Black Friday Coffee Talk

So… I ended up doing Black Friday shopping for an unplanned purchase.

I was up early and about to make myself a cup of hazelnut coffee. As I lifted the glass carafe off the hot plate, it exploded. Shards of glass and scalding hot coffee went all over the place. My pants, our counter and floor were enjoying twelve cups of coffee all at once. After dropping some towels down to soak it up- I hit the road. I didn’t even bother to change my pants. If I wasn’t going to drink the coffee, at least I would enjoy the aroma.

I showed up at Walmart in the pouring rain. No one else was there, but I knew they opened at six. So fifteen minutes prior, I went to the doors. Standing beside the sign for where the lineup began, I realized that Black Friday isn’t really as good as it once was. No big crowds, no lines, nothing. Just before the doors opened only four more people showed up.

I will say, I got a new coffee maker for half price. That’s a win. It’s also nicer than our old one and will be easier to use. Hooray for morning coffee and a good deal.

Spend or Save?

In a few days it will be the Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday. As usual many of us are searching for deals to be had. This is the time to do one last push for those big ticket Christmas items.

But is it necessary? Do you or the person you are shopping for really need what ever is on sale? Have we gotten so wrapped up in “savings” that we overlook the “necessity” of our purchases? I know I have bought many things just because it’s a “deal you can’t miss” or “won’t last long” even though I didn’t need it. Some things I have bought over the years and never even used. (Don’t judge me. I know you have too!)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to search online for stuff. I already have a plethora of items in my Amazon cart over the past few months. Those are the items that I’m “contemplating” or waiting for a deal. I have even removed items after they have sat for such a long time because I just decided to change my mind.

I do have a few things I am hunting for. But the deals need to be worthwhile. Like really worthwhile. Who knows. Maybe by the end of the weekend I’ll have spent nothing.

Hahahaha. Yeah, right… I’m a sucker for a deal.

I Didn’t Do Much… But Christmas Is 35 Days Away

This past week I was on Staycation. Honestly, I didn’t do much out of the ordinary. I enjoyed time with my family, had a lot of days of just Darwin and I. While my wife and youngest went out to Calgary, I watched his races on the live stream. Which were probably better than being in person as the cameras were ice side. Plus I wasn’t in a cold rink.

Normally if my wife leaves for a weekend, I get antsy and start some major project. Not this weekend. I did take some extra Christmas lights and put them around our gazebo. I mixed the red my wife wanted and the white that I wanted and am pretty happy with how it looks.

I had told my wife last week that I only wanted to put up two of our four artificial Christmas trees. Before they left, she asked that I don’t put up our living room tree until the start of December. I did put up one of the trees we have- I put it up in her office. She was happy went I sent the picture to her. It means we will be putting up a third tree in our basement now.

My wife doesn’t like the idea of downsizing our trees. So moving from four to three really isn’t so bad. We did three trees before. That generally works better for us. One is our elegant tree, one is the kids tree (all those handmade and silly ornaments collected over the years), and our third is usually just the ornaments we like, but they don’t quite go on either of the other two trees (yet we cannot get rid of the ornaments). A fourth tree is just too much. Mostly we just had lights and it would be outside

I enjoyed my time off. Now it’s back to the grind. At least until my next week of vacation at Christmas.

I Didn’t Do Much… But Christmas Is 35 Days Away

This past week I was on Staycation. Honestly, I didn’t do much out of the ordinary. I enjoyed time with my family, had a lot of days of just Darwin and I. While my wife and youngest went out to Calgary, I watched his races on the live stream. Which were probably better than being in person as the cameras were ice side. Plus I wasn’t in a cold rink.

Normally if my wife leaves for a weekend, I get antsy and start some major project. Not this weekend. I did take some extra Christmas lights and put them around our gazebo. I mixed the red my wife wanted and the white that I wanted and am pretty happy with how it looks.

I had told my wife last week that I only wanted to put up two of our four artificial Christmas trees. Before they left, she asked that I don’t put up our living room tree until the start of December. I did put up one of the trees we have- I put it up in her office. She was happy went I sent the picture to her. It means we will be putting up a third tree in our basement now.

