The skies always had little fluffy clouds in them.
I love staring into the skies and seeing the clouds floating there. I’ve done it since I was a child. Sometimes I just get lost in thought as I daydream. I sometimes think back to my late teens and listening to “The Orb”.
Stereophonic and psychedelic- a peaceful easy feeling. Listening to music while staring off was a great way to pass the day. A simplistic time in my youth where nothing mattered.
Clouds continue to take me away to my happy place. A spot in my mind that no one can control-the depths of my id. The inner me of me.
The skies continue to bring tranquility to me. I love taking photos of the clouds. I try and take pictures with clouds in the background as well when doing pictures of the outdoors.
Today I went out for a kayak with our daughter in Fort Langley. This is the first one of the season. I was a little rusty getting the kayaks onto the roof of the Rogue. I had to unstrap them a couple of times to get it just right.
We made it out to the boat launch in Fort Langley and confirmed that the swiftness of the current wasn’t to difficult for our adventure. As we were about to launch, a fellow walked by and struck up a conversation. He noticed our CN Rail hats and told me he worked at CN for 42 years before retiring. Sounded like he was working in marketing at the am time I began my career there. It was a good talk as he shared some stories and told him of the changes going on. Seems I cannot get away from the railroad even on my days off.
Eventually my daughter and I were in the water and began to paddle. It was tougher than I imagined. My arms were not used to the movements and after about twenty minutes, it felt like we hardly got anywhere. We stopped along the shoreline at a log and chugged back a bottle of water each. She took out her phone and snapped a bunch of photos for a class project. I captured a few of us.
We floated back to the boat launch rather quickly. Good thing we did the hard paddle against the current first! Once on shore, we packed up the kayaks with a greater ease and my daughter asked if she could stop by a friend’s house. So we did. Social distancing of course while there. It was a nice afternoon.
Now I’m sore, but energized- if that makes sense. I look forward to more kayaking this summer. It’s all my wife’s fault for making me want to go out and do it! Pretty sure the next kayak adventure will be with her.
“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.”
Okay… So it’s Thursday today. Many people do a Throwback Thursday post on various social media platforms. I think it’s time to go waaaaaayyy back. It’s time to do a mental reset for everyone. Especially adults who’ve forgotten the simpler things in life. Where this was the hardest question to answer as a child:
What is your favorite dinosaur?
I began asking everyone this question yesterday, continuing into today. And I mean everyone. To my surprise there are two types of people who answer. Those who answer quickly, and those who get confused by the question.
The ones who answer quickly are usually the ones who have small children in their lives. Either their own kids or grandkids. The other ones who have to think about it- do not have kids. The second group is also weirded out that I ask. And many do not remember anything about dinosaurs.
Just for fun, here’s the top five answers adults give me:
That is also pretty much the order of most popular to least. I had some people answer by describing the dinosaurs to me. Reaching way down into their memory banks of what these creatures once looked like. (That one with horns like a rhino… The one with a club tail… the dinosaur with a long neck). I also got into deep conversations with some about dinosaurs, museums, children, etc. This simple question opened up conversations.
My request for all of you out there- start conversations today with, “Mind if I ask you a question? What’s your favorite dinosaur?” You will be glad you did.
I’m finally through the longest mentally exhausting work week ever. Even though it was just my regular schedule, and the workload hadn’t changed, I’m done. I can actually feel my body loosening up and needing rest.
I’m going to take some much needed “me time” this weekend. I hate to do it, but I may need some time away from the family as well. If only for a couple of hours. I feel like I’m mentally overwhelmed and not making sense any more. I want to get back to normal.
By normal, I don’t mean “The New Normal” that everyone is talking about. I need to get back to my “Joyous Josef” normal. Fun t-shirts, silly discussions and laughing. That’s the normal I desperately need.
I’m a white male between the age of 18 and 45. I have white privilege and I am fully aware of how it is. It isn’t right in many aspects. But it’s the life I was given. I can’t change that. But maybe I can change a small part of the world.
Our neighbors to the south of us in the States are in upheaval. And rightly so. What do I want? Stop being racist. Stop being shitty to people who are different. I want people to be nicer to one another. There is so much diversity in the world that we should share more kindness instead of hatred.
