Favorite Color

When I was a little child, my favorite color was not blue like most boys, but rather it was green. All because of a Tupperware cup. Ah Tupperware, the strange phenomenon in households from the 50’s through the 80’s. If you were a child of the 70’s/80’s you’d recognize Tupperware in almost everyone’s home.

I drank from the green cup all the time. I remember using it so much that the plastic coating around the lip began to wear off. I’d use my teeth to grind and shave into the plastic cup. I never cared to use the other cups.

By 1982 (I think?), I outgrew green as my favorite color. I began to like red more. As if a switch in my brain flipped. I blame the fact that my parents bought me an amazing Mongoose BMX bike.

It was red with a metallic sparkle to it with gold tire rims and foam pads to “protect” you from getting hurt by the handlebars or the crotch killer. It had a rock hard seat that I would rarely sit on. It was designed to keep you in an almost standing position. I wiped out on that thing a few times, including needing stitches one day on my way to school.

Then I entered awkward teenage years in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Everything was white with strange splashes of neon. As if a blank canvas was being used in the world to share simple images of Geckos or waves.

At some point in my late teenage years I started to like black. Some strange “Goth Phase” in the mid/late 90’s. I still try and buy black t-shirts, but with fun images on them now. I do prefer black clothes over any other color.

But I no longer have a favorite color. There is so much beauty in the world. All of the colors blend so nicely.

What’s your favorite color? Why?

My April Fools Joke

With everything going on in the world, it’s good to have some humor once in a while. And with today being April Fool’s Day, what better day to have some laughs? Since the kids are staying home due to the Covid19 epidemic, they have been enjoying not going to school. Time to change that.

I came home after my night shift at about 7am. I promptly went upstairs and woke up our two youngest teens. I told them they were late for school and it was time to get up. Naturally, they weren’t quite believing me as I rushed back down the stairs. A few seconds later, I hurriedly went back to their rooms and told them they had to get going.

My son rolled over in bed and flat out said, “There’s no school dad. Nice try.” My response was, “The school sent an email that it was back on.” And with that statement- it got him out of bed.

I kept them rushing around as I asked what they wanted for breakfast and in their lunches. Then I told them to pack their bags and instruments, because we were late for music class. That got my daughter confused and she rushed back upstairs. She passed my son as he was hurdling back down fully dressed. This must’ve lit a fire in her, because she was dressed and downstairs again within five minutes.

I had their breakfast at the table with a cup of coffee for each of them. I sat down across from them and joined them. That’s when my son asked about his other older sister and I lied saying she had to work and because of that commitment she would miss the first day back to school. My daughter then asked what’s going on. And I said, “It’s April First. You know what that means.”

You could see it click inside. “April Fools. Nice one dad.” And she laughed. My son complained that he should still be in bed for three more hours. At least I know now that the kids can hustle and be ready to leave in ten minutes.

This was a great “Dad Joke” April Fools Day prank.

Home. Home Again.

I like to be here when I can.

As much as I enjoy sharing about the adventures we take or have taken, I still enjoy having a home to rest my soul at. Being here a bit more frequently lately has made me appreciate what I do have.

Besides four walls and a roof to hold my stuff, I have a loving family. A family that remembers my birthday and Father’s Day. A family that will go out of their way to like the things I like in order to share moments with me.

In this home there are vestiges of each and every one of them. From pictures to artwork to trinkets- our collections share a story or a fond memory. I’m lucky that these reminders are around. They bring me joy.

That’s all I wanted to share with you. But I also used today’s blog as a friendly reminder to myself that I have an entire universe of love and kindness here in my home, even if I feel trapped.

Up Schitt’s Creek

All this time at home meant binge watching tv shows. I’m sure that it’s what everyone else is doing. Being told to not go out and socialize is a great excuse to stay in and watch Netflix! So here’s a couple that my family has enjoyed.

My kids have been watching Schitt’s Creek and have grown to love it. My wife and I have already seen the show and have deemed it appropriate enough for our teens to enjoy. It’s some good old fashioned Canadiana humor.

