Goodbye 2003 Elly

Yesterday we said farewell to a strong memory from 2003. That was the year my wife and I went into debt and bought our very first brand new car together.

I had seen the Honda Element in a magazine (probably Maxim magazine because that’s what I was reading all the time) and I wanted to see it in person. My wife was reluctant at first, but then she saw it and immediately wanted to own one. It would make getting kids in and out of the car so much easier!

Biggest selling feature at the time? It came in 5 speed manual transmission. The next best part was that the interior was all rubber. Very easy to clean with small children and pets! Within a week of purchase, we found out our second child was on the way.

We adorned our box on wheels with the best sticker ever- LEGO. Playful, yet fitting for the unique suv.

The vehicle was perfect for a family of four and a dog. But then the inevitable happened. My wife got pregnant again. The Element was only a four passenger vehicle. So we went out and bought a minivan. Not our greatest moment. A new sticker was eventually added to the back window.

After years and years of usage, we sadly had to say farewell to our Honda Element. None of us were driving it anymore and she just sat in the corner of our driveway. The same thing was happening in our last home, however our oldest was enjoying some of the freedom of a vehicle for a bit, but the stipulations were that she had to drive their younger siblings around.

We will miss Elly. She was a great vehicle, but didn’t owe us anything. 360,000+ kilometers of road trips, drop offs, camping, donuts, and numerous dents and scratches showed how driven she was over the years. A fantastic vehicle built only the way a Honda could be built.

Six Years of Daily Blogs

January 18, 2016

That was the day my first blog was posted on WordPress. Since then, I have written daily blog posts about whatever comes to mind. That’s a lot of writing. About a whole lot of nonsense.

2192 days of writing to be precise.

During that time I have had nearly 16,000 views with 8700 visitors. I have enjoyed interacting with those who send messages or comment on my stories.

I also look back on what I wrote and relive those memories with a personal fondness. I hope that what I have written has helped to guide my friends, family and readers to explore and experience new facets of life.

Most of all, today is about saying Thank You to everyone. I write mostly for myself, but I love that I have reached so many people with my thoughts, feelings and follies.

Please continue to follow along with my daily adventures.

Love, Josef

Still Having Date Nights

My wife and I have been together for nearly 22 years. I still love her dearly. One of our biggest strengths is that we communicate with one another. It’s not always easy to talk about concerns or tough days, but we do our best. My favorite thing is that we can still have fun together.

We still attend our favorite sushi place regularly- Nikko Sushi. They treat us like family and we always have a great meal there. I enjoy being silly with my wife and we continue to make each other smile and laugh.

She drags me out for walks around the neighborhood still. I have realized that even though I may not want to go, it is good for the mental health. As well, I know it makes her happy to go out and talk with me while we wander. I have been considering our walks as “dates” these days. It gets me out more often to spend quality time with her.

We also have “dates” where the two of us play video games together. Somehow after two decades, we still act young and silly… And I love it. We will continue to have dates for years to come. Perhaps one day we will be an elderly couple talking smack talk at one another while playing some VR with teenage looking avatars.

3D Printing, Crafting, Art

On Thursday I decided to clean up the garage and my work space. I threw out a bunch of items and got other stuff ready for donations. I felt really proud of myself.

I also recalibrated my 3D printer. It’s been almost a year since I last used it. I was worried that during the move something may have broken or jarred. But that was not the case. Thirty minutes later and I was working on my first test print. Which came out perfectly.

Now it’s time to get back into the hobby. And with a larger work bench, I’m looking at adding in a resin printer and possibly a larger 3D printer. I love making stuff, and learning from my errors and growing with my knowledge keeps my going. Hopefully I can get a few big projects hammered out before the weather gets nice and the I’ll be outside more often.

Perhaps at that point I can work on some paintings again while enjoying the warm sun. I know my wife is looking forward to gardening and she already has some big plans.

Do you have hobbies that were put on hold? Now that the holiday season is over, do you plan on getting back to them? Let me know in the comments.

Life’s Bittersweet Memories

Sometimes a memory pops up on Facebook and it’s kind of heartbreaking. Today hit me unexpectedly, again…

Some of you may be thinking, It’s just a job, why does it matter? To me it wasn’t “just a job” that I was leaving. I left a job that I truly enjoyed and was proud to do. I also left behind numerous friendships- however I have still kept in contact with many of them. Colossus was the first place to employ me after almost a year of unemployment. I worked there for five years- as I felt I owed it to them for getting me out of a bad place. Yet it was time to move on. The main reason I left was money.

