Crafting A Leaf

Today I made another rug. Or rather-just like you do in Animal Crossing- I crafted a leaf (from the video game Animal Crossing).

The design is pretty simple. So drawing it out wasn’t too difficult. This is now the largest one I have made. It almost filled my 3’ frame. I enjoyed the simplicity of the design, but really worked hard to make it perfect.

Since I was low on black yarn, this design was a great option since it uses four different shades of green. Video game images are fun to tuft. Plus the recognizability of icons and characters makes for an enjoyable crafting experience.

Creating rugs has become a fantastic pastime for me over the past few weeks. I have found tufting to be therapeutic and calming. I listen to music that relates to the rug I tuft. It gets me in the zone. Making two rugs a week seems to be my average. I may slow it down a bit though. I can only have so many rugs in our house.

The next rug to be made will be created by our youngest teen. He has an idea and wants to get it out in the world. I can’t wait to see what he crafts. His first one was pretty good- read about it Here: Son of Tuftleupagus.

Travel For Skating

Over the weekend, my son and wife were in Fort St. John for a Long Track Speed Skating meet. Just like Calgary, I was able to watch from afar on YouTube. Ah technology!

Seeing my son grow into a young man is pretty awesome. He has developed some good habits and strengthened his muscles over the past year alone. Watching him skate makes me really proud. That’s because of his focus and determination in doing the best he can while on the ice.

Even though he skates maybe a few times each day, I have enjoyed watching his progress in person as well. Having been to Fort St. John with them in the past, I remember what the rink is like and that the people are always welcoming.

But I do miss them when they are away. I always look forward to when they get home. My wife loves to track me on the Find My iPhone app. Today she wasn’t sure if I’d get to the airport first or they would be waiting. Turns out we arrived pretty much at the same time. I was only about five minutes in the parking lot, but could have easily arrived at the airport pick up location just as they stepped out.

I do hope our son appreciates the time and money we put into these competitions. Actually I know he does. He works hard each time and it shows.

Carpet Kirby

Today I made what I consider my best rug yet. I made it for our oldest kid. They requested the video game character Kirby holding a star. I found some images online and created my own design in the end.

I learned some more techniques from following other tufters on Instagram. I have been growing my abilities each week and with every rug. After each colour, I went to the other side and trimmed the edges. It was a bit more time consuming, but the results are superior to anything I have made yet.

This rug was challenging in its own ways. The pink was a different size of yarn and caused me to re-thread it repeatedly. A few curse words may have been said over and over again. But look how cute this rug turned out!

I’ll finish this rug later in the week. There’s just a bit more trimming to complete once I glue the backing on. Hopefully our 20 year old likes this one as much as I do. If not- I have an amazing pink rug!

Another Tufter In The Making

Every weekend, I have been making rugs. I have been really enjoying this hobby. Last weekend, our youngest wanted to make one of his own- so he made an 8-Ball. Today our middle child wanted to make their own rug. I went through the process of how to do it, guiding them along.

Darwin traced the image and we discussed the colors to use. I only helped with a couple of stitches, but the rest was all them. (I snuck in another soot sprite in the blank space when we had the black and white yarn set up.) I sat by Darwin’s side and continued to offer advice as well as encouraged the work being done.

The image Darwin chose is the moon from the anime- “Soul Eater”. This was a family favorite a few years ago. In fact, we did a family dress up for Halloween as the characters from the show- and then went trick or treating in Disneyland. It was a lot of fun.

Darwin wants this rug for their bedroom floor for when bedtime comes around. Tomorrow afternoon, we will finish the rug. A bit of me is selfishly enjoying the quality time that my kids wanted with me. Spending time with our kids is worth every moment of making these rugs.

How many rugs is too many rugs when I get to spend time with my growing adult kids doing something we both enjoy?

There’s never going to be enough. I’m lucky they want to do this with me.

Son Of Tuftleupagus

Like father like son I guess.

I mentioned yesterday that I may start to have a battle over who gets to tuft next. It seems my son wanted to try his hand at it. So I walked him through everything- from setting up the cloth to threading the gun, as well as how to draw the image and pretty much everything that goes along with the art of rug making.