My wife doesn’t like the idea of downsizing our trees. So moving from four to three really isn’t so bad. We did three trees before. That generally works better for us. One is our elegant tree, one is the kids tree (all those handmade and silly ornaments collected over the years), and our third is usually just the ornaments we like, but they don’t quite go on either of the other two trees (yet we cannot get rid of the ornaments). A fourth tree is just too much. Mostly we just had lights and it would be outside

I enjoyed my time off. Now it’s back to the grind. At least until my next week of vacation at Christmas.

What’s A Unico?

Hello Kitty

Our middle child has been a huge Hello Kitty fan ever since a pair of shoes was put on their feet at around age two. Darwin went to a Hello Kitty Super Cute Friendship Festival a few years back. We even went to a Hello Kitty Cafe in Tokyo in 2018. We still buy Hello Kitty gifts and that will probably never stop.

But even after sixteen years of enjoying everything Hello Kitty and Sanrio- Darwin discovered a character that they knew nothing about in the Sanrio universe. No, not Dar-Chanrio…

This evening I put on an anime film from 1981. I remember watching it with my little sister when I was a child. As the film credits began- the old Sanrio logo appeared. Darwin was shocked to have not know of this movie (or it’s sequel). Immediately an internet search was underway.

After a dive into the official Sanrio and Hello Kitty sites, no mention of Unico is made. But a search of Wikipedia and a Hello Kitty fan page showed this cute unicorn is indeed a piece of Sanrio’s past.

The discovery of this character was a bit mind blowing. It was almost turning into a “Mandela Effect” moment as there was no record of Unico on the official websites. In all honesty, the first film was nothing special. We will probably watch the second one in the future. I don’t think anything Unico will enter Darwin’s collection.

But I could be wrong.

Wreathing

Over the years we have made numerous Christmas decorations and wreaths. The wreaths are probably my favorite. This year we added two new ones.

The one on the right I had made about four years ago- Wreath Making on the Cheap. The Jack Skellington one was in the process of being made for a couple of years. Both are now hanging up on the doors to my wife’s office. Inside her office is a shrine to The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’ll share that in a future blog.

The wreath on our front door was completed last week by yours truly. Since our home is going more “elegant” it required me to take the red and green off of it. This one has a bunch of “picks” that are gold, silver and white in colour. Honestly, these were small decorations that we had sitting in a box and saved for years. Now they have a purpose.

I’m a fan of making decorations and homemade ornaments and such. Last year two of my favorite pieces were made: Upcycles Boards.

Do you make your own Christmas Decorations? Let me see in the comments. I love being inspired by others.

Dragon Hats

Back in 2007, my wife began to make fun winter hats. Specifically dragon hats. Over the last couple of years, she hasn’t put much time into her online business. Family, career, moving, etc… has taken over.

Roaring since 2007

Over the last couple of days, I have been wearing one of the hats she made for me. I have had nothing but compliments on it. I know that my wife has a bunch of hats premade, and I’m trying to get her to post back on her website in order to get noticed once more.

Over the next couple of weeks, my wife is planning on setting up her sewing studio once more. Stay tuned- we may just get to see some winter Dragon hats. Just remember the name- Ningen Headwear. I’m sure that I will post more details once she gets started!

Can You Ever Have Enough Christmas Decorations?

Boxes of Christmas decorations have exploded in my home. It isn’t until I begin bringing them out of the attic that I realize how much we have. It may be time to downsize some of the decorations. It took me a good half hour with help to get everything out. That doesn’t include our four artificial trees and those decorations!

Bins and boxes filled our dining room table as well as the floor space around. Opening each box contains a new surprise. Sometimes it’s exactly what I was expecting inside, but most often it contains the unknown.

Since we changed our colour theme last year to silver, gold and blue- we now have an abundance of red and green balls and baubles. Lucky for us, it should fit in nicely in our basement. Downstairs has more earthy brown tones as the colour scheme.

