Panic Purchasing? Butt Why?

Oh man. There is a lot of panic in the world right now. Especially regarding COVID-19. Unfortunately paranoia is causing folks to be a tad bit irrational.

On Saturday morning in my hometown of Langley, a video was taken of people rushing into a Costco to buy toilet paper of all things. The media has been reporting of the scarcity of the butt tissues for some time now. As if a lack of shit tickets is the cause of the virus outbreak. But people love to spread misinformation on social media causing panic thus creating a real shortage now. It’s a strange catch-22 that we entered over the past couple weeks.

Yes the virus is real and over 100,000 people in the world have been diagnosed with it. There are 5 million people living in British Columbia- 32 of which have the virus; and 4 of those have overcome it already. Less than 0.0000064 of BC’s population has the virus.

I’m not going to compare these numbers to cancer or the flu. I’m just trying to figure out why toilet paper and racism is taking hold of our society. And I’m at a true loss to explain it.

But if the world runs out of toilet paper, maybe it’s time for purchasing that bidet I’ve been wanting for a couple of years now. Washing my bum was a pleasant experience while traveling in Tokyo.

How is your toilet paper supply?

Are you stocked up?

Estranged Stranger

I am an adult. I do adult things. I work hard to be the best husband and father that I can be. I also have friends and coworkers who rely on me and whom I rely on equally. I think I’m doing a pretty good job out there.

Over the years, I have chosen to lose contact with certain friends. Sometimes we just drift apart. Other times it was a misunderstanding or disagreement. That’s totally fine. Recently I was contacted by an old friend out of the blue. We shared stories and thoughts as if we hadn’t skipped a beat in our friendship. When I’m usually the one reaching out, it was heartwarming to know that he reached out to me instead.

As an adult with a life I in which I am trying to have filled with joy and happiness, I’ve chosen to lose contact with my mother and sister. My mother and sister have their own lives. I was often putting forth the effort to stay in contact and don’t have the energy to do it any further. It’s been a few months now, and I’m okay with that. After a few decades, it’s time to move on. I have other people who mean more to me in my life.

On the other hand, it’s also hard to want to miss somebody who could’ve been a bigger part of my life. How do I miss someone I’ve never met, like my Unknown Half Sister? It’s weird to think that there could’ve been someone I could look up to and ask advice. But that never came to fruition. That was more my parents’ choice to hide her existence for most of my childhood. As an adult, I just don’t care to discover an estranged stranger on the other side of the planet.

I sometimes dwell on the past. But I also move forward from these thoughts rather quickly. As I write this I know that it is helping me move forward with my life. I’m excited about the possibilities that my future has in store with friends and immediate family. Perhaps one day I’ll miss someone I haven’t met yet.

Yo-yo Yo

Last night my son asked me if I knew how to yo-yo. A couple years back I donated some Puzzles and wooden yo-yos to him. He never really cared for the yo-yos before but loved the puzzles.

His fascination with the yo-yo kind of started a few days ago when we were watching a collection of Vine videos on YouTube and one of them involved Tom Smothers aka “The Yo-yo Man”. This clip is from back in the 80’s- which was around the time I used to watch “The Smothers Brothers” when the show was revived in 1988-1989. That was when I became interested in the yo-yo but it never blossomed into much.

It wasn’t until the late 90’s that I really fell in love with yo-yo. Put it up there with hackysack as useless but fun pastimes which I excelled at in the mid 90’s. So I naturally jumped at the opportunity to show off some of my lame dad skills to my son last night.

I started with showing him the basics of the yo-yo. String, wax and the wooden classic yo-yo. My son took my “well loved” green yo-yo and I used my more pristine red one. I showed him some basic tricks like “sleeping”, “forward pass”, “walking the dog” and “around the world”. It’ll take me some more practice to dust of my other skills to get back to things like “rock the baby”.

Hopefully my son enjoys this useless pastime like I did. Looking online, there are plenty of YouTube videos teaching people how to yo-yo. I even found a video available on Amazon of Tom Smothers on VHS!

Did you ever enjoy this simple toy? Or did you get into some professional style ones? Let me know in the comments.

