There are times that I get so focused on my goals that I don’t always see how it will end. From yard work to career goals- there is always a journey to be taken. Sometimes the journey feels like it just goes on forever.
I haven’t written the ending to my story yet. I’m still working on character development. Some follies and adventures are still to be had. One day I will stop writing my blog. That day will probably arrive suddenly and without warning. But I hope to grow from it.
Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Sometimes you see the conclusion in the sidelines- it’s not always directly in front of you.
Yesterday evening my 15 year old son sent me a text. It was the nicest and most surprising text I have had in quite some time. I was genuinely taken aback by the text.
My son and I talk a lot about Marvel and Star Wars. We try and watch the movies and shows together. It has turned into a great father/son bonding time. But to have him start by asking if I wanted to attend a movie with him and his friend was by far the most loving moment he has shared with me- without knowing it.
I am now seeing a movie on Friday night with a couple of teenage boys. They could’ve easily asked to be dropped off, but I’m glad he chose to ask me along. Things may change over the years, but this Friday I will feel like a superstar. And all it took was my son asking a simple question. My heart swelled up last night when I read the text.
Vacuuming is unavoidable. In our old house we had a central Vacuum. About every six weeks or so we had to empty it. This was mainly due to all the dog hair that would accumulate. Dragging out the hose and attachments was an ordeal and a hatred when putting away.
Our new house is piped for a central vacuum. However, we decided to buy a small handheld vacuum. We picked up a Dyson V11 cordless vacuum. It is extremely powerful and lightweight. It has made vacuuming a tad more enjoyable and easier to do.
On Friday, my mother insisted on buying us a Shark bot vacuum. It does it’s little dance throughout our main floor helping to remove the dog hair. Today it got under my feet in the kitchen as I was attempting to make breakfast. I think this little robot is attempting an uprising already.
Since we’ve only had it working a a couple of days, we shall see how good a job it does. So far it has done an okay job just mapping out our floor. Hopefully it makes keeping the floors clean a bit easier and having to do it less often. We all love convenience.
As summer comes to a close, enjoying a weekend in the sun is a luxury. After a few days of rain, it was nice that our Saturday was filled sunshine.
As the summer comes to a close, my wife and I started to plan our gardens. Sales at the garden centers are starting to come up. Today we planted some late summer/ autumn plants by the pool. They will add a splash of red and yellow the the back yard.
We also moved our tomato plants into a small green house in order to protect them from blight. They are so close to being edible that it would be a shame to lose them this far into the season.
Finally, we are gathering up junipers and cedars for our front garden. These will be planted over the next few weeks as we try and figure out a layout that won’t involve lawn.
Hopefully the sun peaks it’s head out on my days off. That’ll make it so much easier to plant.
Part of running a good business or having excellent customer service, is the little touches that are included. We have had nothing but good experiences with the selling of our old house and the purchase of our new home. From our real estate agents to the mortgage broker- we were given all start treatment.
Recently we received a package in the mail. It was unexpected but a really nice gesture from our mortgage broker. A bag of gourmet coffee and a couple of coffee mugs were inside along with a thank you letter. My wife and I were pleasantly surprised by this.
Months ago, our mortgage broker went above and beyond for us. Deryk even answered my phone call as he was walking into the hospital for the birth of his first child! That was an unexpected commitment. I wholeheartedly thanked him for all of his time (and his associates) for how they helped us get the mortgage we required for our home.
Going above and beyond feels like a luxury these days. Where a company puts people first and foremost when doing business. Anyone locally who is looking for a mortgage, I will back the Thrive Mortgage company 110%. If it wasn’t for their assistance and help, I have no idea if we would be in the house we are in now.
A big Thank You to Thrive Mortgage for helping us achieve our dream home.
Today is International Dog Day. Since I was a small child, I have always had a dog in my life. When I was born my parents had a wired haired fox terrier named Whiskey. When he had to get put down, I was maybe 3 years old. My father vowed to never get a dog again.
A couple years later, he brought home another terrier named Brandy. She lived with us for a couple of years until she bit my mother’s hand quite badly. Since my sister was a toddler at the time, the decision to give her up (the dog not my sister much to my chagrin).
Shortly after that we moved away from Edmonton, Alberta and into Langley BC. My parents adopted a cocker spaniel puppy named Charlie. He lived with us for about four years until a tumor took over. He was one of the most lovable doggies ever and enjoyed being cuddled.
