In 2010, our youngest turned four. So we ventured out for a special treat and took him to the Squamish Railway Museum. There we attended “A Day Out With Thomas” and had a great time. Seeing Thomas The Tank Engine on real train tracks and going for a ride was super thrilling for our four year old train fanatic.
This year, I was able to get four tickets for the event and gave them to my son for his 17th birthday. As much as it was sort of a joke gift, we all knew he would want to go and check it out. So my wife took my our son and his friend to the event. Our 19 year old also wanted to attend. Who wouldn’t want to meet Sir Topham Hat?
Thirteen years really did show how much our son grew up. My wife says he had a great time during the couple of hours they had at the railway museum. I’m glad that our kids can still be young at heart even as they age into their late teen years.
I’m glad Theory enjoyed his day out with Thomas. Besides our son growing up and looking different in the side by side pictures- but so did Thomas and Sir Topham Hat!
This afternoon an old friend of mine and his wife came by for a visit. We hung out on the back deck and swam in the pool. Kind of our go-to in this house on hot days. I always enjoy their company because we have a chance to share stories or our lives. Some adventures, some hardships, and lots of humor.
What really stood out for me today was what my friend brought with him.
He brought a case of non-alcoholic beer to share.
He knows I am not drinking and haven’t been since November. He brought these to show support of my choice to be alcohol free. I really appreciate that he did this for me as I didn’t even mention anything like this prior to his visit. Most times people ask for more details as to why I’m not drinking. Or they keep offering a drink forgetting that I’m not partaking in the booze while they are having some.
I’m not upset that people forget or ask questions. But today I am feeling the kindness of my buddy doing that one small gesture on my behalf. It goes to show that true friends really do care and pay attention to the things that matter in your life. And Matt has been in my life since before I met my wife, so he knows my life pretty intimately. He has been very supportive to me all of these years.
It’s been about three weeks since I last made a rug. I have been busy taking advantage of the beautiful weather on my days off. Not hanging out in a cold crafting room in our basement.
I have been missing my new hobby as of late. But I didn’t want to “Power Through” making rugs like I was doing. So yesterday I set up my monks cloth and cleaned my tufting gun. I also calibrated it to a comfortable speed and checked the blades. The basics are ready for when I start tufting.
This afternoon, I drew out my next series of rugs. I made a few basic and easy designs and one really tough one. For the most part, I have all the yarn I need to get these started. The one color I am short on is black. And black is what the majority of my outlines are. I also need felt to glue to the bottom of the rugs to finish them off nicely.
That means next Thursday I am making a quick trip across the border to hit up Joanne’s. That is my favorite craft store for the supplies I need. I’ll probably spend upwards of over three hundred dollars. But that should last me for the summer. I hope. Or else I will need to start making different rugs that don’t require black yarn. I’m sure I can design rugs based on the colours I will have in abundance.
These next few rugs I am going to be taking my time to work on. I don’t want this hobby to feel like a chore. And since none of these are commissions, I don’t feel the need to rush at this time. Maybe when someone requests a design, I’ll pick up the pace. But for now I really want to enjoy this hobby for years to come.
Today was our first kayak adventure of the year. Last year we only went out once. My wife is hoping that this year we get out more often. She would prefer once a week. We shall see how this goes over the summer.
We decided to try an area we never explored by kayak before. The dyke behind our home that is just beyond the fields. It’s an area we walk (or rather my wife walks) on a regular basis. We drove the kayaks down to the side of the road and made our way towards the water.
Getting down to the water was a bit more steep than we have wandered before. But we got the kayaks down to the edge of the water. We launched from underneath the roadway. we paddled out for about thirty minutes prior to turning around to head back.
This adventure was significant to us. Back in 2007, my wife worked for a hot air balloon company. For our anniversary that year, we went up for a ride. Along the way, we passed over the dyke that we kayaked today. We paused for a quick picture in the same spot where we captured a previous picture. This was all prior to the house we are in was built.
It was a good afternoon of enjoying the calm and serene waters. A few spots of shade were nice and we even witnessed a large crane fly off. It was a perfect afternoon. I’ll happily do this once more.
