Bonsai

I have always wanted a Bonsai. I tried to make one about 15 years ago, but I failed miserably. Mainly because I didn’t put in the care and effort needed to keep it alive. So why not try again..? I am using this as a zen inspired activity. Keeping it watered and trimmed from time to time will help to calm and relax.

I picked up a small juniper since they are the heartiest and easiest to form. I took it out of the plastic pot and planted it into a new clay pot. Unfortunately the pot I do have is a tad large for the roots. A healthy bonsai needs to have the roots trimmed as well as the branches. Unless I want the tree to grow fairly large. So another transplant may occur by the end of summer. We’ll see how it does.

Then came the time to trim away almost everything. A bit of wire was used to help form the branches. This is just the start of my bonsai. Keeping it trimmed and cared for will be ongoing for the remainder of my time. And a desperate hope to keep it alive…

Wish me luck in my Zen Adventure.

River Day

Today my boss took myself and a coworker out in his boat. We were going to attempt to do some white sturgeon fishing. We left at 9am to hit the Mighty Fraser River. Once on the River, we weighed anchor about a half dozen times in hopes to catch something.

The first spot we stopped at had plenty of harbor seals swimming around. We were sure it would be the best spot. No such luck. So we set off to find another location.

Even with a sonar and some fresh bait- the fish weren’t biting. About three hours into our day- we decided to have some lunch and a couple of beers. Why not enjoy the afternoon on the water?

We couldn’t really avoid work. The Fraser River is lined with train tracks as well as a rail bridge that crosses it. Naturally our conversations would resort back to talking trains. We had some good laughs and shared stories of our careers thus far.

We ended our day with no fish caught. We did enjoy our day of rest and relaxation though. At our last spot of the day, the seals were back to greet us. Which was nice. It was a good Sunday to be had.

Clothes Make The Man

I just dress comfortably. Throw on a graphic tee and a pair of jeans-and I’m good to go. Most of my days are like that. I just enjoy being comfortable.

This Friday at work, I chose to dress a bit more upper class. A pair of linen pants, a long sleeved button up white shirt and an amazing velour jacket.

I was freaking killing it.

Needless to say, nearly everyone complimented my style. It was also pointed out that most do “Casual Friday” and dress the way I do on a regular basis. As if my “Casual Friday” means to dress it up. Which I suppose it does.

I figured that if the sun was going to shine for one day this week- I could rock the “Garden Party” look in this type of weather. No need to worry though- I’ll back to jeans and a tee shirt. But this man can still surprise you with his style.

Hi Knoll Hike

It was a beautiful day on Saturday. My wife and I decided to take the kids for a leisurely walk. So we went to one of the parks in Langley.

Hi-Knoll is an easy hike that I would recommend. We went through a field and over a small bridge that crossed a stream. We ended up walking along the far edge of the park before cutting back into the wooded area. There were a few other people meandering along the pathways. We each nodded or said a “Hello” out of respect- the way many people do when out on nature walks.

It was a peaceful walk that ended up being extremely pleasant. Our kids enjoyed the mild hike as well. We talked about me growing up near the area and the adventures I once had with former friends. It was all so surreal as my mind picked out snippets of a life that once was.

I’m looking forward to future walks with my family. Perhaps there will be more stories to share. Only time will tell.

Do you know of any other good parks to check out? Where do you go to clear your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Shower Start

I have a routine that I need to follow to get my day going. First is having about 5-7 alarms go off in ten minute intervals to get me out of bed. Yes, it takes me about 45 minutes to finally roll out of bed. Over the years, my wife has come to accept this even though she is not always thrilled by it. The other routine I have starts the night before.

Before I go to bed, I lay out what I want to wear the next day. Socks, underwear, pants and shirts. I find it easier to not have to think about it when I wake up. The other thing I do is every day before I leave my home- I must have a shower.

This stems from when I was a teenager. I just never felt comfortable going to high school without first washing up. My showers are usually quick, lasting about ten minutes. In our home we have two showers. I am the only person who uses the upstairs shower stall. I like it.

There’s no fancy shower head or anything. It’s still the original 1970’s tile and glass door. Every couple of years I have to replace a washer in the handle of the hot water otherwise it drips. But I have become accustomed to this.

It’s my shower.

It’s a place of solitude as I let the water wash away my sleep. It’s a place where I start to mentally prepare myself for the day (or night) ahead. It’s how I wash away the day before and start fresh.

Mountain Driving

Driving through the Rocky Mountains is always a beautiful drive. Last weekend was no different. We were lucky enough to drive home from Alberta and see the sunset over the mountains.

We travelled back the same way we came in- through Jasper National Park. Both Jasper and Banff are beautiful drives. In fact, both towns are nice to take a quick stop in to look around.

This time of year was neat because the rivers, lakes and waterfalls were starting to thaw. The mix of ice and water made it seem like there was life trickling back into existence.