I helped him choose his first image. He wanted to try something a bit bigger and a different shape. So he made an 8 Ball. Honestly- that would’ve been something I would have made when I was his age. I was obsessed with billiards as a teenager. I may have to steal his rug one day.

He was very meticulous and cautious in sewing the rug. It looked far superior to my first rug. I think he has a natural talent in make these rugs. He was very careful in making sure it was lined up and straight each and every time he started the tufting gun.

After he finished stitching the rug, he added the glue to the back and let it dry overnight. The next day, he cut it off the cloth and we added a backing to it. He then trimmed it to his liking.

All-in-all he did a great job. I did help a bit with some of the finishing touches around the white part- he wanted it to be perfect and was afraid to ruin it. I’m looking forward to seeing his next project. I think he can do it from start to finish without me. I’m a very proud father.

Recaptured 80’s

I love nostalgia. It’s the one thing that I am often thinking about. I always share stories of my youth and seek out ways to relive those memories.

I follow a fantastic Instagram account that really taps into my 80’s desires. Recaptured 80’s. I love that there is new images added daily along with videos and polls. Following along has sparked memories I didn’t even know I had until I saw them once more.

My 80’s PJ top with iconic cartoon characters.

I’m just a big kid who loves his 80’s. From cartoons to movies; toys to video games; books to candy- it all brings me joy. Sometimes I put on some old cartoons in the background, like GI Joe or Transformers and enjoy the sounds as I live my life. In our pool I’ll play some 80’s favorites and rediscover some lost classics.

Our kids have also grown a love for 80’s films. So much so that they both bought rather expensive Lego sets for themselves with some of their Christmas money. The Delorean and Ecto-1. Both iconic cars from a couple of great 80’s films.

I’m glad that my passions have become my kids’ passions as well. They have even taken to loving music my wife loves. Our middle has taken over my wife’s records and has a love of the same music as my wife. Not to mention that our kids also steal our sense of amazing clothes and wardrobe style.

Have you passed on what you love to your kids? I know I’ve seen some pictures and stories from a few of you. I love it all.

Recaptured 80’s

I love nostalgia. It’s the one thing that I am often thinking about. I always share stories of my youth and seek out ways to relive those memories.

I follow a fantastic Instagram account that really taps into my 80’s desires. Recaptured 80’s. I love that there is new images added daily along with videos and polls. Following along has sparked memories I didn’t even know I had until I saw them once more.

My 80’s PJ top with iconic cartoon characters.

I’m just a big kid who loves his 80’s. From cartoons to movies; toys to video games; books to candy- it all brings me joy. Sometimes I put on some old cartoons in the background, like GI Joe or Transformers and enjoy the sounds as I live my life. In our pool I’ll play some 80’s favorites and rediscover some lost classics.

Our kids have also grown a love for 80’s films. So much so that they both bought rather expensive Lego sets for themselves with some of their Christmas money. The Delorean and Ecto-1. Both iconic cars from a couple of great 80’s films.

I’m glad that my passions have become my kids’ passions as well. They have even taken to loving music my wife loves. Our middle has taken over my wife’s records and has a love of the same music as my wife. Not to mention that our kids also steal our sense of amazing clothes and wardrobe style.

Have you passed on what you love to your kids? I know I’ve seen some pictures and stories from a few of you. I love it all.

Hand-To-Hand Wombat

I supported a Kickstarter campaign a few months ago for a new board game. I received the game back in September, but kept it aside for Christmas. Last night we played it as a family. Welcome to Hand-To-Hand Wombat.

Mortal Wombat!

Because I backed the Kickstarter from the beginning, I got a bunch of extras for the game. Like a timed stopper, blindfolds,fuzzy cards, wooden wombats, and a neat fanny pack to carry those in.

The game is pretty easy. At the start you are dealt out a card. Only one person will be the bad wombat. All the rest are good. There are four pyramids to build that are six levels high. Everyone has their eyes covered and we all reach into the box and attempt to build the structures- except the evil wombat. They are also blindfolded and try to stop the structures before the timer ends. No one knows who the evil wombat is, so after each round a vote occurs. Unanimous vote means a person goes out. Even if they weren’t the evil wombat!

Talking is allowed to try and communicate while blindfolded. After each round you can try and convince each other who to vote for. Not until one of the teams gets to three points do you reveal your team card.