I feel sorrow for those who are Black and living in America. I don’t want them to experience more hatred. It’s not fair. And no one listens. The protests are needed now.
Over the past few years there’s been so many attempts to correct the issue of racism. People have tried to shed the light on the issues.
Today was “Blackout Tuesday” a day to not share on social media. A day to shock people into realizing the hate. Let’s fix it together. Protests, solidarity, humanitarianism.
Today was not a feel good kind of day. I could sense the heaviness in everyone I spoke with. The change in their voice, the look in their eyes, their posture dropping. All of it a reminder of what a tragedy can do to all of those around.
Dealing with the loss of a coworker who is close to you or a person you’ve met periodically can feel brutal. It’s still a loss. It’s still able to affect you. Talking about it changes the atmosphere of a room almost instantly. Seeking emotional help is all that I can suggest to people.
I may not be in the union any more, but I know where my roots stem from in the railroad and respect the difficulty of each and every situation. There’s no happy ending today. No joking or laughing. Rather a sobering reminder that where we work can be devastating and take a good person’s life without warning.
My daughter asked me a unique question the other day that I was unable to answer her immediately. She asked, “If you could give a motivational speech, what would you say?” This question was heavier than I expected. I had to think this one over.
Naturally I told her that I’d let her know. But she had me thinking about it all night. At least my daughter told me that I was inspiring with the majority of my blog posts. Hopefully she’s been reading my blogs! She’s also extremely intelligent and has a knack of reading people… just like her father.
Yes, she played me.
My daughter knew that in order to win me over she needed to “show” that she reads my blogs. Of course I do my best to be inspirational with what I write. Sometimes I write about my children and their achievements. Because their success is my success. I also love to write about the beauty in the world, even when it’s really tough to see it.
Even in my positivity, I have a dark side to my humor. I love to let it out and surprise people with my crudeness. Last night was no exception.
Our family sat around and played Cards Against Humanity. One of my favorite games for all the right reasons. It’s rude, vulgar, and downright funny to see our teenagers try and out do each other in the punchlines. Or try and play disturbing cards to gross each other out.
Like I mentioned though, I am good at playing people. I play the cards that I know will win based on each of their sense of humor. The first round was an easy win for me. The second round, the family started to use my technique against me. But it was more fun to see them strategize on who played what cards.
Cards Against Humanity has been humoring me for years now. We’ve seen it at conventions and I’ve bought into special edition cards that support a sort of anarchy. I’ve even shared the game with others and gotten them hooked on it. Evil, pure evil.
My motivational speech? It would have to be titled, “Play to the gallery.” Where every time I had to give a speech, I’d tell people what they want to hear.
My son and I were busy building a front porch the past couple of days. It gave me a great opportunity to share some knowledge about building and power tools. By the end of the build, our son had a blister from using the drill too much. That’s the sign of a hard worker!
While we were building, we talked. Me explaining the build, him telling me all about Fortnite and how to play. I promised him that I’d play some video games once this deck was completed. Originally I was hoping for some MarioKart or something simple that I can press a couple of buttons for. Not a PS4 controller with over a dozen possibilities.
We played Fortnite for a little over an hour. Time really flies when you play video games. I can see why he gets sucked in for hours on end. But he taught me to play and was very patient with my Noob skills. He has been playing this game for A Couple of Years Now. He walked me through the basics and “Protected” my lack of skills from the enemies. We did alright in one match, coming in second place.
If I want to continue with our bonding, I’ll definitely need to get more practice in for games like this. It just sucks that in a house of five, we all play video games and the PS4/Nintendo Switch are on the big screen. We have the old PS3/Wii hooked up in my bedroom. Unfortunately neither of those are capable of playing Fortnite.
I like that he can teach me stuff and I can teach him. In the end I have created a fantastic father/son bond that I shall hold onto for the rest of my life.
Well, we didn’t quite start on completing our new deck at 8am like my son wanted Yesterday. We began around 10am instead. I’m happy to report- we got it done! And most of the clean up is done as well.
