Arthur

Sometimes my humor is a bit, how should I say this, bizarre.? Worse yet, it rubs off on people and they run with it.

Meet Arthur: The Office Moth.

He became an office mascot by accident. Back in the summer, we had an infestation of moths at my work. Naturally, I killed a few. But one stayed, um, “stuck” to a whiteboard. He remained there for ages and no one cleaned him off. Instead, a coworker made a Tinder profile for him because he seemed lonely squashed there. Shortly before Christmas, the artwork began.

Arthur became a tree topper for our Christmas tree.

And on New Year’s he celebrated with a party hat and balloons.

My coworkers and I have talked about the next stages of Arthur. How we are looking forward to Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and evening Easter. (Maybe Arthur can pull a Jesus moment and come back to life!)

But in all seriousness, it has made for some lighthearted jokes around the office. It helps to ease the stress of how crazy work can get.

Oh yeah, he got his name from “The Tick” which is filled with zany adventures which fit perfectly with our Office Moth artwork.

Brain Power

Yesterday was rather windy. Living in a neighborhood filled with trees and power lines- it was only a matter of time until our power went out. I’m glad it happened after dinner at least.

Our fireplace kept us warm during the outage.

I had started a fire shortly before dinner to begin warming the house. As soon as the power went out, the kids sprang into action and gathered up candles and flashlights. I headed outside and turned on our portable generator. We connected a small space heater and a couple of table lamps.

The kids have decided that during power outages we need to play a board game to pass the time. Last night’s game was Trivial Pursuit: Family Edition. To my surprise our oldest daughter ended up winning the game and my wife came in last. Going through the questions I realized that I don’t know much about sports or recent historical events.

It was a fairly good evening as we hung out as a family without a screen being on. But almost immediately after our game ended- the power returned. Then we went to the living room and streamed some Disney+ before retreating off to bed.

How do you handle power failures? When was the last time you played Trivial Pursuit? Let me know in the comments.

Christmas Eve 2019

Ah Christmas Eve Day. There’s last minute shopping, plans for dinner and tomorrow’s morning rituals. Is it worthwhile? I like to think so.

I plan on finishing my day at work, drive home a bit more cautiously than usual and relax to some Christmas music. I’ll get home and listen to some more Christmas music while I make dinner with my wife. We will probably play a video game or watch a film as a family before retiring for the night.

My calm evening will lead into a calm day. I am appreciative of all the preparations that my family has done ahead of time to make Christmas go smoothly. Sometimes the expectations are too high. Not every Christmas can get knocked out of the park. I guess we shall see what tomorrow brings.

Have a great evening with family and friends!

Natural Decorating

I love decorating our home for Christmas. One of my favorite styles is keeping it “Country Living”. I utilize nature as much as possible.

In the past I have used fallen branches as a part of our decor. Hanging them from under the skylight or adorning our main entryway. Using natural branches also means that every year the decorating changes.

I have even made tealight holders from the thicker branches. I finished them off with some red burlap string and modpodge glue in order to keep their sheen.

This year my wife suggested we use some holly branches. She loves the look of the red holly berries against the vibrant greenery. Holly, just like pine trees, keep their colours for quite some time. But once the season is over- they become brittle and dry.

I’m loving that each year we modify our decorating just a little bit and that I use nature to do it.

What do you make at Christmas?

The Family Saturday

Today was a long day filled with some quality family time. Quality time is something that I treasure whenever we can get it.

It started with early morning speed skating training, followed by a free movie at the theater. It was Community Day so we took in a classic film- “A Christmas Story” to start our season right. By far one of my most favorite films. Seeing it in the theater added a new ambiance to the film and legitimate out loud laughs by the audience.

The film was over around lunch. We came straight home, did a quick tidy/clean before settling in to a favorite family activity. It’s the first Saturday after my wife’s birthday, so that meant decorations for our trees were to go up!

Loads of fun, dancing, singing and smiles were had. It helped that my wife and I had cookies and Firenog as well. Today is a day that our oldest loves to be a part of and willingly gets her picture taken with a smile!

We have three trees, so the kids rotate which topper they put up. It’s the first year I haven’t lifted anyone up to do it. It’s also the first year that my wife did this:

She broke an ornament! It’s not Christmas until at least one ornament explodes.