This game got pretty intense and we played only three matches. But it was chaotic fun! I recommend this game to those who like quick rounds. Plus it can be played with younger to older people without much difficulty.

Pick your copy up at Indigo and have a great time yelling at everyone!

Christmas Eve 2022

Christmas Eve was a nice evening spent with my wife and kids. We had a lovely dinner where my son spent a few minutes trying to set up the perfect photo. He discovered it’s not as easy to get everyone to cooperate as he thought.

The kids did sit still for a quick picture after dinner. That’s because they were receiving their annual Christmas pajamas. After opening the gifts, they got changed and came back downstairs in their new wares.

When they arrived, we “watched” our traditional Christmas film- A Christmas Story. Our kids were more on their phones than paying attention, but hey- we were all in the same room together. Then it was bedtime.

Santa showed up immediately after they went to bed and laid out gifts for the family. The evening ended peacefully. My wife and I went to bed exhausted, hoping that the kids would let us sleep in.

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope your day is as wonderful as ever.

Twelve Days of Appreciation: Day 12-FAMILY

What better way to round off my 12 Days Of Appreciation than with FAMILY.

I love the time I have spent with my family over the last 40+ Christmases. From being a child and unwrapping gifts to watching my own children do the same. Christmas is the one time of year that I have the fondest memories of family time.

As a child, it was the time that I can recall my father being his most jovial and pleasant. He would sit with us on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Morning. He would share stories, laugh at our innocence over believing him, and genuinely allow a more emotional fellow to come out. When he smiled, it really lit up the place.

As a father myself, I always do my best to make sure our kids were getting extra quality time at Christmas. If they want me around for playtime, movies or video games- I am there. Their enjoyment of the season is paramount every year. I always share numerous stories and memories of my children. They are the best gift I have ever received, as cliché as that might sound, it is true.

Spending time with the family you love is important. It’s a time to set aside differences and do your best to share the happy stories of years past, as well as live in the moment so you can talk about it in the future. I have had difficult moments in the past with my parents and sister, but somehow we always get through it and work on being better.

As I finish my 12 Days of Appreciation, I want to wish everybody a safe a joyous season!

Lots of love, from your Daily Blogger, Josef.

Twelve Days of Appreciation: Day 10-MEMORIES

For whatever reason, Christmas is one of those times every year that I look back on previous years with fondness. I appreciate all of the memories of Christmas past. If you follow me on a regular basis, you know that I love to share my memories. I am a sucker for nostalgia.

Reliving the Christmas years from my childhood is a blast. I will always remember those years of Lego sets and video games. Being that I was four years older than my sister, I was also tasked with putting together her Barbie accessories. Not much changed when I had my own kids. I sat with them and assembled their toys.

I have so many great memories of Christmas. Most of them are over the last couple of decades with my own family. From silly times and fun gifts- Christmas always made me smile. Somewhere between my childhood Christmas and my children’s Christmas was memories of Christmas Day being just another day.

When I was in my late teens/ early twenties hanging at my parent’s home on Christmas Day didn’t overly happen. I spent time with other friends just hanging out. Honestly, as depressing as it was- looking back, those few years were calm and nice in their own way. No pressures, no big hoopla, a few gifts exchanged and maybe a quick visit to mom and dad to load up on food. As short lived as that span of Christmas was, I am glad that I had those ones as well. It really made me appreciate the ones before that time and the ones I have experienced since.

Unpacking Christmas decorations and going through old pictures always make me smile. Sometimes my eyes fill with tears of the moments I should of had or could have had if things were different. Losing my father before he became a grandfather is still an emotional struggle at times. Losing a few years as a young adult when I could have made amends with him also sting.

But most of my memories are pleasant ones. And photos at Christmas are hard to choose my favorites to share.

How are your memories of Christmas? Was your childhood filled with joy? Or perhaps being a parent now is joyous. Let me know in the comments.

Twelve Days of Appreciation: Day 7-FOOD

Christmas is a time of over indulging. I appreciate all the food that comes out at this time of year.

