joie de vivre

My wife and I are filled with exuberant enjoyment of life. Yesterday afternoon we had some friends over and had a great time just living life. Loads of laughs, drinks and food. Being able to share our yard and home always brings me joy.

Megan catching me chilling in the pool.

When having fun like we had, I forget to take pictures. My iPhone was being used for music all evening, so I rarely got up to look at it. In fact, by the end of the afternoon- we were all interacting so much that our phones were essentially forgotten about.

Today is another afternoon of lounging. This time just my wife and I are going to float around and recover. Next weekend will be much of the same- as we will be celebrating our anniversary with friends once more.

I always love to open our home up for entertaining. Many an invite goes out to various friend groups. Not everyone can make it out, but when the do- we are filled with a joie de vivre.

Looking Towards The Long Weekend

I have one more night to go until my weekend. The weekend is just my regular three day weekend, but it’s a long weekend for many of our friends. With that being said, it looks like there will be some more beautiful weather in store for Friday to start us off!

My wife has arranged for a couple of our friends to join us in floating around the pool. That is pretty much the extent of the plan. Float in the pool and relax with a drink in hand. It’s hard to want to leave this house and do stuff elsewhere since it’s our little slice of paradise. I’m always game for lounging at home doing nothing but relaxing.

If you have plans for the up coming Long Weekend, make sure you stay safe. Hydration, sun screen, and be smart about drinking alcohol. Have an eye on the roads for groups of children as they tend to get together and let loose as well- sometimes not paying attention to traffic.

Working Summer Nights

The first heatwave has passed us by. As much as I enjoyed lounging by the pool (bit did I ever enjoy that!) I was able to combat the heat in other ways. We had our heat pump serviced last week and the technician gave us some advice on running the AC in order to keep the unit lasting longer.

We also keep the blinds down when the sun is hitting the windows. As well, we keep doors cans windows closed. The ceiling fans are on low in order to circulate the cool air. The comfort level in our home is perfect. So comfortable in fact that it makes it easy for me to sleep during the day.

That’s because my favorite way to battle the summer heat is to work at night. Yeah, night shifts aren’t fun, but the cool evening air and light breeze makes work so much better. When I was a switchman, I worked nights quite regularly in the summer in order to avoid bugs and the heat. I know not everyone has that option in working and outside job- but if you can- I recommend summer nights for working.

Since most folks work normal hours, remember to stay cool and hydrated! Even stuffy offices should be a comfortable place to work at.

Keeping Positive Vibes

I hear the phrase, “It is what it is.” Whenever there is something bad happening in life that you can’t control. It’s not a favorite phrase of mine, so I try not to use it- but I know I have from time to time. The other phrase that gets me is “At the end of the day…” The end of the day comes, well, daily. But I want to counter it with a new one.

“Oh well. Whatever happens, happens.” No matter what each day brings us, we are just should just chill out and breathe deep. Let the world continue on its merry way, and not get bothered by it. Here’s how I let that happen: I know what I’m working towards and enjoy why I do what I do.

Last night I was at work and my wife sent me a beautiful view of the sky from our home. The thought that our home is a mere thirty five minutes away from work keeps me going. Having views like this are some of the reasons why I go to work. Not bringing the stress home is also important. “Let it be.” As the Beatles sang.

What do you work towards? Do you try your best to let “whatever happens, happen?” Or do you try and gain control over things that are out of your control? Lastly, what are you working towards? Does it make you happy?

Summer Nights By The Pool

The last couple of days have been scorchers. The heat hitting 30°C yesterday and later today. All afternoon on Saturday, we took advantage of the pool and shade from the gazebo. A few friends stopped by to join us- which is always nice.

By 10:30pm it was just the family remaining. As the night started to settle on us, we stayed warm with the fire pit and a couple of blankets. By midnight, my wife put out the fire and I had fallen asleep. I woke up around 3am and headed inside. It was so comfortable outside that if it wasn’t for my allergies, I’d have slept through the night out there.

I’m looking forward to more days and nights like that one. Where friends and family can come by and relax with us. Hooray for summer making its appearance!

Furry Critters

Leaving our acre last year, I thought we would be seeing less wildlife as we hit the Suburbs. I was wrong. But at least we haven’t encountered any rats or raccoons.

The furry creatures are really tiny and almost seem lost. We had a baby hare hanging out under our deck. It wasn’t scared of me at all as I approached it to get a picture. In fact, it seemed as intrigued by me as I was of it.

