Everyone thinks of pumpkins and candy when it comes to Halloween. And while I enjoy both, it’s also fun to make regular meals with a spooky twist.
Last night I made meatloaf and potatoes. But with a twist.
The meatloaf was a couple of severed hands. I used onions as the finger nails. It didn’t take much longer to make than it would regular meatloaf. I only wish I had sliced mozzarella to put on top as a “skin”.
As a side dish I made “shrunk head” baked potatoes. Again, really easy and didn’t take too much longer to create. But the final result was a fun dinner that was outstandingly flavorful.
Do you have any Halloween dinners? Perhaps cute mummy hot dogs? or ghostly concoctions.
Recently, I have been playing spooky music in our home. It all started with Creepy Carnival Music that I discovered on Spotify. I was enjoying it last weekend, but my family was not a fan. So I played some more “fun” music.
My daughters and I have been singing along to “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Little Shop Of Horrors” and “Wicked”. All very lively and kooky musicals. It’s great that I know the words to two of the musicals. Unfortunately I have yet to see “Wicked” but it is on my list.
While the family was out this evening, I had to make dinner. So I decided that o wanted to listen to Nine Inch Nails. It has been years, so I chose to play “Pretty Hate Machine” on of my all time favorite albums. I discovered a version done by Vitamin String Quartet that was beautifully crafted. Somehow I missed this album when it was released- 2002! Probably because I was busy becoming a father for the first time.
I’m always sharing memories here in my blog. Scrolling threw my Facebook to find some “Throwback Thursday” photos for my Instagram. I wanted to share some pictures from our numerous visits to Disneyland for Halloween, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog: Decade of Disneyland.
I discovered a memory that I knew was around this time of year. It was thirteen years ago today that I finished working at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I had five years of memories there, and it was where my children got spoiled. My kids were there 2-3 times a week playing video games, getting any prize they wanted off the wall, and tons of pizza. I also had the opportunity to manage numerous teenagers, many of whom have become parents of their own children now. Managing them gave me an insight into how to deal with teens of my own one day.
It was sad to leave CEC back then. But joining the railroad was one of the best decisions of my life. Without changing the career path, I never would’ve been able to afford the lifestyle we now enjoy. Including all those Disneyland trips.
It feels like my days at the railroad have been going on forever now. But 13 years went by rather quickly. With tons of memories made over the years at CN- and the first memory being the one where I had to leave some wonderful people- makes me realize how lucky I have been.
Looking back at my memories, I saw that we spent a majority of our kids’ Halloweens in Disneyland. Since 2010 we have been enjoying haunting up the theme park.
To say I miss visiting Disneyland is an understatement. Once this pandemic clears up and travel opens again- I’d love to hit up Disneyland. No matter what time of year it is. The family and I always had a good time goofing around as we immersed ourselves in the joy of the parks.
We would push for full days at the parks. Lining up before the gates opened and being some of the last guests to leave at night. We made every minute count.
Honestly, some of the best parts of the trips was also the drive. We would be hyped going down the coast, then excitedly talk the drive back about all the fun we had. As cheesy as all this sounds, I am sad that we didn’t get to do it this year. Some of the biggest connections I created with my children was on these vacations. Those memories however will last me a lifetime. As is obvious by today’s blog.
In order to bring forth those good feels, I decided that tonight we are watching Disney’s Hocus Pocus as a family. I haven’t seen this film since the mid-90’s. I also have no idea of my family has seen it. I hope it holds up.
Even if traditions change and we need to adapt. We shall continue to make scary memories together as a family in a variety of ways.
As the song goes- “I see a red door and I want it painted black.” I too painted our front door black. That was five years ago.
Looking at the evolution of our “curb appeal”- I love how the door creates the look in which every thing else follows suit. From our shutters to the trim to the curtains. We made black the accent colour of our home. Even the large chandelier above the front door was given an oiled black finish.
There’s something comforting coming home and seeing the front door with the light on. It’s all about knowing I did these changes on my own. Prideful moment.
I’ve fallen into a nightly routine ever since a new dog showed up in our home. Yes, we have officially adopted her. We are changing her name from Scarlet to Maki. Because she is such a goofball. Take a look:
Anyways, a new dog in the house is causing me issues. I have been suffering from allergies. So Much so, that I have resorted to using a Neti Pot once again.
I tried for the first few days to take allergy medicine in order to cope. But it wasn’t working. As well, my coworkers were thinking I was sick. During a time of Covid- it’s not good to be sniffing. The Neti Pot is my answer. It has been helping my nasal passages. I can breath better after each flush.
