Wallet

Back in the fall, we re-arranged our home while I Painted the Kitchen Cabinets. Some of the changes we really hated, so it went back. Such as the switching of where our dining table and our couch was located. But one of the changes has messed me up.

I moved a cabinet that was under our stairs in the front foyer of our home. Not a big deal in itself- it made our front entry look more open and less cluttered. What is throwing me off is that I don’t have a basket to toss my wallet and keys into anymore.

This has left me a little bit lost. I’ve left my keys in numerous jackets and hoodies. My wallet has wandered all around my home trying to find a place. I have left it at my computer, on the bathroom counter, even in my jeans. The only thing I know the location of is my iPhone.

I need to get a new location or basket for my stuff. I kind of miss having a chain on my wallet like I did as a teenager. Maybe it’s time to make that fashionable again. I could always hang it on a hook on the wall with my keys and not lose either anymore.

School Camping Trip

In June, my son will be attending his grade seven camping trip. My daughters each did it for their grade seven year. It’s a tradition that is upheld in our local community schools. It’s something the teachers look forward to as well as the students. It’s kind of like a farewell to the kids before they enter high school.

The big difference this year is that I’ll be attending as one of the parent volunteers. My son requested I come at the start of the school year. Of course I wanted to be a part of it. I found out on Friday night that I have been accepted to be a chaperone. My son couldn’t be happier. I’m looking forward to it.

I did a grade seven camp as a kid and had a pretty good time. I also attended a cub scout camp for one summer a few years prior. Both were great experiences. Looking back though, some of the councilors were a bit sketchy. Hopefully I won’t come across as sketchy.

I’ve met most of the kids in my son’s grade. He also has a collection of what I consider to be “top notch” friends. All of them have a wonderful sense of humor and are really delightful kids. Since they’ve all met me, they know I can be a bit, uh, zany?

In the end, I am excited about making memories for my son and his friends. The trip should be a ton of fun!

Ironing

Ironing your clothes.

Kind of like flossing your teeth. Sure, you brush your teeth and maybe even use some mouthwash. Flossing? Only if there’s food stuck. AmIright?

Washing and drying clothes are the basics- like brushing your teeth. But to iron dress clothes? Like me, it’s not very likely that you do it.

On Saturday I taught my son how to iron clothes. Ironing is something I enjoy doing, but tend to not have the time to do it. I love the look of a freshly pressed shirt and dress pants. Since I don’t wear suits to work- I don’t own a lot of dress clothes that require this sort of attention to detail.

Because my wife and I were going out for dinner, I wanted to look my best for her. A t-shirt and jeans just wasn’t going to cut it. So out came the old ironing board and iron. In the past I have done one of those “Life Hacks” where you throw a damp cloth into the dryer on a low heat to get rid of wrinkles.

My father never ironed his clothes. My mother used to do it for him. Teaching my son how to iron is important to me. One day he may want to look slick and professional. Other lessons I will teach him, that I had to learn on my own, are things like shaving, cooking or basic automotive maintenance.

Do you like to iron? Is there anything you wish was passed on to you from your parents? Please share.

The Zen Of Joe

Zen.

It’s something I’ve been practicing all my life. Just enjoying the moments all around me. Having fun without causing harm or emotional distress to others. If anything, I think I bring a smile to others by jumping out of a comfort zone and just… living.

I’m comfortable just being me and experiencing life’s moments. I also love to embrace personas and put on different hats to truly embody this. From how I act to the clothes I wear- I enjoy being me. There is no “one look” that defines who I am.

If I can bring joy to others while being who I am, that’s a bonus. I also act compassionate and kind as I forge my way through this world.

My enthusiasm and characteristics are effecting my children’s personalities as well. Especially our middle child. She has moments where she just wants to entertain herself and others.

When all is said and done, I’m glad I haven’t been afraid to just live the way I have.

Does Life Have Signs?

I’d like to think that I am in control of my actions. That I choose my own path. But I also try and force myself to engage in the signs around me- as if numbers or words could have a deeper meaning.

Today for example- a person in front of me had a patch on their jacket that says simply, “Follow Your Identity“. Which is interesting advice and relatively easy to accomplish. Like Popeye says, “I am what I am.”

I really don’t believe that there is something greater out there guiding us. It’s more a collective of all of your experiences, education and upbringing that sets our path. That being said, some people require others, or a god, or science to show them the way through life. If it brings them joy or enlightenment, I want people to successfully navigate life.

I don’t have all the answers. But I’m also not asking all those hard questions. I’ve got a way about me that works. A state of mind unique to who I am. Maybe I’m the one sharing signs for others. Or maybe I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes.

Like “Ace of Base“.

More Astro Boy

The place- Edmonton.

The year- 1983.

The time- 6am.

Everyday before elementary school, I would watch a cartoon called Astro Boy. I had to wake up super early in order to catch the show because it started at 6am every morning. Except on weekends, when I would catch reruns of The Mighty Hercules on Sunday mornings. Two very different styles of animation and story lines.

My daily viewing of Astro Boy started my day off on the right foot. At the end of every episode, Astro would do a recap with mistakes. The Astro voiceover would then ask if you caught his mistakes. It meant the show required undivided attention. Everyday at school, I blathered on about this cartoon constantly. This evolved into other kids also watching it. Eventually the show became the talk of the playground. We would argue over the “mistakes” and talk about that day’s villain or battle.

As I grew up, I took the lessons that Astro- aka Atom– taught and instilled them into my life. Pure kindness and compassion shown from a robot. Who’d of thunk that an anime machine would forge my pathway through life?

