That Was Stupid… Balls.

We all do dumb things.  Sometimes more often than we wish to admit.  This evening I did something stupid to myself.

I punched myself in the left testicle.

It hurt.  

It was dumb.  

It was unintentional.

I had just stood up from the kitchen and was walking over to our computer when it happened.  I was walking and about to adjust my manhood when I slipped and full force punched myself in the junk.  The pain entered my lower abdomen like lightning.  I froze.  My brain recoiled and I internally slapped myself for being such a dumbass.  At this point my brain decided that my left hand was no longer permitted near my manhood.  I needed to use my right hand by itself and attempt to slide it into my pants towards my left testicle in order to console it and adjust its position.  My left arm was left dangling off to the side and flapped around like a rag doll as I squirmed cautiously to soothe my bruised ego.

So tonight I punched my own testicle.  I almost don’t mind it because it’s better than the time I kicked that same testicle after a shower.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I kicked myself in the left testicle once.  It happened a couple of years ago.  I had just finished drying off from a shower and was in a hurry to get dressed.  I got my right leg into my underpants and was lifting my left leg up in order to put it in the underwear leg hole.  I pulled my foot up so quickly that I kicked the underside of my scrotum with my heel.  Almost instantly I was on the floor writhing in pain.  I suffered for what seemed like an eternity before I could get up again.

My wife still brings up the time that I smashed a broken branch against a tree.  It boomeranged back at me crashing into both testicles.  I danced around with both hands cupping my junk as I howled in pain.

I’ve done many stupid things to my family jewels over the years.  I was really hoping for it to be over.

Have I told you about the other time I was getting dressed and bent down to pick up my clothes and the doorknob smashed me in the taint?  No?  Well it hurt.

Quiet Monday

Tonight is just a quick post.  I’m a tad bit tired from a 12 hour day at work.  But I also want to spend some time with my son watching cartoons before bed.  Sometimes putting time for family comes first.

On Saturday, I spent some quality time with our daughters.  I took them into town to take a guitar lesson followed by a brief lunch date.  Tonight, my wife is taking our daughters out shopping.  Having some one on one time is important.  I’m going to get back to cuddles on the beanbag chair while watching cartoons.  Have a wonderful Monday everyone.

Three kids

While sitting in the doctor’s office the other day, an older lady struck up a conversation about having children.  Her opinion was that families need to have three kids.  I was in agreement until she began to explain her reasoning.  She felt that having three kids was great because if you lose one, you’d still have two remaining.  But if you only have two children and lose one, you only have one child left.

Obviously this is the opinion of someone who has had many years on this planet.  She was clearly in her eighties.  Years of loss.  Memories of families that have been through pain.  She continued to speak of losing her sister at a young age.  But still had a brother remaining.  

She spoke of having three kids as a normal way of life for those around her when she was young.  As if most families did that.  “Better have a third kid, you know, just in case.”  Because, eighty years ago, there was a high occurrence of child death?

I’m half this lady’s age.  When I was a child most of my friends had one sibling.  Or came from a large family.  Blended families also began to appear more frequently.  But rarely did something tragic occur that caused the loss of life.  Even into my adulthood I only know of a couple of instances where someone lost a child.  Tragic and sad, but no need to prepare for the worst and have a back up.

Although it got me thinking- what if you lose your favorite child?  Each one of our children is unique and wonderful.  We love each of them immensely.  But… there are favorites.  I have one- but I won’t tell you which one.  And I know my wife has one- but she will swear that she loves each of our kids equally.  I would never wish death on anyone, let alone my own kids.  

It’s still strange to me to think that there are people having kids as “back-ups.”  You know, in case Plan A and Plan B fall through.

The Part We Play

“One artist does not make an Orchestra.”

I read that online somewhere and it definitely rings true.  Our middle daughter took on the role of performing the bassoon in her junior high band class.  Previously she was playing clarinet, but at the end of school last year she wanted to challenge herself.  So she asked to take on a new instrument.  I wrote about it here: School Concert Band.

When I was in high school, I played the clarinet. The very same clarinet that my daughter started on when she was in grade 5. I remember practicing and playing alone in my room. I also remember that even though we had a large classroom of thirty or so musicians- there was never anything extravagant in the sections. There were flutes, clarinets, alto sax, tenor sax, trumpets, trombones and a couple people performing percussion. We were a basic high school band. Not an orchestra.  The school my children attend is willing to push for strings, brass and woodwinds that aren’t of the norm in order to achieve this.

After last summer, months of practicing commenced.  Sometimes she was eager to unpack and play.  Other times it was a bit of coaxing to get her to practice.  As any parent with a child taking a music/band class knows- practice is imperative.  But it doesn’t always sound quite right.  An instrument playing it’s part could involve merely a repetition of notes or long rests.

Over the past few months, we have heard the one part.  The bassoon has a unique sound.  Sometimes we could hear the mistakes.  Other times we were wondering why such a song piece would be chosen.  There’s nothing magical about hearing an orchestral instrument playing by itself when it’s meant to be in the ensemble.

Today we attended the performance put on by the middle school students.  Every child performing their instrument.  Every one of them proving that hard work pays off.  Together they sounded like a real orchestra.  

