2022 Spotify Wrapped

Spotify dropped their 2022 Wrapped. Many of my friends shared their tastes on Instagram. A few coworkers shared at work their Spotify Wrapped. At home, my family also laughed and our two youngest were slightly embarrassed by their plays.

This year came as no surprise as to which artist made my top. Timecop 1983 was definitely my jam all summer long. I was more surprised at how many minutes I spent listening to music. Although, majority of it was when I was in the pool. So the music was played a few hours each day.

Now to listen to my 100 songs plus one and see if I like the playlist. I bet I’ll like most of it, as eclectic as it may be.

How was your Spotify Wrapped for 2022? Any surprises or songs that you are now sick of hearing?

Let me know in the comments.

2500 Daily Blog Posts

I have been writing a daily blog for myself for a long time now. In fact I just realized that I have been sharing my thoughts and stories for 2500 Days in a row!

Somehow I still manage to make the time for writing something out. The funny thing was, today I had no clue what to write about. So I was curious as to how long it had been since I started blogging. I made a goal to write every single day. Every single day. No matter what. I wrote out a story of some sort.

I’d like to think that I’m sharing a personal part of myself with all of you. I hope that it has brought you closer to understanding who I am as a person. Seeing what makes me tick. Enjoying my excursions and travels. Laughing at my ridiculous misfortunes. Perhaps even a quick tug on the heartstrings as I shared a sorrowful event from my past. Whatever the story may have been, I have enjoyed writing it out.

Will I stop writing these blogs? I am unsure. Doing these have become such an integral part of my mental processing that I wonder if I can stop. Writing clears my head. Sharing makes me feel like a part of society. Having feedback makes me a better person.

Thank you for joining me on this journey for nearly 7 years! You are the best!

Love, Josef.

Finding New Social Media(s)

Since before Elon’s purchase, heck even before Trump’s presidency, I was rarely using Twitter. I started strong and thought it was a fantastic forum of ideas, news source, and quick status updates. But after a couple of years, I shied away and discovered that I really enjoyed Instagram better.

I do have a Facebook account, which I open periodically throughout the day. Not much going on in that world. I’ve joined LinkedIn, Discord, TikTok, I even joined Google+ way back when and thought it had potential. I was wrong. Those Google Hangouts were more annoying than they should have been. I have a MySpace account lost in the ether someplace as well.

Over the past few days I have noticed a trend in people going to other platforms as they abandon Twitter. First I heard about Mastodon. A few days ago I heard about Hive Social. So I created an account for each. Honestly, all of the social media accounts are starting to look very similar in fashion.

Feel free to search me out on either platform. I have gone with the user name JoeyWanKenobi this time around. I will continue to have the majority of my social media use to be on Instagram. But it’s neat to see other platforms.

Who knows, maybe the time will come when people get tired of social media and will want to meet up in person once more…and not just for a hashtag or instagrammable moment. Until then, can’t we all just get along?

I Didn’t Do Much… But Christmas Is 35 Days Away

This past week I was on Staycation. Honestly, I didn’t do much out of the ordinary. I enjoyed time with my family, had a lot of days of just Darwin and I. While my wife and youngest went out to Calgary, I watched his races on the live stream. Which were probably better than being in person as the cameras were ice side. Plus I wasn’t in a cold rink.

Normally if my wife leaves for a weekend, I get antsy and start some major project. Not this weekend. I did take some extra Christmas lights and put them around our gazebo. I mixed the red my wife wanted and the white that I wanted and am pretty happy with how it looks.

I had told my wife last week that I only wanted to put up two of our four artificial Christmas trees. Before they left, she asked that I don’t put up our living room tree until the start of December. I did put up one of the trees we have- I put it up in her office. She was happy went I sent the picture to her. It means we will be putting up a third tree in our basement now.

