenment. I honestly feel the world needs more enlightened people. I’m enlightened AF as the kids say.

For example: Ten years ago today, I took my four year old son to the Center of the Universe. Eight years ago, my daughter and I met a childhood hero of mine-Elvira. Meeting Elvira changed my daughter’s view of women being powerful and still remaining feminine. Seven years ago, my son was an honorary “Lego Master Builder” at a convention volunteering his time helping kids. Six years ago, we were in Golden, BC on our way to yet another convention. Four years ago today, my wife and I stopped in Weed, California at 4:20 to honor a friend of mine I had lost.

Sure, some of the memories I just shared seem insignificant to many. But each year on this day had a lasting emotional and mental effect on my life, and that of my family’s. All of it positive in some fashion. Most of it unintentionally spiritual.

Perhaps I’m just looking for answers. But aren’t we all? Isn’t that why people spark up a doob? To get spiritual? Or get lost in thoughts? Maybe it’s to become one with the universe. Far out man.

Whatever the case may be for people smoking the green on 4/20, just remember to have snacks nearby. And if things get outta hand, or you need a tripping buddy- there is a new helpline for you. The Fireside Project. Call or text +16234737433 for free emotional support to help you through a trip.

As always, stay safe and have fun!

Jar Lids: For Every Event

I forget that my wife is five years older than I am. Many of our interests growing up were different. Our upbringings were also different, but it also shared many similarities. Sometimes I find stuff of hers that I just didn’t know existed. Such as an old hobby of hers.

I do know all about cross stitching. My wife has made some beautiful Christmas stockings for our family years ago; as well as a couple of pieces she made for our kids. I knew she was talented in that aspect. She has immense patience when doing a task like that.

However, I did not know that it was a thing in the late 80’s to make cross stitch for jar lids. “For Every Event” no less! I suppose if you’re crafting, why not make jar lids for your canning as well?

The designs are rather simplistic. They remind me of Perler Beads or old computer video game animation. Very squared off and somewhere along the lines of being 16bit.

This makes sense to me. I miss seeing creative people at conventions making cross stitch fan art. I wonder if they started with “Jar Lids For Every Event” first? Perhaps these crafters started with something similar to understand the basics.

I have a feeling my wife will be getting back into this hobby once we move. What other reason would she have for leaving this on our table for me to discover? In fact, I may just have to take up the hobby as well.

I’m pretty sure we have a stash of jars that need decorative lids for our new home.

Life’s Like A Movie

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing. Keep pretending.

Seven thousand four hundred and eighty days. Or twenty years, five months and twenty four days. That was when I proposed to my wife.

We had gone out for dinner, then an evening stroll in Fort Langley. We stopped at a coffee shop and sat on the patio, at which point I popped the question. On the sidewalk right next to us they were filming a movie.

We married on July 10,2001 in Fort Langley at a small church on a Tuesday. Across the street, they were filming “Air Bud 4”. The production company stopped filming and stood at the door and watched us get married.

This past weekend, my wife and I walked through Fort Langley once more. This time the little town had changed into the setting of “Sonic The Hedgehog 2”. Fort Langley became a town called Green Hills. My wife and I went “full tourist” and took a bunch of photos.

My favorite part about walking around, was seeing the details added to the set. Things that no one would ever see. The background story of a fictional town hidden all around. As if Green Hills was a real place.

Movies have always been a big part of my life and I enjoy them tremendously. Movies can whisk you away for a couple of hours into an imaginary storyline. My life with Lee-Anne has been magical since we first met.

The eye of the mind makes a movie. And my movie has been nothing short of awesome.

Double Dose of Kayaking in Fort Langley

My wife and I took a break from packing our house in order to enjoy the summer-like weather. We got up early the past two mornings and headed out to Fort Langley to enjoy some tranquility and exercise.

Yesterday we went to Salmon River and paddled alongside of the farm land. The water levels were so low that we were able to get through a small tunnel and explore more than we had in the past.

Today we went to the Bedford Channel and pushed further than we have before. Whenever we kayak here, we go against the current first in order to float back. The current wasn’t as strong as in the past, which was nice. I was also impressed by the courtesy of other paddlers and boaters considering how busy the boat launch area was getting.

