Hudsucker Proxy

Sometimes in my blog I like to share films that I enjoy. I don’t do any write ups or dissection of the films. Just that I enjoy them and why. Today I am writing about a favorite of mine that I really enjoy watching in the winter. That’s because most of the film is set around New Year’s and the idea of new beginnings.

The Hudsucker Proxy is set in the early 20th century. It has some of the best cinematography I’ve ever enjoyed. The sets are Art Deco, the timeline is flawless, the jokes are quick and perfectly timed. What’s not to love about the film?

The simplicity of the underlying story and the characters that drive the film make it relatable and a joy to be a part of. I enjoyed the film so much, I made a Cosplay of the lead character a few years back. It was such an obscure costume, that when I wore it to three different comic conventions- maybe ten people understood it.

If you haven’t seen the film, please check it out this season. It is a great movie by the Coen Brothers. Check out one of my favorite scenes on YouTube: Hula Hoop.

Mushrooming

My wife mentioned how some of her coworkers go out and collect wild mushrooms in autumn. Today was a perfect day for me to explore our yard for such fungi.

I downloaded an app that allows me to take a photo and it would tell me if it was toxic or safe to eat. I downloaded “Picture Mushroom” and it has a free trial for the week, but costs $29 for the year. So why not try it out since this was my first foray into mushrooming. And I don’t think I will be out in much more of the world to search for ‘shrooms, so after this week, I’ll likely delete the app. (If anyone has an app they enjoy using- please let me know).

The afternoon turned into a fun hunt for my wife and I. We gently collected a variety of mushrooms, keeping them separated so that we could cross-check afterwards just in case. We don’t want a sick family because of a lack of knowledge.

Turns out that we had quite the collection of various mushrooms growing on our property that were good for consumption! My wife and our oldest daughter went to work cleaning the funguses and we stored them away in paper bags until tomorrow night’s dinner.

In our front yard, we also happened to find a smattering of toxic mushrooms. The kind that cause hallucinations. We collected them up and told our teens about them and the effects. Ingesting these types of mushrooms is not on our radar at this time. But we removed them from the yard anyways.

Do you go mushroom hunting? Any good recipes to share? Or perhaps any ill effects happened?

Let me know in the comments. (And no, we are not selling the psychedelic ones!)

Bruno Fenger

Today I was going through old papers- such as bills, taxes, etc… and disposing of the unnecessary ones. I found old paystubs from Chuck E. Cheese, a copy my father’s probate (with an address for My Unknown Half Sister) and information about our current home. The last one is what today’s blog is about.

You see, my father-in-law designed and built this house back in the 1970’s. Bruno Fenger was a brick layer by trade and the workmanship in this house is amazing. He also enjoyed woodworking as a hobby, often selling at various craft shows back in the 80’s/90’s. He is a very talented man who immigrated from Germany many, many decades ago. He decided to build a house and stay in British Columbia to raise his family.

I found rolls of papers from when he designed this house and had purchased the property. The blueprints were all hand drawn. To me these pages showed a commitment to excellence that you probably won’t find in today’s market. It was also great to see how his designs translated into a finished product (such as the fireplace) and some of the changes which occurred during the building process.

As a tribute to his work, I framed the blueprint for the upstairs and hung it on the wall. Bruno’s work lives on in this home through more than just ideas on paper. With his 88th birthday coming up at the end of November, I thought it to be fitting that I show some gratitude to the man who made a home for my family.

Thank you Bruno for creating such an amazing house for your grandchildren to grow up in. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cleaning for Christmas Season

This past weekend we did a pretty good cleaning up of the downstairs of our home. My wife has been adamant over the years that we are not permitted to put out Winter Decorations until the house is cleaned up. I push every year to start the process in early November.

That’s because I love decorating our home for winter!

This year, my wife was a big part of the decorating process. In fact, the entire family was a huge help and we had fun doing it. Well, maybe not the cleaning aspect… but the decorating for sure! All that’s left is the trees to come out after my wife’s birthday… on December 6th.

Have you already started decorating for the winter solstice or other such celebrations?

Pre-Christmas Online Fulfillments

Holy smokes have we been hitting the online purchases a bit heavy this year. My wife and I were a bit skeptical about the gifts arriving on time for Christmas. So we ordered in advance with plenty of time to spare.

