Chocolate

I’m not a big fan of chocolate. But every so often I’ll indulge in a small snack involving chocolate.

Tonight I ate the Belgian chocolate I got for Christmas. To wash it down, I even made a warm mug of hot chocolate for myself. It was a nice little treat before bed. Now I most likely won’t have any chocolate for a while.

I am more of a savory snack person. Chips, popcorn, nuts, that sort of thing. Sweets aren’t my bag. But I do appreciate better quality chocolate than cheap stuff. Oh- I do like gummy bears.

Those are fun and squishy. I like fun food.

Seven!

Holy smokes people! I have been writing for Seven Years now! Every single day!

All I can say is THANK YOU!

Thank you for reading my blog.

Thank you for supporting me.

Thank you for interacting with me after reading my blogs.

Thank you for coming along on this journey called life.

Thank you for sharing your experiences in relation to my stories.

Thank you for being a friend.

Thank you for a fun filled seven years.

I have really enjoyed writing about my life and thoughts over these past few years. It has been load of fun and a bit embarrassing at times. But that’s life. Full of surprises. Like how did I get through writing every day for seven years? No clue. I just did.

Seven Year Itch?

Six years, eleven months, three weeks and six days. A total of 2556 days of daily blogging.

Tomorrow is the seven year anniversary of writing each and every day. EVERY SINGLE DAY I WRiTE A BLOG ENTRY. I love sharing stories and narratives of my life. Throw in an opinion or two- and my readers have had a chance to learn all about me.

I have had a great time writing all of my tales. I honestly can’t believe that the only thing driving me to write is because I want to. Had I been writing a novel each and every day, I’d probably be published by now or completely heartbroken from rejection. Hence why I just write about my life. I like what has gone on and am proud of my adventures- from menial to epic. Whatever the case may be, I have never felt dejected from my writing. Even if it feels like no one is reading.

I wonder how much more writing I have in me. I wonder if I stopped would I feel regret or would I feel relief? Only time will tell if I end this journey. I mean honestly, have I approached the Seven Year Itch now? Who knows. Even I’m not sure. But if I do stop, I’ll let you know ahead of time as a courtesy to say farewell.

Password Change Prompt

Today at work I was prompted to change my password. I knew it was coming because last week when I logged in it told me I had a few days until my password expired. I figured that I better not change it on my Friday as I’d forget it when I returned after my weekend.

A lowercase, an upper case, a number, a symbol and at least 10 characters. Is it really that necessary to do all that? Yup. So I did. Now I have to try and remember it for the next few months until I’m told to change it again.

The funny thing is, we all have to use passwords for nearly everything we do online. If you are like me, you have some “Password All-Stars” that you tend to use. The type you can remember easily. Maybe a capital letter at the start or a slightly different number at the end- going from 01 to 02… whatever the case may be- I bet you have some regular “go to” passwords.

It sucks having to change them. Or if you don’t log in to a site or app very often and have to choose “forgot password” only to find out that your new password matches the old one. Frustrating to say the least.

Maybe one day passwords won’t be needed. But until the day comes that we use bodily fluids or retinal scans to identify ourselves- incoherent gibberish is the way to go to be safe online or at work.

Travel For Skating

Over the weekend, my son and wife were in Fort St. John for a Long Track Speed Skating meet. Just like Calgary, I was able to watch from afar on YouTube. Ah technology!

Seeing my son grow into a young man is pretty awesome. He has developed some good habits and strengthened his muscles over the past year alone. Watching him skate makes me really proud. That’s because of his focus and determination in doing the best he can while on the ice.

Even though he skates maybe a few times each day, I have enjoyed watching his progress in person as well. Having been to Fort St. John with them in the past, I remember what the rink is like and that the people are always welcoming.

But I do miss them when they are away. I always look forward to when they get home. My wife loves to track me on the Find My iPhone app. Today she wasn’t sure if I’d get to the airport first or they would be waiting. Turns out we arrived pretty much at the same time. I was only about five minutes in the parking lot, but could have easily arrived at the airport pick up location just as they stepped out.

I do hope our son appreciates the time and money we put into these competitions. Actually I know he does. He works hard each time and it shows.

Carpet Kirby

Today I made what I consider my best rug yet. I made it for our oldest kid. They requested the video game character Kirby holding a star. I found some images online and created my own design in the end.

