BC Cup Richmond

Last month we were in Prince George for Part One of BC Cup. Today is Part Two in Richmond. Another early morning of skating for our son.

If our son does okay at today’s meet, he will make Provincials without hesitation. He is currently in 4th of approximately 20 kids in his age range. He needs to remain in the top 12 in order to compete at Provincials. No pressure.

Maybe a little pressure- but most of it is a pressure he puts on himself. My wife and I support Theory and travel with him to a variety of locations. As long as he is pushing himself and striving to be better, I am happy to wake up early and travel to the coldest parts of Canada in pursuit of his goals.

He has skated here in Richmond previously, so he knows the ice. He’s also spent the past few years skating against many of the same skaters, so he is starting to understand their abilities vs his. But we are also here to cheer on every skater. These other families who travel, like we do, have become a friendly reminder of how much encouragement is out there for this sport.

Sisters Forever

A couple of years ago we discovered the joy of Andrews Sisters Jing-a-Ling on a drive home from the school. Our daughters enjoy the song and love to sing with it. It has become a staple in our Christmas music playing.

Our two girls seem to always get along this time of year. Last week when we were decorating, the two of them were loving and caring. Hugs and silliness abound. Seeing them get along like this warms my heart.

I know that over the next few years life will change. Our teenagers will become adults. They will grow up and move on in their own ways. I don’t want to look towards the future with a heavy heart. Instead I am trying to enjoy the moments we have now because these will soon become a distant memory.

And just like when we discovered the Andrews Sisters, I will become pleasantly surprised when my memories resurface once more through music and photos of yesteryear.

Enjoy the now- it’s a gift of joy. I guess that’s why it’s called The Present.

Thank You Carroll Spinney

At age 85, the world lost a great puppeteer-Caroll Spinney. A friend of mine shared an amazing photo on social media today. Caroll Spinney is performing Oscar the Grouch and still wearing Big Bird’s legs:

Everything about this image makes me happy and sad at the same time. It brings back memories of my childhood sitting in front of the television. As well as the magic behind those moments. This special person was able to bring to life two very different and iconic characters. They may have been puppets, but there’s a sense of life behind them, as well as a connection drawn between the audience and the actor.

As children, we could relate to these cartoony characters- our wonder and amazement were portrayed through Big Bird; our frustration and anger through Oscar the Grouch. How to cope and deal with life were shared through the Muppets, and Carroll made it feel like family.

Just like most families, we grow apart from those we care about and think they will always be there. Until one day they aren’t. All that’s left are memories.

But Carroll Spinney left behind a legacy. Years of puppetry immortalized in film and television. And for that, we thank you Carroll Spinney.

The Family Saturday

Today was a long day filled with some quality family time. Quality time is something that I treasure whenever we can get it.

It started with early morning speed skating training, followed by a free movie at the theater. It was Community Day so we took in a classic film- “A Christmas Story” to start our season right. By far one of my most favorite films. Seeing it in the theater added a new ambiance to the film and legitimate out loud laughs by the audience.

The film was over around lunch. We came straight home, did a quick tidy/clean before settling in to a favorite family activity. It’s the first Saturday after my wife’s birthday, so that meant decorations for our trees were to go up!

Loads of fun, dancing, singing and smiles were had. It helped that my wife and I had cookies and Firenog as well. Today is a day that our oldest loves to be a part of and willingly gets her picture taken with a smile!

We have three trees, so the kids rotate which topper they put up. It’s the first year I haven’t lifted anyone up to do it. It’s also the first year that my wife did this:

She broke an ornament! It’s not Christmas until at least one ornament explodes.

Bad Christmas Jokes

We have a small winter chalkboard hung up in our kitchen. Every year we would write a countdown to Christmas Morning on it. After that would be salutations like “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” Or “HAPPY NEW YEARS“. This year I started it off with a joke instead.

A classic style of dad joke. “The Christmas alphabet has Noel.” Not funny but worthy of a groan. It was up for about a week or so until someone changed it. Still no countdown though. Seems like I may have started a new tradition. Out came another joke.

Why does Santa have a big sack? He only comes once a year.

Oh my. This was written by our 17 year old daughter. I laughed pretty hard at it because it was unexpected. She doesn’t normally tell jokes of this caliber. However, the playing field has been set and the bar is raised. Time to share more Lewdmas humor. I wonder how far these jokes will get.

Making My Wife Crazy

Today is another Speed Skating meet. Originally I was planning on going, however I owed a coworker a shift because he helped me out a couple of weeks ago when we went to the BC Cup in Prince George. That means I have to work overnight later today.

The issue today is that up until twenty minutes before leaving the house, I was still planning on going to this Speed Skating meet. My wife had planned on staying home as it was her day off. Now she is the one going and I’ll be at home to get some rest. My wife is none too happy with me.

On Thursday when she found out that I would be working she offered to take our son. I refused the offer because I had committed to taking him a few weeks ago. As I was putting on my shoes to leave I realized that I’d be awake for almost 24 hours. I’d be lucky to get in a nap prior to my shift. I grumbled under my breath, and that’s when my wife decided for me that she was going instead.

I should’ve accepted her initial offer a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I left it too late- now I was going to lose no matter what. Obviously it’s better that she goes today. I made a mistake by not thinking the situation through ahead of time. My wife will stew over this for a brief amount while.