Crossing Tracks

Everyday I cross two sets of train tracks near our home. I’ve been doing this for over a decade now. Recently they changed one of the crossings.

They removed the stop sign and installed some lights. Needless to say that many of the local residents are having a difficult time adjusting. Since many have lived here for a long time. Even though I know it has signals and no more stop sign, I still slow down as I approach. Perhaps it’s the railroader in me exercising caution.

At the other crossing I sometimes stop and take a photo. There can be something beautiful about the skyline and the tracks that needs to be immortalized in a picture.

My Son is A Ghostbuster In The Making

I finished making my Halloween costume last week: Building My 2019 Costume. I’m really happy with how that one turned out. I guess it inspired my son to do his own build (With my help). After numerous costume ideas thrown around, he decided he wanted to be a Ghostbuster. Retro at it’s finest. Time to get going on it!

Of course we hit up Spirit Halloween to see what was out there. I love my son and I love Halloween… but forking over the kind of money this store is asking just for one night is kind of crazy. I did buy one piece to add to his costume. But the rest we decided to make together.

The Wand

This isn’t screen accurate at all. But it looks pretty awesome. It’s also the design my son wanted. A few years ago I had picked up two garden lights that had blue lightning effects. But because they used 8 “AA” batteries, I never used them in the yard. One of them I made into a “Steampunk Lightning Catcher that my daughter has used as part of her steampunk outfit for conventions. The other is now for my son to use as his Proton Pack Wand. I modified this one with a new rocker switch to turn it on, a metal grate and some “exposed” wires.

Proton Pack

The Proton Pack has been the most fun to assemble. Much like my Skesis head, I used pink foam insulation as the base. I cut the bottom of an ice cream tub for the “Cyclotron”. The top is from an old pressure washer handle and the rest is odds and ends from an old VCR and arcade parts I had laying around. A coat of black paint and some fairy lights hide most of the obviousness of what the items once were.

Ghost Trap

This is the piece we bought. As awesome as the Ghost Trap from Spirit Halloween is- I ended up using paints in order to weathering it. The result makes it seem more believable. So I used some techniques I’ve learned over the years. I think it looks good. But now I have to “age” the Proton Pack and the Wand in order to keep the aesthetics similar.

All that remains is the flightsuit and adding straps to the Proton Pack so our son can walk around. Not too bad for using stuff we already owned that was just gathering dust. Plus I enjoyed working with my son to build his props. I hope to do more like this with him in the future.

How are your costumes coming along? Do you love Halloween as much as I do?

Let me know in the comments!

Get Out There & Vote!

What are you doing reading my blog right now? Don’t you know there’s this election thing happening in Canada today? Go and vote! Then come and read my blog- I’ll wait.

Done voting? Excellent. I had thought about doing the advanced voting last weekend, but since I had a turkey to make- no go. This morning however- I was first in line at my local polling station waiting for the doors to open. That’s mostly because I finished a night shift and the polling station was a couple blocks away from our home. The timing was impeccable.

It’s going to be a rainy and miserable day in the Vancouver area. Not only will it be miserable because of the weather… but also because we are the last province to be counted. Many of the other provinces will have their numbers in and whatever the west does isn’t likely to skew the vote in either direction. But I have the opportunity to place an ❌ inside of a circle next to a name of some candidate I think will be best for my needs. So I chose someone.

And making the choice this year was difficult. I finally narrowed it down to two candidates and made my choice as I stared at the paper of names behind the cardboard cutout. Maybe you were better informed than I was. Maybe you just vote the same way every time. But a vote is still a vote.

Tell your family to vote.

Tell your friends to vote.

Tell your coworkers to vote.

Tell your neighbor to vote.

Tell the barista to vote.

Tell the traffic safety person to vote.

Tell a complete stranger to vote.

You get the idea. Make everyone have their voice heard today.

If you read all the way to the end before hitting the polling station- all I want to say is “Go Vote!