The feel of the sun on our faces really brightened our moods. We also stopped on both days to buy lunch from local businesses. Not that the Fort Langley community isn’t bustling as it is! But my wife and I have a couple favorite spots that we love to support.

I enjoyed my early dates with my wife. We needed some of this time together in order to rejuvenate.

Take Out Day

Since it was my daughter’s birthday yesterday, we wanted to do a nice dinner for her. Usually we get Nikko Sushi for any celebratory meals. But our daughter wanted to try something different. Due to current health restrictions in British Columbia, we had to order take out.

It also happened to be “National Take Out Day” as well! We picked up some slushies from a corner store, some Indian Food from Taj, and an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

Besides samosas, my family doesn’t eat a lot of Indian food. We did buy samosas, but we also had coconut chicken curry, butter naan bread, and paneer. It was delicious. I am impressed that our kids are always willing to explore tastes from other cultures.

17? Ugh. As if

The ice cream cake was a delicious end to the meal. Our daughter has been enjoying 80’s/90’s movies all her life and went with a “Clueless” inspired cake. We watched the film afterwards for a good laugh. (Wow, there are a lot of stars that were up and comers from back then! Thanks IMDB for helping me to recognize them.)

Did you enjoy some take out yesterday? What did you have?

Do you like Indian cuisine? What would you recommend we try next time from a restaurant?

Let me know in the comments.

Darwin is Seventeen

Happy Birthday Darwin!

I can’t believe that it’s been seventeen years since our second child was born. I feel as though she will always be our little girl even as she enters adulthood. Much in the same way I see our other two children. Sometimes when you look them in the eyes, you can still see the child they once were. It must be a parent thing, because I hear the same thing about other people’s kids!

My favorite thing about Darwin is how she loves to be a goofball. I think she gets it from me… oops. I do appreciate that she looks up to me as a role model. And as much as she is very similar in personality to me, she is also has her own individuality. It’s as though she is taking my qualities and improving on them.

As the years go on, and she grows into a young lady, I wish her nothing but success and happiness through all of her accomplishments. Darwin leads the charge when it comes to hard work and commitment. I am inspired by her on an almost daily basis.

I love you lots Darwin. Have yourself a great Birthday!

Summer Graffiti

As the sun continues to shine, my work days have gotten a bit brighter. Even the rail cars are getting into the spirit.

I spotted a “Lilo and Stitch” graffiti painted car outside the window today. It made me smile at the abilities of some vandals. The recognition of a cartoon character on either side of a tag is becoming commonplace.

Seeing “Lilo and Stitch” reminded me of our trip to Hawaii seven years ago. As well as our trip to Tokyo three years ago. Which got me thinking about all of our vacations to Disneyland. I really do enjoy my time with my family as we make memories.

So if a graffiti vandal can make me happy, then I really don’t mind seeing their crimes. Especially on rolling art canvases that travel the continent.

Sun Of A…

I enjoy seeing the sun. It just kind of sucks seeing it when you are at work.

These early mornings are also rather chilly to start, but midday is toasty and warm out. You can tell that summer is peeking it’s head around the corner. We are getting just a little taste of things to come.

As spring keeps bringing nicer and nicer weather, I really want to get outside more often. A dose of vitamin D helps bring up that energy needed to feel good.

Even if I am stuck at work, I get opportunities to walk around the rail yard and enjoy the sun on my face. Sure, I’m not at the beach, but I’ll take what I can get. My days off look like they should be warm and sunny as well. Perhaps a trail hike or kayak trip will happen this weekend.

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere

“It’s five o’clock somewhere.”

It’s a phrase many of us have heard, and even said, over the years.

It’ll be nice to have the pandemic behind us and celebrate once more. Sure, there’s still been enjoyment of alcohol over the past year or so. But hitting a pub, bar, or social house is something that even I long for.

Happy hour needs to happen again. We all need to let loose and enjoy one another’s company. We are so close to having this pandemic put behind us. Once it’s time to get jiggy with it, you’ll find me setting my clock to “Party Time.”

Yea. I’m tired and this post isn’t great. But that clock of mine is cheesy and I tried really hard to write a blog about it. Oh well.

Cheers everyone!

It’s Okay To Have A Bad Day

We all have bad days. It’s totally okay to have them. Even when the sun is shining and the world should be wonderful-a bad day happens.