I have been working on some new layouts to keep it looking uncluttered. I also kept the same design of the garland from last year. Of course this means having some of our cutesy decorations needing a place to live. We have so many stuffed toys that come out for Christmas. As well as a growing collection of Nightmare Before Christmas trinkets.

My family is surprised that I am so far behind in decorating. Good thing I have a week of vacation to do the displays and set up the house just right.

Let’s get decorated!

Halloween Is Over

It took less than 30 minutes for me to pack up the Halloween decorations and put them back into the attic. And of course, I decided to bring some Christmas decor down. Specifically the one that has brought the family the most joy.

Creepy Santa has Returned. He came out of the attic the day after Halloween- knowing that his time to emerge and terrify was upon us. He immediately disappeared into his first hiding location. Waiting to be discovered.

The only other decoration that makes an appearance so soon is Timmy- our tin soldier. All year-round he sits in the corner of our outside front entryway underneath our security camera. Once Halloween is over- he gets turned to guard our entrance. I was thinking that I may move him to the upper balcony instead, so he can watch over the neighborhood. He is the perfect pop of color needed for our house.

Because the weather was so nice today, a part of me was almost ready to put up the outdoor Christmas lights. But some of my plans were changed around and the idea fell towards the back burner only to be ignored completely by sundown. Maybe it’s too soon for Christmas decorations. Hahaha.

Have you begun slowly Christmas decorating as well? Or do you bring everything out at once?

Calm Halloween

Today was a very quiet Halloween. Nothing extraordinary happened. We decorated the front yard for the night and bought 150 candies to give away. We hardly had that many kids come down the hill to receive their treats.

My wife and I sat out front with the fire pit on and gave out the candy. I dressed as Johnny Depp’s character from Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. The fire pit kept me warm as I was wearing shorts and summer shirts. My wife wore her Halloween leggings and kept warm beside me.

Our 18 year old and 16 year old had some friends over. They got dressed up and hit the streets for some candy of their own. When they returned- we had two batches of chili ready for them to enjoy after their walk around the neighborhood. All of our children’s friends are extremely polite and really kind. I enjoyed the conversations with them.

My wife and I wound down our night watching fireworks from our bedroom window. After almost two hours of explosions, my wife went to sleep and I decided to watch some Twilight Zone. Even as the show played- the fireworks continued throughout Surrey.

I love Halloween. Yet the vibe continues to change and evolve. I’m still having fun throughout the years- albeit a bit calmer allowing others to share and entertain. And yes, the fireworks are still going…

Weathering Halloween

Looks like there is a possibility that rain will be here for Halloween night. It’s not the first time it has rained on October 31st. I do recall a few times having to take an umbrella out to keep the kids dry. But the excitement of free candy kept them going.

As a kid, I lived in Alberta and had to suffer a few snow filled Halloween evenings. Winter jacket and snow pants covered the costume, or you got a baggie costume and draped it over your outfit. It didn’t matter because you knew what you were pretending to be. And you still got candy!

I couldn’t imagine being an adult in my 20’s attending a Halloween party in Alberta like that. Especially since most people showed up at our parties in their “sexy” outfits. I imagine it would look like these.

Again, using your imagination and a Sexy Ghostbuster is pretty amazing. I’ve seen one.

Beetlejuice Carving 2022

This year someone suggested I do a Beetlejuice theme on my pumpkin. Originally I was going to do him from the cartoon with Lydia and the title plate as well. In the end I opted to do the snake version from the original film.

After years of carving pumpkins, I have gotten faster at it. My first intricate pumpkin was a Jack Skellington one that took over 4 hours to complete. Every year I get faster. I am also able to visualize the finish product as I go.

My intensity in pumpkin carving has passed on to my two oldest children. They have also spent hours carving pumpkins. Our middle loves doing anime fandom style. They are busy working on theirs this afternoon as well.

Besides a picture- sometimes I wish there was another way to preserve these art pieces. But they are meant for one night and then they cut up and into breads, soups and pancakes. We don’t just toss them in the trash once Halloween is over.

Do you carve pumpkins? How much time do you invest in doing it? Show me some of your favorites please!

