Yesterday I made my way to the United States after my night shift. I got some cheap gas, cheap milk and some cheap yarn. A lot of cheap yarn! It was on sale.
I bought 53 skeins of yarn. I knew I was going to buy that much, so I went prepared with a large clear garbage bag. When I rolled up to the cashier, she was rather surprised at how much yarn I was buying. Even better was the border crossing guard on my way home.
Coming back to Canada over land, they ask a lot of questions. You also need to declare what you are bringing across. He asked what I was bring back and the value of the goods.
“I have $265 coming back. I bought milk, cheese, some frozen food, and yarn.”
His response was perfect- “You can never have too much yarn.” Best part is that he didn’t even check to see exactly how much yarn I was bringing back.
Now to make some more rugs! Taking two weeks off has made me antsy and I need my creative juices flowing once more.
Even though I enjoy a ton of foods that are probably not good for me, I do try and eat healthy foods from time to time. It’s not always processed food and convenience that fills my belly.
I do enjoy making meals for the family. The issue is how long it takes. I have a tough time setting aside hours for meal preparation and clean up. But that’s okay. Some days you don’t need to go all out to eat healthy. Sometimes a piece of fruit or vegetable can be a good snack.
Today I had half a grapefruit as a snack. It was supremely sour, so I added half a teaspoon of sugar to sweeten it. It was a delicious and refreshing treat for a sunny afternoon. I honestly cannot remember the last time I ate a grapefruit. I forget how good fruit is. The issue is we buy fresh fruit and vegetables- enjoy them for a bit and slowly forget about them. Leading to tossing them out and then deciding not to buy them again for ages.
This summer, my wife has planned a garden again. We will be in an abundance of peppers, tomatoes and beans. Remembering to continue enjoyment of those is going to be the challenge. Not buying processed food is also in the plan for healthier eating.
I enjoy a lot of puzzle games. I find they keep me sharp- mentally. Long ago, I would do crossword puzzles. Usually the ones out of the newspaper. I found I could complete them about 90% of the time. I am onto different games that I generally do daily at some point. Here are my top three:
I love a good word search style game. Specifically ones with jumbled letters and you make as many words as possible. When my wife and I first met, we played a lot of Yahoo Games online. Find a copy of it here: Text Twist 2. But I also play Whirly Word as an easier version (shown above).
Sudoku is my go-to when I, uh, um, sit on the throne. My rounds last anywhere from 3 minutes to 10 minutes depending on the difficulty of the poop of the game. This is a classic that everyone knows.
My current favorite is Sumplete. This was recently created by AI and is comparable to doing Soduko. Today’s puzzle challenge I completed in 51 seconds. Not my best time, but I do average around the one minute mark. There are also other variations of the puzzle from a 3×3 grid to 9×9. Find the game here: Sumplete.
I want to take the time today to express gratitude to those who gave me birthday gifts this year. Even as I approach 50 and I can pretty much buy whatever I want- there are gifts that are given to me that prove that people know me quite well.
I did buy myself a record player, and hit up some vinyl stores in Calgary. This was a gift to myself, but my wife approved the purchase in advance knowing how much I wanted a new record player. This one has Bluetooth technology and I took the afternoon on Friday to enjoy some music. There’s something nostalgic and wonderful when you hear a crackle of old records through the speakers.
My middle child re-gifted back to me my “Deathnote” notebook. Only this time, they had taken it to Fan Expo and had the voice actors of three of the characters autograph the inside it. That was awesome and humorous if you know what the anime/manga series is about.
Our youngest gave me some artwork from Akira. A beautiful print that I want to get framed and hung up. This was one of the first anime films I ever saw which blew my mind. Prior to this film, I had seen a few different series, but this one holds a place in my heart.
A last minute gift that was given to me from the friend we were staying with- was right up my alley. We had been talking and he mentioned he had copies of the original Star Wars trilogy in high resolution. Unaltered by Lucas- taken from original film and captured in almost 4k format. As if watching the films for the first time in the theater back in the 70’s and 80’s. I am saving watching these for Star Wars Day later this year.
