Little People

Having an older home with minimal closet and storage space can make it challenging to save stuff. We do have some buildings on our property that have been used for storage. But two of the three are old and dilapidated. One is an old garden shed where a tree fell on it a few years back. So we moved everything from there to an old playhouse. The other is a woodshed/small barn/workshop. Unfortunately that has a rotten roof and back wall.

This past weekend I went into the barn and began to take some of our belongings out. It was obvious from the moment I got in there that rodents have made homes in the upper part. Not too surprising considering we live in the country with squirrels, raccoons, and all sorts of small furry creatures. Most of our stuff was left untouched- which was good. It also didn’t look like we had to much left to move out.

It wasn’t until I got everything into our home that I realized how wrong I was.

My wife and I saved our children’s collection of “Little People”. Three kids and about ten years of buying these toys accumulated to a huge collection. Everything from a castle to a circus, an airplane to a zoo- our kids received almost everything imaginable. I remember the kids spending hours playing with them when they were younger.

On Saturday, our fifteen year old daughter decided she wanted to open up every box and play again. This had all three of our kids sharing memories and stories of playing with the toys and watching videos of “Little People” at the same time.

I’m glad my wife and I saved these toys. We will pass them on to our children or (even grandchildren?) one day. From my youth I saved all my LEGO. My sister saved her Barbies and My Little Pony toys. Both my sister and I passed these toys on to our children. It’s a great way to keep memories alive while creating new ones.

What does do you keep from your youth? Or what toys have you kept of your children’s that you can’t wait to pass on? Let me know!

Nazdar Klamo

My father had a tendency to speak Czech with his buddies when his family was around. My father did this because we, his immediate family, couldn’t speak Czech. He never wanted us to know it. My father kept secrets. Read about my unknown half sister Here.

My father taught us only one Czech phrase. A phrase to say at the start of a meal. Dobra Chut’ meaning Good Appetite. I have never taught my children this phrase. Maybe I’m bitter towards my father. Perhaps I can share this phrase and create good memories of their grandfather whom they’ve never met. My children want to see the good in the world, and I want that as well.

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But I did pick up on some Czech. As a child you get curious as to what is going on in your world. I discovered a few things from my father’s friends older kids. They were surprised that I didn’t know Czech. But I knew some. Mainly because I stole my father’s old English to Czech dictionary.

He used a few phrases quite often which made it easy to find words. I began to become quite proficient in trying new phonic spellings to decipher what he was saying. Most was gibberish. But on occasion I heard about his feelings for his family. His disgust. His disdain. His regret. Being a child and receiving pity from people you barely knew was difficult. A part of me wanted to return to being naive. I wasn’t exactly the son he wanted. But I overcame his words, overcame his feelings of contempt- I survived and thrived.

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My father used a phrase often when greeting his friend. At one point my father told me it meant “Hello Smiley.” But the literal phrase would have defined my father more than his friend.

Nazdar Klamo.

Simply meaning,

“Hello Deceit.”

To the feelings my father left me with when he died in 2000, I say “Na shledanou.

Bye-bye. Cheerio. So long.

2019- The Year Devoted to Our Son

It feels like this year is heavily devoted to our son Theory. We have already done two trips for speed skating competitions and have two more weeks out of town planned this summer for him to get some more practice.

He stole my tutu.

If you’ve been following along this week, you’ll also notice I was a parent chaperone at his Grade Seven camp. I was really happy that he wanted me to do this. It also made me feel good to find out his friends were excited that I was going as well. In fact, one kid asked that his father not volunteer to come because the boy wanted to be in our cabin.

My father never would’ve considered doing that. Let alone take time to ensure his kids experienced successes. My wife and I put a lot of effort into making sure our kids get the best education and experiences.

I have a fantastic relationship with my son. I can be both his parent and his friend. The fact that he happily hangs out with me while out in public is great. I hope to keep this up through his teenage years.

It’s the kind of relationship I wish I had with my father.

Record Breaking Sound

As I mentioned previously in my blog posts, we listen to a lot of music. We also listen to it in a variety of means. Online streaming to the radio; mp3 to CDs; cassettes and records. All of which have a variance in their quality and enjoyment. My favorite as of late is listening to our daughter’s record player.

First, we started listening to some of my wife’s and my old record collection. Rick Astley, Michael Jackson, ABBA, Village People, etc… Then we moved on to listening to some of our classical music and collections of dance songs. Lots of great stuff.