More Painted Wood

About a month ago I Painted Wood with some winterscape images. I was happy with my first go around that I had to make some more.

What I liked with this one is the rainbow of colours in the sky. I enjoyed blending the colours to create the illusion of an early morning with a slight reflection below.

The other piece I did was of a pathway curving off with a couple of mountains in the faded background. The single tree stood silently with a hint of snow speckled throughout. I liked that I remembered the rule of lightning and the moon’s glow cast a faint shadow from the tree.

The thing about my paintings is that when painting snow, I wanted to portray a semblance of realism- that snow isn’t brilliant white. Snow has a tendency to reflect the light and colours of it’s surroundings. Hints of blue or grey, yellows and pinks make snow a tad more magical.

Using carvings from trees has added a natural wood frame around my paintings. These frames limit what I can paint, but also help the finalized landscapes come to life. I have a few more to finish up and share.

Now the question remains- do I keep them, sell them or give them away? A labour of love and a new found hobby has brought forth something from inside of me. I don’t want it to become commercial, so selling these isn’t likely.

Hard To Think

I’m having a tough time picking a topic to write about currently. So unfortunately I’m going to be cutting today’s blog a bit short.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll think of something. I don’t want to be a lentil.

Until next time when I can do better.

Home From The Night Rat Race

  • The only place home exists is in your head.
  • I’m a zombie right now. Somehow I made it home. I’ve run that maze hundreds of times. I can practically do it in my sleep. Which I think is what I did this morning. I best go to sleep for reals just so I can do it all again when I wake up.
  • Driving On Nine

    We travelled for nine hours to get to Prince George, BC. I did the majority of the drive. The only time my wife did the driving, she was stopped by the police for enjoying the speed of the car. Which unfortunately was within the first couple hours.

    We made a pit stop in Quesnel just prior to arriving at our destination. There’s a small brewery that we liked back in the summer, so we made sure to stop once more for some lunch and beers. With a little over an hour remaining to get to the destination, it was a nice way to enjoy the afternoon.

    We checked into our hotel- The Pomeroy- and they had upgraded us to a full kitchen suite at no extra cost. That meant we could go to the local grocery store and make a quick dinner instead of spending money unnecessarily at a restaurant! Bonus since we have a small fine to pay from earlier…

    I took our son downstairs to do a workout before dinner. He hit up the elliptical, bike and treadmill for about ten minutes each. It was a great way to get his leg muscles active after such a long journey in the car. I even got my heart rate going on the bike and treadmill.

    Our daughter has been enjoying writing during the road trip. She has a journal titled “Plans For World Domination“. I’m pretty sure she is secretly trying to take over the world by being obvious. Only time will tell.

    I spent some time after dinner enjoying the newly updated pool and hot tub that the hotel had to offer. I’d like to say I was alone, but since there are a couple of waterslides- there were a few kids around. I still got a couple of laps in though and felt relaxed afterwards.

    Now it’s time to encourage Theory in his Speed Skating. I mean, he is the reason we came up here!

    Cold Room Warm Bed

    The weather has been getting colder these days. So that means time for warmer blankets and sheets on the bed. We’ve done fleece or flannel to keep warm and cozy while we sleep. It’s nice to crawl in to bed and feel the weight and warmth of the bedding as the room chills out.

    As I prepare for sleep, I try and burrito myself up like e.t. about to go on a bike ride. Turn up the heat? On the really cold nights we will add another blanket.

    I hate waking up and being uncovered. I can’t sleep if any part of my body is exposed. Especially my feet! I don’t want those monsters stealing my body parts. They don’t hibernate in the winter- instead they’re always waiting under the bed and in the shadows for an opportunity to grab you.

    So anyways, we have our winter bedding out and it was really nice to slide in and feel the warmth on my feet for the first time this season.

    Up Early On My Day Off. WHY???

    I woke up at about three a.m. and have been tossing and turning for two hours. Naturally I tried to go back to sleep. I was laying beside my wife and tried to match her breathing. I almost died. It seriously felt like my body wasn’t getting any oxygen. Maybe that’s how I should fall asleep- stop breathing.