I’m proud of our daughter for trying a new instrument.  Half a year later and the results are amazing.  After the performance, I saw her teacher in the hall and he was saying how excellent she is at the bassoon.  That was a proud parent moment.  A moment when you realize that your child is able to take responsibility for their life and prove that they can achieve their goals.  And it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Ooh Wee

Around our home we often quote tv shows and movies.  Since I have been on a Rick and Morty kick for a little over a year now my references are often… inappropriate to say the least.

My favorite insult to call my children is Mr. Poopybutthole”  It just rolls off the tongue with ease.  It’s sort of a misnomer because the character on the show is kind and positive.  

Problem is I am saying it far too frequently.  Mainly when I’m exhausted is when the name comes out.  I’ll forget my children’s real names and out comes “Mr. Poopybutthole” instead.  Which honestly doesn’t bother my kids.  My wife on the other hand is worried that I am teaching our ten year old bad habits.

I believe my children are kind and caring. So calling them a pet name like “Mr. Poopybutthole.” is perfect.  

Anyways.  Short and to the point tonight. I’m kind of tired and need to go say goodnight to the kids.  I hope my Mr. Poopybuttholes have a good sleep.

Peanut Butter Bacon Burger

I’m not the type of person who needs to demand respect.  I give respect and I often get respect in return. It has proven valuable and essential to my growth as a person. The road to respect is give and take.

But I noticed that respect seems to be diminishing from society as a whole. Over the past year there has been a lot of hate being shared. 
But why? People are allowed to have differing views. It’s what life is about. My concern isn’t about having an opposing view with someone else. What I find truly saddening is how people react to an opposing view:  Cruel internet memes. Racist or sexist slurs. Even violence. None of it is needed.  

I may not agree politically with a friend.  However, I will share the information I have with them to help explain my viewpoint and hope that they would do the same.  It’s about respect.

Now, the other day I was treated to a fantastic lunch.  I enjoyed a Peanut Butter Bacon Burger.  Delicious in a strange way.

The planet is full of Peanut Butter as well as Bacon Burgers.  Both of which are delicious on their own.  Some people like bacon and others like peanut butter.  Put them together and you have a blend that works.  A taste that stays in your mouth long after you’ve eaten it.  Somehow together they taste wonderful.

Like opposing views.  They may clash most of the time, but when you can work through your opinions it can create a better place.  

Society needs to be more like a Peanut Butter Bacon Burger.

Where Did My Naps Go?

Lately I’ve been putting in twelve hour days at work and sleeping a full eight hours at night.  Mind you I only work 3-4 days/week which is nice.  That gives me a three day weekend pretty much every week.  

Eleven months ago I wrote about the joy of Naps.  I still try and grab a nap on my days off.  “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  Let me correct that- I do nap on my days off.  However, I am suddenly enjoying a full eight hour block of sleep on the days I work.  It’s very different than I’m used to.  I almost like it.

Even my commute to and from work isn’t as bad as I once thought it would be.  Working in Downtown Vancouver was never on my agenda.  I never wanted a job that I would need to commute for.  In fact most of my jobs up until working at the railroad were within ten minutes of my home.  I only mention this because my commute driving cuts into my nap time.  

But the commute in the morning is generally before the traffic starts up.  So I am on the road for about forty minutes.  In the evening it only takes me about an hour or so to get home.  I utilize this time to listen to NEWS1130 on the am dial and get my daily intake of events.  It’s my favorite radio station by far.  In under an hour I am well informed and don’t need to waste valuable time filtering out social media “shares” to find news sources.

Because my commute is achievable and straightforward, I have been known to get to work a bit early and find a quiet spot to nap for about 20 minutes before work.  Why do I get to work early you ask?  Because I hate being late for anything.  I allot myself a buffer just in case of traffic.  And traffic can be gridlocked if I leave even fifteen minutes later than I usually do.  So getting to work early is better than me cursing in my car.

Getting one chunk of sleep is an excellent reset to start every day.  I never used to do it.  But I will always love my naps- when I get them.  

Vacation Planning Pt.3

Here is the planning stages thus far for our trip that we are planning for 2018.

1st Stage: Decide To Go On a Vacation.

This was easy.  Everyone loves vacations.

2nd Stage: Decide Where To Go.

This was a bit more challenging.  The family wanted to go somewhere warm or exotic.  We did Hawaii the one time and I realized that swimming in the ocean can be relaxing.  As I mentioned previously in Vacation Planning– we haven’t done much more than a few road trips up and down the West Coast.  I also pointed out our love of Disneyland and how it’s our “go-to” location.

3rd Stage:  Laying Out a Plan

I love the idea of visiting Disneyland.  It’s always the first place that comes to mind when my family talks about vacations or traveling.  I offhandedly mentioned to my wife the idea of Walt Disney World next year with a possible Disney Cruise as well.  We had some friends who have done similar trips and it seemed like a great idea.  So I began searching up Disney Cruises.