This is the “condensed” version of what we have received so far. Amazon ships far too many packages with one or two items inside. It’s good in a way because we know that we are getting 90% of our stuff in time for the holidays. There’s a couple items set to arrive by December 22nd still. Which feels crazy in a world where we came accustomed to instant gratification.

I can’t really complain because we always choose the “Free Shipping” option. Sometimes it’s the next day, other times it could take a couple of weeks. Plus Amazon is great when you need to return an item or the item does a “no-show”.

All I need to do now is keep the kids out of the boxes and “Archive” the purchases so they don’t “accidentally” see an item that has been ordered. We all know how sneaky kids can be when it comes to finding out their Christmas gifts. I know I was pretty bad at spoiling the surprises for myself when I was younger.

Are you done shopping? Have you even started? Any horror stories of online shopping? Still looking for that perfect gift for your family members? Let me know in the comments.

Creatively Growing Up

Last night my daughter Interviewed me for a school project. She took painstaking measures to create the perfect lighting and backdrop. I took her direction as best I could without asking too many questions. I also did not offer any advice or “butt in” in any way.

It was tough to be a parent and just let her do it on her own. Like the first time your child walks to school alone or rides a two wheel bike without you holding the seat. You want to hold their hand, but the pride you feel when they have accomplished something on their own is far more gratifying.

I’m not going to lie, it was challenging for me to let her be creative and run the show. It was her project and her vision. In the end, she got the footage she desired and is off to the editing portion within the next week or so. Maybe she will let me see the final product. I promised her I wouldn’t critic it. No idea if she believes me. But I believe in her.

Beautiful Starts And Ends

I was driving into work last night and just admired the look of the sky as the sun set. Scanning the horizon you could see yellow encircling the world and above- it would disappear into a rainbow of oranges and pinks. Finally fading off into a dark blue directly overhead.

This morning I came home to see the sun rising. A vivid pastel palette was now overtaking the world. Through the trees in my backyard I could see the winter chill approaching in the air.

I have always admired scenery. Especially as the colours in the sky change- offering a new view to our world. Which do you prefer? Sunrise or sunset?

Ahead of the Game

Yesterday I mentioned that I was looking for Christmas light clips in: Make it. That is because I’m trying to get ahead of the winter season. I like to put up my lights in early November, but I don’t turn them on until December. That’s because I don’t want to be freezing my fingertips or standing on the roof in the rain trying to put up lights.

I also sneak a couple of decorations out a bit early. Just because of the hassle of getting a ladder in the cold. We have four large baubles that hang from our ceiling in our main foyer. I hate putting them up every year, so I just git’r’done immediately after Halloween.

Since I am crafty, I also do something unique every year. This year is a couple of cheap wooden crates painted in red that will hold Christmas stuffed animals. We will put them underneath the stairs in our front foyer. I figured I better paint them now and let them dry 100% before putting anything inside. It also gives me a chance to decide if I want to add anything more to the boxes. Like a hand painted sign or fake holly. We shall see.

Are you getting ready for those winter holidays yet? Let me know in the comments. Plus I love to see what other people craft. It always brings me joy seeing stuff made from scratch. It always inspires me to do better.

Last Minute Panic

It’s been a while since I’ve had a tough time writing. Usually I find something that happened and share the story. Sometimes a memory comes flooding in and I feel a strong desire to get the words out. But the past few weeks I e really struggled to keep up with my daily blogs.

What I write is generally for myself. I use my writing as a way of keeping calm and getting those anxiety feels away. I enjoy sharing in this community because 99% of the time people are kind with their comments.

Yes, I have written every single day since January 2016. The goal to write daily is a personal one. The deadline I gave myself is midnight every day. I do not want to skip a beat as I fear that it would make me susceptible to doing it again, and then again, until I finally just gave up.

I’m not ready to give up my writing. I just want you to know I’ve been having a tough time feeling creative. I am sorry about these late night posts. I generally like to have my stories out by breakfast. When the day has yet to take over, and the brain has had a good rest.

Hopefully I’ll be back on track again soon. Those of you who still follow-Bear with me. I’ll get better.

Let Them Grow Up

I have a tough time letting my kids grow up. But it’s a natural occurrence in humanity. Parents being parents trying to raise kids to be adults. And then not wanting the kids to become adults.