I learned some more techniques from following other tufters on Instagram. I have been growing my abilities each week and with every rug. After each colour, I went to the other side and trimmed the edges. It was a bit more time consuming, but the results are superior to anything I have made yet.

This rug was challenging in its own ways. The pink was a different size of yarn and caused me to re-thread it repeatedly. A few curse words may have been said over and over again. But look how cute this rug turned out!

I’ll finish this rug later in the week. There’s just a bit more trimming to complete once I glue the backing on. Hopefully our 20 year old likes this one as much as I do. If not- I have an amazing pink rug!

Cleaning The Garage Workbench

Today I spent hours cleaning the garage. I went through a bunch of cupboards which contained boxes and tubs filled with stuff. Stuff that I thought I may need one day- so I kept it around. That is until today. Today was a cleanse.

Besides the cupboards and shelves getting cleaned out and organized, I tidied up my workbench. I even took the time to finish gluing a couple of models that I 3d printed in our old house. Originally I was holding off because I wanted to add lights to them. But I realized as I was cleaning that even if I did add lights- I’d probably never turn them on and they’d be stationary anyways. Soon I’ll paint them and put them on display.

I also realized that I am not using my 3d printer, and haven’t for over two years. Since it was given to me, I paid it forward to a coworker of mine. Removing the printer from my workbench cleared off a lot of space. It doesn’t mean I won’t be printing anymore. In fact quite the opposite.

My wife got herself a resin printer from her work as a Christmas gift. The space it takes is far less on the workbench. Bonus- I get to learn a new toy over the coming weeks! This printer is one I have wanted for a couple years, but now my wife is excited about it, so that’s different.

As you may know, I love being crafty and creative. The hardest part about the creative process is keeping everything clean and organized. Hopefully with this start of a clean space will help. I’m still doing my best to keep my rug making area clean.

Anyways, the garage looks better and more open now. The clutter is gone. That makes me happy.

Another Tufter In The Making

Every weekend, I have been making rugs. I have been really enjoying this hobby. Last weekend, our youngest wanted to make one of his own- so he made an 8-Ball. Today our middle child wanted to make their own rug. I went through the process of how to do it, guiding them along.

Darwin traced the image and we discussed the colors to use. I only helped with a couple of stitches, but the rest was all them. (I snuck in another soot sprite in the blank space when we had the black and white yarn set up.) I sat by Darwin’s side and continued to offer advice as well as encouraged the work being done.

The image Darwin chose is the moon from the anime- “Soul Eater”. This was a family favorite a few years ago. In fact, we did a family dress up for Halloween as the characters from the show- and then went trick or treating in Disneyland. It was a lot of fun.

Darwin wants this rug for their bedroom floor for when bedtime comes around. Tomorrow afternoon, we will finish the rug. A bit of me is selfishly enjoying the quality time that my kids wanted with me. Spending time with our kids is worth every moment of making these rugs.

How many rugs is too many rugs when I get to spend time with my growing adult kids doing something we both enjoy?

There’s never going to be enough. I’m lucky they want to do this with me.

Pumped

Today I took apart our pool pump to check the seals inside. It had been leaking recently and I was a bit concerned that it may be something bad.

After watching some YouTube clips, I realized that taking apart this pump isn’t that difficult. I also learned that the seals are pretty much the parts that fail the most on these. That was a relief. It only took about an hour to take apart and reassemble.

After putting it together, I filled it back up with water and fired it up. There was a bit of a leak along one edge, so I tightened a couple bolts just a quarter turn more and it seemed to stop. Now only time will tell.

I do like doing my own repairs, but plumbing is not one of my favorites. Hopefully this will be resolved for a few more years now. I guess we shall see.

Terrific Tuesday

A coworker of mine came in to the office today full of joy and laughter. He said to everyone, “Today is Terrific Tuesday. Blue Monday is behind us!”

I honestly could not agree more. Sharing positive energy and thoughts is a wonderful way to spread kindness throughout the world. Tell a joke, have a laugh, share a smile, say something kind- whatever it takes.

I want you all to have a Terrific Tuesday. I also want you to share and make sure those around you have a Terrific Tuesday as well! If we all do this, tomorrow will be “Wonderful Wednesday!”