My wife doesn’t like the idea of downsizing our trees. So moving from four to three really isn’t so bad. We did three trees before. That generally works better for us. One is our elegant tree, one is the kids tree (all those handmade and silly ornaments collected over the years), and our third is usually just the ornaments we like, but they don’t quite go on either of the other two trees (yet we cannot get rid of the ornaments). A fourth tree is just too much. Mostly we just had lights and it would be outside

I enjoyed my time off. Now it’s back to the grind. At least until my next week of vacation at Christmas.

I Didn’t Do Much… But Christmas Is 35 Days Away

This past week I was on Staycation. Honestly, I didn’t do much out of the ordinary. I enjoyed time with my family, had a lot of days of just Darwin and I. While my wife and youngest went out to Calgary, I watched his races on the live stream. Which were probably better than being in person as the cameras were ice side. Plus I wasn’t in a cold rink.

Normally if my wife leaves for a weekend, I get antsy and start some major project. Not this weekend. I did take some extra Christmas lights and put them around our gazebo. I mixed the red my wife wanted and the white that I wanted and am pretty happy with how it looks.

I had told my wife last week that I only wanted to put up two of our four artificial Christmas trees. Before they left, she asked that I don’t put up our living room tree until the start of December. I did put up one of the trees we have- I put it up in her office. She was happy went I sent the picture to her. It means we will be putting up a third tree in our basement now.

My wife doesn’t like the idea of downsizing our trees. So moving from four to three really isn’t so bad. We did three trees before. That generally works better for us. One is our elegant tree, one is the kids tree (all those handmade and silly ornaments collected over the years), and our third is usually just the ornaments we like, but they don’t quite go on either of the other two trees (yet we cannot get rid of the ornaments). A fourth tree is just too much. Mostly we just had lights and it would be outside

I enjoyed my time off. Now it’s back to the grind. At least until my next week of vacation at Christmas.

Foggy Autumn Vacation

This is one of those rare vacations where I didn’t have much planned. Setting up the Christmas lights was really about it. Everything else I am doing is just the routine of our lives. Grocery shopping, speed skating practice, meeting up with friends… that sort of thing.

During my downtime I am watching some tv and playing video games. No big household projects or crafting this time around. I just want to relax. And I’m getting to do exactly that.

Last night I soaked in the tub, read a book and enjoyed a glass of wine. This morning I have been staring out the window amazed that the fog is so thick and just doesn’t want to lift or burn off. Yet somehow our view is still just as stunning without being able to see much. As if we are floating in the clouds.

That’s kind of how I feel about my week of vacation. I’m enjoying it, yet not much is happening that is exciting. This staycation is precisely what I needed. No hustle, just floating through. A chance to watch the world and appreciate the beauty it holds.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Last weekend I experienced déjà vu. Not just a small moment. Everything about the weekend had a sense of me doing it once before. From work, to being at home, even at the bunkhouse in Boston Bar and traveling by train. The crews I worked with had a sense of familiarity and a redo of something once done.

I have had senses like this in the past. I’m not quite sure what to make of the sensation. Could it have been because I had a head cold? Perhaps because my equilibrium was off. Or maybe everything had shifted two inches to the right.

I also thought that I had written a previous blog title déjà vu. But I was wrong. Even though this feels eerily familiar. I’m a bit suspect about this simulation we are in. I’m not sure when it will end. But a software update is necessary. Not ready for a reboot yet. I don’t really want to turn my life off and on.

Am I the only one who experienced this sensation last weekend? Maybe the planets or the moon had something to do with it. Or else I’m just going crazy.

Light Dusting

Overnight there was a light dusting of snow that fell. The sudden drop in temperature and weather changes came as a bit of a surprise. Last week’s windstorm and torrential rainfall was already challenging. The snow and cold temperatures made me realize that I needed to wrap our palm tree in order to save it for next summer.

The brisk air and chilled sky made the city skyline in the distance a bit more visible. With a lovely mountain backdrop, it hardly seemed real. Especially to be able to see it from our backyard. I expect to see more snow on the mountains as the season gets colder.

