Sky Time

Every so often I am just in awe of the sky. Last year I shared a bunch of photos I had taken over the years- Read about it here: What Were The Skies Like.

Today I came home after a night shift and was again filled with wonderment of the sky. I’m also enraptured to have such a beautiful view available to enjoy; and share. The pleasure I get staring off is immeasurable. The view from our front balcony and the back balcony make for an almost 360° sight line of the sky.

On a day like today, I’ll just stand around soaking in the world. My concerns are gone for a brief moment until I get distracted by family members. But these little moments are the zen required to fulfill me and create inner peace.

How does the sky make you feel?

Hazy Sunrise

One of the things that I do miss about our old home in the countryside is viewing the sunrise through the trees. Especially an Autumn Morning Sunrise. After a night shift it was always nice to see the sun crawl through the mist as I drove home.

It wouldn’t have mattered much if we lived in our old place this morning. The sunrise is being hampered by the smoke in the air from the forest fires. Every so often the sun was giving off an orange glow- creating more beauty than should really be allowed.

Yes folks, I do believe global warming is real. This summer is only just the start of what we can expect on a regular basis over the next few years. I’m trying really hard to enjoy the sunrise through the smoke filled sky, but it nags at me the cause of the smoke.

We can do better as a species. And we really should try more often. On the weekend some friends and I were having a discussion about recycling and trash pick up. Individually, most people are doing their parts. But the waste collection companies still toss the majority of everything into one pile. This saddens me.

How do you feel about global warming or recycling? Are we doing our part? Is it wrong to enjoy the colours of a hazy sunrise?

Dino Mountain

There are plenty of paths in our neighborhood. Some lead around the houses, other paths lead through trees and parks. One of the paths has been filled with toys and art. It is titled “Dino Mountain” and was created in 2017.

There are little plastic dinosaurs near a large rock. My daughter will often straighten the ones that have toppled over and sometimes set up little scenes. I think it’s a fantastic way to encourage children to go on walks. It’s neat that the City of Surrey has also left it for the neighborhood to enjoy.

Today, we added our own touch to the Mountain.

Back in 1994 I was given some promotional material from a video store for the release of Jurassic Park. I have put them on display in all of our houses. Because I love the film so much, it was time to give back to the world and share some fun. I took the cardboard signage and taped it up in hopes that it survives the elements. Off to the trail we went and put them up for others to enjoy.

So if you’re in my neighborhood and go for a walk passing Dino Mountain- make sure you keep an eye out for Dinosaurs Crossings the path.

Juliette Deck

After a quick dip in the pool, I went upstairs to get changed. From our bedroom on the third floor we have a small balcony. Some call it a “Juliette Deck” in reference from Romeo and Juliette. Of all of our decks (four of them in total) I spend the second least amount of time on it. The one above our front door I actually spend less time on.

But tonight I decided to sit in the sun on the Juliette Deck. As I sat there, numerous hummingbirds came to visit. I even caught the shadow of one as I took a selfie.

The visiting hummingbirds arrived because off to the side of the deck, we hung up a hummingbird feeder. At first it wasn’t getting much attention. But tonight was a flurry of activity. The warm weather is causing these birds to seek refreshments. I’m glad we have a spot so close by to enjoy their buzzing little wings.

It was a peaceful way to end a long day of errands. I think I shall call the bird that kept coming back… Romeo.

I Need Some Of That

Earlier this year Weezer released a new song, I Need Some Of That. I immediately connected with the lyrics. The same way I can associate life with the Barenaked Ladies song, Pinch Me. Both songs are well written songs about youth and living in the suburbs.

Only recently have we re-entered the suburban lifestyle. I hadn’t realized how much I needed it. Seeing children playing, folks washing cars, dog walkers, joggers, sprinklers on the lawn; all of it is a sense of serenity and life. A life I had as a child and teenager that somehow I forgot about or didn’t acknowledge at the time.