My wife and I have now watched the train wreck which is “Tiger King”. Holy smokes is this show bonkers. Just when you think it’s over, something new emerges. All of these people are levels of crazy that I did not think was possible. And it’s a DOCUMENTARY! Not like a “Flat Earthers” type of crazy or “Jackass” type of buffoonery. This is batshit insane what you see happening over the course of five years between these people.

Both shows contain mature content and languages. So not for the prudish or young. But both are entertaining in their own ways.

Have you seen either of these shows? What shows are you enjoying during isolation?

Back To Normal?

My vacation is ending today. I enjoyed my physical distancing of the rest of the world as I stayed home. I kept busy during my time off working around the house/yard. I also enjoyed the cooking and painting I accomplished while in seclusion.

Getting back to work after an extended time away is always challenging. There are changes to adapt to and hundreds of emails to read. Heading back to a “normal routine” during the epidemic feels a tad strange. Moving trains helps keep the goods flowing to the customers and places to keep the public supplied. I’ll still be practicing my physical distancing and extreme cleanliness.

Traveling to work and coming home will be the majority of my venturing into the wild during this COVID-19 crisis. I’m glad that for the next three weeks I’ll be working the night shift as well. It means far less people to interact with. Plus I get to sleep all day long.

Like one giant nap.

Shelley

A gift to my wife almost ten years ago.

Today I decided to do some painting. Not painting walls or doors this time, but rather something artistically inspired. For my birthday, I received some brushes and paints. Probably because I kept using our oldest daughter’s paints for ages and she was getting annoyed with it.

Two years ago, we were in Tokyo for the Cherry Blossoms.

I do enjoy painting. I love to share memories through my art. Usually I like to do scenes and scenery. Mainly of things that bring me joy.

Today I painted an image of a painting I used to see all the time as a child. My parents once owned an oil painting by an artist named “Shelley”. The original painting was large and cumbersome- at nearly 4 feet by 4 feet in size. I went through a bunch of old photos and pieced together the image I remembered so clearly.

I decided that I wanted this image hung in my home. Only on a smaller scale. After some research online, I discovered that “Shelley” did similar paintings, in the same fashion. With prices for the paintings ranging from $650-$1200.

Here is my painting inspired by “Shelley”. There’s something about the browns and yellows that I always liked on the original. As a child, I often laid on the couch staring at the painting. I understand why my parents sold the painting. It was rather large and clearly screamed 1970’s. It wouldn’t always compliment the walls or rooms of the houses we lived in. I think my parents got rid of it in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

The way the artist signed the painting we owned had a big impact on my written style. I usually write in capitals with straight edges on letters that would normally be curved. Such as the letter “S”. I also tend to use the lines to join the letter in my name like “EF” or “HA”. I only noticed this today when I began searching online for images of their art. It seems “Shelley” had a variety of signatures. But the one we had was the biggest impact to my development.

Does art inspire you? What makes good art memorable?

Spring Break Staycationing

The past few days I’ve been staying at home. Wednesday was the last time I ventured out. I had booked vacation time for this week because I knew the kids would be home for Spring Break. I did not know COVID-19 was going to be so widespread, thus requiring people to stay home.

It’s tough to feel cooped up that’s for sure. I’ve seen a lot on Instagram of people making the most of the situation. Many others are doing the same thing I’ve been doing for “Spring Break.”

Originally we were going to do some day trips around the Lower Mainland, and I was planning an overnight excursion to Victoria. Instead, I have taken the time to do touch ups to our home that are long overdue. Loads of yardwork, painting and decluttering. But visible progress has been made.

I’ve also enjoyed the extra time we are having together as a family. Making meals and having fun. I’ve been actively spending extra time with each member of the household. And not just making the kids do work, but actually having quality parenting time. I think a break amongst the hard work is necessary.

How are you coping with seclusion and physical distancing?

Temporary/Permanent Garage Shelter

Back in 2016 we bought a temporary shelter for our Honda Element. I put it up along the side of our home near the carport. And there it stood… until today.

