Goodbye Neighbor Bob

As I mentioned a couple of months back in my blog titled A Year Ago, our former neighbor Bob was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Even though they had sold their home back in December, it seemed Bob’s intuition was correct- he would die in that house.

My wife received the phone call from his wife yesterday informing us of the loss of Bob. He passed away at the start of the weekend. I am truly heartbroken by this news even though I knew it was coming. Bob was like family. When you hear the term “Mighty Neighborly” that was him.

We always saw Bob’s house from the kitchen window.

He was always there to lend a hand when needed. There was never a time that we didn’t appreciate his assistance around our old neighborhood. He would take his small tractor out in winter and help clear the roads and driveways. When a bad storm would pass through he was there to help clean up the carnage.

Many a day we would stop and chat. He shared with me numerous stories about the neighborhood and the families that lived there. He wasn’t a nosy neighbor, but rather the type that observed his surroundings. They were like an extra set of grandparents for our children while they grew up in that area.

Bob knew he would die in that house. I think he was a bit heartbroken to have sold it when he found out he had a few months left to live. But he was doing what was best for his wife. He always put others first. He was a great man and will be missed. Thank you Bob for being there for us all.

Starting Night Shift Rotation

Switch every two weeks from days to nights is a bit challenging. After doing two weeks of day shift, I had three days off to get ready for my first night shift. Instead, I was still waking up early, going for walks, doing chores and in bed long before midnight.

I’m about to attempt a nap now. I’ll likely get a couple of hours, but not the full four I was hoping for. This usually happens. The other thing that happens is that I will sleep all day tomorrow and my body will be close to the flip of nights.

Anyhow, not much to write about today. Just that I need a nap and swinging into nights is difficult. Oh well. I like my job so I’ll keep doing this for a few more years. Retirement will be arriving in September 30, 2034. Without a loss to my pension. Age 58 isn’t so bad to call it quits. Freedom from night shifts is within reach!


I have a very large bottle cap collection that I started back in 1998 or so. I’m somewhere in the 100,000 range of various pop and beer caps. I don’t have a plan for them at this time, so in boxes they sit.

I do have one cap that isn’t a normal bottle cap. It means a great deal to me and I keep it aside with many of my other mementos. I don’t think my wife even knows that I have it. She gave it to me one day while we were dating, and I kept it ever since.

This is from an old Snapple bottle back in the year 2000. When I first met my wife, she had this bottle cap. It was an image she really liked. Within weeks of meeting my wife, she got it tattooed on the back of her neck. She gave me the cap to keep.

It’s the sort of tattoo that only a few select people have seen or know about. Her long, curly hair hides it. I see it all the time and have accepted it as a part of who she is. I can’t tell you why she liked this image or why she chose to get it as a tattoo. But she did.

Keeping the cap is significant to me. It is a small token of our growth in our relationship. The uniqueness that makes us each who we are and where we once were. I still remember how excited my wife was at the time when she got the tattoo done.

Do you have something like this that you have kept over the years? A piece of your past (or someone else’s) that you won’t ever part with? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your stories.

Too Busy For A Real Meal

This morning was a hustle and bustle kind of day. Kids to school, get gas, hit Costco, grocery store and Home Depot… rush home to unload and then off to a different Home Depot to buy what I wanted. Kind of frustrating trying to get a patio set these days it seems. But I was successful in acquiring it!

What was great was the sales associate at Home Depot was happy to help me load up my car- it meant they didn’t need to find a place to store the set as it was on a palette and in the shipping area. Once at my vehicle- two more employees came to help load it up. Which was awesome! I strapped everything down and drove home.

I got home and my wife came to meet me in the driveway. I was taking the straps off and we took the table off the roof rack. The remaining benches and chairs were in my vehicle and very heavy! my wife made a comment that I should wait until I could get friends over to help move the set. At this point, some random jogger stopped and offer help to move it from my vehicle to the garage. Awesome! Totally appreciated it. Then he ran off.

