Two Bar Island

About three years ago my daughter and I used the rubber dinghies and paddled to the island that we could see from the campgrounds. It took us an exorbitant amount of time to get there… and back. The next day, my son and I went. Still just as tough. More so because I was sore from the day before.

Last year we got our kayaks. It cut the trip down to about twenty five minutes. So we came every day to the island. This year is no different. Except that last year I discovered a sweet spot that I can get two bars of service on my cellphone.

I don’t think the island has a name. So my wife and I were trying to come up with one.

Cell Island

20 Mile Island

Two Bar Island

Signal Island

Any suggestions?

Playing Around

Camping is filled with loads of keeping ourselves active. We have been spending most of our time at the beach and in the water. Flying a drone, tubing, kayaking, fishing, playing cards, and cooking over a campfire. These are what makes the experiences more and more enjoyable.

Plus we have limited cellular service. So we are using our phones to take pictures and listen to music. I sneak off to a little island by kayak in order to get 2 bars of service in order to blog each day.

Priorities, am I right?

Half A Day of Rain?

We arrived at our campsite mid afternoon and set up our home away from home. Then we enjoyed the evening by the water and fire.

The next morning at 4:30 it decided to rain. That lasted until about 10am. The weatherman was wrong about a week of sunshine. But the day became comfortable and we hit the water for some kayaking to the nearby island.

Good first day considering the unexpected rain.

Twenty Mile Bay 2020

This is our fifth year of going to Twenty Mile Bay to enjoy some camping at the end of August.

First off, the weather looks like it will be in our favor. Should be a comfortable week ahead with loads of sunshine. Honestly, we have been lucky every year we go. Not once has it rained. We did have one year of gusty winds- where our tent was trying to eat us. But it made for good kite flying.

The part I do not like is driving the logging road to the site. We drive about 45 minutes on nicely paved roads doing the speed limit. Then we have to drive about another 45 minutes navigating a rough path going up and down the mountain. With many parts only able to get one vehicle by at a time.

At least the check out time for the campsite is a few hours before the check in time. This means you rarely have oncoming traffic to negotiate around. Plus I like getting there at check in time to set up and start enjoying the trip.

Stay posted for lots of pictures coming soon!

Natural Born Killers

We love having family movie night in our home. Usually it’s a choice we all can agree on. But sometimes I show films to my teenagers that are uncomfortable to watch as a family. I want them to see moving picture shows for what they can be. Not just special effects or cartoons. But artsy.

Last night I put on “Natural Born Killers”. Besides the excessive violence, my teenagers didn’t quite understand Oliver Stone’s vision. I had to explain about the absurdity of the 90’s and the fascination with court cases and police brutality that went on. The worst part is that after 26 years since the film came out- it seems society is still obsessed with crime. And there are more cameras sharing today than there was when this film was made.

I know what you may be thinking. Why would you show your teenagers that film? Because it is an amazing film. It showcases a variety of music, film angles, and styles that look haphazardly thrown together, but in reality weave the tale. A perfect love story filled with society’s imperfections and obsessions.

Watching “Natural Born Killers” is like trying to understand what makes an abstract painting good. After a quarter century, the film still holds up. And is probably more relevant now by shoving the glamour of the lowest parts of humanity into your face.

It also gave my kids a chance to see many actors in a role that isn’t what they see normally. Juliette Lewis (Christmas Vacation), Woody Harrelson (Solo), Robert Downey Jr (Avengers), and Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black). All of which were the films that my kids recognized them from.

Of course right after the film, we watched “The Muppets”. I think the kids wanted to remember what life was like in a more simpler time. Nothing wrong with that. I love reminiscing and watching movies from my childhood.

Temporary…?

Yesterday I posted on Instagram about a sleeve tattoo. It got many responses and I received a few text messages from friends about it.

Many did not read my tags underneath about the tattoo being fake. Not my intent, but humorous nonetheless.

