Windy

Yesterday was a crazy bad windstorm. We did not fair well at our home.

The top half of a tree snapped off and crashed down onto our roof and deck. Moments later, our power got knocked out.

We ended up going out for dinner. The restaurant was packed. Seems that when 120,000 people don’t have power- they all go out for meals.

Our power was not restored until just after lunch today. A little over 25 hours without heat, electricity and water was becoming frustrating. I’m glad that BC Hydro was able to get everything back up and running.

Every time our power goes out, my wife and I talk about getting a generator. Then the power goes on and we figure that for the four or five days a year without power we cannot justify a couple thousand dollars. So a warm fire and going out will just have to do.

Plus, we now have another tree for firewood!

Yule Log

We are lucky enough to live in the country and have a gorgeous wood burning fireplace. It helps to set the mood during winter.

Three years ago, my wife took a really good photo of me by the fire. It’s still one of my favorites of me during this season. We’ve rearranged our furniture- our dining table is closer to the fireplace now- allowing us to share the warmth while we entertain.

For those of you who don’t have a fireplace, there are plenty of YouTube videos of Yule Logs. Here are the ones I enjoy:

Darth Vader burning at the end of ROTJ. This one is on a five hour loop.

Nick Offerman sipping whiskey for ten hours.

Hallmark movies has a cat and dog in front of a fire for three hours along with some classical music.

Crackling Log for a traditional feel.

Let’s toss another log on the fire and enjoy the holiday season.

Never Too Busy To Pause For Life’s Moments

Life can get pretty hectic. Especially towards the holiday season. Kids concerts, last minute gift shopping, year end work deadlines… Throughout it all, you need to remember to pause for a bit and just enjoy life.

It’s also tough to not want to compare your life with someone else’s. All those fun photos and memorable moments they’re having. Kinda wish I was doing the same sometimes. But my life is pretty darn good when I look at it. I just need to focus on what matters most to me:

My family.

They’re really good people who have stories to share with me. I need to remember to give them the attention that I give my social media feed. Sometimes I need to be an ear for them to talk to. Other times I just admire them without their knowledge. Catching those “Ah-Ha” moments when something clicks. Or seeing the kindness they can show others without being prompted.

Those are the moments I don’t want to miss. I just need to hit pause once in a while and enjoy.

Sick Joe Isn’t A Happy Man

Sick Joe isn’t always a Happy Joe. I’ve been doing my best to keep up my fluids by drinking lots of water and eating soup. I’ve had to forgo my beers and deep fried treats for the time being in hopes to get better.

Besides more fluids, I have been taking some other supplements and cold remedies. My wife introduced me to Ricola. I used to take Halls when my throat was sore, but these “herbs” seem gentler.

Time to get back to my self pity party. I also don’t like that I’m not as cheery as I usually am. I’m feeling green lately and wonder if my skin tone looks the same. Heading into a week away from Christmas- I don’t want to be the Grinch.

What do you take to feel better?

Illin’

Seems like I was unable to avoid getting sick. It probably doesn’t help that I’ll be still going to work as I try and recover. But since that’s where I got this from- why should I not return it?

Morning advice is just stay away from me for the next bit until I get better. No time for self pity. Lots to still do before the Christmas break.

I have a couple days off coming up soon. I’ll lounge at that point if I have to. Right?

Richmond

Yesterday we were in Richmond for a Speed Skating Competition. Richmond is heavily influenced by the Asian community. While we were there we decided to have a bit of a “FLASHBACK” of our trip to Tokyo.

First my wife and I went to the T and T grocery store. We picked up some milk tea and some mango mochi as a treat for the kids while they were skating. We went with another skater’s parent who was rather timid in wanting to try any of the foods there. I guess not everyone is as adventurous as we are when it comes to experiencing other cultures.

After skating, my wife took the family out for dinner to an amazingly authentic Japanese BBQ at the Gyu Kaku. Where we grilled our own food and stuffed ourselves silly. From spicy tofu to beef tongue and eggplant- everything was delicious.

After dinner we wandered around Aberdeen Centre looking at the shops and taking selfies just like tourists. We had a lot of fun goofing around.

It was a good way to end our Saturday.

Getting Back Up

Cheering for our kids at their speed skating events brings me great pleasure. Today we are spending another Saturday at a Speed Skating competition. This time in Richmond at the 2010 Olympic Oval.