The other little fellow that appeared the next day was a field mouse. It decided to cool off in our pool. I caught it swimming and then jumping onto our solar pool rings. Getting him out of the pool wasn’t too tough. I used our net and then released it back into the field behind our property. Maybe in the heatwave, it will return for a quick dip.

Of course our dog is often watching for wildlife as well. Generally she keeps the little creatures away, including cats. If she sees a coyote in the back field, she lets them know to stay away with incessant barking. Sometimes she does it from inside our home; other times she is in the backyard doing a proud stance on one of our rocks as she howls.

The wildlife is different in the ‘Burbs. Aside from the couple cute furry critters, it’s usually birds out and about. Most of the time I see hawks, owls, hummingbirds and a large assortment of other birds.

I have a feeling I will become a bird watcher pretty quick and start to get books and binoculars to view them.

Red Carpet Grad 2022

Tonight we are at the Grad Dinner and Dance for Darwin. Prior to the meal was a “Red Carpet” event. The graduates went to the school, and walked out the front doors for the last time.

The teens had a beautiful day for some outdoor photos. A friend of ours took some fantastic shots with a professional camera which will be sent to us later. I grabbed as many as I could with my cellphone.

Most of the pictures I will be sending to Darwin so they can share with their friends. I did get a few that were fun for us to enjoy. The afternoon was filled with smiles and laughter. Keeping with the high energy, we headed out to the Grad Dinner and Dance.

I took a few minutes to write my blog while the kids shared some more photos and had more laughs before the elegant evening began. It was great to see them mingle and you could sense the relief from a long hard road they went on to get here.

Now we feast!

First Day Of Summer

It sure hasn’t been feeling like summer has wanted to start this year. All the rain and grey skies have made it feel as though we were in a second January. A “June-uary” as I have heard it called.

But today is the first day of summer! The Summer solstice is upon us. The longest amount of daylight to be had for the year. With it brings the hopeful warm weather.

The second half of this week it will finally feel as though we are hitting the temperatures we are meant to enjoy. I look forward to hanging out with friends in the backyard and cooling off in the pool with an ice cold beverage. Afternoon siestas are also a favorite of mine. Especially done outdoors with the warmth of the day blowing in as I fall asleep in the shade.

Are you looking forward to summer finally arriving? Remember to Wear Sunscreen.

One Year…

What a difference a year can make. For us, we have lived in our current home for one year now.

Castle Havelka

It was difficult to leave our other home. We had created some many memories while living there. We also did numerous changes on a regular basis to the house and yard. Yet somehow, it never felt as if it would end. Moving was the only way we could start with a clean slate and figure out what we really want in a home.

Kingdom Havelka

I never thought owning a pool would be high up on the list of what we wanted in a home. Yet now I can’t think to live somewhere without a pool. Trading the trees for open views has greatly helped with feeling better and happy thoughts. We are taking in more sunshine than ever before. My wife even commented on my glow the other day. I feel rejuvenated on a regular basis.

As summer approaches tomorrow, I continue to look forward to spending time outside. Relaxing by the pool. Watching sunsets. Sharing quality time with friends. Food and drink beside the pool…

I loved our previous home for the memories we created, but I love the one we are in because of the memories to come. In one year a lot has happened already. If we do another 15-20 years here, who knows what else this home will have in store.

The Queens

Today was a day of moving beds around. Two were dismantled and another was built. Not too shabby of a day. I even had some help without much prodding.

First I took apart the queen sized bed that our oldest was using. It had been all but forgotten about in my wife’s front office. We are going to put the bed and frame into storage until our oldest needs it. All the pieces from the frame are together and I labeled each part just in case they need to reassemble it on their own.

After I dismantled that bed, I moved onto our middle child’s bed. They had been using a twin frame that was originally from a bunk bed. It was a solid pine wood bed and will last forever. So that bed is going into storage as well for the time being. Basically until one of our kids has kids…

Once that bed was out of the bedroom, it was time to build a new bed frame. We had bought a queen sized frame, mattress and blanket set as a graduation gift for our middle. At first they were worried that the bed would take up too much space. But in the end, it was a perfect balance of space needed so they could still have all of their friends (aka stuffed toys) sleeping over. Especially the Hello Kitty stuffies and accessories.

I’m glad that our kids are growing up, yet staying youthful at heart. A new bed and frame will push them into adulthood, but with a good nights sleep to get them there.