A bad day is a good way to appreciate what you do have. It may not feel like at the time, but in hindsight it becomes clear.

So take the good with the bad. That’s the advice I needed to tell myself today. I thought perhaps others may need to hear it as well.

Good Afternoon For A Walk

My wife and I dropped off our son at the skating rink for his Saturday practice and laps. Due to restrictions, we are unable to stay and watch. Instead of driving home, my wife and I decided to go for a walk.

We wandered around a park and neighborhood that we don’t normally go to. I enjoy walks like this. We get to see how other people decorate and care for their properties. I love to see well manicured gardens. It gives me inspiration for our home.

As soon as the spring blossoms arrive- it all disappears into summer greenery. The life cycle of beauty keeps me smiling. Walking around and getting fresh air is also helping with the sanity these days. Much like last year, I plan on trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible this year.

Swimming

I love to swim. Almost every time we would travel, we tried to stay in a hotel (or motel) with a pool. After a long day of conventions/skating/Disneyland- it was a good way to relax before bed.

Oftentimes we would be the only people in the pool. It was as if no one else enjoys swimming. Or perhaps they just don’t like us. We are a bit of a strange family- pretending to be dolphins or zombies. That may have had something to do with having the hotel pool to ourselves.

We also enjoy swimming in the ocean, lakes and other natural spots. My wife used to call our kids “Water Babies”. We would hunt down places to swim whenever possible. Hawaii and California have beautiful beaches, and British Columbia has some fantastic lakes. What’s not to enjoy?

I always enjoyed swimming. For about half a decade during my preteen years- my family had a house with a pool. I swam regularly in it, even though I think my parents felt otherwise. I mean I also played a lot of video games and locked myself in my room watching television… But my exercise was to go swim. And I was good at it. I hope to be swimming regularly once more in our new home.

I do find it odd that last June I mentioned about buying a home with a pool: Pool of Thought even before we listed our house for sale. One year later we will be living out this desire. Our own private oasis in this world. Inadvertently I guess I had created a Vision Board and achieved the goal. Imagine what I could do if I set my mind to a goal?

Do you enjoy swimming? Do you hunt out hotels with pools when you travel? Let me know in the comments.

Raunchy Musicals

I love musicals. The way they tell a story through song and dance brings me joy. My mother took me to a few Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals back in the day. I enjoyed the experience of going to the Queen Elizabeth Theater in Vancouver to watch the shows.

However, I have an unusually soft spot for raunchy musicals. “Chicago” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” are classics and relatively tame when you consider some others.

Recently, my sixteen year old daughter introduced me to “The Book Of Mormon”. The subject matter and lyrics are definitely offensive. But humorous nonetheless. I knew of this musical, but I missed out on it the last time it came around. Once shows start happening again- I hope to catch this one live one day. Perhaps I should show her “Cannibal! The Musical” by the same creators.

Because my daughter has a twisted sense of humor, like her old man, I am trying to find “The First Nudie Musical” from 1976 for her to watch. The last time I saw this film was in 1988. I don’t remember much about it and only saw it the one time. However, I do recall laughing quite a bit at the film. Perhaps that was partially due to the uncomfortableness of starting puberty.

Nonetheless, raunchy musicals push the envelope of people’s comfort and explore the deviancies and taboos of the world. I guess that’s what makes it art.

Do you have any musicals of that nature that I should watch? Let me know in the comments. Catchy songs are always good as well, even if they a more vulgar.

My Original Profile Picture

Recently Facebook reminded me of my first “Tagged” photo. It also happened to be the photo I used as my profile picture for the first year or so on Facebook.

As you can see, it is of my father’s gravestone marker. Anyone who I befriended at the start of my Facebook days would have seen this image. Obviously I took this picture and tagged myself in it.

Fourteen years ago, I didn’t take selfies or share many pictures. In fact, my first smartphone was the iPhone 4 in 2010. Any photos I did share were from a one megapixel digital camera. I had to upload The images onto our computer, then filter through them (because the display screen on the camera was tiny- there was now way to tell in a picture was good or great). Most of my photos were of my kids as well.

So there wasn’t a profile picture of me that I was content with. Not with the age of “Showing off Instant Perfection” starting…

Yes folks, it’s still going on. We all want to share the best part of our lives. Most of the time I think it’s great seeing the individual successes. But I also know that it can be mentally taxing on each and every one of us. Myself included- for both.