We have discovered that old records are readily available at our local thrift shops and music stores. Many of these used albums price between $2 and $5. I was happy to pick up an original Star Wars album for cheap. The record was in great shape even if the cover was not. For the price of a couple songs on iTunes- we are now branching out to hear a variety of very interesting renditions of some classic songs.

The current album of choice on rotation at this time is the Mexicali Brass. A truly wonderful style that feels like it belongs on a record. I could not imagine it played through iTunes. Hearing a record pop and hiss adds to the auditory sensations. There’s a certain randomness to the sound you can’t recreate digitally. Every spin of the record is slightly different from the last.

What form of music to you enjoy? Are you an audiophile with some tips?

Let me know in the comments.

Galaxy’s Edge Excitement

I am such a nerd when it comes to all things Disneyland or Star Wars related. I read blogs, follow Instagrams, I even open my Twitter feed just to find the hints and rumors. I share what I find with others who are of like mindsets. The term “Fandom” doesn’t quite express my feelings or emotions dedicated to Disneyland or Star Wars.

Last night was no exception to my love of both of these. Disneyland did a live stream of their Dedication Ceremony for the new land “Galaxy’s Edge“. No- it’s not called “Star Wars Land“. I’ll always call it by it’s true name- “Galaxy’s Edge” because- die hard fan here. That being said, my excitement level seeing the footage of this new park expansion grew last night.

But…

With our commitments to our son’s Speed Skating future and our children’s education- visiting Disneyland during the first openings of Galaxy’s Edge isn’t feasible. I’m looking on the bright side, give it a few months to a year and the crowds should slim out and the kinks worked out. So when is a good time to visit Disneyland?

We usually go in October to experience Halloween time. But over the years- it has gotten tremendously busy. Again, mentioning our children’s education being important, I don’t want to take them out of school for extended periods. Our oldest is entering grade 12 in September and our youngest is entering grade 8 and starting his high school journey. The long weekend at Canadian Thanksgiving would alleviate much of a loss. But- crowds will be higher. Dilemma!

I like to plan and book vacations well in advance. 5 months ahead of time doesn’t feel like I’ve planned properly. Planning 9-12 months ahead feels more comfortable- financially as well. As much as I’m looking at hotels and deals in autumn, I’m going to postpone a Family Disney Vacation for about a year.

I think it’s about time we hit up Disney World. It’ll have Galaxy’s Edge opened and ready when we get there next August. First stop- Discover The Magic to get some personalized service from a travel agent that specializes in these sorts of things. I’m starting to get excited!

Good Omens

Back in the mid-nineties, my girlfriend’s brother gave me a book- “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. This novel introduced me to the fantastic and humorous imitations of two of my favorite authors. I became a lifelong fan.

I have kept my paperback version of the novel and over the past few months, two of my three children have read the book. Both loved it so much that they have asked me for more book recommendations. I guess dad isn’t out of touch with good writing.

I have decided to pick up the book and read through it again. There are only a handful of novels that I am willing to pick up numerous times- this is one of them. This will be my fourth or fifth time reading it. I’m looking forward to it.

I’m hoping to finish it before Friday. Amazon Prime has created the novel into a six part show. 20 Years ago, a friend of mine and I used to discuss which books we’d love to see made into films- this is one of them. I’m excited to see it finally come to fruition and hope to be satisfied with the results.

With Queen being used as the soundtrack to the ads- how could it possibly be bad?

Towel Day

“A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

The Hitchhiker‘s Guide to the Galaxy


“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.”

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

The Restaurant at the End of The Universe


“Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple.”

-Life, the Universe and Everything


“There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler’s mind.

-So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish


“Anything that happens, happens.”

“Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.”

“Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.”

“It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order though.”

Mostly Harmless


Douglas Adams was a fantastic writer of sci-fi and humor. His five novels of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy inspired my family’s life. That’s right, five books in the trilogy. Don’t ask, that’s part of the charm of his story telling. My wife and I were so inspired by his works that we named our first born, Random, after one of his characters. From that name sprouted her siblings names- Darwin and Theory.

As well, 42 is an important number to our family. Each of us constantly pointing it out wherever it may appear. As if the Universe is telling us something. Be it good or bad. But as life goes on, I am encouraged by two words written by Douglas Adams…

Don’t Panic

Meet My Stuffed Animal- Roger Rabbit

Like many people who had a childhood, I owned my fair share of stuffed animal toys. To be perfectly honest, I kept most and passed them on to our children. Our middle child has kept the majority of them in her possession. She loves them tremendously as if they had lives and personalities of their own.