This afternoon we had a Team Building event for the management team at my work. We went to Tap-Ins Putting Course at Cultus Lake. There we played 18 holes of put-put followed by Toptracer driving range.
It was a neat experience to play mini golf on actual greens. No weird windmills or obstacles. Just really long greens to try and put the ball into the hole. I really enjoyed this and came in second in our group of six. Although, I’d recommend you bring your own putter as the heads on the rental ones are a bit rounded instead of flat.
Toptracer golf was neat as well. Basically a driving range with cameras that track your shot. On the computer screen there was a variety of games and challenges we could play. As well as worldwide golf courses. This is the kind of golf I can get behind. Just swinging a club and not having to chase the balls. Like a mix of play Nintendo Wii and real golf. Not very accurate at times, but fun nonetheless.
Of course we all acted silly and goofy. Taunting and teasing one another. Because that’s how team building works, right?
I’m home now and my lower back is rather sore. It’s been years since I swung a club. It may be a while before a swing another. But I wasn’t too shabby. I can thank my father for that.
The former owners of the house we bought are still in contact with us. In fact, we continue to rent out a room two days a week for the husband while he is at work on the mainland. Once in a while I get to see what the house looked like back when it was first built.
The backyard was once filled with lawn. There were cedar trees planted along the rocks that have long since been removed. I’d still have been happy had we bought this home and the yard looked like that. Bright and open. A huge difference from our last property.
Instead, the former owners put in a pool and extended a wood deck to the furthest point in the yard. Since we bought the house, we have made some changes and additions of our own. This has helped to create our “Dream Home”.
In the short time of living in this house, we have changed the landscape in other areas. I’m loving what we have done and look forward to creating more modifications over the years.
Today I had my 17 year old go and pick up an item for me that was on Facebook Marketplace. I don’t generally use that format to get things, but somehow an item I wanted materialized within weeks of me thinking about it. I jumped at the chance to pick it up. And for $15 I really don’t think it’s in bad shape.
I picked up an old Teknika VHS camera. I swear these were the industrial models that 7/11 used to rent out. This thing is heavy. The downside is that the battery no longer works, so I will be required to keep it plugged in. The upside- it came with a blank VHS tape in it- so I have a chance to fiddle around with it.
It even came with a keyboard so I can type in titles and such for the videos. This will likely take me some time to figure out, but how 80’s can you get? That fact that the camera is from somewhere between 1986-1989 is awesome. And it works!
But Josef, why did you want this camera?
My wife and I are having an anniversary party in July with the 80’s as a theme. Specifically 1988. That year was the peak of everything 80’s right before the 90’s started to sneak in. A video camera from this time is perfect. I plan to have it on the entire time, connected to a television for fun.
I also picked up 30 pairs of sunglasses that scream 80’s. This will be available to our friends as they arrive to the party. I cannot wait until our anniversary in seven weeks time! If you can think of anything else that screams 1988- let me know!
I an’t wait to see how this camera works. It should be a blast!
Our youngest is cresting the final years of teenagehood. He has turned 17 today. A year ago he got his learner’s driving license. In a couple of days, he will be going for his New Driver test. That is a big accomplishment and a right of passage for most youth. He’s a pretty confident driver, so I have no doubt he will pass his test.
He has grown to become very similar to how I was as a teenager. Goofy, funny, sarcastic yet kind. Honestly, I’d probably also have bought “Fish Flops” at his age just like he did last week. Much like him, I’d be able to convince a couple friends to buy them as well and wear them to school.
The one thing that really got me in the emotional feels occurred the other day. He approached me and asked if I could teach him how to shave his face. My father never taught me how to shave and with no internet around back then, I had to fumble through trial and error. Until 1998 when I began to read Maxim Magazine and read an article of how to properly shave. Since then, no more nicks or cuts. I passed that knowledge onto my son this past weekend.
He’s on his way to become a real gentleman. He always puts others first and is extremely helpful when required. His smile is contagious and I love him for everything he does. He’s a great kid and deserves to have a wonderful birthday.