Over the next few days it should be sunny, but cool. After I protect our palm tree, I’ll be putting up the outside Christmas lights before it gets really miserable outside. That way when December is upon us- I can enjoy the lights as darkness takes over most of the days as we approach the Winter Solstice.

Appreciating the season can be tough. Finding the moments that can bring you pleasure or working towards them is challenging. I like the end result and try my best to accept when I can’t control something- like the weather.

Bedroom Fireplace

I never thought of having a fireplace in our bedroom as being something I needed. But once we bought this home, I am beginning to wonder how we lived without it. Especially last winter as well as right now, as we are entering the same seasonal chills.

I’m not about to say that having a gas fireplace in our bedroom isn’t a luxury. Far from it. Having a fireplace in any room brings forth warmth and comfort. But to fall asleep with the flickering flames and heat is wonderful. Even better today is that I was chilled last night having to work outside. Ending a night shift with a warm fire to fall asleep to is a total luxury.

I hope you are finding ways to stay warm and enjoy your slumbers. I am off to sleep with a cozy fire on.

Autumn Walks For Health

Over the last couple of days, I have been enjoying a nice autumn walk with my wife. Yesterday was a 5km walk and today was about 3km. What’s different this time, is I’m the one asking to go on these walks.

I’ve been asking my wife to go on these walks because she stopped doing them. Summer was busy and her routine got disrupted as she went from one job to another. Getting her out again has been helping her in processing and clearing her thoughts. I have been doing my best to be a sounding board for her while we get some exercise. she has been noticeably happier these past few days as well.

Admittedly, even though it’s been cool outside- the views and sunshine have made it worthwhile to get out. The crisp air has helped with breathing and getting the heart rate going. Our pace has been quick and steady, really making the heart and lungs work.

I have also wanted to get a bit more mobile as work has had me fairly stagnant. Either sitting in a desk or driving a vehicle around. I have not been as active as I once was when I first hired on 15 years ago. As I get older, I really should be more active, eat healthier, and cut back on alcohol. So that’s what I’m trying to do.

I hope the weather stays nice- even if it’s just for a bit each day. We can squeeze in a walk during those times. I like holding her hand and discussing our lives.

Beetlejuice Carving 2022

This year someone suggested I do a Beetlejuice theme on my pumpkin. Originally I was going to do him from the cartoon with Lydia and the title plate as well. In the end I opted to do the snake version from the original film.

After years of carving pumpkins, I have gotten faster at it. My first intricate pumpkin was a Jack Skellington one that took over 4 hours to complete. Every year I get faster. I am also able to visualize the finish product as I go.

My intensity in pumpkin carving has passed on to my two oldest children. They have also spent hours carving pumpkins. Our middle loves doing anime fandom style. They are busy working on theirs this afternoon as well.

Besides a picture- sometimes I wish there was another way to preserve these art pieces. But they are meant for one night and then they cut up and into breads, soups and pancakes. We don’t just toss them in the trash once Halloween is over.

Do you carve pumpkins? How much time do you invest in doing it? Show me some of your favorites please!

Beetlejuice.

Avoiding Chips

My wife and I have always been potato chip eaters. Every weekend was a bag or two. When my wife and I first met- she always had a bag of regular Lay’s Potato Chips and Diet Grapefruit soda (Diete Pamplemousse).

Of course we have had other snacks over the years. From charcuterie boards to mozzarella sticks. But chips… man those are pure evil. A bag doesn’t stand a chance once it’s opened.

Today my wife made a snack plate for us. Goat cheese, avocado, pickled peppers, cream cheese, tomatoes in sliced baguette- much healthier choices for us. and very tasty!

I appreciate that my wife made us an afternoon snack. She put in more work than I would have- I mean last weekend I opened a bag of ripple chips and dip. That was the extent of my ability to bring a snack to the table. I think my wife wins in the snack department.

Much Needed Rain

Over the last few days, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver area has gotten some much needed rain. As much as I enjoyed the extended summer weather- rain was badly needed. And welcomed.