Third Monday Of The Year

Hey folks. Welcome to the third Monday of the year. Also known as “Blue Monday” the most depressing day of the year.

Hey, at least we get it out of the way at the start of the year, am I right? Emotions are drained from a busy Holiday season, so the “Feeling Tank” is running on empty. Getting past this feeling can be challenging.

It also doesn’t really help as those bills from Christmas spending are now arriving. Hopefully you didn’t overdo it trying to people please last year. That can be tough, especially when you have children. If you’re like me- you just want the best for them. If you’re also like me, paying bills is a fact of life.

But once we get through today, it all gets better. More sun is on the way to brighten our days. Perhaps a pay raise or new job is on the horizon. Now that we are going into recharge mode, seeing friends and family only periodically will be healthy. The feeling of rushing around should be gone.

We’re all in this together. So let’s get passed Blue Monday for a brighter tomorrow.

Son Of Tuftleupagus

Like father like son I guess.

I mentioned yesterday that I may start to have a battle over who gets to tuft next. It seems my son wanted to try his hand at it. So I walked him through everything- from setting up the cloth to threading the gun, as well as how to draw the image and pretty much everything that goes along with the art of rug making.

I helped him choose his first image. He wanted to try something a bit bigger and a different shape. So he made an 8 Ball. Honestly- that would’ve been something I would have made when I was his age. I was obsessed with billiards as a teenager. I may have to steal his rug one day.

He was very meticulous and cautious in sewing the rug. It looked far superior to my first rug. I think he has a natural talent in make these rugs. He was very careful in making sure it was lined up and straight each and every time he started the tufting gun.

After he finished stitching the rug, he added the glue to the back and let it dry overnight. The next day, he cut it off the cloth and we added a backing to it. He then trimmed it to his liking.

All-in-all he did a great job. I did help a bit with some of the finishing touches around the white part- he wanted it to be perfect and was afraid to ruin it. I’m looking forward to seeing his next project. I think he can do it from start to finish without me. I’m a very proud father.

Improving My Tufting Skills

I have now made four rugs since starting my newest hobby- Tufting. Creating rugs based on our Fandoms has been fun so far. This week I made one with far more detail than my previous rugs.

I made Haku- the dragon from the anime: Spirited Away. This one had more colours, thinner segments and an attempt at blending that I hadn’t tried yet. I spent a couple of hours today trimming the image in order to make it pop more. I still have a long way to go, but I am enjoying this new hobby immensely.

Tuft working with yarn reminds me of Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street. So I finally created an Instagram account for my artwork: Tuftleupagus. (Tuftle-up-a-gus). I even had some fun making logos, but haven’t settled on any yet.

I think I’m obsessing too much with the 80’s lately. However, I am having fun with this hobby. No plans on making it lucrative yet. I still have a long way to go in the process of making these rugs. I’m also going to need to buy more yarn soon. My white and black are running low, plus there’s other aspects of the tufting work that I need to buy soon. Like more glue and backing for the rugs.

This is my first hobby that I have enjoyed since perler bead art almost a decade ago. That lasted for a few years mind you and I enjoyed what we made together as a family. I kind of see tufting going that route soon enough. With the potential to be a battle over who gets to make a rug.

Follow along with my rugs on my Instagram account. I’m going to keep working hard at getting better at these and hope to make a large scale rug one day.

Nice Vans.

A few weeks ago we did some shoe shopping. I needed new work boots- so we went to the Red Wing store. The lady was extremely knowledgeable and also remembered me being there in the summer buying boots for my son. That same day, my wife and I went out and bought new Sketchers for casual hiking.

Both of those sets of shoes have been slowly broken in since the purchase. Something about new shoes can either make your feet hurt or feel really good. There’s no in between. Except when it comes to Vans. There’s something different about those shoes.

The day before buying my work boots and hiking shoes, we hit the mall for our son to buy some shoes with his Christmas gift card. He loves Vans, so naturally his older sibling got him a gift card for the store. On a whim, I bought a pair for myself (my wife did as well… Huh- seems our son is the shoe influencer). It has been about 25 years since I last owned a skate shoe like these. I used to wear Vans and Converse all the time as a teenager.

They were the perfect shoe for hackysack. The abuse that my shoes went through as a teenager far surpassed the life expectancy of them each time. Yet I stopped buying them in exchange for cushioned soles and comfortable tread.