We’ve been using it as extra storage for things like camping gear and outdoor Christmas decorations. I’ve also used it as a workspace for when I needed to set up some sawhorses and do some painting or building. It’s been extremely versatile. So we didn’t really want to get rid of it.

Instead, two of our children lay out the cover on the lawn and scrubbed the green film off the outside of it. I disassembled and reassembled the frame in its new location. The other side of the house. Which is a great location for this shelter.

We have a “dead space” on the side of our home that we have tried to utilize. We’ve set up a fire pit, a sitting area, even an herb garden- but it never lasted. Mostly because it is out of sight. So it’s a great spot for the temporary shelter. We moved the camping stuff, Christmas stuff and some other stuff that we don’t need out in the open. It’s a perfect storage spot.

It also made the front of our home have nicer curb appeal. Our daughter can park off to the side if she wishes. We can also access the backyard much easier once more.

All That Hard Work Will Make Our Home

Today the sun was shining and the weather was warm. It was the perfect day to clean the yard and the outside of our home.

Our son took on the task of adding some paint to their old playhouse. We use it as a garden shed now, but it can easily be converted back for play should young kids ever live here again.

Our middle child pulled out the lawnmower and gave the first mow of the season to the backyard. We have about half of our acre that needed a mow. The rest is mostly trees and bushes.

Our oldest enjoys pressure washing. With all the trees and dampness in our area- a lot of green shows up on cement and such. A deep cleaning at the start of the season will make for a good spring and summer.

At the end of the day, it feels like we’re only part way through. We’ll get there soon enough. And then we can relax enjoying nature and our home.

Planning For The Solitude

With everything going on in the world today, I have made a plan to keep our children busy. Go Joe!

Today I headed out and hit up the Home Depot for a pressure washer, some cleaning supplies, tools and paints. A $1000 later and I have enough projects to keep us busy for quite some time.

I also made a point of getting my haircut, an oil change and to pick up some old records. Those last three were in order to support small businesses during this tough time. With everyone rushing to buy toilet paper and pasta sauces, remembering that those small businesses rely on us now more than ever. These small businesses are also taking precautions to ensure healthiness. As well, I did my best to avoid touching stuff and sanitizing frequently.

Starting tomorrow, I don’t plan on leaving my house anytime soon. I am on a week of vacation that I was already planning on just staying home. We have enough food to keep us fed for nearly a month. But that’s how we have always been. We keep our freezer and pantry stocked at all times. Of course this could all change if required.

Like if I run out of beer. But I got a decent stockpile of cheap beer to keep me going.

Seriously though, I plan on not going out any more. Every place I went to today was pretty empty. And no one was rude or panicked. Let’s keep it that way please.

Cancel Those Beer Plans

I’m not one for going out on St. Patrick’s Day as it is, which is fine. It’s a fun type of celebration for many though. From plastic leprechaun hats to green beers- people love to have a raucous of a time today.

With today being St. Patrick’s Day, it would normally be filled with people going out and having a good time. But due to the recent pandemic, it is recommended that people stay away from large gatherings. Sadly this may mean no green beers in the pub. The world needs a touch of good luck, but we seem to have a No Leaf Clover kind of day. Hopefully things get better before they get worse.

If you are still going to celebrate with some beer- do it safely from the comfort of your own home. Maybe Skype or FaceTime some friends instead. Practice that new buzz term- Social Distancing. As I’ve gotten older, I enjoy Social Distancing already. So, here’s my virtual clinking of a glass to you-

Cheers!

Inspired Art

Yesterday was my birthday. And while it wasn’t what you’d call a “Milestone Birthday” it was still memorable and caring.

Going to work wasn’t special that’s for certain. A couple coworkers wished me a happy birthday, which was nice. There are was no “Office Cake” which I am glad about. I’m not much of a sweets fan. At home, I did receive a cake. Sort of. It was an oversized cream puff that reminded my family of our trip to Tokyo a couple of years ago. But the cake wasn’t the gift. The gifts was my daughters handmade artwork they felt symbolizes who I am.

