Bucket List Places?

Once the restrictions on travel get lifted, will you be planning a vacation?

Personally, I think I’ll wait a bit. But I also realized that there is a great big world out there that I’ve missed out on already. I now want to see more of this planet than ever before. Mostly because I’m being told to stay home!

Of the vacations and travel I have done, the best times was spent with my family. We’ve taken our kids from California to Tokyo, Hawaii to Calgary. These are top of my lists- especially to travel to with kids/teens. I have now created a small list of places I still want to go to as a family. Now to figure out when to get there and how to afford it!

  • Peru
  • Brazil
  • Hong Kong
  • Shanghai
  • Czech Republic
  • Russia
  • Ireland
  • Road trip across Canada

The last one is what I’d love to do with my wife. Do a fun road trip in a camper van or small RV once we retire. Spend a few months just picking up and going everywhere we can. Plus if we’re on the move, it’ll feel like a grand adventure!

This summer we would like to be camping more than before. Not glamping. We’ve never done that, yet. Or we may just stay in our yard and live the best quarantine life we can! But I want to travel!!!

Rain Filled Movie Night

Last night we hit the Twilight Drive In for a retro double feature. The family piled into the car and we were off… two and a half hours before showtime. Even though we bought tickets in advance, it was sold out and we have a few spots that are a “Must Have” when watching from the car.

We’ve done the local Drive-In numerous times in the past. Many times for our son’s birthday (same with last night). Even though last night was quite the rainy evening, we stayed for both films. It made for added effects to our viewing of Back to the Future / Back to the Future II.

Of course, our car battery died halfway through the second film. I ran the car during the intermission in order to try and keep the battery alive. The seven speaker stereo, defogger and wipers did the battery in. But since we’ve done this before, I knew to bring a backup radio. Because, you know… the movie watching is important! By the end of the second film, the car started up again with no issues.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot- our son lost one of his final baby teeth from a hard candy in between the films. I told him the tooth fairy does not visit teenagers. He was not at all phased. That’s because the tooth fairy still made an appearance.

Go figure.

Our Boy is Fourteen

Where does the time go? Our son is 14 today. Every year I write about him on his birthday, as I do with each of our children. Okay, I write about our children more than just on their birthdays. But on their Birthday, it’s always about them. Here’s a quick snippet about him and his day.

He’s quite the charmer. He knows how to make people happy through his kind acts. Theory also has impeccable manners and is respectful of everyone. It makes me happy to see that our parenting has paid off. Plus he has two wonderful big sisters who have steered him towards being the great kid that he is.

Today was a fairly subdued celebration. We had a big breakfast, followed by opening of gifts. My wife and I finally purchased the trick scooter he wanted. Later this evening, we will be attending Back To The Future at The Twilight Drive In. It’s a sold out show and they predict rain. That will be fun seeing how to cram three teenagers and two adults into a small suv!

But as far as Birthdays go, this one is pretty good for him. And he seemed very happy with what he got. Especially the handmade gifts from his sisters. (A painting and a Star Wars pillow).

Happy 14th Birthday Theory! May the Force Be With You!

The Darkest Timeline

Since mid-March I have grown to accept that the world will not be returning to its former self any time soon. My birthday falls on The Ides of March, and since then, I have been growing, what I call, a COVID Beard.

I’ve grown facial hair in the past. Back in the mid-1990’s- I had the goatee. Soul patch in 2008. Mustache for Movember in 2011. I’ve donned a beard on occasion for Halloween so that I can look like Obi-Wan.

Not going to lie, but I do look more youthful when clean shaven. I always have. My wife thinks I look far sexier without the facial hair. I had more options for cosplay and costumes, that’s for sure.

This COVID Beard of mine has surprised many of my coworkers and friends. Probably because they haven’t seen me with facial hair very often. Many say I look more intimidating and menacing. Today I trimmed and created “The Darkest Timeline” inspired beard. Very fitting with the world’s state. And the opinions of those around me.

Maybe once this is over, I’ll go back to how I once looked.