Tonight I put on my new Vans for the first time. They were neither comfortable or uncomfortable. They were just an extension of who I am and who I once was. When I got home, they went back into their box. I’m not sure I want to wear them all the time. Much like my son- I do plan on taking better care of these Vans compared to my youth. Yes, our son loves his shoes and is meticulous about keeping them nice. A very different teenage boy than I was.

So I’m going to be following his lead and take better care of my footwear.

Nice Vans.

A few weeks ago we did some shoe shopping. I needed new work boots- so we went to the Red Wing store. The lady was extremely knowledgeable and also remembered me being there in the summer buying boots for my son. That same day, my wife and I went out and bought new Skechers for casual hiking.

Both of those sets of shoes have been slowly broken in since the purchase. Something about new shoes can either make your feet hurt or feel really good. There’s no in between. Except when it comes to Vans. There’s something different about those shoes.

The day before buying my work boots and hiking shoes, we hit the mall for our son to buy some shoes with his Christmas gift card. He loves Vans, so naturally his older sibling got him a gift card for the store. On a whim, I bought a pair for myself (my wife did as well… Huh- seems our son is the shoe influencer). It has been about 25 years since I last owned a skate shoe like these. I used to wear Vans and Converse all the time as a teenager.

They were the perfect shoe for hackysack. The abuse that my shoes went through as a teenager far surpassed the life expectancy of them each time. Yet I stopped buying them in exchange for cushioned soles and comfortable tread.

Tonight I put on my new Vans for the first time. They were neither comfortable or uncomfortable. They were just an extension of who I am and who I once was. When I got home, they went back into their box. I’m not sure I want to wear them all the time. Much like my son- I do plan on taking better care of these Vans compared to my youth. Yes, our son loves his shoes and is meticulous about keeping them nice. A very different teenage boy than I was.

So I’m going to be following his lead and take better care of my footwear.

Stereophonic

I love listening to music. It’s often playing as background auditory sensory input in my life. Usually I have a Bluetooth speaker connected to my phone and just let it play. In that form, it just plays from one speaker location.

Lately, I have wanted to experience music the way it was intended- in stereophonic. My wife recently got two Bluetooth speakers that connect together and create a stereo sound of left and right. Tonight I tested them out while I relaxed in the tub. They worked really well and I enjoyed the sound they produced. A gentle sound that wasn’t too bassy or treble heavy.

My favorite headphones.

I do have a pair of amazing noise canceling headphones made by Panasonic. I’ve had them for a over a year, but tend to forget about them. Mostly because when I do use them, I don’t tend to have much time alone to really immerse myself in the sound they create. I am hoping to get more use out of them as I work on my new hobby. I will be in search of music that echoes from ear to ear more regularly. I found that not all music utilizes this.

Perhaps that’s because most folks just use one earbud or a single speaker like I do usually. There is no real point in artists experimenting like they once did. I’m not saying they don’t anymore, it’s just not the same as it once was when stereo first became prevalent.

Music is great and I want to enjoy it more frequently the way it was written and recorded. Time for more stereophonic listening.

Sea To Sky By Rail

This afternoon I took advantage of the sunny day and hopped on with a train crew that was leaving North Vancouver and heading into Squamish. A part of my role as a supervisor is to take train rides and focus on safety. The crew I was with was great and we had many in depth discussions throughout the afternoon.

I like to get out in the field and do these rides. Normally, I just stay in the yard with our switch crews, so it was good for me to get out on our mainline. The Squamish Subdivision is one of the most beautiful in North America. With views of mountains, lakes and the ocean as you travel by rail.

Rocky Mountaineer

Lucky for those of us who work here, we get the opportunity to appreciate it. If you ever want to experience it in more luxurious style, check out The Rocky Mountaineer: Rainforest to Goldrush. This is by far one of the best series of views that you could imagine seeing some of the nicest parts of British Columbia.

For me, it’s moments like today that I really appreciate my job and the experiences I have gotten to enjoy because of it. Not every day is a good one mind you- work is work. But getting out there and being personable with the crews is great way to keep up with the professional relationships between us. Specifically when it comes to safety.

Those beautiful views are not so bad either.