I would recommend the drive any time instead of flying. Take your time and view the natural wonder this world has to offer.

Blanket Fort or Chores?

While my wife and I were away for the weekend with our son, we left our two oldest at home alone. At age 16 and 14 this was a good opportunity for them to earn some more trust from mom and dad. They are both well behaved and smart girls, so we really didn’t have too many concerns. Read as: No Parties.

Before we left, we gave them a few chores that they needed to do. Usually it takes my wife and I a bit of hounding to get the kids to do stuff around the house. Perhaps we should’ve been more diligent this weekend while we were in another province. When we returned home- it looked like they were expecting servants to clean up after them. (Aka mom and dad). None of their dishes were cleaned and their pizza boxes and lasagna tray from a few dinners before were cluttering up the counter.

Did they do the extra chores you may ask? Why, certainly not.

What they did do was this:

Our middle child made a blanket fort with loads of encouragement from her older sister. It stretched out from one end of our theater room into our main foyer, through to the disaster of a kitchen and around the corner into the dining room.

Our 14 year old daughter had done the entire thing on her own. That’s because she got bored while her sister was at work. Why couldn’t she just do her chores? She is very proud of her accomplishment and since there is another week of Spring Break- she will likely need that long to take it all down and re-fold the blankets and put everything away.

She was inspired by watching re-runs of Community. Growing up doesn’t mean losing sense of childish fun. But there is some grown up responsibilities to be had as well. Hopefully our examples of how to be adults will rub off on our kids.

If you’ll excuse me- I’m off to play some video games and then take a nap before working my night shift. See? Having fun and being responsible is possible.

What do you do to keep the childish fun inside of you alive? How do you balance responsibilities and fun?

Let me know in the comments.

Driving Day

Today we embarked on a 12 hour road trip from our home to Grande Prairie, Alberta. It started off with us being an hour behind schedule. No big deal- I was able to... ahem... make up the time while driving.

We whipped through Kamloops with a quick stop for gas. Then off to Jasper for a late lunch and of course- trains. Plus amazing beer and food! We had nachos and Wild Boar Steam Buns all at the Jasper Brewing. I highly recommend the Boar and “Jasper the Bear Ale”.

It was a beautiful day to drive through the mountains from British Columbia to Alberta. We watched the sun set and the sky change colours. Absolutely stunning.

Now it’s time to unwind in the hotel room and mentally prepare for the next couple of days. A quick dip in the pool and finish my blog is a great way to end a 12 hour drive.

Sunday Walkabout

Yesterday was one of the nicest days we have had this year. Warm and sunny as if Spring was peaking its head around the corner. A big change from just over a week ago when there was snow on the ground. My wife wanted to take full advantage of it. So we headed into Fort Langley and walked a part of the “Fort to Fort Trail”.

Partway through our walk, my wife realized that it was far warmer than she expected it to be. The gloves, toque and hoodie came off after about a kilometer. As we walked, we talked. It was nice as we meandered along the path passing numerous other people enjoying the day. It didn’t surprise me much as Fort Langley is a busy little arts community that is often crowded.

The path took us behind the Fort Langley Golf Course. This was the course my father used to have a membership to. We cut back up to the road to the entrance of the golf course. Every few months, I’ll stop in for a beer. Yesterday was no different. Many of the pubs and drinking establishments in Fort Langley were crowded. People were taking advantage of sitting on the decks with a cold beverage. The pub at the golf course was empty. Which was perfect for us to grab a table and take a break halfway through our four kilometer walk.

After wetting our palates, we wandered back to the busy hub of Fort Langley. A train had passed through and caused large crowds waiting to cross the tracks. That moment was one of the moments that my wife expressed why we could never live there. Crowds aren’t my thing usually and I can only take them in small doses. I have always wanted to live in Fort Langley, but I can see why on weekends it wouldn’t be overly enjoyable.

However, if yesterday was a sign of things to come- this spring and summer will be a pleasurable one. We will take more walks throughout the Lower Mainland and enjoy the talks together. Did you enjoy the sun yesterday? What did you do?

The Zen Of Joe

Zen.

It’s something I’ve been practicing all my life. Just enjoying the moments all around me. Having fun without causing harm or emotional distress to others. If anything, I think I bring a smile to others by jumping out of a comfort zone and just… living.

I’m comfortable just being me and experiencing life’s moments. I also love to embrace personas and put on different hats to truly embody this. From how I act to the clothes I wear- I enjoy being me. There is no “one look” that defines who I am.

If I can bring joy to others while being who I am, that’s a bonus. I also act compassionate and kind as I forge my way through this world.

My enthusiasm and characteristics are effecting my children’s personalities as well. Especially our middle child. She has moments where she just wants to entertain herself and others.

When all is said and done, I’m glad I haven’t been afraid to just live the way I have.