Oktoberfest 2022

Last night some coworkers and I went out to Oktoberfest at my favorite brewery- Trading Post. We went four years ago at the Fort Langley location (read about it here: Oktoberfest 2018) and had a blast. Last night was at their brewery location- which was really fun.

I reserved a large table last week because I knew there would be at least six of us. At the last minute, I had my boss’s boss join us as well. I was honestly surprised at how little we talked about work and just had a riot.

With the table came three large platters of food. We also ordered one more because with eight of us- we were drinking a lot and eating a lot.

Throughout the night, we enjoyed some Bavarian Oompah music from a trio of musicians. As well, we entered a couple contests- like chugging a 2 liter boot of beer in the fastest time- our group came in second. But at the end of the night, I won a draw and got to bring home a smaller boot of my very own.

If you are wanting to let loose in Langley on a Friday night- there are two more weeks of this going on. Check out the Trading Post Website for more details and to book a table. You won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you have a safe ride home like we arranged.

Cheers!

Locality

Friday night I met up with some friends at a brewery. I screwed up the date and ended up at the location a day early- sitting by myself. As embarrassing as that was, I enjoyed the location and the sunset while sipping on some beers.

The brewery is located just up the road from our old house. It opened last year about a month after we moved. Thursday was the first time I had been there. We don’t tend to go back to our old neighborhood much, so this was a nice treat.

This brewery is still in its infancy so to speak. They haven’t put much money into fancying up the place and the seating outside is eclectic to say the least. But the beers are by far some of the best I have had over the past few years. What makes this place stand out is the pond and the serenity as you sit in the farm land and sip on your beers. Even with other people around, it is far quieter than any other brewery I have been to.

I’m sure if we had stayed living in our old home, I’d be attending this brewery weekly. Lucky for me- my friends were there the second day I showed up (albeit the date I was supposed to meet them.) I also picked myself up a pizza from the pop up Raving Gamer pizza truck that was on the premise. It was not too bad, although about five bucks more than it should have been. But when there isn’t much in the way of food out there- you have to enjoy what is offered.

So check out Locality Brewing if you live in Langley or Abbotsford; or if you want to check out a farm feel brewery just outside of Vancouver. You will not be disappointed. I know I wasn’t- with the fact that I was there two days in a row….

Aqua Thursday

We had another fun filled afternoon and evening yesterday with our friends. We listened to music, had a few drinks, lounged in the pool, and ate a wonderful meal out on the deck. Our friend even did synchronized pool floatie dancing to Celine Dion for us.

It was a ton of fun, as always. I really enjoy their company and love spending time with friends.

I only captured a couple of photos as my phone is often the one that is playing music. This gives me more opportunity to be attentive to the conversations. A lull in talks didn’t have me reaching for my phone. In fact it was quite the opposite. It meant it was time for a new conversation topic.

Joking and playing around in the pool is loads of fun. Being an adult doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. If anything, I realize that who cares what other people think- just enjoy life! And enjoy it with friends.

Last Day Of Staycation

Today is the last day of my staycation. As much as I’d like to think I relaxed, I still did get a few other things accomplished around the house. I’m happy about it.

My last day is going to be poolside once more. This time we are planning on a couple of friends coming out for the afternoon. We hit the water and had some good times poolside. Lounging, swimming, drinking, snacking, and laughing.

All this is before we have our dinner. Gourmet hotdogs and a salad. Why not? It’s summer and the weather is perfect for it all.

Life is good. Share your joy with friends!

Staycation So Far- Soooooo Good!

I have been throughly enjoying this past week of staycationing at home. For a couple of the days I built a Deck for my wife’s garden. The two of us have also gone for a couple of walks together. We did a bit of shopping, we have made some amazing dinners and I have been doing breakfast meals better than ever. All with the company of the one I love.

But the majority of this staycation has had us poolside. We have done nothing but relax, swim, read, listen to music, enjoy the breeze, and appreciate what we have. If it weren’t for having to make our own meals and clean up after- you’d think we were staying at a private oasis resort. But this is exactly what where we wanted to get to in life- appreciating our home and each other’s company.

As much as I am looking forward to our next “get away” I can’t help but be upset about leaving our home to do it. Especially in the summer. My days off from work will have me poolside whenever the weather permits. But until then- time to get back to enjoying this staycation!

Cheers everybody! Catch me by the water for the next few days if you want to hang out!

joie de vivre

My wife and I are filled with exuberant enjoyment of life. Yesterday afternoon we had some friends over and had a great time just living life. Loads of laughs, drinks and food. Being able to share our yard and home always brings me joy.

Megan catching me chilling in the pool.