Take A Picture- It’ll Last Longer

We love our home. I’m pretty sure I have talked about it a few times in my blog. Since moving in we have made many changes to its curb appeal. I’m happy with our final result. I am also happy with our Halloween and Christmas decorations that we put out. Changing our lights to white was a huge improvement over the colored lights we had our first year at Christmas.

A photo of someone taking a photo of our home.

We have had many people in the neighborhood compliment us on our changes. Even strangers walking by have noticed. At Halloween, I overheard children talking about our Freddy vs Jason banners and at Christmas people pointed out our six foot nutcracker statue. We see them from our windows stopping to look. Today, someone decided to stop in the middle of the street and take a picture of our home while on their walk.

That’s a weird, yet awesome feeling. Thank you stranger for appreciating our hard work. Perhaps they took the photo for inspiration in their yard. Maybe they are stalking our house. It could be they want to come back and sell us some window washing in the spring. Whatever it may be- thanks for taking the time to make our day as we are curious as to why you paused.

Too Much Sleep?

First night shift of 2023 happened last night for me. I think I slept too much afterwards.

I came home pretty tired, but had to drive my son to school before bed. After dropping him off, I don’t really remember how I got home. I just know that I was asleep pretty quick once I got here. That sleep lasted for hours. It was uninterrupted and wonderful.

Yet I want more. But it’s time to get ready for my second night shift. However, it’s going to be okay. This week is a shorter work week for me and I only have two more nights to work before a four day weekend. A weekend with plans of hanging out with some friends, working on my new hobby, and some speed skating stuff for our son. Maybe I’ll sneak in some grocery shopping and cleaning just for fun.

I must not have gotten enough sleep today to think cleaning and shopping is fun. I better get some coffee in me and get ready for work.

Fandom Rug Making

Over the last couple of days I finished another two rugs. Spending about four hours on each rug seems to be average. These next two had more intricate designs in them. Both fandoms are near and dear to me, which is why I chose to make these.

Akira has been my favorite anime since I first saw it as a teenager in the late 80’s. Something a bout the style, music, and pace of the film just captivated me. I own every iteration of it on video, I owned a shirt for almost thirty years from it, and the soundtrack has been in my playlist for ages. It seemed natural to want to do something from this film as my own personal rug.

The Powerpuff Girls was something that my wife and I connected over when we first started dating. Ever since then we have been enjoying finding items, gifts, trinkets, etc from the series. (Read more about our love of PPG Here)

I was able to put both on one framing this time. The Akira one will be going on my side of the bedroom opposite the The first one I completed for my wife. The Powerpuff Girls logo is going to my wife as a soft support for her wrists while she uses her work computer.

Both turned out pretty awesome. I completed the final touches on my Akira rug, and my wife wants to do the last bit on the Powerpuff Girls one. Now that I have a better understanding of how to tuft, I am looking forward to making more challenging pieces for myself. Next week, I already have an idea of my next one to make.

Any suggestions on what I should attempt next? Keep in mind that the size is under 36” square, so no area rugs at this time. But I do love my fandoms and anime. I have a feeling those will be the majority of what I make. Once I get good enough- I may just start to sell them.

First Rug Completed

After a couple of weeks, my first rug was completed yesterday.

Now, it doesn’t take a couple of weeks to make a 16”x30” rug. But in that time I had to buy yarn, build a frame, order a power supply, figure out how to get an image projected from my iPhone, draw the image, tuft, glue, cut out, shave, shave some more, trim, shave again… in the end, the work required to do this rug took me about three to four hours.

A solid start. I learned what I need to do to be better. I also got a feel for the gun and the materials used. I’m hoping that my next few rugs will take about three to four hours but would have more details involved. The next rug I make is for me.

After a slow start on the rug My New Hobby turned out pretty good. I made it for my wife: Lee-Anne. She loves “L” from the anime “Death Note” and this was his symbol. Fitting since it’s the first letter of her name as well. Maybe after I make a few more rugs I will retry this one to perfect it. I know all the flaws I created and it will bother me for ages. But still, a solid first rug.

Low Fuel

For the first time in ages, both my wife’s car and mine were at near empty tanks. I finished driving my son to school and made it into the gas station with under 10km until empty.

Then I went home and took my wife’s car out and got fuel for her as well. Hers was at 42km until empty by the time I stopped. Getting back into routine after winter break had us forgetting to get gas. I have never run out of gas in my life in any of the vehicles that I have driven. Today was the closest for me.