Today, our oldest aced her practical exam with the top mark in her class. She was beaming with pride. She texted my wife numerous times throughout the morning in regards to her success.

Watching my kids grow up, it makes me sad that I won’t have moments with them anymore. It’s hard to ask them to spend time with me without it seeming forced sometimes.

Letting the kids become their own person with a bit of guidance is all I can do. I have to let them grow up.

Be Patient With The Results

As the USA still has no clear winning President, it is important for everyone to be patient. This is truly an unique moment in history that the world is witnessing. It could be a huge shift in how elections are run in the future. Especially in this day and age of “instant gratification” that we have all become accustomed to.

So to my American neighbors- be patient. Every vote matters. Every vote needs to be counted. There will be a President announced.

And please stay civil if you don’t happen to like the end result. It’s only a few years- work towards change or appreciate the results if it fits your views.

Halloween 2020

For obvious reasons- this year was a very subdued Halloween. We gave out candy to three groups of children for a grand total of eight kids. Our teenagers went up and down our cul-de-sac to hunt out some candy. Even though we had no real plans- my family still dressed up.

Considering how few homes they stopped at- they end up with a good haul and shared the candy amongst one another. Hooray for sugar!

For the notable costumes- Random did a mash up of Jack Skellington and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. Pretty good make up considering how she did it within a half an hour. Toying around with make up is one of her favorite things to do. Especially if it makes her look spooky.

For my costume- I did a fun take on Vincent Price from back when he showed up on The Muppet Show in the 70’s. Price is such an icon when it comes to classic horror. But I wasn’t sure how to portray him. I think it turned out doggone amazing.

I enjoyed my evening of viewing people’s costumes on Instagram all night. Some were very creative. As well, many people had small children who looked really cute.

How was your Halloween? Were you dressed up? Or did you just pig out on candy?

A Decade of Disneyland at Halloween

Looking back at my memories, I saw that we spent a majority of our kids’ Halloweens in Disneyland. Since 2010 we have been enjoying haunting up the theme park.

To say I miss visiting Disneyland is an understatement. Once this pandemic clears up and travel opens again- I’d love to hit up Disneyland. No matter what time of year it is. The family and I always had a good time goofing around as we immersed ourselves in the joy of the parks.

Disneyland California Adventure 2010

We would push for full days at the parks. Lining up before the gates opened and being some of the last guests to leave at night. We made every minute count.

Honestly, some of the best parts of the trips was also the drive. We would be hyped going down the coast, then excitedly talk the drive back about all the fun we had. As cheesy as all this sounds, I am sad that we didn’t get to do it this year. Some of the biggest connections I created with my children was on these vacations. Those memories however will last me a lifetime. As is obvious by today’s blog.

In order to bring forth those good feels, I decided that tonight we are watching Disney’s Hocus Pocus as a family. I haven’t seen this film since the mid-90’s. I also have no idea of my family has seen it. I hope it holds up.

Even if traditions change and we need to adapt. We shall continue to make scary memories together as a family in a variety of ways.

I Want It Painted Black

As the song goes- “I see a red door and I want it painted black.” I too painted our front door black. That was five years ago.

Looking at the evolution of our “curb appeal”- I love how the door creates the look in which every thing else follows suit. From our shutters to the trim to the curtains. We made black the accent colour of our home. Even the large chandelier above the front door was given an oiled black finish.

There’s something comforting coming home and seeing the front door with the light on. It’s all about knowing I did these changes on my own. Prideful moment.

Carving Pumpkins 2020

This year I bought some pumpkins for carving. My two daughters and I try and push the limits on our skills as well. Both of them are getting much better at pumpkin carving all thanks to my advice and assistance.

Although I will say, our oldest is getting to a point of almost surprising my skills. Take a look at the detail in her “Audrey 2” carving.

The leaves and the lips have definition and realism added! This took her about five hours to complete. I am truly impressed.

Our other daughter has been at her carving for hours. She even took a break and started working on it again today. She still isn’t finished, but I have faith in her. She’ll get her meme completed by Halloween!

I did one of my favorite fandoms- “Firefly”. In my carving, I love the way the light shines through the title. My spaceship isn’t quite as detailed as my daughter’s pumpkin. It still took my nearly four hours to complete. Of course, immediately after I took my photos of the pumpkin lit up, I dropped it and it broke in half.