Every year, my wife and I stockpile meats and cheeses. We set out these spreads on the Winter Solstice and continue to graze through the remaining bits until January rolls around. Adding to the delightful feast, I also make “Fancy Sandwiches” which is a recipe I learned from my father many years ago. His tradition was to have them ready for Christmas Eve. Honestly, 30 sandwiches hardly lasts in our home- and it’s just my immediate family eating them!

My wife and I also do a lot of baking during this time. Specifically cookies. A few years back, we would fill large tins with a variety of treats and give them to my wife’s brothers. One year we gave away tins to about a dozen different families who came over to celebrate solstice with us. Needless to say, we love cookies at Christmas, but if we start too soon, we have to make another batch (or two.)

Everyone has traditions involving food at Christmas. Besides “Fancy Sandwiches” we also make schnitzel and liver ball soup on Christmas Eve. And yes, the kids do enjoy the soup. But only once a year as it is fairly rich and heavy. But that’s a tradition my father did for us growing up, so it was nice that my wife wanted to keep it up. I hope our kids will pass it on to their future families and such. Plus we also do a fondue on New Years Eve. That is a family favorite by far!

What are your favorite foods or traditional meals that you enjoy over the holidays?

Twelve Days of Appreciation: Day 6-GIFTS

I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that GIFTS are a big part of Christmas. Of course I appreciate getting gifts, but more importantly- I enjoy gift giving.

Christmas morning was the one time that I can always remember my father with a smile on his face as we opened presents. That same sensation came over me as my children unwrapped their gifts. Supplying all their dreams of merchandise coming true. Not every gift was a toy or video game. Most new clothes arrived under the tree as well.

I can’t forget about the stockings either. They were stuffed full of treats like deodorant, toothpaste, hair ties and the occasional chocolate. We always start with stockings before unwrapping anything else. It’s a great teaser prior to getting started into the fun stuff.

You might be thinking that we spoil our children. Perhaps you are right. However, we rarely buy and give anything to them throughout the year. We tend to stockpile our gifts until Christmas Day. That means that a game or toy was saved until that morning to be gifted to them. Same with specific clothing items. As our kids become adults, we are listening to what they desire throughout the year as well and do our best to help in making their lives easier.

I do enjoy unwrapping gifts as well. Especially the ones my kids have given me over the years. The joy when they hand it to me to unwrap and the explanation of why they bought it or how to use it has been extremely fun. The smile on my face is genuine as I do my best to see who I am through my kids’ eyes and why they got the gift they did for me.

Over the years we also gifted experiences to the family. A trip to Tokyo, concert tickets, etc… sometimes those fall flat at first, but when the event arrives, it’s pretty spectacular. It’s sometimes hard to feel joy when you don’t have a physical item to hold. Especially at a young age. But those memories last a lifetime.

Do you enjoy gift giving? Or do you prefer getting surprised at Christmas? Let me know in the comments.

Twelve Days of Appreciation: Day 5-MOVIES

Christmas isn’t Christmas without holiday films. Like most folks, I have a few that are personal favorites that are a must watch every year. I even have specific dates for a couple of them. Now, we can all agree that most of the Christmas movies out there are filler and cliche- especially those Hallmark ones. Sometimes those are good as background noise where you look up from your phone periodically.

But the ones that hit home- right in the nostalgia senses- are the ones I appreciate most. I do love “Gremlins” and “Die Hard” plus a handful of other films. But these are the ones I want to address today. (Sorry Wiggles, you guys are only for decorating the tree and not quite a film in the broad sense.) As well, those 60 minute or less cartoons aren’t a part of this list because they are always a part of Christmas viewing for nearly everyone.

Every year, on the first weekend of my kid’s winter break from school- we watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. This has got to be the best way to start off the Christmas season. A father trying his damnedest to make the best Christmas for his entire family. Not an easy task when things are going wrong constantly. Some of my favorite Christmas quotes come from this film. “I don’t know Margo!”

“Elf” and “Dr Seuss How The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” both have a soft spot in my family’s hearts. I much prefer the live action Grinch over Elf. But I do find certain scenes amusing in Elf. Both films have great watchability for all ages and are kind of timeless still.

“Scrooged” with Bill Murray is a fantastic adaptation of Charles Dickens immortal classic, Scrooge. (See what I did there? Quoted the movie directly). This film hits me in the feels with a toaster. It influenced me to not want to climb a corporate ladder as you will miss out and push aside people who care about you and people you care about. It is on the verge of not holding up because of being set in a television studio, but I love it so.