Finding Shade

Since we bought a home that has limited trees compared to our last home, I have been enjoying the sunshine. I have taken a few hundred photos of the landscape, sky and the sun. I have enjoyed it immensely.

But we have little to no shade in the yard. So we bought a patio umbrella last summer. We also assembled a Gazebo back in March and placed a patio set underneath for socializing.

But our dog has found solace under a bush we have near the pool. It’s funny because I trimmed it just yesterday. She loves the shade and spent hours laying there this afternoon. Even with my music playing next to her- she hardly stirred.

Sure, I write about finding shade, yet local weather has been far from normal these days. But as summer slowly approaches- I know that the family (pets included) will need these spaces to cool off from the summer sun.

Do your pets try and find shade in unique places, perhaps your kids do. Let me know in the comments how you keep cool in the summer. (When it arrives…)

4-7-8

People often wonder how I can fall asleep so quickly. Especially being able to do it any time of day. It has come in handy working shift work. I must have learned this technique decades ago. I have become a master of it.

It’s the 4-7-8 breathing technique, or also known as relaxing breath. It’s extremely easy.

Breathing in for 4 seconds.

Holding your breath for 7 seconds.

Exhaling for 8 seconds.

I do this a few times and focus on the counting and breaths- letting all other distractions fall by the wayside. I can be out cold in under a minute. I have done it on airplanes, trains, and road trips without fail. I use this technique every time I go to bed.

The ability to quickly fall asleep has benefited me numerous times. I can dart away for a quick nap and be awake again before anyone notices I’m gone. This has helped me at social events after a night shift on more than one occasion.

Try the technique for yourself a few times. It’s also really good for when anxiety tries to strike while your laying in bed at night.

Have a good sleep.

Sunshine And Lifestyle

I’m not sure I can trust the weather app or the meteorologists anymore. This weekend was supposed to rain everyday with almost 50-90% each hour. I was ready to get upset. But they were wrong.

The last two days I have absolutely taken advantage of the sunshine. The pool is sparkling clean and the fields are lush behind us. I have floated around for hours on end listening to music and just appreciating the world. As they say- Living my best life.

But because of the uncertainty of the weather, we haven’t invited anyone over to share our slice of paradise with. I really want my friends to come and hang out. Having the space and wanting to share our happiness is one of the best things we could do. When you have more than you need- build a longer table, not a higher fence.

Blue Once More

After a week and a half of frustration- our pool is back to normal. Loads of chemicals, scrubbing and vacuuming made our pool usable once more.

The algae is finally gone! At one point our pool was vibrantly green and it felt as though it would never change. Today I did a quick scrub and a vacuum to get the remaining algae off the sides and corners. A little bit of careful elbow grease and patience went a long way. I really don’t want to deal with algae again.

With the weather showing us some sun this evening- it was a great opportunity to jump in the pool and relax. I could do that aspect anytime!

Now I’m ready for summer to commence!

Week End to the Weekend

I’m not sure where my days off disappeared to. But they are gone. Now it’s Saturday night and I’m ready for bed. The work week begins early the next day.

I honestly didn’t do much with my time off. And as much as I wanted to do even less- I had a few chores that needed attention: Cleaning the pool, making meals, dying my kid’s hair, fixing a leaky roof… all I wanted was a day in my pajamas to do nothing.

Sometimes when I’m having desires of nothing- I’ll take a bath and read a book. Alas, I did not do that either. Yet somehow, my weekend is over. I did nothing. Just not the nothing I wanted to do.

On the bright side- there’s always next weekend. More time to do nothing. Let’s see if I can accomplish that.

Slow Love

I first met my wife a little over 22 years ago. On our first date, we set our wedding day based on numbers with both like. Within a couple of weeks, I told her I was falling in love. within months we were engaged. Thirteen months after meeting, we were married.

Life and love was a whirlwind adventure. We made moves together that benefited us long term. Kids were quickly in our lives. We tried to budget, but bought a house and a new car. My wife was a stay at home mother. She did a few part time jobs. I was still gaining ground on where my career would take me. Money was tight for years… Until last year. Somehow we took out a million dollar mortgage and our money woes are behind us (hopefully permanently). Don’t ask me how, but our mortgage payments are easier to handle compared to the credit card debts we once held.

Taking love slow. Snailed it!

Nowadays my wife and I are re-kindling our love. It’s a slow go, but we are finally able to focus on ourselves. Our kids are starting to grow up and explore independence. The two of us are going on much needed vacations together without the teens also.