It’s not like those Seasonal Allergies that cause suffering because of flowers and pollen. These allergies are from a cute puppers that needs love, and I cannot help but give her rubs. So I’m back on the pot. And it’s helping.
This year I bought some pumpkins for carving. My two daughters and I try and push the limits on our skills as well. Both of them are getting much better at pumpkin carving all thanks to my advice and assistance.
Although I will say, our oldest is getting to a point of almost surprising my skills. Take a look at the detail in her “Audrey 2” carving.
The leaves and the lips have definition and realism added! This took her about five hours to complete. I am truly impressed.
Our other daughter has been at her carving for hours. She even took a break and started working on it again today. She still isn’t finished, but I have faith in her. She’ll get her meme completed by Halloween!
I did one of my favorite fandoms- “Firefly”. In my carving, I love the way the light shines through the title. My spaceship isn’t quite as detailed as my daughter’s pumpkin. It still took my nearly four hours to complete. Of course, immediately after I took my photos of the pumpkin lit up, I dropped it and it broke in half.
I was a bit upset. But not angry. Pumpkins get thrown away after as it is. So for me, the carving is the therapeutic exercise that I enjoy. I’m glad I got the pictures at least.
How are your pumpkins looking this year? Ever have a failure like I did after hours of hard work?
Today is the official day to vote for the Provincial Election of British Columbia. There was the option to mail in a vote or hit the advance voting stations. We chose to head out first thing this morning and cast our ballots.
It was also our 18 year old daughter’s first chance to vote and have her voice heard as an adult. As much as I wanted to commemorate the day with a picture of her- you’re not supposed to take any photos inside. But even before and after, she was adamant that she didn’t want me taking her picture. So I didn’t.
My first time voting was also at the age of 18. Since then, I have voted in every election that comes around, including referendums. Who I vote for doesn’t always win. In fact it feels like they rarely win. But it gives me a chance to share my choice in hopes to better the rest of the population.
It seems a tad bit crazy to be out voting during a pandemic. But here we are. So if you go out to vote today (or those in the USA who need to vote) remember to stay safe and follow guidelines. Wear the mask, use the sanitizer and keep your distance from others. But get out there and have your voice heard!
As I write my blogs, I have been doing my best to remain positive. Writing about positive vibes is one of the reasons for my blog. It helps to bring my mental health into a good place. I’m not perfect, but over the past few years I’ve been trying to improve myself and those around me.
Who I was as a teenager or young adult is not who I am today. I’ve taken a look back at who I was and have noticed a huge shift in my mental well-being. As well as how I engage with others. I have also needed to remove people from my life if I have felt they are doing more harm than good in this world.
My life, and what I write, is freely shared out there. I welcome feedback- both positive and constructive. I don’t mind an opposing viewpoint. But sometimes rude and negative comments are shared.
It leaves me with a decision to make- Ignore the comment? Engage in a debate/argument? Or delete the comment? I know that I have the upper hand- I have the power to chose how I will engage. I take a day or two for my thoughts to deal with the negativity.
So how do you deal with negative people? Is it worth it to be a jerk to others just to engage in toxic behavior? Not for me.
There’s a couple elections coming up. One big one in the USA that the world is watching. And one in our Canadian province of British Columbia- that most people don’t seem to notice. I will be voting locally, but thinking globally.
As for the US election- I hope that something good comes from it.
In fact HOPE is the most important factor for many of the citizens. HOPE for good health care. HOPE for education. HOPE for equality. HOPE for a strong economy. HOPE for a future.
I have hope that the right decisions will be made over the next few weeks. Canada lays out HOPE. In fact there’s even a town in BC called Hope. I often drive through it. In fact, I always joke that I’m “Beyond Hope” once I go passed. I don’t want North America to be “Beyond Hope”.
My coworker and his girlfriend foster dogs from time to time. I told him if they ever got a Corgi to let me know. Turns out that a dog arrived in their care within a few days of my request. So yesterday they brought over this dog for us to meet.
Her name is Scarlet. as you can see- Not a pure bred Corgi. Nor is she a puppy. She is half Corgi/half Husky and about six years old. Immediately my kids were drawn to her. So we opted to have Scarlet stay with us for a week and see how things progress.
Well it seems that day one she has no qualms with Lex- our other dog. She is also finding it rather easy to just relax in our home. Her manners are impeccable and she has enjoyed hanging out with the family.
Scarlet has even chosen the bed she wants to sleep in. Turns out that Darwin and her have made a bond already. Having a dog on the furniture has always been a big no-no for me. But Scarlet has been really cute and it’s hard to say no.