But then it dawned on me:  Why not visit a Disneyland in another country?  So I began researching every Disneyland on the planet.  Each one is fairly similar in the basic rides and visual look.  There is also rides and attractions unique to every location.  Plus they are located in beautiful cities that I have wanted to travel to.  Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong… all of them with much more to see than just Disneyland.  There are entire cultural differences to experience.  It has made it very difficult to decide which Disneyland to go to…

Next, I did what any father would do.  I sat my kids down and asked their opinions.  They were no help.  They couldn’t decide which one they would want to go to if given a choice.  So I made the decision for them.

We are going to travel to see every single Disneyland on the planet.  I can’t find anyone online who has done a single trip traveling from city to city visiting each and every Disneyland.  There are people who have been to all of the parks over the years.  I found one person who planned on visiting all of the parks in one year: Disney Around the World 2016: My Quest to Visit Every Disney Park in 1 Year.  

I figure it’s about time someone does it in one non-stop circular journey in under a month.  We are that family.

4th Stage:  Getting There

I mentioned in Vacation Planning Pt.2 that my wife figured out we can buy an “Around the World” airfare for about half the cost instead of individually buying tickets for city to city.  So now she is on board with the idea.

Because of my height, I haven’t ever really enjoyed plane rides.  I figure why not get as many flights over and done with in a short amount of time.  By flying westward first, it will keep the jet lag down to a minimum.  That way we can also end in California at the original Disneyland.

5th Stage:  The Details

We need to figure this part out still…

6th Stage: Enjoy Our Trip

Even Princesses need a break.

This will be a once in a lifetime trip.  A trip that most people would think is crazy.  But we aren’t like most people.  We are excited to see “The Happiest Place On Earth” in all of the many locations.

Now to come up with a title for our trip…

Disneyland World Hopper

Around the World in Disney Days

A Month of Disneylands

Planet Disneyland 

I need to find something that expresses the joy and the absurdity as well as the Disney-ness of it.

We’re going to Disneyland! 

All of ’em!

Vacation Planning

When my wife and I got married, our honeymoon cost us about $400 and lasted three days.  This was our first vacation together.  We made the most of it.  We stayed at a B&B.  We had a couple of dinners out, bought some cheap kites to fly around the lagoon, rented a couples bike for an hour and went canoeing up a small creek.  I learned never to let my wife paddle a canoe, she learned that I can’t fly a kite.  It was simple and relaxing.  We went back for our one year anniversary for a night.  My wife was due with our first child within a few days of this.

But we didn’t vacation much after this.  We began to save for a home.  We also bought our first new car.  Then our second daughter was born.  We became busy with raising kids.  Our family was growing.  We had a third child a few years after.  We were now married for five years and no vacations were in sight for the near future.  Such was life.

First day at Disneyland in 2009. Early enough to stand at the gates waiting with anticipation.

Then it happened.  Early 2009 I got laid off.  I was given two days notice.  We had three small kids.  Six, four and two.  Being forced to take time off, I went on to the Disney website and booked a hotel and park tickets for us.  We left on the Friday driving straight down (24 hours with one four hour nap in a rest area).  We spent a week in Disneyland and forgot about all of our worries.  For under $2000 we had the experience of a lifetime.

When we returned home, we vowed to go to Disneyland every couple of years.  Turns out 18 months is the maximum time away that we can endure.  We have returned for Trick or Treating a few times and once for Spring Break.  Every time we go we make a new experience and set of memories.  I’m no expert on Disneyland, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to make the most of a trip.

Sunset in Hawaii. 2014.

Besides Disneyland, we haven’t done much in the way of vacations.  We made it to Hawaii once for a Cheerleading competition.  We bought plane tickets and booked our hotel so far in advance that we ended up paying less than some of the other families that went along.  We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and had all of the amenities we could need.  We loved that trip, but I’m not sure we will ever return to Hawaii.  There are plenty of other warm locations that we would love to travel to.

Side trip back from California through the desert.

Over the years we even incorporated a few extra days into my wife’s convention circuit.  Attending a variety of Comic Cons, we have had opportunities to see more of the world as we drive to and from the venues.  This is another huge money saver for us.  Adding a small detour doesn’t really add anything to our trip.  Plus my wife’s business makes enough that we pay cash for the hotels and use some of it as spending cash as we travel.

All of this is wonderful.  And generally inexpensive.  We budget like crazy to afford the trips.  We also plan months/years in advance.  We also enjoy that aspect of the vacation.  (At least I do.)

Planning their next stop back in 2009.

This year we have a couple conventions that were already booked and we also plan to go for a few days camping.  All of it either paid for already or not going to cost us much.  I have decided that we need to really expand for our next big vacation.  Worldwide expansion…

Vacation Planning Pt.2

Yesterday, I mentioned trying to expand our travels to be more World Wide.  Here is the link in case you missed it: Vacation Planning.  Over the past few days, I have been looking into traveling to Asia and Europe within the next two years. I started by looking on Expedia and pricing tickets from one location to another. Then my wife asked if I had looked into”Around the World” air tickets. Flying this way cuts our cost in half. Bonus

However, we are still going to need to figure out some other costs such as hotels and food. We aren’t going to be road tripping with a cooler this time. My initial estimate for the five of us hovers around $30,000 to travel for about a month.