I was given the temporary tattoo by a coworker a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was a neat opportunity to see if I like the idea of a sleeve tattoo. For the next few days I’ll see what I think, and see what my family thinks as well.

The only tattoo I do have is from 2008 for my 32 birthday. A double helix with a dragon head and my children’s names in the ribbon. It’s a perfect mix of my atheist beliefs and fantasy. I always loved dragons. And with children named Random, Darwin and Theory- the DNA strand was a perfect tattoo choice for me.

Twelve years later, and I’ve been thinking about getting more art on my body. Even though the sleeve tattoo looks authentic, it is sadly temporary. It’s hard to justify spending that kind of money for art though. Especially if it’s just for me.

But the temporary tattoo is growing on me. I like the idea of putting more artwork on my body. It’s a good expression of oneself, and I love seeing talented tattoo artists spreading the joy. Maybe on my 50th birthday I will have another tattoo planned out.

Dinner Bundt Bread

Last night I decided to experiment with incorporating fresh baked bread with dinner. I came up with a dish worthy of being repeated, with a few tweaks.

I made a French bread dough recipe from scratch. After letting the dough rise, I took 2/3 of it and rolled it out as flat as I could so that it would fit nicely in a greased bundt pan.

I then put a thin layer of homemade pesto, sprinkling of feta cheese, added some cooked and seasoned ground beef, poured on some tomato sauce, finished with a layer of grated marble cheese. Then I folded over the balance of the dough and sealed the edges.

I baked it in the oven at 375° for 25 minutes. It came out golden and crisp. The flavors melted together beautifully. My only complaint was that the beef was crumbly. When I make it next time, I may need to add some bonding agent such as eggs or more cheese. It will change the taste once a bit, but not enough to make it drastic.

I chose to make this because I want to get into baking breads. Plus we rarely use our bundt pan. It seemed like a good combination for a dinner plan.

What do you make in your bundt pan?

Do you make fresh bread from scratch?

Farm Fresh Country Living

Our one acre of privacy is surrounded by larger acreages. Some have horses, many are hobby farms. Personally I don’t want any other animals to take care of as our dog is the hardest one to look after lately. He’s getting old and it makes me sad. But I want to talk about our neighborhood instead of our puppers.

Wandering around our neighborhood there are a few little stands set up. One is from a couple little kids. They are selling a variety of zucchini and squash. It’s really cute that they are trying to be entrepreneurs. Pretty sure they got “backing” from mom and dad. As in harvesting their vegetables.

The other type of stands that are around are for “Free Range Eggs”. We have a couple of these in our neighborhood. I have not purchased from them. My wife has in the past and was not thrilled with the color of the yolks. I won’t go into detail, but store bought eggs are more reliable in her opinion.

There is also an herb stand around the corner as well as a few small businesses. Such as a Christmas tree farm, a turkey farm, and a few vegetable greenhouses. Having these nearby is unique and pleasing. I do enjoy the freshness of the vegetables as well as the luxury of having these places nearby.

Are you more city or country? Perhaps you love the suburbs.

Vacation Feels

It’s nearing the end of summer. It’s the final push to enjoy ourselves. I am also starting eleven days of vacation. That means time away from work, which is great to recharge the mental batteries. Even though we may not be traveling to a favorite destination.

We are still planning on having a good time as a family. Tonight we made smoked turkey legs and watched some “Disney Park Blogs” YouTube videos during dinner.

Of course we all wore our Mouse Ears! Because who knows when the next time we will be attending a Disney Park again… But the feels needed to come out. The ears brought forth joy, laughter and memories.

I’m ready to have a great time with my family during staycation. British Columbia is the next best place to be next to Disneyland! Especially if you get to share moments with loved ones.

Buster Poindexter Kind of Hot

The past few days have been the hottest I ever remember experiencing. As if the world decided all at once that it was time to crank the thermostat and break the switch at the same time.

It’s perpetually hot now. Yes, summer is nice, I’m not trying to complain. But give us those perfect summer days with a cool summer night. Not habanero heat hovering heavily all around. It’s just unpleasant.