My absolute favorite film is “A Christmas Story”. Back in the early 90’s a tv station called TBS played this film nonstop for 24 hours from Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. I had a tv in my bedroom and remembered for a few years in a row that I would let it play and lull me to sleep. I love the story telling in this film and it remains unrivaled to this day. It is relatable to all generations at all times. I still watch this film on Christmas Eve as a way to end the night before Christmas Morning.

What are some of your favorite Christmas movies? Let me know if you like the ones I enjoy.

Twelve Days of Appreciation: Day 2-Decorations

I love decorating for Christmas. I am one of those people who start decorating on November 1st and finish around now. This has always been my favorite part of the transition from Halloween to Christmas. It’s a slow and gradual season change for our home.

I have always loved putting up decorations. As a child, I would put up handmade snowflakes in my room and I even made winter scenes for my toys on display. With the use of craft paper and white cotton batting- my toys enjoyed a winter wonderland. As I grew older, I continued to make my own decorations and put them out. Sometimes I even made decorations and gave them away to specific folks.

Over the years, my wife and I have changed our styles of decorating. For a while it was whatever hand-me-downs and handmade decorations and ornaments we had. Now it’s still some of our own handmade decorations, yet the new ones have become more elegant and comforting.

Soon there will be a time when some of our decorations will be given to our kids. They have been given ornaments over the years that they will take as they start their own decorating and traditions. At that time, I wonder if our home and trees will feel emptier.

A favorite picture of me after decorating.

But for now, I love seeing our home decorated for the festive season. I also enjoy being inspired by others and how they decorate their homes. Christmas decorations bring me joy and really get me energized for Christmas.

Making A Meal

I love to cook. In doing so, I also love to experiment with foods. I’m generally pretty good at what I try, but sometimes I have gotten a bit carried away with tastes. A few weeks back I tried to make a peppercorn mushroom gravy on a steak. A tad too many peppercorns were added and it destroyed the taste. But I learned from my mistakes.

On Friday I made dinner for my wife and I. A Cesar salad, potato patty and a lobster tail. Fancier than most of our meals, but I wanted to have a nice evening as a late birthday dinner. I am always surprised at how easy lobster tails are to make. This dinner was the best one yet.

The next day I made a crockpot soup. Specifically a cheeseburger soup. This was pretty amazing as well! It really did taste like cheeseburger. My wife and I loved it, but it was not the hit with the kids I had hoped it would be. I’ll probably make it again in the future as it was the perfect meal to make ahead and slow simmer all day.

With many more opportunities to experiment with foods, I can only hope that our kids will try making something out of their comfort zone as well. You ever know what you may like if you don’t at least try it.

Decorating The Tree 2022

Last night we went to work decorating our main Christmas tree. In doing so, we kept our regular traditions alive of how we decorate.

First, we put on The Wiggles: Yule Be Wiggling. This video has been played every year for nearly two decades. It’s a favorite of our teenage kids and it wouldn’t be Christmas without singing along!

Second was having eggnog. My wife had a spiked FIRENOG this year. Which we have been making for years. One of the best combinations for a festive drink that i can imagine. So easy: Fireball and eggnog. Warm and tasty going down.

This year we finished decorating the tree in just under an hour. Later this week our oldest will be coming out to put up their sentimental and special ornaments. They were supposed to come over and join in the fun, but got taken down by Covid earlier this week and hadn’t quite gotten their energy back yet. Maybe we can show The Wiggles again while they decorate their portion!

About two weeks remaining until Christmas and I’d say that our home is festive and welcoming for Jolly Old St. Nicholas to swing by. As well as friends and family- we’d love to share our space with you.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Decorating The Tree 2022

Last night we went to work decorating our main Christmas tree. In doing so, we kept our regular traditions alive of how we decorate.

First, we put on The Wiggles: Yule Be Wiggling. This video has been played every year for nearly two decades. It’s a favorite of our teenage kids and it wouldn’t be Christmas without singing along!

Second was having eggnog. My wife had a spiked FIRENOG this year. Which we have been making for years. One of the best combinations for a festive drink that i can imagine. So easy: Fireball and eggnog. Warm and tasty going down.