This is a huge jump from the first trip my wife and I ever took. It is something that the two of us have talked about doing with the kids since before our first child was born. When we originally began talking about this idea, we wanted to take the kids out of school for a year of traveling the world- similar to this family: Quit Your Job and Travel the World for a Year.   However since our children now attend a Choice School, they’d  lose their spots and the advantage we have struggled so hard for them to have. So we will have to resort to a summer trip and hit the destinations filled with crowds (unfortunately).  Not really a big deal.

I am really lucky with the new position I have at my work. Because of the years of service I have already put in, I am now given five weeks vacation every year. As well when I was working on the union side, I had to work the year prior to put into the following year for vacation. This means my work owes me four weeks vacation time that I need to take over the next couple of years. For those doing the math- that’s fourteen weeks off over two years. I must take five this year. I will still have nine weeks remaining. A little over two months. That’s a lot of time off.

When I married my wife- I was at $12/hr working about 30hrs/week when we first traveled on our honeymoon. Our first vacation reflected the tight income.  It’s time that our biggest vacation reflects the salary change and growth of our family.  Our children are older and more competent than when we first traveled to Disneyland back in 2009.  Those memories are what we as a family have enjoyed the most.  

So why not incorporate a trip to Disney World along the way?  The kids would love that.  I would as well.  Pretty sure my wife wouldn’t put up too much of a fight. This is now in the works for our future big trip.


Today I went in to get the windshield replaced on our Honda Element. As I was driving there I passed the police station. I began having an imaginary conversation in my head about being pulled over.

Police officer: “You have a broken windshield.”

Me:”I’m on my way to get it repaired. Here’s my email confirmation.” And I would show him my phone.

Say No to Crack.

Anyhow, that wasn’t my topic today. Having an imaginary conversation that most likely won’t happen is something we all do.  Usually right before falling asleep.  

Today’s topic is about glass.  

1970’s martini glasses and a glass fish.

I think glass is fascinating.  I love glass sculptures. I love stained glass. Or even fancy drinking glasses. Something about the way it is created astounds me.  Seriously.  It’s sand melted down.  How crazy is that?

I bought some Brandy because of the horse shaped bottle.

I could watch glass blowing and sculpting videos for hours.  It’s just mesmerizing.  The heat, the spinning, the hitting with hammers, the final project smoothed out and carefully cut off.  There’s an air of magic about it.  We have a couple of friends from the convention circuit who make adorable glass sculptures.  They look like marbles with eyes, mustaches and bow ties!  Check out Cute Glass by Bling Squared to see what I’m talking about.

When I first met my wife, I bought her a beautiful handmade kaleidoscope made of brass and glass pieces.  I’ll sit on the couch and stare through it, enchanted by the spiraling colours.  Maybe I bought it for me…

Even when glass shatters it’s intriguing.  The sounds, the shapes, the danger that surrounds it.  When I was about five years old, I did what any normal kid would.  I took my bike up the stairs on our back porch and let it freewheel back down to the ground.  It rolled down the flight of stairs and crashed right into the basement window.  Shattering the glass.  I got in a bit of trouble… however, my father replaced the pane himself.  I watched as he cut the new piece of glass and he warmed up some putty to put around to seal it.  I still remember the smell of the putty.

And glass is everywhere in our lives.  On cars, homes, offices, buildings, tvs, the list goes on…  We are surrounded by it.  We forget that it’s there.

I love the beauty that glass brings forth.  Perhaps one day I can learn to do glass blowing or making stained glass windows.

The Usual

I have been eating at my local Denny’s now since it opened back in 1995 (I think).  It’s never closed since then since they run 24/7.  But I’m not there that often any more.  Maybe once every 2-3 weeks.  Usually after a night shift.  Often meeting with a friend or coworker.  I order the same meal every time.  Coffee and Moons Over My Hammy with a side of fries instead of hash browns.

M-O-O-N that spells moon.

Since my early 20’s I associate many experiences here.  I also had a few really drunk nights here as well.  Most of my first few years were fun.  At least the ones I remember.  It started with walks from my home at 3am to Denny’s and watching the sunrise with my fellow night owls.  A few years later it was 2am late nights after an evening working at the movie theater with a large group of us.  This is when my friend Jeremy and I would have some of the most fun.  We had a favorite waitress whom everyone started calling “Mum”.

Truth in advertising.

Post pub nights ended at Denny’s.  Late night videogames ended with a walk to Denny’s.  Star Wars marathons (before prequels) ended at Denny’s.  Evenings on the beach or friendly hacky-sack tournaments ended at Denny’s.  It was always the last stop.  The final journey as the evening winds down and turns to dawn.  One night I walked to Denny’s just to see if anyone I knew was there.  I joined a group of friends at one of their tables.  A few minutes later, my father walked in looking for me.  No reason at all, he just wanted to see why I went here.  He smiled at me and said hello to my friends.  He randomly handed me $20 and told me to have a good night.  He had never done that before.  He would never do that again.  This was during his final year of being alive.  I’m not sure if he wanted to stay.  Perhaps I should have invited him to.  But it never crossed my mind.

Let’s all meet up in the year 2000.

Early in the year 2000, I met a girl in Denny’s and we dated for a short time.  It was Valentine’s Day night and I had bought a blank Valentine’s Day Card earlier.  Maybe it was post Feb.14th, more into Feb 15th- you know how late nights go.  The day isn’t over until you go to bed.  

