Hi Knoll Hike

It was a beautiful day on Saturday. My wife and I decided to take the kids for a leisurely walk. So we went to one of the parks in Langley.

Hi-Knoll is an easy hike that I would recommend. We went through a field and over a small bridge that crossed a stream. We ended up walking along the far edge of the park before cutting back into the wooded area. There were a few other people meandering along the pathways. We each nodded or said a “Hello” out of respect- the way many people do when out on nature walks.

It was a peaceful walk that ended up being extremely pleasant. Our kids enjoyed the mild hike as well. We talked about me growing up near the area and the adventures I once had with former friends. It was all so surreal as my mind picked out snippets of a life that once was.

I’m looking forward to future walks with my family. Perhaps there will be more stories to share. Only time will tell.

Do you know of any other good parks to check out? Where do you go to clear your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Good Kind of Sore

I woke up this morning with aches and pains. My arm muscles feel tight from hours of axe throwing and archery yesterday afternoon. My lower back is throbbing from bending over to rip out weeds and building our target. My legs have periodic cramps from the excessive walking I’ve put them through suddenly.

All of it feels good. I feel alive and ready to do some more. The sun is shining and the heat is rising. Later this afternoon I am planning on going for a hike with the family and take full advantage of the Spring Weather. I’m going to work through the aches and get my body back to where it should be.

It’s amazing how when I was a child none of these pains existed. I’d ride my bike, climb trees, walk to the store, or swim in our pool. As a teen the pains still didn’t happen. There was lots of walking, hiking, biking and running to be done.

Even a few years ago I used to walk constantly. Many of my jobs/ careers have had me on my feet and walking around. Including when I first started at the railroad. But over the past few years I’ve gotten lazy-ish. More office work and sitting at a desk now. And probably will be for another fifteen years or so. I best do something to keep me active.

When the weather is good, I enjoy being outside. I love walking when I have a destination in mind. Especially when on vacationing to places like Disneyland. We walk constantly. Same with last year in Tokyo. My body and mind cleared up during these trips.

During my days off, I need to be less sedentary and push myself. Get over the aches and pains and let my body remember how to be active. Like a photograph reminding me of my youth- my muscles will remember how to be used.

From Yard Work to Axe-ercise

My son and I have been hard at work the past couple days clearing out an overgrown part of the yard. We needed to dig out a rotten shed and take back some of our yard.

Yesterday we cleared away quite a bit. Today, my oldest came out to help as well. She knew that I was going to be making a large target for archery and axe throwing. She wanted to be there when we began throwing.

We had ripped up an old deck, and I kept some of the wood. I placed them together and traced out a target. My kids helped me hang the target and excitedly began to decimate it.

Numerous throws and hardly any hits. But the hits that stayed- felt great. I have a feeling this summer we will be working hard in our aim. Seems like everyone wants to come out and try as well.

Healthy Lifestyle both Physically and Mentally

As I get older I feel that my life needs a bit more of a health upgrade. My wife is constantly pushing me to be more active. And she’s right. Look at yesterday for example:

I become stagnant and inert sometimes without realizing it. Yesterday she accomplished nearly 12,000 steps. I barely did 1700. As you can see- her goal is significantly higher than mine. Now that I’m in my early 40’s- it’s time to really start looking at my future.

I’m planning to retire by my mid 50’s. Which means besides being financially secure by then, I also want to be able to enjoy life. I don’t see myself hitting the gym, but walking more and getting off my phone to see the world are becoming more prevalent choices in order to feel healthy. So I also took a drastic approach to my cellphone addiction on Sunday.

On Sunday, as I was waiting for my son to compete in his Speed Skating competition, I noticed how everyone in the stands was on their phones- hardly interacting with one another. Naturally, I took out my phone and opened Facebook. This is when I realized I have a problem. It became clear that even though in the past I have taken a month hiatus periodically from the Social Media- I needed to do more. So I began by looking at my “Friends” list. I removed people to try and “clean house”.

