Coffee Talk

This morning I met with a friend that I haven’t seen in about a year and a half. I suggested we do what the older people in my neighborhood do. So we went for a breakfast up the road at the Co-Op and shared stories over a cheap meal and cheap coffee. Like a couple of old guys just being old guys meeting up.

The reason for our lengthy absence wasn’t evident nor important. Life just, uh, finds a way. And life gets busy. We were both still in contact through social media and the occasional text message. But meeting face to face is always different.

What could’ve been a quick meet up, turned into a three hour talk. Discussions about family, work, and even politics were on the table. A healthy back and forth, sharing the ups and downs as of late, and offering sage advice to one another. We both have similar outlooks on all of the above. Both of us aiming to stay positive and working towards just being better people.

After three hours together, it felt as if we hadn’t lost anything in our friendship. Those hours today only felt like a brief moment. A moment that I was surprised had lasted so long. I sense that our friendship won’t ever falter. Perhaps we can meet up more often as the world gets settled into a new lifestyle.

It was good to talk to that old friend as we acted like old guys. My advice- don’t be afraid to just drop a line to someone who mattered in your life. You never know when you both need to reconnect.

Estranged Stranger

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

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

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

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

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

Geoff Has Talent

Our friend Geoff Robertson is a talented musician. We have gone to see him perform about three or four times now. He does sing country music, which isn’t my taste, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Supporting friends as they pursue a passion is something I love to do.

Last night we decided to take the kids out for dinner as Geoff performed. We went to Bob’s Bar and Grill in Aldergrove to watch the show. This is the only venue we go to because it’s local and the food is reasonably priced and quite tasty.

The kids enjoyed hearing Geoff as well. He does some great covers of folk style songs the everyone recognizes. After a couple beers, I’ll sing along from my table to the chorus. “West Virginia Mountain llama!” Last night during one of Geoff’s songs he asked me to do harmonica. I didn’t have a harmonica, so I mumbled some noises that may or may not have sounded like a harmonica.

Here’s one of his original songs. It’s a humorous jingle. The kids liked it as well. Sorry about the background crowd noise, but we were at a bar and grill.

Please enjoy. And always support your local musicians and artists!

Was 1998 Really That Long Ago?

Back in May of this year, I mentioned how I like to communicate with old friends: Friends For A Lifetime. Last night I met up with someone I consider to be one of the nicest and wisest men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

It was twenty years ago when we lost touch. No idea how or why. Most likely, our lives suddenly changed. Back then he dubbed the year: 98 Revival. We had only met once after that in 2001 for my bachelor party. Without knowing it, it turned out to be our last big hoorah.

Even after 20 years, we laughed and shared stories. It felt youthful and revitalizing to have some one-on-one time to talk. Kids, jobs, hardships, accomplishments- all happened as we went our separate ways 20 years ago. Big events happened to each of us in 2007 that carved out who we have become to this day.

What we talked about mostly was music. Music that inspired us. Music we would listen to back in the day, and what we continue to listen to. Music that he created with numerous friends of ours. He continues to create music. A love of creating and performing is in his blood. Give him a follow on Facebook at Sick Logic. It’s never been a one man show, but a difficult road for him to journey with constantly changing band members.

In 2016, I met up with a mutual friend of ours while I was in Los Angeles: Seeing Old Friends. Perhaps one day we can all regroup and live like we did back in “The Complex.” Crazy, stupid times that killed brain cells all while making memories.

Two Years of Daily Musings

January 18, 2016 I began this blog. I’ve written one post every single day. It’s my baby and I’m proud of myself. Last year I wrote about My One Year Blogaversary. I thought that was special. But today is doubly as good.

Another year of stories with more positive thoughts than negative ones written. More shares, likes and follows from old friends and new ones. A couple of days ago, I surpassed 100 followers on WordPress. (Yay!) The majority of whom are folks I’ve never met in person. None of them trying to trade “A like for a like” which is respectable. If someone new follows me, I will read a few of their stories. Many times I end up following them. I’ve enjoyed the conversation and feedback through these interactions with complete strangers as well.