After this week ends, we shall see what happens. But judging from the first day, we may just have a new member of the family joining us. I’m not quite sold on one thing about her though. Her name. She doesn’t seem like a Scarlet to me.
But if that’s the worst thing I can truly find about her, then that’s on me.
It’s the last day of my vacation. The family is home as well with me. So we are going to do some quality family time activities- cleaning the house.
It’s amazing how quickly a home can feel like a disaster. Odds and ends being left around instead of put away immediately. Items just dumped willy-nilly in hopes that someone else will pick it up. Not today. Today we are all going to tidy this place. Time to even close the cupboards and drawers that get left partially open as well. Let’s get things put away completely please.
We are even going to dust and remove the cobwebs. I know- counterproductive with Halloween just around the corner. But it needs to be done. My allergies are taking a hit these days and it’s almost time to turn on the heat. Nothing worse than the smell of burning dust as you try and warm the homestead.
If you need me- I’ll be the one barking orders and checking the work being done by our teenagers. They love it when I make them do a task more than once in order to get it right. Ah, quality learning moments.
Halloween 2020 is going to be more subdued than originally expected. Our son is going to his friend’s place for the evening and our middle is having a couple friends over to watch some horror films. Being that they are teenagers now, last year was pushing it for Trick-or-treating anyhow.
This year I am not planning on some elaborate Halloween costume. Last year was fun- Halloween 2019. I made a proton pack with my son for his costume. And I destroyed it with my Skesis costume. I’m not going to fall back on my favorite Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rick Sanchez or my Hudsucker Proxy costumes. I was pretty good in those ones- even acting the part as required.
No, this year I’m going as the actor behind the roles of horror long ago.
I’m wanting to do a tribute to the Late Great Vincent Price. And a bit of a throwback to my favorite image of him from The Muppet Show back in the late 70’s. I’ve picked up a jacket, just need to get an ascot!
For those of you who will see me over the next couple of weeks- forgive the mustache. And if anyone has a Kermit the Frog to lend me- I’d be indebted.
This morning I met with a friend that I haven’t seen in about a year and a half. I suggested we do what the older people in my neighborhood do. So we went for a breakfast up the road at the Co-Op and shared stories over a cheap meal and cheap coffee. Like a couple of old guys just being old guys meeting up.
The reason for our lengthy absence wasn’t evident nor important. Life just, uh, finds a way. And life gets busy. We were both still in contact through social media and the occasional text message. But meeting face to face is always different.
What could’ve been a quick meet up, turned into a three hour talk. Discussions about family, work, and even politics were on the table. A healthy back and forth, sharing the ups and downs as of late, and offering sage advice to one another. We both have similar outlooks on all of the above. Both of us aiming to stay positive and working towards just being better people.
After three hours together, it felt as if we hadn’t lost anything in our friendship. Those hours today only felt like a brief moment. A moment that I was surprised had lasted so long. I sense that our friendship won’t ever falter. Perhaps we can meet up more often as the world gets settled into a new lifestyle.
It was good to talk to that old friend as we acted like old guys. My advice- don’t be afraid to just drop a line to someone who mattered in your life. You never know when you both need to reconnect.
This morning I spent a considerable amount of time putting together an eclectic playlist on Spotify. Find it Here. Creating this playlist sent me down a rabbit hole of nostalgia.
Many of the songs remind me of old friendships and fun times. Driving around town, sitting in my bedroom, even hanging out in class, buying albums through Columbia House, and overplayed songs on repeat. Using one headphone as you shared with a friend of the opposite sex and not hearing the stereo sound. But willing to sacrifice that for a chance to sit closer.
I still have many of my cds. But they are stored away in a steamer trunk as I don’t have a way to play them except in my car. And even then- using Bluetooth to play different playlists is the new normal. So much more convenient than the large booklets of cds we once carried around.
Enjoy the musical trip down my memory lane. A couple songs are NSFW but fun nonetheless.
Edit: An old friend asked to make this “Collaborative”. Anyone who knew me from my teenage years and can think of a song that reminds them of me- add away!
We started our final day in Victoria by walking around Canada’s oldest Chinatown. There were the typical shops filled with cheap knickknacks. It was most fun to just squeeze down the narrow alleyways and admire the brickwork of the buildings.
We tooled around the tourist part of downtown Victoria and stopped in at a bookstore followed by a macaron shoppe. Both places were greeted by our kids with enthusiasm.
On our drive back to the ferry terminal- we stopped at The Butchart Gardens. I always wanted to visit this place, but never made the time to do so. Unfortunately, because it is autumn- the garden was rather lackluster. I’m sure it is far more vibrant and lovely in the spring and summer when the rose garden is in full bloom.