I now enjoy being around neighbors who stop and say “Hello”. Not that our old neighborhood wasn’t like that. It just took walking for a couple of acres to possibly see someone. In our old neighborhood- everyone knew everyone for decades. This neighborhood? Perfect strangers greet each other with a smile and a kind word.

It’s just what I needed. A lifestyle consisting of strangers just being nice. A wave or a nod sharing a moment. Living in the suburbs has a zen like feeling you cannot find anywhere else. A sense of security and safety. I’m totally drinking the cherry koolaid on this one folks.

Dog Dream

Last night I was dreaming about our dog Lex. I dreamt that he was back with us as his younger self. As the dream went on, I unfortunately began to awaken. As that occurred, I did my best to hold onto my dream. But I could not.

From the deep sleep I awoke in a slow and sad pace continuously trying to force myself back into my dream. Instead I woke up crying.

This has never happened to me before. My subconscious caused extreme emotions to overcome me. After a few tears fell on my pillow I returned to sleep only to not reenter that dream.

Just like the loss of our family dog, my dream was also gone. But the memories remain, almost hauntingly so.

Andrew Porter

An old friend of mine from the late 90’s passed away recently. Today was his funeral service. His name was Andrew Porter.

“Porter” by definition comes from the Latin portatorem: one who carries. Andrew Porter carried many of us through a strange and unusual time in our lives.

After the service, a dozen of us went for lunch and shared stories of our youth. There were catch phrases- little inside jokes only we understood. Here were the craziest ones:

Cheeseburger

She bit my dick!

Break out the saki! Andy got laid!

Andy’s smoking “American” cigarettes.

I’m a lover, not a fighter!

Scabbies (there are a ton of songs on this subject)

Our lives back then made me realize how lucky I am to have endured those days. We were stupid teenagers doing stupid shit thinking we would live forever. Andy was my next door neighbor for a few years at the end of high school- that’s how we became friends.

We were the delinquent houses where groups of us would get drunk and high. From those insane catchphrases and memories, I’m glad I lived the life I did with Andy close by sharing in the journey.

As the years went on, eventually I lost touch with him. Seeing him fourteen years ago was the last time. I could view his life on Facebook, but in March of 2019 I chose to erase my Facebook friends. Today I realized that I still need Facebook friends. I need to follow them so that I know that they are okay.

Because one day they will be gone. Just like Andy.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida Andy. You will be missed, but the memories lasted a lifetime.

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Back to work after vacation doesn’t mean that enjoying summer is over. I’ve been coming home the last couple of evenings feeling grateful for what I have.

Having a positive outlook on life is important to having positive things happen for you. Luck is also a huge role in everything that happens. We are lucky to live in this part of the world. Clean water, good education, and plenty of opportunities for success.

Finding success can create happiness. At some point though you really need to step back and admire what you have accomplished.

Vibing with a peaceful easy feeling is what my summer is all about. Come on in. The water’s fine.

Fog and Sun

I still can’t get over the fact that we have a view to enjoy from our new home. Usually I’m sharing photos of the backyard and stories of sunshine. Yesterday was the last day of my staycation. This morning I had to head into work in order to pay for this lifestyle.

Before leaving my oasis, I enjoyed a cup of coffee as I looked at the fog leading off into the horizon. The sun wasn’t out yet, so the colours of the world were subdued and cool. If there wasn’t the occasional tree and a hill in the far distance, I would’ve thought we were in the clouds.

Everyday I become more appreciative of what we have. It has been a long road leading to this. This home is now my sanctuary. Or if you wish- My Happy Place.

Searing Steaks

I’ve been a self proclaimed and avid grill master when it comes to using a gas grill. Over the years I have gone through about half a dozen BBQs. Each had a side burner. One or two had a rotisserie burner. But my latest one that my family gave me for Christmas had something I’ve never used before.

There is a side burner. Only it is for searing meat. After seven months, I finally decided to try it out. My wife picked up some red meat (which is rare for us- pun intended). I decided to try the searing option on the grill.