#sixseasonsandamovie

Modeled After Memories

Recently I was cleaning out our storage, sort of… I got sidetracked pretty quick and the cleaning ended in about five minutes. I discovered some old models that I somehow acquired.

When I was about 9 or 10, my father decided that he and I would make model airplanes together. That lasted about ten minutes. My attention span was dedicated to video games or cartoons. (GI Joe and Transformers: FTW!) Hanging with my father was never on my list. Mostly I was afraid of his temper. In the end, he half built the model on his own and gave up.

When my father was diagnosed with cancer, he needed a hobby to take his mind off the inevitable. So he bought these two models. They were never opened. I don’t know why. But they ended up in my possession at the end of 2000. Twenty years later, I’m ready to give these away.

Only I can’t.

My son wants us to build them together. We have a father/son connection that I never had growing up. Let me hold back the tears a moment. Perhaps these models can be created with love. We can create a memorable moment. One that I can add to the thoughts of my father. Create a model relationship and add some positivity to my childhood.

Back To The Drive-In

This Saturday is our son’s 14th birthday. With the world being what it is, no party will be happening. But we still want to make it special for him.

It just so happens that our local Drive-In Theater The Twilight Drive-In is playing retro movies. This is due to the fact that the movie studios are not releasing anything new. The Drive-In allows for social distancing in our cars as a family. Which is perfect. The film series this week? Back to the Future.

Our family has always loved the Back to the Future series. Back in 2010 at The Calgary Expo, we met a couple who built replica DeLorean and was taking donations for Parkinson’s Research. We took some photos that created the start of some fantastic memories.

Fast forward to October 2015. We are now in California at another convention… our son decided to cosplay as Marty McFly. He had a great time taking photos and pretending to be Marty.

This Saturday will be a fun night of watching a double feature. BTTF and BTTF 2. When I was younger, I rented Back to the Future 2 on VHS when it first came out. I watched it 9 times in a row during the one day rental we had. Needless to say, I enjoyed the film.

So come on out to the Drive In the Saturday and walk past to say Happy Birthday to our son!

When Did The Pain Begin?

I like to think I’m still youthful and carefree as I hit my mid-forties. But as much as my mind likes to think so, my body says otherwise.

From my ankles to my arms, it seems my pain receptacles like to remind me that they are still working. Muscle aches, joint pains, even skin irritations. Everything just hurts a tad bit more than it once did. Or maybe I’m just noticing it more often.

The hardest part about being over two meters tall and with mild scoliosis is the constant back pain. I mean constant. I can’t find a comfortable way to sit or sleep. Just as I feel like I’m going to relax, my lower back screams in its best Samuel Jackson impression, “NOPE! Wake Up Mother-!”

I have a little machine that takes a 9V battery. I call it “The Zotter”. It’s an electronic acupuncture and it helps to relieve most of my pains. Perhaps I should also try doing more yoga once more. Stretch those muscles. Or whatever people do when they Yoga.

There’s no way to avoid the pain. It’s just how to deal with it. I feel like yelling at the pain Get off my lawn!

Things My Kids Made For My Wife

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and our three kids made gifts for their mom. Each was a bit of them being gifted in a way that my wife can relate to.

First was the Lego Minifig our son pieced together. He felt it was a pretty close replica of my wife. With the hoodie and long reddish hair.

Our middle did a My Little Pony Mod. She put new hair in the pony, created a new cutie mark and added a Ningen Headwear Fox Hat. That’s my wife’s go-to hat during colder weather.

Our oldest did what she does best- she painted. She chose to make a Powerpuff Girls painting. Watching PPG was the connection my wife and I shared during our first year of dating.

The creativity and thought put into each gift makes me happy. It’s good to see the kids showcase their fun side while still sharing what they feel represented their mother.

My Wife- A Fantastic Mother

Today is Mother’s Day. My wife loves being a mother. I can’t imagine a world where we didn’t meet and have children. Since 2002, my wife has been a mom.