Coffee and Love. Served all night.

That night, I sat in a booth with some friends, when this cute girl walked in with some of her friends.  It was a post night of fun for them.  You could tell by the way they laughed and seemed not at all bummed out about Valentine’s Day.  But I couldn’t stop looking at her.  I pulled out my blank card and wrote a simple message in it.  Something along the lines of how pretty she was and how she brightened my day just walking in.  I ended it with Happy Valentine’s Day.  It was short and sappy, but genuine.  Ok, maybe more drunk genuine, since I wrote it while sitting at the booth.  I slipped it into the envelope and waited for the right time.  The right time was when she got up to leave.  I walked over to her as she paid the cashier, handed her the envelope and disappeared into the restroom.  

I came out and she was gone.  I sat back at the table with my friends and we continued our night.  A few minutes later a guy walked up to me, said he was with the girl and asked me to step outside.  Nervous as hell, I followed him outside.  He wasn’t intimidating by any means.  He was like a cuddly, chubby teddy bear with glasses.  He had been sitting with the girl earlier.  Turns out he was the token gay friend.  

So I opened the door and was greeted with a huge hug.  Turns out I made her night.  She thanked me for the card and gave me her number.  We dated for a couple of months after that.  She was super sweet, but we just weren’t right for each other.  We have remained friends and I’m glad to have met her.  Fun fact: she shares the same birthdate as my ex girlfriend whom I had dated just before her.

The search for love continued.

A couple months later, I was still single and was hanging out with a different ex-girlfriend at a bar called “City Limits”.  Fun fact:  I have remained friends with all of my ex-girlfriends- two of whom even attended my wedding.  While at the bar with my ex, another girl showed up with some of our other friends.  I went up to the DJ and requested “2 Live Crew”.  When it began playing, I got everyone onto the dance floor.  I then snuck back to the table and began talking with this cute lady.  I asked her to come up to the bar so that I could buy her a drink.  She asked for tequila and I said no.  I bought her a Broken Down Golf Cart instead.

At the end of the night, we all decided we would go to Denny’s.  It was a large group of drunks all having greasy food and laughing.  As the night went on, I talked with this lovely lady and a spark ignited.  The warm night had turned into a cool morning and I offered her my jacket and a ride home.  As I dropped her off, she gave me her phone number.  I went home and called her a couple of days later and asked if I could call her back in a few hours.  She still had my jacket.  That night I stopped by her place and we talked.  We set a wedding date in jest.  Within two weeks we would be living together.  Shortly after a year we would be married on the day we set on our first date.  This year we will be celebrating sixteen years of marriage.  Every year has been amazing.

My wife and I rarely go to a Denny’s together.  It has become a place for me to unwind after a long night at work.  It’s the place that I continue to make memories with friends.  I don’t think I’ll ever change what I order.  Even though I show up only every few weeks, the waitresses know exactly what I want.  

In an unlikely place that I have made many memories- I’ll take The Usual.

One Year

I can’t believe that I have successfully challenged myself to write a daily blog post for an entire year.  There has been no rhyme or reason for what I write about.  General rule of thumb about my posts- whatever pops into my head.

I have tried to write positive blogs as often as I could.  Some are even amusing. On occasion I have shared a personal story of heartbreak or pain.  Those stories have defined who I am.  But I noticed that for a few days after sharing a sad tale, I would feel miserable.  It was hard to get back into a positive frame of mind.

I am tall in general.

The one thing that I noticed about sharing stories is that I have led a pretty good life.  I have shared many moments with some great friends and family.  I’ve had a chance to relive my journey thus far.  I can honestly say that throughout the struggles and challenges, my life is exactly where I want it to be.

Writing a positive daily post about my life and opinions has made me a happier person.  Being a happier person has also improved everything about how I see the world.  There is a silver lining to every cloud.  There is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.  Unicorns have sparkly poop.

One Year…

One year.  I may be the only one celebrating this goal.  But that was the point of my journey.  Writing daily was for me.  I shared it with the world so that people could use my life lessons as advice.  I’ve had a ton of fun writing every day.  I’ll admit that I struggled from time to time to come up with a topic.  As well I squeaked a few blog posts in just before midnight.  I never had a set time of day that I would post.  In hindsight, if I want more readership I should look at those stats.  

I reached my one year goal and I’m not ready to stop the momentum.  I have a few stories still on the burner.  A huge thank you to everyone for the feedback and support.  If you’ve Come Here To See All My Mistakes– I’m sorry to disappoint.

I leave you with some Sinatra to end my one year:

And now, the end is near; 

And so I face the final curtain.

My friend, I’ll say it clear, 

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived a life that’s full.

I’ve traveled each and every highway; 

And more, much more than this, 

I did it my way.
Regrets, I’ve had a few; 

But then again, too few to mention.

I did what I had to do

And saw it through without exemption.
I planned each charted course; 

Each careful step along the byway, 

And more, much more than this, 

I did it my way.
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew

When I bit off more than I could chew.

But through it all, when there was doubt, 

I ate it up and spit it out.

I faced it all and I stood tall; 

And did it my way.
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried.