    I rolled over and picked up my phone from the nightstand and off to social media I went. Scroll… scroll… scroll… bored. At least I ended up down a rabbit hole of searching WordPress authors. That always makes me happy finding new places to travel and art inspiration. I guess it’s time to write my daily blog.

    With this new Apple update I’ve opted for the Dark Mode. I guess it’s better for my eyes and brain, but it hasn’t made staring at my phone less appealing. In fact I was holding the phone in my hands and it fell onto my face. Apparently I’m not the only one who has their phone drop on their faces. I’m done with the day and don’t like that it woke me up so early.

    Anyhow, here’s an early morning blog since I’ll probably burn out by afternoon and have no desire to write. Hope you had a good chuckle at my expense. Maybe next time I’ll tell you how I kicked myself in the testicles putting on pants.

    Painted Wood

    This afternoon I decided to get back into painting again. I wasn’t overly happy with how my Black Canvas turned out this past summer. It wasn’t nearly as good as my Cherry Blossom Painting from last September. But today, instead of a canvas, I painted some winter scenes on wood.

    The first one I completed rather quickly and was happy with the results. So I lacquered up the edges of the natural wood frame and began on another.

    I’m really happy with how both pieces turned out. They are rather generic winter themes so they will work no matter where I put them. It has made me love the idea of painting again. Time to scour the wood shed and hope to find some more pieces like this.

    The pieces even look good hung up on our walls as well. It’s going to be tough to take them down once spring arrives.

    Utilizing The Weather

    It’s another beautiful day on the West Coast. I decided to make the most of it and get some “winterizing” done. I headed to the gas station and filled a large jerrycan for future use in our backup Generator in case of a power failure. Our one daughter filled six yard waste cans with leaves and our other daughter cleared off the roof and driveway.

    Then I did the unthinkable.

    I put up our Christmas Lights.

    I figured I might as well do this chore while the weather is warm instead of waiting until December. The lights won’t be going on until then. But why not put them up ahead of time? I’m also not the type of person who leaves the lights up year round.

    Either myself or my daughter are up on our roof every couple of weeks blowing leaves and pine needles off as it is. So taking a few moments today made sense to check the downspouts and put up those lights. I was able to enjoy a bit of quiet contemplation time on the roof. There’s something calming about autumn when you get to enjoy a few hours of beautiful sun and crisp air.

    Now to head back inside and pour a nice cup of tea while we listen to music.

    Beauty-Fall

    The weather over the next few days, and leading into November, is supposed to be beautiful. Maybe not with the warmth of a summer day; but rather a mid-day sunshine while wearing your favorite sweater and sunglasses kind of day. Plenty of opportunities to enjoy the changing colours of nature to be had if one so chooses.

    I plan on taking it easy during my free time. I’ll probably chill out a bit more on my deck and stare out into the yard, admiring the tranquility that we are surrounded by. The brisk air keeps many people quieter as they begin to warm themselves more frequently indoors. The woodland animals are slowly preparing to migrate and hibernate. Slowly the sounds outside quieten to a faint whisper.

    Autumn is a beautiful and peaceful season.

    Successful Staycation

    It’s back to work for the night shift this week. I’d have to say though, my staycation with a to-do list was more than successful. Here’s what I had planned:

    1. Finish my costume.
    2. Fix the tile and tap in shower.
    3. Fix the sauna heater.
    4. Get the Honda Element serviced.
    5. Decorate for Halloween.
    6. Do some baking on Saturday.
    7. Make turkey dinner on Sunday
  • Numbers 1,4,5,6 & 7 were completed. Number 2 is almost done- I just need to buy a small amount of grout and seal it and my shower will be useable once more. Number 3 I am still avoiding. Don’t judge me…
  • However I did end up doing a few other projects that weren’t on my initial list.

    1. I installed a new stovetop.
    2. I painted the trim between the sunroom and the living room.
    3. I helped my son build his costume.
    4. I was involved in speed skating more.
  • Overall I think I was fairly productive with my time off. Now to get back into the work routine and utilize my days off as rest days once more. I just hope I remember how to do my job…
  • Staycation With a To Do List

    I just began a week and a bit of vacation away from work. No travel plans unfortunately. In the past we usually get to Disneyland this time of year, but with the kids in high school and other commitments, no such luck. But I still had a week of time off from work to take, so here I am. Alone.