I was a bit upset. But not angry. Pumpkins get thrown away after as it is. So for me, the carving is the therapeutic exercise that I enjoy. I’m glad I got the pictures at least.

How are your pumpkins looking this year? Ever have a failure like I did after hours of hard work?

Let me know in the comments.

What a Day For a Picture

I was enjoying the autumn day. It was brisk and sunny. With a hint of clouds in the sky. I enjoyed driving to get my kids in the afternoon.

So I took a photo. A photo of the roads, the clouds, and the sun.

I quickly lined up my leading lines, rule of thirds, and the horizon. All the crazy skills I had learned in high school. An almost perfect picture.

Except the green lens flare spot in the bottom left. But just like life, it’s not perfect, but it is mine. And I like it.

Dealing With Negativity

As I write my blogs, I have been doing my best to remain positive. Writing about positive vibes is one of the reasons for my blog. It helps to bring my mental health into a good place. I’m not perfect, but over the past few years I’ve been trying to improve myself and those around me.

Who I was as a teenager or young adult is not who I am today. I’ve taken a look back at who I was and have noticed a huge shift in my mental well-being. As well as how I engage with others. I have also needed to remove people from my life if I have felt they are doing more harm than good in this world.

My life, and what I write, is freely shared out there. I welcome feedback- both positive and constructive. I don’t mind an opposing viewpoint. But sometimes rude and negative comments are shared.

It leaves me with a decision to make- Ignore the comment? Engage in a debate/argument? Or delete the comment? I know that I have the upper hand- I have the power to chose how I will engage. I take a day or two for my thoughts to deal with the negativity.

So how do you deal with negative people? Is it worth it to be a jerk to others just to engage in toxic behavior? Not for me.

Make Happiness

I work hard at making myself happy. What makes me happy may not make others happy in the same way. I also can’t force my happiness onto others.

I put my happiness first, as long as it doesn’t steal away from or hurt others. That’s important- don’t try and take someone else’s happiness in order to fulfill your own.

I’m happy. Really.

I hope you’re happy.

Hope

There’s a couple elections coming up. One big one in the USA that the world is watching. And one in our Canadian province of British Columbia- that most people don’t seem to notice. I will be voting locally, but thinking globally.

As for the US election- I hope that something good comes from it.

In fact HOPE is the most important factor for many of the citizens. HOPE for good health care. HOPE for education. HOPE for equality. HOPE for a strong economy. HOPE for a future.

I have hope that the right decisions will be made over the next few weeks. Canada lays out HOPE. In fact there’s even a town in BC called Hope. I often drive through it. In fact, I always joke that I’m “Beyond Hope” once I go passed. I don’t want North America to be “Beyond Hope”.

Please, go vote.

Foster The Feelings

My coworker and his girlfriend foster dogs from time to time. I told him if they ever got a Corgi to let me know. Turns out that a dog arrived in their care within a few days of my request. So yesterday they brought over this dog for us to meet.

Her name is Scarlet. as you can see- Not a pure bred Corgi. Nor is she a puppy. She is half Corgi/half Husky and about six years old. Immediately my kids were drawn to her. So we opted to have Scarlet stay with us for a week and see how things progress.

Well it seems that day one she has no qualms with Lex- our other dog. She is also finding it rather easy to just relax in our home. Her manners are impeccable and she has enjoyed hanging out with the family.

Scarlet has even chosen the bed she wants to sleep in. Turns out that Darwin and her have made a bond already. Having a dog on the furniture has always been a big no-no for me. But Scarlet has been really cute and it’s hard to say no.

After this week ends, we shall see what happens. But judging from the first day, we may just have a new member of the family joining us. I’m not quite sold on one thing about her though. Her name. She doesn’t seem like a Scarlet to me.

But if that’s the worst thing I can truly find about her, then that’s on me.

Halloween Costume 2020

Halloween 2020 is going to be more subdued than originally expected. Our son is going to his friend’s place for the evening and our middle is having a couple friends over to watch some horror films. Being that they are teenagers now, last year was pushing it for Trick-or-treating anyhow.

This year I am not planning on some elaborate Halloween costume. Last year was fun- Halloween 2019. I made a proton pack with my son for his costume. And I destroyed it with my Skesis costume. I’m not going to fall back on my favorite Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rick Sanchez or my Hudsucker Proxy costumes. I was pretty good in those ones- even acting the part as required.

