Barbecue Brisket Baby!

Over the past few years, I have been perfecting my ability to make a smoked bbq brisket. I usually only end up making three or four of them a year. That way it keeps the family desiring more and doesn’t overdo the enjoyment of the meal. Last night was the largest one I have ever made.

We do not have a smoker, so I have become resourceful in using our bbq. I put a smoker box on the side burners and place the brisket on the opposite side. I keep the temperature between 200° and 250° allowing the indirect heat to slowly cook the meat over the course of a few hours. Every hour or so, I add some more water soaked hickory wood chips. But before the meat goes on the grill- I have to prepare it.

We have found the best cut of meat for the price is down at the Costco in the USA. Once I open the meat I give it a quick rinse and pat it down with paper towel. Sometimes I’ll trim some of the larger fatty bits if it’s over an inch thick. Then I salt the entire thing, followed by pouring some soy sauce and brushing bbq sauce all around it. Next I add a dry hickory seasoning on the entire brisket to create a crust once the meat is cooked.

As the brisket smokes, my entire neighborhood smells heavenly for hours. (It’s amazing how olfactory senses can add to the enjoyment of a meal.) Last night I also made a different type of potato salad. I roasted some cubed potatoes tossed in olive oil and covered in garlic, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. I baked the potatoes in the oven for 30 minutes turning them every 10 minutes so as not to burn the bottom.

Afterwards I allowed the potatoes to cool in the fridge before adding some chopped up fried garlic sausage, a bit of mayonnaise and two mashed avocados. The meal turned out beautifully. We shared our dinner with a couple of friends and only ate about half the brisket. That means leftovers for lunches!

I love making brisket.

A Nice Day To Relax

No big goals today. Just things to occupy myself. I’ve been doing odds and ends around the house. Such as starting dinner. Beginning preparations for fixing the leak around our shower. Dyeing my wife’s hair. And tidying around the house a bit.

But mostly I’m just relaxing. Lots of time plopping on the couch, bed or beanbag chair. Whichever is closest. It’s a good day to chill out. Maybe I’ll turn on some Netflix or music in a bit. Who knows. I’m taking it easy.

Shoes Make The Man

I bought some shoes the other day. Seeing them made me happy- so I needed to own a pair. I haven’t been excited about shoes in ages. Once I started living on my own, all I did was buy whatever was cheapest, but those hardly ever lasted- meaning I had to buy shoes more frequently.

Back in 1987- I loved my L.A. Gears. With fish gill sides, colorful laces and license plate tags. I was ending elementary school in style! Word.

Then came my Reebok pumps in the early days of high school. Gimmicky and expensive. But I was trying to fit in with people I hardly knew.

The balance of my high school days and into my early 20’s I was a Converse and Airwalk fan. Flat shoes were perfect to slip on and great for all those hackysack sessions.

I’ve always loved shoes that make a statement. From ugly patchwork to vibrant neon- they say shoes make the man, so I guess I’m just a zany doofus.

Over the past few years, I have been enjoying comfort again. Walking around Tokyo or Disneyland meant my feet needed better support. Sketchers have become my shoe of choice for a couple of years now. The other day I discovered a shoe that shares my love of anime as well. I picked up some “One Piece” inspired Sketchers.

I think that my style and choice in shoes is being passed on to my son because he got a pair of “One Piece” shoes as well.

If the shoe fits… wear it.

Breaking a Tradition or Breaking a Promise?

Today is July 4th and with it is the American Celebration of Independence Day! Up here in Canada, my family and I celebrate by watching ID 4 every year since I can remember. It has been a favorite Tradition of ours.

I love it because the film is so cheesy and fun and I’ve watched it every year since it came out back in 1996 when I was 20. That’s 22 years so far of watching this film for me. We even made a trip on the Extraterrestrial Highway a few years ago so I could see a time capsule for the film.

But today we may not get to enjoy it as a family- thus possibly breaking a tradition and that makes me kinda sad. It seems like plans and schedules could be interrupting our family movie watching.

My wife and our oldest daughter are working during the day and won’t be done until 6pm. I made a commitment to an old friend and a coworker to go and see their first live musical performance gig this evening. I even bought a couple of tickets in advance. I’d really like to see how good they’ve gotten.

So do I cancel on the family? With our teenage kids growing up and having their own lives- these moments we share are rather important and starting to dwindle. Can I just stop a tradition that is decades old and one that I enjoy?

Or do I cancel my plans to support my friends and their first ever show? I’ve seen my old friend perform over twenty years ago on many occasions, it’s just that this is his new band. But it’s also in Vancouver which is a 45 minute drive there and 45 minute drive home late tonight. I bought tickets for my wife and I, but I hadn’t confirmed if she wanted to go when I did.

So what do I do? Cancel on family or cancel on friends? Who is more understanding? I think I know the answer now that I’ve written out my dilemma. It seems kind of obvious now.

