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.

Twelvetide

January 2nd. Back to work. Kids are heading back to school tomorrow. Christmas season is over, right? Not if you follow the idea of The 12 Days of Christmas also known as Twelvetide. That ends January 6th.

Respectfully, that is the date at which we take down our Christmas Decorations, the trees, and lights. Our home will once again feel open and clean. As a bonus, our electric bill will go down since lights won’t be sucking power for hours on end.

Half of our neighborhood has already been taking down lights and decorations until next December. I won’t be the first, but we also won’t be the last.

Do you follow the Epiphany? Or have you already taken down the feeling of Christmas in your home? Or perhaps you leave the decorations out a bit longer.

End Of 2022

This year was another relatively good year for me. It had ups and downs, but mostly positive vibes. I don’t think I will change anything for 2023.

I am ending my year with a quiet evening with my wife, my kids, my sister and my niece. Even though we were invited out to a couple events, I honestly feel that spending tonight with the family who is here matters the most. I do appreciate and love my friends for always thinking of us and inviting us out. Sometimes I just need to know how loved we are with those invites.

Real plans for 2023? I am continuing my journey to be alcohol free. Which has not been easy. But since the end of November, I have done darned good at it. It feels as though it is never a good time to quit drinking. There is always celebrations, frustrations, or casual moments that a drink would feel fitting. Seeing friends share pictures, memes, or videos has made it difficult at times for me. A bit of FOMO happens. But I needed to do this for myself again.

My last length of time without drinking was only 300 days. I couldn’t even make a whole year. It started as just an occasional drink, but then I felt like I was becoming dependent on booze. Yes, I have shared numerous experiences drinking, having fun, and supporting small breweries. But I also have a tough time calling it quits each time. It was never just one drink. There were moments that I’d drink whatever I found in the house as well once I was out of beer. Like a scavenger hunting for scraps.

Feels True

As well, my body was not enjoying the years of abuse. Nearly three decades worth of drinking. I now feel more pains in my body than I remember. But my breathing and guts feel better after the last 30 days of sobriety. So I’m focusing on each day and doing my best to distract myself from the urge to drink.

That is my hardship. My Achilles heel. My crutch. Normally I just share positive stories in my blog. But today was about being truthful with myself and those who follow me.

2023 will be filled with courage to overcome more obstacles and set out on new adventures. Reconnecting with friends. Controlling my destiny. That’s my 2023.

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 9-HOME

My life is incredibly blessed with everything that we have worked towards over the years. My biggest appreciation of all of our possessions is our home.

We wouldn’t be here without hard work and help from our parents. They helped us out financially, and we paid them back after years of struggling. Almost 20 years of homeownership I can honestly say that I am so happy with where we have gotten to.

The biggest thing for me is to open up our home for friends and family. Tonight being the winter solstice, we have some close friends coming over for laughs, food, and general good times. That’s what having a home is for. To open up your doors to the ones you love.

Every Christmas I have spent in my home. Even growing up- traveling or going away at Christmas never happened. Christmas was a time to just appreciate what you have and stay warm throughout the winter season.

I appreciate our home and all those who are invited in to share our space. I hope that over the holidays your home is as warm and wonderful as ours.

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 4-MUSIC

It sure wouldn’t be Christmas without Christmas Music! This is an easy Appreciation post. As a child growing up in a Catholic School, I learned many Christian hymns and classic choir style songs. At home, my father would play the radio on Christmas Eve and we would listen for the Santa Tracker news reports until bedtime. Christmas music has always been a big part of the holidays.

I start to sneak in a little bit of Holiday cheer starting in October but playing the soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas. That plays into November periodically. By November 25th, I start into more Christmas Classics.

Every year at the end of November and first week of December, I noticed there was a preview of Sirius XM. My car and my wife’s car are equipped to have Sirius XM, but after an initial introduction to it, we cancelled back in 2017. However, one of the most fun songs we ever heard at Christmas was Jing-a-Ling. Our two oldest had a blast bouncing along to it.