Now the kids are getting older. The teenage years are aplenty. And they are of the capacity to decide what to do for Mother’s Day. So far our two youngest have made her breakfast in bed. Now my wife is playing video games with our middle child. Our oldest will return from work shortly, at which point they are going to head out to visit their Oma. Physically distancing of course. But to see the smiles on her grandchildren’s faces is something that hasn’t happened since Christmas.

Besides breakfast in bed, the only gift my wife has received is a Lego Minifig that our son made. It really looks like my wife! I can share any other images at this time, as the other two kids haven’t given their gifts yet. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing those pictures and stories.

Until then, Happy Mother’s Day Lee-Anne! May it be relaxing and peaceful.

Quiet Yard

Today is peaceful in my backyard. There’s no sounds of cars racing down the road. Nor is there lawnmowers or pressure washers. All I can hear is the faint sound of crows off in the distance as the wind gently whistles through the trees.

So I invited some friends and coworkers over. It was surprisingly fun as we spaced ourselves away from one another. It was a Social Distancing Socializing at our place.

No wives. No kids. Just lawn chairs and axe throwing. Of which my guests brought everything. It was a ton of fun. And it ended early. Hence why I’m posting about it.

I hope y’all are having a great time together these days!

Another Hummingbird In Our Home

Today a hummingbird flew up to the skylight in our sunroom. My wife went on the roof and covered it with a blanket and I stood on the dining table to catch the little rascal.

This is the second time we’ve had a hummingbird in our home. The last time was a couple years ago- Wildlife House.

Here’s a quick video of me setting this little fella free that I shared on My Instagram. Enjoy.

In The Trees

The weather has become ab-fab. That means more time outside again. Having a yard and the space like we do makes for a relaxing time.

This afternoon I put up some lights in our tree deck with the help of my son.

For dinner, I stopped at a fish n’ chips place called C-Lovers and grabbed some cod. We had a picnic on the deck.

I played some music on a Bluetooth speaker called “Songs to Sing the Shower”. My wife danced on the deck. I took some pictures as I watched from above as the kids played frisbee and they sang.

Life is really good if you let it.

After The Rain

I love the skies after the rain. The way the clouds disperse or rainbows appear- make for a beautiful show. Especially in the spring time.

Over the next few days, the sun should start to make an appearance a bit more frequently. This rain has been beneficial to our gardening that’s for sure. But those plants also need some sunshine.

The transition in the center of the seasons is probably my favorite part. Not the start of spring or summer, or fall or winter. But the middle bit. The part that we live out between the start and end of the seasons. The Uncelebrated parts.

Star Wars Day: Revenge of the Fifth

Yesterday evening while I was at work, my family watched another Star Wars film: “Rogue One”. After that, our two youngest watched the “The Phantom Menace”. That is probably my least favorite film but my kids find something in the film amusing. Probably because it is so despised by many in the Star Wars saga that it is reaching a bizarre Cult status. There are a few scenes that I enjoy, but not many.

Move along…

Since today is the day after Star Wars Day. I still enjoy celebrating the film franchise for a day or two after. (Let’s be serious for a bit, I celebrate Star Wars almost daily). This morning, my daughter and I were enjoying my favorite film in the franchise- “Empire Strikes Back”.

We watched Episode V on May Fifth. (I love numbers and making connections like that.) SW:ESB is in my top five films of all time. I can recite it almost word for word. I love that it was more humorous than the original, yet there was ongoing character development.

Discussing Star Wars and the story telling techniques with my children is pretty cool. Our oldest daughter wants to make her own films and our other daughter wants to write stories. Creativity flows within our family. The kids have a keen sense of how music and lighting also play key parts in movies as well.

What’s your favorite Star Wars film? Let me know in the comments.

Star Wars Day(s)- 2020

It’s May 4th. That means Star Wars Day! (You know, “May the Fourth be with you.”). Since many of you are in isolation, the next few days would be a perfect time to marathon all of the Star Wars movies.

Since I was working the night shift, my son wanted me to wake him up when I got home so we can watch “Rise of Skywalker” before I go to bed. I think I’ll make it through this film, but no others today.