It was a good birthday for gift receiving. Thank you again to everyone who reached out to me wishing me a happy birthday.
Yesterday was my 47th Birthday. Normally I like to do something for others on my birthday- like throwing a party or going to hang out somewhere. This birthday was a bit different as I was out of town hanging out in Calgary. Throughout my day I received calls, text messages, Facebook notifications, and even a FaceTime call from my 18 year old. It was great to feel so much love from everyone!
My day began with a walk back to Monki’s for breakfast like I had done the day prior. This time my son Theory came along. Our host for the week, Keith, joined us as well. After breakfast we walked into two record stores and spent an obscene amount of time looking through old vintage vinyl picking out a few gems. It was so difficult to do as there was walls upon walls of records to look through. Heading back, I spotted an old “Speakers Corner” booth from the 90’s hanging out on the street. That was a crazy flashback to MuchMusic in Canada from decades ago.
Later in the evening we went to a restaurant called “The Strip Joint”. Walking in looked like a 90’s neon strip club. But the smell of chicken strips was mouthwatering. We tried a variety of different strips and enjoyed them tremendously. I was impressed at the marketing and aesthetic of the place. They really went all out.
It was a pretty calm birthday to say the least. I enjoyed the retro sensations of shopping for music, seeing the Speakers Corner and taking my son to the Strip Joint. All of it took me back to the 80’s and 90’s of my youth.
Before we left for Calgary, a coworker of mine recommended a restaurant in Banff to eat at- should we decide to venture out. Naturally it piqued my curiosity, so I looked it up. Turns out that The Grizzly House serves exotic meats and fondue. Heck yes I was going to go there! This was my early birthday dinner and celebration of our son’s successful weekend.
Upon entering the restaurant you feel like it was trapped in the early seventies. The soundtrack of 70’s and disco music being played throughout added to the atmosphere. Besides unique decor, the history of the restaurant was a social gathering where you could connect with strangers by calling their table number. A swingers restaurant that serves fondue and exotic meat? Let’s see what’s up with the food…
We chose to go with a four course meal. Our meal began with a soup or salad. My wife had the chicken tortellini soup while I went with the salad and house dressing. Excellent way to get the tastebuds excited. Then a cheese fondue. The hostess recommended tossing in the roasted garlic inside the cheese and it was next level.
Next came out the hot stone for us to cook our meats and a variety of dipping sauces. We sampled kangaroo, yak, yellowfin tuna, frog leg, alligator, buffalo and venison. Each unique in texture and flavor. The sauces equally as tasty. To end the meal we had a chocolate fondue with fresh fruit to dip.
The tastes were incredible throughout the meal. The place is a bit more pricey than I’m normally comfortable with, but for the experience to try new meat, well worth it.
And we never called any other tables. Experimenting with food was enough for this trip to the restaurant.
Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I went for a thirty minute walk around Inglewood (a neighborhood in Calgary). Inglewood is a hub of culture, entertainment, and commerce- showcasing unique stores filled with vintage articles ranging from clothing to furniture to vinyl. The homes and shops are of eclectic styles in unmatchable designs. Filled with modern and traditional architecture and everything in between.
We braved the chilly atmosphere as we walked around. Coming from Surrey BC the other day, it’s easy to forget that the rest of our country is still experiencing winter. My wife and I bundled up, but the -16°C was felt on our exposed skin and eyes. Did you know that frozen snowflakes feel like tiny razor blades against your eyeballs? What we did see of the area we wandered was beautiful. I only took a couple of photos because my hands got cold fast when holding my phone out.
When we returned to our friend’s home, we ordered some amazing Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas. It has been years since I have had such an amazing pizza. It was warm and filling- exactly what we needed after a brisk walk.