Even just the short amount we have gotten so far has brought back a bit of vegetation and vibrancy to our world. This will help with keeping wild fires down as well as give some life to the plants that have needed it most prior to going dormant for the year. I have also heard of people in our old neighborhood having their wells start to run low and even dry. That’s a tough situation to deal with. The rain can help fill those natural supplies once more.

Working or driving in this weather can be frustrating as well. Please just remember to take it a bit slower out there. No one wants to get in an accident or injured. Besides- rain and Vancouver go hand-in-hand according to other parts of the world. But only when it isn’t sunny and those folks are just jealous of the good weather we get most of the other time.

We Just Ended Summer

Today, my wife and I cleaned up the backyard and prepared for winter. That meant bringing in outdoor cushions, wiping down the tables and chairs and then covering them for the end of season to protect it all. My wife also went through and trimmed the last of her large tomato plants (the ones that weren’t in the Greenhouse).

The one thing that really says “summer is over” is the fact that I put the winter cover on the pool. I gave it one final vacuum, cleaned out the filters, shut off the gas and set up the bypass water pipe. That way I can keep circulating that water over winter, but it doesn’t have to go through the heater.

Our yard looks barren now. All set for the rain, wind and potential snow that will come in the following weeks. I’m happy that we have more of our house back as well. We were able to utilize more storage space indoors this year. Over the next few weeks, my wife is wanting to set up her sewing area again. It’s perfect that we get to be indoors more often.

I may be done hanging outside, but I can still enjoy the views from the comfort of our living room and bedroom. It’s almost time to turn on the gas fireplaces to add warmth to our environment.

Are you ready for summer to officially end?

Hotumn

2021

Last year, we had already covered our pool for the winter. That was mostly because the weather was far cooler and wetter than it is this year.

This past weekend, my wife and I enjoyed the sun and an August-like heatwave. I saw someone use the term “Hotumn” and it described the local weather perfectly. My wife and I had a great time floating, splashing, and swimming for a few hours everyday this month.

Coming up on Friday, our weather patterns are subject to drop to last year’s similar cool and wet conditions. Our swimming pool shall be shut for the winter weather by the end of this week.

I’m a bit sad that our enjoyment of the outdoors is coming to and end. I’ve enjoyed the pool and the gardening tremendously this month. It has kept me happy and occupied. Soon, all of our activities will be indoors. Such as more movies, games, and food. I am looking forward to those activities as well.

Goodbye Hotumn. I’m glad you stayed a while longer.

BC Lions

Last night I watched my first ever CFL football game in person. In fact, it was my first CFL game ever to watch. We went to BC Place to watch the Lions vs Blue Bombers. Even though I don’t follow sporting events- it was a great evening out with friends.

My wife and I parked about a ten minute walk away from the arena. As we made our way to the event, the sun was setting, creating a beautiful skyline. When we arrived, we ordered some beer and poutine. Our view of the game was right on the sideline, almost center field and in the second row.

The action was so close to us throughout the game that I found myself really getting into it. I cheered and stood up numerous times as I got excited by the plays on the field.

There is something to be said about the energy at a sports event. The crowd and the buzz that goes on. I thoroughly enjoyed our night out and would gladly do it again sometime. The last sports team I need to see play in BC is the soccer team- The Whitecaps. I have already watched hockey, baseball, basketball (when the Grizzlies were here), and now CFL.

Do you enjoy being at a game? Are you more of a hockey fan instead of football? Let me know in the comments.

Dad’s Ruby and Gold

I always have an emotionally rough go from the end of September until the end of November. These months are the time I think of my father the most. This year specifically, since September 19th, I have been trying my best to find the good in the memories of my father. I know he wasn’t a bad person. I just felt wasn’t the dad I wanted or needed growing up.

Besides the occasional photo I have of my father, I don’t have much to remember him by. I kept a couple of golf clubs, some tools, a hat and an ashtray. I was given his wedding ring and his ruby ring when he passed away. So I have been wearing them around my neck for the past couple of weeks.