Beetlejuice.

Happy Diwali

I want to wish a very Happy Diwali to my friends and coworkers who celebrate today!

I had only briefly heard of Diwali in the past from the news and a few social media posts from friends. It wasn’t until last year that I truly got to enjoy the spectacle that emerges with the celebration.

The back of our home faces Central Surrey. There are numerous temples and large homesteads that celebrated last year. We watched fireworks going off all across the tree line in the distance for days. We spent every evening watching from the comfort of our home. It was spectacular. New Year’s Eve and Canada Day paled in comparison to the extravaganza that we witnessed.

Reading and educating myself about Diwali, I came across this information: One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. To me- that sounds beautiful.

Happy Diwali Friends! Thank you for sharing your celebration with the world.

Terror On Tubi

This entire month, I have been enjoying some of the most ridiculously cringy horror films ever made. Besides one or two films, most of the movies I have been streaming from Tubi.

What I find amusing is that I had no idea Tubi existed or that they even promoted “Terror on Tubi” this time of year. I recently discovered the app/website when we bought a new Amazon Fire TV and was browsing for streaming apps.

This is the first year I have watched a horror movie a day for the month of October. I may make this a regular tradition every year. I have been amused and throughly entertained this month. I have even had family members join me periodically to watch these ridiculous films.

Anyways, on to the next movie!

With only 8 days remaining until Halloween, todays film is about spiders. I was originally looking for the movie, “Arachnophobia” but have been unable to find it. I also thought about putting on “Eight Legged Freaks”- both films I had seen in the movie theater years ago. Instead, I went with a film from 1975- “The Giant Spider Invasion”.

Do you enjoy bad movies? How about horror films? What are your Halloween traditions?

Hotumn

2021

Last year, we had already covered our pool for the winter. That was mostly because the weather was far cooler and wetter than it is this year.

This past weekend, my wife and I enjoyed the sun and an August-like heatwave. I saw someone use the term “Hotumn” and it described the local weather perfectly. My wife and I had a great time floating, splashing, and swimming for a few hours everyday this month.

Coming up on Friday, our weather patterns are subject to drop to last year’s similar cool and wet conditions. Our swimming pool shall be shut for the winter weather by the end of this week.

I’m a bit sad that our enjoyment of the outdoors is coming to and end. I’ve enjoyed the pool and the gardening tremendously this month. It has kept me happy and occupied. Soon, all of our activities will be indoors. Such as more movies, games, and food. I am looking forward to those activities as well.

Goodbye Hotumn. I’m glad you stayed a while longer.

BC Lions

Last night I watched my first ever CFL football game in person. In fact, it was my first CFL game ever to watch. We went to BC Place to watch the Lions vs Blue Bombers. Even though I don’t follow sporting events- it was a great evening out with friends.

My wife and I parked about a ten minute walk away from the arena. As we made our way to the event, the sun was setting, creating a beautiful skyline. When we arrived, we ordered some beer and poutine. Our view of the game was right on the sideline, almost center field and in the second row.

The action was so close to us throughout the game that I found myself really getting into it. I cheered and stood up numerous times as I got excited by the plays on the field.

There is something to be said about the energy at a sports event. The crowd and the buzz that goes on. I thoroughly enjoyed our night out and would gladly do it again sometime. The last sports team I need to see play in BC is the soccer team- The Whitecaps. I have already watched hockey, baseball, basketball (when the Grizzlies were here), and now CFL.

Do you enjoy being at a game? Are you more of a hockey fan instead of football? Let me know in the comments.

Rolling Art

I’m still a big fan of the art people put on the side of rail cars. Some days the art just speaks to me.

Seeing a comic dragon on the side of a grain car entertains me. It’s not scary, nor is it “fan art”. Yet somehow it seems familiar. It’s perfect for the Halloween vibe.

Then there is the poorly written grammatical phrases that show up. Not all of those are swears or derogatory words are great. Sometimes the Gruve is in the heart. The fact that our autumn has been exceptionally mild and warm is the appropriate sentiment.