I’m probably biased, but I think my wife is the best mother around. She has been a hard working and loving mother since 2002. The three kids who call her “mom” have been lucky to have her around.
From supporting our kids by cheering them on through their various activities; to consoling them when they need some extra love; Lee-Anne has been a wonderful parent.
I know that periodically my wife feels like she is just going through the motions. Oftentimes everything she does is for someone else’s benefit. But those are the sacrifices she gives in order to keep our children happy.
I’m glad to be her partner in all of this. She has been inspiration for me and my parenting style. Together we have conquered the world! Or at least attempted to pick the battles that matter most when raising kids. As difficult as parenting can be, Lee-Anne has overcome the obstacles and become a fantastic mom.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the other mothers out there as well! Enjoy the day designed for you!
With the warmer weather approaching quickly, I tend to not eat as much as I do in the winter months. I tend to snack periodically and keep myself hydrated instead. Most days I’ll have one big meal- usually at dinner.
I don’t consider a sandwich to be a meal. I think of that as a snack. Same with a bowl of soup or a cup of noodles. Just a quick and easy snack to keep me going for the day.
One of my favorite sandwiches is a basic cheese and lettuce on lightly toasted bread. I throw on some mayonnaise and mustard for added flavor. This is the sandwich I used to make when I worked at Burger Brothers as a 16 year old over thirty years ago. At BB, we would get a discount on the burgers, but our boss allowed us to have a veggie or veggie and cheese sandwich at no cost. This was a great way to ensure I could save some money working there.
I also enjoy a simple cucumber sandwich in the summer. I find those to be very refreshing. Same with a BLT. All great snacks that utilize vegetables in some form.
This weekend I spent my Friday and Saturday hanging out with friends. Normally I see people about once every couple of weeks. My “Social Meter” has a short battery these days, but I was glad to get the opportunity to hang out. Different dynamics on both evenings, so it made it easier to get out in the world on back-to-back evenings.
I take the moments I spend with friends as something much more than just hanging out. Socializing is a great way to share experiences, discuss life and just comprehend the world around us. I reflect on what we talk about and learn from the humor and memories each person brings to the table. I’m very much an observer, but I also add my own flavor to the conversation at the correct intervals. Social cues are something I can read quickly and adapt to.
Discussing entertainment, travel, work, life, etc also helps to put thoughts into words and clear your mind. There are days on end that I feel overwhelmed with my emotions and thoughts. Talking things out really does help. Having friends to connect with us almost as important as food and oxygen. It’s good for your mental health to be social.
Thank you friends for a good weekend! Until next time when my “Social Meter” becomes full again!
Today is Star Wars Day. This year I’m not doing any cosplay like I have in the past. Instead I’m just going to enjoy the weekend with a couple of buddies tomorrow as we watch an unedited version of the original trilogy.
Obviously I love Star Wars. When Disneyland opened up Galaxy’s Edge, I was giddy with excitement. When we went last summer- I got to meet Chewbacca once more! It was loads of fun.
Getting immersed in the Star Wars universe was a great experience. When I go back to Disneyland, I will definitely be there again to see more of the land. There is just so many amazing details that make it feel as if you have transported to another galaxy.
I’d love to one day be a bigger part of Star Wars. Maybe I’ll get a job in Disneyland when I retire and can wander around the land in character form. That would seriously be my dream job. Hanging out at Galaxy’s Edge all the time- in Disneyland as well! That’s like a two-for-one kind of dream!
I appreciate that manufacturers of my smart devices want to update software regularly. My tv, video game systems, even my car does updates. Most of them automatically installed. Sometimes they happen as soon as you turn on the device, so you sit there waiting for ages and when it’s done, nothing seems to have changed.
The worst updates are the ones that happen on my phone. I swear that I’ll be in the process of doing something on my phone and then it freezes in order to update. No matter what time of day- even though I set to do it overnight. And there’s no way to override the update or pause it. So you just have to let it do it’s thing.
It also feels like after a couple of years of updates- my phone gets slower and has less space available. As if the old information was never removed and the new updates are just added on top. Perhaps this is the tech companies trying to push the most recent devices into our hands.
