Oooo That Smell

Smells sometimes trigger a memory inside of us. Some people enjoy the aroma of a good Chardonnay. Others remember fondly the scented markers from their childhood. I am partial to the smell of fresh rain on hot asphalt.  

Today the rain began to fall. It was just long enough since that has occurred. However, it was not one of the warmest days. But the smell outside wasn’t of water on pavement. The smell outside reminded me of Disneyland. Heck everything these days reminds me of Disneyland.

Disneyland.  Best place ever. A place I want to go to right now because the rain is transforming into snow and back again near my home.  But in the early mornings at Disneyland, there is a smell emanating from the sidewalk.  A smell of freshly hosed off cement slowly evaporating in the sun as it crests over the horizon.

The scent of skanky-ass recycled water.

Ah Sh…ooooe lace

I have a habit that I developed back when I was a child.  No, not reading- although I really should read more.  It’s something I do right before going to bed.  Not that!  Jeez.  What I do is make my lunch and set out the clothes I’m going to wear the next time I wake up.

Now you may be thinking, “But Josef- aren’t you a grown ass man?  Why do you need to choose your clothes a day in advance?”  Here’s my answer:

I hate rushing around.  I also enjoy getting a bit of extra sleep.  That whole “brain functioning” thing doesn’t work for me when I first wake up.  It’s probably why on my days off that I spend my first day sleeping in and wearing pjs all day.  I never set out my clothes the night before.  Having everything ready makes life easier.  However, I still struggle with one thing.  Shoelaces.

Not the act of tying shoelaces.  I can tie those no problem.  It’s more the act of untying my shoes that I forget.  

I get home and my feet just come out of my shoes.  I never untie them.  My children are just as guilty of this.  Our mud room has shoes scattered throughout all with the laces tied up.

The worst part is trying to put them on again.  Guaranteed- I will always try and slide my foot back in without untying them.  A bit of wiggling and shimmying to get my foot back in…  Nine times out of ten it doesn’t work.  I end up unlacing the shoes.  So whatever time I thought I would save by not untying them in the first place is lost.  My wife and kids are just as bad.  I have no idea why.  It’s just something we all do.  

So frustrating that we do it almost everyday.  Tomorrow will be the same thing.  I’ll forget what I wrote tonight and do the same song and dance before heading out the door.


Planning The Future

Where do you see yourself in ten years?  How about five years?  Next year?  What about next week?  Not everyone plans that far.  

Those questions are often asked by our employer or future employer.  It’s usually the only time we think about a prospective future.  Even if it is a lie just to get or keep a job.

But why only think about work when pondering your future?  Why not create a ten year plan, five year plan, or even a one year plan?  Such as plans for a vacation, paying down debt, education, or having kids.  How about buying a new home?  Or moving away to another city?  Most people are spontaneous with everything in life.  Usually only planning as far as six months ahead.  That kind of planning is often short sighted.  What are you doing for your life?

Starting to plan for the future is paramount.  You don’t want to have the past to be a dull story of “what ifs”.  The opening to a favorite film of mine describes it eloquently:

They all tryin’ to catch hold of one moment of time. To be able to say “Right now! This is it! I got it!” ‘Course by then it’ll be past. But they all happy, everybody havin’ a good time. Well, almost everybody. They’s a few lost souls floatin’ ’round out there. Now if ya’ll ain’t from the city, we have something here called a “the rat race.” Got a way with chewing folks up so that they don’t want no celebrating, don’t want no cheerin’ up, and don’t care nothing…

…Well the future, that’s something you can’t never tell about. But the past, that’s another story.

“The future is now.”

One Race Closer to Pursuing The Gold

About a year ago I shared a story and aspirations I have for my son.  Here is the link: My Son- The Future Olympian.  Today I am with him again as he is working hard competing in another set of races.  This time we are at the Richmond Oval on the outskirts of Vancouver.  This was the location where the Speed Skating events were held during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Throughout the building there are inspirational images of the past Canadian athletes that partook in previous Olympics.  Seven years later- the facility is well maintained and busy.  The city has split the large oval into two separate rinks, and a dozen basketball courts. There’s a ping pong table tournament area as well as a sectioned off for a Cheerleading competition.  (Coincidentally, the Cheerleading competition that my daughter will be attending later today.)

These skating meets can be overwhelming.  The hardest part about these competitions is the waiting.  Waiting alongside racers from other clubs can feel intimidating.  Before the races, my son hangs out with his friends in the facility-  often playing on iPads, iPhones, or wandering around and even taking a break to play drop-in ping pong during lunch.  There is a special camaraderie in our skating club.  As the skaters are on the ice- the rest of the group cheers from the stands offering encouragement.

All of this waiting is for his two minutes of ice time.  During his two minutes of work- my son pushes his limits.  At his age, places don’t matter as much as his times for his age group.  So even if he comes in third out of five, his time may push him up another level for the next meet.  He wants to beat his personal best times. Sometimes he wants to improve his stance and form- so he focuses intently on that.   

When he gets on the ice- it’s him vs his own nerves.   He has a determination that shows up when he is on the ice.  As if he is the only soul in the arena.  The last person who can psyche him out is himself.  He has put himself out there and pushes his boundaries.

I’m proud of our son.

Time Waster

Recently I discovered the Facebook app on my iPhone allows me to play quick mindless games.  Some of them are throwbacks to the 80’s arcade.  Others are the crummy apps that got people addicted to their smartphones in the first place.  And some just don’t make sense.