We moved again to a new home where my mother and sister adopted a multipoo that I got to name Alvin. He was a bouncy little fella always happy yo see you. He lived for a very long time. So long in fact that my wife and I looked after him in his final year.
When I met my wife, she had a Rhodesian ridgeback that was a big ol’ softy. His name was Chuppy. Everyone who met him fell in love with his demeanor. He lived for 17 years. He was always known as Chuppy the Puppy. Bum rubbies was the best way to his heart.
Then came Lex Luthor. We adopted him about eight years ago at the age of about six. He brought some energy back into Chuppy which was the biggest reason for adopting a second dog. He was such a well trained big lug who always hung out with us everywhere in our home. We lost him at the start of this summer, so that sadness is still fresh.
Last fall we adopted Maki. She is turning five and much like Lex did for Chuppy- she brought some life back into Lex for a bit. Maki is probably one of the most loved of all. She has become an emotional support dog without intentionally doing so. She seems to know when people need love the most.
My wife and I have spoken about Maki being our last dog, but in reality we both know this to not be true. We are dog people and will always have a dog as a member of our family. They bring such joy to us all.
I don’t talk much about my battles with depression. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt awful- I really hope it’s a thing of the past. Let’s start in the past for those of you who didn’t know me very well. (Warning: Today’s blog is longer than normal)
I was a gangly, gawky, awkward teenager. Because I stood out, and like most other teens, I was bullied but kept it to myself. At age 15 I remember crying myself to sleep wondering why I was even alive. Replaying shitty interactions in my head to figure out what I could’ve done differently. I will say though, my mother was trying her best to figure out what was wrong since all I wanted to do was sleep and was constantly “sick”. She thought it was something physically wrong with me so I had a bunch of tests done on my blood and lungs. I went along with it because it meant not going to school for the day.
By grade twelve a lot had happened in my life. I fell into a group of friends who, by all accounts, helped me “self medicate.” Every Friday we skipped school for the day and drank. Not once did we get caught or questioned by teachers or parents. This little thrill ride was all I had to look forward to each week. And then that summer hit. Drinking wasn’t the only thing happening.
Getting up before noon was not a regular occurrence- hanging out doing dumb shit all night was. Of course I had friends and girlfriends and we had fun. I just didn’t care if I would make it through my early 20’s. I was driving down a lonely path as my family life was crumbling. Anything from my youth was long since a distant memory. My parents fought more, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my sister was working through her own stuff; being broke and couch surfing was my new normal.
Suddenly I was an adult. Somehow I lost five years of my life. My doctor prescribed antidepressants to me. I took those for about six months and lost all feeling of feeling anything. That sucked worse. So I went off them on my own accord. Shortly after I met the woman who would become my wife.
She is an incredible woman and we have accomplished a lot together. Being with her- I only wanted to do; and be; the best in my life. We were suddenly buying a house and raising a family. I had something to strive for. A better existence for my kids than what I felt I had growing up. Head down + hard work= happiness? Sort of.
I still have days where all I want to do is sleep. I sometimes don’t want to face the world as I worry that it will crash down around me. How do I cope? This is what has worked for me:
I write daily in my blog. I do my best to focus on the positives in my life. This can be difficult and sometimes I feel like I am bragging, but those of you who know me or knew me have seen me struggle to get here.
I also try and share more positive images on my Instagram with the hashtag #livingmybestlife That is a mantra that sounds hokey, but really works for me. I recently watched a video that sums up the best way to do this. To paraphrase: A skier doesn’t look at the trees that they could crash into, but rather the path between them. Focus on the journey, not the obstacles- or you will only hit the obstacles.
I still have bad days. I know many of you out there also have them. We’re in this together. I’m just Making It Up As I Go like my blog states. Perhaps I’ll figure out the recipe to battle depression. But until then, it’s just a part of me and I really want it to be a part of my past and leave it there.
Today is the first time that I have decided to take an outside nap before working the night shift. So far this summer I’ve enjoyed my bed for a few hours prior to working. Today I already slept for around four hours, but woke up because I was hungry. Lunch was made and eaten on the deck. That was when I decided to relax.
Instead of crawling back into bed post snack, I chose to lounge in the hammock beside the pool. I put on my swim trunks and grabbed an oversized towel to use as a blanket. Chilling like this is a far better plan. That way I could enjoy the tranquility of our yard and be ready to wake up for a quick dip in the pool before work.