    I have made myself a To Do List of activities that I want to get accomplished while the kids are in school and my wife works. I’m pretty sure I’ll get most of them done.

    1. Finish my costume.
    2. Fix the tile and tap in shower.
    3. Fix the sauna heater.
    4. Get the Honda Element serviced.
    5. Decorate for Halloween.
    6. Do some baking on Saturday.
    7. Make turkey dinner on Sunday.

    Most of my list won’t cost much. Which is really a good thing since we have a few expenses coming up. Our children and their activities are nickel and diming us this year. Although it’s more in the hundreds of dollars just spread out over the next few months.

    Since I am at home and have some availability, I’m hoping to meet up with friends periodically to get a break from being in my house the entire time. So feel free to hit me up during the daytime hours over the next week if I haven’t reached out.

    Staying Dry

    My wife and I had a fairly successful Sober September. I faltered once and had a beer at the airport in Winnipeg. As September ended and October began, I wasn’t eagerly waiting for the month to end in order to “Hit the sauce” so to speak.

    On Thursday we went out with some friends for a dinner. Originally we were going to go to Trading Post in Abbotsford- a place with great food and atmosphere. I would’ve likely had my favorite beer there- the 1828 Helles Lager. But they were closed for a private event. So we ended up at The Canadian Brewhouse instead.

    Their beer special was Budweiser. A beer I don’t overly enjoy. So I had a ginger ale instead and I felt good about it. I know we’re only five days into October, but I’ve been enjoying a variety of teas and sodas in lieu of alcohol. The only thing I’m noticing is that I am craving sweets more often. Hence the sodas.

    As Autumn progresses, I’ll probably enjoy a drink or two at some point. I’m just not actively going out to buy beers or planning nights with friends at breweries as I have in the past.

    Maybe I can find an elegant tea house nearby and invite you out for a social date.

    Autumn Skies

    I’ve been enjoying the colours of the sky over the past couple of days. Autumn astounds me at how majestic it can be.

    The morning sunrise has pink hues as the sky starts to light up. I pause for a moment at the end of my night shift to enjoy my country living.

    The night sky offers a faded orange backdrop to an industrialized world that I am a part of. The black shadows of straight edges are a harsh contrast to the randomness of nature.

    Yet there is still beauty to be found in both.

    Sauna

    We bought our home with a sauna already built in. About a decade ago we stopped using it and it became another closet for storage. After my trips to Winnipeg and Fort St. John, where I used saunas to relax, I realized I want our sauna back.

    Yesterday, I cleared it out and set up the benches again. I vacuumed up the cobwebs and dust from the walls and heater. I turned on the elements and the heat was returning. The smell of the remaining dust burning off was strong. However, shortly after the heat stopped working. So much for relaxing on a Saturday night.

    How do you troubleshoot a sauna built in the 1970’s? I seriously have no idea where to begin. It obviously was getting power. My guess is that it could be one of three things-

    1. The thermostat is toast.
    2. The elements are toast.
    3. Perhaps there’s a fuse or relay switch that’s toast.

    It’ll have to wait until my next set of days off. But how do I go about checking these things? I need to see if there’s and obvious fuse somewhere either in the controls or under the burners. That’s where I’ll first start. I really hope it’ll be something simple. I’m not sure what the cost would be to replace the entire heating mechanism. As well, the thermostat is built into the wood walls and I don’t really want to start tearing apart the sauna.

    I’ll post an update if I eventually figure out the issue. I’ll need to relax once this is all sorted out. Wish me luck. I’ll also take any advice you have to offer.

    Vivaldi

    The past few days I have been enjoying listening to Vivaldi: La Cetra, 1-7. It has made my drive to and from work a bit more pleasant and calm. There’s something about hearing stringed instruments as they eloquently form each piece. As I listen to La Cetra I can also pick out the piccolo and harpsichord. Two very unique sounds that work well together.