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…
  • Making of My 2019 Costume: A Skesis

    During my life I have always loved costumes, Halloween and cosplay. The biggest attraction for me is making the costumes myself. For about a decade we were attending a variety of Comic Cons where we were able to have fun and showcase some costumes. I have written about costuming a few times including a couple of weeks ago where I shared photos of previous outfits: Get Those Costumes Ready

    I also hinted at how I was going to push myself and this year’s outfit. Here is my work for this year. I spent about twenty hours building it. After this Halloween, I’ll probably use it as a prop for decorations in the future.

    I present to you, my Skesis build. MmmMMMmmm

    It started years ago when I wanted to build a Skesis outfit for Calgary Expo. The only downside was we didn’t have room in our vehicle to transport such a large piece from provincial to province. With five of us in the SUV and a metric ton of hats to sell at the show (My wife is still making hats, but we aren’t traveling any more for it. You can still buy online at Ningen Headwear FYI) we didn’t have room for extravagant outfits. My love of The Dark Crystal returned this year when Netflix did a prequel series. It was time to make this costume.

    Research became a quick obsession. Viewing others who had made this costume, searching images, watching behind the scenes footage- you name it and I looked for it. I had to settle on what was going to be feasible in my spare time and what I could afford- my budget ended up being $30. Seriously. I had a lot of the materials readily available from previous Cosplay, thank goodness.

    It started with some designs and foam. Foam insulation boards glued together and a roll of foam floor mat. My artistic ability is mediocre at best. My hope was that doing some of it and taking a break periodically would inspire me. Advice from my family was also key.

    Making the inner framework was a challenge. I needed it to be sturdy and light weight and fit me inside. PVC tubing and a couple of straps are the basic inner workings. I used a heat gun to mold and form the “outer shell”. I also suffered numerous hot glue gun burns to my fingers throughout the entire process.

    Once the foam for the head was dry, it was time to cut out the shape of the head. I mostly used an exacto blade and craved off laters if foam. I used a Dremel to smooth out the edges and add some facial features. The head still seemed blocky at this point. Adding teeth and ping pong ball eyes helped a bit.

    To get the features more realistic, I formed a thin layer of sculpting clay around the head. Once it was dry, I used acrylic paints to get a good base coat of colour onto it. The features were beginning to POP but it was looking far too cartoon like.

    Getting advice from my daughter, I added some dull fading to it and was throughly pleases with the results.

    After spray painting the back shell with black and red, I hot glued it to my fingers the frame and began to add fabrics. Old bedsheets, curtains and sheer material have given this guy some life. I’m happy with the results so far. All that’s left is to try walking around in it. I should be able to see through the black sheer, but this thing might weigh more than I’m expecting.

    I enjoyed the process along the way. I know some things I’d do differently if I were to make this again. I also know that it can look pretty good as a stationary piece later on.

    Hopefully this Halloween, I can get some candy for all my hard work!

    Too Busy Being Busy

    I’m busy trying to fit everything into my day that I can, that I have been neglecting my blog. I keep putting off writing until I can find a solid half an hour to an hour to write. I’ve been falling behind on writing some genuinely good blog content.

    Having quality content draws in more readership, right? Or do I need keywords and tags? At night when I’m in bed, I’m browsing my phone and reading some of my older blog posts to see what was successful in regards to traffic. Reading my blogs by going through the Facebook link, or having my wife read them, I think I’ve skewed some of the numbers. Especially for my older content. I feel I’ve read some of my more popular ones numerous times. Or did I make them popular by rereading them?

    I should put more thought into my daily musings. But lately I haven’t had the time to proofread and do rewrites. A quick “once over” and then I hit publish. Just like today’s post. I’m going to work on taking the time to write something tangible.

    Tomorrow.

    Take The Compliment!

    The toughest critic on you is yourself.

    I love creating art. I think I make decent art things. But I’m also hard on myself and find all the flaws where I could have done better. What’s worse is I enjoy showing it off to people, but I don’t take compliments very well.

    My art of choice varies on my moods and the seasons. I’ve always been crafty and creative. This time of year I enjoy carving pumpkins. I can’t wait to get my hands on some and let the creative juices flow! I’m also excited about showcasing my costume. I’m a bit worried that the more I talk about it, the less it will be amazing when I show it off.