By the end, I had removed nearly everyone on my list. There is now only my wife and daughters, my three friends who have passed away and two fellows whom I respect in many ways. One is a hard working artist, the other is my son’s coach. It took four days before anyone noticed that they weren’t my “Friend” anymore. The one who did notice is a close friend of mine and messaged me last night. Others may not have noticed, because if they follow my Blog- they are still seeing me posts on a daily basis because WordPress shares directly there for me.

After nearly 12 years on Facebook, it is tough to just give it up. I have kept my Facebook “alive” in order to read stories and news articles from groups that I follow. As well as to interact with those who comment on my blog posts. A couple of years ago I stopped using Twitter. The one social media I do enjoy is Instagram. I follow many of my Former Facebook Friends on their and enjoy seeing quick snapshots of their adventures.

Maybe one day I’ll regret dropping all of those Facebook contacts. I didn’t announce it to the world at the time because it really shouldn’t be a big deal. So I guess this is that announcement just to let people know. Time for me to move on. And by move, I mean walk more. Healthy living should be both physical and mental.

A new journey lies ahead. If I put my phone down- I’ll see where I’m going.

Shower Start

I have a routine that I need to follow to get my day going. First is having about 5-7 alarms go off in ten minute intervals to get me out of bed. Yes, it takes me about 45 minutes to finally roll out of bed. Over the years, my wife has come to accept this even though she is not always thrilled by it. The other routine I have starts the night before.

Before I go to bed, I lay out what I want to wear the next day. Socks, underwear, pants and shirts. I find it easier to not have to think about it when I wake up. The other thing I do is every day before I leave my home- I must have a shower.

This stems from when I was a teenager. I just never felt comfortable going to high school without first washing up. My showers are usually quick, lasting about ten minutes. In our home we have two showers. I am the only person who uses the upstairs shower stall. I like it.

There’s no fancy shower head or anything. It’s still the original 1970’s tile and glass door. Every couple of years I have to replace a washer in the handle of the hot water otherwise it drips. But I have become accustomed to this.

It’s my shower.

It’s a place of solitude as I let the water wash away my sleep. It’s a place where I start to mentally prepare myself for the day (or night) ahead. It’s how I wash away the day before and start fresh.

Mountain Driving

Driving through the Rocky Mountains is always a beautiful drive. Last weekend was no different. We were lucky enough to drive home from Alberta and see the sunset over the mountains.

We travelled back the same way we came in- through Jasper National Park. Both Jasper and Banff are beautiful drives. In fact, both towns are nice to take a quick stop in to look around.

This time of year was neat because the rivers, lakes and waterfalls were starting to thaw. The mix of ice and water made it seem like there was life trickling back into existence.

I would recommend the drive any time instead of flying. Take your time and view the natural wonder this world has to offer.

Blanket Fort or Chores?

While my wife and I were away for the weekend with our son, we left our two oldest at home alone. At age 16 and 14 this was a good opportunity for them to earn some more trust from mom and dad. They are both well behaved and smart girls, so we really didn’t have too many concerns. Read as: No Parties.

Before we left, we gave them a few chores that they needed to do. Usually it takes my wife and I a bit of hounding to get the kids to do stuff around the house. Perhaps we should’ve been more diligent this weekend while we were in another province. When we returned home- it looked like they were expecting servants to clean up after them. (Aka mom and dad). None of their dishes were cleaned and their pizza boxes and lasagna tray from a few dinners before were cluttering up the counter.

Did they do the extra chores you may ask? Why, certainly not.

What they did do was this:

Our middle child made a blanket fort with loads of encouragement from her older sister. It stretched out from one end of our theater room into our main foyer, through to the disaster of a kitchen and around the corner into the dining room.

Our 14 year old daughter had done the entire thing on her own. That’s because she got bored while her sister was at work. Why couldn’t she just do her chores? She is very proud of her accomplishment and since there is another week of Spring Break- she will likely need that long to take it all down and re-fold the blankets and put everything away.