I distracted myself this evening in a battle against my daughter as she tried to get higher scores than me.  And she did.  At almost every one of them.  Now I’m killing myself trying to get better.  It has also prevented me from spending time writing my blog.

It seems she is really good at these pointless games.  We played about a dozen of them.  Her on her phone & me on mine.  It surprised me at how quickly she mastered the games I played in my youth. What took me months and numerous quarters in an arcade took her merely minutes.

There was some good smack talk and banter going back and forth.  She has quite a sharp wit about her.  She definitely takes after her father in that aspect.  She is quick with a jab and can hurl an insult related to my inability to win.  

Clearly she has schooled me and left my reputation destroyed.  In a way I am proud.  It is time to pass on the torch.

It’s Thursday… Again.

Today is the day of the week that most people never care about.  Unless you decide to do a “Throw Back Thursday”.  But even that only last a picture or a quick share.

Thursday to me is my online reading day.  I catch up on news articles and blog posts.  Only since I started writing my own blog did I discover an entire world of writers.  Some of them like-minded, others inspirational, most very well written.

I really love keeping up with tech and entertainment news.  This week was filled with extra knowledge about the universe.  Plus more Star Wars announcements.  I get really excited when I discuss with friends who have also kept up with the news.  We speculate on the endless possibilities.  Like children excited about the unknown.  No fear, just hopes for the best of humanity.

I’m off to read some more and educate myself.

It’s Good

It’s only been a couple of months in my new position at work.  A lot of people are asking me how I like it.  I usually give the same response- “It’s Good.”  Of course only two months in it’s really hard to say if I like the j…  That’s a lie.  I love the job.  

I used to spend eight hours a day staring at a computer screen five days a week.  Now I put in twelve hour days, but limit sitting at the computer to a handful of times.  Maybe four hours total throughout the day.  The hours may be longer now than they once were on the days that I am at work, but having three days off is perfect.  

Not only am I spending less time in front of a computer, but I’m out on the ground more these days.  Doing lots of walking.  It seems my wife was right- exercise is good for you.  I still don’t do the Fitbit thing, but I have been secretly watching my step count.  What used to be under a thousand steps per day (some days only being around four hundred) is now three to four times that.  I have never felt better.  My muscles are happy and my body is feeling more energized.  I think on my days off I shall start to walk my dog more often.  Plus the weather is going to get nicer.


My wife’s first convention of the year is coming up soon.  She is busy sewing hats, cosplay ears and headbands in anticipation of the show.  My wife doesn’t always enjoy human interactions, so she likes it when I go as well.  I am generally a pretty good salesman when I’m on my “A” game.  She makes the products, I sell the products.  Go teamwork!

But she also doesn’t like me going with her for one simple reason: I want to spend all the money she makes.  Like c’mon!  We are with my people!  I need all of the geeky t-shirts, board games, props, and one-of-a-kind artwork!  

She has come up with a brilliant solution to the dilemma I have introduced.  She trades with other vendors/artists.  Usually dollar value for dollar value items.  This makes for some savvy gift giving later in the year.  My wife is pretty good at bartering.  I think it comes from her time living in Turkey before we met.

I’m just worried that one day, she may try and trade me for something of equal value.  Like a skateboard or an oar.  She’s already tried to volunteer my services to other people.  It’s only a matter of time…

Mo’ Money

“I don’t know what they want from me.  It’s like the more money we come across the more problems we see.”

Thank you late 90’s for such a classic song lyric.

I don’t think I have those problems.  Simply because the mo’ money I come across, the quicker it disappears from my bank account.  Since I am aware that this happens- it’s not creating mo’ problems. But then the song wouldn’t sound as good if those were the lyrics.

Pretty sure if my wife and I liquidated all of our physical assets we would have plenty of money to spend… on buying stuff to replenish what we sold.  The fact that money doesn’t really exist anyways is a strange concept.  Money is just numbers used to add value to a product or service.  

Perhaps one day the term “money” will disappear.  Along with banks and corruption.  But I doubt it would happen in my lifetime unless Tyler Durden became a real person.

The first rule of Fight Club is You do not talk about Fight Club.  Even 18 years later, should that rule still apply?

This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.

Tom’s Diner

When my wife and I married we had everything planned out and budgeted.  We paid for everything on our own.  We also did it without going into debt. It was the one thing that we really felt was important in starting a new life together. Our food was selected, flowers paid for, center pieces were hand made, we even burned some CDs for our dances and special songs.  It wasn’t until the day before our wedding that it dawned on us… we didn’t have a song to walk into for our reception.  

One of our friends was doing the DJ work for us- so we looked through his list of songs.  He had suggested many that other couples had used.  But we weren’t like other couples- we weren’t going to enter to the Star Wars Imperial March.  On the night before our wedding, as we decorated the hall for our reception, we listened to part of his playlist.  The night was growing old and we still hadn’t chosen a song.  One last look into the DJ’s list and we found a song.  

“Tom’s Diner” was to be our entrance song.  

Besides it being a beautifully spoken word style song, it wasn’t a song that my wife and I had ever heard while together.  It’s just a simple observation style of song.  It’s a song about people watching.  It made me think of our coffee dates and late nights.  

It was a song that people would recognize but not fully know the words for.  So there was no fear of people singing along.    But every time I hear the song, it now reminds me of the first time we entered a room as husband and wife.

Today I was driving to work in the rain when the song came on the radio.  The last few lines brought joy to me.

“Oh, this rain

It will continue

Through the morning

As I’m listening

To the bells

Of the cathedral

I am thinking

Of your voice

And of the midnight

Once upon a time

Before the rain began

I finish up my coffee

It’s time to catch the train.”