What I like most about the changes- we are still in love, and slowing falling more in love each day. As each day, week, month and year passes- I am glad to have found a partner who makes me happy every time I see her. Somehow the slow down of our life together has been a glorious change. The rest of our lives are busy still, but there is an end in sight for that aspect.

Soon it’ll just be the two of us taking it easy and falling in love all over again

World In My Hand

Back in the 90’s I bought a t-shirt. I wore it regularly. I even had a medallion that fit perfectly against it. Last night, I put that shirt back on for the first time in years.

As faded as the image is, I still love the shirt. Having flashbacks to my late teenage years and the fun times we had. I believe that all of those crazy times helped me to navigate through shift work as well. All nighters playing video games and wandering the streets definitely messed up my sleep patterns.

More than just memories of a t-shirt. Smoking cigarettes and other things that I thought would not harm me- I’d live forever. But the image on my shirt also reminds me of music.

Music that I enjoyed in my youth that resonated in my soul. I wore this shirt to many a nightclub and watching late night jam sessions. Lyrics that hit differently now than they once did.

“Man was born to love
Though often he has sought
Like Icarus, to fly too high.
And far too lonely than he ought
To kiss the sum of east and west
And hold the world at his behest
To hold the terrible power
To whom only gods are blessed
But me, I am just a man”

I love my t-shirt. And after thirty years, it’s still all about what I see in me. The world is in my hand. A showcase of what is yet to come. Get ready for it.

Back In The Dark

Recently my iPhone had an update. For some reason this update changed the settings on my Facebook app. I went from “Dark Mode” back to regular blinding white.

Naturally I changed it back. But I don’t know why I chose to do this. I also don’t know why I chose Dark Mode for my phone a few years ago. It was probably the novelty of it at first. But now I prefer not having bright white screen to view.

As I switched back my Facebook app to Dark Mode, I was curious if maybe I should try normal mode for a while and see if I like it. Perhaps it would feel like having a piece of new technology in my hands. Although that may only last a short time. Or eventually I wouldn’t notice and it would be fine.

I may change off Dark Mode later this evening. But for now, I’ll be sleeping during the daylight wishing for darkness.

One Week Makes A Difference

Last week we were having a great time hanging out by the pool. A bit of swimming and hanging out in the sun. This week, not so much. The weather has been rainy and icky.

On Thursday morning I was going to vacuum the pool, but a torrential downpour trapped me for a bit inside the pool shed. I decided to make a dash back towards the house and figured I’d wait for a day or two before trying to clean the pool again.

In those two days, the pool got a crazy growth of algae inside it. Our pool that was crystal clear last weekend was now emerald green like a lake. Oh dear. Last night I shocked the pool. Today I vacuumed what I could of the algae. Then I added some algaecide and some granulated chlorine to bring the levels back to normal.

Now it’s a waiting game. It would’ve been nice to take a dip in the pool before work, but not now. The algae reminded me that I need to remember to shock the pool once a week in order to keep the green stuff at bay. By the end of my work week, it should be better. If not- time for the professionals to get called in.

Much Needed Nap

Today I took a nap. It was really needed. Working nights and swapping into doing stuff during the day- takes its toll on me.

Our couch was the perfect spot to squeeze out an hour of zzz’s, or so I hoped. Albeit not as peaceful as I hoped. The robot vacuum was on, people were putting away dishes and working in the kitchen, and lots of walking around talking at normal volume.

It was as though my nap was offensive in some way to the rest of my family. It seems they still don’t get it when I work night shift that can’t just switch it off and go back to being a normal human on my days off. I have another week of nights to go, so inverting my sleep schedule doesn’t make sense.

But I tried to nap. Good thing my wife and I are going out tonight, I have a feeling I’d be a bit grumpier if it was just the two of us. I’ll do my best to be aware of my emotions tonight. Being exhausted can be just as bad as being hungry.

I like napping, and haven’t done as much as I once did. That’s okay, but I think it’s time to change that.

Glass Glowing

I love glasswork. Finding special pieces that we can display is always fun. But now that we have the sun setting in our backyard everyday- those glass pieces just light up.

We have a couple of items that hang outdoors. My favorite being an orange glass ball that is made to mimic a hot air balloon. Fun fact: my wife and I flew in a hot air balloon nearly 15 years ago and went straight past the house we are in now. The ball is technically candle holder, but the natural sunlight looks fantastic passing through.