I ventured out of my air conditioned office a couple of times the past couple of days at work. The wall of heat hit hard. So hard that I used “H” alliteration twice in this blog.

Sleeping in this heat is difficult as well. You lay down with no covers enjoying the fan. Inching closer and closer to the cool air blowing at your body. On the verge of falling off the bed in hopes to cool your feet down at the very least. Or so I imagine it to be.

Our home doesn’t get warmer than 24°C on a hot day. The abundance of trees shade our home. The brick work keeps it trapped inside.

It’s just stepping outside that sucks. It’s too damn HOT HOT HOT.

Shopify Summit

My wife has been with Shopify going on 3 years now. Every summer they have a “Support Summit” for their region. Last year was held in Whistler. The year prior was in Vancouver. This was supposed to be in Victoria, but COVID had other plans.

Since my wife works for an online e-commerce platform, most of her job is done remotely. Meaning she has already been working from home for ages. And because of restrictions, numerous businesses are setting up shop with Shopify. Work for her has been busy.

This year, their Summit was done remotely. Lots of video conferences and online tutorials to help improve their customer service. Instead of going out and getting a Swag Bag, it was shipped to our home instead. Where she was told to open it on day one of the Summit.

My wife and her coworkers take great pride in their job and the company. So any time my wife gets swag with a Shopify logo on it- she displays it proudly. From hats to shirts to mugs. My wife loves the company she works for and her “Shopifam” as well.

I’m really happy for her that she fell into this job as well. It has been a great opportunity for her to connect with people and assist them in creating a better business for themselves. My wife always has a “feel good” story to share with me after each shift. Sometimes the stories are humorous in nature as well. Even with some negativity that happens on occasion- my wife goes back each shift and is laughing with her coworkers online as they start their day video chatting.

From an outsider looking in- it appears that Shopify has a great business culture in how it is run. So for any small businesses out there looking for an online platform with good customer services- try Shopify. You may even speak with my wife. You can tell it’s her because you can hear her infectious smile through the phone.

And no, Shopify is not paying me to write this. Although it is paying for a bit of our livelihood, but not without some hard work on my wife’s part.

Saturday Games

This morning our laundry line snapped after a dozen years of use. So I went to Home Depot and grabbed a new line and put it up. I also picked up a few 2×4 boards and some odds and ends for some other projects. Until shortly after lunch, we were all busy.

This afternoon was a warm one with lots of sunshine. We chose to hang out in the backyard on our tree deck. We needed a break after a full morning of working around the house. Did I say it was warm? I lied. It was hot.

We played a couple of different versions of the card game Timeline. A great trivia style game that involves figuring out when events took place. I recommend this game to everyone. We always have fun playing it. Bonus- it’s educational!

We followed it with a few aggressive games of Uno. That is sure to tear families apart the way Monopoly does. Lots of yelling and accusations of cheating.

All in all a great afternoon with the family.

Smelling Clean

I like to shower everyday. After my shower I always put on “Pit Stick” to freshen up. Over the past couple of decades I have been loyal to one particular brand. For no other reason than it is inexpensive and works for me.

Degree Antiperspirant. I don’t like overly fragrant men’s stuff. Degree is perfect. As I mentioned about a month ago, I hate to Sweat. It feels icky. Rarely do I skip on my daily shower. Sometimes I’ll have two in the day if required.

If I forgo a shower, or know that I’ll need one later in the day, I do not put on antiperspirant. I put on deodorant. And since this is a rare occasion, my deodorant has lasted me a very long time. So long in fact that I swear I’ve had it since before the internet became a thing. There isn’t even an “AOL KEYWORD” on the label.

This brand of deodorant is even cheaper than my antiperspirant. It has a fantastically tacky name- SpeedStick. It also smells like my father once did- since it was the brand he tended to favor.

There’s an argument to be had of antiperspirant vs deodorant. I’m not going to start that today. Since I am biased in my judgement- because clearly sweating is icky. A

nd antiperspirant is the obvious winner.