First off, I love that this BBQ has cast iron grills. Secondly, searing the steaks turned out perfect! We all love a rare steak. With a normal grill- I had a tough time getting it right. Searing burner took the guess work out. Get some grill marks within a couple of minutes per side and the steaks were perfect.

Letting the steak rest with some garlic butter made for a perfect meal. We had some deep fried white potatoes and sautéed spinach with mushrooms as the sides. I can never go back to not having a searing grill option again. Best steak I have ever made.

Ha! 19 Now…

Our oldest child turned 19 today. That means she is legal drinking age and can have alcohol without trying to sneak it. On my 19th birthday I went to the club and got completely loaded with a coworker who was five years older than me. I was a disaster. Our daughter on the other hand? Well she chose something different.

She doesn’t want alcohol. It’s never interested her. Instead she wanted to have a day at work followed by an at home family dinner and some ice cream cake. Totally doable and within our means!

I’m really impressed by how much more mature she is than I ever was when it comes to partying. But we still had a lot of fun at dinner. We were listening to a playlist that her sister cream Spotify, took some silly photos and cut the ice cream cake in the worst possible ways. Laughter filled the atmosphere.

It was exactly what she wanted. Why not give a person what they ask for on their birthday? No unwanted surprises. Just a casual night at home with family. In the end it was more a gift for the rest of us than for her. She even arrived home in great spirits!

Happy 19th Birthday Random! May you always be the responsible adult you have proven to be on your first day of adulthood!

Twenty Year Celebration

Yesterday we had some close friends over for an evening of hanging poolside. I love to entertain, and our anniversary was a great reason to have friends over.

We supplied our guests with food and drinks. There were bottles of wine chilling on ice for everyone’s pleasure. I had also printed off some custom labels for the water bottles. I made sure to keep everyone hydrated as we hung out in the sunshine.

Most of the evening I spent wandering around and socializing with everyone. At one point in the evening my buddies and I took a “Bro Pic”. We had done the same thing years ago at a brewery. It was the only picture i know of that was taken all day.

That’s a good thing. It means everyone was having fun and distracted from their phones. My wife and I are lucky to have such great friends that we have known for years. Even better is the fact that they mesh well with one another.

A hearty thank you to everyone for coming over and having fun yesterday. We look forward to having our friends over more often now that we are settled into our new home.

Twenty Years Of Marriage

Today marks our Twentieth Anniversary since the day we married. What a glorious adventure we have had so far. It makes me understand that happiness is what you make of it.

After twenty one years together and twenty years of being married- Here’s my advice on how to have a long and happy marriage.

  1. Have fun. Joke around. Don’t take everything seriously. But avoid mean spirited and hurtful humor.
  2. Listen to one another. Your partner may need to vent from time to time. It’s not always your place to offer advice, but rather offer an ear just to listen.
  3. Thirty second hugs. Holding on for thirty seconds can genuinely help pull stress and anxiety away. There has been many a time that a hug has helped in a situation.
  4. If you fight, and you will fight, avoid insults. Insulting one another or jabbing at each other’s insecurities is hurtful. It’s also unproductive in delving into the root of the issue and finding a resolution.
  5. Don’t go to bed angry. Talk it out. Apologize. Stay up late to work things out. Do that 30 second hug thing in the end.

There’s so much more to a healthy relationship. Obviously you need to first find a person you can connect with on many different levels. The most honest advice I ever heard about marriage actually holds true-

Find someone you are content to watch tv with. Just being able to sit with your partner and share down time is as important as sharing all of those epic adventures you want to have.

After twenty years of marriage, I am still in love with everything about my wife. We were a perfect match and we both knew it from the day we met at a night club all those years ago… but that’s a tale for another day.

Happy 20th Anniversary Lee-Anne! I love you.

Need To Get A First Nap.

I still haven’t had my first official nap in our new home. I’ve tried to relax, really I have. But there is still so much to do! Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying all my little projects on the go. It’s far better than having projects that are a necessity.

But I could still do with a nap one day. Our bed is very inviting- except the views keep me alert and daydreaming.