Because of all my running around, I didn’t have time to make a nice lunch for myself. So I went old school living on my own style. Mac n’ Cheese with a can of tuna and a cheap beer on the side. Perfect for just myself. Honestly, who am I trying to impress these days?

I’m looking forward to the spring and summer when I can really enjoy the weather. Even the small glimpse of it was a nice addition to my day. But I want to give out a big cheers to the three Home Depot employees and the random jogger who helped me today! You guys are the mvps of my day! Thank you!

Walk To Clear My Head

Today was emotional for me at one point. I started to just wallow and was unsure what to do with myself. So my wife suggested to go for a walk. As blasé as I was, I went out expecting to just wander our neighborhood.

We headed down the road and wandered behind our home. My wife asked if we could walk on the other side of the dyke. So we did. It was brisk and cool outside which made for a strong cleansing of the mind. We walked until the end of the dyke and turned around.

That was when I realized where we were. Beauty stretched out towards the mountains. The berry fields were raw with a natural color to the vines. The grass was green and growing. And the skies went on forever. As we walked back home, my head was clearing.

It was a much needed walk. Something I used to do when I was younger. I forgot how satisfying a walk can be and how helpful it can be mentally.


Talking about yourself in third person is often looked at as being narcissistic. I suppose it is in a way. Especially if you do it in regular conversations. But it also helps to take yourself out of a situation and re-evaluate what happened. Let me explain…

Have you ever been at work and kind of lose concentration on the task at hand and make a mistake? If you’re like me, you say your own name and something derogatory. “Josef, you’re such an idiot!” Of course it’s not the most pleasant way to talk to yourself. But it somehow feels as though you took the onus off of yourself and put it on someone else. A way to blame the “other” you.

I’ve always wondered why we put ourselves down when making mistakes. Mistakes are a way of learning- a chance to always improve. Perhaps the people who say their name in the third person aren’t being conceited, but rather trying to correct their behavior by remaining positive about who they are.

Most of us don’t speak in the third person on a regular basis. It’s kind of weird. But the next time you catch yourself berating yourself when a mistake is made- try saying something positive with your name in the sentence. You’d be surprised how the encouragement from within can change your entire outlook. Elmo has been teaching it for four decades now.


Another awesome numerical day. And on a Tuesday! A literal Twos day. I even set my blog to post at 2:22 today, because reasons.

Calendar dates like this make me happy. I have mentioned them in the past. Including last February being a perfect square pattern on the calendar.

Enjoy your 2sDay! Perhaps we can talk in double entendres all day…

How I Scored My Wife

Sometimes I will call my wife for no other reason than to tell her “I love you.”

And that’s it.

Nothing else gets discussed or said. I just say those three words and sometimes hang up. Other times I’ll wait for her response.

I do this because of when I first met her. We had met while hanging out with mutual friends at a club. We had a late night after as we all had Denny’s coffee and laughs. I drove her home and she stole my jacket. But she gave me her phone number. A few days after we met, I called her up and asked only one question of her-

“Can I call you later?”

She said “um, okay” in a confused manner and I saint “thanks” and hung up.

I called her a few hours later and we arranged for our first date. I had intrigued her enough that we ended up being inseparable since the year 2000. My antics of affection- like calling her randomly- continue to keep our love alive.

A week after Valentines Day and I also think about what we do for one another. From the little things, like when we travel- who gets what side of the bed and why. To the big things- like a new car must have special decals added to the windows. We are a great pair and I am happy. Even if my phone call lasts less than 10 seconds.

Costco Membership

On Saturday afternoon my wife and I braved the Costco hordes. Not the smartest thing to do. Parking was a nightmare (as it always is on a weekend). And everyone seemed grumpy. But we were there for something completely different than our regular shopping.

I finally got myself a Costco Membership. The last time my name was on a Costco Card was in 2004. I had needed it working at Chuck E Cheese’s for last minute food items.

My wife had been sharing a membership with her parents for nearly 20 years. It worked out that at one point my wife and her parents were technically at the same address when they signed up for the card. Everything was working well up until recently.

My wife used to have a work schedule she would be able to maneuver around in order to go shopping when it was slow. But since we moved, she has been working steady 8-4 Monday to Friday and is stuck late evenings to go shopping or the dreaded weekend.