I put on the radio again on December 1st and was promptly out of our yearly game of Whamageddon. That hurt. But now I don’t have to be fearful waiting to find out if I’ll lose.

This year I have been enjoying some Jazz renditions of Christmas music on Spotify. They are nice background piano and horn pieces that can fill the room with an ambiance unlike any other.

Are you a fan of Christmas music? When do you start playing it? Let me know in the comments.

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!

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!

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.

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.

Can You Ever Have Enough Christmas Decorations?

Boxes of Christmas decorations have exploded in my home. It isn’t until I begin bringing them out of the attic that I realize how much we have. It may be time to downsize some of the decorations. It took me a good half hour with help to get everything out. That doesn’t include our four artificial trees and those decorations!

Bins and boxes filled our dining room table as well as the floor space around. Opening each box contains a new surprise. Sometimes it’s exactly what I was expecting inside, but most often it contains the unknown.

Since we changed our colour theme last year to silver, gold and blue- we now have an abundance of red and green balls and baubles. Lucky for us, it should fit in nicely in our basement. Downstairs has more earthy brown tones as the colour scheme.

I have been working on some new layouts to keep it looking uncluttered. I also kept the same design of the garland from last year. Of course this means having some of our cutesy decorations needing a place to live. We have so many stuffed toys that come out for Christmas. As well as a growing collection of Nightmare Before Christmas trinkets.

My family is surprised that I am so far behind in decorating. Good thing I have a week of vacation to do the displays and set up the house just right.

Let’s get decorated!

Calm Halloween

Today was a very quiet Halloween. Nothing extraordinary happened. We decorated the front yard for the night and bought 150 candies to give away. We hardly had that many kids come down the hill to receive their treats.

My wife and I sat out front with the fire pit on and gave out the candy. I dressed as Johnny Depp’s character from Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. The fire pit kept me warm as I was wearing shorts and summer shirts. My wife wore her Halloween leggings and kept warm beside me.

Our 18 year old and 16 year old had some friends over. They got dressed up and hit the streets for some candy of their own. When they returned- we had two batches of chili ready for them to enjoy after their walk around the neighborhood. All of our children’s friends are extremely polite and really kind. I enjoyed the conversations with them.

My wife and I wound down our night watching fireworks from our bedroom window. After almost two hours of explosions, my wife went to sleep and I decided to watch some Twilight Zone. Even as the show played- the fireworks continued throughout Surrey.

I love Halloween. Yet the vibe continues to change and evolve. I’m still having fun throughout the years- albeit a bit calmer allowing others to share and entertain. And yes, the fireworks are still going…

Memorize No More

I read a quote today that made me realize the world has changed in order to make us lazier.

Growing up, I memorized numerous phone numbers and locations. I still remember my old phone numbers from the last four houses I have lived in. Most times people say their phone numbers in a singsong manner. 3-3-4 or 3-4. But our last home phone number, I used to mess around and caused a bit of chaos in telling people.

  • 533-4833
  • 888-1046
  • 533-8248
  • 8-5678-02

One phone number I remember clearly was the one my father had gotten for a side hustle that he had started in the early 90’s. The secondary line in our home was 882-8822. When his business was no more, I ended up adapting that number for myself as a teenager. I had my own phone and answering machine. Too cool for school.

Nowadays I know both my number and my wife’s number off by heart. I have no idea what my kid’s cellphone numbers are or any other family members. I don’t even know my work phone numbers. That’s because everything is saved under Contacts in my phone. I even add addresses which means I don’t need to care about how to get places. The same thing is in my navigation in my car.

I don’t need to think anymore. Just announce out loud, “Hey Siri- call…” and that’s it. No need to even scroll to find the name and number once it’s saved. Convenient and lazy. Just like automatic windows and locks in a car. And cameras, and heated seats… too many things we take for granted.

Heck, I could dictate a blog if I wanted one day. Maybe I’ll try that and see how it goes.