This year we finished decorating the tree in just under an hour. Later this week our oldest will be coming out to put up their sentimental and special ornaments. They were supposed to come over and join in the fun, but got taken down by Covid earlier this week and hadn’t quite gotten their energy back yet. Maybe we can show The Wiggles again while they decorate their portion!

About two weeks remaining until Christmas and I’d say that our home is festive and welcoming for Jolly Old St. Nicholas to swing by. As well as friends and family- we’d love to share our space with you.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Poco Lightning Christmas Party

Today was a Christmas party at our son’s speed skating club. As always, it was filled with fun, laughter, tons of food and this time gifts and prizes!

The food, as always, was in abundance and delicious. Such a wonderful variety of asian and western food to be shared. My belly was full by the end. Just like the rest of the parents- we plopped down in some chairs and hardly moved until the end.

There was so much commotion that I was surprised we made it through the afternoon. But it was an organized chaos. Lots of mingling of the skater, parents and coaches. Even our middle has become a friend of many of these skaters. They too ended up with a grab bag and a gift in the end.

It was a good afternoon and a great way to unwind after the beginning season of speed skating. We still have more competitions coming up, but a gathering to hang out was well deserved and needed- by both parents and skaters.

NBX Shrine

We love NBX. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s the film “The Nightmare Before Christmas” by Tim Burton. I have loved that film since it originally came out in theaters back in 1993. I saw it back then when I was 17 and have loved it ever since. I own a VHS copy of the film as well as a couple versions on DVD. We watch it a couple of times each year in some fashion.

We own a lot of fan art of the film as well. Our oldest painted the swirl hilltop one, I 3d printed Jack’s head, but my favorite is the couple going to the park. I love how this film can bring out the artistic side of people.

As a family, we have enjoyed trips to Disneyland at Halloween. Meeting Jack and Sally, riding the Haunted Mansion ride when they changed it to NBX. Even dressing up as a family in costumes to be the characters at Halloween. Plus my wife’s favorite car decal ever- “My Family is a Nightmare” has adorned a couple of our cars now.

We bought some fancy statues by Jim Shore in Disneyland a few years ago. And again, our oldest made miniature paintings for each character. These stay on display all year round in our living room. Kind of like a small symbol of our family.

This Christmas, my wife has created a shrine to display more of our Nightmare Before Christmas stuff. It’s in her office on the fireplace mantle. A fun and friendly reminder of such a great film and all of the memories we have created as a family together from it.

So if you are ever in doubt of a gift idea for any of us- something from NBX aka The Nightmare Before Christmas would always be welcomed!

The Bomb

Our oldest came by last weekend to hang out with my wife. While they were here, they made some hot chocolate bombs. Hot chocolate powder inside of chocolate balls. Easy enough to be made, not something I have ever tried before. But our oldest enjoys making them.

Last night I tried one. My wife heated up some milk and poured it over the ball. It was neat to see it dissolve and the chocolate aroma rose up from my mug. It was rich and flavorful. A nice warm drink to end a chilly Friday night.

I recommend you try one. Making them yourself is a nice touch and a great gift idea this season. I’m glad I tried one and will have another or two before Christmas.

Baking and chocolates are a staple of homemade confections in our lives. Do you enjoy making treats for the holidays? Let me know some of your favorites in the comments.

A Man and His Bucket

As I mentioned the other day, my family and I are volunteering at our club’s first speed skating meet at the new rink. There is plenty of volunteer positions that were available. We had so many volunteers sign up, that a few positions were being shadowed as well. Which is all sorts of amazing.

My position kept me busy all day. After every race I had to give out two buckets of water to the track stewards. This happened about once a minute. I even had to refill my large bucket a few times. I had no idea how busy I would be. I thought I would just be sitting around for most of the meet. I was hoping for just a fun name tag and hanging out for free food.

I actually enjoyed my position rinkside. The kids who we’re volunteering on the ice were my bosses for the day. I took guidance from them about what they would need besides buckets of water. I had a bucket of snow, a fire extinguisher and a trowel at the ready in order to repair any chunks that occurred periodically when a skater fell.