Now it is my turn to do the grocery shopping. I have been going out on Thursday mornings after dropping the kids off at school. But since I couldn’t hit up Costco, she would have to go again for another shop. I’m legitimately thrilled that on my days off, I can do this shopping. It will allow for more quality time with the family not running errands anymore.

The challenge will be to not spend an abundance on things we do not need!

Grey Skies And Rain

I’m often sharing pictures of the sunset and skyline that we see from our home. This evening I’m sitting in a chair in our bedroom, enjoying a beer while the rain falls outside.

As I sit by our patio doors, the bedroom fireplace is going and my wife is enjoying a peaceful moment in the bathtub. Much in the same way I have every week. We are chitchatting about relaxation and the rain. There’s nothing exciting going on for a Saturday evening. But it’s our Saturday evening together.

Looking around our bedroom, I realize that I am very lucky to have found a great partner. My wife and I have numerous art pieces that scream out our love for one another. There is special meaning behind everything we own and I can tell a story about each piece and why it means so much to us. That’s perhaps for another day.

So my Saturday night is a calm night of being content and sharing happiness with the one I love.

Peaceful Friday Evenings

Over the past few weeks I have enjoyed my Friday evenings alone. My wife takes the two youngest to speed skating and I get a few hours to myself. A couple of weeks ago I had a bath, read a book and drank some wine.

This week I sat in our bedroom and watched the sun set. Once it was out of view and the night sky was upon us, I turned to the Oculus headset and began a new game- Moss. This was the first vr game my wife ever tried on the Oculus when we were at a friend’s place in Calgary back in 2019. Read about that day here: Unassuming Friday.

The game itself is really cute and easy to play. I was enjoying myself for well over an hour. But had to call it quits because my eyes were getting fatigued. I also had to prepare a late dinner for the family once they arrived home. But it’s going to be some quick and easy. I forgot to get anything ready ahead of time.

I do enjoy the time I have to myself. I’m not ever trying to fill my Friday nights, but I do appreciate the opportunity to lounge for a few hours. Taking some “me time” is beneficial in many ways.

Dog Nap

After a long day of pressure washing the driveway, I wanted to take a nap. It seems though our dog had different ideas. And my wife found it humorous as well.

With what little space there was between me and the back of the couch, Maki squeezed herself in. My wife thought it humorous to take a photo. After a bit my tried to call the dog off the couch.

Wouldn’t you know it, the dog climbed onto the back of the couch and began to wag her tail. Slapping me in the face repeatedly with excitement as my wife pet her. Soon after my wife left, but the dog was riled up and refused to leave me alone.

That was my cue to get off the couch. So I went to the bedroom and took my nap in peace. The dog was like a toddler unable to leave me alone. As much as I appreciated the love and affection-

I just needed a nap.


Every post I have written has a picture or two added. Sometimes it’s a photo I have taken, oftentimes it’s a meme or image drawn from the internet. Not today.

Today I couldn’t think of an image to gather inspiration from. I also had a tough time trying to think of something to write about. For me, writing a daily blog is a passion project.

And yet somehow, I still have the desire to write every day. It isn’t much, but I need to do it for me. It’s a quiet love affair of sharing stories with an unlimited audience. My stories can be heartfelt and fun. Sometimes the tales are just observations. Perhaps a blog is written about food or supporting small business, maybe even a hint of travel.

Whatever I usually write about, it’s meaningful to me. With that meaning I find imagery that coincidences with what I write. But today, it’s only words. To finish off this short post, I’d like to quote The Bee Gees:

Smile an everlasting smile
A smile can bring you near to me
Don’t ever let me find you down
‘Cause that would bring a tear to me

This world has lost its glory
Let’s start a brand new story now, my love
Right now, there’ll be no other time
And I can show you how, my love

Talk in everlasting words
And dedicate them all to me
And I will give you all my life
I’m here if you should call to me

You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words and words are all I have
To take your heart away

Not Political- But An Apology Nonetheless

In true Canadian fashion- Sorry world for the behavior of a few noisy people.

