The other day my wife and I went for an afternoon walk by the beach. On our walk we talked about our first year together and how we went down that way only a few times. We now live only about a 20 minute drive away from White Rock, so heading there may be happening more often this summer.
When we first arrived, we took some happy selfies with the ocean and clouds as a backdrop. We were probably the least bundled up people as many who we passed had scarves, toques and gloves on. But at 8°C it wasn’t that cold.
Even though it was grey and a bit cool, my wife and I were wearing our rose colored glasses we had bought for her Birthday Trip to Mexico. The warmth of the view from the sunglasses made it easier to enjoy our date. We walked along the shore, up the pier and enjoyed the promenade. We headed back along Marine Drive and talked about coming back to enjoy a restaurant or two in the future.
It was a good few hours of casual strolling just holding hands and talking. As we get older, we both just want to enjoy one another’s company more. Keeping the emotional connection between us going and creating memories along the way.
Yesterday we said farewell to a strong memory from 2003. That was the year my wife and I went into debt and bought our very first brand new car together.
I had seen the Honda Element in a magazine (probably Maxim magazine because that’s what I was reading all the time) and I wanted to see it in person. My wife was reluctant at first, but then she saw it and immediately wanted to own one. It would make getting kids in and out of the car so much easier!
Biggest selling feature at the time? It came in 5 speed manual transmission. The next best part was that the interior was all rubber. Very easy to clean with small children and pets! Within a week of purchase, we found out our second child was on the way.
We adorned our box on wheels with the best sticker ever- LEGO. Playful, yet fitting for the unique suv.
The vehicle was perfect for a family of four and a dog. But then the inevitable happened. My wife got pregnant again. The Element was only a four passenger vehicle. So we went out and bought a minivan. Not our greatest moment. A new sticker was eventually added to the back window.
After years and years of usage, we sadly had to say farewell to our Honda Element. None of us were driving it anymore and she just sat in the corner of our driveway. The same thing was happening in our last home, however our oldest was enjoying some of the freedom of a vehicle for a bit, but the stipulations were that she had to drive their younger siblings around.
We will miss Elly. She was a great vehicle, but didn’t owe us anything. 360,000+ kilometers of road trips, drop offs, camping, donuts, and numerous dents and scratches showed how driven she was over the years. A fantastic vehicle built only the way a Honda could be built.
Since we went away on a vacation last week, we required someone to be here to help our two youngest get to school and look after our home. My mother was gracious enough to travel over from Vancouver Island and take on that task. At 79, we couldn’t ask her to sleep in a kids bed. So we offered up our bedroom.
In doing so, my wife and I needed to sleep elsewhere in the house. So we took over the queen size bed in our eldest child’s room. Since they chose to go stay elsewhere over the past few weeks, it wasn’t going to inconvenience them. It’s a pretty good room in many ways. Close to a bathroom, has a fireplace, it’s own entry to go outside, double French doors inside… but you can hear everything that goes on downstairs in the kitchen and living room.
For me, Sunday was challenging to get some sleep since I have to work night shifts and the noise during the day kept me up. Today, because I am so tired, as soon as I’m done writing- I should be passing out. It’s the last time I need to use this room since my mother is leaving to return to her home.
I noticed that sleeping in our home has a “Goldilocks” feel. Our son’s bed is two small and the next two beds are two soft. But because the master bedroom is ours- it definitely feels like a “Papa Bear” place to rest. Which will be my normal place after this sleep. I look forward to that, but fully understand that our oldest may get cranky sometimes when people aren’t respectful while they try and sleep.
Do you give up your bed for guests, or do you have a spare room/ bed you give them?
Yesterday was bittersweet having to end our vacation in Mexico. Seven days and six nights of fun was the perfect amount of time to get a mental recharge.
To end our morning, my wife and I walked the other side of the beach. Someone had set up a “reindeer” from driftwood. A bit of a reminder that Christmas is a couple weeks away.
A couple of hours before our shuttle was to arrive, we checked out at the main lobby. We had the option to go and swim, eat, or drink as we waited. Instead we all sat around and just talked. My wife and Megan played some cribbage. Russ enjoyed some cellphone time and I found a couch to shut my eyes for a bit.
The ride to the airport was quick, but getting through the airport was drawn out and exhausting. Airports always feel like that- organized chaos. Once we were in the sky, our six hour flight home felt like an eternity. But we made it home safely. My wife and I are already talking about when to return to Mexico again.
It was a fun trip for being a last minute excursion. (Last minute by our standards considering we only booked in Mid-October).
On our second to last day, we went for breakfast at the restaurant by the beach. We had our regular breakfast server- Carlos. He had seen us numerous times this trip. We were even seated at the same table every morning. Carlos brought us our drink order without being asked. He knew exactly what we wanted.
Immediately after breakfast we spent the rest of the morning on the beach. The waves were calmer than the day prior, so we enjoyed splashing around and being goofy. At one point, there were schools of fish swimming up to us. A fellow guest at the resort gave me a bun he had taken from the breakfast buffet. As I tore off pieces and tossed them in the water- more fish approached me. I was able to reach down and pet them.
In the afternoon we wandered to the pool and cooled off before dinner. We chose the French restaurant this time. This was quite the elegant experience. From frog leg appetizer to baked Alaska dessert, everything was a production and delicious.
We ended our evening at a cheesy magic show followed by a few games of UNO at the bar. Every single day has been filled with good times starting at 8am and ending by midnight.
In the middle of our vacation to Mexico, we decided to take a day on the beach. The beach first thing in the morning was impressively pristine. So we spent all day hanging out there.
Our friend, Megan, joined us while we relaxed. We had a few drinks, read our books, and frolicked in the ocean. I did my attempt at being David Hasslehoff running out of the ocean. The service was great as well, and the drinks kept coming.
Mid-day was a PCR test. We require this in order to get back into Canada. Not really a highlight, but it was quick and over with in a matter of moments. Soon we were back at the beach. That was when a couple of vendors came by selling jewelry, towels, blankets and dresses. I did my best negotiating and haggling and picked up a couple of souvenirs.
Shortly thereafter, my wife and I went to get a back massage on the beach. This was a fantastic way to relax and get those tense muscles loosened. The sound of the ocean in the background was tranquil and soothing.
Afterwards we headed out for dinner at the Teppanyaki again (it was by far the best experience for dinner). Once dinner was over, we headed to the theater and enjoyed a burlesque show. The theatrics and acrobatic dancing was intense. The show was well worth watching. My throat was sore from all of the hootin’ and hollerin’ I was doing.
Yesterday we had a full day just hanging out at the pool. That’s a lie. First thing in the morning we ate breakfast at a restaurant by the beach. Shortly after, we learned how to make guacamole and the history of the ingredients. Then we did salsa dancing lesson. THEN we hung out at the pool.
It was a good time relaxing. The drinks kept flowing and laughs were raucous. Lounging for hours really helped with the relaxation that was needed this year. As well, seeing our pool back home surrounded by snow made me happy to be here.
Later we had dinner at the Mexican restaurant where a mariachi duo came to our table and played some music. Afterwards I caught the tail end of a Michael Jackson tribute. We ended the night eating churros as live music played in the main plaza area. Halfway through vacation and it’s been so much fun.
Yesterday was my wife’s birthday. Besides enjoying Mexico, I added a day excursion for her and I to enjoy. All three activities were a blast!
First was a visit to Tulum. We learned about the ancient civilization and had a wonderful view of the ocean from up top. Shortly after we had some fun snorkeling with manta rays and sea turtles. This was immediately followed by a visit to swim through the Cenote caves.
When we got back to the resort, there was a lovely birthday plate waiting in our room for my wife. We met some friends for a Teppanyaki dinner. Great show with excellent food. Again, my wife was treated to a birthday dessert.
It was a great birthday for my wife who doesn’t always like being in the spotlight. The resort has been wonderful so far.
Today is my wife’s birthday. That’s a big part of the reason we are in Mexico! One of her biggest goals in life was to be somewhere warm for her December birthday. Finally I was able to achieve it for her. She was gracious enough to take me along on for the vacation!
I’m happy that Lee-Anne has been a great big part of my life. Giving her this trip was a much needed excursion that she is worthy of and deserved more than anyone else I know. Her smile on this vacation has lit up the atmosphere everywhere we walk.
So far we have spent two days of over indulging in food, drinks and siestas. Today we are off on an adventure that I am hoping goes smoothly. It’s another of her bucket list items that she wants to do on this trip. I’m pretty sure she will be smiling even more by the end of the day.
“Set amid lavish gardens on a half-mile-long stretch of pearlescent beach named Playa Del Secreto (The Secret Beach), the adults-only, all-inclusive Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya boasts one of the most breathtaking swimming pools in Riviera Maya, Mexico!”
That blurb doesn’t do this resort justice. Having never traveled to Mexico, this is our first taste of what the country, and an all-inclusive, has to offer. It has been nothing but friendly and fun for our first day. Pools, beaches, booze and friends made us feel welcome and comfortable.
We arrived by 9am, and check in wasn’t until 3pm. The resort held our luggage and we were off to begin enjoying the amenities. First thing was to get some breakfast and coffee into us. Of course mimosas began flowing steadily as well. My wife and I were warned by our tenants to not over indulge on the booze on day one. That was going to be challenging. But since water and food was also in abundance- we survived day one without issue.
Drinks were coming pretty regularly mind you. So we tried a bunch of new drinks. We also enjoyed some food truck tacos and an elegant dinner with some friends.
The night ended with my wife and I going for a stroll and enjoying the stars. Relaxing without concern is a great feeling. I can get used to this life and am already able to see what people find appealing about this style of vacationing.
It’s been a very long time since I have been on a “Red Eye” flight. The first time was a trip to Scotland as a child. The worst one was a trip home from Toronto.
Today, we got off the flight early this morning after six hours in the air. My wife and I chose to do it this way so that we could have a siesta on the beach or by the pool in case we didn’t get much sleep on the plane. No point in spending an extra $400 for a night of sleep.
Traveling during these strange times is well, strange. I’d much rather sleep away the awkwardness instead of interacting with strangers on a plane. Anyways, on to the first day of vacation! Exhausted but ready for it!
Being on vacation is wonderful. Yesterday and today we had some nice weather with sunshine peaking out. The rest of the week- not so good. A chance of snow tomorrow and a miserable looking week continues on. I’m glad our Christmas lights are up.
Good thing my wife and I fly out to Mexico tonight on the red eye. Besides getting away to beautiful weather, we are leaving the teenagers behind! Grandma is in charge and our tenants are watching over things as well. This is the first real vacation for just the two of us, ever.
My wife and I have taken a weekend away every couple of years. Usually just a drive into Vancouver or a quick escape to Seattle. Our honeymoon was also a short drive to Harrison Hot Springs and lasted for only three days. Every other trip we have been on, we brought the entire family. It’s about time to focus on just the two of us.
My wife is also excited to spend her birthday in a warmer climate. We would have done this last year for her big 5-0, but the world wasn’t ready to open up. Even the trip this week has some hurdles to jump through. But I think it’ll all work out nicely in the end.
Mostly because we won’t be here for the start of the snow season.
Since moving from Langley and into Surrey, my wife and I have been doing our best to explore what this new city has to offer. One of the best things about Surrey is the parks. They are bountiful and beautifully maintained. There is a lot of green space to explore. Last night we wandered around Bear Creek Park and enjoyed the ambiance.
The City of Surrey had set up a walking path of Lights and Nature. Tickets are free and available at Bear Creek Park Lights. Currently they are set for 200 attendees every half hour. The event is currently scheduled to run from November 5th to the 19th.
The walk itself is about a half kilometer. Which took us about twenty minutes as we stopped for plenty of photos. It wasn’t busy mind you on a Tuesday night. Normally there are food trucks, but this year they said you could bring a snack, just take the trash with you as it is a park. I microwaved a couple bags of popcorn and we snacked as we wandered the park.
Overall, the experience was enjoyable and we had a good time. I’d recommend it to anyone for an evening out with family or friends.
My wife and I first noticed the trolley heading off in the distance behind our home at the end of summer. We also wandered down to a corn stand and the trolley came right passed it. So we took an interest in seeing this thing in person. A Halloween theme seemed like a fun activity to go on with our two youngest teenagers.
We made the most of the one hour trip. My 17 year old daughter and I dressed up as characters from the anime Soul Eater. Most of the attendees were small children and their parents. We were by far the oldest group there. But we weren’t about to let that spoil our fun!
The museum and trolley are run by volunteers. Many of them retired bus drivers and railroaders. For this adventure, they dressed in costumes and had a great time wandering the car and dancing at the stations. By the end of the ride, they were trying to recruit me to join. Perhaps one day since it is so close to our new home.
In the spring, my wife would like to check out the rest of the museum and take a ride on the trolley when it’s not festively decorated. This is definitely one of those moments where it brings all ages together for a fun and silly outing. Thank you to the volunteers who were having a blast for the guests!
Today was another one of those incredible days for humanity. The second customer based space flight took place on Blue Origin. This time the oldest person to travel to space was on board. William Shatner aged 90 was Jeff Bezos’ guest. Which is fitting considering that Star Trek paved the way over 55 years ago. In 1970’s NASA named their space shuttle “Enterprise” as a nod to the 60’s sci-fi as well.
This morning I took thirty minutes out of my day to watch the launch and re-entry into Texas. The take off and landing is always the most exciting parts to witness. As technology has progressed over the years, I am in awe of the accuracy in which these feats are achieved.
I’ve always been fascinated by space travel. I know that I am unable to ever accomplish that goal at this time. Even if money was no object and I forked out that money to get on an Amazon rocket- the tallest a person can be is 6’4”. I’m about four inches too tall. Darn you genetics!!! But hey, if a 90 year old can go to space and safely return home- I’ve got 45 years to figure out how to get there myself.
For now, I live vicariously through the events that NASA and these Private Companies showcase. It’s a brief entertainment value that allows for the imagination to run wild. Congratulations to William Shatner for being the first living Star Trek star to make it into space. As well as being the oldest person to do so as well. I can’t wait to hear his tale of travel once he gathers himself together after such an emotional journey.
When I was a kid, National Lampoon’s European Vacation came out on video. I found the film to be absolutely hilarious. It also made me put Germany and other parts of Europe on my bucket list of places to visit. Specifically during Oktoberfest. (Much like our visit to Tokyo during the Cherry Blossoms). Since I have a wife with German roots, this idea excites me more.
Experiencing the world and other cultures like that is high on my list of why life is awesome. So as my wife and I plan our next big trip (which is on pause because of Covid), she is wanting to introduce me to some things that I never tried. The other day was sauerkraut on a bratwurst. All I can say is that it was surprisingly delicious. I’m not a fan of anything pickled, but as an addition to the food, it worked perfectly.
Of course you can’t have Oktoberfest without beer. A couple of years back, my wife and I attended Oktoberfest in September at The Trading Post. This was during one of my “Sober Septembers” so I was the designated driver. I still had a great time watching people cheer and sing while they drank and ate.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying some OOMPA Music played through the Spotify account. There’s something about German Polka that is kind of fun. My family is not as keen as I am it seems. But that’s okay.
Do you enjoy Oktoberfest? Besides German beers of course!
For the past five years we have made it to 20 Mile Bay to end our summer vacation. This year we did not. There were three main factors in why we didn’t go camping this summer.
First, Theory was supposed to attend a Long Track Speed Skating Camp in Fort St. John. However it got canceled at the last minute due to an issue with their ice. As disappointing as that was, it was kind of a blessing because of the difficulty my wife would’ve had driving there. Which brings me to the number two reason for not camping.
Too many forest fires. The campsite we attend has not been closed down, but many routes and other locations have been. Which means it would be busier than we normally like. There is also a full campfire ban in effect. Which makes camping feel different. The air is still very smokey in many parts of our province, having a compromised respiratory system makes for difficult breathing as it is.
Finally, the main reason we aren’t going camping is our new house. I had to change a week of vacation in order to move. We had talked about taking a shorter three day camping trip; but decided that our home is new and exciting to us that it was time better spent enjoying this newness. I still get to put my feet in the water, almost daily this summer. That’s been a lot of fun, so I really cannot complain. Like living in an Airbnb every day.
Perhaps next summer we can get out to camping once more. Or perhaps it is behind us now. Only time will tell.
In this day and age people love to share photos of their meals. I am not ashamed to say, but I have also done this (and still do on occasion). Even though restaurants or homemade meals can look and taste amazing, sometimes it’s the simple foods that can also spark joy.
Today I was looking forward to having a bowl of yogurt with granola and fresh blueberries. This meal brings back a various flood of memories for me. The first time I had granola for breakfast I was about fifteen. I had gone with a friend and his family up to the Okanagan to pick apples for a week. I fell in love with this sweet, yet healthy snack. Later in life- my wife and I spent our two day honeymoon at a bed and breakfast in Harrison Hot Springs. That was where I had yogurt, granola and fresh fruit served to me. It seemed elegant and heartwarming at the same time. A true B+B experience.
Yesterday I had buttered toast with marmalade. Again, simple and tasty. This is a meal I have maybe once every couple of years. That’s because I don’t find it overly filling. So if I want a light breakfast- toast is it. To me, orange marmalade is a special treat for on top. I first had marmalade when I was four years old. It was on my first trip to Scotland. I thought it was a big deal to eat this in a foreign country.
At my grandparents house in Scotland, they had 3 channels on the television back in 1980. Paddington Bear (the 1976 BBC series) was on every morning. He ate marmalade. My mother made it a big deal that she could get me some marmalade if I wanted too. To be four years old and eating the food that a funny little bear was eating during his daily adventures- was like a dream come true. I’ll always associate marmalade with that bear and those memories of my youth.
Simple foods can bring forth a flurry of beautiful memories. Do you associate breakfast food with a fond memory?
It may seem odd that space travel is finally reaching a level beyond scientific research. It’s beginning to blur the line between science fiction and reality these days. And the billionaires on earth are racing to get there.
Over the past few days, billionaires are exiting the earth’s atmosphere and spending time in space. Granted it’s not a lot of time in orbit, but they are reaching far beyond my limitations at this moment. And I’m excited for them.
They are paving the way for all of us to enjoy a potential freedom in future travel. I’m hoping within the next two decades that it becomes affordable for some of us- I’d excitedly jump on board.
Maybe you don’t feel the same way I do. But hear me out. It all has to start with someone investing money and resources into paving the way. Even if they make the money from the rest of us- I hope to create my own memories and enjoy the trip.
Think about where we are now and what we have that is all commonplace. Flying, Cars, televisions, computers, smartphones- the first ones went to the wealthy and eventually made their way to the general public.
One day- space travel will be within everyone’s grasp. “Straight to the moon Alice!” won’t be a phrase from 1955’s humor on domestic violence anymore. But rather something you can say to a loved one- and actually being going to the moon.
Here in my neck of the woods- we had a good run of amazing weather the last couple of days. It felt as though the May Long Weekend was going to shine! Today I woke up and it was grey and chilly. The forecast also doesn’t look to favorable this week. Chance of rain and more grey skies.
I honestly don’t mind too much. That’s because I have another couple of weeks of night shifts to go. The grey skies help me sleep during the day. I do have blackout blinds, but the turn in the weather also means less people and animals outside making a ruckus and enjoying life.
Maybe that’s a little selfish sounding. Like most people I didn’t look into the weather outlook for the weekend. I just assumed the sun would be around. Lots of my friends and coworkers have enjoyed camping and hanging out in their backyards over the last two days. At least according to their social media posts.
Don’t worry folks, the sun will return soon enough. We have an entire summer to go.
On Saturday afternoon, my wife and I went for a walk in Maple Ridge. We wandered around Kanaka Creek Regional Park for about an hour or so. This was our first time exploring this area. I remember that nearby there used to be the Albion Ferry. I’m sure I came here back in the early 90’s when we were able to cross from Fort Langley. Even though there is a rich history here, this park was finished in 1993.
It is a nicely shaded walk that meanders near the Fraser River. It is far more maintained than the parks in Langley are. This was probably one of the nicest walks I’ve been on recently in The Lower Mainland.
It sure felt as though summer was upon us the other day. If you head out on a beautiful sunny day like we did, remember to bring water, a hat, and sunscreen. And remember to smile for your photos!
Yesterday my wife and I enjoyed a midday kayak on the Sumas Canal that leads to the Vedder River. Last year we went at the end of June when the water levels were much higher. That allowed for more exploration along the calm water’s edge. Read about last year’s adventure here: Vedder Made Today Better.
Yesterday was just a brief stint in the water. The levels were much lower and we really weren’t as prepared as we thought we were. Even though we packed some snacks and put to use our new PFDs, we just weren’t as ready as we thought. The water wasn’t difficult to paddle- the problem was the sun. We forgot sunscreen. Our water bottles can only keep us cool and hydrated for so long.
We are definitely fond of the calm clear water which we paddled on passing the tall grasses. We have also become bird watchers while on these journeys. Yesterday we saw numerous cranes, geese, mallards, hawks, and bald eagles. As well as a few fish and frogs hiding out.
Even though our adventure was short, we still enjoyed the brief paddle. Getting a bit of a workout in the sun was nice. I enjoy the car ride as well, that allows for my wife and I to talk about life.
All-in-all a good mental and physical health moment in the middle of the day.
Back in 2009, we went on our first trip to Disneyland. We have retuned to the The Happiest Place on Earth numerous times. That first trip was by far the most memorable. And probably our most joyous.
The photos from our first trip are filled with fun. Those smiles from our children are still contagious. Each trip since has been equally as magical in different ways. We have loved every visit.
Last February we bought tickets for Disneyland. Our plan was to visit in the July of 2020. Alas, the world shutdown. Now there is a glimmer of hope as the Disneyland park opens once more. Only to California residents and in a limited capacity- but from what I’ve seen today, my heart yearns for a trip back there.
The tickets we bought will be honored at a later date. So we will hold onto the thought of traveling once more. Only the next time, there will be at least four adult Havelkas entering the park. They may not be children, but we will be young at heart once more.
Is a visit to Disneyland on your wish list once travel restrictions are lifted?
Today is 4/20. A day that many people indulge in marijuana and just chill out. I think it’s great- even though I am not a pot smoker. I say it’s great because smoking a bit of pot tends to allow people to reach a different level of enlightenment. I honestly feel the world needs more enlightened people. I’m enlightened AF as the kids say.
For example: Ten years ago today, I took my four year old son to the Center of the Universe. Eight years ago, my daughter and I met a childhood hero of mine-Elvira. Meeting Elvira changed my daughter’s view of women being powerful and still remaining feminine. Seven years ago, my son was an honorary “Lego Master Builder” at a convention volunteering his time helping kids. Six years ago, we were in Golden, BC on our way to yet another convention. Four years ago today, my wife and I stopped in Weed, California at 4:20 to honor a friend of mine I had lost.
Sure, some of the memories I just shared seem insignificant to many. But each year on this day had a lasting emotional and mental effect on my life, and that of my family’s. All of it positive in some fashion. Most of it unintentionally spiritual.
Perhaps I’m just looking for answers. But aren’t we all? Isn’t that why people spark up a doob? To get spiritual? Or get lost in thoughts? Maybe it’s to become one with the universe. Far out man.
Whatever the case may be for people smoking the green on 4/20, just remember to have snacks nearby. And if things get outta hand, or you need a tripping buddy- there is a new helpline for you. The Fireside Project. Call or text +16234737433 for free emotional support to help you through a trip.
My wife and I took a break from packing our house in order to enjoy the summer-like weather. We got up early the past two mornings and headed out to Fort Langley to enjoy some tranquility and exercise.
Yesterday we went to Salmon River and paddled alongside of the farm land. The water levels were so low that we were able to get through a small tunnel and explore more than we had in the past.
Today we went to the Bedford Channel and pushed further than we have before. Whenever we kayak here, we go against the current first in order to float back. The current wasn’t as strong as in the past, which was nice. I was also impressed by the courtesy of other paddlers and boaters considering how busy the boat launch area was getting.
The feel of the sun on our faces really brightened our moods. We also stopped on both days to buy lunch from local businesses. Not that the Fort Langley community isn’t bustling as it is! But my wife and I have a couple favorite spots that we love to support.
I enjoyed my early dates with my wife. We needed some of this time together in order to rejuvenate.