As I got older, I received the collection of 1983 Astro Boy on DVD many years ago. I also received the 2003 series. On a few road trips, my children have marathoned through both series.

Because of my children knowing that it was a childhood favorite of mine, they bought me a couple of characters they found. These were discovered in a gas station toy aisle during one of our road trips. The toys may not hold any real value to anyone else but me. I love my family for always thinking of me.

When I was about 18, I really wanted a t-shirt that I had discovered that depicted Astro Boy in a hologram image that would change depending on the view of him. You could see the inside workings or his outer body depending on the angle. The down side was twofold. First, this was the early 1990’s and the shirt cost $80 (approx. $150 in today’s market). Secondly it was one size too small for me.

During our trip to Tokyo last year, I found the shirt again. My wife told me not to buy it because there is no easy way to care for the decal. Turns out she had also found the shirt and knew it would be perfect for me. This past Christmas, I received the shirt. My inner child bounced with joy.

The original Astro Boy that came out January 1,1963 was the first cartoon to introduce Anime to the world. I have loved anime ever since I first saw Astro on tv in my living room when I was 7. I also wrote about Astro Boy last year. I’ve even expressed sadness over the end of an era for a t-shirt that I loved based on another favorite anime- Akira.

What was you first anime show?

Do you have fond memories of cartoons from you childhood?

Taking This City for Granted

I’m always excited to travel to other countries, states, provinces, and visit different cities. I enjoy driving around certain cities such as Los Angeles or Calgary. Some of my favorite cities to walk around are Seattle, Tokyo, and San Jose. As well as the beaches of California and Hawaii. And of course, Disneyland.

Our adventures over the years have taken us to see some beautiful cities and picturesque landscapes. From unique architecture to forests to parks to beaches. But I forget that Vancouver is unique and beautiful in its own way. With many of the things I have experienced elsewhere.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work downtown Vancouver. It made me want to come down to this city more often. I’ve begun to take the time and just wander around Vancouver as well as take in a Hockey Game with my son. Vancouver has parks and architecture that you can only find here.

The outskirts of Vancouver boast beautiful trails located in many municipalities; and White Rock’s beaches aren’t crowded. This year, we aren’t planning any big trips or vacations. I’m going to plan more daily explorations of our current stomping grounds. Let’s share what the Lower Mainland has to offer.

By all means, give me some ideas of places to visit and things to do. No need to keep secrets about this exquisite locale we call home.

Keep Your Chin Up

It’s only been one week into the New Year and already I’ve seen numerous people feeling down on themselves. It sucks to feel that way but I can totally understand it.

With every New Year comes resolutions- those new high expectations we put on ourselves can be overwhelming. When we don’t see results immediately or feel that we can’t overcome a hurdle easily, it sucks the life out of you. I’ve been there. In fact, sometimes I still end up there.

It may sound hokey and cliche, but to those reading this blog right now who may feel like a poopsock- know that I’m still here for you. We can get through this together.

Because you are awesome and you make this world awesome.

Fifty Eight

If things continue the way they are going, I should be able to retire by age 58. To me, that’s a big deal. Because my father passed away at age 58. He never got the luxury of retirement.

For most of my youth (until age 17 maybe) my father worked long hours for a computer company. We hardly saw him. On his days off he spent it golfing with his friends. He wasn’t much of a family man nor did we do many vacations with him. But when he was let go from his job after fifteen years, he took his severance pay and enjoyed almost a year of golfing. Then he needed to work again. He put in long hours and wasn’t around once more. Then he was diagnosed with cancer. A couple years later- he was gone.

Not the life I want.

If I am still with CN Rail, it means I only have to work for a little over 15 more years to receive a decent pension. I’ve already been working here steadily since 2007 (minus layoffs at the start). Considering I have been in the work force for 30 years so far give or take, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And I’m already getting excited about it.

Since My father passed away, I have focused on time with my family. Only on a rare occasion have I worked long hours and put in extra time. At one point it was to pay for my wedding. Another was to afford a down payment for our first home. Now my time off is as valuable as the time I put in to work.

Knowing that I have put in 2/3 of the work towards retirement is exciting. It’s time to start planning what to do with the time off. I look forward to sharing that next chapter with my wife. Her and I are getting started on those long term goals. But first, it’s time to create a countdown. 5544 days to go.

Trading Post #3

I have been going to the Trading Post Brewing for a couple of years now. I was there on opening day at their first location. I also attended their Two Year Anniversary last February as well as Oktoberfest in their Fort Langley location this past September. I continue to head out every couple weeks to one of these locations for refreshments.

I have grown accustomed to their service and atmosphere. It makes for a good time hanging out with my wife, family and friends.

On Saturday, my wife and I were in Abbotsford and decided to check out their third location that opened less than one month ago. We were not disappointed. The food and beer menu is the same as their Fort Langley location. This made it convenient for us as we only had about an hour to kill.

All three locations are unique in their own way. Their Brewery location is exactly that- a brewery. Large vats of beer and seating to enjoy said beers. Their Fort Langley location plays on the history of Fort Langley and the idea of a real Trading Post. Cozy atmosphere and good food. This newest location is completely different. Very modern looking and spacious. A great eatery in the heart of a growing section of Abbotsford.

I love supporting this local business. It helps them to thrive and expand. The owners of The Trading Post have a great product and service that makes for wonderful memories to be shared. If you are looking for a place to share good times- any one of their three locations would be ideal.