When having fun like we had, I forget to take pictures. My iPhone was being used for music all evening, so I rarely got up to look at it. In fact, by the end of the afternoon- we were all interacting so much that our phones were essentially forgotten about.

Today is another afternoon of lounging. This time just my wife and I are going to float around and recover. Next weekend will be much of the same- as we will be celebrating our anniversary with friends once more.

I always love to open our home up for entertaining. Many an invite goes out to various friend groups. Not everyone can make it out, but when the do- we are filled with a joie de vivre.

Looking Towards The Long Weekend

I have one more night to go until my weekend. The weekend is just my regular three day weekend, but it’s a long weekend for many of our friends. With that being said, it looks like there will be some more beautiful weather in store for Friday to start us off!

My wife has arranged for a couple of our friends to join us in floating around the pool. That is pretty much the extent of the plan. Float in the pool and relax with a drink in hand. It’s hard to want to leave this house and do stuff elsewhere since it’s our little slice of paradise. I’m always game for lounging at home doing nothing but relaxing.

If you have plans for the up coming Long Weekend, make sure you stay safe. Hydration, sun screen, and be smart about drinking alcohol. Have an eye on the roads for groups of children as they tend to get together and let loose as well- sometimes not paying attention to traffic.

Fall Down, Go Boom

On Saturday evening, I fell over and hit my head pretty hard on the cement of our garage floor. Besides a bruised ego, it feels as though I have strained some muscles in my neck and shoulder. All day yesterday my left thumb was also tingling with pins and needles.

My coworker reminded me “Pictures or it didn’t happen” and asked if anyone videotaped it. In my brilliant forethought- I had a camera in the garage. Not specifically to see this mind you, but there it was, at around 5pm.

Anyways, a tall guy like me falling over is not a normal thing to occur. Lucky for me in this day and age, there is camera footage. Oh boy do I look stupid. Watching it play back, I am embarrassed for past me and the fall that occurred.

My son was in the kitchen and heard the ruckus. He was nice enough to come and check on me. Again, the situation was embarrassing and completely preventable. My equilibrium was off due to a mix of swimming and drinking in the hot sun. Not a very grownup thing to do.

I am not ready to share the footage, give me a week or two when the Emotional Damage dissipates. Then I can share with friends.

First Dip In The Pool

The sun peaked out this afternoon long enough for us to enjoy it. It was sent hot, but in the sun it was warm! A couple of weeks ago we had taken the cover Off OurPool in hopes to jumpstart the summer. No such luck.

Yesterday, the weather report was not looking promising for the near future. But I was hopeful. So today, when my wife finished work, we jumped into the pool. We both agreed that we were going in- rain or shine.

Lee-Anne went in first. The sun was out and the atmosphere was pleasantly warm. I had turned on the heater for the pool yesterday- and it was a comfortable 24°C already.

We had kind of forgotten to let the kids know that we were going into the pool. So when our middle came home from school- they ended up hanging out in the yard while my wife and I swam. I felt like Darwin was the adult in the situation- making sure that two doofuses didn’t drink too much and get hurt.

I’m definitely looking forward to enjoyment of the pool throughout the summer. I’m already feeling the energy burn from splashing around. Swimming has always been a good workout that leads to a great sleep. Hopefully we can have friends over soon to enjoy the fun and relaxation poolside. It would be nice if the entire weather forecast could change for the better!

Friday Fun

Today was a day of shopping and just having fun. My fun consisted of the following:

Finished shopping at Costco, so I sat in a prime spot and ate my hotdog. Numerous people wanted my spot, but I just sat there eating. Now don’t go thinking I’m a jerk. First of all- there is no seating at Costco, and who wants to drive home and eat a cold hotdog? Secondly, I built some karma points to offset this by helping and older lady lift some heavy items into her trunk. I was also being kind to drivers on the road and allowing merging from store driveways. So there’s that.

For the afternoon, it’s time for some European treats. My favorite drink combo: IRN-BRU and vodka will bring forth some memories and fun. The chocolate Flake bars will also necessitate a sugar high.

Time to enjoy the afternoon!

Forty Six- Returning To The Wedgewood

It’s my birthday today. I am now 46 years of age. No big celebration this year. Just a night away with my wife. A chance to act young and silly. All while feeling like royalty.

We have returned to The Wedgewood Vancouver for our night away. Last time we were here was nearly three years ago. This time around we are on the 8th floor and truly overlooking the city. I like this place because of the service we receive. From the valet meeting us in the street to the concierge bring wine and chocolate covered strawberries to the personal touches of the greeting card in our room.