But the one “stuffy” I have kept to myself over the years is my Roger Rabbit.

I have had this guy in my possession since 1989. I picked him up when I was Thirteen. Yes, I was a teenager when I bought it. He was purchased on my first ever trip to Disneyland. He became a prize possession of mine. I truly love the film and all aspects of it. Even over thirty years later- the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” holds strong in my opinion. My toy, however, has seen better days.

Roger has moved with me from house to house. Oftentimes he has been on display somewhere on a shelf or even in my bed. He is stained, worn and dirty. Seams have ripped, strings have torn off and stuffing lost. These are the war wounds of a good friend who has always been there for me. He listens when I have problems that I don’t want to share with the real world. My wife finds it odd that he suddenly appears on our bed sometimes. She says she hates him. I don’t believe her.

Roger shaped my personality at a young age. He was a mentor of sorts.

The character of Roger Rabbit was of a simple man (rabbit?) who believed in the goodness of others. Trusting of friendships and looking for a laugh to make others smile. But when he needed to be serious, he could, sort of. His flaw was always trying to please others. Literally smacking his head with a frying pan to meet their expectations.

I’m not saying I’m exactly like him anymore. But I like to think I can still be trusting and see the goodness in others. (As well as go for a cheap laugh.) These are some good qualities to possess.

20 Years Ago

My life changed 20 years ago today. Okay, maybe there was a few days leading up to today, but May 19th, 1999 is the date I recall. How do I know this date? Two words.

Jar-Jar Binks.

Yes, Star Wars Episode 1 is celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary. With it comes my memories of a previous job. Coinciding with the Star Wars debut was the opening of the 19 theater multiplex called “Colossus“. Working as a projectionist was always my dream growing up. It came true once I began my job opening weekend of this movie theater.

I spent nearly five years working at Colossus (read about it here) with many people calling me a “Lifer“. The term originally coined as a derogatory- you’ll never amount to anything– phrase. But I did become a “Lifer” because my life changed over the course of my time at the theater.

  • I lost my father
  • I met my future wife
  • I got engaged
  • I got married
  • We had a kid
  • I don’t know if any of this would’ve mattered in any other context. But for me- Colossus was a bigger part of my life than high school was. In fact I was ready to try and gather up old Coloss-hole coworkers for a reunion. But I thought better of it. Partly because it’s the long weekend. And also because I don’t know if other people feel the same as I do about our previous lives there.
  • The changes we have all been through make us who we are. Even Colossus has changed over the years.
  • So instead, I am writing this quick blog. A THANK YOU letter of sorts to everyone who made an impact on my life two decades ago. I miss you all tremendously and have fond memories of our zany antics. I hope all is well with your lives.
  • See you at the movies.
  • Chewbacca Cake

    For my son’s birthday, I baked him a chocolate cake. Unfortunately I couldn’t find our round cake pans, so I made a bundt cake instead. When I was growing up, this was oftentimes the style of homemade cake I would receive for a birthday. There was never anything fancy about those cakes- just the fact that my father took the time to bake them himself.

    So my son ended up with a chocolate bundt cake this year. Kinda plain looking- but I did have some milk chocolate icing in the cupboard to put on top. At least then it’ll feel like a birthday cake. Sugary sweet!

    Once I finished the crumb coat, I realized that smoothing out the surface would look okay-ish. So instead I tapped the spatula on as I added more icing. The cake began to look kind of like fur. Since my son enjoys Star Wars as much as I do- I figured why not make this into a Wookiee inspired cake. But how? Off to the pantry again.

    I found some leftover mini marshmallows and some baking chocolate we had since Christmas. Chocolate and marshmallows don’t go bad, right? I heated up a small pot of water and melted the chocolate in a glass bowl. This was easy since the bowl fit perfectly on the mouth of the pot. I was able to stir the chocolate constantly and keep the moisture out with ease. Once it was a silky smooth mixture it was time to pour it out into a straight line.

    We own a long serving platter that I figured would be perfect. But the chocolate would end up not being a thin strip like I wanted. So I taped down a couple of chopsticks and lined my newly made rectangle with tinfoil. Pouring out the chocolate and placed the mini marshmallows along the edges was the perfect way to make Chewbacca’s bandolier. Into the freezer for about ten minutes and it was set.

    Not bad for a quick Star Wars themed cake. Chewy would be proud. I know I am. Bonus- my kids loved it too. But hey, it’s chocolate. All kids love chocolate.