She was inspired by watching re-runs of Community. Growing up doesn’t mean losing sense of childish fun. But there is some grown up responsibilities to be had as well. Hopefully our examples of how to be adults will rub off on our kids.

If you’ll excuse me- I’m off to play some video games and then take a nap before working my night shift. See? Having fun and being responsible is possible.

What do you do to keep the childish fun inside of you alive? How do you balance responsibilities and fun?

Let me know in the comments.

Behind The Successes

This weekend, as our son competes at his Speed Skating event, I realize there is so much more that builds up his success. This is the same for all athletes. And the same can be for our lives if we so choose.

The families and friends who hang in the crowds and support any way possible. From cheering loudly to hugs and high fives; early mornings and car rides; or traveling to different cities- there is always a group of people pushing and promoting. Words of encouragement go a long way mentally as well.

Then there are the coaches offering words of encouragement and advice. When taken to heart- these coaching moments can be extremely valuable. Coaching is a necessity to the betterment of all involved- be it given and received. A coach beams with pride the same way a player beams back gratitude. There is also a ton that goes on behind the scenes such as making sure equipment is ready and functioning.

Finally- there is the healthy eating. Eating the right fruits and vegetables. Drinking plenty of water and keeping it up daily.

All of these are the basics of becoming the best athlete possible. It’s also a great way to live life. Get out there and be the best.

Just like Joe Esposito sang:

Try to believe
Though the going gets rough
That you gotta hang tough to make it

History repeats itself
Try and you’ll succeed

Never doubt that you’re the one
And you can have your dreams!

You’re the best!
Around!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down.

Live From Grande Prairie

Today is the day our son Theory competes for Team BC at CAN WEST Speed Skating. He is racing in the T2T 12 Male. T2T=Train to Train- big plans for future Olympians! (At least that’s how I see it.)

Yesterday was a warm up and a chance for the coaches to give some pointers to the team. Over the past few months- these kids were competing against each other to gain a spot for this. Now there will be a few times that they need to work together to achieve a team goal.

We are going to be cheering for the BC Team. If you wish to watch a live stream of the events, the arena is broadcasting it on their Facebook Page. I’ve shared it already with friends and family. So of course I want anyone and everyone to watch it! Check the link below:

Here’s the Facebook link: Canada West Speed Skating Championship

As a father of one of the kids completing- I’m going to be one of “those” parents cheering and screaming loudly. If you choose to watch the live stream- be sure and listen for me calling out to my son- “GO Theory!” You too can scream at your phone or computer to offer support. He will be wearing helmet number 65. I’d love it. And I’m sure our team of skaters will appreciate the love as well! Even messages of encouragement make all the difference.

I’m off to cheer now.

Initial Thoughts on Grande Prairie

We rolled into Grande Prairie in the late evening after A Day of Driving. We checked into our hotel and the front desk clerk asked us questions about why we were here in town. “Are you visiting family? Is it for work?… No one comes here for vacation.” Even though he was friendly about it- it got me thinking, what is it that this town has to offer? Besides a liquor store on every corner instead of a Starbucks.

We have arrived at the tail end of winter, so there really isn’t much, um, greenery. All the sand and salt from the roads are off to the sides. At least I can see the roads now which is good because there are a ton of potholes and no visible street lines. So if you think it’s a double lane, it may only be a shoulder. Seems everyone drives in the middle.

The cars on the roads are super filthy. And there is a dust haze that floats at eye level. So I stare out at the gorgeous blue skies. Grande Prairie has that. Blues skies that go on forever with little fluffy clouds in them. Just like the song by ORB only this is Alberta not Arizona.

So first impressions of Grande Prairie are fairly unimpressive. But I’m still excited to be here for our son. Which makes my brain hurt. Best of luck to him and the rest of the BC Team at the CANWEST Speed Skating competition!