Twenty years ago, a friend of mine once said “Constant observation of myself has made me what I am today.” That phrase stuck with me as I moved forward in life. I often forgot to look back. Over the past two years of reflection and memories, I have re-discovered who I am:

I’m just a guy Making It Up As I Go.

The Kindness Of Friends

We have been without power now for 27 hours and counting… Yesterday wasn’t so bad, read about it here: No Power No Problem. But after a while it is getting a bit taxing.

We haven’t seen an end in sight for when the power will be restored during this ice storm. Warm fires and board games don’t exactly feed the family. We did a sandwich spread last night which was tasty. I used a cast iron pan in the fireplace to toast up the breads (almost like a grilled cheese). This morning was scrambled eggs and bacon with boiled water making French pressed coffee. My family wasn’t going to starve by any means.

After a bit of “Social Media Complaining” a friend of ours invited us over for dinner. We wholeheartedly accepted! We gladly drove for about a half hour to have use of flushing toilets, electricity and being fed. Our friend makes fantastic meals and we often share plans with one another. They’ve come to our place on occasion as well.

A bottle of wine and a case of beer were brought over to share. Accepting the kindness from friends reassures me that people are wonderful. Good conversation and good food made our evening extremely pleasant. I’ll never not take up someone’s offer to be kind. It’s not a handout- it’s friendship. It’s looking out for those who matter most to you.

Thank you to my friends for opening their doors and hearts to my family tonight. Your love and kindness is appreciated!

Say Hello. It’s Ok.

There was a time in my life that I would’ve ignored talking with old friends if I met them in public. But something has changed in the past little while for me.

Maybe I was an awful person for it. But it was usually that my life was so busy that I really didn’t want to make time for small talk. It was hard when every waking moment was filled with kids, work, Conventions, and just running around doing errands. No time for idle chitchat!

Now I want to see my old friends. I’m always excited to hear about how their lives have changed over the years. No matter how long it’s been.

Last week I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in person for 30 years. But we picked up where we left off. Talking old times in elementary school and how our lives have moved forward.

Last night I ran into two other friends at the store while shopping. I paused with each of them and talked. Smiles, handshakes and hugs were shared. I forget how much we had impacted each other in the past.

These brief encounters make me happy. Life is getting shorter as I’m getting older. It’s already begun where I’ve lost old friends from this planet. I better take the time to say “Hi” because you never know when I won’t be able to again.

Friends Forever

I have an abundance of friends. I’d even go as far as say I have about twenty amazingly close friends as well. I even have a couple people in my life that have been my friend for almost three decades. But I have one friend I’ve known almost all my life since kindergarten. (If you’d like to read about it, check out Grilled.)


Somehow along the way, we have remained friends. We met and I lived across the street from him.  My family moved, and his came to visit us. His family moved and we went to visit them. I really need to thank my mother and his mothe for this. If it wasn’t for these two ladies, I’m pretty sure life would’ve gone on without our friendship continuing. But every time I meet up with my friend, it’s like we’ve never been apart.

So it got me to thinking, has he gone from being a friend and become family now? We are closer than many people are with their cousins. In fact, his mother and my mother still visit each other regularly. They see each other more than my friend and I do. But I know that I could call or show up at his place and would be welcomed in. I’m never judging him and he never judges me. We share ideals and thoughts with open minds.

I like having a close friend like that. My wife has even told me that she is a bit jealous because she doesn’t have someone like that (yours truly excluded). Not everyone can have long term friends and still feel a bond whenever they meet up. 

I’m a lucky man for having all of these types of friends.

Grilled

Yesterday I was hanging out with an old friend of mine. We have been friends for over 35 years. No matter what happens in our lives- we have always remained in contact. We have had many adventures together, dating back to our childhood. 

The first day we met was in Edmonton when his family moved into the neighborhood.  I went over to say hello and introduce myself. Within minutes, we were playing together.  We ended up going down his sloped driveway in a little wooden wagon. We rolled down towards the road where the moving truck was parked blocking the driveway. Two little boys had almost no control over the wagon. Just before we hit the truck, my brand new best friend of five minutes “steered” the wagon with the little metal bar, thus forcing the front wheels to turn sideways.  The momentum of the wagon initiated a sudden crash as we flipped over onto the concrete driveway.  Scraped and bruised we ended our first day together.  A friendship that has never faltered. 