So far, Calgary in the winter isn’t that bad. The biggest challenge I have discovered is Google Maps- every time I enter our journey to and from the Oval- it gives me a different route. I have taken half a dozen variations to get where I’m going. Perhaps it’s to avoid traffic congestion, or maybe Google just doesn’t like me. But I swear we have gone around Calgary in both directions and through Calgary– all have taken the same amount of time.
I guess that’s part of the charm of exploring a different city. Just finding new and exciting places and exploring what there is to offer.
Today my wife, son and I were driving from our home to Calgary. We left bright and early at 5am in order to get a head start on our journey. The road trip takes us through the Rocky Mountains, which is always scenic and beautiful.
Just outside Revelstoke we got stopped along the highway. Turns out they were doing controlled avalanche explosions. We ended up being held up for about an hour. During which time we wandered around getting some pictures as loud BOOMS could be heard off in the distance.
Periodically a helicopter would pass over our heads and out on the mountainside we could see small puffs of snow and smoke from where the explosions were taking place.
At least it was a beautiful sunny day while we waited. We even talked with people who were also stopped. Everyone was kind and smiley. It made for a pleasant wait, until the road opened up- then it was off to the races to make up for lost time!
Sometimes when I try and fall asleep in bed, I have a tendency to shake my left foot. More like I shimmy it in a strange circular fashion. Other times I wave my foot in a seesaw motion- back and forth. I do this unconsciously and then stop myself when I notice I’m doing it.
Then I hold myself extremely still and that’s when I fall asleep. Shaking my foot is like my body wanting to shake out all my energy first. It’s a habit I have had forever. I know this routine has irritated my wife over the years when she is wanting to fall asleep.
As I mentioned- once I notice I’m doing it, I like to make sure that I’m in a comfortable position and refuse to move again. I hold still until I eventually fall asleep. In all honesty it doesn’t take me long. I love that aspect of who I am. The ability to sleep at will.
As spring quickly approaches, nature is already giving glimpses of things to come.
Outside in our front garden you can see the start of the daffodils coming up through the earth. In a short time they will blossom and bloom a vibrant yellow. Their showcase will only last a short time, but I view it as the start of spring and a precursor to the future flowers that shall grow. Their beauty always makes me smile.
Inside of our home, my wife has begun her yearly planting. Beans, peppers, lettuce, etc have been germinating in small trays under grow lights at our window sill.
This year, my wife has chosen to keep them in our bedroom so she can watch their growth. Because I close our blinds for my sleep after a night shift, her grow light remains on during this time. This set of plants will soon be moved to another pot and the next set shall be planted. This will allow for a various growth of vegetables throughout the summer, keeping us well fed with freshness at our fingertips.
Spring is welcome to show up at any time now. Let the longer sunshiny days commence and a garden to grow!
January and February flew by already. We are now into March. Around here we had some whacky weather happen leading up to this month.
This morning’s skyline was absolutely stunning as the sun came up. As I was driving my son to school, I saw numerous people taking pictures of the colours in the clouds. I was just enjoying living in the moment (and paying attention to the roads).
This afternoon, I ate my lunch and stared out our back window watching the clouds sail by. I like that there was a mix of dark and light clouds leading off into the horizon. Soon spring will be upon us and life will begin to spread some colourful vegetation. Winter will be a distant memory and the summer sun will be beating down upon us in no time.
Spring is that beautiful transition from winter to summer. It’s one of my favorite four seasons. Each season has a sense of wonder and beauty. I enjoy nature’s creativeness immensely.
Today we had our piano tuned up. We kind of neglected doing it for a couple of years. Which was not good. But the tune up went well- just took a bit longer than it should have. At least no repairs were required.
Now that the piano is sounding better, hopefully we will hear it played again. I know that our kids periodically “tickle the ivories”. When their friends come over, many of them can play piano, and enjoy sitting down to play.
This will be nice to have it all sounding good once more. Now to just keep up with the tuning twice a year!