I’m not the sort of person who shares political opinions publicly. I just don’t bother to get into arguments of who’s side is right or wrong.

However, I have not and will not support the “Freedom Convoy” group. I am embarrassed that there are people who are doing such acts with a delusion that they are supported by a majority. Stop this idiocy. And who in their right mind would support the disruption of trade during a time that is already difficult?

I am 100% in support of vaccines and measures put in place to help keep the general public healthy and safe. Science bitch.

Again, sorry to the rest of the world for the behavior of the few. And what the hell? White supremacy groups in Canada are alive and well it seems. That is appalling after everything that everyone else has been fighting to remove.

Don’t bother to engage me in an argument to prove these terrorist blockades are good. You have nazis on your side. And telling me that it’s “only a handful” isn’t going to cut it.

Rant over. Go home.

28:06:42:12 again

Almost my birthday! In exactly 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Every year I post this exact time frame on my Instagram. Many people don’t realize that I use it as a countdown to my birthday.

My daughter one year noticed that I post the numbers every year and made me a Fan Art of the film. Her style reflects the film perfectly. Donnie Darko is a psychological thriller with a twist. First time I saw it, I was blown away. I have rewatched it a few times and picked up little subtleties along the way. I don’t like to discuss films like this unless people have already seen them. It’s not good to ruin the experience.

But as I near my next revolution around the sun, I appreciate what I have and that the folks nearest and dearest to me are there for me when I need it. And many will now realize why I post that series of numbers every year on this date.

Trading Post 6 Years

Second in line

I have attended every anniversary of the Trading Post as well as opening day. To say I like their business is an understatement. I have been first or second in line every year waiting to go inside.

I always meet up with different friends for the anniversary. We always sit upstairs and enjoy a few beers. Even during these Covid times, the brewery still manages to draw a crowd. It’s not shoulder to shoulder like it has been in the past, but it’s still just as popular.

My wife and I had a good time talking with our friends. We spent a couple of hours shooting the shit and polished off a few beers along the way. Even just that brief interaction made me appreciate having a place to go and people to be with. Supporting small business and watching it grow and succeed also bring me joy.

Thank you Trading Post for six years of good drinks and fun with friends. I’ll be there again next year!

Fog In Fog Out

This morning the fog rolled in quickly. It also rolled out just as fast. I awoke at around 7:30 this morning to look out my back window.

Within an hour it was heavy fog. And fifteen minutes later it was all but gone. I watched as the fog slowly pushed its way westward, revealing the colours of the fields that lay behind our home.

I do enjoy getting up early when the weather is nice. The sun over the last few days has helped with my mental state. The fog internally is also beginning to roll away as spring and summer quietly approach. This is the first time in decades that I feel at one with the changing seasons. The warm and cold, the dreary and uplifting… I’ve begun to feel better mentally as the chaos of life isn’t as busy. A couple years of this pandemic has made me reevaluate what is important.

Does the weather affect your moods? Does the sunshine help you feel better? Have you had a chance to understand your emotions and values better over these last few years? Let me know in the comments.

No Soliciting

Surfing the internet or social media- there are advertisements galore. Most of us just skip over them. I also find that if a site has an abundance of ads or they take over too much of what I want to see- I abandon it and never return.

If I have to sign up for something online and need to use my email, I do my best to “Opt out” of promotional emails. I will also UNSUBSCRIBE as quick as possible if I screw it up.

Today someone rang my doorbell. Apparently they can’t read the sign next to it. They were trying to sell me a service of lawn care for the upcoming spring season. I pointed out that I have a small lawn and am not interested. They were trying to assure me that it was a “Free Estimate.” I said no and shut the door.

I get irritated by pushy salespeople. How about you? How do you deal with aggressive advertising? Let me know in the comments.

Costly Instant Waiting

As the world continues on the slow return, I am finding that I do not like the way you purchase big ticket items anymore. Furniture and cars are the biggest pain to buy right now. I’m not looking for a car, but have heard about the inconvenience.