The Days Between…

In North America there is a couple of days in July that feel lost and without fanfare.

July 2nd and 3rd.

These are the two days that fall between Canada Day and Independence Day. The celebrations on July 1st north of the border and on July 4th south of the border. Canadians and Americans share a huge border and those that live near it, such as myself, benefit from the ability to visit freely from one side to the other.

What should we do with those two days in between? We should create an official celebration between our two countries that lasts four days. Hear me out… Already many people extend their time off around one of these dates. Many of us have family and friends who live on either side of the border. Plus the number 23 in numerology contains elements of companionship, diplomacy, and teamwork energies. A perfect description of the camaraderie between our two countries.

Why not make it official? Call July 2 and 3rd The International Two-Three. A new holiday celebrating friendships. I’m on board and want to make posters now!

Waking Up Exhausted

Today I woke up exhausted. There is no reason for it. I went to sleep at my regular time and woke up as well at my regular time. But for some reason I just do not feel refreshed and renewed.

I find it odd that this happens to me on occasion. It’s not like there are any stressers in my life or health issues that I know of. Just a bad sleep I guess.

Looks like today will be numerous cups of coffee to keep me going. Maybe tonight when I get home I’ll take a power nap before dinner! I love Naps!

Canada Day

I am Proud that we have Canada Day. To me, being Canadian means being kind and polite. I’m glad that’s also how the world sees our country.

So today I implore you to go out to enjoy our glorious country. Meet people and smile. Smile so that the love you have in our glowing hearts spreads far and wide.

May your celebrations be lighthearted and full of friendships!

Happy Canada Day!

Kayak Adventure

Last week I mentioned how we bought a couple of kayaks. (Read about it here: Ack Ack Kayak.) On Saturday this week, my wife and I finally took them out for the inaugural testing.

After a bunch of online searching to find a good first spot to kayak, we ended up at Blackie Spit down at Crescent Beach in White Rock. I woke up early and secured the kayaks to the roof of my Rogue. But it wouldn’t be for another couple of hours before we would depart. We made it to White Rock by 12:15pm and hit the water pretty soon after. I was shocked at how few people were at the beach today.

My wife and I paddled around the harbor and pier. Our two youngest came to the beach with us and found themselves a spot to hang out. After an hour or so on the water, my wife and I met up with our kids and they took a turn on the water. Once they were done, my wife and I paddled back to a spot closer to my car and the kids walked over.

Once at the car, everyone pitched in to get the kayaks on the roof and secured up. The parking lot was getting busy and people were filling up every available spot. I figured we should get going home so that someone else could take my spot.

All-in-all it was a fantastic day. I hope to explore more places while out on the kayaks. For now though, I’m kinda stiff and sore using muscles I had no idea I had.

Black Canvas

I took my daughter to the local craft store yesterday and I ended up buying some black canvases for the both of us. In exchange for me giving her a couple of canvases- she lets me use her acrylic paints and borrow her brushes. I’m not an amazing artist, but I enjoy experimenting a bit.

As I blended colours and tried to make my own version of the aurora borealis- I enjoyed the mix of whites and greens on the black background. Blending blues and purples to create the night sky added to my joy. When painting- I always see where I could improve. But I also have to know when to stop. Sometimes less is more, right?

I have some plans for the other canvases I bought and I hope they turn out. My daughter has chosen to make an outer space image which she is really proud of so far. Using a black canvas is different than a typical white. It really makes lighter colours pop.

Do you enjoy painting? Ever use black canvases? Or do you have any tips for using acrylic paints? Let me know in the comments section!

My Mother

The majority of my blogs are of my children and my current family life. That’s because I work hard at being the father I always wanted growing up. That being said, I don’t always write flattering pieces about my father. How I saw him is exactly that- how I saw him. Which brings me to the other person who raised me- My Mother.

My mother is a very private person and doesn’t like having her life shared online. So it is rare that I mention her (or my sister for that matter) in my blogs. I respect that she doesn’t want the world hearing about her. I’m sneaking today’s blog in about her because she is here visiting us for a couple of days.

“Gramma” as my kids call her- lives alone on Vancouver Island. Gramma is retired and has a small dog named Jodie living with her. We see my mother about twice a year for a short burst of about two or three days. My kids make an effort to hang out with her because of the brevity of these visits. I encourage it as well. Sometimes my kids will try and get Gramma to tell them stories of my youth and whether I was a troublemaker or not. Sometimes the kids fight over playing with Jodie.

In the end the visits are the perfect length of time. They are just long enough that my mother and I don’t get on each other’s nerves. Plus my family goes at a much faster pace than she does. What with all the activities my children do- we are almost always on the go. My mother has a tough time trying to keep up. She needs to return home to rest after a whirlwind visit at our place.