We also have a few glass pieces that are on a couple of upper window ledges in our living room. They add a nice colour to the room as the sun sets. We do have a few more pieces in our kitchen above the cabinets. But those are mostly glasses and a couple bottles- they don’t get much sunlight.

A part of me would love to have a stained glass window, but I know that is we did- we’d be missing out on the beautiful sunsets. And we can’t have that. The views are the biggest reason we bought this home. So in the end, a few small knickknacks placed strategically are just as pretty.

Enjoy It

This weekend has been the one we have been waiting for. The sun is shining, the grass is green, and the pool is ready.

Over the past couple of days, we have enjoyed the swimming pool. Today is going to be no exception. We are planning on hanging out with our downstairs tenants and sipping on some beverages. Taking advantage of the weather whenever we can is the goal.

Being neighborly is important as well. We enjoy having company over and plan on visitors coming by throughout the summer. Getting along with those around us is paramount. We are past the stage of loud parties, but I still enjoy my music playing.

Reach out and we will have you over this summer on a Friday or Saturday. Just remember to bring the sunscreen and a snack to share!

Excited For Disneyland

Even though we don’t head to Disneyland for a few more months, I’m getting very excited for it. It seems as though everything is pointing to a wonderful vacation.

Yesterday I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school- the sun was starting to come out. As it did, my watch reflected onto my visor; creating an all too familiar image. The iconic Mickey Mouse ears.

Naturally it made me feel jovial and happy. The previous trips were a blast. Each one was slightly different- creating new memories and unique experiences for all of us. Our future trip is looking almost like a whole new experience as well.

We will get to travel to the Star Wars inspired portion of the park: Galaxy’s Edge– finally after three years of anticipation and excitement. Plus there’s a whole new Marvel inspired land that will be a fun experience for all of us.

But there’s also the normal fun we love to have every trip. Turkey legs, Dole Whip, parades,shopping, rides, meeting characters… the list goes on and on. It’s just such a magical experience each and every time. This next time around, we are bringing a person who has never been to Disneyland. So we will get to see the joy and wonderment through their eyes as we hit up all the fun spots and secrets we have learned over the years.

Do you ever get signs of things to come? Does it make you excited? Let me know in the comments.

Friendaversay

23 years ago I started a job at the Colossus Movie Theater. I had so desperately wanted to work at a theater for my teenage years but never had the chance. At age 23 I finally got the opportunity. It was as if my life waited for the moment to arrive. I wasn’t a teenager anymore- so I was needing to find a friend closer to my age.

Within the first few days of working at the theater, I made friends with a fellow named Matt. We have been through so much together over the last two decades (and more). Matt is one of the few people who really knows my struggles. He has been a great ally as we been Theory navigated relationships and fatherhood.

On this day, 23 years ago, the theater opened. Star Wars Episode 1 was released. All of us were excited to be working there. My new friend-Matt dressed as a Storm Trooper. Freakin’ cool… Matt became a close friend.

After all these years, I’m happy to have started at Colossus and create the friendships I needed. It was almost exactly half my lifetime ago when this started. Better than high school- life was great back then. And it started me on the journey I needed to be on to get where I am today.

Those friendships from Colossus were important to me. I watched these friends succeed over the years and create lives that were challenged, yet amazing. Half my life has been involved with watching them and being a part of their lives. I’m happy to have made such great friends over the years. From those friends, I made more friends. A never ending life of kindness and fun.

Thank you Matt for being the close friend of mine that I needed. You have been an important part of my life, and I appreciate you.

Change In Weather Attitudes

I mentioned previously about wind storms and the havoc it once reigned on our lives. The chaos that the wind would cause. The destruction and mess that it would leave behind for us to clear up. And the fear that a branch or tree would come crashing down.

Today was another windstorm. And as it continues, I am glad to have moved from our previous house. My wife is also getting over those bouts of weather induced anxiety. She was even able to joke about it earlier.

I’m glad she was able to find humor finally after decades of calamity and fear. It also seems that this windstorm is doing its best to get rid of the cold weather we have had these past few weeks and months.

As of late, I have been wanting warmer weather to approach. This weekend, I may get my wish to come true. We are expecting some sun and higher temperatures that we have yet to feel this season. I look forward to lounging in the backyard and having fun doing so.

As a man, I want to get everything done so I can have nothing left to do. I just want to do nothing in the sun. Just experience it. The warmth on my face, the red hue behind my closed eyelids, and the sensation of the world being at rest and comforting.