I’m also happy that I was able to scrounge up some old cedar slats to make a porch swing to complete the look. I also dig out three pieces of cut wood that my father-in-law left behind. These were originally for a step stool/ mini bench. But the shape lead to a perfect angle for the base of the swing. I also used the other part as the armrests. Hooray for up cycling!
Now our home really feels like we are country living. Got the front porch and porch swing all completed in a couple of days. Now to add some planters and relax as the world passes by.
The other day my wife mentioned how she wanted to change the look of the front of our home. We’ve always had stones lining the front of our house from our driveway to the wall. Nothing fancy really- take a look:
When we first moved in, there was a couple of rotting flower boxes. We quickly removed those along with a half dead “Prickly Pete” bush that hid our gas meter by the carport. We’ve tried livening it up by putting a bench and an old wagon in front. But it just didn’t look good. So my wife asked if I would make a new deck. I jumped at the chance. This will be my third deck build. I enjoy them.
I wanted to get an early start on this project, but didn’t leave the house until after 10am. The Home Depot stung me for about $600 in pressure treated lumber. Even though the deck area is five feet wide- it is 36’ long. I also opted to give it a bit of height to add a step and level it off. I returned home with 72 deck boards- which irritated one customer because I took all the good ones- I got to work on my next project around lunchtime.
I was hoping to be posting about a “One Day Build” but starting at noon makes for a tough challenge. Instead I opted to have our fourteen year old son help me. That way I could teach him how to use power tools, as well as the tricks to making a good sturdy deck. Safety was the first thing I taught him. Safety glasses, taking your time and common sense were expressed. As much as he groaned at first, he got into the workload pretty quick. A few errors were made, but nothing tragic.
We’ve gotten about half way through this project before calling it a day. Building the frame and leveling it off was the toughest part and took quite a while. My son wanted to keep going after dinner, but I explained to him that it was disrespectful to the neighbors to be noisy as dusk fell. He has decided that we will be waking up at 7am and be back at it by 8am. He wants to be done by lunch. I’m happy about his enthusiasm. He’s also proud of his workmanship.
Little does he know that I also have a Porch Swing project in mind for us… That would finish the new deck off quite nicely.
I came home this evening and went into our storage barn looking for some wood. I think I found what I wanted. But in my search I found some coconut shells and my old dart board.
I took the coconut shells to my daughter’s room and told her that a horse had entered our barn. She was like “What?” I was like, “Ya!” Then pulled out the coconuts and clapped them together. The coconut shells made my daughter happy because it reminded us both of Monty Python And The Holy Grail.
The dart board brought more joy to everyone though. My son and I set it up to regulation height and marked the distance on the deck with a chalk line. We began to toss a few shots. We had a couple competitions, first counting up to 300, then down from 200. I won one game, he won the other. My son is loving the math aspect.
I’m happy that the dart board and case are still in great condition. I’ve owned it for nearly twenty years and it’s been in storage for about five years now. We will probably get many more years out of it. I’m also impressed that our kids are wanting to play and have the skill sets to do math quickly in their heads. Far quicker than I can it seems.
Maybe I should just go back to clapping the coconut shells together.
I worked for twelve hours. I drove for forty five minutes to get to work and forty five minutes to get home. I got home, I put on some music, and made dinner for everyone. We ate our burgers on the back patio, shared some stories of the day, and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.
Slowly, everyone left the table. No words were said. Just one by one they left. Until I remained. Hoping one or more would return. But they did not. They left their dirty plates. They left me behind.
After about ten minutes, I changed the music. I put on some trance music by The Orb and stared off into the yard, listening to the music and the wildlife, eventually closing my eyes. I let the music take me away. Several moments passed. I had been zoned out. It was relaxing.
I miss listening to music for the sake of music. No lyrics. The occasional word is spoken. But the rhythmic nothingness of trance music with the sounds of birds chirping is zen like. I do not care that the dishes were left behind. Or that no thank you’s were offered up to me for working all day and making dinner. My wife also worked, so did our eldest. The other two had online school. We all had busy mental days. Busy happens.