Spreading these works of rolling art is something I enjoy doing. I hope you enjoy the artwork as much as I do. I wish I was as talented as these artists are.

October Is Rolling Along

It seems like just yesterday that the kids went back to school. Yet here we are- a month later and it feels like they have been going forever. Which I am totally okay with.

Now we are a few days into October. I see many homes getting festive with Halloween decorations. I love it. I’m also hoping that the weather stays on this side of winter a while longer. Especially at Halloween. It is always nicer to be just a tad bit chilly vs wet and cold.

As October rolls along, I think about previous Halloweens with my family. I also think about the one about to arrive. I love the idea of costumes and fun with the family. As well as seeing the other costumes of children and even friends who like to dress up.

As I mentioned the other day, getting myself into the mood for fun definitely means cheesy horror. I love that I received some more suggestions for bad films to watch. I even rediscovered some in my searches that I forgot about or haven’t seen in years. There’s just something about the campiness of those films that is really entertaining.

Soon the nights will be longer and the house will need to be warmed up. But in the meantime, I am enjoying the hot daylight hours we are getting- even though I know October will be over as quickly as it arrived. Then it will be onto winter and coziness.

For now, it’s time to enjoy what we have going on. No need to rush through October.

October Movie Schlockfest

Every day in October I am planning on watching a cheesy movie. Preferably sci-fi and/or horror- the more “cringy” the better. So far I have watched three films that really fit the bill.

First film I watched was “Invaders From Mars” made back in 1986. I remember this film coming out on cable tv in the 80’s and I was so excited to see it. It is not good. Lots of excess screaming and ridiculous looking aliens. None of which is scary by any means.

Last night I watched “Cube Zero” which I was honestly hoping would be as good as “Cube”. Alas, it fell short. In fact it almost ruins the idea of what the original film “Cube” was about. But cheesy acting and ridiculous practical effects helped to make it more campy than “mind fuck” like it’s original.

Tonight I went back to the 80’s for an absolute disaster of a film. “Munchies” knew it was campy and ridiculous from the start with hints at “Gremlins” and numerous other movies prior to it. It is not a good film by any means. I lost interest in it by the end and was nodding off on the couch by 9pm.

The idea of watching cheesy and campy films came about on September 30th. That was the day my middle child and I decided to watch “Hocus Pocus 2”. Cheesy, corny, nostalgic and not very good. Perfect to get my tastebuds wet with the month of October.

Do you have any extra cheesy films for the spooky season that you would recommend? I have a few saved on our streaming device.

Perfect October Saturday

Today I just did stuff for me. Sort of. I started my day early by cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floors. I took a break to watch my son skate via a live feed from Calgary.

At lunch, I went to meet a couple of buddies for beer at a new brewery in Langley. It opened only a month ago, so it was still fairly new and not too busy. During our beers, we took a break and watched another of Theory’s races on YouTube.

By three o’clock I was back home and caught Theory’s final race of the day. This was followed by some “me time” floating in the pool. I didn’t turn on the heat, so it was a float on the cool water as I enjoyed the sun and a couple more beers.

After such a busy few days off, I needed the afternoon to myself. I’m glad I met with my buddies for a break. Too bad they had other plans for the afternoon- otherwise we’d have gotten into more than a couple drinks. So much for the idea of Sober October. There’s always next year.

September Ends…

September flew by. Even though I am spending my afternoon in the pool because of this beautiful weather, fall is in the air. that means there is only one thing left to do. Get ready for Halloween!

After working on the front yard, our middle child and I pulled out our Halloween decorations from the attic and they began to set up the front yard. Our entry is now a mix of autumn and Halloween- which I love.

Earlier today, the neighbors came by with a chainsaw and we cut down a tree in the front yard. It was at such a poor angle that I was unable to correct it over the past year. Once we cut it down, we noticed that the middle was starting to rot out. It was only a matter of time before it had to come down anyways.

After cutting the tree down, Darwin placed our axe happy gnome on display. A perfect ornament for the front yard! His name is HP Gnomecraft and he is scary.