    I don’t want to show it off quite yet, but I also want some advice on a few parts of it. Argh. Silly brain isn’t being helpful. I’m sure people will tell me it looks good, but I want better than that!

    Ack. Argh. Ugh. Just take the compliment Joe. It’ll be fine.

    My Friend in Hong Kong Shares Her View.

    The world is always changing and oftentimes faces new struggles. We hear tidbits in the media about the rest of the nation or even other countries and think to ourselves, “I’m glad I live where I do.”

    But when people you know are in those places, you get concerned. Be it a natural disaster or civil unrest- you get feelings of anxiousness and worry about their wellbeing. That’s when you need to hear it from the source about how things are going.

    I have an old friend who is currently living in Hong Kong. Yesterday she shared what is going on with the protesters, how it started and some history behind everything. It opened my eyes as to what is really happening from a first hand view.

    Read about it here: The New Normal in Hong Kong.

    I don’t usually share stories like this, but it’s affecting a part of my world and not just this friend, but those friends who care about her as well. I hope that getting the facts out will help in an understanding of what goes on elsewhere in this world. If even for the few minutes it takes to read the story.

    So please, take the time to get a behind the scenes understanding. And if you wish to read more for her life in Hong Kong, check out Kayo Chang Black

    Success is Sure

    I’m a fan of Mark Twain. He is the sort of person I wish to be one day. Or at least what I imagined him being: An old guy sitting in a rocking chair on a porch spewing out wisdoms. With big hair and killer fashion sense. The sort of man that most ignored while alive, but seek out the wisdom once departed.

    Recently I misquoted Mark Twain. I wrote, “To succeed in life, you need two things: Ignorance and confidence.” Which is a close variance on his original quote as seen in the image above.

    In many ways I am on a road to success with my writing. I am confident in my ability to write. And completely ignorant to the fact that not everything I write is worth reading. But I still manage to write. It’s just a matter of figuring out how I wish to measure my success. Is it monetary? More followers? Comments?

    I’ll probably never know if I’m successful because the game keeps changing.

    Trying To Be A Better Man

    Today would’ve been my father’s birthday. Over the years I’ve been trying different ways to remember the good in him. Which has been difficult when the bad memories were more impactful. From September 19 (My father’s birthday) to November 25th (the date he passed away) I’m not a pleasant person to be around at home. I’ve been consciously making different choices in my life to try and be a better person each and every day.

    For two years in a row I grew a beard. It made me look like him. I was thinking of making it a tradition, but last year my family pushed hard and made me feel bad that I grew facial hair. I’m not sure why, but I’d rather not have bitterness thrown at me from those whom I care about. So no beard planned this year.

    Last year I did “Sober September” and this year I’m trying as well. I had a couple of beers once this month and felt instant shame in myself for being weak. The reason is my father drank heavily and I worry that the trait runs deep in my genes. Especially when I look back at most of my Instagram posts and see a lot of beer in my hands.

    Obviously I’d love to say that I am in control of my drinking, but am I? I come home from work and would like a beer with dinner. I have days off and want to see friends which generally brings up drinking. Maybe this year I’ll try not drinking from September 19 to November 25th. Do the complete opposite of what my father would do. Maybe only then can I push the negative out of my mind and bring out the positive memories.

    I sure don’t want to end up like him- sour, angry and dead by age 58. That doesn’t appeal to me. I want to be a better person.

    I know I’m a better person. I just need to remind myself from time to time.

    Is It Autumn Yet?

    The daylight is getting shorter. The leaves on the trees are starting to change colour. It’s foggy in the mornings. We must be on the cusp of autumn.

    So I decorated our front stoop accordingly!

    We had an old wooden chair in our barn that I set up out front. I had bought a couple of metal buckets from the dollar store last year and filled them with firewood. I gathered some leaves that had fallen and placed them around. Finally, our crone gargoyle sits patiently waiting for Halloween.

    On the other side of the door I put an unfinished “living edge” table (also from our barn). I set up our collection of British Columbia Beer Growlers from our road trips over the past few years. I surrounded everything with some leaves, dried seeds and bark.