I know I can make her crazy- it’s just not always intentional.

Mandalorian

Ok Disney. I have bought into your Disney+ and so far am really happy with it. At first I wasn’t thrilled that the new series, “The Mandalorian”, didn’t have all the episodes readily available to marathon through. But then I realized that what you’ve done is sparked “water cooler talk” amongst everyone.

It took until last weekend for me to really notice. I hadn’t seen the third episode yet, but numerous coworkers, friends, and the Internet in general were discussing it. Not too shabby for a new streaming service. The buzz generated for this series is quite strong.

After finally watching the third episode, I can see why. “The Mandalorian” is far exceeding my expectations. It is not like any other Star Wars film or show. It is written, directed, and filmed in its own way that the pace of each episode is rhythmic and flows precisely. With Disney+ only releasing one episode per week- my anticipation level of each one grows. It has caused me to discuss the show far more than simply mentioning it in conversation.

In a time of instant gratification and marathon watching, going back to waiting for weekly episodes has made me appreciate the show more. As I wait and scroll through the available movies and shows, my kids have got me enjoying another series with guilty pleasure:

Don’t tell anyone…

Wish List Time

Christmas is on the horizon- so that means gift giving and holiday cheer. The holiday cheer part is getting into full swing at our home. Minus the music… that starts at the beginning of December. Oh and Christmas Trees- we have numerous trees that go up starting December 7th. I’m getting off topic… let’s talk “Wish Lists”.

As a child, I remember filling a page of dreams, or rather filling it with stuff that my young mind thought I needed. Video games, Transformers, remote control cars, or whatever toy was popular. Up until we had three kids, I still made a list. It turned into an adult list involving housewares, tools, and small appliances. Now I make those purchases myself and get exactly what I need or want.

Wish lists always have been filled with hopes. An idealistic vision of what would make your life complete. But if you don’t get everything on the list, there can be a sense of disappointment. As parents, the lists can be beneficial. You want to give your kids so much in life, but you also have to make sure they get what they need. Going into debt over material stuff isn’t a good idea though.

Our kids have lists. It’s smattered with things they think would make their lives fulfilled. Things like books, pens, art supplies and music are topping the list. Knowing that they want to create more than consume makes me happy. I’m not quite sure where or when it changed, but I’ll gladly support their artistic side.

I’m sure Santa will support it as well- if you know what I mean.

What’s on your wish list? Do you set limits on what your kids ask for? How much stuff is too much stuff?

Let me know in the comments.

Feel Good Drive Home

Driving home yesterday from the Speed Skating meet felt great. A big burden for our son is behind him/us. The attitude in the car from each of us portrayed as much.

Right from the beginning of the trip- my wife and daughter were having some fun. We stopped at the only sight in Prince George that we could think of- Mr. PG. It’s a large tree like statue with what looks like an oversized antenna ball from Jack In The Box as his head.

The rest of the drive we had really nice weather. There was an occasional spotty shower during the bright sunshine. But that’s what happens when nature does what it wants. I enjoyed the drive on Highway 97 because it wasn’t overly busy and parts of it reminded me of our previous road trips on Interstate 5 through California.

Our son was so worn out that he slept at least half of the way home cuddling his Duffy teddy bear. Even though he’s a teenager and working hard towards his goals in the sport of speed skating- he’s still just a kid at heart.

I’m glad that one more major competition is behind us. For the next few months it seems we will be hitting up a meet every couple of weeks. It’s good practice and will help him with his mental game before the big competitions in early 2020.

Until then, it’s nice to be home.

BC Cup Prince George

On Saturday we spent the day in Prince George at The BC Cup… Part One… That’s because there is a BC Cup 2 next month in the Lower Mainland. We could’ve just gone to one of them- but they add the points between both… basically whoever gets the most points goes on to “Provincals”. So to guarantee a chance it’s best to go to both competitions.

Le sigh.

Arriving at our destination, it was obvious that I was unable to escape my work. We were at the rink connected to the CN Centre. But I wasn’t here to think about work- it was all about our son. So we focused on that.

He worked hard all day- stretching and exercising between races. Our regular coach wasn’t able to be there, but a lovely lady named Nicole and a fellow named Adam were willing to give some advice and call out tips to our son during the races. Theory took to the coaches really well and it helped tremendously.

Throughout the races, Theory did his best. At one point he was in fourth place and the three boys in front of him fell at different times and our son took this opportunity and earned first place. This pushed our son for his next race as it put him in a higher level. That next race- he earned a personal best.

Our son raced in five races. Each race lasting 45 seconds to 3 minutes or so. Not very long all things considered. On the other hand, our daughter Darwin volunteered her time as a “Track Steward” for the entire day. She had to make sure the markers were in place, holes in the ice were repaired, and the corners were smooth for every left turn. She enjoyed being on the sidelines silently cheering on her friends and her brother. It was a full time job.

In the end, we still won’t know if our son made it into “Provincials” but it looks like he’s in the top 8 of his division so far. He was up and down all day with the scoring. And if some of the boys from up north don’t go down to Richmond- it may help our son’s odds.

Competitions like this are stressful. I just want our son to feel that his hard work is paying off. It was a good feeling to hear people in the audience who I don’t know- cheer his name. I felt so much fatherly pride. That’s something worthwhile as our son does something he loves.