Life is busy. We all experience it. Take a breather and don’t get angry. The dishes will get washed. The table will get cleared. The smiles will remain. The music will play. The time is now.
Today I witnessed some of the usual oddness that humanity has to offer. I’m not sure what was going on, but I couldn’t get enough of it.
We spotted some folks on our security cameras nearby our rail yard. There was a person with a fancy video camera, an actress with a blue face, and a third person with what I can only describe as a “spritz bottle” to add a glistening shine.
I watched them do eight or nine takes of what I can only assume was a music video. She appeared to be Rage Dancing very enthusiastically. Watching her perform over the security cameras with no sound added an eeriness to it. My thoughts began to try and create a story for her.
“The Baroness of Barrenness expressed her rage. She is fed up with simply kicking the rocks of the wasteland she overlooks. Seeing no beauty and no ugly in the world has become commonplace. It was time for action. Perhaps it was time to revisit the Mushroom Death that began this new world…”
That’s the sort of oddness that filled my mind. And of course between their takes, she smiled. Obviously happy with whatever they were filming. You could see how energized the camera operator and this lady were. Spritz boy was doing his job quite effortlessly to add glistening to her face. Three artists alone making art. Not knowing we were watching.
Allow people to express themselves and all will be right in the world. I hope for these artists to experience their piece of fame. Maybe a tiktok or YouTube celebrity in the making.
Living in the country on the outskirts of the suburbs is tranquil in many ways. I like the sounds of the birds and animals as they wander the neighborhood. Sometimes they get into our home, like the occasional hummingbird. But usually they just hang out in the trees and along the grass.
Today our fourteen year old son spotted a family of ducks nearby. He had to pull out his phone to snap a photo. He has a soft spot for cuteness. And judging by how many photos he takes of small critters, he’s probably going to own a dog or cat one day. Or maybe a reptile…
He did capture a tree frog the other day and made a home of leaves inside a large clear tub for the little guy. However… it escaped. We found el froggo on the dining room table this evening. I learned that the frog’s name is Gary Barry because of this.
Rhyming is fun! Losing a wild creature in the home is not. At least it’s back in a sort of captivity. We will probably set it free pretty soon. I don’t want to have it show up under our dishwasher like the last one in our home did. That would be ducking wonderful.
Today I really wanted to make full sized soft pretzels. I decided to make them a part of our dinner. Besides mustard, what could I make with dinner? I remembered back to Oktoberfest 2018 at Trading Post. I didn’t make a cheese dip, I went with something else.
I took some Italian Sausage and squeezed the meat out of the casings. I fried the meat in a cast iron pan before adding two cans of tomato soup. I then added some sour cream and Dijon mustard. I served the soup as a side for the pretzels. We also had some sweet potato fries as our vegetable. Although deep frying them probably negates any health benefit.
I chose to have a Czech Pilsner with dinner. Having finally figured out how to play Spotify throughout the house the other day, I put on some Polka music. Because, why not? The family devoured dinner and we had a great time enjoying the music. I’m not sure we will ever get to Oktoberfest in Germany. But who knows. Maybe one day.
Ghost munching madness! Pacman is effing 40! I remember seeing the arcade game for the first time in a convenience store when I was like 5.
Since then I have bought numerous reiterations of the game on numerous video game consoles. From Atari to PlayStation 4, Gameboy to 1st Gen Video IPod: Pac-Man is my “Go-To” game. I will play it for hours on end.
Ten years ago I was excited that the Google Doodle was a playable version of Pac-Man for the 30th anniversary. And just think, In ten years it’ll be the 50th Anniversary of the game! Crazy.
But those 8bit sounds and simplistic graphics paved the way for generations of games and players.
Yes, Pac-Man is a great game. I’d love to own an original upright cabinet or cocktail table version of the game. Until that day comes, I’ll just play it on our big screen. I really enjoy playing Pac-Man Championship.
I love eating salty foods. Chips, fries, popcorn, pretzels… that sort of thing. Foods like that goes well with beer or sodas. We all know I like my beers… my belly shows it all too often.