    I’m happy with the results and have a few other decorative ideas to add to our home before Halloween takes over. I finally found my glue gun at 11pm last night, but won’t be starting a project until later in the day.

    What do you do to decorate for the seasons?

    Do you like fall as much as I do?

    Let me know in the comments section!

    Kayak Adventure

    Last week I mentioned how we bought a couple of kayaks. (Read about it here: Ack Ack Kayak.) On Saturday this week, my wife and I finally took them out for the inaugural testing.

    After a bunch of online searching to find a good first spot to kayak, we ended up at Blackie Spit down at Crescent Beach in White Rock. I woke up early and secured the kayaks to the roof of my Rogue. But it wouldn’t be for another couple of hours before we would depart. We made it to White Rock by 12:15pm and hit the water pretty soon after. I was shocked at how few people were at the beach today.

    My wife and I paddled around the harbor and pier. Our two youngest came to the beach with us and found themselves a spot to hang out. After an hour or so on the water, my wife and I met up with our kids and they took a turn on the water. Once they were done, my wife and I paddled back to a spot closer to my car and the kids walked over.

    Once at the car, everyone pitched in to get the kayaks on the roof and secured up. The parking lot was getting busy and people were filling up every available spot. I figured we should get going home so that someone else could take my spot.

    All-in-all it was a fantastic day. I hope to explore more places while out on the kayaks. For now though, I’m kinda stiff and sore using muscles I had no idea I had.

    Roof Racks

    Today was a day of roof racks. How exciting! One was for my Nissan Rogue. The other was for our Honda Element.

    The Rogue was super easy, but super expensive. I shopped around to find crossbars, however it seems that Nissan Dealers all charge the same. $350 after taxes and five minutes of my labor and the Rogue is ready to start transporting stuff. It does look pretty slick mind you.

    The Element was more challenging. Since the vehicle was discontinued a few years ago, accessories aren’t readily available from dealerships or online. So it was time to improvise and see what other people have done. After a couple of YouTube videos and a sense of, “That looks easy.” I took on the challenge.

    We had an old display shelf that was the perfect length and the bars are durable. The Element is already boxy, so the square metal tube from the shelf fits in nicely. I hit the hardware section of a few stores to find a metal corner edge, bolts and some pins. I measured out the bracket sizes and cut four pieces with my hacksaw. After filing the edges, I bolted them into the roof. (The Element had bolt holes hidden in the top side panels making it easy to attach these brackets.) I used an angle grinder to slice out the perfect slit in the rails. Then I drilled holes that lined up with the brackets and tested my pins. Everything fit perfectly. Lastly was to remove everything once more and give it the first coat of black paint.

    All that’s left is to figure out how to add crossbars in order to retain the durability. So far the roof rack for our Element has cost about $20, some recycled materials, a few fantastic YouTube lessons and a couple of hours of labor. Not too shabby I guess. Plus I really enjoyed working with my hands creating something useful for our car. I can’t wait to see the finished product and go camping!

    Camp Jubilee: Day Two of Activities

    My tutu and I enjoying the sunrise.

    We finished our Monday night with some board games in our Yurt. It was a great way to calm everyone down after our first day. Tuesday had us up early at 8:30am getting breakfast. The parents had a few moments to enjoy the morning before the kids activated.

    After we had breakfast, we were off immediately to do some Beach Exploration. The kids looked for marine life on the shore- discovering a multitude of tiny crabs. They worked together to gather them up and then release them. Jellyfish and sea stars were spotted in the water near our dock as well.

    After that, we were off to rock climbing. Where each of the kids took an opportunity to scale a slope. Many of these kids overcame their fears. It was fantastic. I was encouraged to try it as well. It was tremendously fun as the kids encouraged one another to go up and back down. We did both these activities in the three hours before lunch.

    After lunch, we were off again to do slingshots followed by shelter building. Luckily enough, everything was in the shade. It was hot! We are expecting an increase in temperature today.

    Honda Element Keyless Entry Install

    We’ve had our Honda Element since 2003 when the first model came out. We picked up a mid price range Element EX in five speed manual transmission. A fantastic crossover suv with hardly any issues. The only thing that became bothersome over the years was the door locks.