Tires

Today I finally put new tires on my 2016 Rogue. It’s hard to fork over about a thousand dollars for four tires. But if I can go 3.5 years on them. Not too shabby.

I was really tired having to go in to Costco this morning after a night shift in order to get my tires installed So I went for a walk to keep myself from deflating before I needed to go home. I was pumped when they called me to tell me the car was ready earlier than planned- as I was exhausted.

Enough puns, as you can see- the tire on the left was my old one. Hardly any grip remained. I kept them in case I wanted racing slicks. Actually we kept the old tires for use in our garden. We wheel will be planting some potatoes and other root vegetables in them. It makes for easier removal of the vegetables when they are ready to harvest. Or so Pinterest tells me.

I don’t want to hang around this post anymore. I’ll try and swing some better content tomorrow. So I guess this is end. Sorry if it fell flat.

S N O H

S N O H. Say those letters quickly a few times.

A SANDWICH

I love making sandwiches. I mentioned how much we love Bread yesterday. Making sandwiches is the best part of eating bread. Like most people, I also do the following when making sandwiches:

I leave my knife on the edge of the sink while I go and eat my meal. You know, just in case I want to make another sandwich. Because clearly, I know that my sandwich is a work of art that I may want to duplicate and enjoy a second time. Although, it is rare for me to make a second sandwich for myself.

My children also do this. But they leave the knife there until someone else puts it in the dishwasher. That’s a tad bit frustrating.

Are you guilty of leaving a knife on the edge of the sink? Don’t lie. I know most of you are.

Bread

Bread is a big part of my daily diet. Toast, burgers or sandwiches- it’s a regular occurrence in my life. We go through bread products so much in our home that we rarely bother to make it fresh. It’s so much easier to just buy a few loaves each week and leave them in the cupboard.

Or on the counter apparently.

But the biggest issue I have is how to wrap or seal the bread bag once it’s opened. Our family has not come up with one style. Nor have I been able to find the culprit behind leaving the bag OPEN!

Unfortunately I taught my children how to flick snapped bread tags. So usually the tags are removed and found on the floor throughout the kitchen. Bad parenting decision from years ago. Do not teach your children this trick. Trust me. Your bread will stay fresher longer if those tags go back on.

How do you close your bread? Have you ever flicked bread tags? Let me know in the comment section.

Country Living for Convenience?

I cannot get enough of living in the country. Being on the outskirts of the suburbs, we own an acre of land. Filled with trees and plenty of space to relax. We are only a few minutes away from accessing major routes to get into cities and local shopping. Our privacy and peace make all the difference to my mental well being.

Visiting a friend over the weekend, I also appreciate that we don’t have a farm to maintain. Not that they do, they just rent a house on that land. But their privacy and views are also amazing.

My wife and I discuss on a regular basis the idea of moving in the future once the kids are all done high school. But we both want something different it seems. I still want some privacy and space. She wants connivence to walk to shopping and have less land to maintain. Both of us want bigger and better bathrooms and a kitchen. Newer would also be nicer.

Until our son reaches his final year of school in three years, it’s tough to discuss plans. I honestly think we will remain where we are for at least another decade, if not longer. So I feel we should do some work around the house to update it so that we can enjoy it before someone else does.

Having inner peace is important to me. I’m not sure I’m ready to trade it for convenience.

Marriage In 2020

Yesterday our neighbors were having a wedding ceremony. It took place in the backyard of a newly built house. There was a small gathering of people there. The rest of their guests- well let’s just say they did a drive-by car parade.

My wife and I came home in the evening to see these signs placed down our street. It was a lovely gesture for the newly married couple. You don’t need big and flashy in order to get married. Sometimes simplicity is the way to go.

So congratulations to the newlyweds- whoever you may be. Since we haven’t met any of our new neighbors due to Covid-19… But at least they found love.