My youngest daughter painted 28:06:42:12 on a canvas for me. (On the back is a lovely paragraph written with uplifting comments by my daughter. That brought a tear to my eye.) For the past decade I have posted that image on Instagram or Facebook as a countdown to The Ides of March- March 15- my birthday. Many of my connections and friends see it as a “Donnie Darko” reference. Which it is. But I’m also a bit self centered and love to make people think about what the countdown is for.

My older daughter chose to go simplistic with an iconic “Running Man” image from Intellivision. The kids know I’m excited about the Amico system coming out this fall. Naturally this image means more to me than most folks. It is a great piece of imagery in my opinion. A change of colour and size symbolizing growth over the years.

I love that my children feel that my passions and joys can bring inspiration to their art. And that they want to relive those passions in art they give me. That is the greatest gift- knowing I’m a muse to my children.

2020 44

March 15,1976: A self proclaimed hero was born in Halifax Nova Scotia. He came screaming into the world not knowing what was in store for him. Except naps. Lots of naps. Little did he know that his adventures would continue to the other coast of the country.

Here he is, 44 years later. A hero to his family, friends and coworkers. His superpowers include hyper kindness, magnified positivity, ultra attentive listening, and height. All of which he tries to showcase regularly. All of which makes him more than just a man.

He has a loving wife and kids. A good job with good pay. Friends who reach out and show that they care as well. Looking at his life- he should be happy. And he is. Today is his birthday and it marks one more revolution around the sun. One more notch on his superhero belt.

I couldn’t feel super if it wasn’t for everybody in my life. Thank you everyone for always being gracious and fun. that’s the best gift I can get on a daily basis.

Stay Home- Early Start To Spring Cleaning

Next week, I have a week of vacation. We won’t be going anywhere due to the things going on in the world. So I’m going to get a jump start on Spring Cleaning! Or rather- I’ll make lists and get the kids to do most of it!

Except for today. Today I took advantage of a couple of hours of decent weather and filled six yard waste cans. No kids, no hassles, just me and the front yard. The wintertime always make the yard look bleak.

But when spring hits- Hoo boy. Our yard gets green and full of life. Which is good because the growth helps to hide the weeds and fallen branches that we neglect to pick up. Rarely do we need to buy any plants as it all comes back each year. Super awesome!

The fresh air and a bit of solitude will do the family some good. We’ve been busy with speed skating and graduation planning that this Spring Break is needed. No big plans, but some quality time outside (weather permitting of course) or we dust and wash the windows and floors inside.

Something to pass the time instead of just saying that we are avoiding the world.

Spread ‘Em!

My go-to breakfast of choice is the one, the only, the crowd favorite- TOAST!

Powdered Toast Man-
The Breakfast Superhero!

Okay, maybe it’s not the greatest breakfast in the world. But it is so easy to make. Slice of bread goes in the toaster, toasted bread comes out. It’s one of life’s little miracles. And it’s a regular staple in my home.

The most pertinent question remains for said toast. What do you put on it? Jam? Jelly? Marmalade? Butter? I’m a big fan of most spreads. Strawberry jam, citrus marmalade, or even Nutella!!!

My usual is peanut butter and honey. I love how the peanut butter gets a bit melty and super smooth. Spread some liquid honey on that and I’m in heaven. It’s the simple pleasures in life that make me happy. I’m easy like Sunday morning.

What is your spread of choice? Are you a jam or jelly type? Or perhaps you like the toast dry? No judging here!

Women’s Day 2020

Previously I’ve mentioned how amazing some of the women in my life are. Including last year’s International Women’s Day. Every year, I become more and more proud of my wife and daughters.

My wife is a shining example of a great woman. She is loving and caring towards all of us. Many times she is sacrificing her time in order to benefit the family. Without her, I could not imagine a life as wonderful as I have now.

Our oldest daughter is working hard towards finishing high school. Twice a week she is a junior coach for our speed skating club. She also works for 1 Fish 2 Fish– a fish market in Langley. She works with a bunch of other women, all of whom are fantastic customer service representatives and extremely knowledgeable about seafood. They are led by another great lady who has run the business for two decades now.