Tonight I made Pretzel Bites with the help of our son. It was from a recipe by Terri. She introduced me to donuts! Here is her Pretzel recipe: Perfect Pretzel Bites with Honey Mustard Dip. By the way, the dip is great as well!
The family gathered in the kitchen to make dinner and do dishes. So we snacked on the pretzel bites while dinner was made. Lots of smiles and pigging out on this little appetizer before dinner. Like a regular Kitchen Party!
You have to make the pretzel bites. So amazing. My wife said I need to make them weekly now.
Today our oldest daughter sort of did her graduation ceremony. I say sort of because it happened without fanfare, just some video cameras and a few classmates.
The school had the art majors come in to be filmed as they crossed the stage. The larger groups of students were lined down the halls standing at markers. From there, only four went into the auditorium at a time. Then one would walk across the stage and pause in various spots as they were filmed and such. No audience. And only a handful of teachers. The rest of the world (family and friends) will see an edited version of the ceremonies June 17th- the original date of the Grad.
For the rest of the week, our daughter gets to hold onto her grad gown. My wife and I are planning on making the most of it and take a metric ton of photos. We already began tonight. We got lucky that our daughter has had the biggest smile all evening. Many of the photos were far more fun than I expected.
Today was a bittersweet day that’s for sure. It was already going to be bittersweet knowing that she has put in a lifetime of schooling that culminated to this final moment. We also drove up to her elementary school where she first entered the school system, just to get that photo.
Her smile was obviously genuine. And I did capture numerous other candid photos. But I cannot share them, she would be more embarrassed than she will be seeing this post. Even though I am totally a proud parent!
British Columbia is starting to allow businesses to open today. With a ton of stipulations mind you… Many of which require extra sanitization and precautions.
The best practices for everyone is to remain civilized towards one another as we navigate these new ideas. The other thing is we should remain vigilant is our respective spacing from one another. Avoid touching your face and cleaning your hands regularly should remain paramount from now on anyways.
Be smart people.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed my time at home. I’ve learned to make dough, pasta and deep fried desserts. I’ve also had the opportunity to be closer with my teenagers than I thought possible. We’ve had a bunch of fun singing Disney songs and cracking jokes. Sure, the occasional disagreement and a bit of space was needed, but all-in-all I think the time at home has been beneficial.
At some point, I’ll go to a restaurant or get a haircut. I’m in no rush to do those activities. I wasn’t feeling trapped or lost without a coffee shop being open. My life has remained relatively the same. Enjoy the world people. Be smart doing it. And support small businesses to the best of your ability!
Once the restrictions on travel get lifted, will you be planning a vacation?
Personally, I think I’ll wait a bit. But I also realized that there is a great big world out there that I’ve missed out on already. I now want to see more of this planet than ever before. Mostly because I’m being told to stay home!
Of the vacations and travel I have done, the best times was spent with my family. We’ve taken our kids from California to Tokyo, Hawaii to Calgary. These are top of my lists- especially to travel to with kids/teens. I have now created a small list of places I still want to go to as a family. Now to figure out when to get there and how to afford it!
Road trip across Canada
The last one is what I’d love to do with my wife. Do a fun road trip in a camper van or small RV once we retire. Spend a few months just picking up and going everywhere we can. Plus if we’re on the move, it’ll feel like a grand adventure!
This summer we would like to be camping more than before. Not glamping. We’ve never done that, yet. Or we may just stay in our yard and live the best quarantine life we can! But I want to travel!!!
Last night we hit the Twilight Drive In for a retro double feature. The family piled into the car and we were off… two and a half hours before showtime. Even though we bought tickets in advance, it was sold out and we have a few spots that are a “Must Have” when watching from the car.
We’ve done the local Drive-In numerous times in the past. Many times for our son’s birthday (same with last night). Even though last night was quite the rainy evening, we stayed for both films. It made for added effects to our viewing of Back to the Future / Back to the Future II.
Of course, our car battery died halfway through the second film. I ran the car during the intermission in order to try and keep the battery alive. The seven speaker stereo, defogger and wipers did the battery in. But since we’ve done this before, I knew to bring a backup radio. Because, you know… the movie watching is important! By the end of the second film, the car started up again with no issues.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot- our son lost one of his final baby teeth from a hard candy in between the films. I told him the tooth fairy does not visit teenagers. He was not at all phased. That’s because the tooth fairy still made an appearance.