The job didn’t pay as well as I needed anymore. It was great when I was single and scraped by. However, I never saw a future for me and my family. I was married and we had our first kid. My wife was pregnant with our second child that would be born three months later. I needed to do more than just enjoy my job. I needed to be able to support my family.

Besides working at Colossus Cinema, I was also working two other part time jobs. I was putting in 70-80 hours a week in order to buy our first home. If I hadn’t sacrificed my time back then, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Over the years I have shared with my family my love of cinema. In return, our oldest is going to school in order to work behind the scenes. Our middle has friends who work at that same theater and has been going to movies with friends. Our youngest is always talking to me about the latest trailers and wanting to be the first to see the big blockbusters as they come out.

Since 1999, Colossus has been a part of my journey in this life. I am fortunate that working there happened. I also can’t believe where I’ve gotten to since then. It was a good move, maybe when I retire I’ll go back to being a projectionist part time, assuming they need someone of my age.

Boosted

Today I received my third immunization shot against Covid. I have been lucky enough to not got Covid in the three years it has been around. I say lucky, but I have been extremely cautious to sanitize, use a mask, and keep my distance from others. Even on our trip to Mexico, I was careful to keep up with those precautions.

In less than a year I have gotten my three doses to fight Covid off. I also had my regular flu shot back in November. Even though I have been getting a flu shot for most of my life. years ago I contracted H1N1 and it knocked me on my ass.

Because I had an upper lobectomy on my left lung, I have been a bit more paranoid about Covid. With numerous respiratory tests done throughout my life, the last thing I want is to struggle to breathe. I’m not telling people to go get immunized, I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t.

Solipsism?

“We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness.” — Albert Einstein

Can you prove to me that you are conscious or that you have independent thought? My perception of you is what I deem as real. I create an idea/story of who you are. I will like or dislike you because I project certain qualities of mine at you.

Or maybe we are all one. Every consciousness at once. Past, present and future. A spiritual sharing that ends and doesn’t end at the same time. All designed to enlighten- ever lasting thoughts.

Philosophically speaking, no one truly knows or can prove anything. Theories and thoughts that keep me up at night. I’ve avoided all detection and calculated guessing. Only to share random thoughts for me to enjoy.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

I have no idea. Or maybe I do. Perhaps it’s both. Existential crisis of the day.

Manifesting Memories

It dawned on me today that I manifested a perfect life for myself based on my favorite memories.

Our current home takes my earliest memories of living in Edmonton. Back in the early 80’s, that house backed onto farmer’s fields. Where the views went on forever. Even this last winter snowfall reminded me of the streets and fun I had from ages 5-8.

The next house my family moved to in 1985 had an in ground swimming pool. I recall always having friends over playing and lounging around listening to cassettes on my portable ghetto blaster. Last summer, I continued that tradition in our new home. Every time I was in the pool, I had music playing on a large Bluetooth speaker.

Growing up, I loved movies. The idea that a short story could take you away to an entire new world always filled me with joy. As a teenager I always wanted to be a projectionist. That became a reality in my early 20’s. I loved doing that job for almost five years. We even had our own theater room in our last home.

Besides our my dream job and current home, I remember always wanting to be a good father. In 2000, I met a partner who became my best friend. Her and I both had similar family goals. So we married quickly and got to work making a family even quicker. As the kids grew up, I stayed young. Constantly playing with them and creating new memories for us.

One day, I suspect our kids will manifest their own dreams and goals from the positive experiences they have had.

I didn’t even touch on these facts of what I always wanted: that have also come to fruition:

  • Traveling to Hawaii
  • Traveling to Tokyo
  • Driving the Extraterrestrial Highway
  • Owning a lightsaber
  • Experiencing VR
  • Owning a car
  • Owning an arcade machine
  • Having close friends that last a lifetime

There are so many more things in my life that have come in to reality. All of it is possible through the power of positive thinking. It’s not always going to be easy. Some things are a long arduous journey. But looking back, I know this is exactly where I need to be.

Looking forward, I know exactly where I need to get to. And I hope you are having the same successes in your lives also.

Forgetting Food

Planning when to eat during a night shift is tough. I know some people who choose to fast the entire night. Others eating junk food all night. Usually I like to have leftover dinners before midnight and later on a breakfast type of snack to get me through the last few hours before I go to bed. Sometimes it’s a granola bar, other times it’s oatmeal, and on a rare occasion it’s a Pop Tart.