Our middle child also does junior coaching at Langley Blades Speed Skating. Last month she went to Fort St. John BC Winter Games as a Young Official. She was an amazing asset to the team and loved volunteering her time there. She also pushes her abilities at school with great success.

These are the three women who matter most to me. I’m proud of their individual success stories. It’s also good to see that they are strong, assertive leaders. Our daughters will continue to grow and prosper over the years.

What women are you proud of in your life?

More Than Expected

When I started this daily blog Four Years Ago, my goal was to share about my life and experiences. I use my blog as a way to capture memories and hopefully influence positivity. I was happy and content with friends and family reading up about our lives. But something much more expansive occurred.

Gaining and earning “Followers” is a great feeling. Strangers have become friends- offering “Likes” and “Comments”. All of which have been positive and endearing. When I receive a new “Follower” I check to see what they blog about. Many times I end up following them as well. Everything from DIY to travel blogs.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Thank You for reading! I appreciate it. I hope that you find some solace in reading about my journey on this planet. And of course, always feel free to share my stories with others as you see fit.

Feeling Cornered

The sun was shining extra bright this morning. It added a glow through the windows into our home. This glow brought me joy. So I took a couple of pictures. Pictures of corners.

I miss photography. There’s nothing “special” about this photo of our window looking into the backyard. But it is filled with artsy attributes. Leading lines, rule of thirds, and natural framing. Plus there’s sunshine adding to the natural lighting. A feeling of happiness was brought to me post-night shift.

Because I worked a night shift, it was time to go to bed. In our bedroom the blinds were closed and the bedside lamp was on. So I took another photo of the corner of this room. This corner is directly above the lower floor where I took the first picture. Again, I took a picture of leading lines and rule of thirds. Only this time before I went to sleep, I manipulated the photo with some Instagram filters.

The different effects are neat and really change what the camera sees. Of course, I’m only using my iPhone for these images. I still love photography and enjoy taking artsy style shots from time to time. I just can’t bring myself to purchasing an expensive camera in order to take amazing pictures. So I have to settle on what my eye sees, what my phone can capture, and what quick manipulation an app can make.

Do you enjoy photography with your smartphone? If you want to see more of my pictures, follow me on Instagram at BinaryDigit01.

If Life Seems Jolly Rotten…

There’s something you’ve forgotten.

And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.

I’ve always enjoyed Monty Python since I was a teenager. And ever since then I can remember quoting their songs, tv show bits and movies. What I find beautiful about that style of comedy is that they can make fun of the reality we live in and endure, but bring a smile and laugh to the audience.

Of course some of the songs seem pointless and ridiculous. While others try and cheer you up. Some of the humor pokes fun at the government and that in itself is timeless- “Help! I’m being repressed!

And yeah, lately life has been a bit tough. Lots of stresses being placed on me and the members of my family. From work to school to speed skating and beyond- it’s not always easy to get through each day. But I try. We try. Finding bits of joy and humor helps a lot. Monty Python wit is appreciated.

So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth!

Oddly Satisfying Videos

There are times when I still get sucked into social media for hours on end. I don’t really know how or why. But I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

I sometimes fall down a rabbit hole of “ODDLY SATISFYING VIDEOS”. Everything from wood turning to glass blowing to brick stacking. Seeing those menial tasks that people do on a regular basis bring me joy. especially when they’re good at what they do.

I also watch these videos muted. I prefer to read captions and not listen to the generic music used. I do find that if I listen to the videos I don’t watch as many. So maybe that’s a catch 22. I should turn the volume up and not watch as many.

Do you enjoy “ODDLY SATISFYING VIDEOS”?

Roaring Good Time

Last night was a Fundraiser for our oldest’s Dry Grad coming up in June. It was a dance with a 1920’s Prohibition Theme. The parents who attended went all out making the dance a memorable and fun event.