I did enjoy walking through the Japanese Garden and the Italian Garden. The time of year was good for the fact that it wasn’t crowded. Perhaps one day I shall see it in the spring time. But it has taken me until ages 44 to go my first time, so there may not be a second time. Especially since there is so much more of the world to explore.
At the end of the day we got lucky and made it on a ferry an hour earlier than planned. All of our walking had made us very tired, so that hour made all the difference in our trip. I do look forward to visiting Victoria once again some day. I have always enjoyed traveling there.
On Sunday we booked High Tea at The Empress in Victoria for the family. Over the decades of traveling to Victoria- I’ve always wanted to see the inside of The Empress. My wife and I wanted to make this trip to Victoria special for our daughters. Our sixteen year old had never been here, and our eighteen year old needed a way to celebrate her high school graduation.
Walking into The Empress is overwhelming and intimidating. Every bit about it was elegant. From the piano player to the china with which our tea was served- posh is the word that comes to mind.
We did our part by dressing in our Sunday Best. The kids behaved in their best possible manners as well. We got some great photos with beautiful smiles.
My wife and I chose a Rose tea that was a favorite of Princess Diana. Our children each chose a flavour that matched their palette. The food which was served was decadent and delectable. We were presented with fabulous tea sandwiches and desserts.
This trip was probably the most extravagant experience we have ever shared as a family. From staying in the penthouse suite to experiencing a high tea- this weekend getaway was a one of a kind local journey.
Moments like these matter most to us. My wife and I hope that our children will talk about this in years to come.
We arrived in Victoria, BC at 9:55 Saturday morning. We were all extremely hungry, so we lined up at Jam Cafe and waited an hour to get in for some of the most amazing brunch meals ever. Seriously, I had an eggs Benedict on top of deep fried chicken- my belly was in love. My espresso was perfect and well needed to get me through the day.
Afterwards we headed for a walk towards the Royal BC Museum. We took a couple of tourist photos along the way including in front of the parliament building and The Empress hotel. We also had some fun with our photos.
After a three hour wander through the museum, we headed to our hotel- Victoria Regent Hotel, turns out we got upgraded to a penthouse suite on the top floor! The kids love it. We watched the sun set over the harbour and caught a sea plane landing from overhead.
As night fell, we enjoyed the views of the lights and my daughter and I decided to head out for an evening on the town and took some more tourist pictures. Lots of walking had us passing out early and ready for another day of adventure.
The family was woken up by 4:30am and we were on the road 45 minutes later. We had packed up the night before in order to get those few minutes more of sleep. It was an early morning in order to maximize our weekend away.
It was a rainy drive to the ferry terminal. Knowing it was a going to be a busy weekend, we decided to book a reservation on the ferry so as not to wait. We had about 30 minutes to sit and wait prior to boarding. The rain eased off as we departed for the waters.
My wife and youngest children brought the Nintendo Switch to keep themselves occupied during our hour and a half sailing. I chose to take a nap and our oldest read a book.
As you can see from the picture of the family- the ferry was fairly empty. Departing at 45% capacity due to COVID precautions. It’s one of the only times I’ve enjoyed the ferry ride. I’m not a big fan of crowds or people being near me. I was far more comfortable taking my brief nap.
The sun attempted to break through the clouds on our journey across the water. We passed a few other ferries along the way with a few toots from the horn of the vessels.
Our day was truly about to begin once we docked. A list of activities were planned for our brief time away this weekend. I’m looking to the time spent with the family.
Today I am starting my 11 day vacation. I booked this time off in January as a “back-up” trip to Disneyland when I realized that July’s trip may get affected. And July’s trip did get affected. But so did my back-up dates. So now I am having a Staycation.
Today will be an ever increasing lazy day of sleeping and napping. Over the next few days the rest of my family still has school, online courses and work. I will have the freedom to do whatever I want. You know what that means…
That means time to get really invested in my 3D printing! Download files, prepare the files, print the files, curse that there is a failure, reprint the files, sand the print, paint the print, sand the print, paint, assemble the print, print another file, fail at that and reprint it… the list goes on. But I will have all the time in the world (or at least daylight hours) to work on my prints.
Since I am a Star Wars fan- I actually intend to print a life size droid. This week will give me a good jumpstart on my first one. I suspect it will take me the better half of the year to really get an R2 unit put together. So I may start with something smaller or easier. Yes- I plan on having a few droids built. Don’t tell my wife.
Having time for me is going to be nice. It’s been a very long time since I’ve really focused on what I want. Usually I put the family first and enjoy the ride. We will still hang out this weekend together, but during the week- that will be my time. Or rather, my 3D printer’s time.