Our dog, Maki, has also decided that taking a nap outside with me by the pool was a good idea. Now we are off to slumber ville for a midday siesta. May you also be enjoying the end of summer. Remember to siesta at some point- you deserve a break as well.
For the past five years we have made it to 20 Mile Bay to end our summer vacation. This year we did not. There were three main factors in why we didn’t go camping this summer.
First, Theory was supposed to attend a Long Track Speed Skating Camp in Fort St. John. However it got canceled at the last minute due to an issue with their ice. As disappointing as that was, it was kind of a blessing because of the difficulty my wife would’ve had driving there. Which brings me to the number two reason for not camping.
Too many forest fires. The campsite we attend has not been closed down, but many routes and other locations have been. Which means it would be busier than we normally like. There is also a full campfire ban in effect. Which makes camping feel different. The air is still very smokey in many parts of our province, having a compromised respiratory system makes for difficult breathing as it is.
Finally, the main reason we aren’t going camping is our new house. I had to change a week of vacation in order to move. We had talked about taking a shorter three day camping trip; but decided that our home is new and exciting to us that it was time better spent enjoying this newness. I still get to put my feet in the water, almost daily this summer. That’s been a lot of fun, so I really cannot complain. Like living in an Airbnb every day.
Perhaps next summer we can get out to camping once more. Or perhaps it is behind us now. Only time will tell.
Last night I attended a stag party for a friend of mine named Jay. It was pretty tame but a whole lot of fun.
We started off at a place called The Barley Merchant. Here we were able to sample a variety of beers since there were fifty different ones on tap. Many from local breweries. We also had some appetizers and joked around quite a bit.
After a couple of hours tasting beers, we headed out for one of Jay’s favorite pastimes- karaoke. I will admit, this group of friends love singing and are quite talented. I enjoy cheering them on, since I don’t tend to get behind the microphone myself.
In a couple of weeks time Jay and Leona will be getting married. I’m really happy for them and look forward to seeing them tie the knot. They are a good match for each other.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon and evening with a couple of friends. All of our kids were off doing their own thing, so my wife and I had a night to ourselves. First was hanging out at our place for a drink and appetizers.
Costco is great for finding quick and easy foods to share. I made some mini wontons and potato skins for us to share. Hanging out in the kitchen is always a great way to converse. Having a large kitchen island made it even better.
Afterwards we headed to a local establishment called “The Vault Restaurant”. It’s been around for ages and was built in an old bank. Kind of a steampunk/industrial feel inside. The food was great and the company was entertaining. It was ridiculously fun.
It’s been a while since my wife and I headed out for a night with friends. I’m glad we did as it turned into a fantastic evening. Date nights are becoming somewhat more frequent now that our kids are teenagers. It means my wife and I can get to know one another again. For that, I am grateful.
Every two to four years we upgrade our cellphones and plans. Today was that day. My wife and I and our two youngest kids each got our own iPhone 12.
We upgraded from the iPhone 8 so it’s kind of a big deal for us. Yes we are a family of iPhone users and have been since the iPhone 4. I like the simplicity and user friendliness of Apple products. The transfer of data is easy as well. Even with new features on the phone, I like that it has all my old apps laid out exactly where they were from my previous phone.
Of course we did our upgrade at Costco. Which was a fantastic deal. We got the phones for $0 down, free car chargers and ear buds for each of us. And $250 in Costco gift cards for each phone. Basically handing us $1000 which we promptly spent 3/4 of it.
Back to school sale and Costco is a great deal. Being at Costco for two hours to set up the phones is the only caveat. But new phone!
I’d like to think that everyone sets goals and does their best to achieve them. Sometimes along the way the goal might change or the route to get there will alter slightly. You know what? That’s okay.
In the end you get where you’re going. Savoring the accomplishments is tough to remember to do. Reflection is also required once in a while. We may forget that we had a goal and it can come and go- and we don’t notice how hard we worked towards it.
Goals can be big or small. They can be health related or career oriented. You can have more than one goal at a time, and achieve more than one at a time as well.
Sometimes we think we want a goal but it’s not the right goal so we abandon it. That’s fine as well. For years I wanted to write a novel, instead I have been blogging about my life and thoughts every day since January 2016. They say “write what you know.” I know about me.
So check on your goals. Readjust as needed. Set some new goals. Achieve and fail, but learn along the way. Be the best you that you can be.