I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.

And now, as tears subside, 

I find it all so amusing.
To think I did all that; 

And may I say – not in a shy way, 

“Oh no, oh no not me, 

I did it my way”.
For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has naught.

To say the things he truly feels; 

And not the words of one who kneels.

The record shows I took the blows –

And did it my way! 
Yes, it was my way.

Put Up Your Feet Once In A While

When you’re good at what you do, you can put your feet up and watch as the world unfolds around you.

I’m a good father.  My wife is a good mother.  And our children are really good humans in the making.  My wife and I have shown them the proper way to behave and act.  It’s nice to be able to sit back and watch them now.  

Back in 2011, we had two Pokémon trainers and a Pikachu.

They’ve each created their own persona and have become kind and caring individuals.  They’ve made friends in some of the most unlikely ways.  Our son has friends ranging in age from 2 to 80.  Our eldest daughter has a fan club.  Our middle daughter makes friends with everyone she meets and can always bring a smile to your face.

After years of encouragement, I can finally put my feet up and watch them.  They won’t need me to guide them as much any more.  Maybe a little nudge once in a while… but I won’t need to be hovering over them.  


Working for the railroad I have realized that there are no small mistakes.  Every little misstep or change can potentially have a huge impact on the bigger picture.

I use that as an example for life.  Even the smallest mistakes can affect your life.  But it’s how you react that matters.  

I Believe In You.

I’m not religious.  So I don’t believe in a god.  What I do believe in is the power of humanity.  I believe in each of my friends.

Wow is that ever cheesy.

I really want to believe in each of my friends.  Sometimes I hear a lot of talk and see no action.  People are always willing to complain about their situation, but when it comes time to make a change, nada.  That’s completely fine.  It’s their choice.  However, there is a point that people get tired of hearing the complaints.  How to respond to these complaints is entirely up to the rest of us.  I’ve narrowed down the possible responses that we often give to these people:

  1. “Don’t worry.  It’ll just sort itself out.”  This is a non-answer usually given to placate in hopes that the conversation is over.
  2. “I’m praying for you.”  Something religious people say.  Similar to number 1, only a tad more righteous in tone.
  3. “What are you doing about it?” This is the honest approach.  Usually reserved for friends that need you to ask that question.
  4. “Suck it up.”  For when you’ve heard this complaint far too often.  Usually reserved for close friends who are sick of your shit.
  5. “I have to go now…”  The answer we all give when we’ve given up trying to care.

So this whole “New Year-New Me” mantra is now entering into the third week.  If you haven’t already begun to try and better your life, it’d be best to get on it.  Or, stop complaining.

    I believe in you.

    I believe in Crystal Light, ’cause I believe in me.

    Getting Back Up

    Last weekend I watched my daughter’s first Cheerleading Competition of the year.  Titled: The New Year’s Classic.  I have attended this event for five years now.  Every year is a bit different.  Last year my daughter competed for two squads at her cheer studio.  But something about this year really stood out.

    At these competitions there are girls of all shapes and sizes, a few boys as well, all working hard to run a perfect routine.  Smiles and sweat.  Happiness and tears run rampant.  But this year, my daughter’s squad was near perfect.
    And the judges noticed.  They scored first place.  In fact, every squad from my daughter’s cheer studio scored higher than they usually do.  Maybe it was the coaches.  Maybe it was the change in membership.  Honestly, I think it was also a change in attitude.

    My daughter wanted a win.  She worked hard for a win.

    Cheer Prep.

    She had pushed herself past her regular abilities.  Early on in 2016, she injured herself and needed physiotherapy.  She worked all summer to try and get herself back into peak physical prowess.  We, as parents, encouraged and supported her with the recovery.  It wasn’t easy.  She didn’t want to try.  She complained.  She gave up.  But we pushed her to try again.
    She succeeded.  The joy of winning with her squad proved invaluable.  Sure, she won’t agree that mom and dad were right, but her team was successful.  

    One day she will thank us.  One day she will realize that her parents, coaches, and teammates knew she would get back out there and win.  Even if our daughter doesn’t pursue Cheerleading as a future, I hope she understands why we pushed her to get out there and try again.  

    As difficult as it may be- getting back on that horse is the right thing to do. Going out and proving you can do it is far superior to just saying you can.  As parents, we want our children to remain safe.  We want them to be protected. 

    But sometimes, they need to get hurt and brush themselves off in order to try again.  The only way they are going to succeed in life is to fail.  Fail and then work at getting better.  Learn from mistakes.  Accept loses as a stepping stone. Children need to realize that hard work and perseverance pay off.

    I’m proud of my daughter and her squad. They are great together. I wouldn’t be surprised if my daughter develops long term friendships from her experience as a cheerleader.  Bonding with her squad and having trust in one another is invaluable.


    Last night my family and I were watching Netflix.  We tuned in (is that the term still these days?) to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.  We usually snack a bit while watching tv/films.  For the first time in a long time, we weren’t eating potato chips or popcorn.

    We were eating glazed donuts, Dr. Pepper licorice and drinking IRN-BRU sodas.  The Sugar Rush hit four out of the five of us pretty hard.  My wife seemed unaffected…  Giggles and silliness was abound.  Then, we crashed.