I always remember him wearing these rings on his ring finger. They never came off. That is something I have taken to in my life as well. My wedding ring has been on my finger since 2001. I have not taken it off for longer than a few minutes at a time. Mostly to clean it or check it’s shape.

Wearing them around my neck, I have held them periodically in my hand. I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for by having them. But I as I said, I am trying to focus on more positive thoughts. Perhaps there is a mystical power of the ruby or even the gold that I am trying to conjure.

I know that when I think of the ruby and gold, it reminds me of the bohemian glasses my grandfather brought from Czechoslovakia back in the 80’s for my father. Those are the only glasses I wish to have in my possession one day. Currently those are with my mother. I hope that she will gift them to me at some point. As I mentioned, I don’t have much from my father.

But his rings are important to me. This is the longest I have worn them and I really want to discovery the positivity of their symbolism.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Not going to spend too much time writing today’s blog entry. I was working all day and rushed home to be with my wife and kids for Thanksgiving Dinner. So I’m hastily writing a quick note to wish everyone some well deserved time with family and friends!

I’m looking forward to our dinner, and it’s almost time for me to carve the turkey. The table is set and we are about to engage in conversations.

Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend everybody! Be sure and enjoy your time with those you love and the food that will be served.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Not going to spend too much time writing today’s blog entry. I was working all day and rushed home to be with my wife and kids for Thanksgiving Dinner. So I’m hastily writing a quick note to wish everyone some well deserved time with family and friends!

I’m looking forward to our dinner, and it’s almost time for me to carve the turkey. The table is set and we are about to engage in conversations.

Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend everybody! Be sure and enjoy your time with those you love and the food that will be served.

Baking For Thanksgiving

As easy as it would be to go and buy a pie at the store, I find it oddly satisfying to bake my own. Today I baked two pies from scratch- using apples from our own tree.

The tree we have is the sort of tree that has numerous varieties on it. On the west side of the tree are a variety of red apples. On the east side is all the green apples. I ended up picking about twenty apples or so of all the varieties. I was unsure how many I would need.

After peeling a bunch of our green ones, I realized I’d have enough apples for two pies. Good thing the crust I was making from scratch was enough for two pies. I also figured that since I was making such a mess in the kitchen, I may as well bake something else.

After a couple of hours, and using the oven in our basement as well- I created two apple pies and two banana bread loaves. The house smelled heavenly. Now to keep the family away from these goodies until Sunday night dinner! if they are snacking- they can try one of the red apples that I picked but never used for baking.

Moving Plants To A Greenhouse

As summer is ending, it was time to salvage what we have remaining of our vegetable garden. Surprisingly there is still a ton of pepper and tomato plants- some are still flowering. Lucky for us the weather has been sitting quite warm durning the day, but it looks to be dripping soon enough.

We had purchased a small greenhouse last year. It was set up near the back of the garage for the previous winter. When it got taken down in the spring- it went into storage. Alas- there were no instructions on how to assemble it again. I never built it or disassembled it. That was all my wife and the kids.

So it was off to the Home Depot website to bring up an image of the greenhouse. I found one similar which I believed to be the same brand as the one we own. Quick screenshot, zoom in, lay out the parts- and a bunch of trial and error and the greenhouse got built.

Now it’s erected and placed it on the corner of our deck in hopes to limit any cross wind damage. I also went under the deck and tied it down from the bottom. My wife is planning on moving her plants into it this weekend. She is already excited and began to move them closer to the greenhouse while on her lunch break.

If the greenhouse does well at the location it is in- we may just leave it up all year round. Having a view of fresh vegetables from our deck and pool would not bother me in the slightest. Mmmm homegrown food.

October Is Rolling Along

It seems like just yesterday that the kids went back to school. Yet here we are- a month later and it feels like they have been going forever. Which I am totally okay with.