Ever have something stuck in your head and you just really need to get it out? Or you have a memory of something so abstract that you feel the need to search it out using descriptive keywords? I had that tonight.
I was looking for a video which I remembered watching years ago. I couldn’t remember what it was called or much more than a terrible description of what was in the video. After about 20 minutes of sleuthing, I found what I was looking for. My keywords were so far off from being accurate.
Pirate Baby’s Cabana Battle 2006
Yes, I was looking for this video specifically. For the life of me I could not remember the title. Or where I first saw it. But I found it and think it is time to share the link with you all!
I show a lot of photos of the skyline lately. I hope you are enjoying them as much as I do. As pretty as the sky is, it needs to be enjoyed from a great location that is comfortable as well. My favorite outdoor spot is on our balcony outside the kitchen.
I set up a couple of Muskoka chairs facing west. I love their location because of the fact that I can sit with my wife or one of the children and just stare off at the clouds or watch the sunset. This summer has had a few good convos on these chairs.
My inside favorite spot is laying in my bed. Sometimes I’ll just stare off into the horizon and daydream instead of sleep. Both are extremely relaxing.
These are my personal favorite spots around our home. The pool feels like a separate entity all together. That is our chillaxin’ fun times place. Well deserving of its own stories.
Where do you like to hang out in the summer evenings? Let me know in the comments. Or better yet- share a photo!
My wife thinks that she must be missing Disneyland. Mostly the memories that the food brings back. She made churro cookies the other day- which are delicious! Last night for dinner we had clam chowder in bread bowls. Just like the ones we ate from Harbour Galley at New Orleans Square in Disneyland.
My wife has been playing with bread recipes for a few weeks now. These bread bowls were perfect. We have a “Proofing” option in our new oven, so the bread is rising nicely each and every time. The clam chowder was also made from scratch. My wife is superb when it comes to chowders and goulashes.
I just wonder what our next Disneyland themed treat will be. Perhaps beignets like the ones we at in Downtown Disneyland from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. She could find us some smoked Turkey legs. Or maybe a Dole Whip or even a Margarita like we had at Rita’s Baja Blenders. Who knows what my wife’s tastes will bring for for the rest of us.
But my tastebuds have been pleasantly surprised thus far.
The one thing my wife has really wanted to experiment with since buying our new house is baking. We both bake somewhat frequently- usually around Christmas. But with a big kitchen island, my wife wanted to expand her baking skills into more gourmet style of cookies. I’m all for it! But that’s mostly because I don’t have a sweet tooth and will be able to resist eating too many.
Her first attempt at making rich tasting cookies was last night with Churro Cookies. Last summer, I made Disneyland Churros a couple of times. But those are traditional churros- getting deep fried. The cookies my wife made last night had the perfect taste and softness to them. I could have sworn they were actual churros.
She made a creamy churro icing to go on top and sprinkled that with sugar and cinnamon as well. We each had a cookie and really wanted a second one. I took a second churro cookie… I had to. A glass of milk was the perfect accompaniment for this late evening treat.
We are still learning the intricacies of our new kitchen and oven. But if the cookies come out as perfect as they did last night, I suspect we will definitely be baking more often!
My daughter and I had another “Daddy/Darwin Day” today. It started with her getting some driving practice in. We headed to our old neighborhood to drop my son off at a friend’s house. After that she drove to do some grocery shopping with me. We did a pit stop at home and then went out for some more quality time.
We went to a place called her in Surrey that hasn’t been open for very long- Central City Fun Park. Essentially it is a superior Chuck E. Cheese’s. There was pizza, video games, skill games, and prizes. But what made it better than CEC was the mini golf, bowling, vr, and the roller rink. We went there to see if there was DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) and roller skating.
We found a similar game to DDR and did our best to play. Let me tell you- my foot/eye coordination is abysmal. Unfortunately there was an injury in the roller rink, so skating was unavailable. We decided to try the 9 hole mini golf, which was okay, but we really wanted to skate.
After playing the arcade games (Star Wars was fun!) we had a battle of air hockey (tie game) and some other skill games to earn tickets. My daughter decided to keep the tickets and hopefully earn more in the future for a better prize. 287 tickets doesn’t get you much.
It was a good day followed by a fun afternoon of quality time. Next time we better get some roller skating in!
I have always been a huge supporter of the arts. My personal favorites are visual arts, performing arts and music. Over the years I have watched and supported numerous friends as they venture forth exploring their talents.