Whatever the case may be, these updates are both good and bad. I get frustrated and relieved when they are complete. Now to search out memes and twenty second useless video clips.
My wife and I have been going for walks whenever we can. Actually she goes for walks and I tag along. There’s kind of this ritual we do beforehand though.
Every time she wants to go for a walk, she will ask me if I would like to join her. Admittedly there are many days I will say no. But she will ask again before she heads out. If I said no earlier- this is when I reconsider and end up joining her.
Hanging out with my wife brings me joy. If a walk is the only time we can have together, then I will take advantage of those moments whenever possible. We both have busy schedules, but making the time for each other has always been important for our relationship.
It’s also allowed us to have in-depth conversations that we would otherwise avoid. Topics like kids, finances, travel, etc get talked about more freely and without hesitation. Walking means we aren’t sitting on the couch or at a table hoping to be distracted by a screen. Instead we can see the beauty in the world and breathe in the fresh air, thus keeping our minds at ease. Far better for our mental health.
Every time my wife goes for a walk, I hope she brings me. I secretly like them even if I say no at first.
It’s Easter weekend. A time for chocolate and bunnies (and chocolate bunnies). I’ve never been a fan of Easter. That probably stems from Catholic school when I was a wee lad. The imagery and stories of a man with a crown of thorns, torture, blood, even coming back from the dead are a bit traumatic for young Josef.
On the other side, we also never did Easter egg hunts as children. So Easter weekend wasn’t as fun as it could have been. My mother did leave out some chocolate on the kitchen table, so we did eat that junk food.
As a parent, my wife made me participate in hiding eggs for our children over the years. If I wasn’t working, I’d hang out and watch them as they gathered up their treats. Our kids would then combine the chocolates and divide them equally.
My wife is still filling plastic eggs for our children. Even though they are turning 17, 19, and 21 this year. What’s humorous is that our kids were asking if the Easter Bunny was visiting this year. Good thing they asked my wife, because my answer would have been “no”.
I’m okay with the fact that my kids want to hang onto a part of their youth. Lucky for me is that if there is extra candy (that can’t be evenly distributed) I get to enjoy it. I also think my wife is enjoying babying our kids periodically like this. Me- I just enjoy being immature- that’s how I hold onto my youthful follies.
Anyways, I hope that everyone has a fun filled Easter weekend! And remember to find all of those eggs!
I have some useless talents. Ones that I’m okay at, but nothing that I would say I could be a professional doing. I can roll my tongue, do basic yo-yo tricks, hackysack, solve a Rubik’s Cube, do origami, and now make rugs. The one thing I always wanted to learn?
How to wiggle my ears.
I know it sounds silly. But it was the one talent that my father had which he would do when he was in a good mood. His smile was genuine and he would make his ears dance. As a child, it enthralled me. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to do it.
My dad once told me he would spend hours in front of a mirror trying to home this skill. As a child, I did not have the patience to do that. As an adult, the question comes up as “why do you need to learn this?” Well, it’s something I still want to learn, so it’s time to search the interwebs.
Do any of you know how to wiggle your ears? Care to teach me?
Today I went through a second bout of physiotherapy. My first appointment was on Thursday. I went in on a whim to get an assessment done.
Most of my life I have had lower back pain. My wife wanted me to do something about it- besides complain. So I booked a visit up the road from us and was able to get in right away. No more procrastination.
Immediately they started treatment for my back. Using an ultrasound, massage therapy and electro therapy- they had an assortment of healing techniques. After two sessions, I’m feeling a lot better but I know I have a long way to go.
My biggest issue is the fact that I have untreated scoliosis. Growing up, doctors were more focused on my lungs and my breathing. My back was never getting the attention it deserved. As an adult, it’s time for me to take matter into my own hands. I’m starting with exercises given to me by the physiotherapist and going in for a couple appointments each week.
I don’t know if my back pain will ever disappear, but having the pain lessen would be ideal. Only time will tell.
After a couple of weeks off this month, I’m happy to be back into making rugs. Besides making a rug for the Rug Wars I wasn’t sure what to make next. I was at a loss for the last few days. So I went to look at my yarn. The blue called out to me.