    We crashed hard.  All of us went off to bed by about 11pm and passed out.  In the morning, I had a tough time waking up.  Finally at around 10am I sat up in bed to play some videogames.  My wife brought me a coffee, but within an hour, I was crashing again.  So I took a nap.  For two hours.

    All day I have felt like garbage.  My body isn’t used to large intakes of sugar.  Coffee-yes, sweets-no.  Even my heart decided to skip a beat this afternoon while I hung out with my son building Lego.  A very relaxing activity that shouldn’t have done anything exhilarating to me.

    I don’t eat chocolate very often.  Nor do I enjoy cakes, icing, or candy in general.  But after the last 24 hours, I can say my body doesn’t like it either.  I’m not going to do this again anytime soon.

    Hopefully I’ll be back to normal by tomorrow.  Whatever my normal may be…

    Remember to Erase Your Browsing History.

    You can’t outrun your past.  But you can erase your browser history.  I recommend doing that on a regular basis.  Or you may end up repeating the same mistakes and seeing the same scenery-day in day out.

    Much like browsing on your computer.  If you haven’t erased your browser history lately, do it.  It’s interesting to see how Google changes their ads to meet your lack of browsing needs.  Or go through your Facebook options and change your “Ad Preferences” in the settings to spice up the boredom of the same stuff.  All I was seeing was Star Wars t-shirts for weeks…

    Kind of like life.  My other advice: Erase your regular routine once in a while and change it up.  I began trying new things over this past year.  You know what?  Life became more exciting.  Nearly everything I have experienced has bettered me as a person.

    I discovered a renewed love of hanging out with friends (without children).  I also realized that I have a story to tell and some people enjoy reading it.  I began a journey that I am surprisingly good at.  All of this because I was not afraid to forget about the past and I began to look towards my future.

    I’ve had many good days in my life. Some are extremely memorable: such as the day I met my wife, or the day my first child was born, or even the day my three children sat around me as I held our guinea pig as he took his last breath. Not every memory is good.  But, I’m not done with this world.  I have more memories to make.

    I’m not searching for an answer, but rather trying to find more questions.  Resetting my personal browsing history doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten where I came from.  It’s more like I’m putting behind me the “what if” moments.  All of those possible choices that could have been.  No need to clutter my thoughts with those.

    I’m always ready to spice up my life.  In fact, I’m going to search Amazon for a new Star Trek T-Shirt.  I can only wear so many Darth Vader shirts…

    If You Build It…

    I received an amazing Lego set for Christmas from my wife.  It wasn’t Star Wars related, or film related in any way, nor was it train related.  It was the Disney Castle.  And it was awesome.

    Over 4000 pieces.  I built it in about eight hours over the course of two days.  By myself.  I actually got angry at my family for attempting to help.  This was mine to build.  I hadn’t built a Lego set by myself in about fifteen years. The last set I remember receiving (for myself) was the Steven Spielberg Movie Studios set back in 2001.  And that set only had 433 pieces.  

    Over the past few years I have played with Lego and built “creations” as my son calls them.  Usually I build with my children.  Just snapping a piece or two together, not really paying attention.  And like most people, we have a love of Lego.  We enjoy Lego.  Especially my son.  (Remember when I wrote about it back in November?  Check it out again: Lego!)  I have saved all of the Lego from my childhood, minus the occasional lost piece…  although, it seems that you always find the piece you’re missing after needing it.

    Back to me.

    Our family crest adorns the entrance to our Castle. We picked this up in Disneyland a few years back.

    Over those two days in late December, I constantly scurried away to build a Disney Castle inside our Castle.  Make dinner?   Nope.  Shower?  No time.  I was in the zone.  Mastering the hunt for pieces and what was needed next.  It brought back memories of my childhood. My brain was echoing terms I used when describing pieces.  Two by six.  Slant roof piece.  Radio antenna…  I probably spoke a few out loud as I built the Castle.  

    The entire experience was relaxing.  I now understand why grown men enjoy building models and playing with Lego.  Go grown man!  Enjoy your hobby!  I’m not judging.

    Earlier this week, my son received a Lego set that he ordered online using a gift card.  He was super excited about it.  As he showed it to me, he asked if I wanted to help build it with him this weekend.

    Hells yes!  I’m more excited about building the Lego set than I am about spending time with my son.  Does that make me a bad parent?

    There Is No “I” In Team.  But There Is An “M-E”.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m a One Man Army taking on the world.  And succeeding.  I’m not the best at what I do, but I am doing my best and learning how to get better.  I’m always willing to be humble, but when the time comes, I’m also willing to be self righteous.

    At work, I’m just another cog in the machine.  I sit at my desk and as long as I keep trains moving, I’m doing a good job.  Trains are always moving.  *pats self on back*

    Now, I don’t take for granted everything that people do for me though.  I have found that I need to exude confidence in life to get further.  I may be a touch conceited as well from time to time…

    In the long run, I am out there trying to make the best life for myself (and my family).  I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes nor am I putting people down in order to succeed.  Quite the contrary.  I am always willing to ask for help or guidance and show gratitude for such assistance.  

    Everyone has their own way of living.  Mine is to do the best job I can and make sure that those around me are also successful.