A sense of luxury and pampering really makes this feel like a well deserved getaway. The stresses of life are left at home, and our short journey into Vancouver is wonderful. A fancy dinner and a couple bottles of wine- we shall let all of our cares subside for 24 hours.

Cheers to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday today! I may be older, but now my foolishness is more eccentric.

Onto the next adventure!

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!

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.

Tree Time 2021

Having gone on vacation at the start of the month, it meant decorating the Christmas tree was a couple days later than normal. Yesterday was the only chance we had to get on it. So right after an early dinner, we decorated.

As is tradition in our home, we put on “The Wiggles: Yule Be Wiggling” and “Wiggly Wiggly Christmas” whilst we decorate the trees. This year old oldest didn’t join us, but Grandma sat in to watch the fun.

As is also tradition, my wife and I enjoyed some Fireball and Eggnog: aka FIRENOG. We discovered this drink from my wife’s brother a few years ago and it has loosened us up for the holiday season ever since then. As is another tradition- and ornament gets accidentally broken and put on display. This year, no one broke an ornament, instead one came out of the box broken. It always seems to be the red ones…

Our new nine foot tree looks great in our new home. I’d say it’s almost done. As I mentioned, our oldest was unable to join us, so my wife and I put up a few of their ornaments, but saved the rest in case they wanted to add them to the tree at a later date. If not, that’ll be okay as well since this tree carries all of the special ornaments given to the family members. My wife and I knew that one day those ornaments would find a new home wherever our kids move to.

We also finished off our kids tree. This holds all those handmade ones gathered up over the years. From preschool onward, as well as the fandom made ones (Star Wars, etc..) This tree will be one my wife and I will always put up. And finally is a tree in our master bedroom. That one will be decorated in a few days since my mother is using the room during her stay.

Did you decorate a tree or trees this year? Any movies, music, food or drink that you enjoy while doing so? Let me know in the comments.

Second Last Day

On our second to last day, we went for breakfast at the restaurant by the beach. We had our regular breakfast server- Carlos. He had seen us numerous times this trip. We were even seated at the same table every morning. Carlos brought us our drink order without being asked. He knew exactly what we wanted.

Immediately after breakfast we spent the rest of the morning on the beach. The waves were calmer than the day prior, so we enjoyed splashing around and being goofy. At one point, there were schools of fish swimming up to us. A fellow guest at the resort gave me a bun he had taken from the breakfast buffet. As I tore off pieces and tossed them in the water- more fish approached me. I was able to reach down and pet them.

In the afternoon we wandered to the pool and cooled off before dinner. We chose the French restaurant this time. This was quite the elegant experience. From frog leg appetizer to baked Alaska dessert, everything was a production and delicious.

We ended our evening at a cheesy magic show followed by a few games of UNO at the bar. Every single day has been filled with good times starting at 8am and ending by midnight.

Mid-Trip in Mexico

In the middle of our vacation to Mexico, we decided to take a day on the beach. The beach first thing in the morning was impressively pristine. So we spent all day hanging out there.

Our friend, Megan, joined us while we relaxed. We had a few drinks, read our books, and frolicked in the ocean. I did my attempt at being David Hasslehoff running out of the ocean. The service was great as well, and the drinks kept coming.

Mid-day was a PCR test. We require this in order to get back into Canada. Not really a highlight, but it was quick and over with in a matter of moments. Soon we were back at the beach. That was when a couple of vendors came by selling jewelry, towels, blankets and dresses. I did my best negotiating and haggling and picked up a couple of souvenirs.

Shortly thereafter, my wife and I went to get a back massage on the beach. This was a fantastic way to relax and get those tense muscles loosened. The sound of the ocean in the background was tranquil and soothing.

Afterwards we headed out for dinner at the Teppanyaki again (it was by far the best experience for dinner). Once dinner was over, we headed to the theater and enjoyed a burlesque show. The theatrics and acrobatic dancing was intense. The show was well worth watching. My throat was sore from all of the hootin’ and hollerin’ I was doing.

It was another full day of relaxation and fun.

Poolside In Mexico

Yesterday we had a full day just hanging out at the pool. That’s a lie. First thing in the morning we ate breakfast at a restaurant by the beach. Shortly after, we learned how to make guacamole and the history of the ingredients. Then we did salsa dancing lesson. THEN we hung out at the pool.

It was a good time relaxing. The drinks kept flowing and laughs were raucous. Lounging for hours really helped with the relaxation that was needed this year. As well, seeing our pool back home surrounded by snow made me happy to be here.

Later we had dinner at the Mexican restaurant where a mariachi duo came to our table and played some music. Afterwards I caught the tail end of a Michael Jackson tribute. We ended the night eating churros as live music played in the main plaza area. Halfway through vacation and it’s been so much fun.