I’ve tried relaxing in our hammock poolside, but that has been cut short due to the heat. I end up back in the pool or finding air conditioning in the house.

Going back into the house also means more projects. It’s a vicious cycle. I think I’m going to have to schedule a nap in order to get one!

Office Supply Boredom

Work is a bit slow these days. It reminds me of a time a few years ago when I was working nights and it was equally slow. My boss and I decided to make some toys from office supplies.

Office Wars

The pencil crossbow was my favorite. I ended up making two of these and my boss and I did target practice at empty boxes. These things were quite powerful and a ton of fun.

Found on Reddit

We also made various animals from the large binder clips. The Scorpion one was the coolest by far. In fact my wife calls the clips “Scorpion Clips” now because of this.

Pretty sure these activities stem from a childhood of school boredom. At least the art has gotten better than just a few pencil holes stabbed in an eraser. Or using the protractor set to create a catapult.

Do you create using office or school supplies when bored? Let me know in the comments.

Organized Chaos

Even though we “Purged” before we moved, we still have a bunch of stuff that needed to find a place in and around our home. As fun as it is to fill the ,Garage, I like being able to park at least one of our cars inside. The other side will have to wait until the summer is ending in order for me to want to hit the attics again.

I took advantage of the nice weather today to hang up our kayaks and ladder on our back fence. At least it keeps them off the ground and away from moisture and dirt.

Last week I worked diligently on organizing the garage and utilizing all the available space. I went old school with a pegboard for my tools- which my son organized and put up. I also built a makeshift 4×8 suspended shelf for my wife’s fabric. I throw a couple hooks up for bikes and the car topper. It made for a ton of more floor space and easier to navigate around the garage.

While we still have a few boxes in our home to unpack, this is a great start to our new life. Unfortunately with things the way they are, we are waiting for bookcases and a hutch to become available in order for us to complete the house. For the time being, those items are off to the side and out of our main living area.

How organized is your home? Do you feel like you have too much stuff like we do?

Let me know in the comments.

Lego Bonsai

Today we went shopping for some summer clothes. We also went to a couple of stores just because we were at the mall. One of those stores happened to be The Lego Store. I totally did a spontaneous purchase of a Lego set.

The Lego Bonsai Tree.

We got it home and decided to put it together as a family. This is the first set we have built in the new house. It’s also been years since we last tried to build a set together. The Lego Spaceship from The Lego Movie was an ordeal and a half one Christmas! We were lucky to not repeat that fiasco.

But we were able to work together and got it completed rather quickly. We even had a spot all picked out at the bottom of our stairs for it to hang out. I think it looks really neat.

As well, when spring comes around, we can change the bonsai tree into a Sakura tree.

My Name Is Joe. And I Am Canadian

Hey,
I’m not a lumberjack or a fur trader,
And I don’t live in an igloo or eat blubber or own a dog sled,
And I don’t know Jimmy, Sally, or Suzie from Canada,
Although I’m certain they’re really really nice,

I have a Prime Minister, not a President,
I speak English and French, not American,
And I pronounce it “About”, not “Aboot”,
I can proudly sew my country’s flag on my backpack,
I believe in peacekeeping, not policing,
Diversity, not assimilation,
And that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal,

A toque is a hat.
A chesterfield is a couch,
And it is pronounced Zed, not “Zee”, Zed.
Canada is the second largest land mass,
The first nation of hockey,
And the best part of North America.

My name is Joe,

And

I

AM

CANADIAN.

Thank-you.

Dose Deux

Today I received my second vaccination shot. While I’m not the first person to be fully inoculated, I’m glad my time has come.

I went for the mix-n-match second shot. My first dose was AstraZeneca. Today’s was Moderna. A bit of a different approach compared to my first shot. This time around I headed into an “Immunization Centre” to get the vaccine. It was well organized with three people outside greeting everyone kindly and giving direction.

I arrived early, so I listened to the instructions given to numerous people. When it was my turn, I headed in and was greeted by the next group of volunteers. The process was smooth and relatively painless, minus the needle.