Crazy how much we all look forward to our work week ending. Just having that last day of work finish can be a clock watching game. Other times it arrives so quick you get pleasantly surprised when the day is over.
Just like many of my weekends- no plans. Just being away from work is all that’s really in store. I want to plan more activities for my days off, but I also enjoy not having goals. Just letting the wind take me on a journey through life.
Until it’s back to the “grind” and I can’t wait for it to end next week because it leads into my first week of vacation for the year. That time is at least planned out!
Making rugs has been a fun adventure these past 8 weeks. I have learned a lot and improved tremendously in the art. One of the things I am working hardest towards is the finishing touches and final results.
It’s amazing how a bit of trimming, cleaning and shaving can make all the difference in how a rug looks in order to get crisp edges, it starts with how close you stitch the yarn to each colour and change. Leaving a small gap can make it easier to show the transition since yarn has a tendency to spread a bit when cut.
Noticing the difference in the quality of how my rugs turn out is huge for me. Not everyone sees it as I am making the rugs. They look pretty good without the extra work. But I take great pride in making sure they have crisp edges and lines in order to look amazing. Especially when the rugs are going to a new home. I want my friends to be happy with what I have made for them.
Taking pride in one’s work is a quality I admire in others. Which is why I work so hard in all my ventures.
When I was a child, my father would make fantastic dinners. He brought with him some recipes from his homeland back in Czechoslovakia. One recipe, which I didn’t like as a child, dawned on me today and I wanted to attempt it.
My father would make Roladin. Basically a thin steak, mustard, pickle, onion and bacon rolled up. My father’s version also involved a hard boiled egg. Again, when I was younger, I wasn’t a fan.
Today I was making a beef brisket but wasn’t sure what to have a side with it. So I decided to hard boil eggs, add pickle and mustard in a wrap. It was an almost perfect replica in taste as my memory came flooding back.
My wife liked it so much that we are going to make it again. I enjoyed it so much that I ate two helpings. A big thank you to my father for making a meal back in the day that I couldn’t stand, yet somehow I chose to mimic the tastes.
Since I became a teenager I always had a touch of dandruff. As a teen- it sucked. Getting older I kind of dealt with it by using Head and Shoulders shampoo periodically m. Which was fine as I also used other regular shampoos when not needing it.
In June 2021, we moved to our new home-away from well water into using city water. Suddenly I found my scalp itchy and flaky far more often. I originally associated it with the pool and thought maybe the chemicals were causing it. But in these winter months, it seems like my dandruff is worse and the itch of my scalp is far more frequent.
I figured it was time to start using something stronger and almost medicated in order to alleviate the itch and flakes. So I am trying out Nizoral for the next while. From reviews of the product, I think this will be a good choice in trying to clean up my condition. I will follow the directions and see what happens over the next couple of months. I don’t like having dandruff.
If any of you have had issues with dandruff or similar skin issues, let me know if you have tried this product or possibly have a different remedy. I will post a follow up in a couple of months with my opinion on how well this works. Stay tuned.
This weekend our youngest will be making his course selection for the final year of high school. For being only a fifteen to twenty minute activity to choose, it has turned into a weekend of hounding him to get it done. Frustrating for my wife and I, but I can understand why he is procrastinating.
This is going to be his final year of attending a public school. A flood of emotions are probably taking over compared to logic of just selecting courses. It will be his last year to be in classes with friends and spending time with them in the halls. The difficulty of the work in the classes will increase adding more stress as well. The time to play is coming to a conclusion.
In the end, he will get into grade twelve with a plan in motion. My wife and I will do our best to guide and help him along the way. He will graduate in 17 months time.
My wife and I had a series of dates this week. It was nice to hang out and talk. We really needed some time together that wasn’t doing some regular monotonous routine. We even decided to have another date today just so the good times wouldn’t end.