I Need A Hero

Last week I wrote briefly about Saturday Morning Cartoons. Those cartoons were generally pretty abysmal in the animation style and story telling. A comment was made about the show “He-Man” and looking back on that show (which was a favorite of mine back in the day) it was pretty bad. The character names were barely thought through. He-Man, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Man-E-Faces, Clawful… seriously no effort.

Over the past week I began singing a song from another 80’s tv show.

Look at what’s happened to me
I can’t believe it myself
Suddenly I’m up on top of the world
It should have been somebody else

Believe it or not, I’m walkin’ on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flyin’ away on a wing and a prayer
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me…

Yup. The theme for 1981’s Greatest American Hero. I saw that it was on Amazon Prime last week. So yesterday I attempted to watch the pilot episode. Oh Em Gee… not good.

Again, was no thought put into the premise of the show? The writers stole ideas from everything from the late 70’s/early 80’s.

First let’s start off with a teacher in charge of a group of “Special Education” students a la Welcome Back, Kotter. Follow it up in a few minutes with a visit from a UFO with a scene that looks like it came from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Suddenly we are in a buddy cop show. Then we top it off with Superman. Which the show references at least three times, including the fact that the female lead looks like Lois Lane.

People in charge of entertainment in the early 80’s were something else. Even video games in the early 80’s were bizarre- Frogger and Joust come to mind. Greatest American Hero is written as if the writer’s room threw darts at every possible genre and generated 44 episodes of a show that really has no place to be.

The best part of the show is the theme song. Enjoy the theme: Greatest American Hero

Allergic to Friday

My day off was completely wasted on a bunch of nothingness. Sure I played about two hours of video games with my wife this morning. Afterwards I helped the kids with some yardwork for about thirty minutes before the weather turned. I also dyed my daughter’s hair for her. But that was it.

Allergies kicked my butt today. Probably due to the change in air pressure and the rain mixing with pollen. But I had all these ideas to make some tasty treats while the weather was poor. Instead I took some allergy medicine and promptly went to bed. For a few hours…

Now I’m awake and it’s almost dinner time. My wife will be done working shortly and she’ll ask what I did all day. I can’t lie to her… because she works from home and knows exactly what I did today. It’s a silly game having her ask me that question. Honestly, I’m just unmotivated and will be looking forward to going back to bed tonight- hoping that my allergies will be better tomorrow.

Oh, and sorry about the “Bear Memes” I was too lazy to add any real substance to my story today. And pandas are always cute when they’re lazy. So I’m hoping my laziness is also cute. I barely (or should I write “bearly”? ) wanted to even blog.

I hate allergies.

4,3,2,1 Amico!

A few months ago I mentioned how I put a deposit down on a “Founder’s Edition” of the upcoming Intellivision Amico: Mio Amico. I was excited for the chance to play some original“Couch Co-Op” games once more with my family. The system had a launch date of 10/10/2020…

Right in the middle of a console war between XBox and PlayStation for their newest systems. Probably not the best plan for a relatively unknown competitor in the video game market. The Intellivision Amico is not designed to be their competition though.

“At Intellivision, our mission is to use technology to bring family and friends back together by delivering simple, affordable, family-focused entertainment to everyone.”

Tommy Tallarico, CEO

The Amico is designed for simplicity. I like the idea of the system and the affordability of the games. To me this is like buying a cellphone and some apps that can be shared amongst family and friends on the tv. The graphics and gameplay demos for the games look great. Playing games in a group was always a favorite of mine.

As of late, with the pandemic and lock downs, we have been playing more games of this style on the Nintendo Switch. If you have kids or like the idea of games you can play and stop at your leisure- I do recommend the Switch.

Ice Cream Man

Yesterday as I was leaving for work, the familiar childhood tune of “Turkey In The Straw” was echoing through our neighborhood. Living in a very spread out neighborhood filled with acreage- it can be heard for blocks. It is also rare for the ice cream truck to come by. This happens maybe two or three times in the summer.

A few minutes later I was in my car driving. At the stop sign, I saw the ice cream truck stopped in front of my neighbors. A mother and her kid were walking away, and then a boy was walking up with another boy beside him. This other boy was my son.