Where does the time go? Our son is 14 today. Every year I write about him on his birthday, as I do with each of our children. Okay, I write about our children more than just on their birthdays. But on their Birthday, it’s always about them. Here’s a quick snippet about him and his day.
He’s quite the charmer. He knows how to make people happy through his kind acts. Theory also has impeccable manners and is respectful of everyone. It makes me happy to see that our parenting has paid off. Plus he has two wonderful big sisters who have steered him towards being the great kid that he is.
Today was a fairly subdued celebration. We had a big breakfast, followed by opening of gifts. My wife and I finally purchased the trick scooter he wanted. Later this evening, we will be attending Back To The Future at The Twilight Drive In. It’s a sold out show and they predict rain. That will be fun seeing how to cram three teenagers and two adults into a small suv!
But as far as Birthdays go, this one is pretty good for him. And he seemed very happy with what he got. Especially the handmade gifts from his sisters. (A painting and a Star Wars pillow).
Happy 14th Birthday Theory! May the Force Be With You!
Since mid-March I have grown to accept that the world will not be returning to its former self any time soon. My birthday falls on The Ides of March, and since then, I have been growing, what I call, a COVID Beard.
I’ve grown facial hair in the past. Back in the mid-1990’s- I had the goatee. Soul patch in 2008. Mustache for Movember in 2011. I’ve donned a beard on occasion for Halloween so that I can look like Obi-Wan.
Not going to lie, but I do look more youthful when clean shaven. I always have. My wife thinks I look far sexier without the facial hair. I had more options for cosplay and costumes, that’s for sure.
This COVID Beard of mine has surprised many of my coworkers and friends. Probably because they haven’t seen me with facial hair very often. Many say I look more intimidating and menacing. Today I trimmed and created “The Darkest Timeline” inspired beard. Very fitting with the world’s state. And the opinions of those around me.
Maybe once this is over, I’ll go back to how I once looked.
Recently I was cleaning out our storage, sort of… I got sidetracked pretty quick and the cleaning ended in about five minutes. I discovered some old models that I somehow acquired.
When I was about 9 or 10, my father decided that he and I would make model airplanes together. That lasted about ten minutes. My attention span was dedicated to video games or cartoons. (GI Joe and Transformers: FTW!) Hanging with my father was never on my list. Mostly I was afraid of his temper. In the end, he half built the model on his own and gave up.
When my father was diagnosed with cancer, he needed a hobby to take his mind off the inevitable. So he bought these two models. They were never opened. I don’t know why. But they ended up in my possession at the end of 2000. Twenty years later, I’m ready to give these away.
Only I can’t.
My son wants us to build them together. We have a father/son connection that I never had growing up. Let me hold back the tears a moment. Perhaps these models can be created with love. We can create a memorable moment. One that I can add to the thoughts of my father. Create a model relationship and add some positivity to my childhood.
This Saturday is our son’s 14th birthday. With the world being what it is, no party will be happening. But we still want to make it special for him.
It just so happens that our local Drive-In Theater The Twilight Drive-In is playing retro movies. This is due to the fact that the movie studios are not releasing anything new. The Drive-In allows for social distancing in our cars as a family. Which is perfect. The film series this week? Back to the Future.
Our family has always loved the Back to the Future series. Back in 2010 at The Calgary Expo, we met a couple who built replica DeLorean and was taking donations for Parkinson’s Research. We took some photos that created the start of some fantastic memories.
Fast forward to October 2015. We are now in California at another convention… our son decided to cosplay as Marty McFly. He had a great time taking photos and pretending to be Marty.
This Saturday will be a fun night of watching a double feature. BTTF and BTTF 2. When I was younger, I rented Back to the Future 2 on VHS when it first came out. I watched it 9 times in a row during the one day rental we had. Needless to say, I enjoyed the film.
So come on out to the Drive In the Saturday and walk past to say Happy Birthday to our son!