We waited for about six months for a Bookcase. Which was fine, it wasn’t a necessity so we could wait. But we have reached a dilemma when buying dining room chairs. We could buy super cheap ($100-$200 is cheap???) or we can order chairs that can cost between $300-1000 and hope to get them by June.

The other dilemma is buying outdoor furniture. Right now it’s very early in the season, so not a lot is out there yet. But last year, things were gone off the shelves quickly and we were unsure of what we wanted. Again, I can order some nice furniture for 5-6x what the cost of a set at Home Depot or Costco may cost. Speaking with the salesperson, it sounded like the furniture would arrive by August. Pretty much missing this season entirely.

I do miss the ability to buy quality furniture right off the showroom or in their warehouse. Maybe one day we will get back to those days. For now, I should do my best to appreciate what we have and look at saving for the quality furniture next time instead of the instant gratification of walking out of the store.

How does someone justify $1000 for a dining room chair??? It’s not even gold plated. Inflation is ridiculous at the moment.

Amico No Show…

Back in January of 2020 I put down $100 as a deposit on a video game system that was slated to come out in October 2020. (Read about it Here: Mio Amico). The release date came and went with a new day slotted for April of 2021. The reason was the computer chip shortage.

Well, April 2021 came and went with a promise from the company that a system would be out by the end of the year. Well, we are now into the second month of 2022 and still no system or tentative release date. Am I disappointed? Of course.

I am at a stage now where I am debating what to do. I still have the opportunity to get my $100 deposit refunded. Or I can keep waiting and hope that a physical system may actually get released. $100 is essentially how much I spend a week on gas for my vehicle. So it’s not all that much. However, not having something to show for the money is sucky.

I do think that the will be out eventually. My hope is that the games they release will be worthy of renewed gameplay and fun. For now, I’m going to give them until the middle of March and decide by then. There is currently about half a dozen games they have shown that I really want to play.

Maybe I’ll continue to be disappointed. Or maybe I’ll give up and move on. I’m not sure quite yet.

Alone, Quiet and Doing Nothing

I’m about to start a four day weekend. Of which I only have plans for my last day. The other three days have a few errands- such as driving the kids to school- but nothing else planned. Which is great in a way.

I want to do nothing. I want to be left alone. I want to just enjoy the peace and quiet of having no one around. Well, sort of. My wife works from home, so I know she’ll be around periodically. I also just found out that our two teenagers have the Friday off. So I may only get two days alone.

Having some days where nothing is planned is a rare occasion for me. Usually I try and push myself to get a bunch of errands or home improvements done. Not this week. Sometimes a break of nothingness is better if planned. I know that doing nothing is a lie. I will eventually get something done or start some sort of project. I find it difficult to not be a busybody.

How do you do a day of nothing? I need advice.

Not Feeling Today, So Let’s Think About The Past

It’s rare that I have a day where I have no idea what to blog about. I had a couple days lately where I really didn’t do much or think much. I just floated through my life. Off to work, back home to watch tv and go to sleep. All just to do it again. Time to figure out something completely random to write about.

My family moved in the summer between my grade 9 and grade 10 year. My parents downsized into a newer home in a newly built suburb. It was a really nice place, but I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood. A few blocks away was a family run video store. Not a Blockbuster by any means, and the selection did lack. I remember going there the day “Problem Child” was to come out on VHS. They did not have a copy that week. But because we went there every couple of days that summer, the owner got to know me and had the film ready the following week for me and kept a copy aside for me to rent. (Little secret- it’s not a good movie.)

Next door to the video store was a small fast food burger restaurant. I got employed later that year as my first real job flipping burgers. My boss was a great Korean fellow named Byung Sunny Kim. We called him Sunny. He would sing songs in Korean and if it was just the two of us working, he’d incorporate my name into the song. He was a pleasant man and took really good care of me while I worked there through high school. Even buying me my first flat of beer (yeah, I was 17) and we had a couple beers on the back steps of the restaurant- and he told me to behave.