So instead of trying to create the perfect profile picture with a low end digital camera- I used a picture with my name. It also served as a reminder of my father and the difference in our parenting styles.

Plus it is a bit morbid seeing your own name on a tombstone. I find that stuff amusing.

Unappetizing Photos

Everyone loves to take pictures of their meals. Be it at a restaurant or a homemade meal. I am no different. If the food has a delicious presentation, it needs to be shared. “Instagramable” so to speak.

My wife made a lovely turkey dinner last night. So I took some pictures. Dinner was delicious. The plate in front of me was But you wouldn’t be able to tell that by these next couple of photos:

Just look at that bird’s hole. The flash from my phone added a glistening that really made it unappealing.

The cranberry sauce from a can was the perfect accompaniment to the turkey. Check out the ridges on the jelly. Yummy.

It’s amazing how a picture can change a person’s perspective on things. But the food was still just as tasty as ever!

A Picture Is Worth 1000 WordPress Followers

Hooray! My little blog has hit 1000 followers! This milestone is pretty big for me since I don’t actively advertise my blog. That’s mostly because I’m not selling anything. I’m just writing anecdotes and stories about my life.

I cannot express enough all of the gratitude I feel towards everyone. Having followers who “like and comment” on my blogs brings me to a positive place. Writing daily has been a great relief for my worries and stresses.

Another hearty THANK YOU to everyone for following along with my stories and opinions.

Express 999

I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to the 999 followers of my blog on WordPress. I know that there are others out there on Facebook, Twitter and via email who receive my daily musings as well.

But the 999 on WordPress? I can count on one hand the people who I have met in person who follow me on this site (and yes, I follow myself as well). The rest are strangers who happened to find me and decided that what I say is important enough to follow me. That’s pretty cool.

I have also interacted with those that seek to write a comment to me. Some of whom I would consider to be an “Online Friend” now. Having only met through WordPress and a few lines back and forth. Yet a kinship is formed, even for the briefest of moments.

I appreciate all the followers. Heck, even the Bots. Someone out there took the time to write an algorithm to search out keywords, and they stumbled upon me.

Seriously though- a hearty “Thank you” to everyone who follows my blog. I appreciate you.

The Final Easter In Our Castle

This morning my wife surprised our teens by having an Easter Egg Hunt in our living room. We have done the hunt every year since we moved into our house.

Always in the living room. That’s because we can hide the eggs the night before and close off the room until we are ready. This is the same room we would celebrate Christmas Day in.

Today was the last time that our kids would hunt for candy in the living room. None of them wanted a picture taken, but I took a stealth one anyways. An Easter Egg Hunt was always something my wife enjoyed doing for our kids. As they became teenagers, I was thinking that it’s becoming a bit much.

But after today’s hunt I could see why my wife enjoyed doing this for our kids every year.

They all sat around the dining room table, dumped out their haul and divided it equally. It’s something they’ve always done (same with Halloween). Seeing them do this once more made me smile.

Our teenagers are getting along! These days it’s hit and miss with how nice they are to each other. Or even towards my wife and I. Days like today are a reminder as to why we love our family. Moments like this will be missed when we move away.

But the memories will be cherished forever.

Five Six.. Seventy Eight Days To Go!

Seventy eight days until we move. Seems so far away. But it’s only 11 weeks from now. In ten weeks, we will need to be 95% ready to move out. The last week will be paperwork and chaos. In five weeks I will need to start getting into contact with our billing companies to start the address change information.

Yesterday I finished booking two moving companies at a cost of almost $5000. Yup. TWO moving companies. One is bringing in two trucks and somewhere between six to eight people to dismantle furniture and move all of our possessions. The other company is specifically called in order to move our grand piano.

Today we ran out of boxes. We have a good portion of the unnecessary and hardly used stuff packed away. Besides the obvious Christmas decorations- we packed up book shelves, extra nicknacks from the kid’s rooms and a bunch of stuff from cupboards that we can live without for a couple of months. A huge assortment of stuff.

About a month ago my wife told me I was bringing home too many boxes. Now we are realizing that we will need twice the amount originally planned. How did we possess so much stuff? When my wife and I first moved together all we had was a bed, a couple bookcases, a couch, a tv, and a freezer. All of which fit into two pick up trucks and our two door car.