Personally, my favorite is “Empire Strikes Back”. Previously I’ve marathoned the first six films in one sitting. I’m going to do all nine one day. Maybe one of my friends or readers are going to try and stay awake watching the Skywalker Saga films consecutively.

Until tomorrow- (Revenge of the Fifth) May The Fourth Be With You.

Houston Trail

On Friday, the family and I went off to hike another local trail. This one was much busier than Aldergrove Regional Park. But everyone on the trails were respecting the idea of Physical Distancing. Way to go people! The 3.3 km hike around Houston Trail took us around 45 minutes.

We stopped a few time to really admire nature and it’s wonders. The natural way the cohesive balance of life intertwines still amazes me. My family and I somehow got on the topic of “The Matrix” and how the corona virus is almost like a reset of humanity . Giving us pause to reflect on the simple things in life that we take for granted. Such as these walks that we can saunter through without feeling rushed to get to the next big event.

I’m glad the BC has kept the parks open for people to wander. The fresh air and natural beauty helps to clear the mind. Even if we were plugged into the Matrix, the computers are doing a decent job at randomizing life.

Deep Fried Pickles

I’m not a big fan of pickles. But yesterday I made a quick snack out of boredom and curiosity- I mean pickles. We only had baby dills, so the pickles turned out snack sized vs meal sized.

I started with hollowing out half a dozen pickles with a knife and potato peeler. The peeler worked great as it fit nicely as I spun it around. Once the pickles lost their innards, I squirted a few drops of sriracha sauce inside. Followed by some cream cheese. I wrapped these babies in ham then dipped them in a beer batter before they hit the deep fryer.

The final result was an amazing flavor of vinegar, hot sauce, the hint of ham and a mouthful of cream cheese all cooked nicely with a breaded coating. The downside is that I will have to make these again! Only next time with bigger pickles.

Homemade Pizza

We have been enjoying baking and dough making over the past few weeks. Last night I made pizza dough and we put on our own toppings for individual pizzas.

It was like returning to my time at Chuck E Cheese’s. I made the dough, weighed it out into 200g balls, put oil on them, covered them in plastic wrap and let them rise before rolling them out.

While the dough was proofing, I prepared all the toppings. Slicing peppers, onions, tomatoes, then grating cheese and frying sausage. once the pizzas were made, into the oven for 15 minutes at 475°. The final trick to making the pizzas taste delicious once out of the oven was 100% from the Chuck… A brushing of melted garlic butter on the crust.

The family loved dinner. We will probably do it again in the future. And for dessert- my wife made fresh cinnamon rolls. Baking is awesome.

Aldergrove Regional Park

Today my wife asked if we could go for a walk together. She has been going around the neighborhood daily for a few years now. Yes, years. And since the weather was fairly decent today, she wanted to go elsewhere. We ended up going to the Aldergrove Regional Park.

We took a lovely stroll along a horse trail. We saw four horses (no, not the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse) stride past us with a quick hello to the riders. But that was about it. The park was quiet. I think people forget that we have such beautiful locations that we can still enjoy during these crazy times. Even I forget.

The walk was serene and peaceful. The fresh air and lack of worries really cleared the mind. I think I need to do this type of activity more often, even though it feels forced by my wife. That’s only because when she’s ready for the walk, it means we are both to be ready. That brings up some conflict which usually has me lounging at home and her enjoying a walk.

What I’m saying is that she was right. Enjoying nature has it’s mental healing properties. And I’m glad I went.

Blanket Fort Bedroom

Our kids decided to make another blanket fort in our living room.

It’s not as intricate as the one our daughter made last year. But it’s still unique and fun.

I decided to check it out from inside. It seems my kids didn’t want me to in fears that I could possibly destroy it. I am getting a bit too old to slither around on the ground. But I did my best to take a tour of the inside of their temporary shelter. It was laid out quite nicely. They even had some artwork set up inside it.