I love the transition from summer to autumn. It gives me a chance to plant some new plants for spring. It also means that Christmas is just around the corner! I love Halloween and Christmas. Decorating is my favorite!

Have you begun decorating for Halloween yet? Perhaps you are working on some Christmas crafts.

Let me know what you have going on.

Halloween Costume Choice

Halloween is approaching. I am behind in my usual costume planning. So it’s time to figure out an easy one that I think I can do. Here are two of my choices so far. Please help with some advice.

1st: More Cowbell.

I think I can pull off a Christopher Walken impression for one night. Especially if I just quote the classic SNL skit. Maybe I can find a friend to do Will Farrell’s part and really nail the joke.

2nd: Fear And Loathing

This has been my look for most of the summer. Tinted glasses, bucket hat, Hawaiian print shirt. I just need to work on slurring my speech and awkward walking. (although I did that throughout the summer as well).

Which of these two is my best option? I’d love to hear your vote. Or, is there any other possible characters I could pull off this Halloween? I have enjoyed some of my past iterations of Rick Sanchez, Vincent Price, Obi-Wan, Ash vs Army of Darkness, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Sportacus, Pee-Wee Herman, Hudsucker Proxy, and many more.

Soda Jerking

Our son has decided that he wants to create mixed drinks. He has been looking up a variety of recipes online. Not the alcoholic type of beverage mind you. Instead, he wants to make sodas.

So I ended up buying a couple of bottles of flavored syrup for him. As well as some pumps. Then I bought some more that I thought sounded tasty. There’s a couple of flavors in there that may taste good in coffee or hot chocolate this autumn/ winter.

My wife thinks it’s funny that the lime and coconut flavors showed up together. Our son is going to attempt to make some Italian Sodas over the next while. As well as some DisneyLand inspired drinks. I’m looking forward to tasting the concoctions. Perhaps he can be a better jerk than he is most days.

Do You Remember?

Do you remember? The 21st night of September?

My wife loves that song. Her friends often look forward to singing it to her every year. I find it humorous and have written about it in the past: 21st Night of September . Today got me thinking about my wife and how she remembers the way I like things done. Specifically preparing food.

Now, I’m not saying that the way I like my food prepared is right, but it is how I like my food. It used to cause many discussions years ago, but now my wife just goes with it. Usually.

I’m a big texture and taste person when it comes to food. I don’t overly care if different food touches on a plate, so that’s not it. It’s more how the flavors mix. For example- when making a sandwich- the mustard side needs to be the side the meat is on, not the cheese. Cheese on mustard has a very different taste and texture compared to meat and mustard. Trust me.

Mr Noodles… the instructions on the packet are wrong. The noodles need to be placed in the water immediately and then brought to a boil. Once the noodles are soft, drain all the water. Then put the noodles in a bowl and add the flavor packet. This isn’t a soup we are making! It’s called Mr. Noodles not Mr. Soup.

Because of these preferences, I will admit that I am the one who usually ends up making the lunches. My wife will adhere to my choices when making something for me, which is nice, and has on occasion agreed with how I make foods. Like a dash of salt after goulash is served. It brings out the flavor immensely as you are about to eat.

However it’s not just food preferences I need to work on with her. I still need to get her to understand that the toilet paper flap goes over the roll, not behind it.

And with that, I am off to escape to work to avoid confrontation once she reads my blog.

Love you honey!

Neat IOS 16 Features

I enjoy my iPhone. There was a recent update that I also liked. It has the option to change wallpaper and has a big clock.

I chose the moon as a backdrop from the preset ones available. I’ve always been fascinated by the moon. That’s cool. But something else I noticed after doing a screenshot happened.

If you touch and hold a part of the image- it does this little “swoosh” and cuts out the background. Then you can choose “share” and send just the main subject matter via messages/texts. That’s cool.

I think this aspect of photo sharing/manipulation is kind of fun. It’s a simple photoshop style of edit. It may not be perfect, but it works.

As I explore the new iOS 16 and the features- I’ll most likely also see online some other fascinating features. It’s like having a new phone all over again.

If you know of any other neat features from the latest update- let me know in the comments.