When I was younger, my father took my sister and I on a road trip from Edmonton, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia. As we entered Jasper, he ran out of gas. He literally coasted in neutral into a gas station and had to get out and push the last few feet to a pump. This was in the early 80’s and he was driving an Oldsmobile. He loved that car- at least until he bought his 1977 Mercedes 450SL. The Benz was his baby. But I digress, the Oldsmobile was an extremely comfortable vehicle to travel in. But in today’s world- it would be quite the gas guzzler.

My wife’s car gets 650km on a tank of gas. I get 550km. I put in 54 liters into my car. My wife’s car took 40 liters. Her car is clearly far superior on gas mileage than mine. Plus it takes longer until she needs to stop for gas.

One day we will most likely own an electric vehicle and just need to worry about keeping it plugged in. Much like a cellphone I guess. At least then I shouldn’t be as worried about being dead in the water, right?

The Roy

An ongoing gag in our home is teasing one another and joking about names. Every one of our kids have had their names changed into various nicknames or puns.

Random has been called

  • Dom
  • Randy Candy
  • RahRah

Darwin has been called

  • DarDar
  • Dar-b-cute
  • Dardvark

Theory has been called

  • Theor Bear
  • Bear Bee
  • The Roy

There are plenty of other names, but these have stuck.

The Roy is probably my favorite. It came about at a speed skating meet when he first started about ten years ago. Someone had misspelled his name on the race sheets. Today I was handed a picture from his speed skating club with the same mistake. This is funny because they don’t know about this nickname.

Theory will always have the alter ego- The Roy. A speed skater extraordinaire who talks about himself in the third person. I find it humorous and hope it sticks for years to come- especially in the Speed Skating community.

Recaptured 80’s

I love nostalgia. It’s the one thing that I am often thinking about. I always share stories of my youth and seek out ways to relive those memories.

I follow a fantastic Instagram account that really taps into my 80’s desires. Recaptured 80’s. I love that there is new images added daily along with videos and polls. Following along has sparked memories I didn’t even know I had until I saw them once more.

My 80’s PJ top with iconic cartoon characters.

I’m just a big kid who loves his 80’s. From cartoons to movies; toys to video games; books to candy- it all brings me joy. Sometimes I put on some old cartoons in the background, like GI Joe or Transformers and enjoy the sounds as I live my life. In our pool I’ll play some 80’s favorites and rediscover some lost classics.

Our kids have also grown a love for 80’s films. So much so that they both bought rather expensive Lego sets for themselves with some of their Christmas money. The Delorean and Ecto-1. Both iconic cars from a couple of great 80’s films.

I’m glad that my passions have become my kids’ passions as well. They have even taken to loving music my wife loves. Our middle has taken over my wife’s records and has a love of the same music as my wife. Not to mention that our kids also steal our sense of amazing clothes and wardrobe style.

Have you passed on what you love to your kids? I know I’ve seen some pictures and stories from a few of you. I love it all.

Recaptured 80’s

I love nostalgia. It’s the one thing that I am often thinking about. I always share stories of my youth and seek out ways to relive those memories.

I follow a fantastic Instagram account that really taps into my 80’s desires. Recaptured 80’s. I love that there is new images added daily along with videos and polls. Following along has sparked memories I didn’t even know I had until I saw them once more.

My 80’s PJ top with iconic cartoon characters.

I’m just a big kid who loves his 80’s. From cartoons to movies; toys to video games; books to candy- it all brings me joy. Sometimes I put on some old cartoons in the background, like GI Joe or Transformers and enjoy the sounds as I live my life. In our pool I’ll play some 80’s favorites and rediscover some lost classics.

Our kids have also grown a love for 80’s films. So much so that they both bought rather expensive Lego sets for themselves with some of their Christmas money. The Delorean and Ecto-1. Both iconic cars from a couple of great 80’s films.

I’m glad that my passions have become my kids’ passions as well. They have even taken to loving music my wife loves. Our middle has taken over my wife’s records and has a love of the same music as my wife. Not to mention that our kids also steal our sense of amazing clothes and wardrobe style.

Have you passed on what you love to your kids? I know I’ve seen some pictures and stories from a few of you. I love it all.