Now we are a few days into October. I see many homes getting festive with Halloween decorations. I love it. I’m also hoping that the weather stays on this side of winter a while longer. Especially at Halloween. It is always nicer to be just a tad bit chilly vs wet and cold.

As October rolls along, I think about previous Halloweens with my family. I also think about the one about to arrive. I love the idea of costumes and fun with the family. As well as seeing the other costumes of children and even friends who like to dress up.

As I mentioned the other day, getting myself into the mood for fun definitely means cheesy horror. I love that I received some more suggestions for bad films to watch. I even rediscovered some in my searches that I forgot about or haven’t seen in years. There’s just something about the campiness of those films that is really entertaining.

Soon the nights will be longer and the house will need to be warmed up. But in the meantime, I am enjoying the hot daylight hours we are getting- even though I know October will be over as quickly as it arrived. Then it will be onto winter and coziness.

For now, it’s time to enjoy what we have going on. No need to rush through October.

October Movie Schlockfest

Every day in October I am planning on watching a cheesy movie. Preferably sci-fi and/or horror- the more “cringy” the better. So far I have watched three films that really fit the bill.

First film I watched was “Invaders From Mars” made back in 1986. I remember this film coming out on cable tv in the 80’s and I was so excited to see it. It is not good. Lots of excess screaming and ridiculous looking aliens. None of which is scary by any means.

Last night I watched “Cube Zero” which I was honestly hoping would be as good as “Cube”. Alas, it fell short. In fact it almost ruins the idea of what the original film “Cube” was about. But cheesy acting and ridiculous practical effects helped to make it more campy than “mind fuck” like it’s original.

Tonight I went back to the 80’s for an absolute disaster of a film. “Munchies” knew it was campy and ridiculous from the start with hints at “Gremlins” and numerous other movies prior to it. It is not a good film by any means. I lost interest in it by the end and was nodding off on the couch by 9pm.

The idea of watching cheesy and campy films came about on September 30th. That was the day my middle child and I decided to watch “Hocus Pocus 2”. Cheesy, corny, nostalgic and not very good. Perfect to get my tastebuds wet with the month of October.

Do you have any extra cheesy films for the spooky season that you would recommend? I have a few saved on our streaming device.

Perfect October Saturday

Today I just did stuff for me. Sort of. I started my day early by cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floors. I took a break to watch my son skate via a live feed from Calgary.

At lunch, I went to meet a couple of buddies for beer at a new brewery in Langley. It opened only a month ago, so it was still fairly new and not too busy. During our beers, we took a break and watched another of Theory’s races on YouTube.

By three o’clock I was back home and caught Theory’s final race of the day. This was followed by some “me time” floating in the pool. I didn’t turn on the heat, so it was a float on the cool water as I enjoyed the sun and a couple more beers.

After such a busy few days off, I needed the afternoon to myself. I’m glad I met with my buddies for a break. Too bad they had other plans for the afternoon- otherwise we’d have gotten into more than a couple drinks. So much for the idea of Sober October. There’s always next year.

September Ends…

September flew by. Even though I am spending my afternoon in the pool because of this beautiful weather, fall is in the air. that means there is only one thing left to do. Get ready for Halloween!

After working on the front yard, our middle child and I pulled out our Halloween decorations from the attic and they began to set up the front yard. Our entry is now a mix of autumn and Halloween- which I love.

Earlier today, the neighbors came by with a chainsaw and we cut down a tree in the front yard. It was at such a poor angle that I was unable to correct it over the past year. Once we cut it down, we noticed that the middle was starting to rot out. It was only a matter of time before it had to come down anyways.

After cutting the tree down, Darwin placed our axe happy gnome on display. A perfect ornament for the front yard! His name is HP Gnomecraft and he is scary.

I love the transition from summer to autumn. It gives me a chance to plant some new plants for spring. It also means that Christmas is just around the corner! I love Halloween and Christmas. Decorating is my favorite!

Have you begun decorating for Halloween yet? Perhaps you are working on some Christmas crafts.

Let me know what you have going on.