Valentin Imperial Day 1

“Set amid lavish gardens on a half-mile-long stretch of pearlescent beach named Playa Del Secreto (The Secret Beach), the adults-only, all-inclusive Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya boasts one of the most breathtaking swimming pools in Riviera Maya, Mexico!”

That blurb doesn’t do this resort justice. Having never traveled to Mexico, this is our first taste of what the country, and an all-inclusive, has to offer. It has been nothing but friendly and fun for our first day. Pools, beaches, booze and friends made us feel welcome and comfortable.

We arrived by 9am, and check in wasn’t until 3pm. The resort held our luggage and we were off to begin enjoying the amenities. First thing was to get some breakfast and coffee into us. Of course mimosas began flowing steadily as well. My wife and I were warned by our tenants to not over indulge on the booze on day one. That was going to be challenging. But since water and food was also in abundance- we survived day one without issue.

Drinks were coming pretty regularly mind you. So we tried a bunch of new drinks. We also enjoyed some food truck tacos and an elegant dinner with some friends.

The night ended with my wife and I going for a stroll and enjoying the stars. Relaxing without concern is a great feeling. I can get used to this life and am already able to see what people find appealing about this style of vacationing.

Friends And Thanksgiving

It was Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. As usual, my wife and I made a turkey dinner. We had a couple of friends over to enjoy the feast. I didn’t take many photos as it was more important to live in the moment.

We had a great time enjoying drinks and dinner. We started the afternoon by sitting on our back deck with our gas fire pit on. We enjoyed the views and had some great laughs as the turkey cooked.

We had dinner at around six o’clock, just as the sun was starting to set and the cool air was closing in. After dinner, we enjoyed the ABC’s of desserts. Apple pie, Brownies, and Cheesecake. Our friend made an amazing cheesecake! Each and every dessert was decadent. We also had a sampling of Apple Pie Bailey’s as a little treat.

I’m always happy to open up our home for friends. Sharing food and drinks is an integral part of kindness and humanity. I am also looking forward to the leftovers and turkey meals we will be having over the next week or so.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends! May you be blessed with good food and good company this weekend.

Oktoberfest In Small Doses

When I was a kid, National Lampoon’s European Vacation came out on video. I found the film to be absolutely hilarious. It also made me put Germany and other parts of Europe on my bucket list of places to visit. Specifically during Oktoberfest. (Much like our visit to Tokyo during the Cherry Blossoms). Since I have a wife with German roots, this idea excites me more.

Experiencing the world and other cultures like that is high on my list of why life is awesome. So as my wife and I plan our next big trip (which is on pause because of Covid), she is wanting to introduce me to some things that I never tried. The other day was sauerkraut on a bratwurst. All I can say is that it was surprisingly delicious. I’m not a fan of anything pickled, but as an addition to the food, it worked perfectly.

Of course you can’t have Oktoberfest without beer. A couple of years back, my wife and I attended Oktoberfest in September at The Trading Post. This was during one of my “Sober Septembers” so I was the designated driver. I still had a great time watching people cheer and sing while they drank and ate.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying some OOMPA Music played through the Spotify account. There’s something about German Polka that is kind of fun. My family is not as keen as I am it seems. But that’s okay.

Do you enjoy Oktoberfest? Besides German beers of course!

Sober September Savings

As my Sober September ends, I realize that it’s the money saved that really makes me not want to drink. Not the overindulgence that I tended to do. When last year I went 300 days sober, it wasn’t that I missed drinking. But there was a few times that a glass of wine or a beer would have been nice.

Tonight I am planning on having a beer with dinner. I needed to buy cheap-ish beer for the egg wash for the schnitzel dinner. Since it was a recipe I perfected from my father, I also picked up a few Czech Pilsners.

Last year’s savings helped with buying a house and all the amenities we wanted. Over the past month, not drinking also stopped us from going out for meals. It’s crazy how drinking and dinner goes well together. So an entire month was filled with savings.

My wife brought up a good point. If I am able to enjoy A Beer periodically, then go ahead. But she has agreed that if I start to go down a negative road and overdo it, then I need to stop drinking and reassess my health. So, it’s time to be smart once more and only drink periodically.

Sobering Time

Last year I did my third year of Sober September. Instead of 30 days it lasted for 300. I was feeling really good about myself by the end. It was moving into the new house and celebrating that knocked me off the wagon. But during that time, I felt really successful in everything we did- including buying this house.

So it’s time for Sober September Number 4. I did like the fact that last year I went past the one month mark and remained dry for nearly a year. Perhaps I shall push for that again this year. I was getting into some of my old habits this summer. I don’t need to “time” myself and crack a bottle on October 1st.