At the video store they ran a contest to guess the day the owner would give birth to her first child. Winner would get a year of free movie rentals. I have no idea who won, but it was a community feeling as we waited for her to have her baby. I remember seeing the child shortly after she was born as the owner had to work regularly at her own store. That’s the difficulty of running a small business.

This little neighborhood strip mall die die shortly after I graduated. Burger Brothers was bought by McDonalds as Sunny cashed in for retirement. The video store was squeezed out by a Blockbuster Video that was on a major road, garnering more traffic. It took me turning into an adult to realize that I had it pretty good when I lived there as a teenager. The emotional connections I made with the small business owners meant a lot and have stayed with me a lifetime. I continue to support small businesses and have grown to appreciate the personal touches they give to me as a regular customer.

I had nothing to write about today, so I chose a time in my life that I forgot about. Maybe I’ve mentioned these stories in the past, maybe I haven’t. But at least I created some content, which is my daily goal. It also made me a bit sad to think about these old family run businesses that are no more.

But they impacted who I am today in their own way. And for that I am grateful- looking back when I am unsure where to go in the future.

Coaching The Next Coach

Julian has been a great leader and coach to our kids- and many others- over the years. He has focused on building up the skills that the kids possess without pushing them beyond their capabilities. He has an understanding of what each child can do and has helped to expand their chances at winning in the areas that they would be successful at.

The speed skating coach that my kids have learned from over the years is now training our daughter to be a coach. Yesterday they stood together on the sidelines coaching our local club members.

Julian has been a fantastic coach and friend over the years. His coaching wisdom has been passed on to a few youngsters, such as our daughter. He is an appreciated leader and loved by all of us. We hope for many more years of learning from him and to keep his legacy alive.

Always Dreaming Big For Our Kids

Today our 15 year old son is at one of the only Speed Skating competitions that hasn’t been canceled due to Covid. It is hard to have a goal with his practicing and exercising when the competitions get cancelled. I’m hoping for the best results in his races- obviously.

Seeing team Canada’s first medal at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics go to Isabelle Weidemann with a Bronze medal is inspirational today. It’s not just the athlete out there doing their best. It’s the coaches, families and the support group behind the skater that also helps.

Coaching on the sidelines today at my son’s meet is his older sister and two successful Olympic Speed Skaters turned coaches (who also got married)- Julian Green and Eden Donatelli. Darwin has been getting groomed by Julian over the past year or so on how to be a coach. We are lucky to have the medal winning Olympic duo training our kids.

On race day, our son is focused and determined. He is good at the endurance of 1200/1500 meter races. The shorter ones with a quick sprint is not his forte, but he has had a few successes depending on who else he is racing.

In the end, I want to see him succeed. His first race of the day he was holding second place, then overtook his competitor in the last lap and earned first. I am also able to use each loss as a learning point on how to improve next time. I always tell him that no matter what, if he’s giving his all- that’s all we can ask. Some days the times are with him. Hopefully today is a good day working towards those loftier goals.

Go Speed Skaters! Go Team Canada! Go Theory!


So my wife bought something from Costco the other week that she was really excited for. It was a snack food item called Smucker’s Goober.

This item is peanut butter and strawberry jam in a single jar. I had heard of this from the 70’s and 80’s, but never tried it. Which is really very odd since I grew up during that time when snack foods were heavily processed and my mother actively brought home many of the iterations of food products for us to consume. I was always more partial to orange marmalade and honey vs jelly and jams.

As pretty as it looked, I was unimpressed by the taste and texture. My wife was also a bit disappointed and assured me that the grape jelly flavor is superior. I don’t doubt that. But grape jelly is not one of the flavors we ever have stocked in our home even if it’s not pre-mixed with peanut butter. My wife prefers raspberry or mixed berry jam and I’ll eat strawberry jam on occasion.

Perhaps we will try the grape/pb Goober one day. Or that may end up being that special treat that we will have in our pantry as we get older and are closer to retiring. Like when we eventually get An RV To Travel it would make sense to minimize how much stuff you have.

Have you tried Goober? Is the grape flavor better, the same, or worse than strawberry?

Let me know in the comments while I go and make a goober sandwich.