So I pulled over and walked up to them. My son looked guilty as if I had just caught him doing something he shouldn’t. As I walked up, the other boy’s father also walked up. He told me that Theory is a really great kid and that the ice cream was their treat. Which was mighty neighbourly of them.


Besides going to see what my son was up to, I knew who the ice cream man was. No, it wasn’t Freddy Krueger…

Back when I finished high school, I would work four afternoons a week as a gas station cashier. An older fella worked the graveyard shift. This was Nelson. I would see him at turnover and we didn’t have much in common since he was twice my age at the time. We were both let go when the gas station changed ownership. I went off to eventually work at a variety of jobs. Where as Nelson went to be an ice cream truck driver. The year was 1996.

We spoke briefly, mostly exchanging pleasantries and a bit of idle chitchat. I felt bad for this 61 year old guy driving a truck with faded paint and signage. So I ended up buying some overpriced frozen treats for the rest of my family in order to support this former coworker. Sure, he looks kinda creepy with his coke bottle glasses and missing teeth. He’s also been delivering ice cream for ages, listening to the same tinkling of bells, and dealing with children; he must have lost some marbles along the way. I swear it’s the same truck I saw him driving when he first started the gig.

If you stop at an ice cream truck in Langley and see the old guy with greasy black hair and 1980’s glasses, rummaging through his old Viking freezer for the $4.00 bar your kid so desperately wants- make sure you say “Thank you Nelson”.

His smile will be genuine because he really does love his job.

DIY Dads

My friend Greg is a lot like me. He is always on the go with new projects and building stuff. Recently he began a project that was a far bigger undertaking than I think I could handle. But I’m impressed with his skills and the work done so far.

On Saturday I stopped by to offer some help. I was also curious to see how the project was going. He and his wife were given a travel trailer that needed a bit of work. There was a few bad spots where some leaking had occurred.

Instead of just throwing some duct tape and caulking on it, Greg peeled back the layers and began the challenge of fixing the trailer- from the frame out. What he has done so far is throughly impressive. He is hoping to have the outside of the trailer back together by fall. At the pace he is going, I imagine it to be completed.

Our buddy Matt has also been helping Greg along the way. Something about Dads and power tools… Building and creating makes us feel like providers you our families. Plus it’s fun to see sparks fly.

I now know that if I have a big project to do, I will summon the DAD PROJECT POWERS of Greg to assist me. I can already think of a project that will need his help.

BC Day

When you live in an amazing province in one of the greatest countries, it’s hard to not be proud. With today being BC Day it’s just one more reason to celebrate living here.

I love sharing my adventures around the province here on my blog. With thousands of photos and hundreds of stories told, I didn’t know what to share. Instead I’ll be watching my friends as their share their photos and follies on Instagram.

So get out there and enjoy this wonderful province of ours. It’s no wonder they call it Beautiful British Columbia.

Sunday Morning Cartoons

Yesterday I briefly mentioned Saturday Morning Cartoons. There were always a new series of cartoons being added into the roster on tv. From Muppet Babies to Gummy Bears- the shows we’re constantly changing. The next day of the weekend never changed.

I disliked Sundays very much because of tv. When I was little I attended a catholic school. But we rarely went to church. It just wasn’t something that my parents enforced. And as a kid, I never really asked to go. So I was at home trying to find something to watch on tv.

There wasn’t much selection on a Sunday as most early morning programs were religious based. But I managed to find “The Mighty Hercules” followed by “The Smurfs”. When you only have a handful of tv channels to pick from, the selection was pretty sparse.

These two shows were my go-to on a Sunday until my father took over the tv for golf, cooking, and “This Old House”. During that time I would retreat to play Lego or use our tiny tv to play Colecovision and Intellivision. Playing video games that just never ended. A looping of memorizing the pitfalls and perils in order to see how many hours you could spend playing these games. The games became very easy.

Easy like Sunday Morning. No selection available- you just watched what was on.