Over the years, we had bicycle accidents together. We attended Boy Scouts.  We played Colecovision for hours.  We made Lego spaceships and had sleepovers.  We got caught by my mother as we recorded on a cassette a song we sang about our penises. We went tubing down a river and he taught me how to play D&D. He was in university and I came to visit. On that trip, we got “arrested” by mall cops for smoking weed in an underground parking lot. He was in my wedding party.  He’s The Godfather of our eldest child. Through it all, we’ve been great friends.  I gave him a nickname when we were in grade 1 that he is still called by my wife and I:

Willbum Pukus.


Last night our adventures didn’t stop.  What should have been a nice dinner garnered some excitement right before the meal was served.  I broke one of my cardinal rules but since we’ve been friends forever, I didn’t think anything of it. 

“Never touch another man’s grill.” 


I have adhered to this rule all my life.  I never BBQ at a friend’s place, even if I am asked to.  You see each grill is a bit different.  There are hot spots and cold spots.  There are places on the grill that meat sticks to or slides gently off.  My grill is off limits to everyone but me.  Even my wife won’t use it.  But last night, my lifelong best friend asked me to attend to the grilling of the pork ribs.

Everything was going smoothly until I was about to take the meat off the grill.  Suddenly a grease fire took over.  I shut all of the burners off and moved the meat to the edges.  My friend in all of his wisdom acted quickly and dumped his beer into the grill.  A huge cloud of smoke went up into the air.  With a sudden crash, the bottom of the grill fell out.


More flames remained stuck on the bottom dancing wildly under the BBQ. My friend grabbed my beer and dumped it on.  This time the flames went out.  Grease fire and beer- not the smartest plan.  I had no idea we were going to his place for dinner and a show.  

My friend and I have had numerous adventures and we have lived to tell the tales. We are only ten days apart in age (I’m older-therefore wiser). Our sons have become good friends because they are very close in age. It’s a lifelong friendship that is passing on for another generation.  Many more stories to tell.

Assuming we don’t burn the place down in the process.

Hey Gawy 

I have a friend from years ago who could always make people laugh.  He loved doing voices and graphic art.  He would quote Jim Carey at the drop of a hat.  


Naturally he has become an animator here in Vancouver and has worked on many projects.  He has worked on “The Littlest Pet Shop”, “Escape From Planet Earth”, “MLP” and many others.  He is still in Vancouver and I think it’s time for me to meet up with him again.

When I was a teen in high school, I was originally friends with his older sister.  I still am.  It wasn’t until a year or so after I graduated, that my circle of friends and his circle of friends came together.  We would hang out and drink coffee, talk about story board ideas or play videogames.  Most of the time- just having fun.  Usually with groups of people.  It was rare that he wasn’t surrounded by numerous people.  He is a well loved and an amazing person.  

He also had an unusual past time.  He would use a VCR and record himself playing RPG videogames.  Or rather, the storyline of the game.  He would edit his game play so that only the scripted dialogue remained.  Surprisingly, the stories are quite intricate and fun.  After hours of him playing and editing the RPGs of the 90’s he would have a fun movie for us to watch.  

Much like a silent film, there was a bit of action with dialogue written on the screen.  Most of the action was of the characters walking and some fight scenes.  But the twist was for the dialogue- my friend would assign speaking parts to all those watching these.  It became a lot of fun.

His animation and creativity will supersede his legacy. One of my favorite shorts that a friend of his shared is a silly one titled “Hey Gawy“.  Worth watching for a quick giggle.

His love of storytelling never ended.  Besides his work in animation, he loved watching Professional Wrestling.  In fact, he and his wife got married in a Wrestling ring back in March 29, 2014.  (Happy Anniversary!) Unfortunately I missed the main event due to a convention.