    Having the key stop working to unlock the doors began within the first couple years. Twice the dealership repaired the locks at no charge. I guess it’s a known issue for Hondas. Eventually we just became accustomed to not locking the car or restoring to crawling in through the trunk. I’m too old for that. Time to see about a keyless entry for the vehicle.

    Last week I went to one of those car audio places to see about getting a keyless entry installed. Cheapest unit and time was going to cost me $500. Ugh. Time to search the interwebs. I found a couple of videos on YouTube of people who had figured out how to install the keyless entry. I picked up a genuine Honda part on Amazon and had it arrive at my home two days later.

    I came home from work yesterday and picked up the mail to discover the package. Alright, Amazon is pretty awesome. After watching videos of other people installing this part, I figured I could hammer it out before dinner.

    Reading online and watching videos saying that it can be installed in five minutes meant the challenge was on. I hit my stopwatch from the moment I opened the car door to the time it took to install the part and put everything back.

    2 Minutes 23 Seconds.

    We can now lock and unlock our door. Best $140 I have spent in a long time. The part had a spot all ready for it. Now I see why people love owning Hondas. Our Element is essentially the same as a CRV with many of the same parts interchangeable. Keeping costs way down on repairs.

    I’m happy again with the car. Now to possibly upgrade the stereo!

    Check out last year’s Camperizing a Honda Element or a couple of years ago where we couldn’t decide if we should Repair it or Replace it.

    River Day

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

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

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

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

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

    Corporate Jargon

    The other day I was eavesdropping on a presentation someone was giving. It was filled with corporate jargon and made me sad. Sad because I have heard, and even used, some of these terms at my various employers. I’d like it if people would stop using them.

    Terms such as:

    Synergy

    Take it to the next level

    Move up a notch

    Empower

    Think outside the box

    It is what it is

    Ground zero

    Drinking the kool aid

    Moving parts

    Greatest impact

    Give 110%

    Bring to the table

    Corporate values

    Core values

    Best practice

    There are many more terms that scream corporate jargon.I don’t think that companies really make people feel like their job is adequate enough. It feels as though these words and terms get tossed out there in order to confuse the masses.

    At the end of the day, I’m not wanting to buy into those corporate philosophies. But I have to regurgitate them in order to survive in this world, or at least acknowledge these terms- right?

    Workplace Toys

    Working in an office on a regular basis, one needs to add a bit of “flair” to make it more personalized. Since our work is a 24/7 operation- we share a workspace. As professional as we are, we still need a little break to show our humanity. So… we have toys scattered throughout the office.

    Our fandoms get expressed in small doses. Just a friendly reminder of what we work towards- from gaming to movies. There’s a goal at the end of each day that keeps us laughing and going.

    Even a missing ceiling tile gets a little buddy to watch over us. If it brings a even a brief smile to our workspace, it’s worth it.

    Sometimes our doodles and artwork get put up. The moments of fun is what makes it all worthwhile. There is a plethora of talent here as well.

    How do you decorate your workspace? What do you have that keeps you sane?

    Bonus Money

    Today my bank account was bigger than it’s been in quite some time. All because I received my work bonus!

    I was excited to see it until I looked at my paystub statement and realized that nearly HALF disappeared in taxes. Ouch. No wonder they call it Gross Income. It’s gross to see how much I should’ve had. But money is money and I knew exactly what to do with my bonus this year.

    I paid some bills.

    With a few clicks of the mouse button, all that “extra” cash was gone. In part I am relieved. The washing machine that I threw on my credit card is paid off. As well as our trip to Disneyland from last October. I also set aside money for our property taxes this year instead of cashing out my shares. This last one is a game changer for me. It means that my shares will remain untouched for longer.

    Financial freedom is getting closer. Our mortgage renewal is due in the next few months. Only 20 years left until that’s done. And only a couple years left on my car payments as well.

    As they say, “Everything’s coming up Milhouse!” Or they don’t say that. Whatever. Things are starting to look up. Bye bye money…

    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.