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.

108,000 Kilometers

I’ve owned my 2016 Nissan Rogue for exactly three years. I bought it the day I took a promotion and became a supervisor at my work: Changing It Up. The car received its regular oil change today. I also had the brake fluid flushed. My vehicle hasn’t required anything major considering I have put on 108,000 Kilometers on it since new. The service department was surprised by two things.

First, that I haven’t had to change my brakes. They told me that most people get new brakes between 50-60,000 Kilometers. Mine are on the verge of needing replacement, but can wait until the new year. The service department said I must be really gentle on my brakes. Um… not really, but I guess the vehicle tells a different story.

Secondly is my tires. They still have quite a bit of life to them. The tires came with the vehicle and are stock as well. Nowhere near high performance or high mileage quality. I’ll probably get some all-season tires in the Springtime. No need to fork over money for winter tires at this time either.

All in all I will say that my Nissan Rogue has been a great vehicle. “Five out of five stars- Would Buy Again.”

I did however forget to put insurance on it again this year. I noticed as I left the dealership that it expired yesterday. Oops. Time to get that rectified immediately. Wouldn’t want to have my car not taken care of since it’s been taking care of me for three years without complaint.

Natural Decorating

I love decorating our home for Christmas. One of my favorite styles is keeping it “Country Living”. I utilize nature as much as possible.

In the past I have used fallen branches as a part of our decor. Hanging them from under the skylight or adorning our main entryway. Using natural branches also means that every year the decorating changes.

I have even made tealight holders from the thicker branches. I finished them off with some red burlap string and modpodge glue in order to keep their sheen.

This year my wife suggested we use some holly branches. She loves the look of the red holly berries against the vibrant greenery. Holly, just like pine trees, keep their colours for quite some time. But once the season is over- they become brittle and dry.

I’m loving that each year we modify our decorating just a little bit and that I use nature to do it.

What do you make at Christmas?

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.

Raving Gamer

For my wife’s birthday, I took her out for lunch this afternoon at a place called The Raving Gamer Bistro in Langley, BC.

It’s the perfect style of place for my wife and I. It’s locally owned and operated. The menu serves locally-sourced ingredients from many of the places that I love to visit in Langley and nearby.

I enjoyed the Three’s Company Grilled Cheese: Golden Ears cheddar & gouda on Langley’s A Bread Affair’s Three’s Company bread.

My wife ate the Raving Water Buffalo Burger: a house-made patty of local water buffalo with bread and butter pickles, fresh tomatoes, red onion, gouda from Golden Ears Cheese Crafters, double smoked bacon and a house-made Russian dressing.

Both of us opted for the house-cut fries with “butta-shoyu” & Japanese spice; and a local beer to wash it all down.

During our lunch, we had a chance to enjoy some one on one time while playing board games. The selection of games to play was extensive. After our meal, we browsed through some of the games for sale. These aren’t your typical Monopoly variations or poker games. Many of the games I had never heard of. But when I asked the staff about games- they had knowledgeable answers.

We had a nice quiet lunch- we were the only two customers in there. It sounds like they are much busier in the evening time, especially on the weekends. I highly recommend visiting then Bistro. But be prepared to spend time and money! We were there for about an hour and a half and spent $100. But we also picked up a game that we have been wanting for some time now.

More Painted Wood

About a month ago I Painted Wood with some winterscape images. I was happy with my first go around that I had to make some more.

What I liked with this one is the rainbow of colours in the sky. I enjoyed blending the colours to create the illusion of an early morning with a slight reflection below.

The other piece I did was of a pathway curving off with a couple of mountains in the faded background. The single tree stood silently with a hint of snow speckled throughout. I liked that I remembered the rule of lightning and the moon’s glow cast a faint shadow from the tree.

The thing about my paintings is that when painting snow, I wanted to portray a semblance of realism- that snow isn’t brilliant white. Snow has a tendency to reflect the light and colours of it’s surroundings. Hints of blue or grey, yellows and pinks make snow a tad more magical.

Using carvings from trees has added a natural wood frame around my paintings. These frames limit what I can paint, but also help the finalized landscapes come to life. I have a few more to finish up and share.

Now the question remains- do I keep them, sell them or give them away? A labour of love and a new found hobby has brought forth something from inside of me. I don’t want it to become commercial, so selling these isn’t likely.

Cybertruck

Since it’s “Cyber Monday” I’ve decided to weigh in on Tesla’s newest vehicle reveal: Cybertruck. It seemed like a logical thing to write about today.

Even though there are numerous memes and pissy articles written complaining about the design and concept- over 250,000 pre-orders have been made since the unveil ten days ago. That number alone is astounding.

I have been wanting to own a Tesla for some time now. I also would love to own a DeLorean- because nostalgia baby. This futuristic truck hits both of those marks for me. Do I like the Cybertruck? You bet I do.

My wife and I bought the Honda Element when it first came out in 2003. Back then people called it ugly and boxy. But we love the car. It’s still on the road and we have no plans to ever get rid of it. It’s also a vehicle we knew that would be unique with few of them on the roads. We also owned a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder that was also like a large box on wheels. Time to go from square to polygon, right?

My 2016 Nissan Rogue however looks like every other mid sized SUV. Nothing about it stands out. But it’s reliable, safe and came fully loaded. Luxury style features at an affordable price. But gas is still expensive. It’s time to really look at the savings an electric vehicle would have on my life.

Will I put down $150 to get my name on the preorder list for the Cybertruck? If I can convince my wife to let me.

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.

More Pain

I was on my feet all day around the kitchen. I made a couple of batches of cookies and did some cleaning. By the time late afternoon came around, my lower back was in extreme pain.

I don’t remember a time from when my back didn’t hurt. It’s fairly permanent it seems. It’s just the level of pain changes. Most days I can deal with it. Yesterday was really bad and I had to lean on the counter at one point in order to not fall over. Today was almost as bad. I struggled to get comfortable. Standing and sitting only lasted a few minutes before the pain forced me to move again.

My solution?

Try and take a nap.

My forty five minutes of relaxing gave me an hour afterwards of no pain. I need to make it through the evening so I can get back to bed for a good night’s sleep. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Or maybe I can ask Santa for a new spine.

The Big Freeze

Yesterday I went into our large freezer to look for a dinner idea. I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for. That’s because our chest freezer had become chaotic.

My wife and I were given this freezer twenty years ago from a family friend of mine. They were moving out of province and were giving away items. I picked up this chest freezer and an old school heavy a.f. pullout couch bed. Come to think of it, I have no idea where that couch has gone to now…

Anyhow, I decided to clean out the freezer and reorganize it. Jut like I did with our fridge freezer last year: Freezer Food

It was like diving into a time capsule. Deep down in the recesses I discovered ham from 2016 and beef stew from 2015. Looks like our dog was going to get those once thawed.

I scrapped all the ice off and gave the freezer a wipe down before reorganizing and taking inventory of what we had. Seems like we have meals for a few weeks remaining. It also looks like our freezer is only half full now. Where as before it was a jumble of crap. I’m happy to have gone through it and make it tidy once more.

To make myself feel warmer, I kept some frozen blueberries out and made a batch of tasty blueberry muffins. This has got me in the mood to start some Christmas Cookie Baking! Is it too soon? Maybe the first batches will be “testers”, right?