I also don’t need to have a “cheat day” just because of a couple of weddings I need to attend this month. I can still celebrate and remain uninebriated. Maybe I can offer to be the designated driver for people.

Cheers to working on my health! Yes I see the irony in that. But hey, I got this.

Looking At The Path- Not The Obstacles.

I don’t talk much about my battles with depression. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt awful- I really hope it’s a thing of the past. Let’s start in the past for those of you who didn’t know me very well. (Warning: Today’s blog is longer than normal)

I was a gangly, gawky, awkward teenager. Because I stood out, and like most other teens, I was bullied but kept it to myself. At age 15 I remember crying myself to sleep wondering why I was even alive. Replaying shitty interactions in my head to figure out what I could’ve done differently. I will say though, my mother was trying her best to figure out what was wrong since all I wanted to do was sleep and was constantly “sick”. She thought it was something physically wrong with me so I had a bunch of tests done on my blood and lungs. I went along with it because it meant not going to school for the day.

By grade twelve a lot had happened in my life. I fell into a group of friends who, by all accounts, helped me “self medicate.” Every Friday we skipped school for the day and drank. Not once did we get caught or questioned by teachers or parents. This little thrill ride was all I had to look forward to each week. And then that summer hit. Drinking wasn’t the only thing happening.

Getting up before noon was not a regular occurrence- hanging out doing dumb shit all night was. Of course I had friends and girlfriends and we had fun. I just didn’t care if I would make it through my early 20’s. I was driving down a lonely path as my family life was crumbling. Anything from my youth was long since a distant memory. My parents fought more, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my sister was working through her own stuff; being broke and couch surfing was my new normal.

Suddenly I was an adult. Somehow I lost five years of my life. My doctor prescribed antidepressants to me. I took those for about six months and lost all feeling of feeling anything. That sucked worse. So I went off them on my own accord. Shortly after I met the woman who would become my wife.

She is an incredible woman and we have accomplished a lot together. Being with her- I only wanted to do; and be; the best in my life. We were suddenly buying a house and raising a family. I had something to strive for. A better existence for my kids than what I felt I had growing up. Head down + hard work= happiness? Sort of.

I still have days where all I want to do is sleep. I sometimes don’t want to face the world as I worry that it will crash down around me. How do I cope? This is what has worked for me:

I write daily in my blog. I do my best to focus on the positives in my life. This can be difficult and sometimes I feel like I am bragging, but those of you who know me or knew me have seen me struggle to get here.

I also try and share more positive images on my Instagram with the hashtag #livingmybestlife That is a mantra that sounds hokey, but really works for me. I recently watched a video that sums up the best way to do this. To paraphrase: A skier doesn’t look at the trees that they could crash into, but rather the path between them. Focus on the journey, not the obstacles- or you will only hit the obstacles.

I still have bad days. I know many of you out there also have them. We’re in this together. I’m just Making It Up As I Go like my blog states. Perhaps I’ll figure out the recipe to battle depression. But until then, it’s just a part of me and I really want it to be a part of my past and leave it there.

Super Soft Stag

Last night I attended a stag party for a friend of mine named Jay. It was pretty tame but a whole lot of fun.

We started off at a place called The Barley Merchant. Here we were able to sample a variety of beers since there were fifty different ones on tap. Many from local breweries. We also had some appetizers and joked around quite a bit.

After a couple of hours tasting beers, we headed out for one of Jay’s favorite pastimes- karaoke. I will admit, this group of friends love singing and are quite talented. I enjoy cheering them on, since I don’t tend to get behind the microphone myself.

In a couple of weeks time Jay and Leona will be getting married. I’m really happy for them and look forward to seeing them tie the knot. They are a good match for each other.

The Vault

Yesterday we spent the afternoon and evening with a couple of friends. All of our kids were off doing their own thing, so my wife and I had a night to ourselves. First was hanging out at our place for a drink and appetizers.

Costco is great for finding quick and easy foods to share. I made some mini wontons and potato skins for us to share. Hanging out in the kitchen is always a great way to converse. Having a large kitchen island made it even better.

Afterwards we headed to a local establishment called “The Vault Restaurant”. It’s been around for ages and was built in an old bank. Kind of a steampunk/industrial feel inside. The food was great and the company was entertaining. It was ridiculously fun.

It’s been a while since my wife and I headed out for a night with friends. I’m glad we did as it turned into a fantastic evening. Date nights are becoming somewhat more frequent now that our kids are teenagers. It means my wife and I can get to know one another again. For that, I am grateful.