I decided to make a Spiny Shell aka Blue Shell from Mario Kart. I needed to get myself back on top. Taking a short break was good for me. I felt like I was pushing too hard to make rugs since I started. Slowing down and taking my time to figure out my next designs helped in not burning out and hating my hobby.
I still plan on doing a rug each week, but I may not use my large frame for a bit, unless there are rugs on request. Doing one at a time is more my pace. After trimming this weekend, I’ll take a few days to decide on my next rug.
Maybe my yarn will speak to me again. Huh, I though my last rug was trippy and hallucination inspired…
Back in February a group of fellow tufters got together and we voted on the theme for Rug Wars. The category that won was “Acid/Trippy”. So the idea behind the competition is that we had the month of March to design and finish a rug. It had to be original and entered by March 31st. Throughout April people will vote on rugs and by the end there will be a winner announced.
Here is my entry:
I went with an idea that reminded me of my youth and the psychedelic themes of the 90’s. Back then it was popular to see tv shows about the unknown, aliens, ufos, etc… like X-Files. Not to mention my own experiences with trippy activities and mind bending realities.
The competition is a friendly one. No prize to be won. Mostly I want to get recognition from my fellow tufters and see what others had in store for their entries. Once the competition begins, I’ll share the link and hope that my friends and readers will vote me up!
My mother contacted me earlier today with some sad news. Her little dog passed away overnight. She was pretty broken up by the loss. Jodie had been a big part of her life for six years now.
Jodie was a good companion for my mother. This doggo was the reason my mom would go out for walks and get fresh air. My mother was telling me how people on the beach and in her neighborhood knew Jodie and loved the cute little fluff ball. Hopefully losing Jodie won’t stop my mom from getting fresh air and seeing neighbors.
Jodie would sit on my mother’s lap daily as well. Periodically, Jodie would bark, and my mom would tell her to “shush” but it was still nice for my mom to talk and pet her.
My mother is not looking to replace Jodie at this time. Being that my mom is 81- caring for a small animal is not in the cards anymore. I know that Jodie will be missed and I feel bad for my mother’s loss.
Losing a pet can be as difficult as losing a family member. It’s not a pleasant feeling.
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.
Last week, on my birthday, I went to buy some records. One of the records that was purchased, my son asked if I would split the cost with him. I happily obliged. You see, in 1983 I received a record for my 7th birthday. That record was “The Story of Tron” with music and dialogue from the motion picture. I listened to it repeatedly. I love the film and the idea behind Tron.
The record my son wanted to buy was from the sequel “Tron Legacy”. Of course I couldn’t say no. At the cashier, he said, “Don’t worry dad- I got this” so I didn’t have to pay for part of the record. Funny thing is he had no idea until today that I had been gifted the other Tron album for a childhood birthday.
I find it interesting that 40 years later I was going to be in possession of another Tron album. Albeit, our son is wanting to keep them in his room. He has somehow managed to become the keeper of our movies and movie memorabilia. The one thing I asked was that he play the album on my new record player as it has a better quality needle and will protect the vinyl over time compared to a more inexpensive record player.
I can’t wait to hear the album. I’m waiting until my son wants to unwrap it.
You know, it almost feels as if this record isn’t for me after all…
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.
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.
I had noticed that our tv in the basement was a bit quiet. I didn’t want to spend money on a sound bar. So this weekend I decided to pull our home theater stereo out of the attic and set it up.
Wiring the speakers was a bit of a challenge. Lucky for me, above the fireplace was hollow, so wires were easy to string in the wall. The only downside was the wood that was blocking me from running the wires below. I bought a 16” long drill bit and was able to slide it through the hole in the wall. I was surprised at how easy it was to run all those wires.
Now I have speakers set up on the wall around the tv. All that I have left is to run wires for the surround speakers. I’ll probably do that later in the spring. Mostly because I will have to remove the baseboards and then run the wire up the walls. That will probably take me a few hours to complete. For now the speakers that are for the back of the room are sitting beside the fireplace.
The last thing left to do is make sure of the sound quality. Probably watch some tv or a movie. Then try out music.