Even though our son wasn’t skating, it was a great experience being a part of the meet. This club is run far different from our previous club. Even though the club was fairly organized ahead of time, we still had a few hurdles to overcome before the races began. But it was in all intents and purposes a great competition.

Another November 25th

It’s been 22 years since my father’s passing. Today marks that day. Every year I try and get out to visit his grave- either on his birthday in September or today. My tradition is to have a beer and pour half of it out for him.

Usually I stand there and talk out loud as if he were able to hear me. I share the hood and the bad about the family and what’s going on. Even though he never meet any of his grandkids, I still tell him about their accomplishments. I have been doing that for years now.

I have tried many different means of remembering my father. Growing a beard was my personal favorite, but my family hated it. I mean they absolutely loathed that I had facial hair. So this year I chose to wear my father’s rings in a necklace around my neck every day. After today, I will put the rings back in storage until next year.

Although my father and I didn’t always have the best relationship, there are times that I have looked back and seen similar parenting struggles. Knowing how he acted during those times helped to shape how I react now. Sometimes the same, other times a polar opposite.

I do miss him. And I am about twelve more years away from tying his record for being around on this planet. I hope to surpass that time, and if all goes well- I will.

Goodbye dad. Only one month until Christmas, which was your favorite holiday.

Pre-Volunteer Evening Planning

Tonight was a regular speed skating practice session at Theory’s club in Poco. He went there to skate and work out as usual. But the parents were there to discuss the upcoming Saturday meet.

There was plenty of talk about how to organize the meet. Like where people need to be, when they need to be there, where the coaches need to stand, etc… We also moved our club’s mats from one rink to another. (Mats are used along the outside as padding because the skaters can go pretty fast and if they slip- they need that padding to prevent injury.) The reason we moved them to another rink is because this one has stadium seating for the spectators!

Even though our son isn’t skating at our club’s meet- he is volunteering as a track steward. My wife and our middle are also volunteering in their own ways. But me? I wasn’t going to volunteer originally. But I decided that I needed to be a part of this club and as much as I support my son when he is on the ice- I also need to support him off the ice (as well as the rest of his teammates).

My role this Saturday is “Water Bucket”. Super glamorous I know. My wife finds it very humorous. I wanted to be called “Water Boy” but alas- “Water Bucket” is my official title. I promise to be the best Water Bucketer around! Now it is mostly because I am excited about the food that the volunteers are getting. And it’s not donuts and pizza this time around. I have heard the menu! Not gonna lie- there’s a bit of selfish reasoning behind my volunteering.

In all seriousness- there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that many kids don’t see. They are there to skate and do their best. And the parents in the crowd are there to cheer them on. Hosting a skating meet has a lot of background activity that keeps everything flowing. Even my job as a water bucket helps to keep the ice slick. Which is kind of a big deal.

If is wasn’t for my role- those kids could wipe out pretty gnarly. No one wants that. Good thing I’m the water bucket!

I Didn’t Do Much… But Christmas Is 35 Days Away

This past week I was on Staycation. Honestly, I didn’t do much out of the ordinary. I enjoyed time with my family, had a lot of days of just Darwin and I. While my wife and youngest went out to Calgary, I watched his races on the live stream. Which were probably better than being in person as the cameras were ice side. Plus I wasn’t in a cold rink.

Normally if my wife leaves for a weekend, I get antsy and start some major project. Not this weekend. I did take some extra Christmas lights and put them around our gazebo. I mixed the red my wife wanted and the white that I wanted and am pretty happy with how it looks.

I had told my wife last week that I only wanted to put up two of our four artificial Christmas trees. Before they left, she asked that I don’t put up our living room tree until the start of December. I did put up one of the trees we have- I put it up in her office. She was happy went I sent the picture to her. It means we will be putting up a third tree in our basement now.

My wife doesn’t like the idea of downsizing our trees. So moving from four to three really isn’t so bad. We did three trees before. That generally works better for us. One is our elegant tree, one is the kids tree (all those handmade and silly ornaments collected over the years), and our third is usually just the ornaments we like, but they don’t quite go on either of the other two trees (yet we cannot get rid of the ornaments). A fourth tree is just too much. Mostly we just had lights and it would be outside

I enjoyed my time off. Now it’s back to the grind. At least until my next week of vacation at Christmas.