I love seeing my friends succeed.  To me, success is measured in how well you touch someone’s life.  Steven has the unique ability to bring back fun memories into my mind even though we haven’t spoken in years.  It’s a friendship that I treasured and feel it is time to catch up on old times.

Social Standing

We all have a few circles of friends.  Work friends, old friends, school friends, bar friends, etc.  I have noticed that over the years, the people we hang out with fall into a few categories.  Kind of like the characters in a Dungeons and Dragons mission.  Only instead of a wizard, a cleric, a fighter, a rogue and a ranger you get a slightly more modern grouping of people.


The modern Wizard is more the person who shares old stories of an almost magical feel.  “Remember that time we got so wasted?  We thought we were bears and rummaged through that trash bin looking for pizza!”  This person lives far too often in the good old times.

Instead of a Cleric you have an individual who prays for everyone and they believe everything that happens is god’s will.  It’s a bit naive, but they are generally the nicest in the group who always have something awful happen to them.


A Rogue is more of a romantic.  They are often the ones dating and searching for “True Love”.  Every other month there is a new love interest that they are showing off.  These people also have the hardest break ups.


A Fighter is still a fighter. Oftentimes they are starting a fight among the group or with other groups. These people are the ones who enjoy creating drama and being confrontational. More commonly known as an asshole. Every group needs an asshole- they often say what everybody else is thinking.


Then there is the Ranger.  The leader that the friends look up to in order to find out what’s going on or what the plans will entail.  


In each group there is an individual (or two) that just doesn’t quite fit in.  These people are like the lost sheep just following the herd.  But there they are making things all awkward and stuff.  Trying to be the funny one, or the asshole, or the romantic.  But not quite hitting the mark, kind of like the tv show ALF.

In each of the groups of friends that I have, I am often showing off a different personality.  More often than not, I think I’m the awkward one.  Sitting on the sidelines trying to be humorous or offering ideas of what we should do.  “What?  No one wants to do laser tag?  I guess that’s ok.”  Only to have the idea mentioned a few weeks later by the Ranger and everyone jumps on board.  


God I hate that guy.

Jeremy 

I lost a friend this week.  We are the same age and share many of the same friends.  He had a charisma about him that made everyone happy.

He was passionate about his children, his dog, baking, zombies, Halloween and his Jeep.  He was nicknamed Rambo or sometimes Jeremy The Jeep Guy.

He loved his Jeep. It was often parked at odd angles or shown off in his pictures.


I met him as a teenager back in high school.  He was a strong tall guy.  At age 19-20, I would run into him at China Beach (the local nightclub) because he was a bouncer/waiter there.  The first time I went there, he came running up to me and lifted me up and put me across his shoulders.  He walked around the club introducing me to everyone who worked there.

Zombie walk with his puppy Bud.


Throughout my early 20’s, I would meet up with him at Denny’s for late night coffee and food.  Jokes and smokes every time we met up.

At one point, his children and mine both attended the same elementary school.  At drop off we would talk about school and parenting.

A day on the lake enjoying life.


Summer 2015, he came out with me and some friends for a day on the lake.  Tubing, beers and good times.  It was the last time I saw him in person.  This August he turned 40.  Much like I did when I turned 40, he was taking stock of his life.  He shared pictures and memories on Facebook over the past month.

One of the many images Jeremy would share over the years.


Over the years, we were always in contact with each other.  Back in the day of emails and MSN Messenger, we often spoke.  With Facebook, we often commented on one another’s posts.  We even messaged each other fairly regularly.  I even sent him a message on Thursday afternoon asking his opinion on buying a Jeep.  I found out later that night that he had passed away.

Maybe we only saw what he wanted to show the world.


The pictures I shared here are from his Facebook.  It showed a man with a kind heart and a struggle that not everyone saw.  We are all too busy with our own lives that we miss moments that could make a difference in someone else’s life.

He was there whenever I needed a laugh. He entertained me with his philosophy. He was a great parent and a good friend. He will be sorely missed by the hundreds of people whose lives he had touched over the years.


May you be at peace Jeremy Erlandsen.