For a building that’s almost a decade old, it’s still in pretty good condition. The risers have remained in the Vancouver Olympic colours scheme. They’ve even left the banners up from the 2010 games offering a visual inspiration for future Olympians.

Our little group from Langley is always cheering each other’s kids as much as possible. But watching the kids can be stressful. As each race last about 45 seconds, it can be the longest 45 seconds in the day. The reason is we don’t want to see the kids fall- because a fall is inevitable at some point during the day. You just hope it’s not one of yours that takes a tumble.

Not so lucky for us. Today, as Darwin was in the lead, she lost her footing. It knocked the wind out of her and she didn’t finish her last two laps. She got off the ice on her own accord, which is always a good sign.

Because she didn’t get up right away- the paramedics were required to check her out. Everything seemed okay and she will be back to race her last two races after lunch.

Getting back up or back on the ice can be emotionally challenging. Getting back out there is the best way to overcome the tumbles and falls. We will be giving some extra cheers for Darwin on the next couple of races.

The road to success has many stumbling blocks. Getting back at it and learning from the mistakes is sometimes a painful lesson to learn.

Yule Be Wiggling

When I was younger, one of my favorite things about Christmas was decorating the tree. The tree in my childhood home was shiny. Lots of glittery ornaments, multi coloured lights, and an excessive amount of tinsel! The green plastic tree was almost silver by the end.

However, around the age of twelve, my sister and father decided to decorate the Christmas tree without me. I’m not gonna lie, that kinda stung me in the heart. Even though I told my family that what they did sucked, they did it a couple more times during my teenage years as well.

Fast forward to the family I have created. My wife and I always make sure that the kids are around on the day we decorate the trees. We’ve even created a tradition for it that we repeat each and every year.

We do all the normal things that families do. Such as put on a fire in the fireplace and drink eggnog while we put out decorations on our Christmas trees. (Yes, TREES- plural.) We have two trees that we decorate as our “Fun” trees and one as our “Elegant” tree.

During the decorating of our Fun trees, we like to have fun- obviously. Our tree decorating has an odd tradition. We have to watch Yule Be Wiggling by The Wiggles! Back in the early 2000’s our children loved watching The Wiggles. As a way of keeping them youthful- we added a viewing of this film while the ornaments get hung up as a part of our Christmas traditions.

And our children continue to love it. All of the songs are memorized. I even have the songs on a cd that gets requested to be played in the car during December! As much as our oldest tries to fight it, this tradition still brought a smile to her face last night as we decorated the Fun trees.

Later this weekend, we will decorate our Elegant tree. This tree has all of our fragile glass and keepsake ornaments. We decorate this one as a family as well. But no bouncing around watching “The Wiggles” for this. It’s the classic Rudolph that will be playing on our tv.

Do you have any out of the ordinary Christmas or Holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments below!

Package Deal

Today, we had to pick up a couple of parcels. The one we picked up in the USA was quick and easy. There was even free shipping for it. We have a PO Box with a small fee for them to hold the parcel until we pick it up. Just like many Canadians who live near the border. Crossing the border between Canada and America is usually smooth.

The other package was delivered up the road from our home to the Post Office. Even though our local post office line is relatively short these days, it doesn’t mean that other locations aren’t busy. A part of me wishes we lived in the USA- their postal system is more convenient, inexpensive and reliable.

Canada Post is finally moving packages. After much frustration while the workers fought for better wages and work hours- it seems that many packages sent out now won’t make the Christmas deadline. Adding to the frustration of Canadians.

In a world of electronic billing, free Amazon deliveries, and instant communication it makes Canada Post quite the dinosaur when it comes to the world these days.

Share-A-Bear

Since 1989, the BC Liquor Stores have been doing a program called Share A Bear. It’s a simple concept- you buy a small teddy bear and the Liquor Distribution Branch donates a similar bear to a child in need.

I don’t usually do impromptu purchases. But every year the bears do get cuter.

I’ve bought them in the past because they are super cute. And cuddly. My kids have loved them, so I assume a child in need would love one as well. This year I chose to buy a Polar Bear in a cute flannel hoodie.

This year, I’ll be giving it to our oldest daughter when I come home tonight. I owe her an apology, and a cute-pa-tootie bear should start to make a difference.

So if you’re buying something this season from the BC Liquor Store- (I know you will!) think about getting a bear. For $11.70- you get a cute toy to give away and a child in need will get a cute toy at the same time.

Giving feels good.