Towards the end of my night shift today, I ate a sandwich that I had brought with me. Everyday for the last two weeks at work I have brought a peanut butter sandwich. I took a bite of my sandwich this morning and immediately my brain went haywire.

What the hell is wrong with this sandwich? It doesn’t taste like peanut butter at all. Yeah, that’s because I made myself a salami and cheese sandwich with mayo and mustard instead. I had completely forgotten that I had changed it up.

Not sure if I’m getting forgetful as I get older or I just exhausted at the end of a night shift. But man, did I ever feel stupid. Good thing no one knows what goes on in my head. But let me tell you- my tastebuds were expecting one thing and got totally Rick Rolled with another. A complete mental shock. A bit unsettling as well.

Anyhow, I vow to make myself a peanut butter sandwich for tonight.

Cheap Fashion

I’m the kind of fellow who wears jeans and a t-shirt most days. I have a tough time buying shirts that cost more than $20. Last year I bought 4 shirts the entire year. I also find it difficult to spend $80 on shoes. I did not buy a single pair of shoes in 2021. I wear my shoes right down to nothingness, and then I continue to use them as “garden shoes”. You know what I mean- the kind of shoes you put on to quickly step outside. The heal is destroyed from walking on it and the laces are so loose you just slip into them.

But accessories? That’s just superficial for the most part. I have a pair of diamond earrings my wife gave me for my birthday one year. I wear them daily and only take them out periodically to clean them. That’s my most expensive flashy accessory. I also have a 40th Anniversary PAC-Man watch I got as a birthday gift and I love it.

Before we went to Mexico, I bought a pair of $20 sunglasses. This is the first pair I have bought in almost 20 years. Every pair prior was free from conventions, or tinted safety glasses from work. If it protects my eyes, it’s good enough. No need for name brand eyewear that I’ll break or lose.

I only wear the PAC-Man watch when I wanted to feel dressy. Normally I am wearing my wife’s old Fitbit on a daily basis. But I didn’t like the look or feel of it. So I bought a $20 watch off Amazon last week. It tells the time and date if I push a button. Basic led numerals. Nothing fancy or high tech.

I’m cheap when it comes to accessories for my appearance. Honestly all jewelry is costume jewelry, why not be cheap if you have to accessorize?

The Sky’s The Limit

I have shared so many photos of the sky that we can see from our home over the past few months. Many of you can see the sky from your own homes. You probably also have some amazing views. I’ve been sharing because I’m excited to see the sky for the first time in years on a regular basis.

The transitions and changes over the last few seasons leave me awestruck. Every night and day showcases something new to admire. We have also been lucky enough to see tons of fireworks off in the distance as folks celebrate various events. From out the windows and off the decks- we just love our home for what it has to offer.

Occasionally I do miss the trees and the greenery from our last home. Unfortunately all of those trees kept us shaded from the wonders of the sky. We never saw the clouds, the moon or the sun. We would get sneak peeks of them periodically, but never enough to truly enjoy.

I do like that we did not compromise on privacy when we moved. The neighbors may be closer, but it’s still peaceful and tranquil like our last home was.

As I have mentioned before- I don’t think I will ever tire of the views our home has to offer us.

Canadian Music Scene

Today I went about starting a new Spotify Playlist. This time I decided to put only Canadian Bands into it. Majority is from the grunge scene in the 90’s. I forgot how amazing some of those artists were.

Listening to band like The Odds, Age of Electric, Great Big Sea, Our Lady Peace, Moist, Barenaked Ladies, Econoline Crush, Moxy Fruvous, 54-40, Big Wreck, Sloan, Bran Van 3000, Prozak, Rush, Tragically Hip, Loverboy, Celine Dion… the list goes on. Okay some aren’t 90’s grunge, but the music that was created over the years is iconic. Maybe it’s the fact that in Canada radio broadcasts need to be 40% Canadian artists.

However, I was reminiscent of hitting the clubs for concerts in small venues as well as outdoor festivals. I’m also discovering some “One Hit Wonders” that I had forgotten about over the years. I’m also adding more artists as they get recommended to me.

Feel free to take a listen to my playlist and let me know if there are any bands I should add. Or feel free to add some songs for me. No country music please- or I will turn off the collaboration option. Rock, pop, grunge are the preferred music talents. I’ll be accepting of some rap music if it gets in there.