Two of the teens plan on sleeping in the blanket fort. We’ll see how they do. Pretty sure they won’t get a good sleep and be grumpy in the morning. But hey, you have to sleep poorly sometimes to appreciate your bed once more.

Calendar of Events

Our kids are doing the “at home school” stuff these days. These days they’re doing well keeping up with the assignments as well as joining their online classes.

Our kids are great at putting up their unique school schedule up on our calendar. The planning started off slow as the teachers and students tried to navigate this new world they are learning in. But now there is plenty of action going on. As well as emails and online learning at their own leisure.

This new process is working for our kids. Mostly. There’s a few snags, like making sure they are putting in 100% effort in the homework. Or lack of socializing with peers to discuss ideas. But this is uncharted territory for learning. It could become the new normal. And as a human race, we adapt and overcome.

Even though the days are passing by, and the kids have been stuck inside, our calendar is getting filled.

Mail Call

I picked up the mail today. It seems we are only getting it delivered every few days. I’m not ever expecting much to surprise me in the mail. Once in a while a package we order will show up. But we know of its arrival. Except a couple weeks back when the one day I didn’t check the mail, our community box got broken into. The gift we had ordered for our daughter’s birthday had been stolen.

That sucked. And it wasn’t possible to go out and replace the gift, because Quarantine and such. So our daughter went giftless for her 16th Birthday. Ugh. We were out $80 and felt awful.

Why couldn’t the thieves steal our bills and pay them? Do a good deed for the bad that they had done? Or something along those lines. I’m not getting a break financially from the Government or any of those bill collectors. I’m stuck paying my bills.

Our Hydro bill is up and so is our gas bill. We are running the dishwasher more often. Same with small appliances. And the heat is on more while everyone is home. Time for everything in the house to get shut down!!! No more lights. No more heat. No more Netflix.

Not going to happen. Perhaps we can limit our usage? Ugh. This adulthood and isolation stuff sucks more than ever after seeing those bills. I need to take my mind off these bills.

I wonder what’s in my Amazon wishlist?

Keep It Bright

During these crazy times in the world, when everything seems gloomy- keeping it light and bright is paramount. Sharing positivity, or support to those workers who get out there daily is important. It keeps their spirits up knowing that what they do is important. I’ve also been glad to see the Google Doodle showcasing their efforts daily!

The rest of us need something bright as well. Sharing a phone call, or a text to someone who you’ve lost contact with. Or share some thoughts on Instagram or Facebook. It may have seemed trite and melodramatic in the past, but now it really feels necessary.

Something to look at.

In our home, I washed the windows and repainted the walls in order to brighten our living space. We even moved our dining table to be closer to the windows. Seeing the outdoors and how much beauty it holds brings me joy. A fresh coat of paint indoors makes for a new lease on life as well.

What’re you doing to “Brighten” your world?

Beignets

We’ve been making lots of desserts lately. I was never a big sweets fan, but add my deep fryer- man I’m going to get fat! And the food is amazing!

We made Donuts three weeks ago. And again about a week after once we got better yeast. Two weeks ago we made Disneyland Churros. Which we made again a few days later because they turned out perfect.

Disney Blogs shared another recipe. Classic Disney Beignets. Naturally, I had to make them. They turned out fantastic! These are so mmmmmmmmm good. Definitely a repeatable treat.

These foods help us emotionally because we are missing Disneyland. We have been singing Disney songs and watching Disney films quite a bit lately. Last night we ended our evening watching Fireworks from Disneyworld. We know that our trip is getting cancelled this summer and it sucks. But at least we are trying to keep our spirits up. Mostly through all the other senses.

Are you trying new foods lately? How are you keeping your sanity?

WordPress Issues

Recently WordPress wasn’t posting to my Facebook. I contacted them for help and they offered a solution. Removing and re-adding the Facebook page. Seems pretty simple.

So this is my test blog to repair the fix. Considering it took me a week to discover the flaw on Facebook shows how often I go on it.

Hopefully the solution WordPress offered up works. Facebook followers, let me know if you read this. Or don’t let me know and let me worry about the linkage not working some more.