We went for a quick brunch date at “The Henry” in our neighborhood. Granted it was a cheap breakfast, but still- it got us out of the house again. Right got after our meal, we headed to the car and got caught in a fierce rain storm. It’s been a while since we laughed and ran in the rain.
I’ve really enjoyed the time spent with my wife this week. Our lives seem so busy otherwise. Like most folks, our free time ends up being exhausted on the couch with the television on and our cellphones in our hands- zoning out. Reconnecting with each other has been a great feeling. Hopefully we can keep on dating. I kind of like this lady.
Last night my wife and I went out for a quiet dinner date. The pub was in the neighborhood where we first owned a home. So naturally we drove past our first house. That was neat to look back at where we started.
We ate some tasty pub food and talked about life. It was a nice break. Afterwards we drove to Michael’s and checked out crafts and yarn before heading home.
Tonight we dropped our son off at his speed skating practice and headed out to a place called “Industry Arcade”. There we paid for an hour of free play and got our fill of pinball games! We also did a bit of competitive game play on a few classic arcade games. I’m still pretty good at Frogger while my wife was better at Donkey Kong.
To finish our evening off, we grabbed a couple of lattes and watched the end of our son’s practice. I have enjoyed our rekindled fun times over the last couple of days. I think we may go to play more arcade games again in the future as it made us feel youthful again. Perhaps we were longing for the years past when arcades were a thing. Both of us have different memories of arcades, but similar in many aspects.
It doesn’t matter how old we get- my wife and I enjoy being juvenile.
Every so often, specifically on Valentine’s Day, I have brought home flowers for my wife. From lilies to roses and the occasional tropical flower- my wife has appreciated the sentiments behind the flowers.
I have always loved a pop of color in our home as well as the fresh scent the flowers give off. As beautiful as the flowers can be, they don’t last long.
Periodically my wife would dry them out. Then we would have a lovely arrangement that can last for years.
This year I decided to pick up an Orchid Lego set as a Valentine’s Day gift. We really enjoyed the Bonsai Tree from a couple of years ago and still have it on display (read about it here: Lego Bonsai). My wife has always wanted orchids, but we both know that real ones would not last. With the Lego set, the flowers will look pretty all the time.
Building this set will also be a fun activity for us to do laster this week. We really enjoyed doing some of the Christmas sets as a family and have built other sets as well together over the years. I love that Lego is creating these sets for people of all ages.
So have a Happy Valentine’s Day! And I hope that if you gave or receive flowers that the last a long time!
This past weekend our sixteen year old son was in Calgary for The Western Elite Circuit competition. Normally my wife travels with him to the out of town speed skating meets. But this time she “unfortunately” had to go to Disneyland for work and was unable to head to Calgary. I was also working, so we opted to send our son by himself.
He did go with a couple of families from our club- they were kind enough to offer to make sure he got to the meet each day and kept him fed. His coach also attended to support the club- which was excellent as well.
I was able to watch the races remotely via YouTube. As I have done in the past, I watched the races on our television but also screen captured them on my iPhone. Once I trimmed the length of the races, I sent it off to our group chat consisting of Theory, my wife and his coach. That way they could review each race afterwards and discuss them. I think this helps…
Because he came in first for every race this past weekend!
What was really fantastic was the outpouring of support given from his fellow club members and their parents! The congratulation messages kept coming in as the competition ended.
Needless to say, we are very proud of his success. But now I am wondering if my wife is bad luck when she travels with him… Time will tell. For now, our son is beaming from his hard work efforts paying off.
As my wife Lee-Anne enjoyed DisneyLand yesterday, our youngest had flown into Calgary on Thursday for a speed skating competition this weekend.
Theory is taking part in the Western Elite Circuit at the Calgary Olympic Oval. He had four individual races today and dominated every single one in his division. He came in first and also beat his previous times garnering personal bests.
Theory is staying with other members of our club since he is only sixteen years old. The club’s coach also flew out and is offering advice and tips all weekend. I’m glad that she is there to coach them. It’s good to have someone there who knows the strengths and weaknesses of the skaters.