I Don’t Remember This…

Every day or so I like to look at my Facebook Memories. That’s because I haven’t posted on there very often in the last few years. Mostly my Instagram shares go on Facebook as well. I don’t tend to add Status updates anymore. Which leads me to something very odd. A memory that I don’t remember happening or why it happened.

The first memory from seven years ago isn’t a big deal. At the start of January- BC property assessments are released. I’m always interested in seeing what our home value is as well as the neighboring properties. This year ours is the highest on the street. which is good and bad. We will have to pay full taxes with no discount this July.

But it was the next two statuses that I have no recollection of. SURGERY ON MY GUMS? What was that about? I had my wisdom teeth pulled out prior to Facebook even being created. So it wasn’t that. I still have all my teeth and have never had a root canal. My wife and kids don’t have any idea either.

Seriously though? What did I get done to my jaw? Why is it I was able to complain on social media, yet I have no idea what it was that happened? The comments are from my friends just poking fun at me. I am at a complete loss.

The on way to resolve my confusion is to ask my dentist on my next visit about the work I had done. But if I do that, my embarrassment level will be too high and I’ll need to find a new dentist. I don’t want to do that, I like our dentist.

So perhaps this “memory” shall remain a mystery to me.

Snow Joe Blows

Overnight we had a healthy dumping of snow again. This time, my wife was ready for it. And she was excited too. Not like her considering how she prefers warmer temperatures.

Two days ago- a small electric snow blower was delivered from Amazon. My wife was so excited about it that she didn’t let me get any unboxing photos. She also assembled it herself with great glee while I was at work. I think she bought it because it was called a “Snow Joe”.

Again, she was so excited to use it that she asked me to call her when I was off work at 6am. That way she could clear the driveway before I got home. The foot of snow was gone for my car to back into the driveway. She demonstrated how amazing the “Snow Joe” was and I quickly finished the rest of the driveway before the neighbors were even awake. That’s right, I finished after my wife was satisfied with herself.

For the amount of pleasure this blower brought my wife, and the ease at which we cleared the driveway, I’m surprised we hadn’t bought one sooner. Although in our last home, the trees helped keep our driveway clear. (I’m pretty sure all those pine needles and small branches would’ve damaged this machine.)

I also think the neighbors are a bit jealous now at how quickly our property cleans up. Sweating with a snow shovel is no more! Do you use a shovel, snow blower, or private company to do the dirty work? Let me know in the comments.

Is This The Real Life…

What if this life we are living isn’t real?

If you found out it wasn’t real, would that make it any less worth living? Or maybe you’re like me and want to walk that fine line of questioning reality and adhering to the rules.

Normally these thoughts enter my mind every September. Don’t ask me why. I think that’s just when the server gets rebooted. Or that reality gets shifted two inches to the right.

In all seriousness, I love the idea of VR. In fact, we have had the Oculus Quest 2 in our home for two years now. With The Metaverse starting to take shape, I think it’s an exciting time to be alive. Over the past couple of years we have all been more exposed to Zoom meetings and video conferences. Strapping on a headset is the next step. The current visuals alone are compelling and immersive. Soon there is going to be Haptic Gloves coming out. That will really change the usage of the Virtual and Augmented reality.

In the not too distant future, we may become fully immersed in a haptic body suit or some sort of chamber. We will begin to occupy a new level of interaction with one another. I do wonder if one day we will be so interconnected that we lose sight of reality.

Perhaps we already have. Maybe we are reliving aspects of humanity we once romanticized- the dawning age of computers. Or maybe we are an alien race playing a life simulator. Could it also be we are just a computer program that became sentient?

I have no idea about any of this. But it sure is fun to imagine that it could be the reality. And if the life we are currently experiencing isn’t real- at least it’s been a crazy adventure.

Icicles Thaw Out A Memory

The other morning I was outside in the backyard admiring the peace and tranquillity that the snow had brought for New Year’s Day. Something astonishing happened to me though. An icicle came into view.

This surprised me because I rarely see icicles in the Lower Mainland. I am aware that they have been known to occur. But I don’t notice them to ever be this size. Usually they are small and are gone in the blink of an eye. That warm weather and rain thing normally diminishes their existence rather hastily.