The ladies dressed in 1920’s era outfits. The men wore suits with suspenders and bow ties. My wife and I included.

My wife and I enjoyed the night out. We had a ton of fun taking pictures and being ridiculously 1920’s. It looked like the school was going to earn quite a bit of money for the the Grade 12 Dry Grad.

It’s great to have fun and let loose. Themed costume parties are also amazing when everyone participates. Last night was no exception.

An Extra Day?!!

Hooray for leap years! We get an extra day to enjoy every four years. Luckily for us this year it’s on a Saturday. That means… honestly it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just another day of the week.

February 29th is most important to those who were born on that day. I had an ex-girlfriend in high school who was born on February 29th. We joked that she was only turning 4. But as all leap year babies go, they usually celebrated on February 28th. And if people forgot about their birthday, March 1st was the back up.

What are you doing with the extra day this year? Does February 29th mean anything to you?

Parent Volunteering

This afternoon I was with some of the Grade 12 parents as we prepared for tomorrow night’s festivities. There is a Speakeasy going on in Fort Langley as a fund raiser for the Dry Grad.

There were tons of props made already. Parents of Fine Arts students are equally as artistic as the children who attend the school. I’m glad to be a part of it all.

I was assisting with some painting and cooking. There is tons of finger foods and hors d’oeuvres for tomorrow’s dance. I enjoyed cooking on a gas stove once more. As we made food and props, we also enjoyed some music and some beverages.

Laughing and talking with other parents about our kids was great. We all have the same goal and want the best for our kids. Doing a Fund Raiser that also allows parents to have fun is a good way to break the ice and make memories for the parents (and later in the year- the teens).

Being a volunteer parent should be a mandatory job. I had nothing but fun with the mothers over the past few months and leading up to this afternoon. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night.

BCIT

Yesterday our oldest daughter received the news that she made it into BCIT School of Business for Television and Video Production . She has been striving to get into this course for ages. Last month she also worked on hitting the prerequisite ahead of time by taking an online course offered at BCIT. This was her first Post Secondary course (she’s still in Grade 12) and her first opportunity to learn how the workload would be. Our daughter was bouncing with joy when she learned that she’d be one of the limited students for September’s intake.

Needless to say, we are really happy for her. Over the past couple of years she has been focusing a lot of her attention to working behind the camera. My wife and I are really happy that she attends the Fine Arts School where she gets an opportunity to use high end video equipment and software. Mind you, our daughter hasn’t strayed from her original major- music, so it’s nice to see her artistic abilities come alive.

Our daughter is a lot like me and can dissect a show or movie to its bare bones. We often share thoughts and dialogue about cinematography and filming in general. This is my connection with her, and I love it. I wish nothing but continued success in her endeavors as she grows into a young adult.

The course at BCIT is a full time two year program with a diploma. Once she completes the course, she will be able to work throughout “Hollywood North” as Vancouver is always a booming industry. If she wants to continue or expand her studies, she has talked about going to Capilano University for relevant courses. My hope is that she gets work doing what she loves and continues to love the work she does.

The Window Seat

My wife was kind enough to allow me to take the window seat for BOTH flights in and out of Fort. St. John. To me it’s kind of a big deal. I’m 6’8” with long legs. Usually I sit in the aisle and stretch out a bit. I also take the aisle seat so I can walk around during a flight.

This last set of flights were short enough that I could cram myself into the edge of the seat against the wall. I took a bunch of photos. Many of which turned out blurry. But I managed to capture some beauty of our province.

I love night time photos. The city lights on the ground showing the hustle and bustle of life below. We also sat at the tail end of the wings both times, so some of my photos were obscured by parts of the plane. We all know what it’s like to look out those tiny port windows.

But I think that adds to the reality of the journeys. I still find the magic in the reality of flying. Here we are thousands of feet in the air in a floating metal box while life goes on below us. Most of us forget that planes zoom above us everyday, carrying thousands of people to their destinations.

Within a few days, I’ll be there as well. Completely forgetting that I was up in the air, enjoying the window seat for the first time since childhood.