No, this year I’m going as the actor behind the roles of horror long ago.

I’m wanting to do a tribute to the Late Great Vincent Price. And a bit of a throwback to my favorite image of him from The Muppet Show back in the late 70’s. I’ve picked up a jacket, just need to get an ascot!

For those of you who will see me over the next couple of weeks- forgive the mustache. And if anyone has a Kermit the Frog to lend me- I’d be indebted.

Coffee Talk

This morning I met with a friend that I haven’t seen in about a year and a half. I suggested we do what the older people in my neighborhood do. So we went for a breakfast up the road at the Co-Op and shared stories over a cheap meal and cheap coffee. Like a couple of old guys just being old guys meeting up.

The reason for our lengthy absence wasn’t evident nor important. Life just, uh, finds a way. And life gets busy. We were both still in contact through social media and the occasional text message. But meeting face to face is always different.

What could’ve been a quick meet up, turned into a three hour talk. Discussions about family, work, and even politics were on the table. A healthy back and forth, sharing the ups and downs as of late, and offering sage advice to one another. We both have similar outlooks on all of the above. Both of us aiming to stay positive and working towards just being better people.

After three hours together, it felt as if we hadn’t lost anything in our friendship. Those hours today only felt like a brief moment. A moment that I was surprised had lasted so long. I sense that our friendship won’t ever falter. Perhaps we can meet up more often as the world gets settled into a new lifestyle.

It was good to talk to that old friend as we acted like old guys. My advice- don’t be afraid to just drop a line to someone who mattered in your life. You never know when you both need to reconnect.

Victoria: Day 3- Walking

We started our final day in Victoria by walking around Canada’s oldest Chinatown. There were the typical shops filled with cheap knickknacks. It was most fun to just squeeze down the narrow alleyways and admire the brickwork of the buildings.

We tooled around the tourist part of downtown Victoria and stopped in at a bookstore followed by a macaron shoppe. Both places were greeted by our kids with enthusiasm.

On our drive back to the ferry terminal- we stopped at The Butchart Gardens. I always wanted to visit this place, but never made the time to do so. Unfortunately, because it is autumn- the garden was rather lackluster. I’m sure it is far more vibrant and lovely in the spring and summer when the rose garden is in full bloom.

I did enjoy walking through the Japanese Garden and the Italian Garden. The time of year was good for the fact that it wasn’t crowded. Perhaps one day I shall see it in the spring time. But it has taken me until ages 44 to go my first time, so there may not be a second time. Especially since there is so much more of the world to explore.

At the end of the day we got lucky and made it on a ferry an hour earlier than planned. All of our walking had made us very tired, so that hour made all the difference in our trip. I do look forward to visiting Victoria once again some day. I have always enjoyed traveling there.

Victoria: Day 2- Impressed by the Empress

On Sunday we booked High Tea at The Empress in Victoria for the family. Over the decades of traveling to Victoria- I’ve always wanted to see the inside of The Empress. My wife and I wanted to make this trip to Victoria special for our daughters. Our sixteen year old had never been here, and our eighteen year old needed a way to celebrate her high school graduation.

Walking into The Empress is overwhelming and intimidating. Every bit about it was elegant. From the piano player to the china with which our tea was served- posh is the word that comes to mind.

We did our part by dressing in our Sunday Best. The kids behaved in their best possible manners as well. We got some great photos with beautiful smiles.

My wife and I chose a Rose tea that was a favorite of Princess Diana. Our children each chose a flavour that matched their palette. The food which was served was decadent and delectable. We were presented with fabulous tea sandwiches and desserts.

This trip was probably the most extravagant experience we have ever shared as a family. From staying in the penthouse suite to experiencing a high tea- this weekend getaway was a one of a kind local journey.

Moments like these matter most to us. My wife and I hope that our children will talk about this in years to come.

Toy Action

My son decided that today he would take some action shots of his Star Wars toys and Lego Star Wars toys.

He set up numerous shots. He also worked in a bunch of techniques that made the toys look like they were truly telling a story. Here is a collection of a few of his favorite pictures:

He was having a great time while doing this. These images he took are fun. He plans on editing these, plus some of the others with a variety of filters. I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with.