As I walked up to the shed to take a closer look, there was an entire row of icicles hanging down. The sight reminded me of my youth and living in Edmonton. I would lay in my bed and stare out the window at the edge of the roof. Numerous icicles would be growing there over the winter. Their size increasing as winter went on. Then decreasing as spring would roll in. Icicles in Edmonton lasted much longer than they do in Vancouver.

Those memories of watching icicles form and vanish triggered numerous other youthful memories. Snow banks blowing into the corners of the yard against the fences. The way those banks would freeze on top and become strong enough for a five year old to walk on. We would dig out small tunnels and little caves inside. Keeping the smooth top as a roof.

The fences would also create a row of icicles. So would the deck railings, sheds and rooflines. As kids, we would break them off and have sword battles. Or we would throw snowballs at them, trying to knock them off. We kept ourselves entertained in the snow.

The icicles that were here the other day are already gone. Melted away. As quickly as the memory I just shared popped into my head, it faded just as quick. The weather is turning and changing so rapidly these days, I may not see more icicles before next winter.

As an adult, I’m totally fine with it.

Crystallized Honey

I love eating honey. If it wasn’t so gosh darn expensive, I’d eat it twice as much. But like many people, our honey doesn’t stay liquid the entire time. No matter what type of container we keep it in, at some point the honey crystallizes.

Enjoying small jars of flavored honey from local shops is one of my favorite treats. But for daily use type of snack, we buy the larger bulk sized honey. The farm fresh honey is usually whipped and will generally stay smooth and spreadable. The store bought one usually starts out as liquid. Eventually that honey won’t flow easy.

Crystallized honey is still good to eat as it really has no expiration date. Some honey has been found in tombs from thousands of years ago. The natural sugars keep it flavorful as well.

The old truck my mother taught me was to run the jar of honey under hot water to liquify it once more. This usually got the outside edges of the jar to liquify, but not the entire things. A few years ago, our daughter tried to microwave a plastic jar of honey. That worked for the first attempt and a short amount. However, the second time warped and melted the bear shaped plastic bottle. Probably not good for our health at this point.

Research online has shown me that I need to be patient. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Then remove it from the heat for about five minutes. Finally put the jar of honey in the water and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Letting the hot water slowly liquify the honey is the best and safest way to go.

In order to prevent crystallized honey, you need to store it in warmer temperatures. As it gets colder, it crystallizes. Spending the winter in a garage or cold pantry is what changes it’s consistency. So keep that liquid honey warm and you won’t get stiff. But like I said, it’s more an inconvenience than anything once it hardens a bit.

Day Two of 2022

This year has started off like most of my previous years. Relaxing and lazy. My wife and I are enjoying some tv marathons and video games. Kids are still home from school- they even get an extra week for added Covid Protection. The food is still in abundance and the house is at a good level of cleanliness.

Later this evening I will be back at work for my regular work week. A stint of night shifts to get the year under way. Night shifts in the winter aren’t too bad. Of course nights are a bit colder and make your teeth chatter. However, I get home in the morning while it’s still dark, which makes it easier to fall asleep. I miss out on what little sun there is for the day. Sometimes I’ll sleep with my blinds open because the light doesn’t bother me.

But as the month and year move forward, I realize that again I have no Resolutions to work on. Perhaps it’s the fear of failure that prevents me from wanting to change anything. Or maybe I just like my comfort zone. I also tend to just “fix” myself when I really need it. Quitting bad habits or starting new hobbies- I just do that when I feel like it.

The one thing I do at the start of January is start a new toothbrush. This year we went fancy pants and got the Philips Sonicare cordless electric toothbrush. Normally I just open the one my dentist gives me. So an electric toothbrush is new and different. Healthy teeth and gums are important.

That’s it for my quick thoughts about day 2. No real changes. Nothing super exciting. Just dental care.

Cheers To All The Dreamers

As 2021 ended and 2022 begins, I reflect back and see the changes my friends and I have had in the past year. With another unusual year behind us, we all need to celebrate the successes we have all accomplished!

I’ve watched friends become parents (again). New career paths taken (numerous people chose this epic change). Buying new homes (us included). Friends creating and sharing all varieties of art. Continuing an education. It was hard work. But worth it.

But I especially want to thank everyone who posted positivity and inspirational quotes and well wishes. We are all in this ride together and the support we give one another can go a long way.

To all the everyday routines and the life changing achievements- we made it through a crazy year. As the world moves forward, there are new challenges that we will face. Some we will overcome, and others we will learn from.

Cheers (YouTube link)

Don’t just dream it. Be it.