Years ago, I supported a few friends from high school on their endeavors into music. Garage bands were popular and the talent was endless. Many a nightclub and studio jam session was had. I was a roadie to many bands.
A couple of my friends are still actively making music. They performed together under numerous names. Seal Bomber, Porn on Beta, Identity Crisis, and now as Nakatomi Freefall. Even as they encroach on their late 40’s- I’m glad they are still being creative.
The biggest success was a fellow named Dallas Smith. He turned towards country music and has garnered a larger following than he had when he and friends were in the band Default. I do recall enjoying their performances at the local nightclubs and was happy to hear that they got signed.
As I speak about former friends and pop culture success, it is exciting for me to have my children now support their friends as high school draws to an end.
Most recently a success story is Brooklyn Wood. She is one of my daughter’s closest friends. A recent article talks about Brooklyn: 2021 Music. This Saturday her piece will be performed at the Vancouver Playhouse. Brooklyn is extremely devoted to violin and practices religiously. Her talents aren’t just natural, but awe inspiring when you see her play. As a fan of classical and composition styles, I’m excited to watch this young lady as her career will take off.
I will always support the arts. Talent and hard work can pay off for those who seek success. Get out there and make good art! I’ll be cheering you on!
In our last home, the trees gave us plenty of shade. So much so that we never really saw the sky. The trees kept us cool but also threw us off in thinking it was later than it was. Our new place has a more open view with loads of windows. But that is throwing us off in thinking it is earlier than it is.
There is a certain point in the day that the sun burns through our windows blinding us with its light. We have these darkened shades that roll down, so they tend to be used for a few hours each day. They also help to keep the home cool (along with our AC), We can still enjoy looking through the shades at the landscape. It reminds me of viewing old slides on a 35mm slide projector.
As the sun truly begins to set, we pull the blinds back up and enjoy the colourful skyline. Our sectional couch mostly faces the window (and not the TV) allowing for us to enjoy the natural wonders of our city. A glass of wine and the orange sky is a great way to end a work week.
This evening I enjoyed sitting peacefully on my back deck absorbing the many sensations as the sun slowly set. I listened to the gentle chirps of the hummingbirds in the air above me. I felt the soft breeze on my arms that occasionally flittered past. My nose was filled with the scent of the pool that I had just stepped out from.
Something about this evening was making it feel perfect. My worries from work were left behind me. A relaxation overtook my psyche. I am slowly coming to accept this as a regular occurrence in my life.
This past year I have been doing my best to work on all aspects of my health. Drinking alcohol less, enjoying the fresh air more, and swimming almost daily. I’m looking better (Dad Bod is diminishing) and feeling better. This has helped in my mental health as well. This past weekend was time to work on one more piece of the puzzle.
The Dreaded Finances!
It sort of started at the beginning of August. My wife and I sat down and wrote out an updated budget for the household. We decided to use Google Docs so we can edit spending in real time so that we can keep on top of spending. This past Friday, we met up with our financial advisor and talked about our future, and the future of our family. I highly recommend an outside source for financial planning. Free advice with a knowledge of the industry. We have been using the same advisor for nearly twenty years, and feeling successful as we grow.
Yesterday we went through our old bills and paperwork. It was time to shred as much as we could. With everything going digital and paper free, there really isn’t much need to keep a physical copy any more. We have kept copies of vehicle maintenance and income taxes, but almost everything else turned into paper streamers.
That was a good feeling- shredding old credit card bills. It makes me feel bad for old me and how much my wife and I struggled at times to keep the debt load down. Using credit cards is a luxury and a curse. Getting back on track is a challenge.
So my health in all aspects is improving. Including my future financial health with my wife. I’m happy with how things are working out and where our future is going.
Everyday we have to clean the skimmer trap in our pool. We also take a net and gather up any bugs or debris that is floating on the top of the water in the pool. Not a lot of bugs at this time mind you. Occasionally there is a bug trying to swim and escape the pool, so I’ll help it out.
Yesterday I watched as a dragonfly attempted to land on the water. I fished it out with my finger and the dragonfly shook the water off it’s wings. Then it just hung out with me. Not a care in the world. Had it been a wasp- I’d have been stung as a thank you.
I ended up making a short video for my newly created TikTok account. Feel free to view it here: Dragonfly. It was neat to just have it on my finger. I have had numerous other wild critters in my hands. Check out the links below to my former blog entries: