Scarves or Scarfs

Scarves or scarfs, however you want to spell it- it’s cold lately so time to wear them. All with that “Polar Vortex” thing- and it finally hit us here in Vancouver. Let’s bundle up!

I love wearing winter scarves. It’s one of the fashion accessories I enjoy wearing. I usually wear it one of three ways. Yes- scarves can be worn in different styles.

First is the once around and drape. This is a basic style that many people choose to sport. I like it because it looks casual and keeps you warm. Depending how cold it is also changes how tight you wear the scarf. If it’s windy, you can also drape the scarf down your back instead.

My personal favorite is the Parisian Knot. This is easily achieved with a longer style scarf. You fold the scarf lengthwise in half. Put it over the back of your neck and tuck the loose ends into the loop. This look is stylish and classy.

Finally is the simple drape. This is great for when you want to show off some colour or team logo. Just put the scarf around the back of your neck and let the sides drape down your chest. Pretty simple.

That’s my “Fashion Tips” for men regarding scarves. As you can see, I also enjoy having fun scarves such as my Harry Potter one or my handmade fox scarf. I have a black knit one as well which is super warm. Something about wearing scarfs in the winter just adds to your look.

What’s your favorite winter fashion accessory? Do you like scarfs? Let me know in your comments.

Yule Be Wiggling

When I was younger, one of my favorite things about Christmas was decorating the tree. The tree in my childhood home was shiny. Lots of glittery ornaments, multi coloured lights, and an excessive amount of tinsel! The green plastic tree was almost silver by the end.

However, around the age of twelve, my sister and father decided to decorate the Christmas tree without me. I’m not gonna lie, that kinda stung me in the heart. Even though I told my family that what they did sucked, they did it a couple more times during my teenage years as well.

Fast forward to the family I have created. My wife and I always make sure that the kids are around on the day we decorate the trees. We’ve even created a tradition for it that we repeat each and every year.

We do all the normal things that families do. Such as put on a fire in the fireplace and drink eggnog while we put out decorations on our Christmas trees. (Yes, TREES- plural.) We have two trees that we decorate as our “Fun” trees and one as our “Elegant” tree.

During the decorating of our Fun trees, we like to have fun- obviously. Our tree decorating has an odd tradition. We have to watch Yule Be Wiggling by The Wiggles! Back in the early 2000’s our children loved watching The Wiggles. As a way of keeping them youthful- we added a viewing of this film while the ornaments get hung up as a part of our Christmas traditions.

And our children continue to love it. All of the songs are memorized. I even have the songs on a cd that gets requested to be played in the car during December! As much as our oldest tries to fight it, this tradition still brought a smile to her face last night as we decorated the Fun trees.

Later this weekend, we will decorate our Elegant tree. This tree has all of our fragile glass and keepsake ornaments. We decorate this one as a family as well. But no bouncing around watching “The Wiggles” for this. It’s the classic Rudolph that will be playing on our tv.

Do you have any out of the ordinary Christmas or Holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments below!

Rainfall Flooding

Today was one of the wettest days I have ever experienced. Besides me being soaked through to the bone and getting prune hands- there was massive pooling of water everywhere. It was pretty miserable out there as if the heavens were crying.

It didn’t matter that I was able to dry off briefly between having to go back out into the rain. The work needed to get done. The thing is, once you’re wet, you may as well stay wet and just power through it.

But the flooding everywhere was intense. Water pooling so bad that even the back doors of a bus going by our train was draining water. At one point, our taxi that was driving us to another train almost stalled out going through what seemed to be a small pond. The driver nearly filled his engine with water.

But as the day drew to an end, the rain eased up. Just in time for the coldness of the night to chill me to the core. I was looking forward to the warmth of my home. My drive home was a good start, with heated seats.

Working Outside

I’ve been at the railroad since 2007. From my conductor class of 30 students only ten people remain. A couple of them moved to work in Edmonton, some in Kamloops, some here in Vancouver and a couple of us went into management.

When I hired on back in November of 2007- they told us that if we can survive our first winter, we’d end up being “Lifers“. Most of my shifts lately have been working outdoors at night, just like when I hired on.

Last week I was Working in the Rain. This week has been dry, but dipping below freezing. You’d think that over a decade later, I wouldn’t be working on the ground. But we’ve been extra busy these days. My body isn’t used to the physical activity. Sometimes I miss being in the office.

Over the next few weeks it’ll remain busy. A lot of us are feeling overwhelmed. The mental strain is equally as bad as the physical strain. I’m not sure if there’s an end goal in sight. My current mood at work is a zombie like state. It carries over into the home life- and that’s tough. I think a good night’s rest and a recharge will help.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but I think it’s just another train…

Handmade Decorations

Christmas decorations have taken over our home. I love to decorate for the season. I even love piecing together decorations from the craft stores and dollar stores. Here are some of the house decorations we have that I’ve made over the years:

I love our garlands. The red, green and gold baubles are simple and elegant. (Even if the items are from the dollar store.) Here is this year’s Dollar Store decoration:

It’s our Nightmare Before Christmas themed wreath. This was easy to make. A few years ago I made some snowflakes that took me hours to cut out with an exacto knife:

Over the years, we also pick up items from craft fairs. I have a friend who makes awesome cards. Another couple who knit. One friend who makes winter houses. A friend of ours makes these neat flowers from sheet music, (we tend to leave it out all year because it’s awesome.)

My kids discovered some other crafts that they’d like to try. One includes molding old records, and we have quite a few of those around. So our kids want to make bowls as gifts:

There’s always more ideas floating around. More crafts to make and buy. More decorations to create. I’m worried that one day our home will turn into a Christmas house 365 days of the year at this rate.

What do you make at Christmas? Do you support local craft fairs as well? Let me know.

Life Lesson

My son is only twelve years old and in grade 7. But he learned a tough lesson this week at school. He got suspended because of a fight that broke out the other day.

He wasn’t physically fighting, but he became one of the students in the small crowd of thirteen kids who watched and did nothing. Four of the students pulled out phones and filmed the situation. The rest cheered. Including my son who was caught on camera by one of the four kids. I support the school district’s decision about the punishment for all fifteen kids.

Yesterday at the end of school, my son was told that he was suspended. He was so distraught that his tears became heavy sobs.

I’m glad he learned this lesson now before adulthood kicks in. We’ve had a good discussion about what he could’ve done differently and what he plans to do next time. I also explained that as he gets older, there can be real world consequences for similar offenses.

His suspension has him home from school today. So I will be putting him to work doing some manual labor around the home. He knows that he better not argue with me about it.

Normally he is a great and loving child. This time he got caught up in the moment and made a poor decision which he has since regretted. I hope he learns from this and makes better choices to help people out instead of sitting idly by.

Working in the Rain

Last night was a good night that turned ugly. As much as I could complain about working in the rain, it really wouldn’t be worth it. I kind of enjoyed it actually.

I worked as a train conductor last night, so I got to be out there in the elements with those hard working team members who do it on a regular basis. Note: I started as a switchman over eleven years ago, and I do enjoy going back to it from time to time. Even out in the rain, it’s sometimes nice to get away from being at a desk all the time.

I worked with a great engineer who was easy to get along with. We had an excellent start and delivered traffic quickly to our first destination. After lunch, we were sent off to rescue another train that had stalled. This turned out to be more challenging than expected. The extreme rain warning was in full effect and made it difficult to move our train.

Needless to say, to took longer than expected, but we succeeded by the end of the night. We had some extra help along the way and fantastic communication going on to make it work. My level of respect to those conductors and engineers who deal with troubleshooting on a daily basis keeps on growing. Especially as the winter is coming.

Working in the harsh elements always poses a challenge. I need to remember this when I get frustrated at my desk when trains aren’t moving. There’s more to it than just thinking it’s the human factors.

Invisible Box

Work can be a real struggle sometimes. It’s even worse when something doesn’t go right.

Recovering from an abnormal situation can require some unique thinking. Being creative in dealing with circumstances beyond your regular control can be tough when others don’t like to stray from the normal routine. Thinking outside the box is hard for some.

In the end, we’re all trying to just get along in our little sandbox. No need to kick each other while we’re down. It’d be nicer to get a helping hand to lift you up. I also think that people need to be willing to accept help when offered.

Working together towards a common goal benefits everyone in the end.

Laugh it Off

Man I’ve been complaining far too much in my blog lately. I don’t want that to be a regular occurrence. So I did something about it.

Today I chose to go into the world and smile more.

That’s it. Work on smiling and being nicer. There’s not much more to it.

A friend needed a ride today, so I happily obliged. Like Mr. Meeseeks would say- “CAN DO!” But thinking about Mr. Meeseeks made me think of something else I saw recently.

Have any of you seen the Toy Story 4 Teaser?

There’s a talking Spork in the Toy Story universe. How? What? Huh? A pipe cleaner on a plastic fork with googly eyes is alive? It does not make sense.

Help me understand this.

Help.

Shave And A Haircut

I grew some facial hair. Last year I grew it from September 19-November 25th in memory of my father. This year I began on the same date because I thought it was a good tradition and I wanted it for my Halloween costume. I was going to keep the facial hair until closer to the end of the month, like I did last year. But, my kids have been bugging me about having a beard. Like really mean about it.

Not only teasing and being downright nasty to me, but the other day, my son asked me a poignant question regarding my beard- “If you don’t have a lot of good memories of your father, why do you want to look like him?

Ouch.

He was right. And I don’t want to be like my father. So off came the beard today.

I also went for my quarterly haircut this afternoon. I look very different now than I did waking up. Back to the “Old Joe” I guess. So instead of my beard- the kids can make fun of my receding hairline instead.

Win-win?