    Many know Vivaldi as written Four Seasons which is also a fantastic piece. I’m a huge fan of classical music and the variety of styles that come with each composer. Next week I am planning on listening to another composer as I travel to and from work. Perhaps Mozart, Bach, Handel or Beethoven. Whichever suits my fancy on my first day of commuting.

    Do you appreciate classical music?

    Who are your favorite composers?

    Let me know.

    School Is Back In Session or How to Survive Re-Learning at Age 43

    Every three years, I have to get re-certified as a conductor/switchman. The previous times I did it in my home town area of Vancouver. This time around my company sent me to Winnipeg. This is where the new centralized training center is located.

    The CN Campus is huge and modern feeling. We have been treated to unlimited coffee and a cafeteria style lunch. The classroom portion itself is, basically, dry. When learning rules that are important for the safety and service of our industries- it’s difficult to make it entertaining.

    At least after those eight hour days we get to go and leave it all behind us for the evening. My coworker and I headed back to the hotel where I enjoyed the pool and sauna while he hit the gym. The 21st floor of our hotel has the pool and views of the city. A few minutes in the hot tub and I was relaxed again.

    On to day 2 of the classroom portion. Hopefully my swimsuit will be dry for another evening dip and relaxation afterwards.

    Windy Wind Down

    Our last day at Twenty Mile Bay started like every other day. It was warm and sunny out.

    First thing after breakfast, my buddy and I hit the lake on the kayaks. It was calm and glass like on the water.

    Later in the afternoon, I went out kayaking with my wife. We were out for about an hour or so on the water. As we returned the water began to get choppy. It was still warm out, so I grabbed a camping chair and sat with my feet in the water.

    Then the wind picked up. My wife brought out our kite- nicknamed “Mighty Kitey“. We bought this kite on our honeymoon back in 2001. My wife gets great joy proving that she can keep it flying longer than I can. The wind continued on into the night sending a warm breeze through our campsite all night long.

    Right before dinner, our daughter suffered a terrible accident. She took a sip of her soda that was poured into a glass with a straw. Immediately she spat it out. A wasp had climbed into her drinking straw and drowned. She had a mouthful of pop and a dead wasp in her mouth. As she spit it out, the dead wasp happened to sting her inner lip.

    An old trick I learned came into action. We cut a fresh onion and she placed it behind her lip where she got stung. The juices from the onion helped to nullify the venom in her mouth. Within a few minutes the swelling was down and she was only left with some bad breath.

    Crazy end to our lovely camping trip, that’s for sure.

    Lake Views 2019

    Wednesday was another fun filled day. My son and I went out on the kayaks and he decided that we should go to the island. We had a great time racing each other and bonding.

    As the sun went overhead and the temperatures reached 31° we found ways to keep cool.

    My wife relaxed with her kindle in the hammock. I took a camping chair just deep enough into the water that my butt would be submerged. I found some driftwood and used it as a foot rest.

    Just before dinner, my wife and I went out on the kayaks and paddled around the campgrounds.

    We ended our day with some good laughs at dinner and a failed attempt at making Jiffypop popcorn. But all is well. We are still not done camping for the week.

    Float The Boat

    Kayaking and floating on the lake was a great way to spend our first full day on Harrison Lake. We love coming to Twenty Mile Bay.

    My wife and oldest daughter went out kayaking after breakfast. I took my other daughter out and we floated about in some tubes. Shortly after, my wife came back and I hopped into the kayak. My wife and I towed our daughters out in the lake having a great time.

    Once we ditched the girls- my wife and I paddled to the island just off shore. As in a twenty five minute paddle to the secluded island.

    We paused for a beverage and some time to talk. We put on our PFDs and floated in the lake around the island back to the kayaks.

    The water was peaceful and it’s always great to connect with nature without the white noise of suburban life.

    Twenty Mile Bay 2019

    On Monday we ventured out to our favorite campsite at Twenty Mile Bay. This year, my best friend I’ve known since kindergarten is joining us with his kids. The weather will be cooperating as well!

    We packed up our cars and headed down the logging road that leads us to the campsite.

    When we arrived- we exploded and took over our double site. This will be our home for five days. I’m happy that this year there isn’t a campfire ban. We can cook foods over the open flames!

    In between cooking and sleeping we will be enjoying the lake and relaxing. The best way to end summer vacation.