I’m really proud of his results and determination to constantly improve. His drive is creating individualized success. after his Sunday competition, he will be immediately flying back home. He has a few more competitions before the end of the season in March and I hope that he continues to improve. Cheering from another province is always difficult. But I do it anyways.
I was running low on black yarn, so I did a quick drive across the border to the USA to buy some more. Of course, I couldn’t just buy a few black skeins- I needed to get some other colours as well.
50 more skeins came home with me. I got home and organized all my yarn once more. I also did a quick tidy up of my work station and tools. It’s amazing how much dust and debris comes off the yarn when it’s worked. I need to keep my equipment in good working order.
My days off from work have been filled with this new hobby. I have also spent a small fortune on it as well. But I am enjoying the process and the therapeutic nature of making rugs. I can’t stop coming up with designs and rugs. There are so many I want to make.
Of course, I’ve already completed another rug. This time it was for a coworker. He wants to give it to his wife for Valentine’s Day. Before I share the pictures of the progress, I don’t want to spoil the surprise in case his wife follows my instagram account as well. But tomorrow I will start a different set of rugs and share those.
I can’t believe how much I am enjoying this hobby. Sorry for inundating my blog with it. But it’s only a couple of days a week.
My social media usage has changed over the years. The main one I post on is Instagram. The only reason it seems like I am on Facebook is because the two are connected. I have ignored Twitter for so long that my app has gone back into the cloud. This doesn’t mean I don’t use the social media services. It means I am not as active as I once was when posting.
My social media postings were once creative and silly. My friends and I would have banter back and forth- posting jabs and jokes at one another. For an entire year I shared Star Wars memes. Facebook was a place for me to have fun and share my fun times.
It all changed a few years ago. I believe it was a culmination of a few factors. I began to write a daily blog. This allowed me to share more in-depth stories about my life and adventures (when I have them). I also changed my career path. That meant folks I was “friends with” left because they feared I would change. Surprise- that didn’t happen. And lastly, Facebook constantly makes changes to how you view their platform. I began to miss “recent stories” from my friends who I followed and they missed mine.
About three years ago, I “unfriended” nearly everyone on Facebook. A year and a half ago I was at a funeral service and people convinced me to get back on Facebook to be able to connect again. So I did. But hardly anyone shares anything anymore. I get videos and webpage “suggestions” now. I don’t post unless it’s a “memory” from when Facebook was fun.
Because of the changes in how social media is used by nearly everyone, I really don’t know why I open Facebook. It’s just kind of there now as a thing I can’t get rid of because of nostalgia reasons. I’m also getting older and feel that when I want to interact with friends, I’ll call or message them. Hey we may even meet up in person from time to time.
Anyways, don’t forget to FOLLOW AND LIKE. Share with your friends.
Growing up as a teenager, I would use deodorant everyday. I kind of liked the smell of that better then the teen boy musk I would exhume. Pretty sure my classmates also appreciated it.
Once I met my wife, she suggested I change to antiperspirants, so I did. I have been using those for over twenty years now. I bought the same product every time I needed more. I had a certain fragrance about me that just seemed to be me.
However, in the last year or so I think my body has fought back against antiperspirants. Maybe I’m going through a “second puberty” entering my next section of the aging process. Or the perhaps the product I use may have changed. I’m not feeling as clean smelling as I once did. So I’m going to go back to using a deodorant instead.
I shower daily, sometimes just a quick rinse, other times a scrub clean with various products. Those days I use a face wash, a body wash, one of a variety of shampoos (depending what smell I want my hair to have). But after every shower- I apply pit stick.
To be honest, I am enjoying the smell of my deodorant more than my antidepressant ever had. Perhaps in a few days/weeks this smell will become my new normal. A fresh scented Joe.
Which do you use and why? Deodorant or Antiperspirant? Perhaps a bit of both depending on how active you are? Let me know in the comments.