    No, I’m not selling you anything.  Life is a struggle, but remember to keep your sights on the goal.

    All The Bells and Whistles

    The term “All of the bells and whistles” often refers to a product or purchase that has more to it than just the base model.  Usually related to houses, cars and electronics.  A few weeks ago, I bought a new car.  It had all the bells and whistles. Especially when it comes to the safety aspect.

    My car has regular safety car features.  Brakes, seatbelts, horn…  But it also has extra safety features such as ABS brakes, airbags, daytime running lights- all of which are pretty much standard on cars these days.  It also comes with a back up camera (which Canadian Law wants to be mandatory by May 2018 on all new cars), side cameras, a front camera, blind spot warnings, and proximity warnings.  Things I never thought necessary before in a car.  But it has all the bells and whistles of safety available in a vehicle of this price range.

    After working at the railroad for nearly a decade, I think this statement “All the bells and whistles” definitely refers to safety.  On locomotives, the horn is called the whistle.  There is also a bell.  Both are often used when a train is approaching a crossing to give warnings to vehicle traffic.  The bells and whistles are a necessity to ensure safety.  To some, it may seem like overkill to hear a bell and a whistle on an oncoming train.  But to others, such as the locomotive engineer and conductor, these features are necessary to keep everyone safe.

    If having “extra” safety features in a vehicle means it is no longer the base model, then what does that say about us as a society?

    And You Are?…

    I am awful when it comes to remembering names.  I used to feel bad, but now it’s just not that important.

    At one point I tried tricks like using alliteration to remember a name.  But that hasn’t helped recently.  I’ve been meeting about two dozen new faces every other day.  So, I resort to re-introducing myself and being all, “yeah… we did meet…” and promptly forgetting the name.  I tried to say their names back as they are introduced, but with so much information swirling through my mind in my new position, it seems my brain filters out the most obvious of courtesies.

    I’m thinking I should resort to bringing in name tags and a Sharpie for each person I meet.  

    Why Bother Making Plans?

    My friend shared an image on Facebook recently and it is on point:

    I hate sounding cynical, but this feels like every other weekend lately.  Making plans that just fall apart.  I will say that I don’t like giving wishy-washy answers when asked to do something with friends.  But if I say I am doing something- I stay committed.  No need to agree to a plan and then not show up.  If you can’t make it, then just say so.

    Obviously real life situations arise.  Plans you made a few days ago may actually need to be cancelled due to many factors. If this is the case, then being courteous and telling your friends as soon as it happens is the right thing to do.  Over the past few weeks, my work schedule has been revised numerous times.  Working in an industry that runs 24/7 can make it difficult to make plans on a Friday night if you need to work at 6am on a Saturday.  But I knew this would happen, so I have avoided committing to too many plans.

    I don’t mind last minute plans.  Spontaneity is the spice of life.  As I mentioned before, my schedule can be rather difficult at times, so last minute plans work best for me.  My wife, not as much.  However she is getting more adept to the idea.

    So next time we hang out, feel free to bring your phones.  I’m pretty sure there is something better out there to do than just hear me talk about how tired I am from work.  Heck, I have been known to pull out my phone to text funny images to a buddy sitting next to me on the couch.  I don’t find it disrespectful.  It’s just the way we are as a society at the moment.  

    A Note to Future Me

    Ah, retirement.  The main goal that we are all promised as we enter into the workforce.  The so called light at the end of the tunnel.  But what happens as we get closer to “that age”?

    I work in an environment that allows people to make careers out of it.  Strange to think that there is still a place that you can work right out of high school and work until 65 (55 if you want to go early).  How did I find this mystical place?  Luck.  Pure dumb luck.  And I plan on being here until I’m at least 57.  That means I’ll have put in 25 years of service.  Only 16 years to go.  A job with a pension plan?  Better not screw this one up.

    When people at my work do retire, one of three things seems to occur:

    1. They go work for a similar railroad industry and “double dip”.

    2. They enjoy the time off and see more of their family and friends, travel the world, enjoy a new found freedom.

    Or 3. Die within a couple of years.

    Look! A graph. It seems legit.

    I wish I was joking about number 3.  But there have been people who have retired from my place of work only to die within a few months.  It seems to stem from a lack of purpose.  There is also a direct correlation with years working and how many years you will live.  That’s a scary thought.

    Choice number 1 is almost the same as number 3.  A sense of purpose is keeping people working well into their 60’s or even 70’s.  For some, it’s also an enjoyment of what they know or do that keeps the drive alive.  But what happens when the double dip retirement is over?

    For me, choice 2 is what I am aiming for.  All of these long days and nights have an end in sight.  There is an entire world out there that I want to explore with my wife.  When I retire, our youngest will be at least 26.  Hopefully all of my children will have gotten into their own walk of life by this time. As they enter the rat race and aim for a quality of life that they deem comfortable, I hope one day they can see an end in sight.

    Note to future me: In 2033- retire.  

    It will be a time to rediscover why my wife and I connect the way we do.  A little bit of travel, a little bit of fun, and a lot of early nights and afternoon crossword puzzles.  You’ll still be young enough to enjoy life.  To squander the opportunity.