It feels as though we are upsizing once more instead of downsizing. Sure, we are getting rid of some possessions as we pack up. But we also have plans to buy some new furnishings in our next home once we settle in. At which point, we will probably purge some more stuff.

Moving is a pain in the butt. And costly. No wonder we haven’t moved in 14 years. I don’t want to do it ever again.

Fool! Not Today, Excalibur.

Today was pretty weak for April Fool’s Day jokes. There wasn’t much in the way of big ones. Nor was there any good ones shared by my friends.

This is likely due to the fact that we are still struggling through a pandemic. Many of us are more adept in keeping informed and sharing real stories. We have become skeptical over the past year or so.

Life just went on being the way it is. Excalibur did not get to yell “FOOL!” at me today. However, putting up his image makes me want to watch some anime again. Soul Eater would be good for a rewatch.

My Top 5 Colecovision Games

I love retro 80’s video games. However, Atari was never my thing. I have always favored the Intellivision, but a close second is the Colecovision. Both of which were superior to the Atari in all aspects.

Aside from my opinion about which home console was best in an era “Pre-Nintendo” I also had 5 top games that I loved playing on my Colecovision.

Antarctic Adventure

A forward scrolling game where you jumped over holes, caught fish and avoided seals. The idea was a timed trial race around Antarctica. I completed this game numerous times, but still recall the “boing” sound as you bumped into seals.

Cabbage Patch Kids

This is a side scrolling “Pitfall” style game that gets harder as you go. I remember playing for hours on end, mastering each sprite location for the perfect jump. With only three lives to give- I don’t remember if there was an ending to the game.

Zaxxon

This was a space side scrolling game. The difference was that it was more of a 45° angle side scrolling- which proved tough to judge obstacles. The sound of the thrusters buzzing was classic.

Frenzy

This was a top view maze game, where you ran from room to room killing monsters and robots. Simple and a good way to burn off frustration.

Pepper II

Kind of Pac-Man esque. You avoid this creatures as you zippered up sections of a maze.

All of them were a great way to spend hours playing. Trying to beat high scores, how far you got, or times. Simple and cartoony. Pretty sure these games would be easy to beat nowadays.

Coffee Helps Me Sleep

Coffee helps me sleep. That sounds really strange, but it is true. I have been drinking coffee since my mid teens. No, it did not stunt my growth- I still grew to six foot eight. It did however make me dependent on caffeine. I also drink quite a bit of cola as well.

I was talking with a coworker after our night shift. I was telling him how I was going to have a cup of coffee and head to bed. Clearly he thinks I’m crazy.

If I go a day or two without coffee, I tend to get bad headaches. Those headaches can make it very tough to function, including falling asleep. I’m lucky in a sense that one cup of coffee doesn’t keep me awake. It usually takes two or three cups or a really strong coffee in order to keep me alert if I’m tired.

After thirty years of coffee drinking, it’s no surprise that I’m addicted. But a cup of coffee after a night shift helps me sleep. Go figure.

Vibrant Mediocrity

If I’m not taking pictures of my family and friends, I am usually taking pictures of food or nature. Skylines and trees are my personal favorites.

Sometimes I take a photo “just because.” It could be a picture of a movie title or a unique object. (Sorry… side quest… is it “a” or “an” before the word “unique”? Let me know in the comments if I was correct, and why.) The other day I took the following picture:

It is not one of my better pictures. But the colours and shapes on the kitchen counter bring me joy. Here are the reasons why:

The green glass bowl– I have always loved shaped and coloured glass. The wavyness of this bowl is fun. There’s even a little matching bowl inside.

The red apples– Apples are my favorite fruit. These were nearly perfect apples as well.

The blue canister– It holds fresh ground coffee. Need I say more?

The silver canister– Holds our sugar for coffee and baking. For the little sweetness needed in our lives.

All of them lined up in our kitchen awaiting their turn to be used. To me, the colours just pop. I could’ve used a filter, or adjusted my angle. Each item is as vibrant in their emotional impact for me as are the colours. I ended up overlooking the art aspect of how to take a good photo.

This picture is a Vibrant Mediocrity. And that’s okay as well. Giving it a title like that turns it into art.