I’m glad to have this part of the pandemic behind me now. Give me two weeks and I’ll be strong like ox! Now to register my immunization record online to keep an electronic copy available. You can as well if you are a resident of British Columbia:

http://www.healthgateway.gov.bc.ca

Let’s keep the world healthy.

Quiet Streets

Working nights can be a beautiful thing. As much as I sometimes complain, there is still some good that can be found in the night shift.

My favorite thing about working at night is how quiet the streets are. I can travel down the city streets with no other cars in sight and make every green light. Even the commute is easier. I’m busy traveling in the opposite direction from rush hour traffic.

I also really like the peace and quiet that nighttime brings with it. There’s a certain time at around 3am that just seems to shut down the world. As if the universe is resetting itself to begin anew.

I’m also enjoying the last couple of nights because the temperature drops to a comfortable level. Normally I’d feel as if I was missing out on the daily grind. But our record breaking heatwave was getting to be unbearable.

Do you work shift work? How do you like it? Drop your opinion in the comments section and let me know.

Back To Work Blues

Vacation doesn’t last forever. It was time to return to work last night. After getting through a couple thousand emails, I was up to date with the operation. But in the back of my mind all night was thoughts of our new home.

When I finished my night shift, I headed home and got into some swim trunks. I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed down to the pool. As exhausted as I was from doing my first night shift in ages, I still enjoyed the refreshing water. I’m even contemplating doing yoga this summer.

Standing on my deck I realized- this is my lifestyle now. You know what else? In two weeks I have some more vacation time to chill out in our yard. I plan on owning the summer and making the most of what we have.

Morning Home Paradise

I woke up early this morning to enjoy my regular cup of coffee. The AC was on and the house was comfortable. But outside, that’s where the beauty was waiting.

With our backyard having a western exposure, the shade from our house cast over the pool. With protected green-space and farm land behind us, the views go on for ages.

When we moved I thought we would lose the sounds of the birds. Instead, there is two to three more times the amount out. This morning is like a symphony being conducted by an owl. Peaceful and serene.

We have found a slice of paradise in our own backyard. With this heatwave, it’s a welcome bit of joy.

Night Sky Happy Feelings

After a hot day poolside, it was just as nice to just hang out as dusk fell.

We could see the skyline off in the distance. As the horizon faded from the orange to darkness above, I relish in the pleasure of knowing we will have this view for years to come.

My wife and I took a brief stroll around our cul-de-sac and discussed some future plans for our front yard. Having continuous dreams keeps us going. And in the end, it makes us happy.

That’s the goal life- happiness. And I do my best to achieve it everyday.

Raised Spirits

After a week in our new home, it was time to enjoy quality time together. Boy was it fun!

This evening before dinner, we all hung out at the pool. Loads of laughter and splashing. It was an excellent way to cool off after a smoldering hot day.

To finalize our family time together we did something we always do. We watched a movie as a family. The movie of choice? Spirited Away. A favorite amongst us all. We love Studio Ghibli movies and enjoyed visiting Studio Ghibli when we travelled to Tokyo a few years back.

We also chose this film because it starts with a family on their way to their new home, yet adventure takes hold. It’s the perfect film to boost our spirits amongst the chaos of unpacking. I’m so happy to feel like a family once more. Stress is behind us.

Time to live our best lives.

Longer Sunshine

With these summer days upon us, the sun is staying out longer and hotter. It’s a blessing and a curse as they say. I’m getting up early and starting my day of a billion chores. Only to end the day with a late dinner watching the sunset.

I’m still trying to get some relaxation in each day. That’s tough. But today I made it into the pool twice! I was also able to sit and talk with my wife as she finally hit our soaker tub.

Our son had a couple friends over to hang out in celebration of the last day of school. They hopped out of the pool for dinner and we’re back in it until 11pm. After the got out, I managed to stand on our top floor balcony and see something I never saw in our last home.

The Big Dipper.

Not a big deal to most, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen the sky from my balcony. I’ve really enjoyed the sunsets. I can’t believe this is our home now.